Could your belly button be the energiser you need?

  • How a simple exercise can fire you up for the day
  • A different idea for Alzheimer’s
  • How to avoid the mental strain of social distancing

I don’t know if this is a sign of things to come…

But I’ve been staring blankly at the screen for the past hour trying to get today’s letter started.

Maybe it’s because I feel trapped in the house (thanks coronavirus!) or it could be writers block but something is definitely amiss.

Lara’s even hoovered round me like I’m a piece of old furniture.

‘Maybe you should just take me to the junk shop down the road,’ I said, ‘You might get a fiver for me.’

‘Yes,’ she agreed, ‘but that’s only because you have £4.50 in your pocket.’

Hmm, that woman certainly knows how to kick a man when he is down…

…Anyway, to kick start my brain, I’ve just followed an exercise I found on the Internet to help ‘switch on’:

Why pressing your belly button could fire you up

Stretch one of your hands so that there is as wide a space as possible between the thumb and index finger.

Place your left index and thumb into the indentations below the right collarbone.

At the same time place your other hand over your belly button. Gently press on these points for about 2 minutes.

That should get the blood flow moving and your concentration up.

So, with a fresh spring in my fingers, let’s take a look at one of the most upsetting illnesses around, and let’s see what we can do about it.

Because one thing’s for sure…

If we just leave it to the authorities to sort out, we could be waiting a very long time indeed…

Queuing round the block for the ‘memory clinic’

It is a topic close to my heart because of my Dad, but I despair at how those with any form of dementia are treated in the UK.

I know that right now our valiant NHS has a whole lot more on its plate to cope with, but the situation for this patient group has been in terminal decline for a decade or more.

It’s a subject I have written and ranted about before.

Well I’m back there again, bemoaning the state of Alzheimer’s treatments.

Here’s the terrible situation we’re facing…

According to the Alzheimer’s Society, dementia currently affects over 750,000 people in the UK.

Approximately 18,000 people with dementia are under the age of 65.

After that age, the problem starts to accelerate.

Dementia affects one person in 20 over the age of 65 and one person in five over the age of 80.

But here’s the real knockout fact…

Patients newly diagnosed with Alzheimer’s have to wait up to five months for an appointment at something called a ‘memory clinic’.

Then, and only then, can you obtain a prescription for Alzheimer’s drugs, once your condition has been confirmed.

Now, five months seems an awfully long time to wait for ANYTHING.

But for families who have to see a parent, partner or grandparent get progressively worse, five months must seem like an eternity.

So I’ve done a bit of research of my own, and have hit upon a substance that might provide a powerful treatment against this terrible illness…

The ‘potency wood’ that could help stave off Alzheimer’s

Muira puama, also called ‘potency wood’, is a small tree up that grows in the Brazilian Amazon.

For centuries, local tribes have used the bark and roots to treat sexual debility, fatigue, neuromuscular problems, and rheumatism.

And without knowing it, these tribes could have stumbled across a powerful remedy in the fight against Alzheimer’s.

You see, muira puama is rich in free long-chain fatty acids, essential oils, plant sterols, coumarin, lupeol, and a new alkaloid named ‘muirapuamine’.

Because it contains so many substances, it is difficult to pinpoint exactly what is doing what, but something in muira puama seems to block an enzyme known as acetylcholinesterase (why aren’t these names ever short?)

By blocking this enzyme, more acetylcholine is available in the central nervous system, and this means the connections between nerve cells is faster and more wide ranging…and this could well help prevent Alzheimer’s.

Muira puama also has antioxidant properties that protect the brain from damage – so this humble little tree seems to be an all round good guy when it comes to our mental health.

It sounds like this substance warrants further investigation, and I certainly intend to see if I can find a good supplier of high quality extract.

But the problem is that most websites that mention this substance concentrate on the sexual remedy side of its abilities.

So, as always, chat to your doctor before steaming in and accidentally becoming the local lothario!

So to my final topic today…

Can we expect a rise in mild depression due to the COVID-19 protocol?

With so many people following government advice and staying home with their families the prediction is that states of depression will rise.

For instance, I overheard my wife on the phone to a friend yesterday saying;

“If I have to spend two weeks cooped up with Ray then it won’t be the virus that kills him!”

How rude, but I suspect she is not alone in having those kinds of thought.

So I will end today’s letter with some advice for how to keep calm and carry on!

Here are some all-natural, totally SAFE ways to help beat mild depression:

– St John’s Wort has been shown to be a highly effective in the treatment of depression and other mood disorders.

– Passiflora can help reduce irritability, restlessness and anxiety. It acts as a natural tranquilizer, without magnifying the symptoms of depression, which can happen with some herbs like Valerian.

– Skullcap is an odd little substance that keeps the nervous system is good shape. It’s claimed to be effective against serious mental exhaustion, depression, tension and stress. And if you’re finding it hard to sleep, this could also help improve sleep patterns.

– Get your kids eating a diet of 75% raw fruits and vegetables, including whole grains, seeds, nuts, brown rice, legumes and millet. Ignore the moans round the dinner table, and reward them with the occasional treat of chocolate or ice cream.

– Make sure you use cold pressed flax-seed oil (never heated) in your diet. This oil contains essential fatty acids that help the transmission of nerve impulses needed for normal brain function.

– Avoid ‘depressants’ such as sugar, fried foods, meat, caffeine and processed foods.

Now, I say ‘avoid’ and that’s exactly what I mean. You don’t have to cut these things out altogether, just don’t overdo it.

– Keep minds active and find interests that get the body moving and the heart pumping. If you are worried about children now they are off school try and lure them away from the Play Station (so you can have a go!) by taking them out on a ramble or in the case of teenagers take your car to a safe off-road area and teach them the basics of driving… how cool is that?

Getting through the next few weeks and months is going to put a strain on most relationships and family groups, especially if illness strikes.

Money worries just add to this, so finding interesting distractions (like pressing your belly button!) will benefit all of you.