Vitamin B12 – how important is it?

Vitamin B12 is one of many vitamins our bodies need to function correctly. Some of its many uses within the body include enzyme production, DNA synthesis, balancing hormones and stopping adrenal fatigue. B12 is part of the B vitamin family and is a water-soluble vitamin which is excreted from the body quickly and why you need to top up levels regularly.

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A deficiency in B12 is notoriously difficult to diagnose due to its wide reaching use throughout the body and therefore low levels can affect many systems, possibly leading to serious issues. A suspected deficiency in B12 is cause to see a medical professional, however, even without a suspected deficiency, it’s still important to consider if your body is receiving enough of this essential vitamin.

What are the benefits of B12?

1. Encourages healthy skin & hair

Vitamin B12 is a major part of cell reproduction. B12 benefits your skin in so many ways; it reduces redness, inflammation, dryness and spots whilst also supporting healthy hair and nail growth. B12 is not easily digested so to bypass the stomach, you can purchase a B12 transdermal spray which penetrates the skin and goes into your bloodstream in a few seconds. For directly affected areas of skin with conditions such as eczema and psoriasis, you can purchase cream with B12 in which can be very beneficial.

2. Assists with energy

B12 is needed to convert carbohydrates in to glucose (sugar that fuels our bodies) and gives us the energy to live our day-to-day lives without fatiguing. It is also said to have a positive effect on memory and brain function.

3. Aids digestion

Linked closely with increasing energy levels due to its function within the metabolism, B12 also encourages a healthy stomach and aids digestion. It promotes healthy bacteria within the stomach whilst also killing off bad bacteria; this helps to ensure food is digested correctly and the required nutrients are able to be absorbed.

4. Enhances mood

B12 is a well-known mood booster and many studies have found a clear link between low levels of B12 and depression/anxiety disorders. Keeping your B12 levels topped up by eating correctly or taking additional supplements, may help if you’re feeling low.

B12 is predominantly found in animal based products, meaning that vegans are at higher risk of becoming B12 deficient. However many vegan and vegetarian foods contain added vitamins and minerals which should go someway to counteracting the lack of animal-based B12. The highest levels are found in chicken and beef liver but if you don’t fancy that on a regular basis, salmon, herring and mackerel are also excellent sources.

A lack of B12 will usually be visible in your skin. Premature fine lines and wrinkles, dry or patchy skin and pale or red skin, are all key signs that you may need to up your B12 intake.

Niroshini use a set of specific techniques that regulate the immune and organ function and can help support the body’s use of B12. To find out more, please visit our treatment options page here: https://niroshini-acupuncture.com/treatment-options/

Thank you to Lenny K Photography for the use of this photograph.

History of Eyebrows

Have you ever finished your makeup, looked in the mirror and thought “I just don’t look right today”. As beautiful as you all are, you may have been right and the reason, may have been your eyebrows playing up.

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Our eyebrows are a functional feature and like most things in our bodies (bar the appendix, does anyone know what the appendix even does?!) they serve a purpose. Hair on the whole, is designed to keep dirt and sweat out of places it shouldn’t be, in this case – the eyes.

Since records began, eyebrows have been a prominent part of many historical cultures. For example, the earliest recording of eyebrow interest was the Ancient Egyptians who believed makeup had supernatural powers (this I still believe could be true!) and were famous for using a carbon and black oxide substance as the very first liquid eyeliner. A key feature of the Ancient Egyptian look was heavily lined eyes; this meant their eyebrows needed to be as prominent to balance the look.

More recently, eyebrows have been constantly changing and evolving in line with fashion. Each decade of the last one hundred years, has seen vastly different designs from pencil thin, to completely unedited – the brow is the most obvious fashion item everyone owns.

The 1920’s star, Clara Bow, famously shaved off her eyebrows and redrew them in the style of the time – a pencil thin line, slightly longer than the natural brow. The 1940’s were a time of natural brows, Vaseline was used to sculpt brows into a high arc and keep them neat, without any removal or colour added.

Moving to the 1950’s, the end of the war and rationing meant that women had disposable income to spend on makeup. Audrey Hepburn, Marilyn Monroe and Elizabeth Taylor all wore their brows thick, defined and highly arched – this look was achieved by filling in the gaps with colour and plucking brows for neatness, much like we do today.

Hippies and disco divided the look in the 1970’s and this divide carried on for the next few decades. In the disco scene, Diana Ross was completely removing her brows, making space for more disco makeup and creating a whole fashion followed by millions over the next 20 years.

On the flip side, hippies went for the natural look; minimal effort and minimal changes meant brows were thick, thin, barely there or very dark. This look continued through the 80’s and 90’s with Madonna carrying on the natural undefined style. The 90’s grunge scene subsequently adopted this easy-going style. Disco brows were also seen throughout the 80’s and 90’s; pencil thin, an obviously drawn on line and usually very flamboyant. This is the brow that many of us will remember and possibly, if you are emulating the latest look of very thick brows, will still be feeling the effects of.

One person can define the current fashion for brows: Cara Delevigne. The top super model of the moment that has big, bushy brows. Cara’s brows have been copied the world over. The launch of her hugely successful career sparked a return to the Audrey Hepburn era of eyebrows. Big and bold yet defined and tidy.

Now, the tattooed eyebrow is booming – however, like fashion, the look of the eyebrow will forever evolve so permanent for some, may be regretted in years to come…

Brows are most certainly a fashion statement and regardless of if you follow the trends, they are right in the middle of your face so you need to look after them – just like skin and nails.

Some simple tips to follow include:

• Don’t over pluck! Over-plucking for consistent periods of time can lead to brow regrowth being sparse and uneven.
• If you are trying to grow out your brows, try rubbing a drop of olive oil into the sparse areas each day to stimulate hair growth
• If you aren’t confident, it’s always better to have brows professionally shaped. DIY is absolutely fine for tidying up but if you need shaping, it’s much trickier and easy to leave your brows uneven.

Niroshini offer complimentary eyebrow shaping and tinting, if you have 10 sessions of Niroshini Cosmetic Acupuncture or as a stand-alone treatment. Using only natural dyes and ancient sugaring techniques, Niroshini can sculpt the brow you want. If you have been thinking of having your brows shaped, why not give it a go?

Email: info@niroshini.com

The male hormonal cycle

Men, like women, experience hormonal cycles as we all have the same hormones which function the same way. The differences that we see between men and women occur because of the amount, the pattern or the way the hormone interacts with male and female bodies. Albeit not as obvious as the female cycle, there is much evidence from Endocrinologists that hormones play a pivotal role in the day to day and monthly cycles of men, affecting everything from sleep to sex to stress.

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The endocrine system controls the body’s hormones and commands body activity through the hypothalamus and pituitary glands. These glands control by sending out messages to organs like adrenal glands, thyroid, pancreas and for men, testes. The hormones controlled by the Endocrine system in turn control or affect key areas:-

• Cortisol and Epinephrine: stress

Although a little stress is fine, (it would be near impossible to avoid all!) too much stress can keep the level of cortisol raised and your body on high-alert. This consistent elevation affects the metabolic system and tells your body to store fat as an emergency response. To try and balance this out, try to relax, do a little more exercise and drink plenty of water. This may not get rid of the stress-inducing factor but will go some way to encouraging your body to lower the cortisol levels!

• Leptin, CCK, Insulin and Grehlin: weight

The hormone ghrelin tells neurons in your hypothalamus to make you feel hungry and prompt you to eat. Filling the stomach with food, causes it to stretch which then causes your body to release CCK, the hormone for supressing appetite which therefore makes you feel full. At this point, the body begins to metabolise a meal and prompts the release of leptin; a further appetite suppressant.

When you ingest too much sugar the body begins to secrete excess leptin. Although in the correct amount leptin is a suppressant, when disrupted, leptin actually tells the body to send out hunger signals – meaning more is eaten and you put on weight. To combat this, the best thing to do is eat less sugar; try looking at low sugar alternatives or upping the amount of vegetables and low GI fruits you eat instead of carbohydrates. This will encourage weight loss and also benefit your whole body, including your skin!

• Testosterone, LH, FSH: sex

Both men and women have testosterone (and oestrogen), just in different amounts.

One key factor of male hormonal cycles is the frequency. Where women’s are in a monthly cycle, men’s are often erratic; some fluctuate hourly, daily, monthly or even over a period of years. However, there is some regularity with men’s testosterone levels. These tend to rise throughout the night, peak first thing in the morning and level off by lunch time. Interestingly, men’s hormones also cycle throughout the year; studies conducted in the US, France and Australia found that men’s testosterone levels reach their highest in October and are at their lowest in April -with a hefty decline of 22%.

• Thyroxine: energy

The thyroid gland controls your metabolism and your metabolism in turn controls how your body converts calories in to energy. The hypothalamus detects fatigue, this causes the pituitary gland to tell your thyroid to secrete thyroxine. Thyroxine floods through your body, reaching nearly every cell and causes your body temperature to increase along with your heart rate.

We all know how important “having energy” is. There’s a huge array of products, lifestyles and exercises out there that are said to increase energy levels and whilst it’s entirely possible that what you eat, what you do or don’t do and environmental factors can affect energy, there is also the possibility that disruption of your thyroid could be to blame for low energy levels.

If you do suffer with low energy which isn’t medical, one way to combat this is looking after the next hormone, melatonin – the hormone which regulates sleep!

• Melatonin: sleep

Controlled by your pineal gland, melatonin is secreted once the sun goes down and you are in darkness. Melatonin helps you fall asleep and also regulates the circadian rhythm (your body’s personal 24-hour rhythm which tells you when to sleep/wake).

Melatonin production is at its highest in the middle of the night and can be disrupted by low levels of artificial light. For healthy sleep, it is best to have the room in complete darkness and at a relatively low temperature. Many people find that going to sleep at a similar time and sleeping for between seven to nine hours per night allows for the most restful sleep. Good quality sleep will help with energy levels the following day.

The very complicated Endocrine system is designed to support our body’s every day needs whether we are male or female. Just like the rest of your body, your hormones can be looked after by looking after the areas that can be affected. Helpful starting points are eating well, practicing relaxation techniques, exercising regularly, looking after your skin and drinking plenty of water – your hormones will thank you for it!

If you experience stress or lack of sleep, why not try Niroshini’s “Facial Acupuncture” (specifically for health benefits). To find out more, visit: https://niroshini-acupuncture.com/treatment-options/

The Culture of Skincare

What kind of woman likes to look after her skin? How old is she? What colour is her skin? Does she use products to repair the damage done or also take steps to protect her skin from the elements? 

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The answer: “she” is everyone and anyone, “she” is someone who chooses to look after her skin in any way she feels best for her and “she” could also be “he” as of course, many men also love to look after their skin.

Many of us know that looking after your skin on a daily, weekly and monthly basis is worthwhile but what about preventative measures? An obvious element to protect yourself from is the sun. In this respect, all of us likely use a 30+ SPF on our faces as many foundations, BB creams and tinted moisturisers contain it. It’s worth noting that you should use SPF even when the sun isn’t shining, the rays that cause damage such as fine lines, wrinkles and sunspots still get through the clouds.

Another method to protect the skin is to cover up. Many women who love their skin also wear a veil; be this for cultural, religious or indeed for protection from the elements. In particularly arid regions, the veil is used by women to protect themselves from sandstorms, the wind and the fierce heat of the sun. Also, in many cultures, the veil is used to protect women’s modesty and is a major part of the heritage of the country and peoples.

At Niroshini, we believe that women choose to take care of their appearance and look after themselves simply because it makes them feel good and not necessarily because anyone else can see the effects; this is never truer than for our clients who choose to cover their faces with a veil. We recently posted a blog about Ramadan and used an incredibly beautiful image of a veiled woman; with bright and fresh skin, it is evident to see that she must look after it. The veil itself is a beautiful item regardless for what reason it is worn and the options are endless for women to choose from; plain, patterned, beaded, brightly coloured or even jewelled. Dolce & Gabbana has proven with their very popular new line “Abaya” which includes items such as long dresses and veils, that women who choose to cover their skin are just as included in the world of luxury fashion and beauty as those who wish to wear less.

As a global brand, with a multicultural market, we celebrate all women, all ethnicities and all cultures and include anyone who wishes to look after their skin, their well-being or even just occasionally read our varied blogs! Do you have any beautiful images of women revelling in their own skin and femininity while showing their heritage that you would like to share? If you do, we would just love to see them; it will help us plan another blog to celebrate another culture!

To get in touch, visit: https://niroshini-acupuncture.com/contact-us

Thank you to Azamat Zhanisov for the use of this photograph.

The Summer Solstice – a time for appreciating nature and the beauty around us

The Summer Solstice is the longest day of the year, where (depending where in the world you are) we are able to enjoy around 17 hours of daylight and hopefully, vitamin D packed sunshine.

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A day of celebration for many the world over, the Summer Solstice marks the time when the sun’s path changes and our days begin to shorten. The word Solstice is derived from the Latin words sol (sun) and sistere (to stand still) – before reversing direction, Astrologers say the sun appears to “stand still” at the position on the horizon where it seems to rise and set.

The Summer Solstice fell between the planting and harvesting of crops, allowing people who farmed or worked on the land time to relax and revitalise ready for the hard work of harvest and the winter beyond. Due to this rest period and increased free time, June is the traditional month for weddings.

Celebrations surrounding the Solstice have many different themes; religion, fertility and successful harvests being among them. Pagans hold religious rituals on the Solstice with a wide variety of customs. Dancing, singing, prayer and drum playing are amongst the most popular along with the burning of a Yule wreath in a bonfire. Celebration of the Solstice as part of religious practice, is a time for people to attune themselves spiritually with the natural world and all that comes with both the seasons of nature and humanity. Growth, birth, death and life are the rhythms we live with and the ritual of celebration inspires a conscious effort to allow this to resonate more thoroughly.

Linked to the religious rituals is the desire to strengthen the sense of being part of nature and interconnected spiritually with others and the world as a whole. Many feel this is a key reason to participate in the festivities, often referred to as “the turning of the wheel of the year”.

Outside of religion, countless towns and villages host Midsummer festivities, typically held outside where nature can be fully appreciated; flowers and trees are usually used as part of the decoration. People take part in the event to remind themselves of how precious time is and the changing of the season is another marker of time marching on. The celebration is also to encourage community spirit, friendship and an appreciation for our own homes and natural surroundings.

Summer Solstice is celebrated all over the world by many ethnicities and cultures. In Scandinavian countries, bonfires are lit, usually near lakes and by the sea and traditionally, unmarried women create a garland of flowers for their bed to dream of their future husband. A tradition that is still maintained today and is indicative of the fertility perspective of the Summer Solstice and how the natural world is interlinked with our own fertility and encouragement of new life. In China, the Summer Solstice is closely connected with “yin” and “yang” and celebrates the Earth’s “yin” femininity, the opposite being the Winter Solstice and “yang” masculinity.

Stonehenge, Wiltshire is amongst the most famous of locations to celebrate Midsummer and welcome the breaking dawn. Stonehenge aligns to the Solstice, allowing the rising sun to reach the middle of the stones and shine on the central altar only on the Summer Solstice. A prehistoric site long linked to spirituality, peace and nature, Stonehenge plays host each year to around 20,000 people who celebrate in the longest day with quiet meditation or exuberant revelries and dancing.

How will you be celebrating the Summer Solstice? Our Niroshini Tip is if you haven’t got any celebration to attend, make sure you connect with nature, even if it’s for 10 minutes. Kick off your shoes and walk on the grass or beach. It’s so important to connect with what is part of us; by doing this, it allows us to become grounded, aligned and stronger on an emotional, mental, spiritual and physical level.

We wish you love and peace.

Fasting for Spiritual Enlightenment & Self-Improvement

The practice of fasting dates back over 5,000 years and is observed in different ways by many faiths including Muslims, Jews, Christians, Baha’is and Hindus. Most Religions believe that fasting opens a powerful gateway to God and allows oneself to become spiritually attuned.

The Purpose of Ramadan & Fasting 

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In addition to prayer and refrainment from any selfish desire, fasting is a significant part of Ramadan. During the Holy Month, the purpose is to enter a state of taqwa; a state of constant awareness of God. By adhering to rigorous fast and prayer and refraining from other human urges, Muslims are strengthening their willpower and self-control to ultimately “guard against evil” and bring about self-improvement and increase spiritual awareness in everyday life.

Muslims use time not spent eating and drinking during Ramadan to concentrate on prayer to achieve the state of taqwa and expand upon their spirituality. Outside of Islam, many people use this time to work on self-improvement, to meditate and free the mind or to participate in activities that encourage relaxation.

During and after a fast, people say they feel mentally stronger, more thankful and more in tune with their body and mind than prior; this feeling is often attributed to the ability to exercise and maintain self-control. By increasing the awareness of one’s human needs and denying this, a sense of personal and collective strength and achievement is felt which allows us as humans to feel more connected to ourselves, our peers and our Gods, whilst in a fasting state.

Health Benefits of Fasting

Not only does fasting have a strong link with spiritual and mental well-being, research shows that fasting has a multitude of health and physical benefits also. Some 2,500 years ago, The Father of Western Medicine, Hippocrates, was recommending abstinence from food or drink to aid the body’s natural recovery process from illness and disease. This is still practiced and advised today to improve mental and physical health in Western, Chinese, Alternative and Homeopathic medicine cultures.

Studies show that fasting can have a wide and positive impact on the body in individual areas and as a whole. By allowing the body intermittent periods of rest from digestion, it is able to burn through fat cells more efficiently in this period thus resulting in weight loss.

Fasting has also been shown to improve brain function by boosting the production of a protein that activates brain stem cells to convert into new neurons, triggering a variety of other chemicals which promote neural health also.

The benefits also extend to our outermost layer, our skin. Fasting has been shown to help clear the skin by expelling toxins. With our body not focussing on digesting periodically throughout the day, it is instead able to concentrate its regenerative energies on other systems and is able to clean up toxins and regulate organ function across the body, including our biggest organ of all.

Who Fasts?

Many, many millions of Muslims, of course. Plus, a multitude of other Religions. However, fasting is not only a religious act and can be undertaken by anyone who would like to practice mindfulness, give their body a break to regenerate or indeed for health reasons. Fasting is a difficult challenge (and one that should be undertaken with care) but why not see how the challenge could improve your mental well-being, your spiritual connection and also your skin!

Thank you to Mohammed Hassan for the use of this photograph.