Author: Sarah Firnberg

I am fascinated by the underlying causes of modern disease and by the scientific and medical research which demonstrates that disease can often be reversed by replenishing missing nutrients and changing lifestyle. My mission is to empower others to reverse their health imbalance and disease by assessing the underlying problems and giving them the information they need to change.
I’m worried . . .

I’m worried . . .

The trouble with constantly reviewing medical research is that I know too much! Here’s an example of what I mean. I didn’t sleep well last night, or the night before (more about why in a minute), and instead of ignoring it, or thinking it’s just one of those things, I start worrying.

I worry because I know that poor sleep makes you much more likely to suffer from early dementia, from diabetes and heart disease.

I know that, even one night of poor sleep can lower your IQ scores and performance in everything you are doing, for example, it makes it more likely you will have a car accident.

And even worse, poor sleep can age you. Your skin can become dry and saggy as the structure breaks down.

So when I don’t sleep well, I really want to know why, so that I can do something about it.

Wine is bad for insomnia
Naughty but nice

In my case, I didn’t have to look far. For two nights running I did just what I’m always telling my patients NOT to do. I had a large meal late in the evening and a couple of glasses of wine. I enjoyed it, but I paid the price . . .

There is a rather obvious moral to this story:

IF you have trouble sleeping, AND you eat big meals in the evening (especially if they are carbohydrate rich meals such as pasta, or desert), AND IF you drink wine in the evening, this might be the reason you are not sleeping well.

Wine and carbohydrates disrupt your blood sugar balance, causing highs and lows, which can jolt your awake throughout the night.  Additionally, alcohol stresses your liver, which tends to be hardest at work at around 4am.  A stressed liver can get quite uncomfortable, and bring you out of sleep in the small hours.

A big meal obviously challenges our digestive system, making us feel full and uncomfortable.  Another reason that you may not be sleeping.

For a few days, try to cut out wine and have a light evening meal. A bit of fish with a salad for example. Try to finish eating at least 2 hours before you go to bed. You may be pleasantly surprised at the difference.

There are many things which can potentially disrupt your sleep, but this is a really good place to start.

Two bad nights is more than enough for me.  Light early supper tonight.  No wine and and early night!

If you want help with your sleep, then book your FREE 1/2 hour appointment.  We can review your possible underlying causes, discuss what you need to do, and how much it will cost.

Sleep – Are YOU getting enough

Sleep – Are YOU getting enough

Sleep – why it REALLY matters, and how much do you REALLY need.


We all feel bad when we haven’t had enough sleep, but did you know that sleep deprivation is strongly associated with serious diseases like diabetes, heart disease, depression and Alzheimer’s disease.

Sleeping cat
It’s alright for some

Even just one night of poor sleep can make a difference to both your physical and mental performance the following day.

So how little is too little?  Well, most people need 7-8 hours sleep per night.  While missing one hour, in one night will probably have little effect, missing two or more hours sleep, even on only one night can already begin to impair both your physical and your mental performance.  For example, you are much more likely to have a car accident!

My patients quite often claim that they don’t need as much sleep as other people, that, say 5 hours per night is enough for them.  However, tests show time and again that this is just not true.  For example, if their blood sugar levels are tested first thing in the morning, the chances are, they would be raised to an unhealthy level.  The same goes for their reaction times.  Insomnia is also associated with poor mood control.  Sleep deprived people are far more likely to lose their tempers and be irritable.

So many of my patients suffer from insomnia, and it’s not a straight forward condition to work with, as there are so many potential underlying causes.

There are herbal and nutritional remedies which can help, for example, lavender can be extremely helpful, but until the underlying causes have been identified and systematically addressed, that good night can be elusive.

Watch out for my next post with some top tips for better sleep.

Can’t sleep? Insomnia – Worse than you think

Can’t sleep? Insomnia – Worse than you think

Is this you?

You’ve suffered insomnia for months or even years.  You wake up feeling exhausted, you have that hollow tired feeling at the back of your head which just won’t shift?  You’ll fall asleep at the drop of a hat during the day or evening, but you just can’t sleep at night, you can’t get to sleep or you keep waking.

Or maybe you sleep through the night, but feel you just haven’t fallen into a deep sleep, and you still feel tired all the time.

Whatever your sleep pattern, insomnia has a profound effect on all aspects of our health, and at least 40% of us suffer from it at any one time.
Did you know that, just one night of poor sleep can cause a hitherto healthy person to be diagnosed as diabetic.  This is because of the huge impact sleep deficiency has on our blood sugar regulation. This was demonstrated very clearly in the recent BBC series “Doctor in the House” which I watched with interest as I met the Doctor in question, Dr Rangan Chatterjee, whilst we were both studying Functional Medicine in London.

Not surprisingly, weight gain and craving for carbohydrates are also associated with poor sleep.

What’s more, your performance, in everything you do, will be affected by poor sleep too. Studies have found that intelligence, focus, memory and reaction times, are all reduced by insomnia. This is clearly going to impact on your performance at work and on the sports field.

As if that wasn’t bad enough, chronic insomnia has been found to affect your risk for getting many chronic diseases as you age including Alzheimer’s disease, Cardiovascular disease and Cancer.

“Sleep that knits up the ravell’d sleave of care . . . balm of hurt minds, . . . . chief nourisher in life’s feast.
William Shakespeare – Macbeth.

I love this speech by the troubled Macbeth. , I used to love it for it’s visual imagery, but now, it has an extra resonance because it’s SO apt. Shakespeare had an intuitive knowledge of the importance of sleep.

Sleep does, indeed nourish and restore us, particularly the essential 3-4 hours deep sleep we should (but so often don’t) all achieve.

Sleep is something I ask all my patients about in their first assessment. Whether they have trouble falling asleep, or staying asleep. Are they falling asleep during the day, or in the early evening, as soon as they sit in front of the TV, or do they wake too early. Are they restored by sleep or would love to just crawl back into bed.

If they have sleep problems, I always prioritise this in their health programs.

Sleep is an interesting and complex area of health, but, most people are able to transform their sleep patterns and their health. It’s just a question of knowing how.

To be continued . . . .

In the next post, I will look at some of the many reasons people don’t sleep. In the final post, I will be discussing some tried and tested solutions.

Check out my Insomnia Workshop:  Stop Insomnia from Stealing your Life



Top Tips for a Cool Menopause!

Top Tips for a Cool Menopause!

Feeling the heat?  Then read on . . .

Imagine you could go back to a time you were feeling great.  Your body, mind and spirit were under control.  Menopause wasn’t even on your horizon.

Wouldn’t that be great?  However, for many women, the reality is very different.

One year, you’re feeling great; getting on with your career, your family, your life, but then, quite suddenly it seems, you are plagued by hot flushes, insomnia, low mood, low energy, anxiety, uncontrolled weight gain, embarrassing memory lapses and more.  You feel dried up and fed up.  All you want is to get back to how you felt before.

At least 60% of women going through the menopause experience symptoms for around 5 years, and for around 40%, those symptoms are severe and life disrupting.

Women tell me they feel like they’re falling apart.  Everything starts going wrong and they are losing control.  The women I see want to avoid (or come off) HRT because of the health risks, but they don’t know what else they can do.

Fortunately, there is so much you can do!  I’ve put together my 5 top tips for sailing through the menopause with ease, but if you want to know more, come along to my WORKSHOP:

5 Hot Tips for a Cool Menopause

  1. Anxiety and stress can bring on a hot flush in a second. Breathing exercises are a great way to calm your life:  Find a quiet, peaceful spot, close your eyes, and breathe deeply, from below your ribs, relaxing your abdominal muscles.  Feel the tension leaving your body with every out breath. Try to do this for a couple of minutes, several times a day.
  2. Happiness, energy and better sleep will all be improved by exercise. It’s been proved many times.  Don’t set yourself unrealistic goals.  Even a 30 minute walk every day can make a big difference.  If you’re procrastinating, stop!  Just get out there for a walk, and see how much better you feel afterwards.
  3. What you wear can make a big difference to how you cope with hot flushes: Try to wear several thin layers of clothing.   It’s worth planning ahead.
  4. Know your trigger foods.  We all know it’s important to eat a healthy diet, but did you know that some foods directly trigger hot flushes.  Foods such as coffee, alcohol, spices and sugar.
  5. Supplementary vitamins, minerals, essential fats and herbs have all been proven to be beneficial. In fact, several published, placebo controlled studies have shown that herbs and /or nutritional supplements can be as effective as HRT.  But it’s important to choose high quality supplements, and to ensure your supplements are safe alongside any pharmaceutical medication you are taking.  It’s worth visiting a consultant who specialises in drug-free health.

Want some help?

Book a free 1/2 hour phone or face to face consult by filling in my Preliminary Assessment Form for guidance about the best way forward for you.

Or come along to my workshop by clicking on this booking link: WORKSHOP

Link to workshop page on this website





Detoxification – Safe and Effective Inner Cleansing

Detoxification – Safe and Effective Inner Cleansing

Is Toxicity The Reason You Feel Unwell?  sad :sick woman looking out of window

Following a supported detoxification program can be one of the most effective
strategies for rapidly improving the state of your health.  

CLICK HERE to get started

Ask yourself these questions:apple

  • Are you often tired or lethargic?
  • Do you regularly suffer from bloating, diarrhoea, constipation or other digestive disturbances?
  • Do you get recurrent headaches?
  • Are you regularly suffering from muscle aches and pains?
  • Does poor short-term memory and concentration affect your ability to function at work?
  • Do you have allergies or sensitivities?
  • Do you suffer from depression, anxiety and /or mood swings?
  • Would you like to look glowing with inner health?

Staying Healthy in a  Toxic World   

broccoliWith more than 2,000 new chemicals being produced every year, infiltrating our soil, air, water and food supply; exposure to toxicity is an unfortunate, yet unavoidable fact of modern life.  A ‘toxin’ refers to any substance that has the potential to interfere with cellular function and both our short term or long term health.  Our bodies are designed to be able to process and remove toxins via key elimination channels including our digestive system, liver and kidneys; however, individuals may vary in how toxins affect their health.  Individual variations may be due to:

  • Toxic burden:  This represents your level of exposure to various toxins, and may include dietary allergens, such as gluten, food additives and preservatives as well as occupational, environmental or lifestyle related toxins such as cigarette smoking or exposure to hazardous chemicals eg herbicides and pesticides, cleaning agents or some chemicals used in cosmetics.  Toxins can also be created internally as part of normal, healthy metabolic processes, or by bacteria in the digestive tract, or recirculation of waste from the bowel.
  • Toxic resistance: This describes your ability to process and eliminate toxins effectively and refers to the impact they may be having on your health.  In the modern world, it is less common for health issues to arise due to high levels of exposure to a single toxin, rather, health challenges may arise as a result of additive effects of ow-level exposure to a broad range of dietary and environmental toxins.

Safe and Natural

A natural detoxification program can be one of the most effective strategies to improve the state of your health, as it will help clear toxins out of your body and leave you feeling healthy and energetic.  Detoxification is serious business however, and your safety and comfort during detoxification is important.  You should not attempt to do a detox without guidance and support from a trained Healthcare Practitioner.olive oil and lemons

Comprehensive Detoxification

An effective detoxification program will include natural supplements which support your body’s detoxification and repair systems to function effectively.  This program will give your body a thorough spring-clean to leave you feeling fantastic again!

Dietary Tips

During your detox, you will be recommended a diet based on your individual requirements.  The diet will ensure that you are eating the right foods for your body in order to maximise the detoxification process.  There are some simple diet changes which you can make today to help reduce your level of toxicity, such as:

Always look for fresh seasonal fruit and vegetables.

  • Remember to avoid packaged and processed foods as much as possible.
  • It is important to eliminate foods containing artificial colours, flavours, additives and flavour enhancers, as well as foods containing hydrogenated fats.
  • Read the ingredients list to ensure that the food does not contain high amounts of gluten and/or sugar.

Living the Detox Lifestyle

There are also some simple lifestyle changes you can make to help you detox:  cucumber in water

  • Exercise: For optimum health and detoxification, you should aim for 30-40 minutes of exercise three to four times per week (such as  brisk walking or swimming).
  • Avoid recreational drugs: You might be surprised to know that these include caffeine, tobacco and alcohol (and I’m guilty of using two of these from time to time!).  You should try to avoid these whilst you are detoxing.
  • Drink water: One of the easiest things to do to get your system detoxifying better is to drink lots of water.  Ideally, the water should be as pure as possible, so try to use bottled or filtered water.  Drink at least two litres of water per day (more if it’s hot or you are exercising).
  • Detoxify your environment: Try to eliminate or minimise your use of cleaning products (instead, use vinegar, lemon juice, bicarb, which all make excellent alternatives).  Be careful about which personal products you use.  Avoid aluminium containing anti-perspirants, try to minimise your make up, avoid hairspray and avoid synthetic chemical based insect repellents.

CLICK HERE To find out more