Should you be Brushing or Combing?

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The Combing / Brushing debate

A long time ago, when my partner and I were working full time, a family friend recommended a new hairdresser for the two of us.  We were busy working stupid hours and found it hard to fit in ‘normal’ activities like going to the hairdresser.  Millie, who did after-hours house calls, came to our home late one Tuesday night and changed my life forever.

She saw what no other hairdresser had seen before – My hairbrush.  Millie caught sight of my hair clogged round plastic brush in the bathroom and freaked out.  A fine toothed comb lay beside it on the bench.  She asked me to brush my hair a little and I did.

She watched in horror at my slap and tear brushing technique and she demanded that I stop immediately.  She asked me if anyone had ever shown me how to brush my hair before.  I said No.

I’d never thought about it before.  Millie insisted I toss out my brush, and recommendedI buy a boar hair bristle brush and a wide toothed comb.  The next time she came to our house to cut our hair, she taught me how to use them.  Here is what I learned.

What is the difference between Brushing and Combing your hair?

When I was growing up, combing and brushing your hair was spoken about as same thing.  The tools were interchangeable and no one could really explain to me what the difference was.  It has taken me 25 years, a kindly hairdresser and a little research to really understand the fine art of hair brushing and the reasons why we should be combing sometimes.

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the lazy comb

Brushing Your Hair

  • The first reason to brush is to clean your hair.  Brushing is the best means to remove skin flakes, dust, dirt and hair products from your hair.

When your hair is out, it picks up dirt and pollution from the air.  Dry skin from your scalp gets tangled in your long locks and you might find doesn’t look very shiny.  That is because your hair is probably dusty.  Brushing your hair is the best way to remove all this dirt from your hair.

  • The second reason to brush your hair is to spread the natural oils through your hair that are produced in the scalp.  Scalps have a natural moisturising system, which is why the hair around your scalp might seem a little oily.  This oil needs to be moved down your hair shaft to nourish and moisturizing the entire length of your hair.

The little bristles of your hairbrush stimulate your scalp to secrete more oil, lubricating and protecting all your hair.

Brushing your hair is meant to be slow, deliberate and gentle.  Brushing your hair is the best way to clean the hair, move the natural occurring sebum from your scalp down the hair shaft, smooth and soften your hair.  Hair brushing is meant to take time.  Hair brushing is a beauty therapy.

WHICH BRUSH? – Always use a natural BOAR HAIR BRISTLY BRUSH.  They come in different sizes from SMALL BRUSHES and LARGER BRUSHES.  It just depends on how much hair you have.

For the details you need to know HOW TO BRUSH YOUR HAIR while it is still very fragile, keep reading here.  Brushing your hair should usually happen at night time.

Combing Your Hair

AIM – Combing your hair is the best way to manage your hair if it’s wet, tangled or needs styling.  Your hair is at it’s most fragile when wet, so a wide toothed comb is best for in the shower and when using a conditioner.  If your hair is particularly tangled, remember to comb from underneath the tangle, don’t comb from above.  Oh no!

Use a comb when you are pulling, parting and styling your hair.  Combing is also the best precursor to brushing as it gets your hair ready and can be used to divided easily into sections after it has been combed.  Combing your hair should mostly happen in the morning.

WHICH COMB? – Start with the widest biggest comb you have and then get smaller  Always use a LARGER SHOWER DETANGLER for combing your hair when wet and a SMALL COMB for being really gentle and smoothing your hair.

In summary – Brush your hair slowly to clean and nourish it – with a boar hair bristle brush – at night.  Comb your hair to detangle and style it – with a wide toothed comb – during the day.

I hope this helps.

Stretching before bed with ITP

ITP and sleep

Why Should You Stretch Before Bed?


Stretching before bed not only calms your body and mind before sleep, it releases tension in your muscles and draws them into relaxing.  Stretching has known to be benificia for thousands of years.  Did you know that the asansa of yoga where practices as a means to stretch out the body before meditation and pary.  Prepares the body and mind for relaxation, clear heads and focuses mind – relaxed and stress free.

One of the side effects for many medications is inability to sleep.

“Stretching in the evening is just as important as in the morning, which is when most people think about doing it,” says Laurel, Maryland acupuncturist Allison Vaccaro.

“Like acupuncture, stretching helps break up stagnation and encourages movement throughout the channels. Stretching in the evening helps loosen the muscles that haven’t been used during the day. Many people spend their evenings sitting on the couch watching TV. Some hit the gym first thing in the morning, then sit at a desk all day. These routines prime the body for stiffness, and can produce pain at night and upon waking.

“Patients of mine who follow my advice to stretch at night report better sleep quality, and less pain and stiffness in the morning.”

Seven Simple Stretches for Sleep

Start at your feet, toes even and work up the body so that you know you have stretched out your entire body.  the whole sequence should only take a couple of minutes.  Should not be about flexability or how far you can go.  Should be a focus on slowing down your body and preparing for sleeping.

1. Feet

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2. Calves

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3. Thighs

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4. Legs

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5. Hips

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6. Back

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7. Neck

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ITP Symptoms treatment

Feature image from HEALTHYPLACE

There is a part of being chronically ill that a lot of people don’t talk about – Fear – but I thought we should have a little chat about it now. Why not?

I can remember when I was first diagnosed with ITP (5 years ago now) I became afraid of the strangest things.  So many aspects of my life that I used to take for granted where suddenly fraught with danger and worry.

I was a ‘sick’ person and standing at the top of a flight of busy stairs was a frightening idea.  I became scared of riding my bicycle on the road around the city, and crossing a busy street.  I was afraid of knives, blades and hitting my head on the kitchen cupboard doors.

The blood rushed, I grabbed my foot to my chest and held it so tight my knuckles turned white.

I was scared of hurting myself and bleeding in front of others, of having them stare or fuss over me.

All of these things were always a danger – but I had been made aware of them now, and I was finding it hard to ignore.  Eventually – over the years, a lot of these fears have moved to the back of my mind, replaced with other worries like being late, or loosing my wallet, but there is one fear that is still with me.

I am still afraid of being alone. I don’t mean romantically, I mean actually alone.  I am scared to live in a house on my own.

A few years ago I was at home one night, rearranging our house.  We must have just moved in, because I had been to Ikea and bought a few photo frames to frame so old sketches from Art school.  I was so careful removing the glass and  unscrewing the sides, leaning everything against the end wall as I went.

I stopped mid project to make dinner – and when I returned to the lounge room, I walked carefully around my projects admiring how a frame can lift a drawing so dramatically – When I heard a dull crack and felt a hot white slice – burn through my foot.  The blood rushed, I grabbed my foot to my chest, and held it so tight my knuckles turned white.

One glass plane had slide silently down the wall onto the carpet and lay invisibly on the carpet.

To this day, I still feel sorry for my mother, for the horrible phone call she received from me that night.

I have not found any way of making that fear go away. Sometimes, I think that there is no cure for fear, you just learn to be ok with its presence.

If you know someone that does suffer a chronic illness perhaps ask them about their fears, get them talking about what they have become afraid of.  It can reduce the power, if fears are known and understood.

You have your own fears without getting caught up in the fears of others.  In the past I have been influenced by other people being scared for me.  Like the nurses when I went to get my contraception changed, or friends not wanting me to do silly or exciting things.  Family not wanting me to travel too far away.

They will only be worrying because they care or they are interested in what you have, either is a compliment that you should just take and shut up about.

What does it feel like? Information for Parents

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We have recently received a lot of messages from parents with children diagnosed with ITP, some as young as 2 years old.  Parents are looking for as much information as they can find.  These are messages of kindness and confusion as they try to better understand what their children are going through.  The most common question is this…

 – What does it Feel Like to have ITP? – 

So what does it feel like to have ITP?  If you were trying to explain what it felt like to have ITP what would you write?

Screen shot 2013-11-10 at 4.32.19 PMHow do you feel on the Bad Days?  How do you feel when your platelets are falling?  How does it feel after you have exercised or exhausted yourself?  How do you feel when you don’t get enough sleep?  When you bang your wrist on the door?  How do you feel when you can’t cool down?

We would like to collect as much information as possible about how it feels to have ITP on behalf of all the children who can’t describe what they are going through to their parents.

If you are willing to contribute your own feelings on having ITP – What it feels like to YOU – We would love to hear from you.  Everything you share will remain anonymous (apart from your gender) and will be made available shortly in an article posted on this site.

Contact us through our email or message us on Facebook.  

Thank You

Why getting sick might be good for you?

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This is a controversial topic among ITP sufferers but one that must be mentioned.

I have read a lot of forum talk from both sides of the argument.  Each side of the debate seems back up by their own lived experience of getting sick while having ITP.  Some people find getting a virus, cold or illness will reek havoc on their ITP.  Others are completely the opposite. When they fall ill, they feel amazing!  Their platelets rise and their bodies enjoy the process.

All I can go by is my own experience.  I have found that when I have a VIRUS OR COLD (which is rare in itself) my blood count tends to look pretty good.

I have spoken to my haematologist about this and, though there are no definitive answers as to why, the general understanding is this – When my body is illness free, my immune system starts to attack my blood.  However, when there is actually a virus or bacteria to attack and kill, my immune system’s ATTENTION IS DIVERTED to actual duties.

There are patients with ITP who state that the medications and supplements they take to treat the cold or flu that effects their blood count.  They believe it is not a case of the immune systems attention being diverted, but more to do with taking better care of yourself when you are sick.

I tend to not take anything when I am feeling a little sick.  The best medicine is a few days off work, bed rest, (Netflix) plenty of water and to wait it out.  However crappy.

I know that this is not the case with everyone but it works for me.  If you know for sure that cold and flus are bad for you, stay in with this months’ book club recommendation for winter.  But perhaps, if you are one of the lucky ones, like me – head out and kiss all the snotty nosed, sick children you can find and give you platelets and bone marrow for that matter a break this winter.

Heat and Headaches with ITP

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As I sit down to write this post I can feel one coming on from behind my eyes.  It has been there for a few hours and I have been quite and calm and steadily swallowing glasses of water.  I made myself do yoga, stretched every muscle in my body, and lay still on my back to meditate.  The blinds are closed, the lights are off.  I am now waiting for the headache to come.  Convinced that I can beat this without panadol.

The pain has been there – behind my eyes and one side of my brain – for a few hours and it has not gotten worse.  Perhaps it wont come?  Perhaps it will not turn into the migraine I predicted.

It is summer time and the headaches are back.  This year I am trying to not take the tiny white tablets.  The harmless household pain killers that are popped without another thought.  I am going to go natural.  I am going to lie still in the dark and try to listen to what my body is telling me.  I am going to try my best to give it what it needs and hope the pain goes away.

And what is my body asking for right now?  White chocolate.  So I am eating it.

What do you use?

Natural Painkillers

  1. Aromatherapies
  2. Massage
  3. Meditation
  4. Yoga
  5. Acupuncture
  6. White Chocolate