Help2HelpYourself Blog

This is great description of a breathing technique and has some further good suggestions to help relaxation and sleep:

Great Quote from Dr Anca Marinescu:

"If you don't take care of your body, where are you going to live?"

Scroll down for the following entries:
- Treating pain with acupuncture shifts patients away from opioid addiction in the US
- Ovarian reserve and AMH / FSH what is the connection
- Pain killers/ anti-inflammatory drugs inhibit ovulation after just 10 days
- Vagus nerve tonification - an easy self help technique for many painful conditions
- IVF - how to choose your clinic / points about embryo quality
- Jet lag prevention
- Statins
- Acupuncture for headaches and other pain conditions 
- How to choose an acupuncturists

Treating pain with Acupuncture and other non pharmacological means - help to shift opioid addiction in the US

“People with chronic pain who are being maintained on opioids know that their doctors are working to respond to their pain,” said Nielsen. “But they should also know there are options to get off opioids, manage chronic pain, and become more active in their lives." See more here: Arya Nielson


​Ovarian Reserve and the confusion about AMH

Ovarian Reserve is a term used to describe the functional potential of the ovary and reflects the quality  and number of follicles which contain oocytes (eggs). Poor ovarian reserve is a condition of diminished fertility considered to be characterised by low numbers of follicles remaining in the ovaries and poor ovarian function to mature these follicles. 

Ovarian Reserve is misleadingly said to be measured by biomedical markers including AMH (Anti-Mullerian Hormone) and FSH (Follicle stimulating hormone) and an ultrasound parameter called Antral Follicle Count (AFC) that counts the number of developing follicles.  All of these markers have limitations and recent studies state that they are not able to assess the quality of the follicles or the potential for getting pregnant, they cannot even predict the number of follicles that a woman has left. These markers are best used only to inform IVF protocols and estimate the quantity of follicles that may be retrieved following stimulation. Therefore AMH/FSH/AFC cannot be considered true tests of Ovarian Reserve.

If you take the analogy of a plant seed. For the seed to grow to its optimum it needs good soil, water, food, sunshine and time. New research is suggesting that if ovarian functionality can be improved then the environment the follicles grow in is improved.  This potentially helps to nourish follicles to be of better quality. An improved ovarian environment is like providing the growing seed with better soil, water, food and sunshine.   Source


Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs inhibit ovulation after just 10 days

The results of a recent study show that diclofenac, naproxen and etoricoxib significantly inhibit ovulation in women with mild musculoskeletal pain. Of the women receiving NSAIDs, only 6.3 percent (diclofenac), 25 percent (naproxen) and 27.3 percent (etoricoxib) ovulated, compared with 100 percent of the control group. source


Vagus nerve tonification

I have been very impressed by a recent trial and a couple of articles on an easy self help technique for many painful conditions as well as cardiovascular conditions, stroke, depression, diabetes, chronic fatigue syndrome, cognitive impairment,  inflammatory conditions including all autoimmune diseases (rheumatoid arthritis, inflammatory bowel disease, endometriosis, autoimmune thyroid conditions, lupus and more).

It involves six practices you can easily do yourself regularly and which increase vagal tone (= tonification of the vagus nerve). Low vagal tone is associated with the conditions mentioned above.

The practises are:

1. Slow, rhythmic, diaphragmatic breathing
To tone the vagus nerve, you should breathe from the diaphragm, instead of breathing from the top of the lungs.

2. Humming
Humming stimulates the vagus nerve since it is directly linked to the vocal cords. It is recommended to repeat the sound “OM” or pick a song and hum it.

3. Speaking
Again, given the fact that the vagus nerve is connected to the vocal cords, speaking can help you tone it as well.

4. Washing your face with cold water
Although this one is still unclear, using cold water on your face stimulates the vagus nerve.

5. Balancing the gut microbiome
As mentioned above, the presence of beneficial gut bacteria increases the vagus tone.

6. Meditation
According to a 2012 study by Barbara Fredrickson and Bethany Kik, increasing positive emotions leads to improvement in the vagal tone. And, what`s better way of promoting positive emotions than meditation?

Although we already know that meditation and breathing exercises are good for our wellbeing, it is really amazing to see how they really work. It is really amazing to learn that such simple practices can have such positive impact on blood pressure, digestive system, depression, and inflammation, isn’t it?

For more on this see here:
and here:

Acupuncture has been shown to stimulate vagal tone and is thus another way to use the above mechanism to help with a variety of health problems. See for example here: Anti-Inflammatory Effects of Acupuncture Stimulation via the Vagus Nerve
and here: Auricular Acupuncture and Vagal Regulation



There are many different protocols and drugs used in IVF cycles. It is important to feel comfortable with your chosen clinic and before you decide to go for anyone inform yourself with the help of the Human Fertility and Embryology Agency: and get opinions and options from at least two clinics.

Embryo Quality: Lower Embryo quality seems to be associated with reduced implantation rate , but so far the evidence says that lower Embryo quality is NOT associated with pregnancy problems NOR with any birth defects.
Hum Reprod. 2014 Jul;29(7):1444-51. Epub 2014 May 8.The association between embryo quality and perinatal outcome of singletons born after single embryo transfers: a pilot study. Oron G, Son WY, Buckett W, Tulandi T, Holzer H.


Jet lag Prevention


Tap on your meridians
Why odd looks you may be wondering?  The key to sorting the jet lag is to gradually reset your body clock over the period of your flight, aligning it to the time of your destination, so that when you arrive you are already in sync with your new time zone.  You do this by adjusting your meridians, tapping on them with a steady but firm pressure at regular two hourly intervals.  It sounds strange, and looks odd, but it’s very simple, and it absolutely works.
How to do it
As you are sitting on the plane, in your seat ready for take-off, work out the current time at your destination.   Set your watch to that time.  Then simply refer to the chart below and tap  as described for the time it is there now. So, if you are on the 7pm flight from  LA to Tokyo, it is actually 12 noon in Tokyo the next day.  So, start by tapping the Heart point (which dominates 12 noon ) because that is the current time in Japan.
Every two hours tap on the next meridian in sequence – i.e after heart, 2 hrs later tap on small intestine, and then 2 hrs after that on bladder, kidney etc. until you reach your destination.  Tap firmly and evenly, at least 20 times on both sides of the body at the points described.  If you miss a meridian or two because you are sleeping, that’s no problem.  Just keep tapping whenever you briefly wake.
The Meridian Sequence – where and when to tap
1-3am          Liver             Liv-1      Big toe, on inside nail bed of toenail
3-5am          Lung.           Lu-8       Inside wrist (thumb side) where watchband would be             
5-7am          Large Int.     LI-1        Nail bed of index finger closest to thumb
7-9am          Stomach      ST-36    Under kneecap, slightly towards outside
9-11am         Spleen         SP-3      Inside edge of foot, just behind ball of foot
11am-1pm    Heart.           HT-8     Palm – where bent little finger touches palm
1-3pm          Small Int       SI-5       Little finger side of wrist, in fold where wrist moves
3-5pm          Bladder        BL-66    Outside of foot, second joint on baby toe
5-7pm          Kidney          KI-10     Behind the knee
7-9pm          Pericardium CX-8     Centre of palm of hand
9-11pm         San Jiao      TH-6     Top of forearm, 1/3 of way between wrist and elbow
11pm-1am    Gall Bladder GB-41  Outer side of foot, 1/3 way between baby toe and heel

Statins – should we all take them?

Statins were in the news recently as experts are divided on the issue whether all or most of us should take this drug to lower our cholesterol levels. Any medication has side effects and those associated with Statins have prompted some experts to be cautious about prescribing statins to a majority of the population. Nevertheless, it seems that many doctors are keen to promote these drugs heavily. However, we do have alternatives. A diet, low on saturated fats and high in fibres keeps cholesterol low. In addition regular exercise has been found beneficial for cholesterol levels. It can be very helpful to talk your diet (and lifestyle) through with a nutritionist or a naturopath. In addition acupuncture can help to reduce stress and anxiety, and thus promotes optimal balance to assist the body’s own regulators. (June 2014 )

Acupuncture can help headaches and other pain conditions

Pain in Chinese Medicine has been described as blocks in the body’s energy flow. This can be tested very easily. When we are stressed we tense up and this blocks the natural flow of energy and very commonly results in headaches or backaches, shoulder and neck pain. Acupuncture promotes free and smooth flow of energy and relaxes the body which reduces or removes pain. See more here on headaches: 
- (June 2014)
- (September 2015)

How to choose an acupuncturist

Acupuncture is not regulated in the UK. This effectively means that anyone can buy a box of needles on eBay and call themselves an acupuncturist! Following these five steps will ensure that you find a qualified, safe practitioner who is right for you.

1. Choose a type of acupuncture

There are different types of acupuncture available in the UK:

Traditional Acupuncture is practiced by members of the British Acupuncture Council (BAcC). BAcC members have completed over 3,600 hours of study that meets World Health Organisation standards, usually in the form of a full time BA or BSc (Hons) university degree in acupuncture. Their training includes Western medical theory, Chinese medicine and acupuncture, and they are qualified to use acupuncture to treat the widest range of conditions. Each treatment they provide is uniquely formulated for you as an individual – like having a pharmacist design a new drug specifically for you.

Medical Acupuncture is practiced by people with Western medical training (like GPs and midwives) and Dry Needling is practiced by people with training in manual therapies (like physiotherapists and chiropractors). Their acupuncture training ranges from 2 days to 6 months in duration. Some medical acupuncturists are members of the British Medical Acupuncture Society (BMAS), and some Dry Needling courses are accredited by the British Acupuncture Society (BAS). Medical Acupuncturists treat a smaller number of conditions than Traditional Acupuncturists, and Dry Needling courses cover where to insert needles for certain musculoskeletal problems. Medical Acupuncture and Dry Needling uses set treatment protocols based on your symptoms – like being given a standard over-the-counter pill.

2. Ask about their qualifications

In the absence of statutory regulation, it is essential to check what acupuncture qualifications a practitioner has before starting treatment.

You can ask what type of acupuncture they practice, how long their acupuncture training was, what qualification they gained, who awarded the qualification, and whether they belong to a professional body. British Acupuncture Council members will have the letters ‘MBAcC’ after their name.

It is never rude to ask to see a practitioner’s certificates and fully qualified practitioners will be happy to oblige. You can often check their professional registration online. For example, you can search for an acupuncturist by name on the British Acupuncture Council website at to check their membership status.

3. Check their Environmental Health registration

Like all skin-piercing techniques, acupuncture carries a risk of cross-infection. This is minimised by following guidelines set out by each district council. By law, everyone practicing acupuncture and dry needling must be inspected by and registered with their local council’s Environmental Health department, and must display their registration certificate in their treatment room.

There are two exceptions: medical practitioners (e.g. GPs and nurses) practicing on NHS premises, and British Acupuncture Council members practicing in Greater London (this is because British Acupuncture Council Members adhere to very strict Safe Practice Guidelines that meet or surpass those set out by the Care Quality Commission and district councils). If you can’t see an Environmental Health certificate in your practitioner’s treatment room, ask them about it.

4. Ask about their experience

Ask what experience your prospective acupuncturist has in treating your symptoms or condition. Some acupuncturists complete additional Continuous Professional Development (CPD) training or conduct research into specific areas, so ask about this too. Members of the British Acupuncture Council have an obligation to complete 30 hours of CPD training per year as a minimum.

You can ask what their success rate is like, but be aware that this can be a difficult question to answer because every case is unique. For example, there are many factors that contribute to low back pain, meaning that some people will feel better after just one treatment, while others will need to use acupuncture alongside lifestyle changes to help manage their pain.

5. Decide if you like them

Once you have determined what type of acupuncture they practice, checked out their qualifications, professional accreditation and Environmental Health registration, and asked about their experience, decide if you feel comfortable with them. Feeling that you trust your practitioner will make your experience much more enjoyable.

Have a look at their website and ask around to see if any of your friends have had treatment with them. Many acupuncturists offer free 15-minute sessions where you can meet them, discuss your symptoms, and ask any questions you might have. Of course, you can always give them a call and have a chat before deciding whether or not to start treatment.

from Sarah Attwell-Griffiths (reproduced and adapted with permission); 19 April 2015
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