Patient EducationPosted by November 16th, 2016
How can I improve my sleep?
Try these tips for a better sleep!
- Make your room as dark as possible
- Use low lighting in your bedroom
- Be aware of electromagnetic fields (EMFs)
- Tu r n o f f t h e T V
- Use your bed for sleeping and sex only
- Clean up your bedroom
- Choose comfortable bedding
- Keep your bedroom cool but not cold (21 C)
- Consider a white noise devise
- Avoid loud alarm clocks
- If you go to the washroom at night, keep the lights off
- Invest in a comfortable mattress
- Sleeping with pets or children may disrupt your sleep
- Sleep in complete darkness
- Sleep nude or in light pyjamas
- Establish regular sleeping hours
- Get to bed by 11 pm (or 10!)
- Sleep 7-9 hours each night
- Welcome the sunshine first thing in the morning
- Keep household lighting dim from dinnertime until bedtime
- Develop a calming bedtime routine
- Avoid stimulating activities before bed, such as watching TV or using the computer
- If you cannot fall asleep, get out of bed and do something else until you feel the desire to sleep
- Try journaling or making lists
- Exercise at the right time
- Exercise your mind
- Take a hot bath, shower or sauna before bed (2 hours before bed) , add Epsom salts
- Avoid napping
- Avoid caffeine any time of the day
- Avoid bedtime snacks high in sugar or simple carbohydrates
- Try to avoid fluid sin the 2 hours before bed time
- Limit alcohol intake
- Complete meditation or visualization in the evening
What is an Elimination Diet?
What is an elimination diet?
As the name implies, this diet is designed to temporarily avoid certain foods for 3 to 4 weeks (this is called the elimination phase), followed by a period of systematic reintroduction of certain food groups. The latter is called the reintroduction phase and may last up to nine weeks.
What is it used for?
The purpose of this dietary protocol is to identify possible food sensitivities that have been correlated with hypersensitive immunological reactions. Such sensitivities may range from mild or hardly noticeable reactions to severe generalized allergic responses. Nonetheless, any hypersensitivity will play an important role in keeping your body’s immune system in an increased state of activity.
Are there alternatives to the elimination diet?
This diet is often a practical and economical alternative to comprehensive laboratory investigation. However, if for some reason you are unable to follow the guidelines of this protocol, the following are some selected alternatives you can discuss with your naturopathic doctor.
- Computerized electrodermal testing (Red Paw)
- IgG and IgE Blood spot testing (Rocky Mountain Analytical)
- Gemoscan Food Intolerance Test or Meridian Valley Laboratory Food Allergy Test
This is a period of 3-4 weeks, during which certain food groups will be eliminated from your diet. At a minimum, you should completely avoid dairy products, red meat, wheat and eggs. These foods are involved in more than 81% of all food sensitivities. However, to properly explore any potential hypersensitivity, you should ideally eliminate:
- Processed foods, dairy, chocolate, citrus fruits, soy (all forms), strawberries, nuts (especially peanuts and walnuts), eggs, shellfish, red meat, cofee, tea, banana, wheat and gluten containing foods (including barley, rye, oats, spelt, kamut, amaranth, quinoa, and malt)
- Other foods that are likely to cause sensitivity/allergy that you should also strongly consider eliminating during this phase include: potatoes (sweet potatoes, yams), squashes, yeast, corn, tomatoes, peas
For the next nine weeks, food groups that have been eliminated will be progressively added to your daily diet. This systematic reintroduction of potentially allergenic foods will allow for the identification of any hypersensitivity you may have. In general, first reintroductions should be in small portions so as not to induce non-specific responses. It is also important to document all foods, liquids, supplements, medications, moods, symptoms and reactions in a diary.
What is a Castor Oil Pack?
Castor oil is extracted from the castor plant (Ricinus communis). Taken internally it acts as a powerful laxative, but is not recommended to be used in this way. If applied externally or topically it has unique medicinal actions on the body:
- It penetrates skin and muscle to reach right into underlying tissue and assists in decongestion and breakdown of inflammatory material.
- Improves eliminations in the gastrointestinal and genitourinary tracts; stimulates peristalsis; maintains the mucous membrane lining.
- Improves assimilation in the gastrointestinal tract; balances acid secretion in the stomach; stimulates liver, pancreas and gall bladder secretions; etc.
- Improves coordination of the functioning of major organs, glands and systems; stimulates the nervous systems; regulates metabolism; etc.
- Improves lymphatic circulation
- Draws acids and infection out of the body
- Beneficial in the treatment of menstrual irregularities
Where to buy castor oil:
Although pharmacies tend to carry castor oil, larger and more cost efcient sized bottles are available from local health food stores. Palma Christi brand makes good quality castor oil.
How to make a castor oil pack:
Take a piece of flannel or cotton toweling folded 3 or 4 times and large enough to cover the entire area to be treated.
Pour castor oil all over it until it is thoroughly soaked. Place over the skin and cover with a large piece of saran wrap.
Cover all this with a heating pad or hot water bottle and leave in place for up to one hour.
After use the pack can be wrapped in plastic and stored in the fridge (bring back to room temperature before use). The pack should be discarded after 10 uses.
Castor oil packs are recommended as part of your basic treatment guidelines for maximizing your body’s healing potential.
What are probiotics?
What are Probiotics?
Probiotics usually refer to bacteria that are health promoting. They can be found in many diferent fermented products such as cheese, yogurt, tempeh, and miso. The most common bacteria species available commercially are: Lactobacillus acidophilus, L. bifidus, L. brevis, L. casei, L. plantarum, L. fermentum, L. bulgaricus.
The lower gastrointestinal (GI) tract, the urinary tract, the mouth and the skin contain many diferent strains and species of microorganisms (bacteria, fungi). These bacteria and microorganisms come from the environment and are not present at birth, we are born microorganism free. Thus the microorganism culture that inhabits our gut, urinary tract, skin, mouth are all dependent on the environment in which we live and the foods that we eat. Some of these microorganisms are considered to be “bad” because they can cause disease,
some are “opportunistic pathogens” and others are considered to be “good”.
Microorganisms that are considered to be “bad “can cause illness upon introduction to our body. “Opportunistic pathogens” are microorganisms that cause disease or illness when the body’s immune system is not functioning at its peak. Microorganisms are considered to be “good” if they do not produce any harm to the body.
There are many benefits of taking probiotics that extend beyond digestive health. They can have a positive impact on the whole body. Taking probiotics in supplement form ensures an adequate level of good bacteria introduction to the body.
Benefits of Probiotics:
- Immune stimulation (up to 70% or our immune response is in thedigestive tract)
- Antiviral activity
- Protection against disease-causing bacteria
- Prevention of vaginal yeast infections
- Restoration of intestinal microflora after antibiotic treatment
- Improvement and prevention of allergies, asthma and atopic eczema
- Overall improvement of gastrointestinal health
- Alleviation of symptoms associated with IBS, Crohn’s Disease and Colitis
Optimal digestive health translates into optimal overall health. Probiotics play an essential role in improving our digestive health, which, in turn, is interconnected to every single function in our bodies.
How do I Dry Skin Brush?
Dry Skin Brushing
Everybody has four major routes of elimination: the colon, the kidneys and liver, the lungs, and the skin. Your largest eliminative organ is your skin. Up to a third of all body impurities are excreted through the skin, which is sometimes referred to as the “third kidney”.
How Dry Skin Brushing Will Benefit You
- Effectively removes dead layers of skin and other impurities. Keeps pores open.
- Stimulates and increases blood circulation in all under-lying organs and tissues, especially small blood capillaries.
- Revitalizes and increases the eliminative capacity of your skin and helps to throw toxins out of the system.
- Stimulates the hormone and oil producing glands. Keeping your skin looking and feeling young, smooth and strong.
- Has a powerful rejuvenating influence on the nervous system by stimulating nerve ends in the skin.
- Helps prevent colds, especially when used in combination with hot-cold showers.
- Contributes to healthier muscle tone and better distribution of fat deposits with continued use it breaks down cellulite.
- Improves your overall health preventing premature aging.
Dry skin brushing is best done before getting into the shower.
Using a natural bristle body brush (available at most drug stores), brush the skin from the hands and feet towards the torso, in small, gentle circles. Always brush upwards, or towards the heart, ending with the front and back of the torso, and avoiding the breasts.
Devote at least three to five minutes/day to dry skin brushing.
Tips for Dry Skin Brushing Massage
- Every two weeks or so — wash your DRY SKIN BRUSH with soap (Castile and Vegetable Oil soaps are the best). Wash the brush regularly to keep impurities from clogging it up.
- For hygienic reasons use separate brushes for each member of the family.
- Avoid brushing the parts of your skin that are irritated, damaged or infected.
- The scalp should be brushed too. For scalp brushing, a good NATURAL BRISTLE BRUSH is a MUST — no other substituted will do. Scalp brushing will stimulate hair growth by increasing blood circulation and keep scalp clean from dandruff, stale oils, etc.
- The facial skin of most people is too sensitive for brushing; use a Loofah in the shower or a special facial brush.
- Shower after the DRY SKIN BRUSH for extra cleaning and stimulation of the circulation.
What are EFAs?
What are Essential Fatty Acids or EFAs?
Fatty acids are deemed essential if the body cannot synthesize them from existing precursors and therefore must obtain them form the diet e.g. linoleic acid, arachidonic acid (omega 6 fatty acids) and α-linolenic acid (omega 3 fatty acid). Generally our diets tend to be high in omega 6 fats but lacking in omega 3s. A proper balance is important for maximizing the health benefits of these fats.
Roles of EFAs in the body are:
- An important source of metabolic fuel
- Major component of cell membranes (phospholipids)
- An important starting point for the synthesis of the eicosanoids: prostaglandins, thromboxanes, leukotrienes, prostacyclins
Sources of EFAs in our foods:
|Omega 3||Omega 6|
Health benefits of EFAs:
- Beneficial for all types of cardiovascular disease (atherosclerosis, high cholesterol)
- Decrease inflammation in various disease states (arthritis, IBD, allergies)
- Promote healthy, youthful skin and hair and improve various skin conditions (eczema, psoriasis)
- Support nervous system and brain function and learning (ADHD, Alzheimer’s, MS)
- Support proper thyroid and adrenal activity and thus bolster immunity
How much water should I drink?
How much water should I drink?
Lots! Our bodies are estimated to be about 60 to 70 percent water. Blood is mostly water, and our muscles, lungs, and brain all contain a lot of water. Our bodies need water to regulate body temperature and to provide the means for nutrients to travel to all of our organs. Water also transports oxygen to our cells, removes waste, and protects our joints and organs.
We lose water through urination, respiration, and by sweating. If you are very active, you lose more water than if you are sedentary. Diuretics such as caffeine pills and alcohol result in the need to drink more water because they trick your body into thinking you have more water than we need.
Symptoms of mild dehydration include chronic pains in joints and muscles, lower back pain, headaches and constipation. A strong odour to your urine, along with a yellow or amber color indicates that you may not be getting enough water. Note that riboflavin, a B vitamin, will make your urine bright yellow. Thirst is an obvious sign of dehydration and in fact, you need water long before you feel thirsty.
A good estimate of exactly how much to drink is one half your weight in pounds, in ounces. So, if you weigh 140 lbs, you need to drink about 70 ounces of water each day. Non-diuretic herbal teas can contribute to your daily water intake, but other fluids such as milk, juice, or pop cannot. The amount of water we need will vary depending on many factors. If you exercise you should drink another eight ounce glass of water for every 20 minutes you are active. If you drink alcohol, you should drink at least an equal amount of water. Drinking caffeine beverages will also increase your need for water. When you are traveling on an airplane, it is good to drink eight ounces of water for every hour you are on board the plane.
It may be difficult to drink enough water on a busy day. Be sure you have water handy at all times by keeping a bottle for water with you when you are working, traveling, or exercising. If you get bored with plain water, add a bit of lemon or lime for a touch of flavor.
How long does it take to heal?
How long does it take to heal?
Naturopathic medicine cannot always ofer a quick fix for every condition. Because we work with your body’s innate healing powers, healing times will vary with every person. Each of us
is programmed diferently and therefore our bodies may heal at diferent rates.
Your commitment to your health and recovery, as well as a positive attitude and open mind, contribute to your overall rate of healing. The more we work together and communicate as doctor and patient, the better our chance of a faster return to optimal health. Our goal is not simply to remove disease, but to work towards long-standing wellness.
Be patient, believe that your body is capable of wonderful things, and you will see change.
How do I breath?
Alternate Nostril Breath:
The Alternate Nostril Breath –
- Has a marvellously calming effect on the nervous system
- Helps to overcome insomnia
- Relaxes and refreshes the body
- Purifies the bloodstream and aerates the lungs
- Soothes headaches
- Improves digestion and appetite
- Helps to free the mind of anxiety and depression
- Sit in a comfortable cross-legged position with your back straight.
- Raise your RIGHT hand and place your ring finger against your LEFT nostril, closing it off.
- Inhale deeply and slowly through the RIGHT nostril to the count of 4.
- Close off the RIGHT nostril with your thumb and hold the breath for a count of 1-4.
- Open the LEFT nostril and exhale to the count of 4-8. The longer you can make the exhalation, the better. Concentrate on completely emptying the lungs.
- Breathe in through that same LEFT nostril to the count of 4.
- Close off the nostril with the ring finger again and hold to the count of 1-4.
- Exhale through the RIGHT nostril to the count of 4-8. This makes up one round.
- Repeat these rounds of alternate nostril breathing five more times, or for up ten minutes if you are concerned about insomnia.
- Practice a ratio of 4:4:8, if at all possible. Increase this to 8:4:8 eventually, then 8:8:8, after some months.
III) Do’s and Don’ts:
DO practice the Alternate Nostril Breath whenever you need calming – if you are nervous, upset or irritable.
DON’T push yourself with the holding position or by increasing the ratio until you are comfortable doing so.
DON’T make the breathing rhythmic, instead it should be smooth and slow. You can work on making it inaudible eventually.
The importance of this particular breath cannot be over-emphasised. The body and mind are closely interrelated and one influences the other to a much greater extent that medicine admitted to for many years. As an all-around “soother”, the Alternate Nostril Breath is incomparable.
The Complete Breath –
- Purifies the bloodstream and enriches it
- Develops the chest and diaphragm
- Strengthens lungs, thorax and abdomen
- Increases resistance to colds
- Calms the nervous system
- Aids digestion
- Clears up phlegm
- Helps to lift depression
- Sit in a comfortable cross-legged position or in a chair.
- Straighten your back, which will straighten your thorax for easier breathing.
- Inhale slowly through the nose, breathing deeply, consciously.
- Take five seconds to fill the lower part of the lungs, by expanding the ribs and pushing the abdomen out.
- Concentrate on filling the top of the lungs for the next five seconds. This will expand the chest and tighten the abdomen slightly.
- Hold the breath for 1-5 seconds.
- Exhale slowly until you have emptied the lungs.
- Repeat 4-5 times more.
III) Do’s and Don’ts:
DO establish a rhythmic rise and fall of your abdomen, to promote regular breathing.
DO attempt to breathe inaudibly after you have gotten the knack of deep breathing.
DO concentrate on your breathing alone, with your eyes closed, if you wish. It serves to do the technique better but it is also a preparation for meditation.
DO push your abdomen out as you breathe in and pull the abdomen in as you breathe out.
DO give an extra snort as you exhale to rid yourself of stale waste-matter in the bottom of the lungs.
DON’T slump. For maximum efficiency the thorax must be straight.
The Cleansing Breath:
The Cleansing Breath –
- Clears lungs, sinuses and nasal passages
- Relieves colds
- Tones the nervous system
- Strengthens the lungs, thorax and abdomen
- Purifies the bloodstream and clears the head
- Aids digestion
- Stimulates the liver, spleen and pancreas
- Sit in a comfortable cross-legged position or a chair, back straight.
- Inhale deeply, pushing the abdomen out, and taking in as much air as possible in the space of 1 second.
- Whack your abdomen forcefully to expel the air through the nostrils. The sensation should be one of having been punched in the stomach.
- Inhale again by pushing the abdomen out and letting the air rush back into the vacuum created by the exhalation.
- The whole process, inhalation and exhalation should take not much more than 1-1/2 seconds. Both should be forceful and quite audible.
- Repeat ten times, follow with a complete breath and repeat ten times more.
III) Do’s and Don’ts:
DO push the abdomen out as far as you can as you inhale.
DON’T exhale consciously, but let the action of the abdomen do it for you.
How do I take an Epsom Salt Bath
Epsom Salt Baths
Epsom salt is chemically known as Magnesium Chloride (MgCl2). The high magnesium content in epsom salts facilitates the removal of lactic acid and other waste products from the body through the skin. Traditionally, it has been used as a relaxing and healing soak for sprained or bruised muscles. Epsom salt also detoxifies the internal organs when used in a bath. It may also be used as a laxative if taken internally.
Other major uses of Epsom salts are:
- Reduces stiffness, soreness, and tightness of joints.
- Improves discomfort from muscle aches, pains and tenderness
- Soothing painful bruises, sprains and strains
- Alleviates pain from over exertion during sport activities
- Improve the body’s sleeping and resting productivity
- Increasing and improves body energy levels
- Improving the rate of natural body healing
- Soothe away stress
- Deep clean skin and pores
- Taking the sting out of insect bites
- Draws out splinters
How to prepare an Epsom Salt Bath
Take two large cups of Epsom salts and pour into a hot bath. Place a cold, damp towel around your neck (optional) and soak in the bath for twenty minutes.
To replace any fluid loss, keep a glass of water beside you and sip it during your bath.
Epsom salts are commonly available in drugstores, health food stores and hardware stores.
How do I maintain healthy bones?
How do I maintain healthy bones?
Maintaining healthy bones requires proper nutrition, exercise, sunlight and hormonal balance.
Bone mass changes throughout our lifespan. Throughout the first 25 or so years of our lives we are increasing our bone mass, with the majority of bone being laid down in adolescence. After we reach our peak bone mass the goal becomes to maintain it for as long as we can. The higher our peak bone mass the stronger our bones will be so it is therefore important to practice “bone smart” behaviours during the years when we are laying bone down. Generally we start to lose bone mass in our mid to late 40s. Women will lose bone mass at a fast rate than men due to the decline of estrogen that comes with menopause.
In order to maximize our bone health we need to ensure adequate consumption of various minerals and vitamins. Most of us know that calcium is a major component of bone. But we need more than just calcium to keep our bones strong. Magnesium, vitamin D, phosphorus and vitamins A and C are required to help us absorb calcium. Without a suitable balance of these supporting nutrients we cannot use the calcium we are taking in.
Sources of nutrients:
|Phosphorus||Vitamin A, beta-carotene|
Factors that inhibit calcium absorption:
- Cofee, soft drinks, diuretics
- Excesses of protein, meat sources
- Refined sugar
- Alcohol, marijuana, cigarettes, other intoxicants
- Too little or too much exercise
- Excess salt
Times of increased calcium requirements:
- During periods of growth (childhood and adolescence, pregnancy and lactation)
- With age (elderly, post menopause)
- In the presence of:
- Heart and vascular disease including hypertension
- Bone disorders
- Nervous system disorders
- History or family history of colon cancer
Regular exercise is also important for our bones. Weight bearing activity is essential for stimulating bone formation. It also strengthens muscles that in turn pull or tug on
bones. This action keeps bones strong. Physical activity improves your strength, balance, and coordination–all of which help reduce your risk of falls and bone injuries. The benefits of weight-bearing exercise are site-specific. This means that you strengthen only the bones used directly in the exercise. Therefore, it’s a good idea to participate in a variety of weight-bearing exercises. Possible activities include baseball, basketball, soccer, tennis, weight-lifting, aerobics, dancing and walking. Although swimming is good exercise, it is not a weight-bearing activity. Weightbearing activities at any age benefit bone health. Studies link physical activity with increased bone strength in children, teens, men and women, and even adults 90 years of age and older.
Be aware however that too much exercise decreases hormones that are needed for good bone health. If a woman exercises to the point where she stops menstruating, she may actually increase her risk of the bone-crippling disease osteoporosis.
Sunlight is important for our bones because UV rays stimulate vitamin D synthesis in our skin. Vitamin D is needed to maintain normal blood levels of calcium and phosphorus. Ten to fifteen minutes of sun exposure at least two times per week to the face, arms, hands, or back without sunscreen is usually sufcient to provide adequate vitamin D.
Hormones also influence our bone health. A health hormonal system maintains a delicate balance, with contributions coming from all of the endocrine (hormone secreting) organs. The principal regulators of bone remodelling are parathyroid hormone (PTH); 1,25-hydroxycholecalciferol (1,25-DOHCC, or vitamin D); calcitonin, secreted by the thyroid; and also estrogens, androgens, progesterone, and thyroid hormones.
Maintaining healthy bones throughout our lives requires our commitment to “bone smart” behaviours. A healthy diet including nutrients essential for our bones and hormonal function, regular exercise and exposure to sunlight will help keep bones healthy and strong.
What is a detox?
What is a detox?
Today our bodies are constantly filtering unwanted/unhealthy substances at a rate that it sometimes cannot keep up with. During a detoxification diet, we give our bodies time to “catch up” on all the filtering, (and actually get ahead) since during this time we eat a very wholesome diet that is minimal in toxins. You can think of it as locking the door to your house, turning the ringer off on the phone, and dedicating the day to catching up on housework. Since there are no interruptions, you finish a little early and have time to organize the “junk drawer” that you have been meaning to do for months.
There are several diets and modalities that can be done during a detoxification period. They include:
- Brown rice diet
- Fasting diet
- Mediclear or Ultraclear diets (these include daily shakes)
- Botanical tinctures (to support the liver and digestive tract)
- Dry skin brushing
The following are possible results from a detox program:
- A sense of calm and ease
- Better concentration, clarity and mental focus
- Enhanced mental performance
- Improvement of digestive functions
- Increased resistance to illness
- Increased vitality, energy and stamina
- Reduced symptoms of chronic toxicity
- Reduction of allergic symptoms
- Reduction in risk for many chronic diseases
- Weight loss
Normal responses to the detoxification may include:
- Bad breath
- Headaches during the first three days
- Increased gas from extra vegetable fibre
- Itchy skin
- Offensive body odour
- Sleep problems (insomnia or sleeping too much)
Do I need to eat fibre?
Do I need to eat fibre?
We need at least 30 grams of fibre per day to ensure optimal intestinal function. Some professionals would recommend 40-50 grams per day to lower our cancer risk and keep our bowels working well. The average North American consumes less than 10 grams. Increase your fibre consumption slowly over a period of time so that you don’t overload your system. Always be sure to maintain adequate water consumption at the same time.
Benefits of Fibre:
- Speeds up elimination and promotes bowel regularity
- Binds and eliminates toxins
- Maintains integrity of the intestinal flora, which boosts immunity
- Lowers food cravings, obesity, insulin overload
- Stabilizes blood sugar and improves insulin sensitivity
- Reduces circulating estrogen in the blood and helps to balance hormones
- Promotes healthy intestinal bacteria
Ensure a healthy balance of both soluble and insoluble fibre in your diet. Soluble fibre improves regularity, transit time, lowers cholesterol, triglycerides and sugar levels. Insoluble fibre absorbs water, improves mobility of bowel, and sweeps out debris in intestines.
Remember that a well functioning digestive system will contribute to improved overall health. Adequate fibre intake will maintain the regularity of our intestinal tract contributing to an
enhancement of the whole digestive process