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Some common health hacks

As an acupuncturist, therapist and mum I have an a few tried and tested tips for those common health niggles that plague us…

Skin: I always have a tube of aloe vera gelly ready for spots, cuts, sunburn and skin problems. Keep it refrigerated for use on hot skin conditions, restless legs or sunburn. For teenage spotty skins get a pot and mix some gel with five drops of Tea Tree essential oil.

Healing: Arnica gel is a herbal help for bruises and arnica tablets help heal from the inside too. Available from good pharmacies.

Digestion: Peppermint is a great digestive and a cup of mint tea is a great soother for upset or bloated stomachs.

In the freezer: if you have children a cold pack is invaluable for a quick first aid on bruises and swelling.

Dairies: for conditions like migraine, suspected allergies or irritable bowel type syndromes try keeping a diary of your foods, moods etc. This reflection may highlight some triggers (not everyone needs to give up dairy, caffeine or alcohol)…

Poor sleep: so much information is available elsewhere but whatever you choose keep to a strict ritual. Before you go to bed tidy up whatever you were doing and write a summary; it clears your head and is a reminder for tomorrow. Then change the mood with a bath or shower, read a paper book or magazine and charge devices away from your bed.

Sweats and hot flushes: avoid caffeine, alcohol and spicy foods as they can raise your internal temperature. Wear layers and consider a sheet under your duvet to “layer” your bedding too. Keep a window open. Some find eating soya foods help.

Neck or joint pain: Heat is comforting and relaxing. Don’t carry heavy items, use a box on wheels or leave duplicate items in places. A rucksack rather than one bag is better for your posture. Footwear that’s supportive and comfy should win over fashion. Replace sports trainers regularly as the cushioning wears out. Opt for lower impact exercise. Topical anti-inflammatory gels can be free from side effects for a localised area. See exercises for neck stretches.

Cramp and restless leg syndrome. I remember when I was pregnant being told to plunge my legs into a bucket of cold water… Migraine sufferers may be more prone. Are they the side effect of your meds? Cramped leg positions (like airplanes, cars, or cinema seats) don’t help so I’d suggest minimising these in the evening. Cool body lotion applied from the fridge may help. Raise your legs in bed with a pillow. Try doing calf raises each time you boil your kettle.