Thu | May 23, 2019

Preventative self care - The best thing you can do for your health

Published:Wednesday | March 14, 2018 | 12:00 AMTracey-Ann Brown/Complementary & Oriental Medicine
Massage is a very good preventative self care.

What is preventative self-care? It is simply all the things we do to keep ourselves at our best. All the things we do to prevent a health concern from getting worse.

So, it would include the interventions to make sure the work doesn't madden us or maybe give us a stroke, and the lifestyle and eating adjustments made to prevent the shift from pre-hypertensive to hypertensive.

In other words, don't wait until things get really bad to start something - nip it in the bud. Your interventions and long-term plans may require some trial and error to see what suits you, but once you catch your stride then you can run with it. It is also important to seek advice, professional and otherwise, when necessary.




Many persons have joint pains. If you are beginning to get the not so subtle hint that you may have some bone changes and notice achy fingers, toes, knees and hips:

- Regular, moderate exercise is a key intervention

- Turmeric tea (yellow ginger), which is available locally, may also be a good inclusion. Dosage: Boil one-two turmeric roots to make a tea which may be taken daily or every other day. This herb is contraindicated if pregnant.




If you often have nasal or sinus congestion, don't wait until it becomes serious and painful to incorporate daily practices which help guard against irritation. Practices that help to clear mucus include:

- Sipping orange peel tea daily

- Regular steam inhalations with eucalyptus oil or menthol crystals

- Regular salt water nasal cleansing




With obesity comes an increased risk for: high blood pressure and cholesterol, type 2 diabetes, coronary heart disease, stroke, osteoarthritis, sleep apnea and breathing problems, some cancers, depression, anxiety, aches and pains, decreased mobility, and generally a lower quality of life.

While easier said than done, perhaps now is the time to begin making some changes to include regular and frequent exercise and adjust diet. Sometimes motivation and company will make the difference between planning to and doing.

In which case:

- Consider enlisting a diet and weight management consultant

- Find an exercise group or partner

- Talk with a nutritionist who can give you solid advice on weight loss and management

- A herbalist can recommend herbal products which may also assist in improving fat metabolism and managing appetite

- Maybe a personal trainer




For those who exercise frequently and find from time to time an injury occurs, a few practices that can go a far way to keep the body in the best condition, prevent injury and speed recovery from minor muscular injury include:

- Regular stretching

- Cupping (Chinese medicine therapy)

- Massage therapy




Stress is a natural part of life, and its management should also be a natural part of life. So all the things that you can do to help yourself feel less stressed, hassled and anxious are fair game and should be done regularly. Whether regular massages, meditation exercises, acupuncture, yoga, a weekend or hour to yourself (regularly), sipping teas that calm, such as rosemary or chamomile tea, and don't underestimate the value of making sure you get sufficient rest.

- Dr Tracey-Ann Brown is an Oriental Medicine Practitioner of Acupuncture and Herbal Medicine at Revamp Comprehensive and Adjunct Lecturer at the University of Technology in Oriental/Chinese Medicine; email: