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This month we want to raise awareness of Stroke including the signs and symptoms to look out for. Show support by wearing purple this month.  A Stroke occurs every 5 minutes in the UK. It can happen to anyone at any age and time. There are around 80,000 people a year who are admitted to hospital with a Stroke. There are approximately 1 million Stroke survivors in England.

Signs of a Stroke:

Face: can the person smile? Has their face fallen on one side?

Arms: can the person raise both arms and keep them there?

Speech Problems: Can the person speak clearly and understand what you say? Is their speech slurred?

Time: The quicker the person seeks help the quicker they will receive appropriate treatment

Other symptoms of Stroke:

  • Sudden weakness or numbness on one side of the body, including legs, hands or feet
  • Difficulty finding words or speaking in clear sentences
  • Sudden blurred vision or loss of sight in one or both eyes
  • Sudden memory loss or confusion, and dizziness, or a sudden fall
  • A sudden, severe headaches

Risk factors of a Stroke

  • Age – commonly occurring over 55 years old
  • Gender- women are at a higher risk than men due to birth control pills and pregnancy
  • Prior stroke
  • High blood pressure
  • Smoking
  • Diabetes
  • High cholesterol
  • Obesity
  • TIA’s
  • Some blood disorders e.g. sickle cell anaemia
  • Heart disease
  • Excessive alcohol intake
  • Sleep apnea

A Transient Ischaemic Attack (mini Stroke)

A TIA is similar to a stroke, but the only difference is that the blockage usually caused by a blood clot is temporary and the blood supply returns to normal causing symptoms to disappear. Approximately 1 in 3 people who have a TIA will eventually have a stroke.

How to prevent a Stroke

  • Decrease stress levels
  • Have regular medical checkups
  • Reach and maintain a healthy weight
  • Get your blood pressure checked regularly
  • Be physically active – Try to do 30 minutes of exercise a day

by Anita Singadia, Osteopath and Sports Massage Therapy



May is National Walking Month…

So what are the benefits of walking, well it can:

  • Improve cardiovascular fitness
  • Strengthen bones
  • Reduce excess body fat
  • Boost muscle power and endurance
  • Improve balance

Walking can also reduce the risk of developing conditions such as:

  • heart disease
  • type 2 diabetes
  • osteoporosis
  • some cancers
  • high blood pressure
  • high cholesterol
  • joint and muscular pain or stiffness

Below are a few suggestions to incorporate walking as part of your daily routine:

  • Take the stairs instead of the lift
  • Walk to your local shops
  • Use a pedometer – measure the number of steps you take in a day

This tool could be used as motivation to ensure you reach the recommended number of 10,000 steps a day

To increase fitness levels, you can increase the intensity by

  • walking up hills
  • walking with hand weights
  • walking for longer
  • increasing the distance you walk
  • increasing your walking speed

Don’t want to walk alone then there are plenty of local walking group to make walking fun.  Try the Hertfordshire Health Walks, the Herts Weekend Walkers or even the Chilterns Weekend Walkers.  Even if you don’t fancy meeting new people, then just take your friends and family for a walk instead. Make walking fun again and part of your lifestyle.

This is why we aim to be the best Osteopaths in Hertfordshire.  To make an appointment contact us at or on 01923 710424.

by Anita Singadia, Osteopath & Sports Massage Therapist


That feeling of dread, darkness and weight. A pounding of the heart, tension in the gut or tightness in the breathing.

It’s horrible , so why do we have it?

It’s normal

The first point is that it’s a normal reaction to perceived threat that has kept us safe throughout our evolution.

If you are walking down a dark alleyway and hear footsteps behind you it’s appropriate to increase your alertness and readiness.

This system was evolved to be active for a short duration to deploy all our available resources towards staying alive.

However, if we have habitual thoughts of things going wrong then we constantly trigger our defences.

Our very own smoke alarm

Think of your threat sensor (the Amygdala in the brain) like a smoke alarm, any indication of danger (even a passing thought) will set it off.

You can’t say to a smoke alarm “I’m about to make toast, please don’t go off”. The smoke alarm has no choice, it must go off.

So with our Amygdala continually being triggered we gradually become accustomed to living on alert. We may not even realise that our anxiety level is elevated, but there are some clues if this is the case.

What are the clues?

Some people find it impossible to completely relax, some find it hard to sleep, some get regular colds or other illnesses, some feel irritable or intolerant, some find it hard to concentrate. Most feel somehow uncomfortable in their own skin, made worse because there is often no obvious cause.

So what can we do?

Well if you consider that your own imagination is triggering your alert system, it’s rather like your own thoughts are hacking your amygdala.

One option is to hack your amygdala back by using breathing exercises, posture shifts, deliberate positive thoughts, good diet and deliberate self care.

All of these are like an “All Clear” signal to your amygdala.

Another approach is to examine why you might be habitually imagining negative thoughts.

This would be a good project to work on with your psychotherapist.

by Tom Corbishley, Psychotherapist


In recognition of Stress Awareness Month this April, here are a few nutritional strategies to help support your wellbeing:

  • When overwhelm hits, drink water. Taking time to fill a glass with water and have long slow sips may give you a chance to take a few deep breaths and you may notice just how thirsty you were!
  • Keep caffeine for the morning. And stick to one or two caffeinated drinks or less if you are prone to feeling jittery, or try calming green tea. Try decaffeinated alternatives or calming teas such as chamomile, rooibos, rose, lavender, or passionflower.
  • Swap your sugary treats. Refined sugar gives you an instant hit but then leaves you with an energy slump and creates inflammation which can contribute to anxiety and depression.  A couple of squares of 85% dark chocolate may hit the spot and some brands contain alternatives to refined sugar such as coconut nectar.  Other swaps to try include 2-3 dates or apple slices with almond butter, fresh berries with walnuts, or find a recipe for a paleo mugcake online which takes minutes to make.
  • Try cinnamon. If you regularly crave sugar, try adding cinnamon to porridge, smoothies or stews, sprinkle on lattes or drink cinnamon tea to curb your cravings.
  • Get your greens in. Including a broad range of fruits and vegetables of all colours will benefit your health overall, and green leafy vegetables are especially good sources of B vitamins including folate, as well as magnesium and iron which are all needed to support your nervous system.
  • Include plenty of essential fats. Oily fish and flax seed oil are well known sources of omega 3 fatty acids, essential for many bodily processes and vital for nervous system health.  You also need some omega 6 fats best sourced from nuts and seeds, and also omega 9 fat which is found in olive oil.  If you struggle to get 3 portions of oily fish in per week, consider a fish oil to meet your needs.
  • Eat whole grains over refined carbohydrates. As well as providing fibre for better digestion, they are great sources of slow release energy, B vitamins, zinc and magnesium.
  • Test for deficiencies. If you often feel like your moods or energy are below par, you can ask your GP for a blood test to check for any insufficiencies of vital nutrients such as iron, vitamin D and folate.  Ensuring that you are getting plenty of these nutrients in your diet or supplementing if you are deficient may help restore some balance to your health.
  • Consider supplementing B vitamins and magnesium. It is often best to get all your nutrients through consuming whole food but if you’re eating all the right foods and still have high stress levels or bouts of anxiety, you may have a higher requirement for B vitamins and magnesium.
  • Mind the alcohol. If you are holding out for a glass or three of wine or beer most evenings, then you are not alone!  Like sugar however, alcohol has an immediate relaxing effect for us but also depletes our bodies of hydration and nutrients such as zinc and B vitamins.  It reduces our sleep quality and leaves us fatigued and ill equipped to cope with the challenges of the following day, causing a vicious cycle.  Try keeping alcohol for once or twice a week in moderation and try some other relaxing strategies such as gentle yoga, meditation, reading, taking a bath, massage or a hobby such as colouring.

Victoria Bell is a CNM qualified Registered Nutritional Therapist. Find her on facebook at Victoria Bell Nutrition or at  To book an appointment with her call 07873 121616 or email

Victoria Bell, Nutritional Therapist


Summer is just round the corner and may of us have started dreaming of getting fit for the beach or just being more confident in our skin.  So why not take up an easy sport…running.  How hard could it be?  Just dust off those trainers and get out into the fresh air. 

Now some of us will have registered for the London Marathon on April 28 2019 or perhaps the 6 hour Ricky Races in Rickmansworth on 25 April 2019 or you may want to start more gently with the 5km Watford Colour Run on 19 May 2019. A Marathon is an event where participants undergo rigorous training in order to undertake the many miles and along your training journey you may have encountered a few hiccups such as achy backs, tight calves and sore feet. However even for short distances, running can make you sore. 

The following is some information regarding the influence your running technique can have on your body.

What type of runner are you?

Toe Runner

  1. Often with toe running your calves can become fatigue due to prolonged muscle  activation causing the muscles to feel tight
  2. Achilles tendonitis can occur if the calf is fatigued as it will be pulling on the achilles tendon
  3. Plantar fasciitis which affect the sole of the foot which can occur if the running shoes are worn down by excessive training
  4. Back pain can occur as a result of having a slightly forward running stance which would lead to the muscles of the back being strained

Heel striker

  1. Shin splints which occur at the front of the lower leg due to the tibialis anterior muscles being overstrained.
  2. Back pain can occur if you run more on your heels because your posture would include a more forward pelvic tilt and the spine would be more back increasing pressure on the joints
  3. Plantar fasciitis can occur with heel strikers too.

There are only a few weeks left before some of these big runs.  So if you are experiencing a few niggles then don’t delay coming to see your Osteopath. Don’t let those niggles get worse and potentially affect your performance on the day or prevent you from taking part altogether.

This is why we aim to be the best Osteopathic Clinic in Hertfordshire.  To make an appointment contact us on 01923 710 424

by Anita Singadia, Osteopath and Sports Massage Therapist


What is Bowel Cancer?

Bowel cancer affects the large bowel, which is made up of the colon and rectum. It develops from pre-cancerous growths, called polyps. However, not all polyps develop into cancer.

How common is bowel cancer?

Bowel Cancer is the fourth most common cancer in the UK. There are 268,000 people in the UK who have been diagnosed with bowel cancer. Those affected are predominantly in men. Almost 42,000 people are diagnosed with bowel cancer every year in the UK.  It more commonly affects people over the age of 50. It can affect anyone of any age but with more than 2,500 new cases occurring in people under age 50. Through earlier diagnosis bowel cancer is treatable.

Risk Factors

There are a number of risk factors that can increase your chance of having bowel cancer, which are:

  • Aged over 50
  • Family history of bowel cancer
  • History of non-cancerous growths (polyps) in your bowel
  • Longstanding inflammatory bowel disease e.g. Crohn’s disease or Ulcerative colitis
  • Type 2 diabetes
  • An unhealthy lifestyle


To spot the signs of bowel cancer, it is essential to be aware of the following:    

  • Rectal bleeding and/ or blood in your stools (dark red or black blood may come from your bowel or stomach)
  • A persistent and unexplained change in bowel habit
  • Unexplained weight loss
  • Extreme tiredness for no obvious reason
  • Persistent abdominal discomfort
  • A feeling that the bowel doesn’t empty completely

Osteopathy and Cancer?[2]

There is no evidence to suggest that osteopathy will help treat or cure cancer. But some people who use osteopathy say it can help to control pain and tension. They also say that it helps them to relax, which improves their overall feeling of health and well being.

For more information about our services contact us at Backstobasics Osteopathy on 01923 710424.

This is why we aim to be the best Osteopaths in Hertfordshire. 

by Anita Singadia, Osteopath & Sports Massage Therapist




We are all essentially creatures of habit. 

Good habits like the superheroes of the world serve us well bring us much support, happiness and progress. Along the way we can pick unhelpful habits too, which turn out to be detrimental, unwanted and like the villains from the movies – we wish to get rid of them!

Smoking is one of those interesting ones.

Yes its Cancer causing impact is widely publicised. Its additional impact is damaging the walls of arteries to the extent that blood does not circulate or reach the tissue.  One of my areas of interest is diabetes and adding smoking to the mix is a super deadly mix. 

So what can we do to change anything.

The first question always is…is a change desired? If change is not wanted then the likelihood of anything happening is pretty slim.

When we look at the issue in more detail asking questions like why someone started smoking in the first place or what do they now gain from smoking, there is always much more to it than meets the eye.

NLP has some really artful ways to help look at the finer components that make up this or any other habit. Using a variety of techniques NLP can help to rearrange or eliminate these components to get a different more desired outcome.

So if your habit loop is not working in your favour let’s discuss what we can explore to break it up. 

#change maker #rakhee shah #zapdiabetes #behaviour change #nlp #nonsmokingday at BackstoBasics OSTEO

by Rakhee Shah, NLP Coach


This week from 11 – 17 March 2019 is ‘Nutrition and Hydration Week’.  There are many ways to make sure you meet your daily need for water.  Why not try some of the following:

  • Use a visual reminder by taking a bottle of water with you and putting it in your eyeline or if you’re working at a desk next to your mouse, laptop or device.  To start a new habit, you could invest in a nice water bottle!  Glass or steel bottles are best because they don’t contain plastics but if you choose plastic, look for ones which don’t contain BPAs or phthalates.
  • Add some flavour and enjoy experimenting. As well as the more obvious lemon or lime, you could try adding strawberries, grapefruit, basil, rosemary or mint.  A drop of an essential oil such as orange or lemon extract makes water very refreshing too – look for oils safe for consumption.
  • Herbal teas are great – there are so many different types to try!  Some taste just as nice if you brew then chill them overnight and you can fill a jug with tea and sip throughout the day. Try adding some extra flavours as above or some ice on a warm day.
  • Caffeinated tea and coffee does still count, just aim to stick to one or two and try to drink an extra glass of water for each cup of coffee.
  • Lots of fruits and vegetables have a high water content and have the added bonus of fibre for digestion.  Think of juicy fruits such as oranges, peaches, melon, grapefruit and berries.  Good vegetable choices would be cucumber, celery, lettuce, courgette, tomatoes and peppers.
  • Soups and broths count too! Understandably the more watery versions provide more but generally they are great for hydration.
  • Coconut water is a great source of water and electrolytes but other surprising sources of water include milk, yogurt and nut milks.

Have fun experimenting!

If you would like to know more about Nutritional Therapy and how it may enhance your health, feel free to contact Victoria Bell by phone on 07873 121616 or email or find out more at

by Victoria Bell, Nutritional Therapist


As winter nears the end and the first signs of spring start to pop up all around, it’s natural that our thoughts start to turn towards warmer days.  Only a matter of weeks has passed since the indulgence of the festive season and for many people fending off the winter bugs continues to take its toll.  Meanwhile, messages come from all directions that we need to shed weight for that beach body, drop a dress size or try that detox diet or product.  But it’s worth understanding a few things before you put your body under any regimes designed to lose weight or “detox” quickly.

Detoxification is a natural process that our body goes through every second of our every day.  Our liver is the best known detoxification organ, with our skin, kidneys, lungs and bowels the best known secondary routes for excretion of waste.  But all the time, removal of waste products is occurring within and from every cell of our bodies so it is a never ending job!  Some toxins that we either consume, breathe in, or the body creates as breakdown products are not so easy for our liver and kidneys to make safe to excrete.  Our fat cells have an important role in storing these toxins, sealed away so that they cannot wreak havoc elsewhere.

When large quantities of fat are released quickly due to rapid weight loss, so also can be some of the toxins, now free to cause reactions which can be experienced as symptoms like flu, headaches, muscle aches, skin breakouts and diarrhoea.  And after all the effort put in to lose the weight, sustaining this weight loss is much more challenging than if the weight had been lost at a more gentler rate. It turns out that our bodies are very clever at restoring the set point of our weight by slowing our metabolism down.  Another factor to consider is that loss of water makes a significant contribution to the initial weight loss on the scales.

With all this in mind, there are nevertheless products designed to support the liver and detoxification channels.  When our body has undergone intense stress in the form of inflammatory foods, environmental toxins or even pathogenic stressors such as viruses, fungal, bacterial or parasitic infections, our use of vital nutrients and materials for repair is increased.  In these times we have a higher requirement for the building blocks for repair such as the amino acids found in proteins, and also essential fats, vitamins, minerals, antioxidants and other micronutrients.  Products that truly satisfy these needs (with a few exceptions such as milk thistle) often are not the ones that gain attention as a tool for weight loss and “detox”.  It is recommended to use these products under supervision of your GP and potentially a nutritional therapist.

So what can you do instead?  Firstly, don’t panic and think that you need to overhaul your entire diet and your kitchen overnight.  Little gradual changes may reap big rewards in the longer term and you’re more likely to keep up good habits as you start to feel better as a result.  Also for those who start now, there are plenty of weeks to go before that summer holiday!  Below are some ideas to consider:

  1. Hydrate. With nearly all of my clients, this tends to be top of my list.  By aiming for at least two litres of water a day including herbal teas, you are helping support the natural detox process, especially for your kidneys, skin and bowels.  As an additional plus, your body uses water to metabolise carbohydrates and fats too!
  2. Nourish. See how many different colours of fruit and vegetable you can get into your diet.  Aim for at least 7 a day and if you can manage 10 or more, even better!  All fruits and vegetables offer fibre, water, and a whole host of vitamins and minerals.  But each different colour also contains a range of different characteristic plant chemical compounds which have different benefits for the body such as antioxidant activity, supporting a healthy cardiovascular function and you guessed it – detoxification!  By including daily some leafy greens and vegetables from the brassica family too such as broccoli, cauliflower, kale and Brussels sprouts you are also supplying nutrients which are known to be protective and support healthy removal of waste.
  3. Sustain. By providing your body with a good supply of the macronutrients – carbohydrates, fats and proteins – you will be giving your body the best chance to run itself efficiently.  Favour slow release carbohydrates such as whole grains (whole grain bread and pasta, oats, spelt, millet etc), brown rice, sweet potatoes and quinoa.  These will support energy without sudden peaks and dips during the day.  For fats, use oily fish, avocados, nuts, seeds and good quality oils such as flax, olive, coconut and avocado oil.  These help you feel full for longer and also are needed for countless functions in the body including immunity, cognitive and nerve function and also displace the more harmful trans and refined fats that make cell membranes rigid and unable to perform their functions so easily.  Proteins also help you to feel full, support blood sugar balance and are needed for repair and immunity.  Try good quality unprocessed meats, fish, eggs, beans, pulses, nuts and seeds.
  4. Sleep. Who would guess that doing “nothing” by taking to your bed would do so much for your waist line?  Getting 7-9 hours of good quality sleep each night helps to regulate your appetite, blood sugar control and even contributes to better food choices as being overtired often makes us reach for the sugary or caffeinated foods that are likely to give us the quick fix we need in the moment.  Adequate sleep also boosts immunity, your moods, memory and concentration.  Try keeping caffeine for earlier in the day and adopt a gentle wind down routine, avoiding screens, alcohol and sugar too close to bed time.  You could even treat yourself by adding some new accessories to make your bedroom a calm and inviting space or perhaps some comfy pjs, slippers, an eye mask or an evening foot bath or face mask!
  5. Move. You don’t need to commit to a punishing routine of high intensity workouts and hours of cardio a week (unless you want to!).  You are most like to stick to the activities that you enjoy.  Getting out into the fresh air early in the day also helps to regulate your sleep cycle and so will also improve your sleep.  Any activity is a great start, enlist a friend to join you or seek out local classes where you might meet people.  Go for variety and see what works for you.  Even a few minutes of gentle stretching before bed will make you feel good.
  6. Experiment. Try mixing up your routine with some new teas, recipes or trying new types of fruits and vegetables.  Dandelion and nettle teas are great for cleansing, green tea and chamomile help you stay focussed and calm while verbena, passionflower, oat flower and lime flower are great for sleep.  There are so many delicious teas out there to try and if you add two or three in a day, it may help you to lower your caffeine intake.
  7. Supplement.  But only if you feel the need.  You may wish to consider an all round multivitamin if you know that you have plenty to work on with your diet.  If you feel like you need some support for your liver, skin and digestion, you could try milk thistle in a tincture or tablet form, or even a tea.  Chlorella and spirulina are also great additions to help support detoxification and can be added in food form to smoothies and soups or taken in tablet form if you don’t enjoy the taste.
  8. Be mindful. Now is a great time to try new things and if you haven’t tried mindfulness or meditation yet, it’s never too late to give it a go!  And there are numerous other ways to explore how your mind works and if there are mental blockages getting in the way of a more balanced lifestyle.  As well as yoga, tai chi and qi gong, there are talking therapies to consider such as counselling, CBT, psychotherapy and NLP.  Any little steps you can take towards clearer thinking and calmness will do wonders for your health.

These are just a few of so many different measures that you could try to look after yourself. If you were to try one or two of these approaches each week, you will be well on the way to better habits and a healthier way of life.  See what works for you and enjoy the opportunity to try new things!

To find out more go to or contact Victoria Bell at to discuss personalised nutritional therapy sessions.

by Victoria Bell, Nutritional Therapist


March is Ovarian Cancer Awareness Month. Did you know that it is the fifth most common cancer in women. Approximately 7,000 new cases are diagnosed in the UK each year.

Well what is the function of ovaries?

Put simply, it is:

  1. to produce and store eggs for reproduction
  2. to produce hormones oestrogen and progesterone

There are 3 types of ovarian cancer: epithelial, germ cell and sex- cord stromal

Approximately 90% of Ovarian Cancer tumours are epithelial, which are commonly occurring in women between ages of 40 and 60.

What are the stages and grades of Ovarian Cancer?

The stages represent how far the cancer has spread inside the body. They are as follows:  

  1. The cancer is contained within one or both of the ovaries.
  2. Cancer is found outside the ovary or ovaries
  3. Ovarian Cancer has spread to both ovaries and spread past pelvis but not the liver or lymph nodes
  4. Cancer has spread to the liver, lungs and brain

So what are the signs and symptoms of Ovarian Cancer?  Look out for:

  • Persistent stomach pain
  • Persistent bloating
  • Difficulty eating or feeling full quickly
  • Needing to urinate more frequently
  • Changes to bowel habits (e.g. diarrhoea or constipation)
  • Extreme fatigue
  • Back pain

The symptoms of Ovarian Cancer are distinct because they are:

  • Persistent – the symptoms don’t go away
  • Frequent (you get them for more than 12 days a month)
  • Getting progressively worse
  • New (they started in the last 12 months)
  • Unusual (not normal for you)

There can also be a risk of developing Ovarian Cancer in the following circumstances:

  • Family history – you may have inherited a faulty gene (BRCA1 or BRCA2)
  • If ovarian, colon, bowel or stomach cancer are in your family
  • You are over 50
  • Endometriosis
  • Using oestrogen-only hormone replacement therapy
  • Smoking
  • Long menstrual history
  • Starting period before 12
  • Having first child after 30
  • Not having any children
  • Not breast feeding

While Osteopathic care is not a cure or treatment for cancer, it may help with symptoms you may be having such as pain or restricted movement[1].  For more information about our services contact us at Backstobasics Osteopathy on 01923 710424.

This is why we aim to be the best Osteopaths in Hertfordshire. 

by Anita Singadia, Osteopath & Sports Massage Therapist


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