metropol » old » health

Tag: health

Unichem Cashel

Beating stress to gain life: Unichem Cashel

According to Annabel Turley, pharmacist and owner of Unichem Cashel Holistic Pharmacy, stress impacts our mental and physical wellbeing in more ways than we could imagine.


Unichem Cashel


“The problem is that people simply don’t realise they’re stressed. Post-quake conditions, for instance, are still a major contributor to stress in this city.” Annabel cites couples seeking to become pregnant as another extremely stressful situation. Having watched a family member going through the emotional trauma that can accompany fertility treatments, Annabel decided she wanted to become more proactive in this area. Soon she begins her studies for the National Fertility NZ Educator Course.

“We have couples attending our Natural Health clinic who are being educated in making those necessary changes to their diet and lifestyle in order to improve their chances for pregnancy; it’s so important to seek infertility advice and treatment early on – don’t waste those precious years, because it can make such a difference to the outcome.”

Annabel says that aside from the usual medical reasons obstructing women getting pregnant, unrecognised and ongoing stress definitely doesn’t help either, and the sooner this is addressed, the better.  “Unichem Cashel Pharmacy is unique in that we have a natural health clinic providing the best advice, education and natural treatments for destressing in this hectic 21st century. To complete my training as a fertility educator means so much to me. I love doing this – helping couples achieve their dream of a successful pregnancy.”


For more information phone 03 595 1289, visit or find at


Dentistry on Merivale

The Perfect Smile: Dentistry on Merivale

The continually evolving field of cosmetic dentistry has now entered the digital age, with Digital Smile Design (DSD). “This is a process of analysis and planning that allows you to participate in the design of your new smile, and see it before any treatment begins,” says Dr David Walsh of Dentistry on Merivale.


Dentistry on Merivale


Firstly, photos and a short video of the client talking and smiling are obtained, in order to see their current state when they’re smiling spontaneously. The DSD software then allows analysis of the smile, relative to facial features and movements as well as the colour, position and shape of teeth. “We can then virtually change the appearance of your teeth and design the perfect smile,” David says.

“The possibilities as well as the limitations of possible treatment are clearly established ahead of any treatment decisions or procedures. All the guesswork is gone and even minor imperfections, which are often missed with traditional diagnostic techniques, are factored in.”

Cloud technology and scanning are also part of the process, allowing seamless communication between all team members and specialists. Every nuance of your new smile is planned in detail, and a truly predictable process can begin. Meet the caring and expert team at Dentistry on Merivale – now you truly can have the smile you’ve always wanted!


Located on the first floor of Merivale Mall on 193A Papanui Road, phone 03 355 8297 or email for more information or to book in. Open Monday to Friday from 8am to 5pm.


Footprints Podiatry

Regain your barefoot freedom: Footprints Podiatry

Footprints Podiatry has just introduced the Lunula Laser, a new technology that helps to eliminate fungal infections.


Footprints Podiatry


Lunula Laser is the newest standard in treating recalcitrant fungal nail infections and has been used extensively worldwide with impressive results. Totally pain-free, it uses two cold laser beams, which means no heat or pain and there are no known side effects.

The two laser beams work in tandem to produce a long-lasting action that damages the fungus itself and helps the body break it down by producing antiseptic and antimicrobial hydrogen peroxide. Lunula Laser also stimulates the immune system and causes vasodilation (the dilatation of blood vessels) by producing nitric oxide. This allows improved blood flow and encourages healing and regeneration.

The Lunula Laser may also be able to help clients for other podiatry needs. It is currently being trialled with diabetic patients to improve blood flow in feet and toes, to aid in problems caused by diabetic arterial disease. The Lunula Laser has been used to aid in the healing and repair process of the nail and can also assist with psoriasis and nail damage caused by friction from footwear. In as little as four weekly 12-minute sessions, you can regain your barefoot freedom.

Footprint Podiatry can also provide treatment of foot and ankle disorders (including skin and nail conditions), biomechanical causes of back, hip, knee, leg, ankle and foot pain, prescription of corrective foot orthotics, advice on appropriate strength or stretching requirements and training programmes.


You’ll find them at three handy locations in Barrington, Ilam and Shirley.



Oral Artistry: Lovebite

The need for new or replacement dentures could bring a range of emotions to the surface, but you wouldn’t necessarily count on ‘joie de vivre’ being one of them. Unless, of course, your dentures are created by Richard Greenlees of Lovebite.




Richard is re-established in Christchurch from his Harley Street practice in London, where the well-heeled and those needing to be ready for their close-up, cut a track to his door. Renowned for creating dentures indistinguishable from natural teeth, Richard combines artistry and technical know-how with a passion for deep understanding of his clients, their lives and personalities.

Contrary to modern computerised and mechanised denture-manufacture, Richard’s dentures are handmade, bespoke, and individually characterised. Taking time to get to know a patient before creation begins, you’ll never see a conveyor belt of people in the waiting room, because consultations are a relaxed and enjoyable interchange that involves building dentures around who you are.

“Dentures go on your life journey with you, so they should be intrinsic to you,” Richard says. This year Richard travels to conferences in London and Cologne to keep abreast of advances. “Dental technology moves along at a pace similar to technology for space exploration and the materials used are markedly similar with zirconia, carbon and 3D printing coming into play.”


Oil painting is a second outlet for Richard’s artistry and drive to represent, and fills any time left over from the oral works of art. Having shown in London and made art for most of his life, he particularly loves the works of Francis Bacon, for its emotional and sheer human scope. “That’s what I am always trying to bring to my work in all spheres – honesty but also great beauty.”

This year Richard will carry on striving for reality in appearance for his patients, looking forward to meeting the new ones who each become important to him. “I’m always looking to create something special for my clients – a smile that truly reflects their individuality and character, and which makes them feel like themselves. This is critical if the teeth are to be accepted as a part of the person.”


Find Richard at 404 Montreal Street, phone 021 555 293, and – he’ll discover who you are, but you’ll want to talk about him.


The Gut Foundation

Getting to the Guts of the matter! The Gut Foundation

Getting to the Guts of the matter!


The Gut Foundation


New research is particularly important to Canterbury and better tools for diagnosis are urgently required. The Gut Foundation (previously the Bowel and Liver Trust), is aiming to provide support to Teagan Hoskin, a Post Doctoral Fellow at the University of Otago, Christchurch.

Teagan has extensive experience working in the field of Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD) research, having previously coordinated a large study which recruited 500 patients. Her passion for improving health outcomes for people living with IBD stems from witnessing her younger brother’s struggle with this debilitating disease for more than 20 years.


The Gut Foundation has a long-standing interest in supporting research in the field of IBD, previously funding projects assessing IBD incidence rates in Canterbury. A study funded by the trust in 2004 showed that Canterbury has one of the highest incidence rates of Crohn’s Disease (CD) worldwide. Strikingly, a more recently funded study in 2014 indicated that the number of patients diagnosed with CD had increased by 50 percent. This highlights the importance of continued research in this field and underpins our ongoing commitment to support this vital work.

Currently, colonoscopy with biopsy is thought to be the best method for evaluating inflammation location, extent and severity. However, the invasiveness of endoscopic examinations and unpleasant bowel preparation treatments is a strong drawback for this procedure, especially in children. Encouragingly, a growing body of evidence suggests that non-invasive markers measured in the urine and plasma may be specific in detecting gut inflammation in patients with IBD.


The potential of non-invasive markers to identify patients with IBD, monitor their treatment outcomes and assess their risk of relapse is appealing. Gastroenterologists would be able to diagnose IBD much faster by eliminating colonoscopy wait times. In addition, they would be able to individualise treatment by prescribing more powerful drugs to patients at risk of relapse, while patients at reduced risk would avoid these more powerful drugs.

The overall objective of this project is to determine whether levels of novel markers of inflammation measured in the blood and urine will correlate with disease severity in patients with IBD. Several studies have assessed the ability of fecal calprotectin to reflect disease severity in patients with IBD. However, this marker is not sensitive or specific enough to eliminate the need for invasive endoscopic examinations. Consequently, the proposed research is vital to enabling identification of novel markers of inflammation that better reflect disease severity and limit the need for colonoscopy.


The proposed research represents an exciting opportunity for an experienced researcher. Identification and validation of non-invasive markers that have the ability to reflect disease severity has the potential to aid in the diagnosis and assessment of IBD. If validated, non-invasive inflammatory markers could reduce the need for invasive investigations. This would be particularly beneficial for children, who often have to undergo several unpleasant procedures before obtaining an accurate IBD diagnosis.

With a delay in diagnosis and appropriate treatment often resulting in poor physical and mental wellbeing and limiting educational progress, better tools for the ongoing assessment and diagnosis of gut inflammation would lead directly to improved outcomes for those with IBD.


Become a Gutsy hero by supporting The Gut Foundations research.
Visit to donate.


The migraine masters: Muscle People Physiotherapy

Debilitating and striking without warning, migraine and severe headaches not only prevent you from living a full life, there also is a sense of not being in control of your life. For the 13 percent of the population that are regular sufferers, migraine and headaches mean time off school or work, missed opportunities and difficulty in planning ahead. The powerful medications used to alleviate pain can have side effects and can even cause rebound headaches, and have to be taken at the right time to be effective.



In the past ten years however, the understanding of what causes headaches and migraines has significantly advanced. The research now shows that sensitisation of the brain stem is what causes this pain.  “It is not widely known yet, that headaches or migraines can be literally a pain in the neck,” says Laurie Moore, Director and Senior Physiotherapist at Muscle People Physiotherapy.

Advanced physiotherapy techniques can alleviate or remove pain altogether and techniques to use at home can be taught so that patients can find relief between treatments. At Muscle People, Laurie, together with Senior Physiotherapists Clare, Naomi and Jaclyn, have trained in Australia in the ‘Watson Headache Approach’, a method of examining the small movements of the top three spinal segments.


An internationally recognised approach for diagnostic accuracy and for reducing pain for headache and migraine conditions, it can reduce the amount of medication taken, or remove the need for it altogether.

The team returned to Australia recently, to attend a symposium on the technique. “It reaffirmed the effectiveness of what we do and we honed our skills even more,” Laurie says. The approach at Muscle People does not involve manipulating or cracking the neck. Instead the appropriate spinal segments are gently stressed in a smooth, sustained manner.


Patients generally come to the clinic four or five times in the first few weeks of treatment and they are shown some very simple exercises to do at home. After the first few weeks, treatment sessions are guided by how the patient is feeling. By the time they get to the clinic for the first time, patients can be at their wits end, but are really surprised at how quickly things can change for the better.

Muscle People has three Christchurch locations: City, Bishopdale and Wigram Skies, and the team see people travelling from as far as Auckland and Invercargill to seek treatment. Muscle People Physiotherapy also offers the full range of physiotherapy services: acupuncture, massage therapy, physiotherapy, sports physio, functional training and corporate health and work injuries.


For more information on the migraine and headache clinics, as well as the general physio services, visit or phone 03 360 3606.



Hit the reset button

Hit the reset button

For many of us, when the clock ticks over marking the beginning of another year, it represents the opportunity to hit the reset button and begin the quest for advancement.


Hit the reset button


Exercise is still the number one New Year’s resolution for most Kiwis and is in fact also the number one sport in New Zealand, with more than half a million participants, according to ExerciseNZ chief executive Richard Beddie. “We are seeing a greater diversity of individuals interested in exercise,” he says.

ExerciseNZ’s recent consumer research report found awareness of health is the number one reason people exercise, which is just under three quarters of all New Zealand exercisers. Fifty-one percent of respondents indicated they had carried out structured exercise in the past 30 days and just under half of these, around 743,600 adults, reported currently having a fitness membership.

However, New Zealanders still need to grasp a far greater awareness of health in 2019, Beddie says. “This is quite consistent across all age bands, genders and income levels.” Gyms are increasingly catering for a much more diverse range of age groups, health conditions and cost, with a greater variety of products on offer today, from yoga to boot camp and high-intensity classes to meditation sessions.

Non-participation in structured exercised activities generally increased to a peak among 55 to 64 year olds. While 18 to 24 year olds are relatively active in structured exercise terms, participation dropped significantly from 25 years of age and to a minority after 45 years of age, Beddie says.



Long Live a Long Life!

Long Live a Long Life!

It was a packed and attentive audience that gathered to hear Tony Buettner, Blue Zones National Spokesperson, give his second presentation at Alpine View Lifestyle Village, courtesy of their TRILife Talks Wellness Programme.


Long Live a Long Life!


Tony shared remarkable stories of five diverse places in the world, known as the Blue Zones, where the populations have one thing in common – their longevity. The five Blue Zones are: Sardinia, Italy; Okinawa, Japan; Lorna Linda, California; Nicoya, Costa Rica, and Ikaria, Greece. On average, the inhabitants of Blue Zones live ten years longer than the rest of us.

It was in 2004 that Tony’s explorer and researcher brother Dan, along with National Geographic and longevity experts, began looking into regions where people lived to very ripe old ages. Dan’s findings were published in National Geographic’s November 2005 issue, The Secrets of Living Longer. The research has continued on these regions of centenarians for more than three decades from his Minnesota-based company Blue Zones.

For those of us who have been led to believe that longevity is down to good genes, think again. Buettner’s research shows the link between longevity and genes is only 20 percent; at 80 percent, it’s lifestyle that is our roadmap for longevity.
Tony spoke of The Nine Commonalities, or as he calls them, “The Power Nine lessons of living a longer, happy life,” that Blue Zones people share.



Move: Move naturally – as Blue Zones people do. Their lifestyles see them physically moving on average every 20 minutes. These people don’t belong to gyms because they don’t need to.

Reduce stress: Take a walk. Eat meals with friends or family. Take time out to meditate.

Have a sense of purpose: It has been proved that those who have a sense of purpose live seven years longer than those who don’t.

Drink in moderation: By all means enjoy your glass of wine, but make it only a couple, like the Sardinians.

Eat less red meat: Follow the Mediterranean diet of vegetables, beans, olive oils and fruits; 95 percent of the Blue Zone populations consume a plant-based whole grain diet.

Eat less: As the Okinawans do, stop eating when you feel 80 percent full. Try the Blue Zoners rule: Eat breakfast like a king, lunch like a prince and dinner like a pauper.

Families: Family life takes priority in Blue Zone regions.

Faith: Attending a faith-based community four times a month will see you living 14 years longer than those who don’t.

Be social: According to research, isolation is a major cause of early death. Having a laugh with friends is very good for our health and our stress levels. Laughter truly is the best medicine.


Alpine View created the TRILife Wellness Programme for its residents. TRILife focuses on exercise, nutrition and state of mind. Jemma Appleton, Group Marketing and Activities Manager at Alpine View Lifestyle Village, says they were thrilled and grateful to host Tony, promoting the Blue Zones research and linking it with their Wellness Programme.


Eating Beautiful

Eating Beautiful

We’ve long treated our skin and hair externally, as we seek to become younger, more beautiful versions of ourselves.


Eating Beautiful


But there’s an increasing movement towards the recognition of the intricate connection between what we eat and our external appearance.  Rather than all the lotions and potions at our disposal, consuming the most nutritionally amped-up superfoods might actually be the key to looking your best.

So what do we need to grab at the supermarket on the way home to get the glow of goodness? We’ve picked out some of our faves.


Awesome Avos

Avocados are loaded with antioxidants that help protect the skin from the harmful effects of UV rays and essential fatty acids which help lock in your skin’s natural moisture.


Culinary cure-all

Kale is jam-packed with a host of vitamins, including Vitamin A, which is vital for a dazzling white smile, while its omega 3 fatty acids reduce inflammation


Seedy disposition

Packed with B vitamins, minerals, phytonutrients and fatty oils, pumpkin seeds are your ticket to clear and glowing skin.



Macadamia magic

The macadamia nut’s overall combination of fatty acids and zinc makes it a wonderful skin beautifier.




Loaded with Vitamin C, berries are a beauty powerhouse, with Vitamin C linked to less wrinkles.



A sweet option

Sweet potatoes are bursting with beta-carotene, which improves the integrity of your hair and nails.



Ode to Oysters

Oysters contain zinc, which boosts collagen production, speeds up the healing process and helps improve acne by regulating oil production.



Repair oil

With the ability to repair the skin, coconut oil is a great addition to smoothies, in cooking and on the skin.


Turmeric treats

Turmeric is well known for its ability to purify blood which is essential for clear skin.



Clever Cacao

Dark 70 percent Cacao Chocolate has flavonoids which improve the texture and hydration of the skin, while battling damaging UV rays.



Coffee craving

Caffeine addicts rejoice because coffee is absolutely loaded with antioxidants essential for healthy skin.



Almond action

Almonds contain a large amount of catalase – an enzyme that impedes the graying process by limiting the build-up of hydrogen peroxide in your hair follicles.’



The Endoscopy Clinic

The gall with gallstones: The Endoscopy Clinic

A four-inch, pear-shaped organ tucked comfortably away below your liver, the gallbladder is a handy organ to have on your side. But when things get tense, it can cause a lot of problems – and pain.


The Endoscopy Clinic


The main job of the gallbladder is to store bile until the body needs it to help digest fatty food. “When we eat, the gallbladder contracts and squeezes out bile, which acts like detergent – it breaks up what we’ve eaten so it can be dissolved and absorbed,” Christchurch surgeon Ross Roberts from The Endoscopy Clinic explains.

However, sometimes crystal-like deposits that can range in size from as small as a grain of sand to as large as a golf ball can wreak absolute havoc on this organ and it’s not a lot of fun for the body housing them. Sudden and rapidly intensifying pain in the centre or upper right portion of your abdomen, back pain between your shoulder blades, pain in your right shoulder and nausea or vomiting can all be symptoms of gallstones.

About 70 percent of gallstones are cholesterol stones, formed when the bile contains too much cholesterol. As many as 20 percent of people produce gallstones however, not all develop symptoms. There are genetics links to gallstones and being older, female and overweight increases your risk. Pregnant women and those who have had weight-loss surgery are also at higher risk, with evidence suggesting that yo-yo dieting may also play a part.

Some gallstone problems only flare up occasionally, when they get lodged against the narrow neck of the gallbladder once it starts contracting to release bile after a large or fatty meal, with pain subsiding once the gallbladder relaxes again.
Other gallstones get forced out of the gallbladder and into the ducts that carry bile from the liver to the small intestine, where they can cause further debilitating complications.

Sometimes gallstones pass through the liver, into the digestive system and eventually out of the body, naturally. However, it’s not a straightforward journey and they can cause a lot of pain and damage on the way. In fact, even if your body gets rid of one gallstone, that’s unlikely to be the end of the matter.

“In most people, gallstones are not just singular – there are usually more gallstones left in the gallbladder,” Ross says. For those who experience symptoms, the gallbladder generally needs to be removed using keyhole surgery. In most cases this is a straightforward operation that requires a one-night hospital stay and a two-week recovery period.

With our livers generally capable of producing enough bile to deal with even the fattiest meals and any extra able to be stored in the bile ducts, we can survive – quite comfortably – without a gallbladder.  “If you don’t have a gallbladder you can digest food perfectly well. It’s a luxury, not a necessity.”  “I say to people that there’s no point in picking up the eggs – you have to get rid of the chicken,” Ross says. “The gallbladder here is laying the gallstones.”


The Endoscopy Clinic, Level 1, 9 Caledonian Road, Christchurch. For more information, phone 03-961 6666 or visit