Chuckling goats’ kefir for eczema

chuckling goatsMany moons ago on a Turkish boat I tried something which I was told was like yogurt. It was kefir and I thought it was vile. All these years later I have come across kefir in a completely different way. You may have heard Shann Jones on BBC Radio 2’s Steve Wright Show. She is American, married to a Welsh farmer, and because her son had eczema they decided to get a goat and ensure that he had goat’s milk products instead of cow’s milk which can exacerbate the condition.

Out of the goat’s milk Shann decided to make soap and skin cream which cleared her son’s eczema. They also found out how to make the live culture kefir which is quite prevalent in Eastern Europe. It is a natural probiotic which has very strong powers to heal the gut and repopulate it with healthy bacteria. It still tastes vile but it’s incredibly effective.

Rich, Shann’s husband, went into hospital for a major operation and when he returned home he had a large incision that was infected with MRSA. Shann used essential oils and Manuka honey on the wound and completely cleared the infection.

Now they have 55 goats and a thriving online business where you can buy a 21 day supply of Kefir, special soaps containing essential oils and a kefir cream to put on the skin. And they have lots of success stories, some of which will appear on this website soon. It’s not just skin conditions that can be helped. As so many health issues come from an unhealthy gut, people have found that it can be helpful for psoriasis, acne, eczema, IBS, and osteoarthritis, etc.

Shann says of eczema, ‘Steroid creams alone never resolve the problem, because it’s not a skin condition, it’s a gut disorder.’ She has had many people writing in with photos – like these ones here of eczema that has healed after a course of kefir.

Research is currently going on into the healing powers of kefir.

www.chucklinggoat.co.uk

Cut the drugs bill with complementary therapies

Wouldn’t the government love to cut the £8.2 billion spent every year on drugs? Wouldn’t it be great if doctors offered you some alternatives –  acupuncture  for the pains in your joints (instead of drugs), reflexology for your problems with conceiving (instead of fertility drugs), or chiropractic for your bad back (instead of anti-inflammatories), or hypnotherapy for your anxiety (instead of anti-depressants)?  

Despite the fact that 50 per cent of the British public have tried complementary therapies, there is still a concerted campaign by certain parts of the media and medical establishment to quash them, citing lack of evidence. The public, however, is not so concerned with scientific evidence (provided there are no safety implications, which in the case of gentle therapies there are not) and they just want something that makes them better.

Many people are driven to complementary therapies because there of lack of success with conventional treatments. For example, IBS, cystitis, multiple sclerosis, indigestion, headaches, CFS (chronic fatigue syndrome), migraines, eczema, asthma, infertility, back pain, arthritis, anxiety, and so the list goes on, are not always that well resolved with drugs, which tend to suppress symptoms rather than cure them.  However, they normally have to pay for them.

Lots of people choose to try acupuncture, nutrition, reflexology, homeopathy, chiropractic, hypnotherapy, in addition to their conventional treatments, or some prefer the more natural approach.   As the programme The Food Hospital has shown changing your diet can do wonders for your health.  And there are no side-effects, so what can you lose? If you try it and it works you’re better, if it doesn’t you haven’t damaged your immune system or encountered unpleasant side-effects.

A few enlightened practices offer access to therapies, and acupuncture is quite widely available on the NHS. Read our articles: Complementary Therapies on the NHS; NHS provision of complementary therapies: Visionary healthcare.

IBS – break the taboo and seek treatment

Identifying the symptoms
Han van de Braak of Leicestershire’s Integrated Medicine Practice explains the symptoms and treatment for one of the common ailments that affects around one quarter of the population.
 
For many people, talking about their bowels and certain bodily functions is still taboo. Yet conditions such as irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) are increasingly common and can make the sufferer’s life a complete misery.
In fact, IBS is the most common disorder diagnosed by gastroenterologists, accounting for around 50 per cent of consultations. Unfortunately, even when diagnosed, the treatment for this chronic disorder can vary widely in effectiveness, leaving many people to manage recurring symptoms as best they can.

It’s unclear what actually causes IBS in many cases, although emotional stress and life changes are often considered to be significant. The symptoms can occur at any point, but are more likely to develop between the ages of 15 and 40.

Not only that, but according to consultant neurologist Dr. Jane Collins, IBS is also becoming increasingly common amongst children, alongside diabetes mellitus and childhood obesity.

The illness is also more common in females, with approximately 80 per cent of the most severe cases involving women. The symptoms that an IBS sufferer presents with can vary, but may include all or some of the following:

• Constipation (IBD-C)
• Sudden and recurring bouts of diarrhoea (IBD-D)
• Bloating
• Abdominal discomfort
• Fatigue
• Weight loss

A quality of life

There’s no doubt that these symptoms, which vary in degree, have a significant impact on a sufferer’s life, making it difficult to exercise, work or even socialise.

I found one of the most common complaints people make is the way in which the symptoms affect their quality of life. As David from Glasgow told me, ‘The condition really affected my whole quality of life pretty badly. I lost confidence and found my lifestyle severely restricted. I was limited in what I could eat and drink and always needed to ensure that I was within easy reach of a toilet.’

Finding a treatment

Many people simply live with the condition, while others seek medical help to manage their more severe symptoms, but it can be difficult to find an effective treatment that works for all – sometimes it is a case of trial and error and finding what works for the individual patient.

Some of the more effective treatments/ strategies include:

• Diet modification, eliminating foodstuffs that may aggravate the condition
• Using probiotics – beyond ‘healthy’ yoghurts
• Better handling of stress

The world of complementary medicine has also come up with a solution that has proven effective for many people – aloe vera.

Aloe vera

A magical little herb with natural anti-inflammatory properties used since Ancient Egyptian times, has been proven to help many IBS sufferers manage their condition successfully. But the wrong aloe vera supplement will have little more effect than a placebo. The results are exemplified by David from Glasgow, who reports, ‘If you suffer from severe IBS symptoms, you will be rewarded with a big difference which allows you to function normally in your life again.’

Break the taboo

So if you are one of the 20-30 per cent of people who suffer from IBS at some point during their lives, don’t be afraid or embarrassed to seek treatment: whether conventional, alternative, or a combination of both. With perseverance and a little trial and error there are options out there that can work for you, so break the taboo and go for it.

Han van de Braak is a chartered physiotherapist, registered acupuncturist and naturopath. He is the founder of the Integrated Medicine Practice in Leicestershire which offers a variety of complementary treatments in homeopathy, physiotherapy, acupuncture, osteopath and diet modification. 01858 465 005

Han van de Braak of Leicestershire’s Integrated Medicine Practice explains the symptoms and treatment for one of the common ailments that affects around one quarter of the population at some point during their lives.

For many people, talking about their bowels and certain bodily functions is still taboo. Yet conditions such as irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) are increasingly common and can make the sufferer’s life a complete misery.
In fact, IBS is the most common disorder diagnosed by gastroenterologists, accounting for around 50 per cent of consultations. Unfortunately, even when diagnosed, the treatment for this chronic disorder can vary widely in effectiveness, leaving many people to manage recurring symptoms as best they can.