Tag Archives: wellbeing

Hairfall Madam?

I look back a bit in disbelief. I know that ‘hair fall’ here means hair loss, that much I have cleverly deduced from products and adverts I’ve seen around. And I know it’s not taken lightly. But although the therpist has come away with both hands full of hair having combed through my thick, frizzy mane using oil and her fingers, I am not worried.

I haven’t brushed my hair today. If I had, all that hair would be on the brush. That’s all thats happening here. That’s why we don’t use our fingers to brush our hair.

“Have you told the doctor about your hair fall?”

Clearly she thinks I have a problem. “Err no, I just thought it was normal”, I laugh. How naive of me. Despite the therapists’ concern I’m not really phased by all this. Instead it’s a little bit exciting. Finally I have something wrong with me other than the niggling back ‘pain’ that got a lot better the minute I stopped my Ashtanga yoga practise. However, now I feel I have a legitimate reason to be here – I’m in a hospital after all. This proves that I am not a self-indulgent lay about under the guise of self-improvement who essentially just likes massages. Even if my problem is aesthetically based.

“Did here used to be more hair before?”

“I don’t think so but I had been thinking my forehead is looking bigger these days, now you mention it, maybe my hair is receding.” Oh no, I knew I took after my dad. I have a genetic disorder. This is getting to be quite serious. Ok maybe a bit dramatic, but this is the most exciting thing to happen yet today so I’m running with it…Do I have bald patches? No, I’m sure I don’t. My hair was definitely thicker when I was younger but I always put that down to it being frizzier and to stupidly brushing it when it was dry; a big mistake that I think I got away with in the nineties and learned to stop by the time I had a social life.

“Ok I will tell the doctor and maybe he can suggest some herbs and oils.”

Ok good. I have a well experienced doctor on the case of my hair. I am in safe hands.

I then proceed to lie down for my Shirodhara treatment. Here is a rough photo of the set up as I was rushing before the therapist came back:

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Your head is positioned under the clay bowl through which the liquid pours and is collected again in a bowl which it runs into. I have had this done with oil once before in London but this is my first experience of it here in India and this time they will be using butter milk as it’s more cooling and they have caught me walking about in a sticky mess, dripping from the humidity.

“Try to relax by thinking about your breathe or about thoughts that you find relaxing or you can pray”.

Praying sounds like a nice option and for a minute I wish I knew some Hindi prayers as I’m not sure why but the prayers I know from my Christian upbringing always make me feel a little anxious. However I don’t pray, I can relax easily. T’his is going to be fine. I know the other female patient hated it but my lasting memory of my only other experience of this was of just drifting off and coming to about an hour later wondering where I’d been. It is a bit different here as there’s no background chanting music and the lighting is quite bright but I close my eyes and it begins.

The butter milk starts flowing across my forehead, back and forth rhythmically, over and over again, getting topped up by warmer liquid so there’s a constant stream of buttery goodness stroking my forehead. It’s nice. It smells delicious and I’m now really thankful for the two coconut cookies I sneakily ate earlier because otherwise, considering the sugar cravings I’ve been having, this would have been torture. It’s like my head’s a cake bowl and they are pouring in the yummy butter mixture.

Every now and then the therapist rubs it into my scalp which feels nice and gradually I feel myself float away. I think I’m sleeping but then again I might just be having strange dreams whilst still awake. I’m not sure but the time just escapes me and I come to after what must have been about 30 mins. Suddenly I’m not feeling relaxed but I really what to dodge the buttermilk and move my head into a more comfortable position. It’s like being in a hairdresser’s sink – there’s only so long you can stand it before the back of your head and neck hurt. Next time I will pay more attention to my position.

Thankfully we were coming to the end, just in the nick of time. As with previous treatments, the therapist then washed my hair, using my Garnier Fructis shampoo which I had been really embarrassed about before due to it’s artificial smell and chemical content, but was now thankful of because the buttermilk, having been churned over my head now smelt like off milk or cheese. After drying my scalp she dabs some brown powder onto my crown. It’s called Rasnadi Chooznam from what I can make out on the label and is used to help prevent colds and infections.

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After she leaves I suddenly remember a natural, Ayurvedic hair conditioner pack I had bought. The description makes it sound like it was designed for me-it strengthens the roots and helps prevent ‘hair fall’. Not knowing how to use it, I pour some of the powder in a dish and add some water as I’ve seen them do previously with the powder they use to wash the oil off me. I apply this to my now almost dry hair and it goes in like grainy powder would do on drying hair; not well. I try to wash it out but grains kind of spray everywhere and it has clearly clumped into my scalp. Now sitting here writing this as greeny brown gravy stock granules fall over my screen and stick to my shoulders, my paranoia about hair loss seems insignificant to the mess I’ve made. With our limited communication I dread explaining this one to the therapist – green dandruff is only going to convince them more of my need to be here. I feel like a teenager who’s dyed her hair, the bath and all the family towels green.

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I know hair loss is a serious issue and if I was worried about it I wouldn’t be taking it lightly. I don’t consider myself to have anxiety but I can, like everyone at times, be a bit anxious. When this happens I nervously scratch/massage/pick at (whatever you want to call it) my scalp. My other half and I conclude than rather than relying on the green powder I will endeavour to stop this bad habit; it drives him nuts. I mention my hair condition to the doctor who dismisses it instantly saying the oils used are good for the scalp; clearly he has bigger fish to fry. And when lunch arrives I quickly forget about my locks or lack of and all is well again. ūüôā

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Day 5: Feeling Alive

Today I feel really positive. ¬†I am over my temporary downer from the previous day and slight insanity and I have feeling in full flow of the week’s juice cleanse. ¬†I think I’m in the routine of it now and I don’t feel hungry or tempted to eat. ¬†Bacon smells seem to waft everywhere I go, following me around but I have decided that I will try to be veggie after this so I am happy for the people tucking into their bacon sarnies but I won’t be joining them.

So far the juicing has not turbo charged my life – I am no stealth ninja acrobat – but it has helped to curb my night owl bad habit and I’m generally feeling calmer and more content as if I’ve just had a camomile tea every minute. I’m not as cold either these past two days and although I can’t say I have amazing clarity of mind, I have moments when I feel the fog has lifted. ¬†I love feeling lighter inside but not hungry. ¬†The sky is blue and it’s a lovely morning.

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So I jump out of bed for my morning’s juice scavenge. ¬†Well more just driving across town to pick it up. ¬†Oooh juice lovely juice. I am not fed up with it yet and I enjoy my first of the day in the car. ¬†Another benefit I have noticed is that my skin¬†feels great and unless I am thinking wishfully, my forehead seems smoother and almost ‘younger’ looking. ¬†This could be the combined effect of feeling more relaxed and possibly better quality of sleep although now I regret not monitoring this throughout with one of those sleep apps.

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Afterwards I head for a swim, jacuzzi and steam at the gym. ¬†Ironically and probably like most people, now that I have quit my gym membership and have only a couple of weeks left of it, I have started to actually use it. ¬†Feeling refreshed, I then have a lovely 2 hour Slavic massage treatment planned. ¬†I think steams, saunas and massages are fab ways to complement a detox and I’m excited about this massage as I’ve never had it before.

This was a therapy fuelled day for me both in receiving and giving treatments. ¬†As a therapist, I am lucky from time to time to do swaps with other therapists and this is one of those times. ¬†Slavic massage is a long flowing massage which is extremely relaxing – probably one of the most de-stressing treatments I have ever had. ¬†You don’t wear anything while on the massage couch but you are draped from the waist down with a sheet. I start by lying on my front and the therapist dripped warm oil over me – this is a first for me and after a while I get over thoughts like ‘this feels a bit messy’ and ‘ I hope it’s not spilling and dripping everywhere’ to thinking ‘this feels really therapeutic’.

Flowing and rhythmical strokes are used from the top of one arm stretched over head, down to the bottom of my foot. Two hours is the perfect length for a massage as you get a balanced full body treatment and massage to the tummy is included which is often missed out in shorter treatments. I really don’t know how I’m going to get up at the end, I could just lie there and drift away.

However, after that it is my turn to do the treatments and I fuel up on some more juice before I give 4 clients massage treatments that afternoon.  I am all prepared with a sneaky juice jar and a straw ready for in between clients. I have learnt that going longer than an hour without some juice is not fun.

Finally after a lovely clinic, it’s home time. ¬†I take my final jar of juice, a green one, to bed and work my way through it. ¬†It’s quite late but I feel like drinking it all. Tonight though I am freezing again – so frustrating as I thought I had acclimatised to the arctic conditions of juicing. ¬†I go to bed with 3 tops, one jumper, a dressing gown, a scarf, a hot water bottle, a duvet and a blanket and still feel chilly. ¬†Maybe drinking cold juice before bed is a bad idea. ¬†Turning over I am ready to sleep though and really happy to have made it through 5 days!

So far juicing has taught me that getting up in the mornings isn’t so bad and also to be a bit more organised with what I eat. Oh and that I would like another Slavic massage!

Day 4: Green Drinking Grumpy Chops

At school I used to be very grumpy. ¬†I’m not a ‘morning person’ and I would be prickly with anyone who tried to talk to me before midday. ¬†Come lunchtime, I would perk up considerably a become friends with me friends again – lucky that they were lovely enough to stay my friends! Anyways this terrible moodiness returned to me today and followed my feelings of being a lost teenager from the previous evening.

Anyways it’s a bit like groundhog day on a juice cleanse if like me your day revolves around getting and drinking. ¬†I had a similiar night’s sleep as the one before – weirdly waking at 1am, then 4am then before my alarm. ¬†I can always get back to sleep again but I don’t normally have such disturbed sleep especially when it’s just randomly waking up. ¬†I start the day still feeling very angry and emotional about the day before. ¬†

Yesterday involved selling my share of my business after a very difficult process and a less than satisfactory outcome and then an argument with my husband who is currently across the other side of the world.  This morning I have bags left over from tears the night before and an inadequate sleep. Other people in the juice cleanse group are talking about energy boosts.  This I long for but have not experienced. 

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I decide to go for a green juice for breakfast to get it out the way first as it’s my least favourite colour. ¬†Let’s just say although they are all delicious, the green one tastes the most ‘healthy and clean’. I think this one has courgette in and here’s where you can find some of the health benefits. ¬†I may be mistaken but my skin feels better – it’s not as dry and the skin tone is more even. ¬†Possibly the purple cabbage?

I park my car and see that I have a missed Skype call from my other half so I give him a ring back and for some reason I end up crying – nothing to do with him, I am just angry from the business meeting the day before and struggling to make peace with it. ¬†I can’t remember the last time I cried or was this emotionally wobbly but I assume it has nothing to do with the juice cleanse. The book I read focussed on the benefits and the physical side of things, although I didn’t read it page for page.

I get into work and give in to the urge to send out prickly ‘keep you’re distance’ vibes. ¬†A bit like Lucy Liu’s character in Ally McBeal who used to growl at her. ¬†Now, up until now no one at work has asked any questions about my containers in the fridge or my newly acquired juice habit. ¬†But today 3 different colleagues ask ‘what on earth is that?!’. ¬†

‘A vat of juice!’ I reply from gritted teeth. ¬†I am really not feeling myself today and I am being outwardly unfriendly. This is followed by a ridiculously immature fall out with my husband via Whatsapp about something that really shouldn’t be an issue for me. I must just be grumpy and needing support due to the business situation, I try to convince myself. ¬†But an email from a yoga teacher who coaches people through ‘Juice Feasts’ and who for the past 7 years has only eaten a raw food diet,¬†Susan Reynolds,¬†told me that it is often the emotional reactions to juice feasts that surprise most people the most rather than the physical side. ¬†As I said, it’s not the biggest physical challenge ever. Susan¬†offers health consultations as well as juicing support and says that it¬†is the emotional stuff that she coaches people through the most. ¬†It is with Susan that I will be taking part in a week long yoga retreat in Costa Rica.

This is a comfort and once I can see that I really had no argument, no real issue and was just grumpy, I say sorry to those who I was grumpy at and feel a lot better, perhaps the 2 are linked and I’m not losing it…I really feel that some yoga will be very beneficial as well especially as yesterday I didn’t do any exercise. ¬†Don’t get me wrong, I don’t exercise daily by any means but I think you need a bit of an endorphin boost to replace the warm and fuzzy feeling that a latte or a warm meal would give you. ¬†I think that as I’m not tempted to stray from the juice path and don’t seem to have any cravings or withdrawals so to speak of, that it is convincing me that I could continue this. ¬†I wonder if I could go a bit longer myself. Or even just replace a meal with a juice for the next week or so.

I don’t need caffeine. ¬†If I really fancy a latte after this I could have one but I could also easily not.

I don’t need that bacon. ¬†I am seriously considering being a vegetarian after this.

I do need to eat healthy and try to continue juicing.  I am going to try to incorporate 3 day cleanses into my life each month.  

Day 4 and I’m warming up again, running to the loo less emphatically and feeling in the swing of it. ¬†I think that it has taken 3 days for any kind of cleanse to take place and now it’s a case of my body balancing back out.

I have decided to take this week easy as I ease into post Christmas exercise, so I have signed up to a beginner’s class to revisit the basics and make sure I have got the foundations on a good level as a good starting point to really focussing on ashtanga yoga this year. The aim of this class is to get you to a confident enough stage so that you can take part in Mysore self-practice classes. ¬†I’ve been to a couple of these but I’m not very confident¬†with the sequence of asanas yet.¬† As it happens this teacher is starting this course slowly going right back to basics which is fine but I don’t do much of a work out. ¬†I am feeling a lot calmer though and am grateful for the practice.

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¬†I have had my spoonful of honey in my herbal tea for the past couple of nights. ¬†Honey’s medicinal so it can’t affect things too much I think and it’s just so lovely to have a different texture on my tongue. ¬†Also every night I get home and look forward to an early night in bed. ¬†This doesn’t really happen but instead I am going to sleep at a more normal time than I did before which would be anything from 12am-2am. ¬†Now I’m usually in bed by 11pm and feeling ready and content to sleep. ¬†This is a nice change as before I would become awake again at night and try to fit in as much as I could before bed. ¬†Maybe juicing will help me beat this bad habit and turn me from being a night owl zombie to a normal person at bedtime and in the mornings which would be great.

Lesson Learnt today: Doing a Juice Cleanse can be an emotional detox too!