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Information last updated : 04-Jul-2020 //
The Coronavirus pandemic has brought about many changes to people's lives, some of which will have long term consequences to how we all live. Some individuals and families have been hit very hard and others not at all, some people have been working and some not, leading us to live in a set of parallel worlds with very different realities. This altered reality is also likely to be with us in one form or another for at least until well into 2021. So it is very likely that the eventual "normal" will not be the normal we currently know. We all have to adapt to circumstances, and cannot really wait until everything is known and familiar again.
I intend to do my best to continue to provide help and support throughout this period of transition (and beyond) to whoever needs it, and to apply appropriate measures to ensure your safety so far as possible.
As allowed under the current government guidelines I intend to re-start my therapy practice at Complementary Health Care Centre (Norwich) on (guess a date) and Rowan House (Hethersett) on (guess a date).
I am able to provide a useful service in one-to-one sessions via Zoom or Skype, and I recommend that you seriously consider this as an option. These hands-off treatments are based on state-of-the-art research into the evolution of the human nervous system. They are particularly effective in helping central sensitisation and other kinds of chronic pain, anxiety, hyperarousal and trauma/PTSD, and a surprising number of other (apparently) physical problems include many kinds of pain. Although some hands-on work may also eventually be required, these online sessions can for some people make a big difference, and are available to anyone who has access to a computer, smartphone or iPad. Please contact me if any of these might possibly apply, or see the information on resilience workshops and one-to-one online treatment sessions..
The term "social distancing" has been quite destructive, because it has led to widespread isolation and mental health problems. A better way to think of it is "physical distancing". Fortunately we are now being allowed to come together in small social "bubbles" so that close contact with a small number of people is possible again. Of course, if you come for treatment, I am not in your close social bubble. However, it would appear that most people have been infected with no symptoms. Therefore, so long as you do not fall into a specific risk group, the virus is for the vast majority of people not dangerous, and does not cause illness, and your best personal defence is maintaining a healthy immune system.
The available data also suggests that any close proximity in a vehicle or (non-sterile) room for more than 10 minutes results in a very high (>80%) likelihood of transmission of any virus, regardless of whether you might be wearing a paper filtering mask or protective gear, or not. Simply, viruses are so small that they go everywhere. However, it is also clear that much of the viral load transmits in small water droplets from the mouth, so a mask does reduce the total viral load transmitted to other people, even if it does not completely stop the spread of virus. Studies of infection transmission in China put mask wearing at the bottom of the list of effective measures, and non-contact/physical distancing at the top of the list. A good overall summary of transmission research is to be found here (Docjon.org).
The advice that has been given by the government and in newspapers on preventing spread of coronavirus has tended to focus ONLY on the coronavirus and not on other health aspects. This narrow focus could be one reason why over the months March to June 2020 there have been twice as many (about 33,000) "excess deaths" from non-coronavirus causes as from coronavirus (about 17,000).
How can this be...? The likelihood is that - along with the reduced treatment availability for other illnesses, the measures to prevent coronavirus transmission have caused other illnesses to be more fatal than usual. For instance, wearing a face mask causes buildup of a high viral and bacterial load within the upper respiratory tract - which otherwise would clear itself as you breathe normally. This is probably not an issue if you are healthy, but if you have any kind of respiratory infection, wearing a mask for prolonged periods is not good for your health. Simply, if bacteria are less under control by the immune system, then viruses are more able to cause "opportunistic" infections (and vice versa). I recommend that you generally limit mask-wearing time as far as possible. You can also increase its effectiveness and reduce its negative effects by putting a drop of essential oil on the outside of the mask... Thyme, Tea Tree, Oregano, are particularly antibacterial/antiviral, but Lavender, Rosemary, and Eucalyptus are also of some use. Please do NOT use wood-based alcohols or formaldehyde as mask disinfectants, because these cause inflammation of the mucosa and make you more susceptible to infection.
Similarly, we have an active colony of bacteria on our skin that prevents us being infected by many other dangerous bacteria such as e-coli. Therefore, over-aggressive use of antibiotic/alcohol skin washes and over-frequent hand washing compromise the skin's immunity and therefore the whole immune system of the body. We did not evolve to wash our hands, and the hand washing used in hospitals is principally required to clear bacteria that propagate on dead flesh - such as streptococcus. This might all sound very contradictory, but nevertheless some measures are clearly of some (though limited) use.
The general fear that has been whipped up about cross-contamination is also almost more of a problem than the virus itself. Fear also inhibits the part of the immune system that deals with infections, making viruses and bacteria more dangerous. We naturally have an ecosystem of bacteria, viruses and other micro-organisms that live on and inside the body, which we have evolved to live with for a few hundred million years. These are usually not only stable (i.e we don't get ill), but also actively contribute to our health, and form a vital part of the immune system and digestive system. Viruses also transfer DNA and assist evolution - and without this viral transfer we would not (for instance) have developed a human brain. About 1/3 of our DNA originates from viruses. So really, a lot more attention should be placed on how to improve immune systems and less emphasis should be given to a fear of things that we can't see and that are essentially so small they are unstoppable.
Having said all that, there is clear evidence from trials that hand washing and masks used in combination substantially reduce the transmission rate of infections in general - not because they stop transfer altogether, but because they reduce the total load of transfer. Which again logically suggests that your immune system is an important factor, masks or no masks, washing or no washing. A stronger immune system is naturally capable of dealing with a higher viral load.
Firstly I wish to apologise for the complexity of all this. I will do my best to reduce your need to get involved with safety precautions. However, there are several ways that you an help us to keep the clinic space as safe as possible for everyone - and your cooperation is greatly appreciated.
If you receive bodywork of any kind (i.e. close prolonged contact - usually table time is between 20 and 50 minutes) means that normal physical distancing rules do not apply. If the coronavirus is in/on my body, you are fairly likely to have it passed onto (at least) your clothes, and if the coronavirus is in/on your body then the same applies to me. If you are comfortable with that fact - i.e. the need for physical help is greater than your feeling of being at risk from Coronavirus infection - then you should probably come and have some treatment. In addition, the clinics I work from are not hospitals, and have not been designed to minimise infection transmission. They have carpets, wood and plastic surfaces, and although some cleansing of touched surfaces will help, anyone entering who is infected will still have a viral load on their clothes, their hair, their sweat - that will transfer to other surfaces that cannot be cleaned. In fact the most useful measure than can be taken in a non-sterile building is to keep the windows open. Similarly, being outdoors is far safer than staying indoors.
The standard precautions I will be adopting in the clinic will therefore (subject to mandatory guidelines from my professional body, and any current Government rulings) acknowledge these compromises, but also attempt to steer some path through them that maximises safety for us both, including helping to maintain the health of both our immune systems. :
IMPORTANT! :: If you (or anyone you are in regular contact with) has had a raised temperature or a persistent cough in the past two weeks, you should be self-distancing. Although hands-on treatment would probably help, in fairness to other users of the clinic you should not come for hands-on treatment until the self-distancing period (2 weeks after cessation of symptoms) has ended.
Furthermore, the following restrictions/variations/conditions will apply to treatments (subject to guidelines from my professional body, and any current Government rulings) :
There are no walk-in treatments available, because the clinics have to follow official distancing guidelines, which involves taking control of how many people can be in a particular room at any one time. For current booking arrangements, please see the Contact page.
Consultations for new patients will be taken by telephone, or Zoom/Skype/FaceTime to reduce contact time. Please see the Contact page for details.
For insurance purposes you will now have to fill in a disclaimer form. I also ask new patients to fill in a GDPR declaration. Ideally these can be printed off in advance, signed and brought to the clinic, and both forms can be accessed here as PDF documents here :
Healthy young people are almost totally unaffected by the Coronavirus, and so treatment of babies and children is safe for them - provided that neither parents or children fall under the vulnerable group classification (see below). Pregnant women are classified as "vulnerable" (see below) and so cannot be treated until at least 1st August 2020.
Unfortunately at the moment I am required to not make physical contact with people who fall into designated vulnerable groups or their carers, who are supposed to be "shielded" until at least 1st August 2020. If you are in this category you will probably have already received an official letter. A simple summary of this is over 70 years old and/or serious underlying health issues affecting the lungs or immune system, and pregnant women. A full list is on the government website. Nevertheless, if you are desperately in need of treatment, the government guidelines allow for you to follow the normal social/physical distancing rules as current at any particular time. There are legal sanctions for anyone who steps outside the official distancing guidelines, so my apologies to anyone who is effectively prohibited from receiving treatment as a result.
In some circumstances, subject to guidelines issued by my professional body, I may also be able to carry out home visits. If you want to take up this option, please contact me for details.
If possible, please use online payments (PayPal or bank transfers) instead of cash. As an experiment, I am going to provide my services "by donation " and see how that goes. Which means that if you can't afford my normal fees, then there is still a possibility of treatment. I am very happy for members of the NHS retirement home and other social care services to take up this offer. Clinic (hands-on) treatments incur substantial room hire and other costs, so sensibly speaking I have to impose to a minimum charge. Home visits take up a lot of time (you can probably add at least an hour to any treatment time) so these are an exception, and I am applying a fixed fee. Treatments are up to 50 minutes in duration :
I will also be running online workshops in the near future. I am also offering some free resources for the duration of the Coronavirus situation.
The lockdown itself (along with other current issues in the world) is causing many people to have mental-emotional difficulties, which may be anything from outbursts of temper and frustration (that affect their companions), anxiety, depression, feelings of hopelessness and lethargy, confusion, and particularly feelings of overwhelm and grief. I can also provide some support for these issues, and train you how to reduce overwhelm/anxiety and how to process many of the other difficult emotions more easily.