What Your Body Is Trying to Tell You: 3 Signs You Should Not Ignore in Hong Kong

Everyone is familiar with symptoms, but fail to recognise the signs before symptoms fully develop.

Your body is more clever than most people give it credit for. Every second your heart is beating pumping blood through your body, your lungs are inhaling and exhaling, your immune system is fighting off viruses constantly and you don’t even have to think about it! Your body does all this for you, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

The body is a magnificent marvel of nature, designed to protect you and keep you going. With a little bit of tender loving care (sleep, good nutrition, exercise, water, self awareness) your body can continue to do this vital job. However, even if you were capable to meet all of your body’s basic needs, every person’s body also has additional unique requirements too.

Whatever the reason might be, when things get too much for your body you know about it: you get sick. However, what people often do not realise, is that your body usually gives you little signals (think of them as gentle biological taps on the shoulder) to let you know when something is not quite right before the symptoms manifest themselves more obviously physically or emotionally.

If you know how to read these signals, you could prevent illness from ever developing in the first place. You could even prevent disease.

Our team of leading practitioners at Balance Health have come together to help identify 3 of the most common and often overlooked symptoms in Hong Kong, what those signals could mean and what to do about them.

So come with us and let us decode and unlock the not-so-secret language of your body together.

1. Runny, blocked noses, sneezing, discomfort at the back of your nose

What could these common symptoms mean?

According to the World Health Organisation, allergies affect up to 40 per cent of the world’s population, and the rate is rising, with allergic rhinitis being the most common. Rhinitis is the inflammation of the nasal passages and some factors which could contribute to this increasing problem are: pollution, air conditioning, pollen and dust. Expatriates are especially susceptible to this as Hong Kong might provide them with a completely new environment which contains allergens which they are not accustomed to.

What to do?

It might seem mission impossible to avoid the aforementioned irritants when we live in a toxic city. However, you do have control in your own home. An alarming new study published by The Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology, has found that rising trend in rhinitis could be caused by household cleaning products which expose us and our children to harmful chemicals such as propylene glycol, EDTA and volatile organic compounds.

Irene Li, certified Aromatherapist, lets us in on her little secret to an alternative, safe, natural household cleaning product: essential oils. Not only do essential oils boost productivity or calm and soothe you, they are packed full of antibacterial properties and 100% natural.

The household recipes are simple to make, but for a quick fix Irene suggests this households cleaner by the reputable essential oil company Young Living.

2. Stiffness

What could these common symptoms mean?

Head, neck and shoulders feeling stiff? Or maybe even your back and legs? You are not alone. The University of Hong Kong carried out a study in 2005 showing that most (90%) frontline service, such as medical professionals or office executives, reported feeling pain, paralysis, inflexibility, and stiffness in more than one area.

Stiffness is your body’s way of saying that something is not right, and let me just stop you before your mind jumps to the hours spent poured over the computer or phone. Stiffness could indicate deeper imbalances in your body other than signaling towards our societies poor-postured technology driven lifestyle.

Maggie Huh, our qi meditation specialist has seen many patients who have often dismissed stiffness as a serious symptom. “There are a lot of factors which could lead to stiffness, and although a physical massage or stress detox can alleviate the sensation of muscle tension, it can sometimes be only a temporary respite”, explains Maggie. “Poor blood circulation, often gets overlooked  as a reason for stiffness in Hong Kong. But this needs to change and this symptom needs to be seriously addressed to ensure that the symptom does not develop into other illnesses or get worse.” Maggie revealed that where people feel this stiffness is somewhat irrelevant when it is caused by poor blood circulation, “everybody is unique in where they feel stiff, but keep in mind that just because you feel stiff in say your neck and shoulders, it does not necessarily mean that the issue is isolated to that part of your body”. Other signals hinting to poor blood circulation include: digestive issues, cold hands and feet and weakened immune system.

What to do?

If you think this sounds familiar then a first thing you can do is have a consultation with a Traditional Chinese Doctor. They will be able to prescribe you with some natural Chinese medicine which can promote blood circulation and strengthen the heart.
Dr. Kenneth Chu, our Naturopathic Doctor and Nutritionist also suggests that you eat foods rich in heart-healthy omega 3 fatty acids such as salmon and avocado. Or indulge in those goji wonder-berries that are packed full of goji goodness.

3. Poor Concentration & Anxiety

What could these common symptoms mean?
Anxiety is another symptom that people who live in Hong Kong have to contend with. It may be most commonly associated with adults as a byproduct of daily busy Hong Kong work lifestyle, however more and more children are becoming exposed to stressful environments making them more susceptible to developing anxiety later in life. High expectations in their education from many parents and also the schools desire for high achievers could be one factor to blame. The South China Morning Post explored this theory further, revealing that 28% of Hong Kongnese pupils are tested to their limits. The study showed that the resultant pressure manifested itself in “worrying” symptoms of anxiety, which are severe enough to seek medical help. Signs to watch out for in both children and adults comprise of both psychological and physiological symptoms. Other than poor concentration and anxious behaviour, it is important to watch out for: IBS (irritable bowel syndrome), rapid heartbeat, muscle tension, dry mouth, sweating or even a shortness of breath.

What to do?
If you believe that some of the symptoms apply to yourself or your child there are several things that you can do. First thing to do is to reach out for support. At Balance Health we understand that sometimes it is not easy to find the right therapy or treatment that gives you or your child that perfect fit. That is why we offer a free 20 minute Holistic Consultation. In this session you can share your personal situation with Judy Xu, our Holistic Coach. She will listen to your needs, your concerns and goals and will help you to select the best path for you and your family, demystifying the process.

Another path which is more suitable for adults is to take a blood test to check your thyroid gland, sex hormones, gut function (stool analysis) and heavy metal status. After having a consultation with a Doctor, they will be able to help you prioiritise the tests which will give detailed information on whether there exists any imbalances underlying the symptoms of stress and anxiety.

 

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