Shameless actress Annabelle Apsion on the Rosen Method

It was a docu-drama that brought the actress Annabelle Apsion to the Rosen Method, a form of hands-on bodywork designed to release physical and emotional tension. It worked so well for her that she now balances her role as Monica in the Channel 4 series Shameless with running the UK's training school and working as a practitioner.

“I found out about Rosen after I'd played Jenni Hicks in the 1996 drama documentary about the Hillsborough football disaster,” she says, sipping tea in the sunny kitchen of her Hampstead home, North London. “Both her daughters died at the stadium. I hadn't played a ‘real' person before, and this was such a horrific experience. Every day for six weeks I was playing someone in distress and by the end of the filming I was still affected by having to relentlessly conjure up those images and feelings about Jenni's daughters and how they'd died.”

The stress of this reverberated for some time, leaving her unsettled and anxious. She was also between jobs, something she usually enjoys because it allows her time to pursue other interests. Not this time. But a chance attendance at a Rosen Method workshop, which she thought was a massage class, changed things.

“I've always liked massage and I've had lots of different bodywork, shiatsu, reflexology, Indian head name it, I've probably tried it, and I thought volunteering to be demonstrated on would be a good way to get a free treatment. In fact, I was a bit disappointed initially as I was expecting a deep-tissue massage. This was much more gentle and exploratory, assessing where the emotional tension was rooted in my muscles and gently encouraging them to ‘let go' by themselves rather than having something done to them, which is a very different experience.

Bodywork affected her feelings
“It was amazing. As the treatment went on I was able to connect to my body in a way that I hadn't before. The practitioner asked me some incredibly pertinent questions while she was working on me. She said that it was in response to the information she was getting from my breathing - and from the way my body responded to her touch. “Through Rosen I could connect, identify and let go of the physical side, which released the feeling side. It was a profound experience at a time when I really needed it.”

Source - Times

Follow this link to see an interview with 93 year old Marion Rosen; fascinating!

A funny form of therapy

Ruby Wax, the caustic comedian who has spent years struggling with depression, is about to tackle the taboos surrounding mental health in the only way she knows – in the full glare of a one-woman stage show.

Wax, who recently took time out from television in order to qualify as a psychotherapist, will perform a half-hour monologue solely concerning mental health issues at the Edinburgh Festival in August. She is currently studying for an MA in neuroscience.

"I'm doing stuff that's funny about mental illness," she says. "It's a monologue. Humour is the only way to tackle it; otherwise it's po-faced."

In her autobiography, How Do You Want Me?, the American comedian laid bare the details of her own battle against depression and mental breakdown while at the height of her TV career. She also acknowledges that, for many entertainers, going on stage is a form of therapy. Wax is one of the latest in a series of high-profile comedy actors and performers who are going public about their struggle to stay the right side of the fine line between hilarity and mania.
"They used to burn [mentally ill] people at the stake," she says. "We're not killing them any more, or putting them on show in places like Bedlam. We're putting them on the TV instead."

In 2006, Stephen Fry made and presented The Secret Life of the Manic Depressive, a documentary on bipolar disorder, from which he suffers. The comedian famously disappeared in 1995 after walking out of a production of the play Cell Mates. He resurfaced in Belgium, saying that he had attempted to commit suicide.

Hugh Laurie, Lenny Henry and Paul Merton have all admitted to battling depression. Spike Milligan wrote a book about his life-long manic depression, and the unhappiness of Tony Hancock and Kenneth Williams was laid bare in television biopics last year.

Source - Independent

Yes, some superfoods really ARE super (Just read our guide and ignore the hype)

A week scarcely passes without us being told about yet another 'superfood'.

Recently we've learnt tomatoes prevent sunburn and premature wrinkles, purple grapes boost memory, while rhubarb is good for kidney disease. But do all superfoods match up to their 'super' status?

Obesity: Women who'd eaten a serving of almonds had higher levels of cholecystokinin (a hormone which helps you feel full) than men did, according to a study published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition. So while almonds may leave both women and men with a feeling of 'satisfaction', women may stay full longer.
Alzheimer's: Mice with an Alzheimer's-like disease were fed an almond-rich diet. After four months, those animals did much better on memory tests than those fed the usual food.
Heart health: American research has found that eating almonds reduces the risk of heart disease as effectively as some statins.
Top tips: Make sure you are buying 'the real McCoy' - many imported almonds are not almonds at all, they're apricot kernels; these look similar but the taste and health benefits are not the same. Also look for almonds in the shell that don't rattle when you shake them. Rattling may be a sign that the almonds are old.

Source - Daily Mail

Coffee protects women against heart disease - but not men

Coffee can protect against heart disease, a study has found - but only in women.

Scientists found women who drink two to three cups a day are 25 per cent less likely to die from the disease than those who abstain. But they are at a loss to explain why coffee appeared to have no effect on death rates for men.

The study contradicted fears that coffee is bad for the health. Drinking as much as six cups a day did not raise the risk of premature death in either sex.

The U.S. research, published today in the Annals of Internal Medicine, looked at 84,000 women between 1980 and 2004, and nearly 42,000 men between 1986 and 2004. The volunteers filled in questionnaires about their coffee habits and health every two to four years.

Women who drank two or three cups of full-strength coffee a day were 25 per cent less likely to die of heart disease during the study, compared with women who drank no coffee. They were also 18 per cent less likely to die from something other than cancer or heart disease. The research found no link between coffee drinking and cancer.

Those who drank decaffeinated coffee also had lower death rates than those who abstained.

Source - Daily Mail

Leading professor offers £10,000 to first person to prove homeopathy works

One of the country's leading professors of complementary medicine is offering a cash prize to anyone who can prove homeopathy works.

Professor Edzard Ernst says he will award £10,000 to the first person who can show the controversial treatment is better than a placebo in a scientifically controlled trial.

Calling on homeopaths to 'put up or shut up', Professor Ernst said there was still no strong evidence that the method - whose fans include Prince Charles and Hollywood celebrities - was effective. But furious homeopaths last night attacked the prize as a 'publicity stunt' and insisted they had 'more than enough proof'.

Homeopathy, which was developed 200 years ago in Germany, is based on the principle that like cures like: That an illness can be treated by substances that produce similar symptoms.

Source - Daily Mail

Regulate unorthodox therapy call

Acupuncture, herbal medicines and other traditional treatments should be regulated in the UK "without delay", experts say.

The government-appointed steering group said patients were put at risk by the "incoherent" way the industry was run. The report does not cover other forms of alternative therapy like homeopathy, but would affect 8,000 practitioners. Ministers have already been looking at the issue and now plan to run a quick consultation on how to proceed.

But the group of experts expressed frustration changes were not happening immediately. The issue was raised by a House of Lords report in 2000 and that has been followed by various consultations. One of the key problems has been how to regulate treatments for which there is limited evidence of effectiveness.

But the experts, led by Professor Mike Pittilo, the vice chancellor of Aberdeen's Robert Gordon University, said unregulated treatments were putting patients at risk.

They said acupuncture had been known to cause kidney damage when the needles were inserted too deeply, while herbal medicines had been found contaminated with steroids. Professor Pittilo said he wanted to see the public "safeguarded".

Source - BBC

Ginkgo 'does not treat dementia'

A herbal extract used by an estimated 10% of people with dementia is not an effective treatment for it, an Imperial College London study suggests.

Ginkgo biloba is commonly marketed as an aid to memory and some studies have reported benefits. But a six-month trial of 176 people with mild to moderate dementia found no difference between those taking ginkgo biloba and those taking placebo. The results are in the International Journal of Geriatric Psychiatry.

The researchers tested 120 mg daily of ginkgo biloba in patients recruited from London general practices. They measured participants cognitive skills and quality of life at two, four and six months. Tests included exercises such as recalling words from memory or answering questions about time or places.

There was no evidence that the standard dose of the herbal extract had any benefit on memory.
And quality of life as reported by the patient or by their carer did not improve over the course of the research.

Source - BBC

Drinking organic milk 'may cut risk of heart disease and cancer'

Drinking organic milk may cut the risk of heart disease and cancer, research suggests.

A comparison of conventional and organic dairy farms found the organic variety contained significantly higher levels of health-boosting fatty acids, antioxidants and vitamins.Levels of conjugated linoleic acid - a fatty acid credited with lowering the risk of heart problems and cancer - were up to 60 per cent higher.

It is thought high grass content of the animals' diet leads to more nutritious milk.The Newcastle University researchers said that in an 'ideal world' everyone would switch to organic milk, despite it being around 10 pence a pint dearer than the traditional pinta.Study leader Gillian Butler said: 'We have known for some time that what cows are fed has a big influence on milk quality. What is different about this research is it clearly shows that on organic farms, letting cows graze naturally using a forage-based diet is the most important reason for the differences in composition between organic and conventional milk.'

Asked if everyone should switch to organic milk, she said: 'In an ideal world it would be better but logistically I don't think there would be enough. 'It is more expensive to produce as you get less milk per unit of land and it is more expensive to buy. But because it is higher in all these beneficial compounds you don't need to buy as much to get the health benefits."

"What I am trying to do is identify what it is about organic milk that makes it healthier then maybe we can use that to improve milk quality across the board.'It is important conventional dairy farmers keep an open mind and maybe tweak their production systems to improve the fatty acids in their milk."

Source - Daily Mail

Are we all addicted to painkillers?

Step into any newsagents, petrol station or chemists and you face a sophisticated blizzard of marketing from a £500million-plus industry, pushing a fast-moving consumer product in distinctly lifestyle-friendly ways. The fact that many bestselling brands of this product - painkillers - are potentially habit forming and addictive is often forgotten in our consumer culture. Should we be worried? Well, the Australian Government certainly is, and British MPs are mulling the issue too.

Next month an Australian government committee is to consider making popular over-the-counter (OTC) codeine-containing painkillers, such as Nurofen Plus, prescription-only. The National Drugs and Poisons Schedule Committee may put them in a restricted category for drugs at high risk of being abused.

The move is in response to fear of growing abuse of codeine and dihydrocodeine. These morphine-like drugs are included in combination with other analgesics in leading brands such as Nurofen Plus and Solpadeine. A study by Melbourne's Angliss Hospital, in the Medical Journal of Australia in January, called “recreational misuse” of Nurofen Plus a “significant problem”, that causes perforated stomach ulcers. It added: “Misuse of these medications appears to be an emerging cause of significant morbidity in patients with codeine addiction.” An Australian online forum for those addicted to Nurofen Plus claimed earlier this year that 7,000 Australians had now joined it.

In the UK, codeine and dihydrocodeine are available only on prescription as single drugs, but are available over the counter when combined with the non-prescription painkillers, aspirin, paracetamol or ibuprofen, in brands such as Nurofen Plus and Solpadeine. In America, codeine and its relatives are banned in all non-prescription drugs. But codeine-containing drugs are not the only concern. Evidence indicates that many other highly marketed brands, which often contain caffeine as well as a painkiller, may ironically be causing untold thousands of Britons to suffer daily headaches.

Source - Times

Hypnotherapy for bedwetting

Andrew Tan, 9, arrived at most early childhood milestones at a young age, and with ease. He walked at 9 months old. He was stringing sentences together and was potty trained when he was 2 years old. But when it came to being dry at night, Andrew had a different story. “We just thought that he'd come to it sooner or later,” says Joanna Tan, Andrew's mum. “But at 6, he was still wetting the bed at night.”

According to the NHS, bedwetting when asleep, also known as nocturnal enuresis, is very common in children, especially those under 7. About one five-year-old in seven, and one child in 20 children aged 10 wet the bed, and it is more common in boys than girls. It can be caused by medical conditions such as cystitis or diabetes, or by some children's inability to produce enough of the antidiuretic hormone, ADH, which controls the production of urine at night, or just by the fact that some children develop bladder control later than others. It may also have a psychological cause, because of problems at school or at home, for example.

Andrew overcame his bedwetting by means of hypnotherapy, which involves using hypnosis to treat medical and psychological problems. “He was approaching his seventh birthday and desperately wanted to go to Cub camp and sleepovers,” says Joanna. “He was still wetting the bed, though, and felt embarrassed, ashamed and even angry with himself. I've always wanted my son to believe he can accomplish anything he set his mind to, but with his bedwetting, his confidence levels were low. He was a bright chap, with a reading age of 9 or 10 when he was only 7, yet because of his bed-wetting, he felt like a failure. Then I read an article on hypnotherapy, which ended up being Andrew's route to feeling good about himself again.”

According to the British Society of Clinical Hypnosis, being hypnotised feels like being in a trance state, similar to daydreaming, or like the moment before we fall asleep, in which there's a deep sense of relaxation. During hypnosis, beneficial corrections may be given directly to the unconscious mind, which is a reservoir of unrecognised potential and knowledge, and the unwitting source of many of our problems.

Source - Times

Regular drinking 'halves risk of arthritis'

Drinking alcohol is not only good for the heart – it is good for the joints too. A regular tipple cuts the risk of rheumatoid arthritis by up to 50 per cent – and the more you drink the greater the protective effect.

Rheumatoid arthritis, caused by swelling in the joints, is a severe, painful condition which affects 500,000 people in the UK. The findings, from two studies in Sweden and Denmark, suggest that alcohol has an anti-inflammatory effect which might protect against similar diseases, the researchers say. They based their findings on more than 2,750 people in the studies who were assessed for genetic and environmental risks for rheumatoid arthritis.

All of the participants – half of whom had the disease – were questioned about their lifestyle, including how much they smoked and drank, and blood samples were taken to check for genetic factors. The arthritis sufferers were matched for age, gender and area of residence with randomly selected members of the public.

The heaviest drinkers downed 24 units on average a week, equivalent to 12 pints of beer or two and a half bottles of wine. The Danes consistently drank a third more than the Swedes.
The results showed that among those who drank regularly, people with the highest consumption had the lowest risk of developing the disease. In the Swedish study, the quarter with the highest consumption had a 50 per cent reduced risk compared with the half who drank least. In the Danish study, the heaviest drinkers were 40 per cent less likely to get the disease than the lighter drinkers. The effect was the same for men and women though women are twice as likely to be affected by the disease.

Source - Independent

Health risk of long-term mobile phone use to be studied by scientists

Scientists have started work on a massive official study to discover whether the long-term use of mobile phones causes brain cancer, and Alzheimer's and Parkinson's diseases.

The study – whose launch vindicates an Independent on Sunday campaign to draw attention to potential risks of using handsets for over a decade – will initially involve 200,000 people in Britain, Denmark and Sweden, and hopes to increase its range to other European countries. The British part of it alone will cost £3.1m, provided jointly by the Government and by the mobile-phone industry.

The research – which is being led in Britain by a team from Imperial College, London, under the auspices of the Mobile Telecommunications and Health Research (MTHR) Programme – will follow 90,000 mobile-phone users in this country over the years, to see what happens to them.

It is important because cancers take at least 10 years – and normally much longer – to develop, but the phones have spread so rapidly and recently that relatively few people have been using them for that long. Official assurances that the phones do not cause the disease have been of little value as they are based on research that, at best, includes few people who have been exposed to radiation from the phones long enough.

Last October, this newspaper reported that the most comprehensive study to date – a review of all the research on people exposed for more than a decade – had found that they were twice as likely to get brain cancer on the side of the head where they held the handset.

Source - Independent

Go to work to beat depression

Think your job is driving you crazy? Well, think again – the chances are it's actually keeping you sane.

Going to work has been shown to aid the recovery of people with depression. Returning to their job helped unhappy workers improve – provided bosses ­offered a caring and flexible approach.

Employers who kept in touch with ­depressed workers during sick leave also hastened their return, research shows. Depression is the most common reason for sick leave and a frequent motive for claiming long-term sickness benefit. It will affect 15 per cent of Britons at some point of their lives.

Source - Daily Mail

Red grapes... the latest secret of long life, scientists claim

There has been evidence for years that drinking red wine is good for the heart.

Now scientists claim that a chemical in the skin of red grapes will help you live longer. Harvard Medical School professor Dr David Sinclair says the chemical contains a potent anti-ageing compound, called resveratrol.

In 2004, he co-founded a firm to develop a synthetic form of the substance, which is stable enough to be put in a pill bottle. And, last week, it was revealed that the UK pharmaceutical giant GlaxoSmithKline has bought his company for £361million.

The sale has stunned some scientists who say there is little data on the drug's effectiveness and safety in humans. But Dr Sinclair remains convinced he has discovered an elixir of life.

He said: 'The upside is so huge that, if we are right, the company that dominates (this market) could change medicine.'

Source - Daily Mail

Man uses hypnosis to dull pain as dentists pulls out his teeth WITHOUT anaesthetic

After avoiding the dentist for the best part of a decade, Leslie Mason was in pain and knew he needed some work.

He needed two rotten teeth and four roots removed but could not afford to pay £400 for the work and was dreading the agony he was about to endure. He mentioned his dilemma to his friend John Ridlington, a qualified hypnotist, who revealed he had been discussing the potential of hypnosis to a dentist he knew.

A quick check confirmed Mr Mason could act as a guinea pig to test the theory and have the dental treatment for free.He underwent a two-hour procedure without anaesthetic last month and afterwards reported feeling nothing more than a 'little sting'.

'It was incredible. There is no worse pain than that inflicted by dentists but I didn't feel any,' said Mr Mason, 54, a DIY store worker from Colchester, Essex. 'The dentist had to dig away at the rotten roots that were right up into my jaw. There isn't anything I wouldn't have done under hypnosis now. It's incredible.'

The father-of-seven, who is married to wife Anne, 53, has previously used hypnosis to quit a 40-a-day smoking habit.

Source - Daily Mail

Study boosts wine chemical hopes

A chemical derived from red wine could one day help keep the heart "genetically young", claim researchers.

University of Wisconsin-Madison researchers found that resveratrol appeared to halt age-related changes in the function of heart genes. The effects, described in the PLOS One journal, appeared to mimic those produced by eating a very low calorie diet - known to prolong life. But an expert said drinking wine would not achieve the effect.

Resveratrol, a plant polyphenol found in red wine, grapes and pomegranates, has been suggested as one of the reasons for the so-called "French paradox" - the relative longevity of the French despite a diet rich in artery-clogging animal fats. It has been suggested that the traditional glass of red wine taken at mealtimes was helping beat heart disease.

The Wisconsin researchers the chemical on "middle-aged" mice, looking at the effects on the workings of genes in the heart. The natural ageing process in animals and humans is marked by changes in the function, or expression, of thousands of genes in the organ, and even though the precise consequences of all these changes in gene expression is not fully understood, they are thought to contribute to its gradual overall weakening. The mice on resveratrol appeared to have fewer changes in gene expression over time compared with those who did not.

Source - BBC