Helping Children to De-stress

December 9, 2009 by  
Filed under Childrens Health, Health


I find it quite ‘dis-stressing’ that so many children are suffering in this way but, according to a recent survey by the NSPCC, 1 in 3 school children are stressed.

They are suffering from two main issues: school itself and loneliness with not enough close contact with friends and family. Kids lives today are full of noise, activity and, sadly, pressure from their parents, their school and their peers. Bullying is one factor, but simply being overwhelmed by the demands put on them is also to blame.

You can see the results physically with problems like poor sleep patterns, irritability and over sensitivity, bed wetting, headaches, stomach aches and more and more we are seeing mental and emotional problems such as depression, anxiety, nervousness, anger and temper tantrums.

That’s all very well, as one of my great teachers used to say – understanding is the booby prize, it‘s what you do to solve it that matters. These have to revolve around helping to develop greater confidence, self belief and a more positive attitude towards themselves. There are many ways to do it, and finding a hobby that engages them is one way forward and certainly physical activity like sports and games are very helpful. What parents may not have considered is trying something like a special CD aimed at helping children relax

Marneta Viegas is founder of Relax Kids and has written 2 books of children’s visualisations and produced a range of children’s relaxation CDs for concentration, anger management, anxiety and worry, self-esteem and bedtime and are set to relaxing music.

Relaxation is vital for children’s health and well being with just a few minutes a day helping young children feel calm and focused and ready to face their day. It can also help with sleep problems as it decreases muscle tension, slows the rate of breathing and reduces blood pressure. If your child is having problems concentrating then some relaxation techniques will help with that as it can improve their listening skills. This means they are able to listen and assimilate information, so giving them better problem-solving abilities.

Adults and children alike have their creativity and imagination blocked when they are stressed and by encouraging children to relax and take their minds away from their current situation and go on an imaginary journey they get a stronger sense of self-esteem and a feeling of self worth as they start to see their strengths and qualities in the quiet space of relaxation.

If you would like to try some of the relaxation tips out with children, or stressed adults, here are some simple ones to start with:

1 Lying on the back with hand on the stomach. Breathe in and feel the stomach rise, and breathe out and feel it fall back. Just concentrate on breathing in and out slowly to help let go and feel calm and quiet.

2 Again, lying on your back, or sitting in a chair, tense and relax the muscles of the body in groups, starting at the feet and moving up to the head to help feel calm and relaxed.

3 Visualisation can also help by closing the eyes and imagining floating on a cloud or lying on a boat and floating down the river or lying in warm sunshine and feeling the warmth in their body or imagine that they are sinking gently into soft sand.

If you would like to know more about this work, please visit

Health Bite for Adults:

Just to remind you, that adults too can benefit from relaxation and meditation techniques. A $3.8 million study funded by the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute in the US has reported that ) patients with coronary heart disease who practiced meditation had a nearly 50 percent lower rate of heart attack, stroke, and death compared to a matched group that didn’t meditate.

We already knew that meditation has been proved to reduce blood pressure, psychological stress, and other risk factors for heart disease, but this is the first controlled clinical trial to show that long-term practice reduces the incidence of heart attacks, strokes and improves longevity.


Kids health and new media dangers

December 21, 2008 by  
Filed under At Home, Childrens Health

We have touched on this before but with the average child now spending 7 hours a day on various forms of media it bears looking at again. Most Christmas lists will have at least one or two electronic ‘toys’ on them, plus the ones already in the home. New research from the National Institutes of Health, Yale University and California Pacific Medical Center in the USA has yet again emphasised the problems between high media consumption and children’s health problems.

This is not the usual concerns about too much violence, though they have their place, this is specifically focused on the effects on childrens health and the ‘new media’ area has not so far been put under the spotlight. Just what is ‘new media’? Well it encompasses everything from the internet to mobile phones, texting, video games, and social networking sites like YouTube and Twitter. Many youngsters organise their whole social lives on YouTube and one local family near me had their home trashed when their teenage daughter posted her birthday invitations on the site and got 100 gatecrashers instead.

The researchers found that the greater the exposure to the internet, TV, movies, music and technology a child has then they have correspondingly higher health risks. So what are they risking? Primarily obesity but they also are more likely to smoke, drink and use drugs – three other key health risks. There is of course a follow on effect and they are also likely to be poor performers at school as well. What’s the cure? Well, back to the family – limit the amount of time spent on this media at home. You can have little impact outside it so it’s important to have home boundaries and don’t add to the electronic stockpile this Christmas – don’t buy them an Xbox, think outside it.

Statins – Children next?

Last week I raised concerns about the routine prescribing of statins, and now from the USA comes news that the American Academy of Pediatrics Committee has recommended routine screening of children, from 2 years old, for “high cholesterol”. Given the deterioration in children’s’ diets you may think that a good idea, but not when it is accompanied by the news that they are also recommending giving children as young as eight years old statin drugs. These drugs have never even been tested on children, never mind approved for their use – in fact not one single safety test has ever been conducted with children taking these powerful chemicals.

I am not going to repeat the side effects that I gave last week, but if they have such an impact on adults, can you imagine what they will do to children? Schools are having enough disciplinary problems as it is, without adding in children on drugs that can cause homicidal impulses and mental confusion. No one denies that more children are now presenting with high cholesterol levels, but surely the answer lies in controlling their diet and ensuring enough exercise? The main ‘culprits’ if a child is diagnosed with high cholesterol at the age of eight are the consumption of too great a quantity of these:

* Milk and dairy products
* Fried foods and trans fatty acids
* Processed meats and animal products

Nutritionists believe that virtually any child can be cured of high cholesterol in a matter of weeks by being fed a 100% plant-based diet, comprised entirely of non-processed foods, and including fresh, raw vegetable and fruit juices along with numerous superfoods such as apples, broccoli, wholemeal bread, salmon, bananas and brazil nuts. Simple, yes, and certainly better than putting a child on a drug regime that they could be kept on for years.