Health Works in Hyde Park Corner is one of Joburg’s premier health stores and has been for 20 years, because of the idea that they only sell one product… Health! Founder Linda Weech and her team of dedicated and knowledgeable consultants have a longstanding history of excellent service. Of course, when the #HelloRecommends team got chatting to me about Heath Works I was intrigued.
Having been offered the chance to try out one of the services offered by Health Works, I was spoiled for choice. While I’m interested in Gut Health and DNA Analysis, I went with Live Blood Analysis as I think it’s what I need most at the moment. Live Blood Analysis is a tool of Integrative Medicine, which claims to detect imbalances in hormones, nutritional deficits or even diseases by observing live blood cells under a microscope. It’s far more complex than that little summary, but more on that later. For now, my experience at Health Works.
First practioner Thandi McCleod chatted to me about my general lifestyle and stress levels but didn’t ask if I had any issues I wanted to work through which surprised me. Just as we were about to take a blood sample, Health Works owner Linda popped in. Linda is both calm and simultaneously full of enthusiasm and energy. After a quick chat about Linda’s journey with Health Works, Thandi and I carried on. I’d assumed that the sample would be taken from my elbow crease, but it was a few drops from the fingertip. Much easier to handle. After quickly determining my blood type (I’m an O), a slide with the sample went under the microscope.
Seeing the microscope slides of my blood cells was fascinating! Before the sample was drawn, Thandi told me she’d tried to stalk me online but couldn’t find anything (spelling error that turned Bagshawe into Badshawe, I’m used to that). This means that she didn’t know anything about my eating habits before the sample was up on a computer screen. Yet within less than a minute Thandi could determine that I eat little to no meat (true), I had the classic nutrient deficiencies seen in vegetarians or vegans, I’d recently had alcohol (it was a Monday morning guys), that I either had irregular period (nope) or was using hormonal contraceptive (yup) and that I have low inflammation (yes). It was so impressive that all this could be seen from looking at that shapes and movements of cells!
The very things I’d wanted to find out about, my iron and vitamin B levels, were the highest priorities for Thandi. She prescribed either adding supplements or changing to a different supplement as my absorption levels are low. I’ve never been good at remembering to take supplements but this is now very important for me as they are the only two supplements recommended after this analysis.
Other than that my blood was healthy and normal. We spoke about the basics of the Blood Group Diet and I found it encouraging that Thandi believes it is possible to be a healthy vegetarian, maybe even plant-based, on the Blood Group Diet which advises high meat consumption for O blood groups. Even though my protein looked good under the microscope, Thandi advised me to keep watching my protein. Most interesting was her advice to lower grain intake, especially refined grains. It’s interesting as I’ve never had issues with gluten or grains before, but in the last few months I’ve found anything with white flour seems to leave me lethargic and often bloated. It’s a very new development.
A little bit more about Live Blood Analysis; Live Blood Anaylisis uses a dark field microscope, the light strikes the blood from the sides, not underneath like other microscopes. This means you can see the movement of the drop of blood on the slide. It differs to other blood tests in that the blood is live (or ‘wet’ if you like) instead of dried and stained before going under the microscope. The idea is that fresh blood lets you gain more information.
LBA gets a lot of negative press and for the sake of complete transparency, I’m going to say why and like always, leave you to make up your own mind. No studies on LBA have found supporting evidence, the field is largely unregulated and the qualifications are unrecognised by many in the medical field. Naysayers called it quackery. Thandi was open about this and told me to research further, saying that she was initially sceptical about the practice but experiences have changed her opinion. According to integrativemedicine.co.za, Live Blood Analyisis “Gives a picture into one’s health at a cellular level”. They also call it “preventative healthcare”, it’s a way of gauging health in a general sense. Live Blood Analysis is not a replacement for medical attention or blood tests, nor do Health Works or their consultants claim it to be.
I enjoyed this session at Health Works so much and luckily one of you guys will win one R1000 voucher for Hyde Park Corner courtesy of Health Works. All you have to follow @sheena.bagshawe, @hpchydeparkcorner and @hellojoburgmag on Instagram then tag a friend in the comments on my Instagram post about this experience, telling us which Health Works service you’re the most interested in! For bonus points, you can comment below and tell me which of the amazing Health Works services you would like to try!