Photo Credit: dudeiwantthat.com
Dr. Brenda Fairchild
The Wonders of the Neti Pot
As many of you know… I can talk about the neti pot all day. I think this product is one of the greatest inventions of modern times!! Now, I know not everyone loves to see and feel the neti pot doing its job, but it is a wonderful way to naturally rid your sinuses of congestion and infections. And when you are pregnant and not a lot of options as far as decongestants go, this is a wonderful alternative!!
The word Neti means “nasal cleansing” and comes from ancient India. It has been around for over 5,000 years!!! Yoga masters used this technique to help with mediation. They felt they could get to a higher and deeper state of mind. Some yogi’s also believed it helped with mood swings and addictions as well. The neti pot was then massed produced in the early 1970s and has since become a favorite for those of us looking to relieve the sinus pressure naturally!
Benefits of the Neti Pot
- Lessen the time of cold, flu, or allergy
- Relieve the pressure of sinus headaches
- Help reduce pollen from the nasal passage
- Remove mucous
- Allows for easier breathing
- Great for post nasal drip
- Allows for easier breathing
Using the neti pot is pretty simple and oddly satisfying. You can get a simple pot at most of the chain stores. And most come with packets of sodium bicarbonate and sodium chloride. Usually under $20. You can get ceramic to metal ones at health food stores or online. Now, from personal experiences, I highly suggest the packets!! I have tried just plain water, and it did not feel well. But, it is all up to you. I like to use filtered water if I can. I don’t use it all the time, but I try to as much as possible.
How to use the Neti Pot
Add one packet to the warm water and let them mix. I like to start with draining my most clogged nasal passage first. This means the pot is pouring the water into the good side and the clogged side is towards the sink. And let the magic begin!! I use about half the pot per nasal passage. Depending on what is going on with you our your child, the nasal mucous could be green or yellow which could be an infection to clear which could be allergies. When in doubt, call your primary physician. If there is a bad infection, there may be some blood mixed in. When you have done one side, gently blow your nose. You want to rid the body of the mucus, which is inflammation. I always tell my patients “better out than in!” You will instantly feel the pressure release!!! It is amazing!!!
I start to use the neti pot at the first sign of a cold coming on. I will do this 3-4 times a day if it is really bad. And use that over the course of 2-3 days if need be. It really cuts down the time of the cold or allergy. And can help you get some sleep at night due to your breathing better!
Other recommendations to follow the neti pot. Get Adjusted!!! It helps with aligning your body and helps with draining your sinuses as well. Watch your dairy, gluten, wheat, and sugar as they can be inflammatory. Stay hydrated with water. Get Sleep and make sure you are getting you vitamin D!
Dr. Brenda Fairchild
Benefits of Dry Brushing
I am a huge fan of dry brushing to help with lymph drainage. But, there are so many other benefits of dry brushing as well. First off, let’s talk about why lymph is so important!
Lymph system helps with keeping us healthy! Aids in boosting our immune system. The lymph system contains tissues and organs through out our body to help us eliminate waste and toxins. When we are sick, the lymph node can swell due to increased lymph fluid. As our body starts to get rid of the virus or bacteria, the lymph nodes should start to decrease. But that is not always the case. We also have other organs that help with maintaining a healthy body:
As you can see, these are pretty important organs, and why I am not always happy of people getting rid of their tonsils and adenoids. If they are swollen, we have to figure out why!!!! Not just get rid of them!!
Dry brushing is an amazing way to help our bodies get lymph fluid moving to keep us healthy!
Other benefits of Dry Brushing:
- Helps with Digestion!!! You all know I am all about pooping!!!
- Exfoliates your skin. Your skin will be sooo soft and smooth, and some of my patients notice more even skin color tone.
- Can help with cellulite. Helps to move stored fat around.
- Improve circulation of the body.
- Helps you feel more energized! I like to do my brushing in the morning before my shower. I will help wake you up and set the tone for the day.
- Less swelling in hands and feet.
- Stimulates the nervous system!! As a chiropractor, it is super important! Every cell, muscle, organ are controlled by your nervous system. That is why spinal alignments are just as important as dry brushing. Dry brushing helps tostimulate our senses especially touch.
- Can help alleviate stress and anxiety which can lead to better mental health! Being happy and grateful can help with improved circulation and improved immune function.
As you can see, dry brushing extends beyond just the lymph system!
How to Dry Brush:
- I always start at my feet and you want to brush up your leg towards the center of your body towards your groin. I do my standing using my bed to stabilize me. Work all over your feet, then calf, then thigh. As you get to know your legs you will start to feel some knots or areas that may need more attention and go over them a little more often or vigorously. Just not too hard to effect your skin. I spend about 15-30 seconds per area. So, one leg may take 45-60 in total.
- Next, I then start working in my hands and arms. Here I hold my arm in the air and work downward towards my armpit, breast, and heart. Make sure you are getting into the armpit as it will tickle but very important! Spend about 60 seconds each side.
- Then I will do face and neck. Do lightly or have a separate brush for face and neck that is a bit softer. There again, brush downwards toward the heart. I spend 20-30 seconds on this area.
- Next, is back and glutes. This is not the easiest. Do the best you can. My brush has a long handle. I try to go circular or downward over my back. For my glutes, I start int he middle and move outward to the front of my groin. 30-60 seconds
- Chest area including breast, brush downward to the abdomen. Lifting the breast as well to get underneath. I spend 20-30 seconds on chest and breast.
- The abdomen is where you want to spend the most time and most important for elimination. Sometimes I will lay not the bed on my back, but not necessary. Start over the bladder just above the pubic bone and brush in a clockwise direction until you get back to the bladder again. You are going in the same direction of your bowel and this will help with elimination. I spend 1-2 minutes just on the abdomen alone.
I like to dry brush 1-2 times a week. I usually do in-between my epsom salt baths. Opposite days. I will do it more if my legs are sore form working out, or if I am feeling sick.
I use a bamboo brush. You can spend as much as you want. My brush was about $20. You can find a dry brush is most bath stores, Amazon, or health foods stores.
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!
Saging and smudging are terms that can be used interchangeably in our society. While smudging is done by Shamans, the intermediaries between the material world and the spiritual, it is considered the same as ‘saging’ yourself, home, or environment.
No matter your beliefs, there is sometimes an undeniable negative energy to a space. There are also times in which you may choose to simply cleanse a space that belonged to another before you, or recleanse your own surroundings to refocus, re-energize, and feel good again. While some people rearrange furniture, do a deep clean, and take up yoga, many others opt to sage their space. With the start of this new year, I decided to create a more neutral and positive air space in the office.
Shamans use smudges, or bundles of native plants, in sweat lodges and healing rituals, which may be considered if you are pursuing a healthier lifestyle, change in fertility, or chronic ailments. Today, many acupuncturists combine this practice with their own in hopes of cleansing the body to accept treatment more efficiently.
A 2007 study discovered that the Native American practice of smudging showed a positive outcome within this community for those suffering from cardiovascular disease. An early study from 1999 also showed positive health benefits to this ritual. The study compared emergency room patients with healing ritual patients, all with the same chronic ailments. Those who were exposed to the smudging traditions, sweat lodges, and healing ceremonies saw significantly higher rates of increased health than those treated at a hospital. These studies both suggest bridging western medicine with these Native American rituals and healing traditions.
For most of you looking to do a simple cleanse, it is important to know that the herbs and traditions are not meant to be taken lightly. Smudging can be done in a bowl or shell with charcoal, stones, or sand, but most commonly, it is performed with a premade smudge stick of wrapped herbs that you hold and spread smoke with a feather or your hand. It is called ‘washing’ as the smoke washes over the person, walls, or air in need of cleansing. The following herbs are typically found in smudge sticks and can be wrapped on your own if you are interested in doing so. You can create your own combination to include specific herbs not found on this list as well.
· Lavender (Lavandula angustifolia)
· Mullein (Verbascum thapsus)
· Yarrow (Achillea millefolium)
· New England Aster (Symphyotrichum novae-angliae)
· Calendula (Calendula officinalis)
· Sage (Salvia officinalis)
· Thyme (Thymus vulgaris)
· Hyssop (Hyssopus officinalis).
· Rosemary (Rosmarinus officinale)
· Mugwort (Artemisia vulgaris)
· Anise Hyssop (Agastache foeniculum)
· Big Sagebrush (Artemisia tridentata)
Each of the above herbs has a purpose. Mullein works gently to clear the lungs and make the air more ‘breathable;’ Calendula is an antimicrobial that can aid in healing leaky gut, liver problems, etc but while saging a room, it can act as the healer or the room’s ‘skin.’ Thyme can be smudged to help with physical or emotional pain. It is truly amazing to learn about the history and traditions behind the herbs we overlook every day.
Cannabidiol (CBD) is growing in popularity as the research is released on just how wonderful it can be for anxiety, pain, and chronic problems so many people suffer from. But the benefits aren’t just for those currently experiencing troubles. The research is overwhelmingly positive and links CBD to not only balancing the Immune system, but protecting the brain as well.
I know you are thinking that this can’t be so. That marijuana disrupts brains cells; it can’t protect them. Remember that CBD is not the equivalent to consuming basic marijuana. There are little to no side effects, no ‘high’ is felt, and the science undeniably backs the use of it.
The US National Institutes of Health acknowledge the benefits of CBD and do not discourage against therapeutic usage.
As a neuroprotectant, CBD reduces the previous damage done to the brain and nervous system and allows for the growth and development of new neurons. This means that spinal cord injuries, brain injuries, diseases, and strokes may benefit greatly with CBD treatment. The oxidative stresses caused by head injury, genetic disorders, and autoimmune diseases that typically lead to temporary or permanent neurological damage may be protected against or greatly reduced with the use of CBD oil.
But what about using CBD oil preventatively? Are the benefits still there if the problems are not?
Research has linked CBD oil, as a preventative supplement, to the following neurological disorders:
- Amyuotophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS)
- Epilepsy (and other seizure disorders)
- Multiple Sclerosis (MS)
- Parkinson’s Disease
It has also been proven that CBD oil aids in management of the symptoms of all of these disorders: depression, agitation, appetite loss, pain, insomnia, and inflammation.
Alzheimer’s has been proven to be caused by inflammation within the brain, although the cause of the inflammation is still unknown. Research is currently being performed with CBD oil and the prevention of possible neurological inflammation. Ohio State Professor of Neuroscience, Gary Wenk, PhD has been studying this possibility for decades. He found that after the age of 30, the human brain naturally begins becoming inflamed. By utilizing CBD, this inflammation can be halted or reduced.
The US government has recently labeled CBD not only as a neuroprotector, but as an antioxidant as well. These two titles are different, but after breaking it down, you will see that they are tied to one another. The brain accumulates excess glutamate over time, and this can lead to glutamate (a neurotransmitter) toxicity, which can destroy brain cells. Studies show that CBD reduces hydroperoxide toxicity in neurons.
Furthermore (as if you need more reason to believe in CBD!), this oil promotes new brain cell growth in adult brains!
While more research is needed, and occurring, it is believed that CBD oil can be used to minimize cell damage, promote healing, and prevent future neural damage.
As I discussed in Part 1, cannabinoids are derived from the cannabis plant, but are not the same thing as the drug marijuana. Cannabinoids, such as CBD oil do not produce a ‘high’ or other well-known symptoms of ingesting marijuana. Instead, this oil is known only to aid the body, as proven by more research than you have time to read!
I have spent countless hours reviewing the studies available, and I truly believe that CBD oil can be an added benefit to almost everyone’s lives, but more specifically to those suffering from chronic pain, inflammation, anxiety, and so many other health issues. It seems that where the medical professionals draw a blank and prescribe more medications, CBD oil may in fact be a much better supplement to the body. It is at least worth considering.
Today, I want to address another powerful aspect of CBD oil that not many know about. The oil itself reacts with the body’s natural endogenous cannabinoid system (ECS). This system is a complex network of lipids and receptors. The endocannabinoids and their particular receptors are produced naturally by the body and are located in the brain, connective tissues, glands, and the cells of the immune system. These receptors are designed to interact actively with cannabinoids to balance the body’s immune system as a whole.
Cannabinoids work hand-in-hand with the ECS to help the immune system -and the body as a whole- reach it’s optimal levels by binding to the ECS receptors. This process is proven to aid in most autoimmune diseases, such as Parkinson’s, Multiple Sclerosis, IBD, Fibromyalgia, Celiac Disease, and Lupus. Researchers are currently studying just how valuable CBD oil can be for other autoimmune illnesses; it will take time, but the current information points to positive results in all areas. This new research will be invaluable, as over 50 million people (75% of which are women) suffer from autoimmune diseases.
With autoimmune diseases, the body cannot differentiate between outside intruding germs/cells and its own healthy cells. Research shows that CBD oil binding to the ECS receptors increases the body’s ability to distinguish differences.
Our immune systems are complex aspects of the body. Often times, it falls out of balance and leaves us susceptible for illness and discomfort. Typically, the immune system becomes overstimulated and causes common ailments, but an under-stimulated immune system is linked to cancers and other life-threatening diseases. It is important to work on keeping the system balanced and healthy. CBD oil works naturally with the ECS to maintain a healthy balance.
Just as the body receives and benefits from the sun’s natural Vitamin D (and many other naturally occurring vitamins), it also greatly benefits from a plant’s natural oils.
It started off as a pink trend. Grocery stores started stocking their shelves, and customers started buying up the pretty pink salt, but other than a few ‘it’s good for you’ rumors, no one really knew anything about this aesthetically pleasing salt substance. It comes in cooking form, slab form, stone form, and lamp form. But what is ‘IT’ and where does it come from?
True Himalayan salt is mined from within the Himalayan mountains that stretch through Asia, China, and India. Crystalized sea salt beds that formed within these mountains were covered in lava millions of years ago. This lava protected the sea salt from millions of years of pollution, bacteria, and ruins. It basically kept it in pristine condition. Now the red, pink, and white salt can be found just about everywhere.
Let me be clear before I start informing you on the benefits of Himalayan salt, cooking with or on this salt, utilizing the stones, and places the lamps in your home will not be a cure all to anything. We tend to be a society driven by quick fixes, and this is not one of them. The benefits to Himalayan salt are real, but (like any and all-natural solutions) it takes multiple interventions, therapies, and lifestyle changes to truly impact your life. I absolutely enjoy having salt lamps around my home and office, and I believe that you should invest in a few as well, but please take the time to dig deeper into your health and mental state of mind to find other ideas to pair with the salt. Himalayan salt is only a small addition with great benefits that should be made to your life.
Himalayan salt is the purest form of sea salt available. It contains varying amounts of minerals and iron-rich content. Nothing is added into this salt, as it naturally contains iodine and everything needed to benefit the body. It contains:
- sodium chloride
- strontium and more
Together these elements and minerals are linked to:
- Electrolyte balance
- Mood stabilization
- Aiding in adrenal fatigue
- Increased hydration
- Balanced pH (alkaline/acidity)
- Reduce acid reflux
- Muscle cramping prevention
- Proper metabolism functioning
- Strengthening of bones
- Lowered blood pressure
- Increased absorption of nutrients in intestines
- Improved circulation
- Removal of toxins and metals
- Libido support
You will find many blogs and articles saying these benefits are tied to the minerals but not the salt itself. I beg to differ, as most natural remedies are often described in this manner. Again, depending on your main complaints, you should include healthy lifestyle changes in combination with the Himalayan salt.
Ways to utilize Himalayan Salt:
Bathing: The skin soaks minerals through the bath water; this can be more effective than ingesting them! Using Himalayan salt in the bath tub allows the body to absorb the nutrients in the best way possible.
Salt Lamps: While a single salt lamp will not purify your home, paired with an air purifier, the lamp should effectively help send negative ions into your air, impacting your focus, mood and health. Salt is hygroscopic, which means it attracts water molecules from the air. These microscopic compounds remain on the salt and not floating in the air where you would have been breathing. The heat also dries these particles and rereleases water into the air with negative ions. Every few weeks, it’s good to turn off your salt lamp for an hour, let it cool and then gently rub it with a damp cloth to clean away trapped dust and particles. The rest of the time just leave it on and let it work to clean the air in your home.
Salt Slab: These can be used hot, warmed, room temperature, chilled, or frozen. You can serve any and all food types on the slab, as it enhances taste and mineral content within the food. It is naturally anti-microbial, so clean up is easy.
Cooking: Himalayan salt is used just as table salt is – it’s an even substitution.
Neti Pot: A salt water rinse of the sinuses can help with allergies and illnesses. Using Himalayan salt kills bacteria and bonds to many contaminants that may be stuck in your nasal cavities due to breathing polluted air.
In recent years, it has become almost trendy to be seen with an amber beaded necklace on your toddler. I’m not sure if most parents even understand the true significance of this stone, but I must admit that I love seeing it everywhere!
If you are not into trends, but want to really know if your baby (or you!) should be wearing an amber necklace, read on.
For centuries, mankind has known that stones and crystals have healing powers. It wasn’t until our medicine-driven society decided that man-made is better than earth-made. With a balance in life needed, it is about time that we start looking toward the abilities that our earth can provide to us.
I need to begin with the fact that there is not one study out there that has been conducted proving that Amber does anything that I say here. You won’t find any ‘real’ research out there on the subject, but what you can find is testimony after testimony of how it has impacted individuals.
What is Baltic Amber?
In short, amber is fossilized tree resin. Baltic amber is mined from close to the Baltic Sea and contains between 3-8% of a substance called succinic acid. It comes in a variety of shades and colors, with most people claiming the lightest shades to be the most powerful. However, all shades seem to have people saying pain is eased. The same is noted about raw versus polished finishes on the stones. A polished stone is tumbled to achieve the shiny look, and is not less beneficial than a raw finished amber. The succinic acid within the amber is thought to be absorbed into the skin as body heat is released. This process allows the body to benefit from the acid, reducing inflammation and pain.
Who Can Wear Amber?
The beautiful thing is that anyone can wear Baltic amber. From infancy throughout adulthood, there are necklaces, bracelets, and other jewelry pieces that can be worn safely. Some swear by wearing amber as a preventative aid, along with a more natural lifestyle of organic eating, healthy choices, and chiropractic care. Others utilize amber to aid in reducing pain and inflammation. Many parents use a necklace on their infants when teething begins to help with gum inflammation. Most parents choose to keep the necklace long passed the teething stage, as a child’s body is always growing and changing with possible inflammation occurring at any time.
Baltic amber has been said to help with the following:
Boosting Thyroid Function
Strengthens kidneys and intestines
Swollen Glands/Sore Throat
Baltic Teething Necklaces
Please understand, that these are not to be chewed on. The necklace should not be long enough to slide over the chin and into the mouth of a child. They can be wrapped as an anklet until they fit properly, or a smaller size can be made.
I highly recommend Baltic amber to my clients. Even if you doubt the power of this stone, it doesn’t hurt to try it!
Check out Dr. Brenda’s Book on helping raise a healthy child naturally! Why Didn’t My Pediatrician Tell Me That?
The search results are overwhelming when trying to learn about the benefits of aloe vera juice. There are over 22,000 resources to sift through that are based on research and studies linking aloe vera juice to positive benefits. I have been preaching this for quite some time now, and feel the need to spread the word to everyone else out there!
Over the past few decades, aloe vera has become a household stable when it comes to sunburns, but the truth is that there is so much more to this naturally occurring resource. It’s an easy to maintain plant that can be grown indoors and may provide you with a multitude of benefits. I want to focus purely on aloe vera juice today as to not overwhelm you with all that the plant can do. As always, ensure that you are purchasing a high-quality product. Most natural stores (and many grocery chains!) will have options.
Aloe vera juice is a nutrient dense drink that contains Vitamins A, C, E, and many B Vitamins. It is one of the only plants known to contain B12. It also has a natural source of folate (known to many as ‘folic acid’), magnesium, zinc, calcium, selenium, sodium, chromium, iron, and potassium.
When clients talk to me about digestive issues, the first thing I suggest is to begin adding aloe vera juice to their routine. The juice contains an insoluble fiber that acts as a cleaning agent to the digestive track as it passes through. It also has a soluble fiber that aids the body in absorbing sugar and fat. These fibers also help the body to absorb and rid itself of toxins, helping promote a healthy detoxification and improving the gut.
Our society is not consuming the healthiest of diets, and even those of us trying to maintain a healthier lifestyle struggle with keeping our bodies in perfect alignment. Most people tend to be unbalanced and lean toward an acidic internal environment. This leads to chronic inflammation and pains throughout the body. Joint pain, headaches, ulcers, weight gain, fatigue, arthritis, allergies, and even diabetes, fibromyalgia, osteoporosis, and heart disease are linked to chronic inflammation. Aloe vera juice is a natural alkaline that helps rebalance the body and reduce inflammation significantly.
Oral administration of aloe vera (ingesting it as a drink) is a useful support for lowering blood glucose in diabetic patients as well as for reducing blood lipid levels in patients with hyperlipidaemia. What this translates to is that aloe vera juice can aid in lowering cholesterol.
Aloe Vera Juice has been shown to add in all of the following, in addition to the above mentioned ailments:
· Chronic Fatigue Syndrome
· Degenerating Eye Conditions
· Digestive and Bowel Disorders, not limited to atonic constipation, irritable bowel syndrome, Crohn’s disease, and ulcerative colitis
· Anti-inflammatory Lupus
· Skin Problems, not limited to eczema, psoriasis, acne, burns, athlete’s foot, cold sores, frostbite
Overall, aloe vera juice cleanses and detoxifies while stimulating cell growth. It has even been proven to improve brain function, increasing memory and danger awareness. Research also shows it aids with depression, as well as improving nervous system functioning. It is known to regulate appetite and boost metabolism (even promoting healthy hair growth!), while also reducing the risk of kidney and heart disorders.
Drinking aloe vera has a (gentle) laxative effect on the body for some people, and should be drank in moderation if this is proven for you. You do not want to throw the electrolyte balance off and become dehydrated. However, this is not the case for most who drink the juice. It is a naturally hydrating product and is safe and healthy to consume during a well-balanced diet and lifestyle.
‘Tis the season that we see pregnant women in the office asking for ways to naturally induce labor.
Around the holidays it seems that pregnant women are put on the clock before they are even in labor. Those who are due within a week of a holiday are typically given the option to induce labor as to avoid giving birth on the holiday itself. In the past year, full-term pregnancies have been relabeled to 39 weeks instead of 37 weeks due to the highest (and at that point, still rising) c-section rates of all time. Women were being electively induced as early as they could be (37 weeks), with the doctors leading the induction discussions.
It is so tempting to have the opportunity to not give birth on an actual holiday. Sharing a birthday on such a momentous day is challenging. It’s also inviting to have an exact end-date to the uncomfortableness that is pregnancy, but medically inducing pregnancy does not have to be your first choice.
Being induced generally includes the use of the drug Pitocin, a synthetic oxytocin. In 2012, a study was conducted by Australian and New Zealand Journal of Gynaecology that showed the use of Pitocin leads to “great pain and suffering, including serious unintended and adverse health effects to both mother and infant.” The study witnessed:
- Increased use of regional analgesia (65 vs. 22% control group*)
- Increased use of instruments for delivery (21 to 18% control group*)
- Increased use of Cesarean section (29 to 14% control group*)
*control group did not receive oxytocin
The researchers concluded that synthetic oxytocin use increased “severe” maternal and neonatal morbidity and increased the doubled the risk of c-section. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/19821304
Pitocin Side Effects (directly from the manufacturer’s drug insert):
- Anaphylactic reaction
- Postpartum hemorrhage
- Cardiac arrhythmia
- Fatal afibrinogenemia
- Premature ventricular contractions
- Pelvic hematoma
- Subarachnoid hemorrhage
- Hypertensive episodes
- Rupture of the uterus
According to the same drug insert, the infant may suffer from the intensification of uterine contractions or “motility” in the following ways:
- Premature ventricular contractions
- and other arrhythmias
- Permanent CNS or brain damage
- Fetal death
- Neonatal seizures have been reported
Inducing your labor can potentially lead to issues with baby:
- Problems breathing and keeping warm
- Feeding problems because they may have more trouble sucking and swallowing
- Newborn jaundice, which causes their skin and the white part of their eyes to look yellow
- A longer hospital stay after they are born or be in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit
- Are more often readmitted to the hospital with problems
- A smaller and less developed brain when they are born.
The problem is that many women are quickly approaching their due date, or already have surpassed it, and the doctor is presenting them with an induction date.
If this is you, and you are begging for ways to help get labor started before a doctor does, then read on.
You need to know that no induction method will bring a baby earthside who is not ready to be born. Medically, this is known as a failed induction and ends in c-section. But if baby is ready, natural induction methods can trigger labor. Also, make sure that you are at least 39 weeks (or more) before trying to induce labor.
What is developing and changing within baby at 39 weeks gestation:
- Advanced muscle development: Aiding with the suck swallow motion of nursing
- Body temperature control
- Further brain development
- Higher body fat
- Advanced body system development: lung development, digestive system, nervous system, etc
Natural Labor Induction Methods
Sex: Sex is a commonly suggested method of natural induction due to semen containing prostaglandins, which help to ripen the cervix. Consider a relaxing bath first; making sure the body is not tensed. Please note, that sex is safe throughout the entire pregnancy and is not linked to premature rupture of membranes or early labor.
Chiropractor: Not only can chiropractic care ease symptoms during pregnancy, there is research that show it can ease delivery time and pain as well. Research found that women who receive chiropractic care during pregnancy have approximately 6 fewer hours of labor than women who did not receive care. Chiropractors who specialize in pregnancy (Webster Technique) can not only ease pain, but they can manipulate baby’s position, turning him into the best place to begin labor. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2647084/ and http://www.prlog.org/10119754-decreased-labor-time-with-chiropractic-care.html
Nipple Stimulation: Stimulating the nipples (including your areola, as a baby would when sucking) triggers the production of natural oxytocin. Oxytocin contracts the uterus. Massage the first nipple for 5 minutes (when there are no contractions), then wait to see what happens (around 15 mins or so) before doing more. It’s a good idea to take your mind off things by getting on with your usual duties than sitting and waiting for something to happen – so try and keep busy! Once labor is well established again, stop the stimulation. http://www.bellybelly.com.au/birth/nipple-stimulation-how-to-do-nipple-stimulation-for-labour
Acupuncture: Acupuncture has been used for thousands of years to induce women who are post dates in their pregnancy. Most of the time one treatment is all that is needed to get the process going. Sometimes a second treatment may be needed. Through continual research, it’s been found that induction using acupuncture generally works within 6-48 hours of having your treatment http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/19922252
Acupressure/Trigger Points: You can find a wonderful reference of acupressure for pregnancy and birth here: http://acupuncture.rhizome.net.nz/download-booklet/
- The first area on the body used for stimulating labor is located between the thumb and index finger. This point is actually the “webbing” between these two areas. Techniques vary, but this pressure point can be pressed and rubbed for several seconds or simply pressed firmly for approximately one minute and then released. This technique can also be used during active labor to relieve pain.
- The next area of the body used for stimulating labor is the ankle. This area actually has two different pressure points. The first pressure point is located on the outside of the ankle, just behind where the bony prominence is. Just like the first mentioned location, techniques vary but the pressure point can be rubbed or pressed for several seconds or one minute. The other ankle pressure point is inside the leg, above the ankle. This area may be difficult to find but it is more sensitive to touch than the rest of the leg.
- Another area is located on the back, above the buttocks and lower back. This area can also be pressed or massaged as tolerated.
Homeopathy— Homeopathic remedies use highly diluted versions of more potent substances to treat the body. Pulsatilla and Caulophyllum are two commonly used homeopathic remedies used to stimulate labor.
Evening Primrose Oil: EPO may not induce labor, but it can prime and soften your cervix. You may take the oil orally or insert it vaginally for the best results.
Red Raspberry Leaf Tea: Keeping you hydrated, as well as simulating contractions, RRL Tea has been used to tone the uterus and possibly bring labor on if the baby is ready.
Cinnamon stick tea: Take cinnamon sticks and boil them into a tea and drink. It actually tastes good so even if it doesn’t bring on labor it may help you to relax.
Clary Sage Oil: One of the numerous health beneﬁts of clary sage essential oil is to promote relaxation and pain relief during labor. It is specifically useful where muscular tension arises from mental or emotional stress. Mix CSO with a carrier oil (Like Coconut Oil) and rub on before using acupressure for best labor-educing results.
Pineapple: Most tropical fruits such as pineapples, mango, papaya, and kiwi contain proteolytic enzymes, enzymes which break down protein and are thought to have certain medicinal properties. Pineapples have been used as an anti-inflammatory, digestive aid, diuretic, and also to induce labor. Bromelain, a type of proteolytic enzyme found in pineapples, may help to soften the cervix which could explain how it helps to bring on labor. Since it is also used as a digestive aid, it may stimulate the bowels to move, which could bring on contractions as well.
Wide Squats, Stair lunges, and Curb Walking: Walking on an uneven surface such as a curb or lunging up the stairs can help drop baby into a lower and engaged position for labor to begin. Squatting reduces the birth canal by 10% and helps to get baby into the lowest position for birth.
Exercise/Walking: The pressure of your baby’s head pressing down on the cervix stimulates the release of oxytocin, hopefully bringing on labor, also just being upright gets the forces of gravity working for you, encouraging the baby to move down into the pelvis.
Castor Oil: Rubbing two tablespoons of castor oil on the belly (around the uterus) can possibly cause contractions, leading to labor.
Enemas or other bowel preparations (drinking castor oil): This causes the bowels to contract and could cause the uterus to contract. Use with caution as castor oil can cause vicious diarrhea.