Tuesday, 23 September 2014

The Experts. Louise Westra from ESPA Life in Gleneagles.

So I may have mentioned how I fell in love with Gleneagles in my last post. I was there to experience the ESPA Life well-being spa. Whilst there, I met Louise Westra, a naturopath leading the team at Gleneagles. Louise was so passionate and insightful about her work that I asked her to provide some top tips for a healthy life.

When it comes to 'natural' medicine I think I fall somewhere in the middle. I take a balanced approach. I took the opportunity to immerse myself in it fully when I was at Gleneagles, which was brilliant and entirely appropriate, but my children are vaccinated, I take pain medication for my back and would not try to heal cancer with acupuncture (OK I'm exaggerating, but you get my drift). Whichever side of the coin you land on, a restful break focusing solely on you and your desire to regenerate is never a bad thing. 

Top 10 ‘tips’ for the creation of real health

1. Eat proper food NOT man-made chemical compounds masquerading as food. Obviously fruit & veg should be the foundation but if you want a doughnut (or something similar) once in a while then eat one made of flour, sugar, milk, butter & eggs & NOT a hideously pro-inflammatory cocktail of 35 different ingredients (I kid you not!).
2. Ladies, if you have symptoms you have to ‘manage’ around your hormones this is your body telling you it needs help to rebalance itself & often things can be improved quite easily with the right support from a CAM* practitioner (like me). A good example is a client who consulted me in Feb this year after 10 years of ‘menopausal insomnia’ & a longer history of common hormonal issues. By the end of May she was sleeping ‘really, really well’ (her words not mine), as well as having seen improvements in her mood & digestive function.
3. Gorgeous pregnant ladies, you should be ‘glowing’ with the miracle your body is in the process of performing.  Swollen ankles, cramping legs, blood sugar issues, indigestion, constipation, nausea, itchiness, haemorrhoids are all often entirely avoidable & certainly eminently treatable with food based supplements from a qualified CAM* practitioner.
4. Look after your channels of elimination: skin, lungs, kidneys, bowel & their best friends the liver & lymph. Use (non-exhaustive list!) dry skin brushing, saunas, lymphacising (possibly not a real word but basically trampolining for grown-ups), colon hydrotherapy, keep hydrated & breathe….
5. Nourish your body with specific therapeutic foods. People used to take measures through the year to support their organs, for instance, after the deprivations of Winter, herbs such as Nettles would be collected & consumed for their nutritional density. Use real herbal teas & let them steep right down so the organic compounds enrich the water & then you.
6. In the event of a cold or cough do NOT suppress mucous. Yes, I know it’s gross but ‘better out than in’ definitely applies. Please don’t confuse this to think that I am saying you shouldn't be as comfortable as possible throughout this process and this can be achieved using a recipe such as my ‘Kick-a-germ juice’ which includes the culinary heroes garlic, chilli, ginger & fenugreek.  (Happy to provide to anyone who wants it).  For more stubborn &/or colourful phlegm nutrients such as N-Acetyl Cysteine, Potassium chloride & sulphate as well as selected herbs often ease symptoms & facilitate the removal process.
7. It’s not glamorous or sexy (come to think of it, none of these suggestions are!) but as Naturopaths we’re taught that great health starts with great digestion. So chew, chew, chew & then chew some more because the ‘stomach has no teeth’.
8. In the spirit of mutual humanity be mindful of what you say to & about others. Apply the ‘3 sieve policy before repeating anything you hear: Is it true?  Is it kind? Is it necessary?  Don’t be a gossip…it hurts you too.
9. We’re all so busy striving to ‘have it all’, break through glass ceilings (possibly dangerous & certainly painful), juggling the balance between  all the myriad aspects of life that sometimes we just need to STOP & take time to be consciously grateful for everything we do have rather than focusing on the things we want. Gratitude journals are great for this. If you haven’t done this before just literally stop & think about what you are grateful for…simples.
10. To my knowledge there has been no scientific research to-date on how much laughter is actually beneficial for us. However in this case I would say the more the merrier (unlike the doughnuts I mentioned at the beginning). No, really…Laugh it up, big time.

*Complementary & Alternative Medicine

Huge thanks to Louise and the team at Gleneagles. For more information on the ESPA Life experience look here: www.gleneagles.com/spa/espa-life

I was a guest of Gleneagles and ESPA, but I would SO go back. I'm thinking wedding anniversary in December. *hint hint Mr H*


  1. These are just amazing! I follow some of these tips and they changed my life so much! I think the 1st and 4th should be a must for anyone who wants to be healthy and happy.

  2. Kick-a-germ juice sounds like something that my family needs right now! Could the recipe be shared? Great, common-sense advice.

  3. Hi Caroline, really enjoyed this. Now I also have a totally unrelated question I've been meaning to ask you.....you have mentioned a few times that you have hereditary dark circles but I see no sign of them and having met you I know that you are even more gorgeous and glowy in the flesh with not a hint of a dark circle so my question is......what under-eye concealer do you use? X

  4. I wish that the "right support" from CAM practitioner was easier to come by.... so many out there that don't help at all. :( I'm bookmarking Gleneagles for the future...

  5. great post! any good CAM practitioners Louise can recommend in Bristol?

  6. Caroline I am writing because I actually tweeted this and then realized you don't answer skincare related things on twitter. My nose sweats my moisturiser off all the time. I do not know what to do? I have sensitive/t zone oily/dry skin.

    Thanks!You are the bomb. I now use flannels or washcloths(in the USA)to take my cleanser off. I have taken a lot of your advice from the cheat sheets thank you!!!

  7. Great tips! Thanks so much for sharing. Might pop back and see my naturopath again- you have inspired me!

  8. Great tips, especially that first one. It's one I really try to follow as well as I can.

  9. I love that she included tips for LIFE in general! Love all of these. I, like you Caroline, fall somewhere in the middle. I love learning more about CAM though, especially since I became a nurse in the States (very eye-opening to say the least...)

  10. It’s best to heal yourself from the inside out. If you nourish your body with healthy food and keep yourself active, it will definitely reflect on the outside. You’ll look younger, you’ll look healthier and you’ll look more radiant.

  11. Please can you provide your kick-a-germ juice recipe? I've a terrible autumn cold and am using up a lot of trees blowing my nose non stop. My dog is trying to lick me better urrrrgghhh. Help! Herman-snotty-pants.x


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