I was asked an interesting question the other day during an appointment. I had a client ask me if Epsom Salt baths were something she should be taking regularly. Before even blinking, I told her that they were a wonderful addition to life, and that they were a great way to relax, detox, and soothe muscles. I moved on with my day without much of a second thought. However, I realized that, while Epsom Baths are typically recommended, and that the magnesium has to be helpful for all logical reasons, I had never done the research myself.
So here I sit, telling you how disappointed I am in the lack of scientific evidence that has been performed on this great product for the bath tub (and in other aspects of life). I’m going to go out on a limb and suggest that researchers do not have the funding or the interest in such a small wives’ tale. That does not mean that it is not worth including in your life, though. Plenty of evidence backs its use for overall health!
While my writings won’t be based purely on Epsom Salt Bath studies, they will include research on magnesium and how the skin absorbs and delivers to the blood, cells, and tissue of the body.
Why I Recommend Epsom Salt Baths
‘Epsom salt is different from traditional salt in that it’s actually a mineral compound of magnesium and sulfate, and is technically known as magnesium sulfate. It’s composed of tiny, colorless crystals that look like table salt, but it’s actually a completely different thing, as table salt is made up of sodium chloride. Magnesium sulfate is a mineral that many of us are lacking in, as levels have been decreasing over the last three to four decades around the world.’
While we know magnesium is needed in order to increase our health statistics, there is also research showing its powerful anti-inflammatory benefits and exfoliating capabilities.
Epsom salt baths have many well-documented benefits:
- They should help improve circulation and possibly prevent cardiovascular illnesses by decreasing inflammation and protecting the arteries. Healthier arteries means less risk of blood clots, plaque build-up, and damage to arterial walls.
- Strains, sprains, and swollen areas can be aided with an Epsom soak.
- It can help to repair muscle damage and offset delayed inflammation.
- Magnesium is a natural stress reliever, and a bath improves the mood.
- Epsom Salt baths are known for relieving tension, pain, and cramping.
- It aids in many enzymatic functions, helps to regulate fluid retention in cells, and facilitates the body’s use of calcium to transmit chemical signals throughout the nervous system.
- An Epsom salt bath can promote detoxification all over the skin.
- For women, an Epsom bath can positively impact PMS, hormonal migraines, endometriosis, and polycystic ovarian syndrome.
- Epsom salt helps you sleep because the magnesium relaxes muscles, improves digestion, balances blood pressure, and in turn, gives you more energy after more restful sleep.
- According to Dr. Joe Matusic, a pediatrician in Charleston, W.Va., and an assistant clinical professor of pediatrics at the Charleston division of the West Virginia University School of Medicine, Epsom salt can help soothe common summer ailments that itch or burn the skin. This includes mosquito bites, bee stings, mild sunburn, poison ivy, poison oak, and poison sumac. To apply, either create a compress with a washcloth, cold water and Epsom salt, or take an Epsom salt bath. Epsom salt works by drawing the moisture out of lesions caused by rashes, and reducing the swelling caused by bites or stings.
Even if it’s a placebo effect, I have never heard of someone not finding benefits with 1-2 cups of Epsom Salt mixed in with their warm bath water. I highly recommend adding this relaxing (and inexpensive) ritual to your life!
Cloth diapers are not what our grandmothers once used- a cloth towel held together by pins. Gone are the days of hand-washing and line drying cloth diapers, too. (Unless of course, you choose to do so.)
We are entering a more environmentally friendly generational wave right now, and one trend is coming back with a new style. Keeping disposable diapers out of landfills can help to lessen your carbon footprint, and it can have significant health benefits for your baby. Choosing cloth diapers over conventional diapers is an easy decision when you understand just what it can mean for your baby.
The Benefits of Cloth Diapering
Keeping the chemicals from disposable diapers off of your baby’s skin should be a priority. Sodium Polyacrylate, Tributyl Tin, Phthalates, and Dioxin are only a few of the most common chemicals found in disposable diapers. These are all linked to lifelong health risks such as endocrine disruption, obesity, and cancer.
By choosing cloth diapers, you also lower the risk of diaper rashes and UTI’s because you will be changing your baby more frequently.
9 in every 10 American babies use disposable diapers. This adds up to 27.4 billion diapers in landfills each year.
- Just for the disposable diapers U.S. babies will wear, over 200,000 trees are cut down every year.
- In one year, 3.4 billion gallons of fuel oil will be used to manufacture disposable diapers.
- Disposables generate over 3.5 million tons of waste each year.
- Those diapers can take up to 500 years to decompose.
Earlier Potty Training:
Because cloth diapered babies can feel when they are wet, they want to potty train earlier than those in disposable diapers. They tend to have less bed wetting issues as they potty train and grow, too. It is easier to notice your baby’s bathroom cues when wearing cloth diapers, making the transition to underwear smooth and easy.
Your Bank Account:
Purchasing disposable diapers will cost you over $800 a year per child, but (depending on how many cloth diapers you purchase) cloth diapers can be bought for $5-20 a piece. You can survive with about 25-30 diapers, easily. (It’s even cheaper if you use prefolds and a cover!) These diapers can be reused on siblings, too.
The Selection of Cloth Diapers
It is an overwhelming world to jump into these days! You can choose between:
But don’t shy away because of the choices, you’ll find your favorites as you start trying them out. The easiest will always be an all-in-one, hybrid, or pocket diaper. They require the least amount of work, but all cloth diapers are pretty easy!
Perhaps the pattern options may sway your choice, too. Whales, monkeys, plaid, stripes, ice-cream cones, you name it and you can find it on a cloth diaper. Ruffles and bows? No problem. An attachable dragon tail? Yep. You may just find yourself starting a new obsessive collection!
How to Clean Cloth Diapers
If you are breastfeeding, there is literally nothing to do but toss your diapers directly into a diaper bag, and then wash the contents of the bag every other day (empty and toss the bag in, too). You’ll rinse the diapers on a cold cycle, wash them on a hot cycle with minimal soap, and then rinse them again on cold. You can hang them to dry or toss them in the dryer for convenience.
If you are using formula, or after solid foods enter the picture, you can knock the poop into your toilet before throwing the diapers into the wash.
Learn More About the Risks of Disposable Diapers:
Parents are also not aware of the adverse effects of disposable diapers being in contact with their baby’s reproductive organs 24 hours a day for more than two years and the long-term effects it causes.
Disposable diapers have been implicated by diapering proponents like leak proof polymers, super absorbent polymers, and some scented chemicals which are the key factors for everything from chronic diaper rash, respiratory problems like asthma, liver damage, skin diseases, infertility, and even to cancer.
Continue the research:
In a recent article on USA Today, it was announced that “young people are far more likely than senior citizens to report being lonely and in poor health.” After a study including 20,000 Americans was published, the results are causing quite the stir.
“The overall national loneliness score was alarmingly high at 44 on a 20-to-80 scale, but the prevalence of social isolation among those ages 18 to 22 raises even more concern. The younger people, part of Generation Z, had loneliness scores of about 48 compared with nearly 39 for those 72 and older.”
This is predicted to effect overall mortality rates, as loneliness impacts health and increases suicide risks. Loneliness is tied to chronic stress and depression, which both trigger chronic inflammation and risks to numerous diseases. It is a sad and disheartening truth that needs to be talked about.
We want to place blame on social media and technology, which does play a large role. Although, this study discovered that all young Americans felt lonely – not just those attached to screens and online relationships. What if I told you that the root problem was far deeper than this?
The truth is that our society is lacking human touch.
It starts at infancy when parents utilize products to hold or soothe their babies instead of wearing them skin-to-skin or feeding them on demand. From there, the human touch factor continues to dwindle. Throughout childhood, families have the weight of the world on them to keep up with Jones’. There are countless sports, camps, clubs, and activities to somehow schedule into daily life. There is too much homework, not enough sleep, and expectations that are too high. This all leads to very small intervals of actual family time. The constant struggle of going and going restricts the amount of time children receive emotional and comforting interaction.
This trend continues throughout the teenage years and with the pressures of college applications, financial aid worries, and lack of true friendships due to the impending doom that is social media, young adults enter college and the real world as alone as ever.
When was the last time friends hugged one another, or teachers patted students on the back, or coaches high-fived their players? We live in a world where adults are scared to be seen using physical contact on minors and parents are too busy to get more than a handful of hugs in over an extended period of time, and in turn, this world has produced a generation full of under-touched humans.
Why We Need Human Touch
Human Touch Promotes Confidence. One study discovered that students are 3 times more likely to participate in class discussions after a teacher proudly pats their shoulder during class.
Physical connection through touch produces oxytocin. Oxytocin promotes happiness and health.
Physical touch increases levels of dopamine and serotonin, two neurotransmitters that help regulate mood as well as help the body relieve stress and anxiety.
Physical touch is known to improve the function of your immune system as well as reduce diseases such as those associated with the heart and blood. One study found that receiving more hugs from partners led to lower heart rates and blood pressure.
Less touch as a child leads to greater chances of violence later in life.
Touch helps to bond people together, creating and fostering trust and happiness.
Economic benefits can be linked to physical touch because of the connections and trust it forms. (An example: professional sports teams whose players touch more often -hugs, holding hands in prayer, touching arms, pats on the back- win more games than teams who do not practice such actions.)
Interpersonal touch has a powerful impact on emotions, and it can increase chances of love, connection, and happiness.
How To Increase Physical Touch
See Your Chiropractor. No other doctor connects with patients in such a ‘hands-on’ way. It is one of the reasons there is such a high success rate that comes with included chiropractic care in your life. Physical touch can lead to happiness, but it can also be the key to wellness.
Hug. Hug friends and family and even a stranger if the opportune moment presents itself. (Aim for 8-12 hugs a day, especially with your children!)
Shake Hands. When you meet someone, shake their hand. When greeting someone, shake their hand!
Slap on the Back. Don’t be afraid to do the work-version of a hug and motivate a coworker with a ‘Good Job!’ Pat on the back.
Current research is suggesting that touch is truly fundamental to human communication, bonding, and both physical and mental health. Take time to reach out and physically connect with those around you.
Estrogen dominance is understood by most women to take place throughout (and after) menopause, but the truth is that we are seeing a rise in the condition at a much younger age – and not only in women. What could be causing this steady increase in hormonal disruption in both genders?
You don’t have to look far for the answer. Research is placing blame on numerous unhealthy environmental factors:
1. Poor Diet: A diet full of chemicals from commercially raised meat, pesticides, produce containing herbicides, and processed foods drastically raises the levels of xenoestrogenic molecules and puts the body into an estrogen dominant state.
2. Obesity: Fat cells have an enzyme that converts adrenal steroid hormones into estrogen. The greater the percentage of body fat one has the more this conversion takes place.
3. Heavy Metals: Mercury, lead, aluminum, and other heavy metals block the liver and lead to poor toxin filtration and increased estrogenic molecules. (Consider your dental fillings and braces as sources)
4. Nerve Stress: The spine and nervous system can be blocked or interfered with, causing elevated cortisol levels. This steals pregnenolone which leads to lowered progesterone levels. (A chiropractor can help!)
5. Liver Issues: The liver is in charge of neutralizing and filtering xenoestronic molecules, but cannot due so when estrogen levels are lowered.
6. Blood Sugar Levels: Poor blood sugar control leads to elevated insulin and cortisol. These factors encourage estrogen release and lead to deficiencies in key nutrients like magnesium, vitamin C, and B6 which neutralize bad estrogen metabolites in the liver.
7. Hormone Replacement Therapy: A prescribed hormone replacement is simply a synthetic toxic estrogen that damages the DNA and increases risk of cancer.
8. Caffeine: Caffeine consumption increases estrogen secretion and leads to depletion of key nutrients like magnesium, vitamin C, and B vitamins that are necessary for the process of neutralizing bad estrogen metabolites in the liver.
9. Chemicals: Plastics, cleaners, makeup, lawn fertilizer, pesticides, hygiene products, etc… all can cause an increase in estrogen.
10. Poor Sleep and Stress: These increase adrenal burn-out.
Estrogen and progesterone are the two main sex hormones that women have. Estrogen is responsible for female physical features and reproduction. Men have estrogen, too, and are at risk for estrogen dominance, especially with the SAD (Standard American Diet), exposure to estrogen in water, and other environmental possibilities.
Estrogen is produced mainly in the ovaries and progesterone is produced predominantly by the corpus luteum, which is the outside lining of a mature egg after ovulation. As egg quality declines in perimenopause, so does the quality of the corpus luteum, leading to lower progesterone levels and relative estrogen dominance. Likewise, many perimenopausal women are periodically anovulatory, which means that estrogen goes unopposed during those cycles. This is why many women associate estrogen dominance with menopause.
For many reasons though, your body can make too little or too much estrogen. Or, you can take in too much estrogen – through birth control pills.
Estrogen dominance can be identified with the following:
- Abnormal menstrual periods
- PMS symptoms
- Mood swings
- Loss of sex drive
- Sluggish metabolism and/or weight gain
- Poor concentration
- Hair loss
- Thyroid imbalances
- Sleep disturbances
- Breast swelling and tenderness
- Fuzzy thinking
- Loss of ambition
- Water retention
Cancer is one of the scariest outcomes of estrogen dominance. The American Cancer Society estimates one in three women will develop some type of cancer in her lifetime. Breast cancer rates have increased from one in 20 in 1960 to one in eight today, though the rates have slowed since the 1990s. The connection between excess estrogen and certain cancers is clear.
Harmful estrogens are difficult to detoxify and are stored in fat. Obesity is linked to breast cancer. Women with a higher body mass index have elevated hormone levels.
By reducing BMI, a woman can lower her estrogen levels, along with most other troublesome hormone levels.
To restore proper balance to the hormonal system:
- Eat a diet full of organic whole foods and fiber and get at least five to nine servings of fruits and vegetables each day.
- Decrease any chronic stress.
- Support adrenal and thyroid glands.
- Restore digestive imbalances.
- Decrease exposure to xenoestrogens.
- Decrease use of alcohol and nicotine.
Within men, low testosterone levels are triggered by increases in estrogen levels. Men will gain weight, experience moodiness and irritability, and get bloated. Men also need to feed their bodies well, helping to increase their testosterone levels.
When trying to rebalance hormone levels, there are many things to consider. Working with a natural-minded doctor may help you reach your desired end goal without medical intervention.
You may want to consider the following:
- Reduce stress levels
- Lose excess weight
- Increase water intake
- Use clean/organic/natural personal care and beauty products
- Avoid hormonal birth control
While on this journey, your meal planning will also change. The foods you want to include are:
- Brussels sprouts
- Bok choy
- Collard greens
- Napa cabbage
- Bok choy
- wild caught fish
You should avoid the following:
- Soy & soy products – These include tempeh and tofu.
- Foods high in pesticides
- Meat and dairy where hormones are used.
- Wheat and grains
- Food additives
- Tap Water
- Birth control pills
Supplements to consider:
- Milk thistle
- Alpha lipoic acid
- Diindolylmethane (DIM)
- Omega-3 fatty acids
- Vitamin B6, B12, Folate
Apple Cider Vinegar is among the most healthy things you can drink daily to support your body and help with your overall health. While it makes for a great salad dressing, it’s uses reach far passed the kitchen. If you aren’t currently ingesting 1-2 tablespoons of an organic, raw, unfiltered apple cider vinegar each day, you may want to start. Research worldwide supports the amazing properties of this natural vinegar.
I was working with a patient awhile ago when the topic of Apple Cider Vinegar (ACV) came up. It has been around for centuries and was used to treat illnesses like Croup well before our days. We talked about why ACV is not a more well-known remedy or household supplement anymore. Over the years, new and expensive medicines stepped in and brainwashed our society against all the natural home remedies that had been working wonderfully to that point. ACV then became a secret of the grandmothers.
However, tides are changing, and people of all ages and stages of life are looking to better their lives through diet and natural supplements. Apple Cider Vinegar is reentering the spotlight, and with great reasons.
The Benefits of Apple Cider Vinegar
Apple Cider Vinegar is made by fermenting apple cider – with the naturally occurring yeast and bacteria included in the end result. The resulting liquid has converted the sugars first to alcohol then to acetic acid. The fermentation process means that apple cider vinegar ends up full of health-promoting probiotics and enzymes. It contains pectin, acetic acid, malic acid, live enzymes, amino acids, and many other beneficial nutrients.
Healthy Weight/Belly Fat
One of the compounds found in ACV is acetic acid, which helps suppress the buildup of body fat, keeping the stomach from feeling and looking bloated. This can also help you feel fuller, causing you to eat fewer calories and lower your overall Body Mass Index (BMI).
Healthy Gut/Happy Stomach
Organic, unfiltered, raw apple cider vinegar retains the ‘mother’ which makes the vinegar have a cloudy appearance. The mother is the natural occurring pectins and proteins which aid in helping break down food in the digestive tract by stimulating the natural gut enzymes. The high acetic acid content of ACV balances pH within the body.
Many gastrointestinal symptoms including gas, bloating, nausea, and diarrhea can be lessened with the help of the antibacterial, anti-fungal, and antimicrobial properties of ACV. These same properties have also been proven to combat food poisoning.
Diabetes (Type 1 and 2)
Hyperglycemia (raised blood sugar levels) is a common symptom of diabetes. The anti-glycemic effect of acetic acid decreases blood sugar levels. One study found ACV improved fluctuation of insulin levels in people with both type 2 diabetes or insulin resistance.
If you suffer from a known autoimmune disease, ACV may help you reclaim your daily life. While there is no known cure for AI Diseases, reducing inflammation is key to reduce the pain and symptoms, and ACV contains antioxidants that can do just that.
Sore Throat and Illness
Most germs can’t survive in the environment ACV creates. A simple mix of 1/4 cup ACV with 1/4 cup warm water can be gargled every hour or so to fight off a sore throat.
Consuming ACV daily boosts the immune system, too.
Acetic acid can be used as an alternative to antibiotic cream. Bacterial infections have been shown to be fought off by ACV in a healthier manner than utilizing antibiotics.
ACV has the ability to reduce acne. Using it as a toner will allow the anti-fungal and antibacterial properties to cleanse the skin and prevent future breakouts.
Ways to Utilize Apple Cider Vinegar
Drink 1-2 tablespoons a day. Diluting your ACV with water will help cut the acidity and prevent any ware on your enamel.
Using a cotton ball, apply ACV topically twice a day. To prevent irritation, use an oil with the ACV— such as coconut oil or olive oil — and massage it into your skin whenever needed.
Add ACV to your bath before bed. Add one cup of the vinegar to your evening bath and sit in the warm water for 20 to 30 minutes, allowing the skin to absorb the solution.
We all have a tendency to breathe through our mouths when our mouths are open. This, however, should never be how we receive the majority of our oxygen. Typically, adults only breathe through their mouths when there is inflammation or blockage (due to illness or sinus pressure) and it ends as the inflammation ends. There are the exceptions; those who are born or become mouth breathers in toddlerhood. These individuals tend to have problems throughout their lifetimes that can all be linked back to how they breathe.
Structurally, the tongue no longer supports the maxilla (the upper jaw) if mouth breathing occurs. With the removal of this support, the roof of the mouth behind the maxilla will rise and cause congestion to the nasal passages. Mouth breathing can quickly dry out the mouth and decrease saliva production, even increasing the overall pH. Saliva is extremely important for neutralizing acid and helping to wash away bacteria, without it, the chance of tooth decay and cavities increases.
If braces have already been put in place on a mouth breather, the overall treatment plan will take longer and be more difficult. The spaces between the teeth will be more difficult to close and the stability of the alignment of will be compromised once the braces are removed.
Not only does mouth breathing impact teeth, but it is linked to attention and focus deficiencies, behavioral issues, and speech impediments. When children breathe from an open mouth, they are more likely to struggle with certain speech sounds. The most commonly associated speech problem is a lisp, or the inability to say “S” sounds correctly. The type of swallowing pattern to produce this sound causes the tongue to protrude during speaking and swallowing.
Mouth breathing has the ability to cause neuro-cognitive deficits and cardiovascular problems. It also impacts the facial growth and development. A child who breathes this way has a high chance of growing into an adult with flatter facial features, less prominent cheekbones, a longer face, droopier eyes and lower facial muscle tone, a narrower palate, and even a smaller and lower jaw than what she was originally designed to develop.
The most well-known side effect though is sleep disordered breathing. It can be defined as an upper airway resistance syndrome to obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) with secondary growth impairment, but in common terms it is known as a form of sleep apnea, snoring, or just plain open-mouth breathing during sleep. Less oxygen is taken in during the night by a mouth breather, and when less oxygen is able to reach the brain, the ability to focus throughout the day becomes a problem, as does learning. This can also lead to chronic fatigue, tiredness, and brain fog.
What if Your Child is a Mouth Breather?
If you are noticing that your young child’s mouth is always open throughout the day and/or over night as she sleeps, it is a red flag to stop and dig a little further into the situation. If she is not sick and this is her normal sleep habit or every day breathing method, you will want to bring it up with your pediatrician, chiropractor, or doctor of choice.
The most common reasons for chronic mouth breathing include:
- Anterior tongue tie
- Posterior tongue tie
- Tongue placement habits
- Enlarged tonsils
- Enlarged adenoids
- Food allergies
- Environmental allergies
- Underdeveloped facial and cranial bones
- Neuromuscular disease
An infant’s facial and cranial development during pregnancy plays a large role in their breathing method. Undesirable positioning in utero, birth trauma, or nutritional deficiencies created in utero, can impact development of the cranial and facial bones in a negative manner. With 85% of the nasal airway in the maxilla, this underdevelopment can be the root of a mouth-breaker’s issues. Working with therapists and utilizing chiropractic care together can provide a foundation for a lifetime of better breathing.
Depending on the cause of your child’s mouth breathing, one of the following may be suggested:
- Tongue tie clip
- Rapid maxillary expansion
- Distraction osteogenesis
- Continuous positive airway pressure
However, before agreeing to surgery, contact a local Myofunctional Therapist. The specialized therapist can retrain your child to breathe properly through her nose with exercises and routines, preventing surgery and a lifetime of chronic problems.
It is important to note that research has found that children who lead a life at an obese weight are more prone to experiencing an onset and reoccurrence of mouth breathing and the effects it can cause. Help your child lead her healthiest life by providing high quality foods and ample time to burn energy.
Chlorine is a necessary evil; it is a needed chemical to keep swimming pools ‘clean.’ But at what costs?
It is basically unavoidable this time of year, and with months of heat left, the pools will still beckon us.
Summer is upon us, and I am seeing more and more families come in for adjustments in their swim gear, either to or home from the pool. I have also had several patients complain of more frequent headaches, body aches, fatigue or a summer cough that they can’t shake. I immediately assume it’s dehydration and recommend increase water intake, more sleep, and less time in the sun. But then I started thinking a bit more. The lingering smell of chlorine on my own child, and within my office sent me researching. The results: Chlorine could be doing more damage than we ever realized.
We know that chlorine is toxic. It is a poison. I preach about drinking and cooking with filtered water, and no one I know would ever purposely drink chlorinated water. But yet, we swim in it without a second thought. What is a parent to do?
Obviously, we cannot ensure that all pools we enter are saltwater pools, although that would be ideal. We also cannot avoid the pool altogether. Children are drawn to water, and it is a hot summer out there. But that chlorine smell that seems to overwhelm the nose and sting the eyes, it is linked to quite a few scary things:
- Breathing Problems
- Skin Rashes
- Eye Irritation
- Nausea/Upset Stomach
- Sinus Problems
- Dry Skin/Hair
- Cancer* (rectal and bladder cancers): The heightened risk is linked to exposure to a contaminant found in chlorinated water called Trihalomethanes (THMs) which forms when chlorine reacts with organic material. THMs are a widely recognized carcinogen.
*After 40 minutes of swimming, swimmers show an increase in markers of DNA damage that can lead to cancer.
Sunscreen, sweat, and urine, along with other fluids mix with the chlorine to cause over 100 different types of chemical byproducts (known as chloramines), many of which are extremely toxic. Chlorine’s chemical byproducts can get into the body through the skin. Exposure also comes from breathing air at the surface of the water, where chemicals become volatile. While swimming, individuals breathe faster and harder ending up with even more exposure to the chemicals and toxins.
Chloramines can be breathed from outside of the water too, especially at an indoor swimming pool.
The CDC and the American Academy of Pediatrics both recognize the dangers that come from chlorine and chloramine exposure. It has been found that children with chronic health issues, such as asthma, autism, adhd, and other daily struggles, tend to feel the effects of the chloramines faster and more intense than those without these struggles, but absolutely anyone can be affected.
BUT IT IS SUMMER! IT IS HOT! THE KIDS NEED TO SWIM!
I hear you loud and clear. I am not saying to avoid the pool. There are ways to help neutralize the effects of chlorine on the body and detox from exposure:
- Vitamin C Powder/Tabs: Vitamin C is proven to neutralize and undo the damage of chlorine and chloramine exposure. Mixing a high quality powder version of the vitamin into a glass of water to drink will help the body detox from the inside out, while adding the powder to a spray bottle of water and applying to the skin immediately after swimming neutralizes the toxins and encourages the body to detox them quickly.
- Vitamin C Powder is Sunscreen: While sunscreen will not protect from chlorine, it can act as a slight barrier. With Vitamin C mixed into it, sunscreen can act as a protectant. This can be an important step if swimming is happening often!
- Epsom Salt Bath: Filling a bath tub with warm water and adding Epsom salts help to relax the muscles and pull toxins from the body. Sitting in the water for 15-30 minutes is all the body needs to feel like itself again.
- Take a Supplement: Take 1 capsule of a high-quality Taurine (I recommend Thorne brand) the morning before swimming. As an amino acid, taurine helps to bind and detoxify chlorine. Taurine should remain in your system for 48 hours.
Enjoy your summer!
When was the last time you received a good hug? How about the last time you gave someone a good hug?
A hug only takes seconds, but most adults feel as though the act is too personal to share with others on a daily basis; however, this mindset needs to shift because science is showing us just how important a simple hug is. Research shows a proper deep hug, where the hearts are pressing together, can benefit you in many ways.
Under high psychological stress, we are more likely to get sick. Knowing that a heartfelt hug can decrease stress levels, do you believe that hugs can help keep you stay physically healthy? Science believes this may be true, at least when it comes to the link between stress and illness. Researchers investigated the relationship of hugging, social support, and the probability of getting sick in 404 volunteers. The participants were called every evening for 14 days and asked if they had been hugged that day. There was a clear relationship with individuals who had been hugged more also feeling like they received greater social support. After the two weeks, the participants were invited to an isolated floor of a local hotel and were quarantined in separate rooms. The researchers gave them nasal drops containing a virus that caused common-cold-like illnesses. The results were amazing. How often somebody had been hugged clearly influenced their infection risk. Participants who had been hugged more had a decreased risk of infection, and out of those who were infected, those who had been hugged more had less severe symptoms.
Including hugs in your day is also linked to a happy lifestyle. We release the hormone oxytocin when touched, which elevates feelings of attachment, connection, trust, and intimacy. A 2018 study showed how hugs impact negative situations. Several hundred adults were called every night for two weeks and asked about conflicts with other people in their lives, whether they felt in a good or bad mood, and whether they had received one or more hugs that day. If participants received a hug on a day in which they had gotten into an argument with someone, the conflict appeared to lead to a smaller increase in bad mood. The hugs also had a protective effect, meaning that the participants who received a hug on one day and got into a fight the next day had experienced a smaller increase in bad mood than when not having received a hug the day before. Again, hugging has a huge impact on the psychological effects that stress causes.
When you include hugging in your everyday life, you are benefitting in the following ways:
- Lowering blood pressure, protecting against heart disease.
- Balancing the nervous system.
- Strengthening your immune system.
- Encouraging honest, deeper connections.
- Keeping you young and maintaining muscle strength.
- Lowering stress levels.
- Reducing feelings of pain
- Boosting self-esteem.
- Reducing feelings of depression.
- Releasing tension and relaxing the muscles.
- Providing the skin contact that bodies need to remain healthy.
- Healing feelings of loneliness, isolation, and anger.
- Increasing feelings of happiness.
Utilizing and burning stored body fat to produce energy throughout your day can aid in a more productive lifestyle, but it can also benefit your overall health and wellness. How can you convince your body to pull from its own stored fat, though? How can you get out of your daily slump?
Yes, fasting is an old tradition that seems to be making its comeback in today’s weight-loss trends; however, there is significant research showing us that science may support a smart and safe version of abstaining from food. Instead of purely starving the body, recent studies show that planned calorie restriction triggers a complex series of intricate events, including activation of cellular stress response elements, improved regulation on the cellular level, modification of apoptosis, and positive alteration in hormonal balance. Intermittent fasting is not only more acceptable to the body, but it also prevents some of the adverse effects of chronic calorie restriction, especially malnutrition
Intermittent fasting is a term used to describe a variety of eating patterns in which no or few calories are consumed for time periods that can range from 12 hours to several days, on a recurring basis. Most research states the point of negative energy balance at which liver glycogen stores are depleted and fatty acids are mobilized is typically beyond 12 hours after food intake ends. This is why so many will recommend a 18:6 hour ratio, with 18 hours being fasting and 6 being calorie intake hours.
While simply living the 18:6 hour ratio may work well, you can take it a step further and follow the eTRP (early time-restricted feeding) schedule with your meals. This plan includes eating early in the day to be in alignment with circadian rhythms in metabolism. A recent study followed pre-diabetic men during their 18:6 ratio of intermittent fasting, in which dinner always fell before 3:00pm. While weight loss was achieved, eTRF also improved insulin sensitivity, β cell responsiveness, blood pressure, oxidative stress, and appetite.
Throughout a fast, your body initiates important cellular repair processes and changes hormone levels to make stored body fat more accessible. Blood levels of insulin drop significantly, which signals fat burning. Muscles grow and the blood levels of growth hormone can increase as much as 5-fold. The body is believed to be able to fight off illness faster and work toward cell repair, which leads to a longer life. There is an increase in the growth of new nerve cells, which should have numerous benefits for brain function (including preventing Alzheimers and Parkinson’s). The hours spent fasting provide the body needed time for cells to remove waste products.
The enhanced hormone functioning that takes place during an intermittent fast triggers weight loss. Short-term fasting increases your metabolic rate by 3.6-14%, helping you burn even more calories, which aids in a quick weight loss. But the key is balance, and you must understand that any weight that is shed can be easily gained if you you do not follow through with lifestyle changes.
Something to note is that not only does weight loss occur, but intermittent fasting helps to diminish the belly fat that is linked to a multitude of health dangers.
Intermittent fasting has also been shown to improve numerous risk factors, including:
- blood pressure
- total and LDL cholesterol
- blood triglycerides
- inflammatory markers
- blood sugar levels
(It has been noted that intermittent fasting may lead to decreased risk of cancer.)
Transitioning into the fasting period can be done gently:
- Stop eating at night at a specific time – such as 7pm, at least 2-3 hours before bedtime.
- Wait a full 12 hours to break your fast. (the majority of the time was spent sleeping.)
- You’ve had 2-4 hours of non-eating before bed and maybe 1 or less hours when you arise
- Once you make it a habit, extend your fasting period until you hit the best balance that works for you. (18 hours shows the greatest researched benefits.)
Remember that if you are sick or feeling off in any way, listen to your body and give yourself some slack on the day’s fasting goals.
Examples of functional effects and major cellular and molecular responses of various organ systems to intermittent fasting.
Profiles of circulating glucose and ketone levels over 48 hours in individuals with a typical American eating pattern or two different IF eating patterns. (a) In individuals who consume three meals plus snacks every day the metabolic switch is never ‘flipped’ and their ketone levels remain very low, and the area under the curve for glucose levels is high compared to individuals on an IF eating pattern. (b) In this example, the person fasted completely on the first day and then at three separate meals on the subsequent day. On the fasting day ketones are progressively elevated and glucose levels remain low, whereas on the eating day ketones remain low and glucose levels are elevated during and for several hours following meal consumption. (c) In this example the person consumes all of their food within a 6-hour time window every day. Thus, the metabolic switch is flipped on following 12 hours of fasting and remains on for approximately six hours each day, until food is consumed after approximately 18 hours of fasting.
Between the age of seven to ten months, most babies begin to crawl on their hands and knees. This milestone is highly anticipated by parents, but it is more than just something to note in the baby book.
I am constantly telling my patients about the importance of crawling. New research is being published regularly that links certain developmental stages to brain growth and future learning abilities. As children crawl their brain is making more and more connections. Each connection is a solution to a problem that they have solved by, and with crawling. The more a baby crawls the more efficiently these connections become and the more automatic the skill becomes. Crawling provides an opportunity to explore the surroundings, and as the skill becomes more intentional, a baby’s spatial skills also begin to develop and improve. (Spatial skills are the ability to locate objects in three dimensions using sight or touch.)
Research also shows that crawling facilitates the development of cognitive skills, including the skills that allow a child to locate an object by sight or touch. One study showed that children who were crawling on hands and knees were able to locate a hidden toy correctly more often than children who were not able to crawl in this typical fashion.
Crawling plays an important role in the development of spatial and cognitive skills. Some development experts call this stage the “psychological birth” of a baby because it spurs specific growth and refines many other skills. It increases hand-eye coordination, gross and fine motor skills, balance, and overall strength.
Unlike army-crawling (belly crawling), hands and knees crawling requires contra-lateral or cross-lateral movements. This simply means that opposite hand and leg move together – or “cross movements.” Doctor and author Carla Hannaford explains, “Cross lateral movements, like a baby’s crawling, activate both hemispheres (of the brain) in a balanced way. These activities work both sides of the body evenly and involve coordinated movements of both eyes, both ears, both hands and both feet as well as balanced core muscles. When both eyes, both ears, both hands and feet are being used equally, the corpus callosum orchestrating these processes between the two hemispheres becomes more fully developed. Because both hemispheres and all four lobes are activated, cognitive function is heightened and ease of learning increases. Additionally, with the spinal axis giving her an up and a down, she will now be able to move any way she wants – three dimensionally.”
The cross midline ability plays a role in:
- Spine rotation: a twisting coordination through the torso
- Strengthening the lower back in preparation for standing and walking well
- Preparing the ankles for the bending and straightening needed for walking
- Strengthening hand-eye coordination
Crawling also helps reshape the hip sockets to prepare for walking. But the research doesn’t stop there. The brain development that is taking place throughout this stage of infancy is linked to reading skills years down the road. When a baby crawls, her body acts against the weight of gravity, developing her vestibular and proprioceptive systems. When crawling, the baby touches different surfaces and textures and will develop the sensibility in her palms and fingers, allowing her to grasp and hold small objects (such as a pencil or crayon to draw, write, or play a musical instrument) in the future. This is extremely important for her neurological and cognitive development. All in all, crawling supports learning, creative problem solving, and overall brain function.
If you are a new parent and want to help encourage your baby to crawl, remember that daily ‘tummy time’ is key to setting your baby up for success.