Phone: (0274) 837 188
Open: Tues-Fri 10am-6pm
Phone: (0274) 837 188
Open: Tues-Fri 10am-6pm

Spring and Summer – a wonderful time of year with sunshine and blossoming plants but marred for so many of us by the symptoms loosely referred to as “hay fever”. What does that mean? Well, there is a spectrum of hay fever symptoms and severity, but typically it may include very itchy eyes, uncontrollable sneezing with a runny nose, wheezing, and itchy back of throat and ears, itchy skin and fatigue. It’s miserable, and very common!

Types of hay fever

Spring hay fever tends to be more tree pollen related, while late Spring and early Summer tend to be more grass pollen related, and late Summer and early Autumn tend to be weed pollen related – and you may be sensitive to all three types, or just one or two.

You may need to be careful about identifying whether you actually are pollen allergic, or whether it is mould, dust mites or pet dander – you may be exposed to all those year-round, and your symptoms may be just below threshold, but then when pollens are in the air you may notice a worsening of symptoms as your sensitivity pushes your reaction across that threshold. The pollens tend to be highest around 5am – 10am.

Possible root causes of pollen allergies and hay fever

Even though most people don’t connect gut health to allergies, the most common issue that can increase your symptoms or make you prone to allergies is altered and unbalanced gut flora. Your gut is responsible for 70 percent of your body’s innate immune response and allows your body to differentiate between safe environmental particles, including pollen, weed, and dust, and unsafe environmental particles, including bad bacteria, viruses, and unhealthy yeast.

When your gut flora is altered, it can lead to an oversensitivity to safe environmental particles. This may not only increase your risk of pollen and other seasonal allergies, but also increase your risk of asthma and chronic inflammation.

While many people with pollen allergies have allergies since childhood or teenage years, it is certainly possible to develop pollen allergies later in life or experience worsening symptoms as you grow older. It is also possible to reduce symptoms and pollen allergies through proper Naturopathic Medicine that includes Supplemental / Herbal / Diet / Exercise / Meditation, Mindfulness & Mind-Body Medicine all boosting immune support. This is called Lifestyle Medicine first coined by Dr Ian Gawler, in Australia, last century!

Hay fever, pollen allergies and foods

Pollen and seasonal allergies are some of the signs of histamine intolerance. Histamine intolerance can affect your entire body, including your lungs, gut, brain, heart, and hormones. It can lead to a variety of issues, including digestive problems, sleep disturbances, bladder problems, anxiety, headaches, and skin problems.

To reduce histamine intolerance and consequent pollen allergies, it may help if you remove or reduce high-histamine foods, including cured meat, dried fruit, sour food, vinegar-containing food, aged cheese, nuts, high-histamine vegetables (eg. tomatoes, spinach, eggplant), and smoked fish.

Avoid histamine-releasing food, including bananas, chocolate, avocado, tomatoes, shellfish, strawberries, cow’s milk, preservatives, and dyes. Focus on low-histamine foods instead, including artichoke, beets, bok choy, broccoli, carrots, cauliflower, courgettes, cucumber, kale, leek, lettuce, onion, silverbeet, leafy herbs, coconut oil, grass-fed butter, apples, blackberries, blueberries, cherries, pears, pasture-raised beef, grass-fed poultry, wild-caught fish, and venison. 

You can try reducing your consumption of these foods for a week or two and see if you notice an improvement in your pollen allergies.  If so, you have issues with histamine and should consider a lower histamine on a more regular basis. I can give guidance on this.

Other healthy habits may include making sure you are adequately hydrated, and that means clean, filtered, unsweetened, non-caffeinated water, and getting adequate sleep each night, usually no less than 6 or 7 hours a night.

Improving gut health against hay fever and allergies

To improve gut health, you should eat an anti-inflammatory gut-friendly diet, reduce environmental toxicity by using natural and organic products, not smoking, and spending time in nature, reducing stress. Probiotics also play an important role in your gut microbiome and immune coordination.

Probiotics can be very effective in reducing allergy symptoms. I recommend  MegaSporebiotic probiotics to optimize your gut health and reduce symptoms of pollen allergies.  (You may need to take 2 or 3 months’ worth to get a really good result). I can supply these for you during a consultation.

I often recommend Vitamin D, Quercetin, Vit C, Glutathione & Proteolytic enzymes and a specific tailor made herbal formula which may include such herbs as nettle, Baikal skullcap and albizzia may also be of benefit. These can all be written up as a script sheet for you as well as making specific herbal formulas that is one of my specialities on request during a consultation.

Further treatment for hay fever and allergies

You can get a personalised hay fever action plan when you come in to see us at Holden HealthCare. A biofeedback session can help identify you own particular sensitivities, and a homeopathic desensitisation programme (which may include environmental pollutants and moulds etc) may also be indicated. I can make up bottles of herbal medicine including the herbs mentioned above if those are appropriate for you for you to take with you when you leave the clinic.

In a previous article, we also gave some tips if you have sinus problems.

If you would like to discuss your needs with Marion please contact her on to arrange a free 10 min Q & A to ask her if she feels she can help you or not. It doesn’t cost you and there is no obligation to have an appointment. We don’t use hard sell tactics, if you feel after speaking to Marion that she can help then please contact David on 0274 837 188 to make your booking. Thank you.

Marion Stobie, PhD (Cand.), MSc, BA (Hons), ND, MH, Dip. Therapeutic Massage; member of: Natural Health Practitioners New Zealand, NZ Society of Naturopaths, NZ Association of Medical Herbalists, NZ Natural Medicine Association. Marion is a highly qualified and experienced Naturopath and Medical Herbalist, and utilizes Fitgenes for advanced DNA health analysis. She has also been a tertiary-level lecturer in Natural Medicine.

If we listen to the media, it may seem at times that the message is quite confusing, from the alarmist “anyone of any age can get Covid, at any time” to the “well, I’m not in an at-risk group, so precautions don’t apply to me.”

But actually as often happens the truth is somewhere in between, and as natural health practitioners who like to look at the evidence, the actual science is revealing.

Covid-19 is an “opportunistic infection”, meaning that it takes advantage of people whose immune systems are not functioning optimally. Often this is taken as a characteristic of people who are said to have co-morbidities.

What does this mean? Who are these people?

What it means is that these people have underlying conditions which impair their immune function and make them more vulnerable to opportunistic infections – such as Covid-19. Sometimes these conditions are known and obvious, such as a diagnosed cancer, but sometimes they are hidden and the person is unaware of them, such as early onset heart disease, which can be developing even in a young person without any symptoms and without their knowledge.

Basically a co-morbidity encompasses inflammation in any of its manifestations in the body. We can all think of a few, and there may be others that don’t immediately come to mind. If we can think of inflammation as a small fire, and then along comes an inflammatory infection (such as Covid), then the inflammatory infection stokes that fire, like it puts petrol on it, and the person quickly contracts the disease and the fire is hard to put out. However, if the person does not have a co-morbidity, the flame of Covid is much easier for the healthy immune system to put out.

And it is worth mentioning that a 20 year old with obesity and an unhealthy lifestyle may be more likely to get Covid than a healthy weight 70 year old who eats a diet low in inflammatory food, so this is a lesson for the young not to be complacent nor for our senior citizens to all be concerned.

So what are included among the most common co-morbidities?

As mentioned before, being obese is a risk factor as obesity is an inflammatory condition – it is associated with a 46% higher risk of being Covid-19 positive. Cancer or anyone having chemotherapy or radiation treatment. Heart disease; diabetes, arthritis. Increasing age is inflammatory to varying degrees as degeneration does provoke an inflammation response as it breaks down tissue.

But it’s important to recognise that we are not powerless when it comes to both our infection risk and outcomes. Our lifestyle choices in areas like diet, sleep, exercise, and dealing with stress all factor into our immune competence and may well deny this coronavirus the notion of opportunism.

At Holden Health we like to explore causative factors implicated in ill-health, so we do take an active interest in working with co-morbidities and can help draw up a health plan for you to reduce your own risks.

If you are interested to see how we can help you, please call 09 282 3588 for an appointment.

As in all aspects of human life, the female reproductive system is a series of transitions, all of which are natural.

This article looks at the time in women’s lives when the body starts to produce less and less oestrogen, one of the hormones that promotes the development and maintenance of female characteristics of the body.

Menopause – the four stages

In Premenopause, oestrogen levels are high to sustain the production of eggs, and progesterone is high to sustain a pregnancy should fertilisation of an egg occur. The production of oestrogen and progesterone fluctuates in a monthly (approximately!) cycle, and when fertilisation does not occur the uterine lining slips away and the cycle begins again.

In Perimenopause, which may start between the ages of 35 – 45, oestrogen decreases as the ovaries run out of eggs, ovulation becomes irregular and periods become irregular. Sometimes there may be 40 days between each one, or maybe 21 days, and progesterone is not produced if ovulation does not occur. Moodiness, or changes in heat tolerance, or achiness may appear more frequently and seemingly out of the blue.

During this period oestrogen levels decline, sometimes in steep drops, and at other times more gradual drops to about 35% of premenopausal levels from age 35 -50, while progesterone drops 75%. It is this larger drop in progesterone in the perimenopause to menopause transition with an increased oestrogen to progesterone ratio that is a major player in the symptoms women experience.

Every woman’s symptoms during this time is different, but they may include hot flushes, vaginal dryness, urinary challenges, difficulty sleeping, a drop in libido and changes in metabolism (this frequently results in weight gain around the middle – fat cells act as another oestrogen-producing organ, and they may be trying to take over from declining ovarian function).

Some women experience forgetfulness, trouble focusing and problems with concentration as well. This transitional stage may last only a year or so, or it may be prolonged over 10 years or even more. It’s worth noting that it is still possible to become pregnant during perimenopause!

Women’s testosterone levels drop too during this time, and this hormone and melatonin can play a role in sex drive, sleep, lean body tissue and metabolic rate.

Generally the last period is experienced in the early 50’s. This signals menopause, and if you are seeing a health professional they will ask you when your last menstrual period (LMP) was. The term “menopause” refers to one year (twelve months) after the LMP, after which time pregnancy is no longer possible.  You may enter menopause earlier than normal if you had a hysterectomy or oophorectomy or if you have undergone cancer treatments, are a smoker, or have a family history of early menopause.

Post menopause refers to the time after that, when oestrogen levels have dropped and plateaued to a level approximately 75% of that of the premenopausal stage.

Causes of menopausal problems

While some women sail through these transitions smoothly, others have a much more difficult time with more severe symptoms over a prolonged period of time.

Some of the major causes of those symptoms may be high amounts of stress, poor diet and lifestyle, chronic toxin exposure, leaky gut and chronic inflammation, sluggish detoxification systems, or thyroid and adrenal problems.

Eating a diet high in inflammatory foods can increase inflammation in the body, for instance too much coffee, sugar & refined carbs can create blood sugar imbalances and fuel further hormonal fluctuation.

By mimicking oestrogen, too much soy can increase vaginal dryness and hot flushes.

Not drinking enough fluids may lead to dehydration, which can lead to heart palpitations, fatigue and dry skin, which are all signs of perimenopause.

If you have a sluggish liver, your body cannot detox properly. The substances that it detoxes are not only things like drugs (pharmaceutical and otherwise), cigarettes & alcohol, but also the breakdown and excretion of the body’s own hormones, which can result in an accumulation of hormones which can further contribute to hormonal imbalance.

Environmental pollutants such as chemicals used in the home, in processed or treated foods, or in personal products can act as endocrine disruptors if not broken down by the liver, so attending to liver health is very important.

What can be done for symptoms of Perimenopause?

Do you need further help and advice?

If you find that the topics above apply to you, or if you would like to find out more about the “how to’s” with an action plan, dietary advice, choosing the right combination of herbs or supplements for your own particular set of symptoms, please call or email for an appointment with me, Marion Stobie, naturopath and medical herbalist, at Holden Healthcare, 11 Gray Cres, Torbay, ph 09 282 3588.

Special for October

$200 for an hour and a half naturopathic appointment, $265 for two hours (please bring a food diary and a written record of your perimenopausal or menopausal history and dates).

Have you ever wondered whether “off-the-peg” health plans or diets were really right for you? Personalised genetic profiling takes out the guesswork.
By getting your own DNA tested, your practitioner will be able to design a personalised health and wellbeing programme to suit you.

This means that achieving your health goals are based on how nutrition, exercise and lifestyle choices interact with your genes to influence how effectively your body is functioning.

You can’t change your genes, but you can affect how they are expressed with the right nutritional, exercise and lifestyle choices.

With a Fitgenes genetic profiling DNA test, you can discover, for instance, why you can’t sleep after drinking coffee during the daytime.
The range of health concerns which can be helped include:

Fitgenes genetic profile reports are based on the science of how nutrition, exercise and lifestyle choices interact with our genes.
If you are serious about avoiding the conditions your own parents had, you need to invest in this test.

What can I expect?

At your first appointment, Marion will take a health history from you, to gain a good understanding of your challenges and your lifestyle.
A test kit will be given to you. The best approach is that you take the kit home and follow the easy directions given for taking the sample. The kit includes a swab which you use to gather cells from the inside of your cheek. You drop the sample into the test-tube provided and send it in the courier bag supplied to the company who forwards it to the test laboratory.

Payment for the test is taken at this first appointment.

It may take 3 weeks from the time you send your sample to the time when the results become available. As soon as the results are emailed through to Marion, she will contact you to make a time to come in and go over the results. In the interval between receiving the emails of the results and your appointment, Marion will study the results and write a user-friendly report and action plan.

At your appointment you will receive a folder containing:

Marion will sit down with you and go over the report with you and give you recommendations how to implement the information so that you get the best value from the knowledge you have just received.

This is very exciting and empowering! It is likely you will have a couple of “lightbulb” moments when something you have experienced or noticed now makes sense.


1st 1 hour appointment = $220 consultation + cost of test $499 = $719
2nd 1 hour appointment = $220.

CarbChoice is another Fitgenes product using a saliva sample which helps identify which carbohydrates the individual processes and metabolises the best. This could explain why some weightloss programmes are ineffective. After this a more targeted nutrition plan can be drawn up.

This test is $100 cheaper than the bigger Fitgenes test.

About Marion Stobie

Marion Stobie is an experienced New Zealand-trained Naturopath and Medical Herbalist who has been in busy clinical practice since 2000. She has been a tutor at Wellpark College of Natural Therapies since 2003, and particularly enjoys the rewarding challenge of supervising the students in their clinical training.

In clinic, Marion uses traditional naturopathic assessments which include blood pressure measurement and random blood glucose testing; she also uses a biofeedback system which is a very thorough & extensive non-invasive and accurate form of testing.

Marion sees a wide variety of clients including wellness clients who want to ensure they are doing the best they can for their health, clients who are looking for nutritional advice, clients with complicated health concerns, clients with stress, and also clients seeking oncology support.

By Marion Stobie, Naturopath & Medical Herbalist

It has been acknowledged for some time that 70-80% of the immune system is in the gut.

One class of tissues that the immune system has is called sampling tissues. One of the jobs of these tissues is to understand what the body is being exposed to, both chronically and acutely, and to learn whether or not it should be attacking those things..

Why is the sampling tissue in the gut? The gut is the largest site where foreign material enters the body. Some stuff comes in through the eyes, the nose, the genital tract, some through our skin where the skin is broken, but mostly it comes from what we put into our mouths, not just nutrients but also toxic elements from the environment.

Anything that enters through the respiratory route will also end up in the gut to some degree, because one of the things that happen is when viruses or other material are in the upper respiratory tract, they get trapped by mucus. One of the important jobs of mucus in your respiratory system is trapping things so that your immune system has a chance to assess and identify them. The cilia, the fine, hair-like structures that help sweep away fluids & particles in your lungs and airways, move the mucus up and then your sinus system drain the mucus down and all of that ultimately gets swallowed.

Everything from your nose, and your ears, and your lungs, all of that stuff eventually comes into your throat and you end up swallowing it. The swallowing part is really important because that’s where whatever’s being trapped in your respiratory tract and in the upper airways gets presented to the immune tissue in your gut.

Now viruses in general, and COVID-19 in particular, enter through the gut and causes a gut-based infection as well. In fact, at least 53% of the cases in one of the latest publications (April 2020) in the American Journal of Gastroenterology shows that they first present with gastro symptoms rather than anything else – nausea, diarrhoea, cramping and pain to the gut.

It may be that if there is a good response in the gut, that may help with our overall defence against Covid-19. Disclaimer: there are no validated studies on Covid-19 in particular, but there have been studies done on other influenza viruses.

The immune system uses short chain fatty acids (SCFAs) for energy, especially butyrate. We typically get small amounts of butyrate from fibre in our diet, so remembering to have a diet rich in fruits & vegetables over processed food it a good guideline.

Beta-glucans and Quercetin help the immune system switch from the highly inflammatory response to the more specialised targeted response, making antibodies against the virus.

Beta-glucans are found in certain mushrooms, oats, yeast and seaweed. A medicinal mushroom supplement may be helpful.

Quercetin is found in onions, grapes, berries, apples, broccoli & citrus fruit.
Probiotics also play a big role in modulating the microbiome in the gut, which in turn helps modulate the body’s immune response. There has been much research undertaken on probiotics, and different strains are indicated and recommended for different applications, for instance, one for irritable bowel, one for allergies etc. Spore-based probiotics are particularly indicated for the immune system and show dramatic improvements for conditions like intestinal permeability (“leaky gut”).

Another user-friendly aspect of spore-based probiotics is that they do not need to be refrigerated. Cow serum is taken and spun out and purified to extract the antibodies. When we add them back into our system, they go to work in our digestive tract, neutralizing viruses, bacteria, toxins, compounds, mould toxins, bacterial toxins and so on, thereby lending an important helping hand to our immune system.

Probiotics are present in some of the food we eat, but for therapeutic effects we need to take them as supplements.

Your health practitioner will be able to guide you as to the best one for your needs.

As a summary, as well as being aware of hygiene and upper respiratory care practices, it is also relevant to acknowledge the role our gut health may play in protecting us from Covid-19 and other seasonal viruses.

With Covid-19 prominent in our awareness this year and public messages about those with compromised immunity being more at risk, more of us are thinking about whether we fall into that category. If you know you have an auto-immune condition, you may be more likely to think that this may apply to you. But what if you don’t have an auto-immune condition? It may be that those little niggles (low energy, itchy skin, sore muscles, poor sleep, moodiness, sniffiness or coughs, occasional random bouts of diarrhoea or constipation) could be signposts to impaired immune function.

Learn how to boost your immune system! Don’t wait till winter illnesses strike, be proactive and get your immune system protection in place now!

Book a session with Marion Stobie and she will help you identify and address your own particular weaknesses before winter hits!

Marion Stobie

Senior Naturopath & Medical Herbalist

Marion practices the art and science of medical herbalism within the framework of naturopathic evidence-based practice.

Holiday Fun – & Flubs

So excited for the holidays! So often we hear this and say this at this time of year.

We New Zealanders have all our goodies at once – Christmas and New Year celebrations, time off work, and long, hot summer days to relax.

This all can be eagerly anticipated, and amazing, but for many of us it can be overwhelming.

It is not only the potentially extra financial burden (extra catering for cherished relatives coming to stay, Christmas presents (have I got the right one? Will he like it? He wants the more expensive model, 50% more than I had budgeted, but should I get it anyway?), and also social pressure – racing round to have lunch/ dinner/ coffee/ drinks with a friend whom we haven’t seen all year but absolutely must see before Dec 25th. The malls are busy & crowded and suddenly there is not enough time to get ready. And so on!

So this time of joy & celebration can bring on anxiety or even panic attacks for up to 75% of us according to a poll. A full-blown anxiety attack can often be mistaken for a heart attack, another factor to send stress levels soaring. If you feel that you are having a heart attack however, never hesitate to call 111.

There are many ways to address anxiety, no two people are alike.

For some, a good 5km run is just the thing to defuse & let off steam

For others, medication can help more than anything.

Here are some tips to help navigate through the Christmas holidays.

First Line

Walk away.

Stand up and move to another room. If you can’t find a space to be alone in, go outside, or into a bathroom or an unused bedroom. Distance yourself physically from whoever is angering you or upsetting you.

Sit down if you can and centre your breathing. Deep breaths – 4 seconds inhale, 4 seconds hold, & exhale fully for 7 seconds.

Don’t return to the group until you have calmed your breathing and you feel ready.

The Countdown Game

If it is too difficult for you to leave the room, stop engaging, & play the countdown game. Here’s how it goes:

  1. Find FIVE things you can see in your immediate field of vision. TV? Screaming child? Pohutukawa tree with a tui in its branches?
  2. Find FOUR things you can touch. You don’t necessarily have to touch them, but you can think about it. How soft your hair is, the beads on your bracelet, the silky feel of the dog’s ears, the grass beneath your feet?
  3. Find THREE things you can hear. Your siblings fighting? The kettle whistling? The birds singing outside?
  4. Find TWO things you can smell. Easy at Christmas, right? Cinnamon and spices from the mince pies? The pine smell of the Christmas tree (if you have a real one)? The cologne of a favourite relative?
  5. Find ONE thing you can taste. Maybe it’s wine, or chocolate, or a little slice of the glazed ham.
    Lose yourself in the game, and come back to engage with reality when you are ready.

Let the R.A.I.N. fall

R. Recognise when a strong emotion is present. Anxiety is not a weakness, a mental failing or childish. It is a scientific, physiological stress response that your body is experiencing in reaction to an uncomfortable or potentially threatening environment.

A. Allow it to be there. Fighting anxiety produces anxiety. Let your palms sweat, or whatever your physical manifestation of anxiety is. Don’t disagree with you body about what’s happening.

I. Investigate the feeling. Are you hurt by a certain comment? Outraged at ideological differences? Find out why you’re having the reaction you’re having

N. Non-identify with the feeling. Tell yourself that the feeling is not YOU. It is not yourself, your permanent state of being. It is a feeling. Acknowledging that can help take power away from the story the feeling is telling your brain.

If you think you may be prone to anxiety attacks over the Christmas holidays and would like to take something to balance you out, there are herbal combinations that may be helpful for you; if you would like to discuss one, please call Marion at Holden Healthcare and make an appointment before Friday 20th December.

The office is closed from Fri 20 Dec to Mon 20th January 2020; if you start to experience anxiety during this time, please try the tips above. If the anxiety persists into the New Year, please make an appointment to see me from Monday 20th January onwards.

Marion Stobie
Registered Naturopath, Medical Herbalist & Nutritionist

Aah, the holidays –  after Christmas & New Year, some of us have enjoyed Auckland Anniversary weekend, and those of us in New Zealand have Waitangi Day off to look forward to on 6th February.

Even if we don’t go away on holiday, we can still enjoy a “staycation”. It is a good opportunity to take stock of our lives, re-evaluate & perhaps re-set the course for the coming year. This may be in the form of establishing small good habits (eg, ensuring there is no food or dirty dishes left on the kitchen bench before leaving the house) to bigger things, like reducing portion sizes or committing to a regular exercise regime, or deciding whether what we do for work is really what we want to be doing with our lives.

The Build-Up of Stress

The build-up to Christmas and the summer holidays can be a very stressful time, something noted in an article in “The Listener” by an overseas author just before Christmas 2017; they marvelled how, unlike the Northern Hemisphere, we have Christmas, New Year, summer holidays and the end of the academic year all at once – no wonder many of us feel under pressure.

The summer break can be a good opportunity for us to examine how we manage our stress and we can explore coping strategies which suit us best. Stress is something we all have from time to time – some people more than others. Sometimes it can be good (helping us focus to meet a deadline), sometimes not so good (eg trying to fit too many things into one day, or making a presentation to a boss or to colleagues or to a public audience). Scientifically speaking, stress is an evolutionary adaptation to help us survive. It temporarily increases awareness & can improve physical performance for short periods of time. It speeds up the heart rate, breathing & raises blood pressure, which keeps us alert and tense. However, this is not meant to be sustained for long periods of time, as it can initiate health problems such as anxiety attacks, hypertension & obesity.

Some of us are stressed more often, & some of us stress out about everything. We can feel stressed even when there’s nothing specific we can identify as the cause – we are just tense and anxious all the time. This is where stress has evolved into chronic stress. This is nothing to be guilty about, it just is, and sometimes we need to seek support from an outside source. This is where making an appointment with a health professional comes in.

In some cases, going down the medical route may be appropriate. A visit to a GP may result in medication, perhaps only short-term, to give you space to sort yourself out. A GP may also refer you on to a specialist.

Natural Ways

However, in many cases, a visit to a naturopath for an overview of where you are at and for a safe place to discuss the problem & the factors contributing to it and to put in place a holistic plan is a good place to start. Naturopaths will discuss with you your lifestyle and help identify hotspots which may be causing distress & disturbing your equilibrium and then help you troubleshoot accordingly. You can be assured that you will be treated with respect and compassion, and of course everything discussed remains confidential. We look at diet, exercise and how you spend your down-time & tailor-make a strategy. It may be surprising just how effectively a little regular exercise can decompress stress and anxiety!

Meditation (or prayer) may provide answers. The adrenalin we experience when we are in stress mode is directly counteracted by meditation, which induces the exact opposite thing in the body; it slows down breathing, heart rate and reduces blood pressure.

Meditation does not have to be a big commitment – just a few minutes a day can make a big difference. It’s enough just to establish the habit.

Also, disregard the popular myths about “emptying the mind”. Meditation is about being present and paying attention to your thoughts.

In our clinical practice we have had some excellent results with clients who have chosen to go with guided meditation or imagery; they choose a setting which they particularly relate to and conduct themselves through a progressive meditation or pathway. This can be done either still and quiet in a room in your house, or, if you are that kind of person, it can be an active meditation, that is, done while walking. There are many apps you could look at, or ask your naturopath.

Then the idea is to try & apply the mindfulness mindset to your life in general; practise calming your mind and centring yourself whenever you can.

Sometimes when you come to talk to us about stress and anxiety management, as well as diet, exercise & lifestyle discussion we may prescribe a herbal formula, herbal tea or a supplement designed to help you relax.

The beginning of the year is a great time to address the issues of stress and anxiety, to take control and put a plan in place. If this is something you need help with, please do not hesitate to call us on 09 282 3588 to book an appointment with Marion or David.

I am proud to announce I now qualified to perform DNA Genetic Profile Testing! This is a cutting-edge science that can reveal a lot about your potential health and future well-being.

These questions and MORE can be answered by knowing your DNA profile.

Empowering Technology

The DNA Genetic Profile Testing enables us to identify genes predisposing you to a disease, allergy, and/or any potential health risks. This is empowering because if you know more about your unique risk factors, you can make healthier choices that will improve your genetic expression (Genetic expression is how your genes create important proteins in the body – for good health or bad).

The DNA Test is a simple and non-invasive saliva test which is sent overseas, and costs NZ$499. You only need to do the test once in your lifetime, because your genes don’t change. Only your genetic expression can! How your genes express depends on many factors – diet, toxic exposure, lifestyle factors, and even your habitual mental states! This area of gene expression is called Epigenetics, an exciting new field of study which could be the cutting edge of medicine.

With what you will know about your gene profile, and what we already know about epigenetics, you will be in the driving seat with your health.

The full DNA Profile Testing programme will consist of a pre-consultation, the DNA test, and a follow-up consultation with recommendations specifically tailored to your unique profile.

Please get in touch to find out more, and to book your programme.

Best wishes,
Marion Stobie

For further details, call Jax on (09) 282 3588 or email us

What do sinus problems look like? Well, do you suffer from the following:

If you have one or more of the above symptoms, it may be a sign that your sinuses are inflamed or blocked. Alternatively, it may be due to hay fever and pollen allergies, discussed in another post.

What happens in sinus problems

These are essentially inflammation of the mucous membranes in the sinus cavities; when these are inflamed they produce extra mucous. The mucous may discharge through the nose or run down the back of the throat, which may mean you are constantly clearing your throat or coughing. Alternatively, the sinuses may be so swollen inside that the mucous cannot drain out, in which case the congestion means you are more likely to have a headache and face pain. Incidentally, blocked or inflamed sinuses are right above the long roots of your top teeth, so you may also experience tooth pain – it may not be reason to see the dentist!

Sinus problems may originate from a headcold that has never cleared up properly, or it may be from a long-standing food or substance sensitivity, or some people experience troublesome sinuses at the change of season.

How a biofeedback system helps identify causes

While part of the treatment for sinus trouble can be applied to all causes, some treatment is specific to each causative factor. This is where the biofeedback scanner (QXCi) can be very useful. The biofeedback system identifies blocks that inhibit the body’s natural energy flows, such as a virus or a food sensitivity. It is of course much more effective to treat the sinus problem if the underlying factors are treated as well.

So, if a contributing factor is food sensitivity, the advice would of course include recommendations to avoid the food. If it is a virus (lingering or acute) or a seasonal, environmental sensitivity such as pollens, we at Holden HealthCare advocate using specially formulated phenolics. Seasonal sensitivity may indicate a constitutional imbalance as well; acupuncture can be very effective to address this.

At your consultation herbal medicine may be appropriate for your sinus condition; your herbalist will make up a formula designed especially for you.

How to treat your sinuses naturally

Some useful things you can do at home to ease the pain include:

If you need further assistance

To find out more about the factors behind your own sinus problems and how to treat them more effectively, book in for a QXCi biofeedback appointment with Marion by phoning Holden Healthcare on 09 282 3588 or email us.

Breast cancer – how common is it and what are the risks?

Breast cancer is the most common cancer in women in both developed and developing countries. Early detection increases survival, and we at Holden Healthcare encourage women to participate in routine screening programs. The average age of diagnosis is 60, however there is a growing incidence of breast cancer in younger women – nearly 6 per cent of breast cancers in Australia and New Zealand develop in women younger than 40.

It is well understood that there is increased risk for women who have a family history of breast cancer.  What is less well known is the association between breast cancer and controllable risk factors of alcohol consumption and abdominal obesity.

What does the breast cancer terminology mean?

Breast cancer is a term used for a variety of cancers that originate in the breast. Broadly it is categorised whether it begins in the ducts (about 90% of breast cancers) or in the lobules, and whether it is in situ or invasive. Some may be a mixture of in situ and invasive. Some of the less common breast cancers can arise in other structures in the breast, such as the lymph.

Staging describes the extent to which the cancer has developed. The most commonly used is Stage 0-IV, Stage IV being the most advanced.

The letter N followed by a number between 0 and 3 indicates the number of lymph nodes near the breast to which the cancer has spread. Therefore for example DCIS N(2) indicates ductal carcinoma in situ, with 2 lymph nodes affected.

What increases my breast cancer risk?

What protective factors could I consider?

What signs & symptoms should I look out for?

Management of breast cancer

Medical recommendations may include surgery, chemotherapy, radiotherapy and hormonal treatments.

After breast cancer diagnosis, find a good holistic health care professional who can provide guidance about all the natural and complementary therapies that may help you. It is easy to get overwhelmed by the volume of advice on the Internet, so it is important to find an experienced and well-qualified naturopath who can help you determine what is the best way ahead for you. Be comfortable with the person you choose – you may be working together for some time.

Be sure to have your partner or someone close involved as an integral part of your healing process.


It is best to eat a primarily vegetarian diet rich in vegetables and fruits. Eliminate red meats and completely avoid caffeine & trans fats found in commercially processed foods. Eat complex carbohydrates and fibre-rich foods. Consume fish and some nuts for protein. Your naturopath will help draw up a personalised list of foods and frame up a menu plan for you.


Always consult with a herbalist for the most appropriate herbs for you. This may, for instance, include lymphatic herbs which may improve the function of the lymph system and can actually help absorb cysts. Herbs that regulate hormone function and balance the endocrine system may also be included in your herbal formula. Taken as directed, herbal formulas can be a powerful therapy on the road to health. Safety in prescribing is an important part of a herbalist’s training, and you can be confident that your qualified herbalist understands the interactions between taking your prescription medications and herbal medicine together. In fact, some research studies show better outcomes for some patients who choose to combine conventional and herbal medicine than for those who use conventional medicine alone.


There are specific supplement protocols which your naturopath can advise you on. There may be nutritional deficiencies which may be most effectively dealt with in the first instance by supplements. It is well worth the investment to consult with a trained and experienced naturopath who can discern the quality and also the appropriateness of the supplements available, especially when taken in conjunction with prescription medications.

Other factors

We are not just our physical selves, and there are various practices such as massage, exercise outdoors and creative expression through a form of art, to name a few, which help relieve stress and bring about a more relaxed outlook, all beneficial in recovery from breast cancer. Your naturopath and medical herbalist can discuss these further with you and determine with you which works best for you.

We at Holden Healthcare take your health seriously and are well-trained and experienced in the care of breast cancer patients. See here for further information on what we can offer you.

If you would like to discuss this further with us, please do not hesitate to call us at Holden Healthcare on 09 282 3588

With very best wishes,

Marion Stobie

Clinic Address

87 Knights Road
Rothesay Bay
Auckland 0630
New Zealand

(0274) 837 188 - Please SMS as we are not always available to take your call.



Legal Medical Disclaimer: Information and statements made on this website and all our associated literature are for educational purposes only and are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease. David Holden & Holden Health Care do not dispense medical advice, prescribe restricted medicines, or diagnose disease. If you have a medical condition, we recommend that you consult your physician of choice.
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