Belsize Park therapist tells you how to ‘die healthy’
- Credit: Archant
Belsize Park therapist Anne-Lise Miller jokes that an alternative title for her self-help book could be “try to die healthy”.
As it is she chose the punchy Too Young To Grow Old to deliver a message to the over 40s about taking control of your health before it’s too late.
When clients walk into her Chalk Farm clinic they often hope she’ll order them to ditch their bad habits.
But the no-nonsense naturopath, who specialises in detox retreats and colonic hydrotherapy, wants them to take responsibility for their own health.
“They want me to tell them to give it up but that’s not going to work.
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“I advocate mindfulness. First you have to become conscious of what is wrong and to understand that we have a choice about what we do. After that you can make choices, and decide priorities.
“If you choose to drink coffee, eat cake and consume alcohol you do so conscious that it has an effect. I find this approach is better than just saying ‘don’t do it’”
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Miller argues that we shouldn’t just accept that ill health is an inevitable part of growing old.
“So many chronic diseases; heart disease, diabetes, arthritis, obesity, are preventable yet people live the last 20 years of their life with a poor quality of health, needing drugs and doctors.
“If you start in time you can avoid some of the things that lead to those diseases and have a much more pleasant old age. My message is ‘get a path to healing, change your thinking and don’t leave it until it’s too late.’”
After studying biology, Miller trained as a dancer until a series of injuries put paid to her career. She has now been working in nutrition, hypnotherapy and psychotherapy for almost 30 years. She formerly had a clinic in England’s Lane and still runs detox retreats in France and Scotland.
“Dancing makes you very mindful of your body, your tension – I started out in massage and body work then it evolved because I was fascinated by how the body works.”
Miller’s not a fan of radical diets or boot camp work outs, preferring an integrated “mind and body” approach to improving wellbeing.
“People come to see me for nutrition or massage but generally they have an underlying problem. You have to analyse it in a holistic way; emotional, physical. You have to understand how it all works together – none of the solutions have to be extreme they just have to be integrated.”
Packed with practical information, case studies, detox plans, recipes and infographics, Miller’s book includes advice on healthy ways to lose weight, revive your libido, banish brain fog and get through the menopause.
Although detoxes are an effective way to get the body to clean up - which she points out have been used for thousands of years in Chinese and Ayurvedic medicine - her mantra is movement then food, arguing that exercise is better than nutrition at keeping us healthy.
“It has a more significant protective effect and preventive gain than any aspect of nutrition. That sounds like you have to sweat and put in a lot of effort but it doesn’t have to be like that to see a benefit. Movement can be very small, just walking would do.”
She adds: “People are beginning to understand that health is their biggest asset and by the time they have lost it it’s too late.
“I would rather they understood the problem and became proactive, took responsibility for the way they are feeling and paid attention to the messages their body is giving out.
“Sometimes you make a choice because you don’t know better – it might just be information. Get the right information and get them to make the right choices.
“I want this book to read positively. If you understand better you choose better and feel better.”
Too Young To Grow Old is out now Fisher King Publishing £14.99.