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ciren wellbeing The autumn brain Primitive instincts present a modern challenge

Autumn herbs and autumn people What to grow and what to take in autumn

Allowing time to settle The essence of craniosacral work

Also in this edition:

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Self-help for joint & muscle pain Stress: The balancing act Discover Bowen, begin healing Find equilibrium in autumn Homeopathy for colds & flu

November 2014

Welcome! Welcome to the first ever edition of Ciren Wellbeing! The theme for this edition is ‘autumn’, and it’s packed full of selfhelp advice and interesting insights into the wonderful world of Complementary and Alternative Medicine (CAM). When we decided to publish Ciren Wellbeing, we wanted to create a free resource where local people could discover natural ways to get well and stay well, whether through self-help or by seeing a qualified local CAM practitioner. Thanks to our expert contributors, we think we’ve achieved our goal. Enjoy!

Sarah & Ri

What’s inside? 1


Finding equilibrium A Chinese medical take on staying healthy in autumn


Discover Bowen Find out what the Bowen Technique is all about


Stress: the balancing act Combatting adrenaline and cortisol

Sarah Attwell-Griffiths, A cupuncturist (Lic Ac, BSc (Hons) Acu, MBAcC)

Ri Ferrier, Craniosacral Therapist (BA (Hons), RCST)


Please get in touch We want Ciren Wellbeing to be an enjoyable and useful read, so we would love to know what you want to see in our next quarterly edition due out in February 2015. We also welcome your comments on this edition. Please get in touch via email at or

Autumn herbs and autumn people What to grow and what to take in autumn


Allowing time to settle The essence of craniosacral work


Homeopathy and the autumn equinox Discover a homeopathic remedy for colds and flu


Are you a local CAM practitioner? We’re already looking for contributors for our next edition. If you are a qualified CAM practitioner serving people in the Cirencester area and would like to submit an article for publication in Ciren Wellbeing, email Sarah at

Is my pain worse now the weather is cooler? Self-help for joint and muscle pain

Begin the healing process How the Bowen Technique lets your body heal itself


The autumn brain Primitive instincts present a modern challenge

Is my pain worse now the weather is cooler? Rob and Laura are the owners of Dyer St Chiropractic clinic in the centre of Cirencester. As the temperatures start to drop, the team chat through the most common questions they get asked in the run up to Christmas each year.

What are the best ways for me to relax muscle tension?

R: I find that it isn’t the cold or snow that makes joint pain worse. It is the damp, rainy weather, especially when the weather is changeable, mild one day and raining the next. This change in weather causes a change in air pressure. The change is pressure is what affects the joint capsules, resulting in varying levels of pain and stiffness as the seasons change.

R: Acr oss the shoulder s and in the lower back are the key areas where people hold tension. Most of the time I find this is to do with posture, sitting for long periods and stress. In the winter, the best self-treatment for general aches and pains is to warm up the area. Use a heat pack across the shoulders and at the base of the spine when sat in the evening. A warm shower or a hot bath also helps (be careful sitting in the bath for too long with low back pain). Going for a swim is a wonderful way to help yourself. It gets you moving, which I think is part of the problem in the winter. Wrap up and keep yourself warm so you don’t end up walking hunched up and tense.

My back stiffness is worse in

How can I help ease muscle

the morning. What can I do?

pain across the shoulders?

L: It is common to feel stiff and tight when first getting up in the morning. It is probably a good idea to change your routine in the morning when the weather is cooler. Spend 10 minutes walking and moving around, then have a shower or a warm bath, then run through some simple back stretches (we can show you how to do these).

L: Cir cle your shoulder s 20 times both ways and then spend some time focusing on bringing your shoulders down and back. Sit up straight and squeeze your shoulder blades together to take the stress off the shoulder muscles. There is a good stretch for the muscles across the shoulders which should be done if you are going to be sat all day.

Why is my joint pain worse in winter?

Dr. Laura Gibbs, Dr. Robert Beaven Doctors of Chiropractic Rob and Laura help local Cirencester people with back pain, muscle aches and joint pain. There is no need to be referred by a GP. The team have day time, evening and Saturday morning appointments available. 01285 671442 Sit up straight with good posture, sit on your left hand, bend your neck moving your right ear towards your right shoulder. Hold this position for 30 seconds increasing the stretch when you can. Repeat on the other side. Repeat morning and afternoon and you’ll feel a big improvement in your muscle tension. 1

Finding equilibrium The shadows have lengthened, the trees are letting the last of their auburn leaves fall away, and we sense a deepening stillness in the Cotswolds. The air is suffused with a curious mixture of loss and reverence. With the passing of Samhain in the way-back-when, we would store our precious food reserves for winter. Now, we store our inner reserves in ways we barely notice. We stay indoors a little more, we go to bed a little earlier, we move a little slower. The Cotswolds is thousands of miles and thousands of years from the roots of modern Chinese medicine, where and when Daoist philosophers described how the stillness of winter’s Yin increases while the exuberance of summer’s Yang fades. Yet these principals still govern the way our emotions and bodies respond to the strange inbetweeness of autumn. In the poetic language of Chinese medicine, precious metal is used as a metaphor for the essence of autumn, the “Metal Element”. The Metal Element describes that aspect of nature that creates cathedrals of bared trees, their lost leaves gold under our feet. It also describes that aspect of our being that enables us to know what is valuable; to see the particles of gold in the dirt. As it enables us to know what is precious, it also 2

enables us to know what it is to lose that preciousness. By extension, the Metal Element gives us our ability to feel both reverence and grief. In its wonderful way with metaphor, Chinese medicine goes on to associate the Metal Element with our bodies. It observes how both awe and grief take our breath away, and it associates breathing with the Metal Element. It is curious to observe how this time of year brings any vulnerability in our respiratory systems to the fore. The NHS offers flu vaccinations and acupuncturists usher those with respiratory problems in for preventative treatment. There are also things that we can do for ourselves to find physical and emotional equilibrium at this time of year: Chinese medicine encourages us to follow our instinct to slow down, to withdraw a little, to recognise that our physical and emotional reserves are valuable, and to conserve them. It tells us to protect our precious bodies from the cold with scarves and coats, and by avoiding cold foods. It encourages us to eat foods that ward off respiratory tract infections, like horseradish, garlic, fresh ginger, honey and liquorice. Chinese medicine also tells us to recognise the once-precious things that we have lost and to allow ourselves

Sarah Attwell-Griffiths Acupuncturist (Lic Ac, BSc (Hons) Acu, MBAcC)

Sarah holds a First Class BSc Hons degree in acupuncture and has published groundbreaking research in the European Journal of Oriental Medicine. Sarah offers daytime, evening and weekend appointments, online bookings and card payment facilities. 07825 360621 to grieve at this time of year. It encourages us to seek out still, beautiful places where we can feel the awe and reverence that provides the emotional ballast necessary for the experience of grief. With the storing of our precious reserves and the passing of grief, we can enter the absolute stillness of winter’s half-sleep; that quiet coalescing of our deepest reserves in preparation for the rocketing birth of spring.

Discover Bowen As the leaves fall, the temperature drops and the days grow shorter we feel our minds and bodies instinctively slow down and turn inward. Our ancestors would have used this time to prepare their bodies for the long winter months ahead, when saving energy and surviving harsh conditions were the priorities. In our modern world this natural time of change, of letting go and resting, no longer coincides with a change in lifestyle. With our lives busier than ever, and autumn no excuse to slow down, we push our bodies ever further, increasing our exposure to physical, mental and emotional stress. We take for granted that our bodies will deal with everything we throw at them, but when something goes wrong, our lives can be heavily impacted and we want recovery to be swift. By allowing the body to do the work of investigating the source of the problem and making the necessary changes, the process of readjustment can be rapid and long-lasting. This is exactly what the Bowen Technique does. In a series of gentle, rolling-type moves performed over very specific areas of muscle and other soft tissue the body is encouraged to investigate areas of pain or dysfunction. Working with the autonomic nervous system, the body is encouraged into a state of relaxation, allowing the healing process to begin.

This is facilitated by two-minute breaks given by the therapist between each set of moves. The process of realignment and adjustment which the body undergoes can continue for several days following a treatment as the body sets its own pace for healing to occur. A Bowen treatment encompasses the whole person, often enabling the body to address several issues at one time. The technique is highly effective for treating muscular-skeletal problems such as back pain, frozen shoulder, whiplash, sports injuries and sciatica as well as organic conditions including asthma, fibromyalgia, ME, digestive problems, infertility, menstrual problems and baby colic. Even long-standing conditions can be relieved in a small number of treatments. Usually only 2-3 sessions are required to bring about long-term results, with many people finding relief in the days following their first treatment. Because the technique is gentle and has no sideeffects it is suitable for everyone from newborn babies to the very elderly. With no oils used, a treatment can be performed through light clothing and can be adapted for those unable to lie on a couch or who are confined to a wheelchair. There is nobody who could not potentially benefit from this powerful, highly effective thera-

Jodie Bensley-Jones Bowen Therapist Jodie is a qualified and insured Bowen Therapist offering daytime, evening and weekend treatments. Treatments can be performed at your home or workplace at a time suit you, or at The Cotswold Academy in Cirencester. To book a treatment or discuss how the Bowen Technique can help, contact Jodie by telephone or email. 07803 056799 py, which works with the body’s own systems to restore balance and harmony. So as you feel your body yearning to hibernate this autumn, take note of all those niggling aches and pains. Embrace this season of change; rest and nurture your body through the cold, dark months. By trusting and allowing your body to restore equilibrium you will emerge rested and strong when spring finally arrives. 3

Stress: the balancing act The 16th National Stress Awareness Day was on 5th November. This year’s theme was ‘Stress: the balancing act’. Solution Focused Hypnotherapist, Wendy Page reflects on how she helps her clients to gain control across their work, play and lifestyle.

If I look back over 2014 I have worked with clients aged 8 to 80, all of whom sought support for stress or anxiety related conditions; from behavioural issues, severe panic attacks leading to agoraphobia in extreme cases. Stress affects us all, no more so than in the workplace. By far the largest percentage of clients I have helped are from professional backgrounds – financial advisors, teachers, nurses, HR/IT experts, graphic designers – all of whom were looking for help to reduce excessive pressure in their lives. Our early ancestors faced very real hazards on a daily basis, resulting in the development of stress responses to enable survival against predators. In reality, we rarely face lifethreatening situations, but we all still have the in-built automatic response which activates when our minds perceive we are in danger, regardless of whether the threat is ‘real’ or not. We are not that far re-

moved from cavemen. Even though difficulties at work, a house move, exams or relationship problems are not lifethreatening, they are the kind of situations that will cause us to become stressed, which invokes a primitive reaction. When we feel under threat, we secrete the stress hormones adrenaline and cortisol, which have a profound effect on our bodies. Adrenaline increases our heart rate and raises our blood pressure. Cortisol increases sugar levels in our blood; it also suppresses the functioning of internal systems, such as our immune response, digestion and reproductive system. Our moods are also affected, impacting our motivation and generating fear.

Wendy Page Solution Focused Hypnotherapist

Prolonged stress can even affect our short-term memory. In a study, researchers from the University of Iowa found a link between high levels of cortisol and the gradual loss of synapses in the part of the brain that processes short-term memory. Synapses are connections that process, store, and recall information. Repeated and long-term exposure to cortisol can cause them to shrink and disappear, potentially contributing to mental decline and memory loss as we age.

ty, digestive problems, high blood pressure, sleep problems, weight gain, concentration problems and decision-making impairment.

Stress can manifest itself in a number of ways; extreme anxie-

Wendy is a fully qualified Solution Focused Hypnotherapist at The Complete Health Centre. Please call 07880 336723 to book a free 45-60 minute initial consultation or visit for more details. 07880 336723

I work with clients to help lower stress levels by enabling them to relax. This gives their mind and body respite from the hormonal onslaught. Then, by using solution focused therapy techniques, I encourage clients to respond to their situation in a more constructive and positive way, focusing on future events and looking at ways to make tomorrow better than today.

Autumn herbs & autumn people Just as the year has four seasons, many systems of healing have a fourfold classification of the ‘cold, hot, damp and dry’ kind. The tr aditional ‘humours’ of sanguine, choleric, melancholic and phlegmatic are still useful in identifying medicinal herbs which will suit individual people. Just as we have a season which suits our nature, so we have a natural affinity to different plants. Autumn people prefer to save than to spend, are often uncomfortable in hot, humid climates and are prone to moist ailments: catarrh, chestiness, candida and athlete’s foot. In the autumn garden one of the most popular flowering plants are the Rudbeckias and the Echinaceas. Echinacea is the most well-known medicinal herb, and is widely taken as an over-the-counter remedy for winter infections. It is an American plant, used for hundreds of years by the native people there and brought back to Europe by settlers. Echinacea is somehow a masculine plant, with a very strong action. It is the root and rhizome which are used in medicine. It contains seven major pharmacologically active compounds, the chief of which has significant immune-enhancing and mild anti-inflammatory properties. It promotes tissue regeneration and is antiviral and antibacterial, active against Staphylococcus aureus and other organisms. It is readily

available in tincture form so do not be tempted to dig it up from the garden. Another important root harvested in the autumn is that of another Compositae member, Inula helenium, the elecampane with its yellow daisy flowers. Found growing wild and in gardens, Inula is a remedy primarily used for the lungs. The essential oil is antiseptic (active, like Echinacea, against the TB bacillus) and stimulates the ‘escalator’ of tiny hairs which bring mucus up from the lungs, and the saponins it contains stimulate the bronchi to expel mucus. A valuable remedy for congested lungs, especially in the elderly, it is prepared by chopping the fresh root into small pieces for drying. The powdered root can be infused in water in a vacuum flask the better to extract the volatile oil. As the name suggests, it contains inulin, which acts as a probiotic, attracting beneficial digestive bacteria to the interactive gut surfaces. Unlike Echinacea, liquorice (Glycyrrhiza glabra) is unlikely to feature in the flower garden as it only has delicate (for which read ‘insignificant’) flowers. Harvested in autumn, glycyrrhiza (meaning ‘sweet root’) contains, among other active compounds, triterpenoid saponins which interact closely with the hormones of the adrenal

Caroline Sheldrick Medical Herbalist (MNIMH)

Caroline is a medical herbalist practising in Swindon, Cirencester, Nailsworth and Stroud. carolinesheldrickmedical 01453 884 092 cortex. It has anti-inflammatory and anti-arthritic effects similar to hydrocortisone. It also creates a viscous lining to the stomach, reducing gastric erosion, and is widely used for treating people with peptic ulcers. It is much sweeter than sucrose and is used to make delicious confectionery. In large doses it can raise blood pressure, and should only be used cautiously without medical advice. Most common herbal remedies are safe to use at home, but if in doubt seek advice from a qualified medical herbalist such as a member of the National Institute of Medical Herbalists. (

Allowing time to settle At this time of year, we can often end up feeling tired and exhausted. Ruled by the r elentless demands of our busy work and home lives, we find that we cannot follow the natural rhythms of the change of seasons. Where nature tends to slow down at this time of year, our lives tend to follow the same pattern that they did in Spring and Summer when the days were long and the sun was shining! Learning to settle helps to slow down the pace of life and helps the body to re-access its resources. Even a short space of settling (10-15 minutes) can have a harmonious impact on your wellbeing. That’s because, in the settled place, time opens up and we become immense, absorbing everything that we are. Have you ever taken the time to watch an autumn leaf meander to the ground? This is a perfect visual of what it means to settle within oneself, the essence of craniosacral work. The dance between our inner world and the outer world is the key to health. Separation creates disease; it creates dissonance. Our bodies are always seeking to return to balance but we tend to rest within confinement, focussing on the outer world and ignoring the core 6

pattern that has built up within our bodies. Settling within oneself allows you to witness the unfolding story within your body – moment by moment. It allows you to access the potency that is there – your own pool of vitality. Learning to settle is not difficult; anyone can do it. Your attention will ebb and flow and this is natural, so just let it be. Concentrating on the breath automatically settles the body and your senses become more open. Even one deep breath is a huge resource for your body and soul. This is usually the best starting point! Next, imagine a plumbline from the crown of your head, down through your spine and entering into the ground. This is your midline, and your body organises itself around it. You may become aware of parts of your body that feel ‘tight’ or ‘stuck’. Again, just acknowledge this and bring your attention back to your midline and breathing. You may experience a ‘tidelike’ motion through your body – this is the ‘breath of life’ and is the absolute nature of things, the energy of life. Now, imagine yourself back at a time or place where you felt good: maybe laughing with friends, out in nature or listening to music. Allow your body to

Ri Ferrier Craniosacral Therapist (BA (Hons), RCST)

Ri trained with Resonance Training and is accredited by the Craniosacral Therapy Association. She has also trained in the Beauty Way Native American Medicine path with Arwyn DreamWalker for the last 12 years. Ri offers sessions from Cotswold Academy in Cirencester on Thursdays and Fridays. 07970 555348 remember this experience, not just your mind. Let it expand throughout your body. Feel how this makes you feel more spacious, more open and more relaxed. In this place, you can really know the answer to ‘what makes me feel strong inside?’ You can come back to this place at any time – settling is a great life skill to enable you to meet the world in a more skilful way.

Homeopathy and the autumn equinox Autumn has finally arrived after such a long and prosperous summer and I couldn't help but wonder, what does the word “equinox” actually mean? On investigation, the meaning is “the natural atmosphere of the earth”. In simpler terms it is “the ambiance, condition and status”. What is our “state and condition” at this time of year when all is damp and all is dark? What can be done to keep our immune system healthy throughout the coming months of winter when we are surrounded by an entourage of coughs, colds, sore throats and flu? Let us maintain our “ambiance” this autumn and revitalize our immune system with energy, a dynamic energy, with a dynamic medicine.

being safe, gentle, nontoxic and free from side effects. What would I recommend for colds and flu?

GELSEMIUM, Scented Jasmine

Natalie Williams Registered Homeopath

Natalie is a registered, insured and licenced homeopath, working alongside GPs at the Phoenix Surgery in South Cerney. Natalie also has a clinic in Northampton. 07952 735805 The Complementary Suite The Surgery Clarke's Hay South Cerney

This is wonderful for the characteristic symptoms of flu: vague aches and pains, chills up and down the spine, a heavy feeling in the head and weariness with sore muscles that feel bruised.

It is also useful for Homeopathic medi- What would I colds with the accompanying sympcines help to stimurecommend for toms: profuse sweatlate the body's own natural healing colds and flu? ing, fever, sneezing, copious watery dismechanism and it is charge from the nose and a sore a complementary medicine. throat with shooting pains when What does that mean exactly? swallowing. Homeopathy can be used alongside other treatments and will The homeopathic remedy is not interfere with the beneficial matched to the person’s sympeffects of conventional meditoms in a like for like fashion. cine. It also has the bonus of

So, if you have three or more of the symptoms mentioned, then Gelsemium could help you to feel better.

Homeopathy has been used for over two hundred years and is popular worldwide. In the UK 12% of the population trust homeopathy1.

(1) Global TGI Barometer; issue 33; Jan-08


Begin the healing process Having only lived here for just over two years I am still enchanted by Autumn in The Cotswolds on a daily basis. It may be that this deep appreciation will last forever. I hope so. I am mostly struck by autumn’s ability to ease me and hopefully everyone, into Winter. Whilst I am busy admiring stunning red, orange and gold trees and shrubs, set against a bright blue sky with fluffy white clouds, the weeks tick by. More pheasants and partridges scuttle up and down the roads, themselves beautiful and colourful. It is all truly breath taking. The air becomes cooler and crisper and the thrill of the first fire of Autumn builds. Eventually it is cold enough and everyone heads to the sofa to soak up the warmth and atmosphere that the fire inevitably creates.

these changes. Re-balancing, thus helping the body to heal itself naturally, is vital. The Bowen Technique is one way to achieve this. A gentle form of bodywork using subtle moves over key structural points in the body, The Bowen Technique is a truly holistic therapy which can target a specific problem or address the body as a whole.

It is extremely gentle and is considered appropriate for anyone from pregnant women to new born babies, the frail and the elderly. It can assist recovery from many conditions, from traumatic injury to chronic illness, It is extremely depending upon gentle and is the individual’s considered capacity to heal.

appropriate for anyone from pregnant women to new born babies, the frail and the elderly.

Throughout this change outside we also start to notice changes within our bodies. Often we feel more tired, less inclined to venture out in the evenings. The dreaded “colds” start and our eating habits change. It is therefore always useful to look after ourselves during

A series of very gentle and precise Bowen moves are performed over the muscles and connective tissue, sending messages deep into the body, retrieving cellular memory of a relaxed, balanced way of well being and initiating a cascade of beneficial changes that continue for several days. The technique addresses not only the musculoskeletal framework, but also the fascia, nerves and internal organs. The body's

Karen Benbow Bowen Therapist Karen qualified with The Bowen Therapy Academy of Australia in June 2004 and belongs to The Bowen Association UK. She is qualified to the advanced Bowen standard and has completed the Bowen for Mothers and Babies course. Karen practices from the Cirencester Hypnotherapy & Health Centre at 84 Dyer Street. 07786 971041 integrated response may improve circulation and lymphatic drainage, aiding the assimilation of nutrients and elimination of toxins. There are frequent but essential pauses throughout the session that allow the body time to assimilate each move and begin the healing process.

The autumn brain Spring naturally merges into Summer, then the energy shifts as the leaves turn golden and russet, the air turns crisp and the nights start to draw in with the winds of change, and suddenly Autumn is surprisingly upon us. In nature, the smaller animals start gathering nuts fallen from the trees’ abundant offering, in preparation for hibernation. We, as humans, also start to think about battening down the hatches in preparation for the darker, colder months. The human brain is a mysterious organ. Depending which part is activated, it will perceive this 'change' as a threat and go into hibernation mode, or it will adapt and embrace the benefits that the change can bring. We have two 'mind management' systems in our brain. The primitive part, which is the original and central part of the brain that was predominantly used when we were living as cave dwellers. Our primitive mind is the emotional part of our mind that is on constant look out for perceived threat. It is programmed to keep us safe, and essentially alive. It is a mind that behaves very much like a stuck record and reacts to changes in the environment in a vigilant manner. This can manifest in feelings of unease, anxiety or even feeling low and depressed.

We also have the much more evolved outer cortex, the intellectual mind that understands, welcomes and adapts to constantly changing modern advancement and innovation. Our intellectual mind is the part of our brain that makes sense of our lives, is flexible and makes allowances for the changes that are happening in our environment.

Dipti Tait, Toby Sillence Solution Focused Hypnotherapists

When the season changes from summer vibrancy, to the autumn retreat, the brain can quite easily slip into primitive thinking and go into protective hibernation mode. If we were still cave dwellers, we would not be surprised if our mood and habits changed from being happily active to more vigilant as the daylight hours lessened. The nights drawing in presented increased danger to the cave dweller. The primitive response to less daylight is a heightened sense of vigilance and high alert because it associates darkness with danger.

more, and that change is inevitable rather than dangerous.

This can explain why we see an increase in disorders such as SAD (Seasonally Affected Disorder) and depression in the darker months. The way we suggest combating feeling SAD or depressed due to the change in season is to learn how to access the evolved intellectual mind, which is the part of our brain that can remind us that we are not in primitive times any-

Solution focused hypnotherapy teaches simple mind management skills, enabling access to the intellectual mind to stay in control over emotional reactions to change. These skills include learning how to deeply relax, focus concentration on the positive things in your life and learning how to adapt and benefit from your ever changing environment.

The Cotswold Practice is a discreet and luxurious hypnotherapy practice based in the heart of Cirencester. We have two therapy rooms and we are open 7 days a week, and also have evening slots available. Dipti: 07818 050999 Toby: 07769 666365

Our contributors Acupuncture


Sarah Attwell-Griffiths

Natalie Williams 07825 360621 07952 735805

Bowen Technique Jodie Bensley-Jones 07803 056799

Karen Benbow 07786 971041

Chiropractic Dr Laura Gibbs, Dr Robert

Hypnotherapy Dipti Tait, Toby Sillence Dipti: 07818 050999 Toby: 07769 666365

Wendy Page 07880 336723


Medical Herbalism 01285 671442

Caroline Sheldrick

Craniosacral Therapy 01453 884 092

Ri Ferrier 07970 555348

Are you a local CAM practitioner? If you are a qualified CAM practitioner serving people in or near Cirencester and would like to submit an article for publication, email Sarah at

Profile for Ri Ferrier

Ciren wellbeing nov 14  

Welcome to the first ever edition of Ciren Wellbeing! The theme for this edition is ‘autumn’, and it’s packed full of self-help advice and i...

Ciren wellbeing nov 14  

Welcome to the first ever edition of Ciren Wellbeing! The theme for this edition is ‘autumn’, and it’s packed full of self-help advice and i...

Profile for riferrier

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