What do toxins look like?

We talk a lot about the effects of toxins and there are plenty of national reports about them conducted by well meaning technical researchers who write in a language we barely understand; but we never really talk about what do toxins look like.

So here goes.

Hold on to your hats, we’re getting into some technical stuff.

Toxins tend to get a bad name because they’re often used as a tactic to scare people into buying whatever the latest detoxifying fad is. And we have to admit, even we use it as a broad brush explanation of anything that hinders the effectiveness of your body to work optimally and therefore keep you healthy and fertile.

Here’s what a toxin is.

A toxin is harmful to your body. Quite literally, it’s poison. This doesn’t mean you need to be swallowing a bunch of toxic items, vaping chemicals or subjecting your colon to exposure of narcotics it struggles with cleansing you from. Because any substance becomes a poison if you overdose.

We often cite the benefits of water. But, did you know if you drink more than roughly one litre per hour, you’ll overload your kidneys? Thus, even the best things for us can lead to damage of our organs and even death if we’re not sensible.

That’s before you even start with adding in environmental factors such as smoking, existing disease and things such as pesticides which float around in our atmosphere.


Toxins are produced by living things. So, snake venom is the best example of a toxin. So is metabolic waste, which is why keeping regular is so important for all kinds of wellness issues such as fertility down to cancer. When these wastes hang around in your system they lead to poisoning because, by definition, they should be expelled.

Two categories of toxins.

Metabolic waste.

Pollutants are what people tend to think about when they’re detoxing. This category is full of the pesticides, lead and PCBs; products such as paint fumes, cigarette smoke and drugs/ alcohol etc.These are just examples, but you get the picture, right?

These poisons enter your body through a variety of ways, it just depends what you’re exposed to. For instance, they can seep in through the pores in your hair, they can soak into your skin, be sucked into your lung. But, they often get trapped in our fat store and then sit there as this is an area that doesn’t expel well. And so these poisons are allowed to then fester and manipulate healthy cells into disease.

And you wouldn’t necessarily get sick straight off. We’ve all slept in a recently painted room and come out feeling like our blood levels have shifted a little on the scale of toxicity, but you don’t always know. When patients go into hospital with a cough, doctors will announce that the cause of their lung disease happened when they breathed in asbestos substances in a work environment decades ago.

Seriously, it happened to my uncle. The most important thing is to be vigilant all the time. It’s not practical to be testing ourselves all the time, so being proactive with safety is paramount. Toxins aren’t always causing immediate symptoms, they can easily be the silent cause of deaths. To understand this better, think about smokers. Eventually it’s accepted they will end up with heart disease or some form of cancer from the repeated exposure to toxins.

Metabolic waste on the other hand is way more murky. This is where everything else gets lumped in which are technically toxins because they are produced biologically and will poison someone if they are administered in abnormal quantities. This is when science shows they become dangerous to life.

But they are normal producers of biology. So, like faeces as we discussed earlier. What’s important is to two to three litres of water a day and keep moving so that your body has the correct chemical balance to operate as effectively as possible.

How toxins can affect people’s health and wellbeing.

*Eggs. They might be fine in normal life, but if women eat them when they’re pregnant, they can be dangerous.

*Swimming in contaminated lakes on holiday. That green water may be so due to algae. And don’t underestimate the damage Algal toxins are capable of when they are released into the environment. Likewise, look down. The newt produces a neurotoxin called tetrodotoxin (TTX), the same toxin found in pufferfish, and a number of other marine animals which can cause paralysis.

*Ethanol is contained in alcohol, so by drinking it you are also taking in neurotoxins (affect your nervous system).

*Marijuana. Sure this is a toxin because we’re breathing it deep into our lungs. But did you know that a recent study has shown that there are more toxins in these cigarettes than in tobacco smoke and nicotine? Worth thinking about the consequences if you’re a smoker
Fluoride in water that we drink and brush our teeth in is a toxin.

*Chlorpyrifos is a strong pesticide which affects our nervous system as well as eradicating bugs from crops and buildings and animal species. This affects everyone but has been cited by Landrigan and Grandjean to negatively affect the brain development of a foetus.

Interesting thoughts

*My mother went out for a curry. She got food poisoning and ended up with chronic rheumatoid arthritis. This is a sign of her body going into shock when she fell sick and going into overdrive to try to heal through inflaming affected areas. She’s never been right since. This is twenty years ago.

*Bacteria on your teeth. It’s well known that people with poor oral hygiene are more prone to disease. Perhaps this is why.

A word on how toxins affect neurology.Head shot of Frank Bosmans Ghent university who researched cell and toxicity

Frank Bosman has been studying proteins known as sodium channel within nerve cells. Essentially they are responsible for creating disorders in the electrical signal which connects the message sent out by the brain to the nerve to cause the reaction. They are responsible for a ton of things, ranging from pain to seizures, all the way down to breathing.

This means

This is important for modern diseases that we don’t quite yet fully understand, such as fibromyalgia for example. It’s thought that fibro is brought on by us over eating ‘bad’ foods.

I’ve personally read a report that links this specifically to drinking too much coke.

For sure, there is more to understanding the developmental tests. When we ask what do toxins look like, and these tests are ongoing. But this research is an important step to us understanding whether these illnesses may be brought on by our lifestyle factors.

If we start to understand this, maybe we can do more than read about changing our diet and our exercise routine, building in some holistic therapies to our week’s activities and taking time to allow our body to cleanse may actually be based on a solid research data.

How does massage fit into this?

There are different types of ways that bodywork helps to keep toxins flushing out of your system.

Lymphatic drainage keeps your lymphatic system moving. This is particularly good if you are not moving around enough for your body to operate effectively alone. Likewise with chemotherapy, another pollutant. Your lymphatic system is one of the key systems in your body that is in charge of getting rid of waste, so this is important and hence why we include this in the detox package.

Swedish massage gets the blood flowing. This helps your body to distribute the oxygen and nutrients that the cells in your body need to reproduce healthily. Remember earlier on when we mentioned how dormant toxins slowly de-rail healthy cells, which in the longer term leads to disease and illness? This is where this fits in.

Reflexology foot massage works a little like acupuncture in that it clears energy blockages in your body so that there isn’t a road block in place of A being able to reach B unhindered. This is great if you want a specific internal organs supporting with a health focused holistic therapy.

If you’ve had a stroke, this is the result of toxins attacking your brain and during the process of your body trying to repair them, your levels of inflammation soar through the roof. Reflexology is great for reducing inflammation and allowing your liver, kidneys and lymphatics to process toxins.

In summary

Obviously, we’re making broad brush statements here when we’re striving to explain what do toxins look like. We don’t claim to be chemistry experts. Many medical journals record full details of studies. The percent of people who were affected by this and archives going back years that detail that.

Our intention today is to bring you a simplified explanation. We want to help you to understand the evidence that a toxin eradicated is a development towards healthy living. And perhaps this will inspire you to spend at least a few days with your family being more healthy.

Reflexology vs acupuncture

Many people have heard of acupuncture. But, they’re still asking what’s the difference between reflexology vs acupuncture?

Both modalities have their origins in traditional Chinese medicine and although both are similar in the sense they alternative therapies, or as we like to refer to them, complementary therapies. Both modalities balance your entire body (holistic) through releasing energy flow, there are some intrinsic differences between reflexology vs acupuncture.

Acupuncture uses needles to puncture the surface of the skin
Acupuncture uses needles
The key difference for me is that acupuncture uses needles to pierce, or puncture, the skin.
Karen the MAR reflexologist specialising in Fertility at Essential Feeling Gidea park, Romford giving reflexology on foot
Reflexology uses pressure points to relax and balance at once

Your reflexologist will use a combination of differing pressures (acupressure) on the surface of your skin using a kind of massage which is done within ‘reflex zones’ specifically on ‘reflex points’. Each of these relate to other parts of the body which are not usually reached with a normal massage.

There are no needles involved in reflexology, it is totally non-invasive and very often your practitioner only use a gentle pressure combined with healing energy to improve your health. It also has a wonderfully relaxing effect.

Many clients who have tried acupuncture and then moved to reflexology because they didn’t like it, say that the benefits of reflexology is that is so much more relaxing.

Similarities between reflexology and acupuncture.

Both treatments work with the sympathetic nervous system to calm it down, so in theory clients should fall asleep just as they do in reflexology. However, there is something about having needles sticking out of them during the process that makes them tense and hinders their ability to relax.

Reflexology is like time out.

Thankfully, this doesn’t happen with reflexology which is like a wellness time out, whereas when they’ve had a therapy involving needles, clients describe it as being more like a doctor’s appointment.

While reflexology uses reflexes (pressure points) in the hands and feet the location of which largely resemble the shape of the human body, acupuncture has a more haphazard approach in that the meridians channel all over your body.

So, while reflexology works on the entire body using many pressure points within one area, mainly the feet (although there is foot and hand reflexology) acupuncture uses meridians spread throughout your torso and from foot up to the top of your head.

Ready to book a reflexology session to relax, balance and unwind?

Hopefully that has explained a little of what you were interested in finding out about acupuncture and reflexology. Just one more thing to note, reflexology is safe throughout pregnancy as long as you are attending sessions at a clinic with a trained pregnancy reflexologist as we are at Essential Feeling. If you’d like to ask specific questions, please email us at admin@essentialfeeling.co.uk. Or you can book online now.

Be happy

Martin Seligman did a great talk on how to be happy. He has spent literally years researching happiness in full on clinical trials, concluding in his results that we have a great reason to be optimistic about life.

Spoiler alert:

The state of psychology today may not be good enough yet, but we can improve it.

Psychology in the past.

In the past psychology was about finding out what was bad with someone, but today it’s more about fixing disorders. Through this, a science of mental illness has developed so we can now measure and classify mental illnesses such as depression and alcoholism.

We can look at people who are genetically vulnerable and isolate their variables by experimenting on their effects and rigorously. The end result is that we can make miserable people less miserable.

But there were three consequences.

1. By testing people in experiment ways we forgot people make their own choices.

2. Forgot about improving the lives of normal people, you don’t have to be depressed to benefit from an improvement in your mental state. There is always room for improvement.

3. In our rush to help people in trouble, and repair their damage, it never occurred to us to create interventions to make people happier.

What is positive psychology?

Positive psychology has three aims:

*Psychology should be as concerned with strength as weakness.

*Building strength and fixing damage.

*Making lives of normal people fulfilling by nurturing their genius.

If you’re interested in testing your own happiness, then you can take a test. This quick survey looks at all the different causations of happiness and the way the left and right brain works and interacts.

There’s a difference between happy people and those who are sad. There are a few ways, but the primary way is that intrinsically happy people are all social. Extremely so. They are all in a romantic relationship with a rich repertoire of friends.

Note this isn’t the cause, it’s the result.

There are three ways we can be happy.

1. The pleasant life – you crave as much positive emotion as possible and fill your life with activities that create this state for you. This could be physical activity such as running, or emotional such as spending time in study. Whatever floats your boat, but the commonality is that you naturally have the skills to amplify it by filling your life with as many exceptional experiences as possible and engaging in skills such as mindfulness to amplify their effects. If you’re an introvert, this could likely be your natural state of happiness and maybe money is a great barometer for you.


Approx 50% of people who create this state do so because of heritage, and this is a state which is not modifiable.

Positive emotion habituates rapidly, so it dilutes over time.

2. A life of engagement – you have the natural ability to focus and look at things in detail and stop time meaning that you enjoy even the smallest things around you. A flower blooming on a passing meadow could be a positive source against negative emotions that others may miss.

If you want to become happier, if this is your natural state, you can work on your highest strength to practice and build its intensity.

For example:

You can be a bag packer in the supermarket, but as long as you are aware of every customer interaction and making this as happy as possible, you will create happiness for yourself. And often for those around you, too.

3. A meaningful life — knowing your true highest strengths are and using them to belong to and in the service of something larger than you. This is a little like the bag packing example above, but it’s all about creating lasting change. The circumstances will be personal to you, but each exercise will have an overarching natural purpose which you feel is important. It could be relationships, learning and studying or literally spending a few minutes a day with a lonely person to improve their mood and outlook. Positive interventions.

There have been random rigorous tests in the same way we test drugs on this. When we teach people about the pleasant life, they take the mindfulness skills and design a beautiful day. You savour this day to enhance the pleasures.

We use gratitude in meditation by closing your eyes and thanking someone for something they did for you who you haven’t properly thanked. In this experiment you write a 300 word testimonial and go visit them when you read the testimonial. Up to three months later, people are still happier and less depressed.

This works for couples too. Design an evening whereby both use their strengths. It’s a great way to strengthen a relationship.

You can have a pleasant life and a life of engagement at the same time. For instance, an introvert who is a trader but no social life, could well be happy if they can stop flow and become totally engrossed in whatever is happening at that point in their time. For instance, they go to work and are only concerned with what is happening in that moment.

Life satisfaction.

How much life satisfaction do you get? Research of thousands of people shows that the above three pursuits of pleasure. The pursuit of meaning is the strongest, engagement is a close second.

If you have pursuit and meaning combined, develop long-lasting happiness.

Note: Don’t underestimate the role of health.

Not only does exercise, (which incidentally could be moderate walking, it doesn’t need to be vigorous) improve the chemical balance of our brains, whilst giving us a leisure pursuit to fill our time and allow us to appreciate the small things around us, but it also has other benefits.

If we’re healthy, then our body works optimally. Our blood is flowing and delivering all of the nutrients to the right parts of our body in the right quantities. This is where massage and reflexology come in.

The role in relieving misery and achieving happiness is important. If you make someone not angry or less anxious, this doesn’t mean they will become happy. The skills of being happy and achieving the pleasant life, the good life and the meaning of life are different to the innate skills of misery.

Woman dressed in white doing fertility yoga for infertility at Essential Feeling

The role of technology in your strive to be happy

Technology and design can increase happiness by increasing meaning engagement in life where people don’t have the base level internal skill set. For instance, if your natural studies involve you watching and listening to a professor, online video course can improve this percent of students success where in the past home study would have been paper bound.

As we’ve already seen, the state of happiness is linked to setting and achieving goals about which we are proud, so the successful achievement of an academic study will therefore links to that person’s happiness.

Likewise, if you’re more of a life-of-engagement-be-happy-kind-of-person, then researchers think building habits that allow you to track the small things you see while walking will make you happier if you can then remind yourself of these in your more down moments. Camera’s on our phone are an enormous deal.

Chat with us today on 07757 946023 to find out more.

How to improve your immune system

With the Coronavirus forcing us to wonder whether we should even step foot outside the door, we’re all thinking about the key factors in how to improve your immune system. And decrease our chance of getting sick. Regardless of whether we have any of the cough, fever and breathlessness symptoms, we figured it was time to tell you about one of the less known health benefits of massage.

Girl trying to improve immune system in face of Coronavirus

Massage will not only relax you, but it has a ton of other health benefits too. It lowers your blood pressure, boosts your circulation and improves digestive disorders.

But here’s the biggy. In the face of COVID 19, research has confirmed that massage will help to boost your immune system. 

One such study was published in October last year by the Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine. So, if you’re wondering how to improve your immune system, then read on, because massage is a fabulous tool towards improved health.

Yep, we hear you. Massage you cry? How can a massage improve my immune system?

So, here’s what the study found. Massage increased the number of lymphocytes in the participant’s systems. These are the white blood cells that are in charge of defending your body from disease. It stands to reason that the more of these little guys we have knocking around, the more resilient we will be to those pesky bacterial that are floating around in our air at the moment.

Here’s a quote from a statement the researchers from Cedars-Sinai Medical Centre in Los Angeles published.

This research indicates that massage doesn’t only feel good, it also may be good for you,” said study researcher Dr Mark Rapaport, chairman of the department of psychiatry and behavioural neurosciences, at Cedars-Sinai.

On top of that, the clinical study measured physical improvements. 

Those who received a massage had lower levels of cytokines. These are the molecules that reduce inflammation. The effects were strong even in people who had chronic levels of inflammation such as those suffering from microbiome conditions such as asthma, cardiovascular disease and depression. These are precisely the types of patients at a higher risk of Coronavirus.

The researcher in charge of the research project also went on to say,

“People often seek out massage as part of a healthy lifestyle but there hasn’t been much physiological proof of the body’s heightened immune response following massage until now.”

The participants of received a Swedish massage. The study was carried out In the study, 29 participants received 45 minutes of Swedish massage protocol. Their blood was taken via intravenous catheters, which took blood samples during the study period.

This is a wonderful piece of research that we have been waiting for in the therapy world. But here’s the thing. We’ve been quiet. People aren’t aware that massage is one of the best ways to naturally improve your immune system.
Here’s another study which looked into could massage boost your immune system.

The experiment

Professor Fulvio D’Acquisto, an immunologist from the University of Roehampton and the Bodyology Massage School teamed up with the BBC to run this research study into whether massage can boost your system’s ability to fight infection, thus boosting immunity.

Here’s what they found.

Massage boosts the number of white blood cells in patients suffering from HIV, a disease that causes a reduction in a type of white blood cell known as T Lymphocytes.

Research participants had their T cells analysed before the research commenced as a baseline reading for how their body would be able to react to infections after massage. They were then asked to lie down for an hour before anything else happened to ensure that the increase in cells wasn’t due to the body simply relaxing.

Then they had an hour’s massage, after which they had another blood test.

Prof Fulvio D’Acquisto, an immunologist from the University of Roehampton

The results shows massage boosts immunity

A 70 percent boost in white blood cells.

T-lymphocytes perform a wide array of immune system functions in the body, which include growth and repair. This could explain why massage has been reported to help with so many health conditions, as we mentioned above.

Extended antibacterial cleaning routine.

And here’s the thing, we’re not resting on our laurels here. We know people are actively searching out how to improve your immune system. So we’ve stepped up.

As normal, we are only working from our own base. We have massage therapy rooms in Gidea Park, Romford. We have stepped up our normal cleaning routine and now, after every client, we clean every surface that has been touched with an antibacterial spray. You don’t have to worry about catching anything from any of our previous clients, and as long as you are healthy and aren’t suffering from any of the effects of Coronavirus, we’ll be delighted to take your appointment.

We’re sure you all know this by now, but what are the main flu-like symptoms you need to look out for making sure that you self isolate?

*A high temperature above 37.8C (100F)

*A new continuous cough.

So, if you have either of these, then you need to keep yourself to yourself, we’re afraid. But, if you don’t, and like us, you do not want to get them, book in now for a massage to help improve your immune system.

You may be wondering if there is anything else that you can do to improve the function of your body’s ability to find infections.

You could exercise. There are a few really good home workouts online. Here’s a really great one.

Adding vitamin supplements to the foods you eat could also help, even generally in avoiding getting colds and a normal strain of flu. Let’s face it, in this climate, if you get a cold, you’re bound to self isolate, anyway.

Some vitamins and minerals that are best for boosting your immunity and why

* Vitamin C — probably the biggest immune system booster. Did you know that a lack of vitamin C can make you more prone to getting sick?

*Vitamin B6 is vital to supporting biochemical reactions in the immune system so dose up with those tablets.

*Vitamin E is a powerful antioxidant that helps the body fight off infection so throw that into the mix too.

*Zinc is a mineral that keeps your immune system strong, helps heal wounds, plus it supports normal growth.

Foods that are best for strengthening your immune system. And why.

While we’re all about making sure you get enough vitamins, we don’t think there is ever any substitute for a great balanced diet. At this time, when we’re all asking how to improve your immune system, scientists suggest eating garlic, turmeric, ginger and broccoli.

Of course there are a ton of other foods that are rich in the antioxidants that improve your respiratory system, so here’s a few that you can work into your nutrition plan over the next weeks and months (you may even have some fun creating recipes with them in your new found down time).

Watermelon improves your immunity.

One 2-cup serving of watermelon has:Watermelon improves immunity

*270 mg of potassium

*25% of the value of vitamin C

*30% of the daily value of vitamin A

*Calories in watermelon are minimal

Elderberry are not only tasty but packed with antioxidants and vitamins. But they specifically improve your immune system in the way that helps the symptoms of Coronavirus. They can help tame inflammation and protect your heart. If you get a cold or flu, then experts say these tiny berries will also help its symptoms. Other deep red coloured foods are also good* because they contain beta carotene so look for red bell peppers, grapes and berries and sweet potatoes. Did you also know that cooked tomatoes are better for you than raw, which is in contrast to most other vegetables.

Shiitake mushroom is an excellent food choice if you’re wondering how to improve your immune system. It is high in nutrients, such as B vitamins, vitamin D, selenium, niacin, and 7 of the 8 essential amino acids. This is why cancer patients are often advised to blend these mushrooms into a soup along with some garlic — because these micronutrients boost your immune system and thus your body’s ability to fight the infection.

Pomegranate juice contains the wonderful vitamin C as well as other immune-boosting nutrients including vitamin E which means that this fruit is a great choice to enjoy whilst supporting your body in preventing illness and fighting off infections.

The added benefit is that pomegranates have also proven to be antibacterial and antiviral in lab tests and are currently being studied for their effects on common infections and viruses. But their juice is delicious, so don’t hang around waiting for the results. What’s the harm in working these gems into your diet today? Other citrus fruits such as oranges and lemons are also great.

Oysters contain zinc. This is known to have virus-fighting powers, that, like massage, it creates and activate white blood cells. And as we know already, these are involved in the immune response.

The role of alcohol.

Normally you wouldn’t expect a holistic health expert to be talking about the wonders of alcohol on their blog. But, there is a ton of evidence that suggests that if you’re looking for an antibacterial god, then alcohol applied to your skin or surfaces helps to kill off bacterial and reduce its spread and thus your chances of infection. Sorry we’re not talking about drinking here.

The problem however is that the stores are empty. There’s no decent anti-bacterial gel around, the cleaning fluids are depleted and we’re left without access to the products we need to fight the source of the virus.

Here’s a way to make a natural antibacterial spray from the things you can get hold of from Amazon so you don’t even have to step out of your door.

Here’s the DIY antibacterial spray ingredient list:

*1 cup boiled water which you’ve allowed to cool but not be cold

*1/4 cup Witch Hazel (without alcohol) or white wine vinegar. If you can’t get that you can use alcohol like vodka too

*Add 15 drops Tea Tree essential oil which has been documented to kill many bacteria, viruses, and fungi on contact

*10 drops of either Lavender, Eucalyptus or Lemongrass essential oil which also contain antibacterial and anti-inflammatory properties.

*Spray bottle, you can use an old one, but glass is preferred, since some essential oils can start to degrade plastic if left for too long. That said, in this climate, we doubt that will happen!

One final tip.

Get lots of sleep at night. The duration that is recommended as being optimal is between six and eight hours.

This is when a person’s body will fix itself. As a modern day human, we’re busy with our lives and find it hard to relax. But, when we’re not doing a thing, our body is using less energy. This means we have more available resource to support our healing.

If you have underlying issues such as gut problems, heart issues and so on, this is even more important. Your age is also a factor in your ability to fight the germs that are floating around, so please, think about the elderly, and help them.

So if you sleep, even if you encounter someone who has been under a rock somewhere and is coughing and spreading nasty mucus into the world’s atmosphere, at least your body will be less susceptible to those tiny microbes.

In conclusion.

There isn’t one single remedy out there to best help you avoid the effects of Coronavirus, and there certainly aren’t any medications.

This is about combining everything we know, to adapt our lifestyle to include as much of the recommended advice so we can avoid these new diseases. We know that working these into our life in order to strengthen our immune system is only possible with what is available to us as the store shelves are literally bare. So, in short, eat your citrus, ensure you aren’t exposed and have a massage.

*Fight the effects of free radicals.

Free radicals assault your body and can be produced internally as we convert food to energy. They cause our DNA strands to snap and produce kappa, which promotes inflammation and inhibits the ability of our immune system to respond. By regularly adding a variety of rainbow coloured foods into our diet, including spinach and other green veg, improves our chances of fighting these bad free radicals. 

Remember, without the entire colour complement of fruits and vegetables, free radicals remain active and continue to accumulate in the body, causing oxidative damage.