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Cant Sleep? Help Falling Asleep & Combatting Insomnia


WHAT IS INSOMNIA? & WHY AM I EXPERIENCING IT?

Insomnia - or the inability to sleep - can occur for a number of reasons, but is related primarily to a perception of stress or being in a sympathetic nervous state. If you feel very stressed and agitated throughout the day, biologically your body will steer away from it’s rest and digest state (parasympathetic state) and into the fight or flight state (sympathetic nervous state). In our fight or flight state the body diverts our energy away from ‘auxiliary’ functions like resting, digesting, libido, and recovery/rejuvenating our cells (functions not necessary for immediate survival), to preparing us to fight, run or play dead.


INSOMNIA & THE AUTONOMIC NERVOUS SYSTEM

In this sympathetic state, our bodies are putting things like resting/rejuvenation on hold and replacing the focus to things like seizing/clenching of muscles i.e. when you clench your jaw, raise your shoulders, press your hands into surfaces nervously, etc in moments of stress; changes to breathing i.e. holding your breath representing a state of fright, increasing/rapid breathing indicating preparation to fight or run; release bowel i.e. urinary incontinence/ibs - in moments of continued stress the body wishes to empty the bowel/bladder to be lighter and run more easily; additionally you are being pumped full of hormones preparing you to defend your self like cortisol and adrenaline which are particularly counter to allowing you to rest and fall asleep.


PHYSICAL EXERCISES FOR MANAGING INSOMNIA

yinyogaconstantinetohme

When your body is in this state, tense, rigid and clenching/guarding physically in different areas the mind is unable to be at ease. The body and mind are two sides of the same coin, when the body is tense the mind will be unable to relax as there is a perception of stress the mind is keeping you and your muscles alert, clenched in anticipation of blunt impact or potential attack. It is essential to learn to disengage the muscles and tissues to help the mind and sympathetic nervous system relax.

One of the most direct practices related to this physical response is Yin or Restorative yoga, which has a focus of the physical guarding as it relates to the sympathetic nervous system. Other styles of yoga also include this aspect of physical release, however without close guidance and an instructor willing to walk you through this aspect of release it may be more inaccessible to enter into this state through the more common styles i.e. hatha, vinyasa, iyengar, sivananda, kati yoga etc.


PROCESSING MENTAL STRESS TO HELP REDUCE YOUR INSOMNIA

Anything which helps to take you away from the sympathetic nervous state is going to be particularly useful in helping you get that rest you need. Aside from physical practices you might try and approach your insomnia from the mental aspect of ‘holding’ (guarding) - remembering that they are two sides of the same coin, and ideally circumventing this issue and engaging with both physical and mental techniques in ‘letting go’ or release. Meditation techniques can teach you over time to relate differently to yourself and the outside world, teaching you to not constantly engage in the holding which leads to this same response. As a middle path I would recommend Pranayama or breathing exercises, as a way to learn both about the physical and mental aspects of this response in our body.

I encourage you to use some of the tools mentioned below, but to also seek out other ways of managing your stress and fostering greater support for what you are going through. We are a social species and thrive in community and being supported, isolation and alienation not only do not help foster better mental health but can keep us in stifled and often unhealthy patterns of life. One study found that addiction/addictive behaviour had a very close relationship with isolation and lack of community / support. Broadly speaking we do not become addicted to just external substances, but also to other forms of sedation as ways of managing stress i.e. overeating, binge eating, toxic relationships, mindless hours sedating ourselves in front of a tv or social media. For this reason, I really encourage you to be more vulnerable in your trusted relationships, stick your neck out so to speak and garner who you can have these stronger relationships with, slowly building that support network that we all need.

HOW THESE CAN HELP MANAGE YOUR STRESS:

These tools can help create garner more awareness of your stress triggers and help diffuse emotional charge. They accomplish this by bringing form to what was before formless - an unidentified gross-encompassing feeling of being unsettled to something you can identify; in order to begin working on anything we first must know what that thing is; how we relate to it and potentially enable that behaviour.

SOME TOOLS FOR MANAGING MENTAL TENSION:

  • free-form journalling

  • counselling & psychotherapy

  • cognitive behavioural therapy

  • a meditation/mindfulness practice

  • dream journalling

  • social support (i.e. family, friends, community)


COMBATTING INSOMNIA WITH DIET & MAGNESIUM

In terms of supplements that may help, you can try a calcium magnesium supplement. This can be helpful because of their mutual action in relaxing and contracting our nervous system as well as tissues (remember two sides of the same coin!) - Calcium helps engage the nervous system and contract muscles, while magnesium helps relax the nerves and muscles. This supplement is especially relevant if you happen to have absorption issues, experience lots of cramping, sweat a lot, or are doing a lot of exercise and sweating these important minerals out of your system leaving you at a nutritional deficit when it comes to relaxing the nervous system - I recommend getting a water soluble effervescent powder, they tend to have more bioavailability and better absorption. 

FOODS HIGH IN MAGNESIUM:

Below are some examples of foods with high magnesium content, and a great way to include magnesium without the use of a supplement - it’s always a good idea to consult your wellness practitioner before starting out on a new diet.

  • Almonds, dry roasted, 1 oz - 80mg

  • Spinach, boiled, 1/2 cup - 78mg

  • Cashews, dry roasted, 1 ounce - 74mg

  • Peanuts, oil roasted, 1/4 cup - 63mg

  • Soymilk, plain or vanilla, 1 cup - 61mg

  • Black beans, cooked, 1 cup - 60mg

  • Quinoa, cooked, 1/2 cup - 59mg

  • Edamame, shelled and cooked, 1/2 cup - 50mg

  • Peanut butter, smooth, 2 tbl spoons - 49mg

  • Avocado, cubed, 1 cup - 44mg

  • Rice, brown, cooked 1/2 cup - 42mg

  • Yogurt, plain, low fat, 8 oz - 42mg

  • Oatmeal, instant, 1 packet - 36mg

HOW MUCH MAGNESIUM?

The National Institute for Health (NIH) recommends the following daily values of magnesium, please see link for possible drug interactions as magnesium can interact with certain medications, to be safe always consult your physician if you are taking any medications:

  • Birth to 6months - 30mg

  • 7-12 months - 75mg

  • 1-3 years - 80mg

  • 4-8 years - 240mg

  • 9-13 years - 240mg

  • 14-18 years - 410mg (males) | 360mg (females)

    • 400mg (pregnancy) | 360mg (lactation)

  • 19-30 years - 400mg (males) | 310mg (females)

    • 350mg (pregnancy) | 310mg (lactation)

  • 31-50 years - 420mg (males) | 320mg (females)

    • 360mg (pregnancy) | 320mg (lactation)

  • 51+ years - 420mg (males) | 320 mg (females)


HERBS & TEAS FOR INSOMNIA

As for herbs, you can try valerian, lemon balm, or skullcap teas, as well as a variety of TCM based herbal formulas but this should be done under close supervision of a qualified practitioner. One study suggests that combining both Valerian and Lemon Balm may be most effective when combined for dyssomnia (general sleeping disorders/restlessness) - (1). Melatonin has been shown to have some results in helping with insomnia although research is limited (2).

Lemon Balm (Melissa officinalis L.):

There is conflicting evidence on it’s overall efficacy, like most botanicals a lot more research will need to be done before we can conclusively say Lemon Balm is effective as a remedy for insomnia. Here is some research showing it’s efficacy with regards to both insomnia and general anxiety; with the results showing that it may be effective at helping both anxiety and insomnia (1).

Valerian (Valeriana officinalis):

Valerian root (extract or tea) has been shown to have some benefit in combatting insomnia, reducing the overall time it takes to fall asleep by up to 20minutes (1). In a meta analysis of the efficacy of Valerian for Insomnia, it was found to be effective above placebo in a number of controlled studies though not on all demographics (differences in efficacy based on relative age and health) (2).


SLEEPING HYGIENE & ETIQUETTE FOR INSOMNIA

GENERAL ETIQUETTE FOR RESTORING YOUR CIRCADIAN RHYTHM (SLEEP-WAKE CYCLE)

Your circadian rhythm is an internally regulated 24hr clock which regulates your bodies sleep-wake cycles - regulating your bodies sense of alertness or sleepiness based on a number of factors. Factors like lightness and darkness impact your hypothalamus, a part of your brain which helps maintain your circadian rhythm. When it’s night, your eyes signal the hypothalamus to secrete the pineal hormone melatonin, which helps us fall into our resting state (further reading). Therefore in helping to restore this cycle do your best to:

  • Follow the Sun & Moon: Look towards the sun and moon to help re-orient your bodies natural rhythm, trying not to sleep in too late, past daylight hours especially in hemispheres where daylight is restricted seasonally - for example during winter in north America/Europe. Instead try to wake up and go to sleep at regular intervals (i.e. not at inconsistent hours).

  • Avoid Late Night Activity & Embodying Yin: Avoid being overly active in the late evening when your body wants to gear down for sleep; especially avoid ignoring fatigue / tiredness when it sets in. ‘Pushing through’ fatigue for deadlines or other perceived obligations can counteract this effect and cause your circadian rhythm to function differently, leading you down the path to insomnia. In Traditional Chinese medicine and Taoism, nighttime is the time of yin, an introspective, silent, slow archetypal force, try to embody this during the time it represents, choosing in the night to do activities which embody this quality i.e. meditation, deep relaxation, quietism, etc.


SLEEP HYGIENE - THE DO’S & DON’TS FOR INSOMNIA SUFFERERS

It’s important to circumvent the issue of insomnia in as many ways as possible, the following recommendations are things that help* your body move into that rest and digest state. On their own, they likely will not be enough for the chronic insomnia sufferer, but do they help push you a little bit further into that parasympathetic state? Yes. Conversely there are certain things that may take you away from the rested state you are seeking. See below:

TRY ME

  • Don’t Work/Eat in Bed: Keep your bed for sleeping, intimacy and resting. Try not to do work, watch tv, talk on the phone while in bed if you are suffering from insomnia, preventing the body and mind from relating this area to one in which you experience stress (activity) can help you feel more at ease here and sleep a little quicker.

  • Comfortable Bedding: When purchasing bedding with regards to deep sleep, I suggest a mattress that isn’t too soft or too hard (go for goldilocks!); Cotton sheets breath easier and will help keep your body from oscillating it’s temperature at night when it wants to cool down; and lastly considering getting a body pillow if you sleep on your side keeping pressure (discomfort/pain) off any joints.

  • White Noise Generator: If you live in a noisy environment, or maybe have a noisy roommate consider getting a white noise generator. Repetitive sound helps dull sudden noises as well as sooth the mind into a state of calm.

  • De-Stress Sleep Journal: If your mind tends to be spinning before bed as you are trying to sleep, consider taking time well before sleep to journal about the things that are concerning you, diffuse that energy as much as possible earlier in the day so you aren’t spending the moments before sleep ‘planning’ or stressing about things.

  • Black Out Curtains: Ensuring the room is dark enough, especially if street lights are shining all night through your window, will help the body produce melatonin and send you into a restful sleep.

AVOID ME

  • Cigarettes: Nicotine is a stimulant, it increases your heart rate, blood pressure and is very likely going to keep you up longer if you smoke before bed.

  • Caffeine: Caffeine is a stimulant, causing the adrenal glands to secrete adrenaline and cortisol, and taking you into your sympathetic state. This absolutely should be avoided or at the very least limited to the early morning.

  • Alcohol: Alcohol is a depressant drug, slowing and sedating the nervous system. While having drinks before bed may help you fall asleep, it also disturbs the rhythm of sleep patterns, and you won’t feel rested in the morning. Additionally alcohol is a diuretic, which can cause you to wake frequently to go urinate, interrupting your much needed sleep.

  • DayTime Napping: Avoid daytime naps if you are suffering from insomnia, though the circadian clock does enter a rest phase in the afternoon, if you are suffering from insomnia this may result in you not being able to sleep in the evening.

  • LateNight Exercise: Try not to overheat or over stimulate yourself close to bedtime, again looking to reorient your circadian rhythm by exercising during the day instead.

  • Sleeping pills: These should be used as a last resort as you can become reliant on them if used long term; it’s always best to discuss the use of these with your physician. Common drawbacks include daytime sleepiness and dependance after long term use.

wellness

Treating Seasonal & Perennial Allergies Naturally

Seasonal and perennial allergies can really impact the quality of your life depending on the severity. Before coming for treatment some patients reported breathing through the mouth is the only option they have as they are constantly stuffed up, while some report completely avoiding social event for fear of being exposed to a natural or artificial aggravant. This can really dampen your ability to enjoy various seasons and or social gatherings, and ultimately limit your ability to enjoy yourself and partake in your community.

The most common treatment for chronic allergic rhinitis or congestion related to allergies is the use of cortiosteroids; these immediately resolve acute symptoms but can leave you more prone to infection if used long term. Up to 70% of our immune function comes from our first line of defense, the mucous membrane in the nasal and alimentary canal (intestines/gi tract). The use of corticosteroids and other nasal sprays can thin this lining, leaving us without our barrier to infection. Netti Pot has often been heralded for it’s benefits with congestion/sinus issues, but for the same reason should not be used long term. If your congestion does not subside after 1-2 days, it’s time to look for better options that wont leave you at a deficit / more vulnerable to infection!


Conventional Treatments Available & their risks:

  • Intranasal Corticosteroids: increased vulnerability to infection, thinning of skin and mucous membrane, diabetes, weight gain, hypertension, osteoperosis, fungal infection (thrush), nosebleed.

  • Intranasal/Oral Antihistamines: Drowsiness or sleepiness, dizziness, dry mouth, nose, or throat, weight gain, stomach upset, changes in vision, feeling irritable or nervous.

  • Decongestants: irritation of the lining of your nose, headaches, feeling sick or irritable, dry mouth, rash, uncontrollable shaking (tremor), problems sleeping (insomnia).

  • NettiPot: thins and dry’s the mucous membrane in the nasal passage leaving you prone to infection if continued for too long.

Alternatives & some of their risks - Research Below:

  • Acupuncture: contraindicated if a patient has a bleeding disorder or takes blood thinners, Bleeding, bruising, and soreness may occur at the insertion sites, Unsterilized needles may infect the patient, In rare cases, a needle may break and damage an internal organ. - These risks are extremely rare and avoidable with good practice and a qualified practitioner.

  • Stinging Nettle Tea: Occasional side effects include mild stomach upset, fluid retention, sweating, diarrhea, and hives or rash (mainly from topical use). It is important to be careful when handling the nettle plant because touching it can cause an allergic rash.

  • Pre-Histamine Elimination Diet: If unguided risks of creating a vitamin or mineral deficiency.


STINGING NETTLE TEA [1-2X DAY AS NEEDED]

"The leaves of the plant contain histamine, serotonin (5-hydroxytryptamine), and acetylcholine. Although it may seem inconsistent to use an extract that contains histamine to treat allergic rhinitis, subcutaneous and intravenous injections of histamine have been previously used to treat several allergic conditions such as cold urticaria with associated anaphylaxis, migraine, cluster headache associated with vasomotor rhinitis, penicillin reaction, and allergic arthritis [12]. It is also known that during allergen exposure, low plasma histamine levels, and not high plasma histamine levels, are associated with severe reactions [13]. A prospective, double-blind, comparative study of 69 allergic arthritis patients noted a significant benefit with UD versus placebo [14]. A more recent study also showed that UD inhibited proinflammatory pathways related to allergic rhinitis by antagonizing histamine 1 receptor, inhibiting prostaglandin (PG) formation and inhibiting degranulation [15]." Read the full review here [article link]


ACUPUNCTURE FOR SINUS [DISCUSS TREATMENT PLAN WITH YOUR PRACTITIONER]

Acupuncture has also shown very promising results for allergic rhinits; something I have discussed and confirmed with allergists who often recommend acupuncture for allergic rhinitis:

"The ACUSAR study (“Acupuncture in seasonal allergic rhinitis”) in Germany, a multi-center study on acupuncture in seasonal allergic rhinitis with 422 patients, has already been concluded. This study examined the efficacy of acupuncture on symptom reduction and improvement of quality of life in comparison to symptomatic therapy with antihistamines and “sham” acupuncture. The results of this study show a statistically significant improvement of quality of life in the verum acupuncture patients [51]. A second study currently being performed in Korea and China with 238 patients and a comparable study design examines the effects of acupuncture on perennial allergic rhinitis [52]. Here already results in the sense of a significant improvement of the rhinitis complaints and the quality of life have been observed [53]. A final evaluation must also first take place.” Read the full article here [link].


PRE-HISTAMINE ELIMINATION DIET:

Eliminating Foods that contain Histamine or mediate its release; this elimination type of diet is sometimes employed by allergists, but there is some dispute on whether it helps reduce symptoms as the amount of histamines or pre-histamines in these foods are often negligible.

•All fermented foods (soy sauce, soy products, miso etc)
•Seafood (fish, shrimp, lobster, crabs, oyster, mussel, clams etc)
•Fruits sources of histamine: (orange, grapefruit, lemon, lime, cherries, strawberries, raspberry, cranberry, currants, nectarine, apricot, dates, pineapple, raisins, prunes, papaya, peach, plum, fruit jams/jellies)
•Vegetable sources of histamine (tomatoes, eggplant/aubergine, spinach, pumpkin)

•Alcohol (beer, wine, cider, spirits etc. Including foods prepared with alcohol) •Vinegars (include ketchup, mustard, relish, salad dressing and vinegar prepared foods like sauerkraut & pickled foods)
•Tea (herbal and regular)
•Chocolate, cocoa, cola drinks
•Raw egg white (eggnog, hollandaise sauce, milkshake)
•Process, smoked and fermented meats (luncheon meat sausage, weiner, bologna, salami, pepperoni etc.)
•Left over meat (histamine levels build as meat ages. Eat fresh cooked meat) •Fermented cheese, yogurt, buttermilk, kefir
•Bleached flour
•Artificial flavors
•Seasoning (cinnamon, chili, cloves, anise, nutmeg, curry powder, paprika, cayenne, food labels that say spice mixes, baking mixes)
•Preservatives (benzoates, sulfites, BHA, BHT)
•Food colorings (Azo dyes). Food coloring can be present in butter/margarine, vitamin/supplement pills etc.


Ask your nutritionist and doctor on how to properly begin an elimination diet program to help you identify the foods that may or may not contribute to your rhinitis. 

wellness, tcm

Treating Anemia [Iron Deficiency] Naturally with Diet


WHAT IS ANEMIA? & DO I HAVE IT?

There are many different types of anemia, some related to absorption, others to an increased demand your body is having for iron. For that reason it is really important that if anemia is suspected you obtain/interpret blood tests from your GP. 

This Guide is very comprehensive and will help guide you through what your GP discusses in terms of potential anemia. It's important to note that none of these conditions on their own confirm anemia and that blood tests are really the most accurate form of diagnosis. 

If you are diagnosed with anemia or on the low end of having an iron deficiency, I would advise seeing a dietician or practitioner who will properly be able to guide you through integrating changes in diet back home - as your GP may not have the time to walk you through everything.

Common Symptoms of Anemia Include:

  • Easily Fatigued / Tired / Low Energy

  • Shortness of Breath or Headache

  • Dizziness / Light headed on standing

  • Pale Skin / Palor Complexion

  • Leg Cramps

  • Insomnia / Difficulty sleeping

WHAT TO EAT IF YOU HAVE ANEMIA:

AVOID:

  • Tannin rich products inhibit absorption - mainly limit tea and coffee if you drink these regularly. Other examples include: grapes, pomegranates, apples, barley, nuts, chocolate, and many legumes.

  • Phytates - A type fiber can reduce iron absorption by up to 80%. Some examples are: almonds, beans, brazil nuts, hazel nuts, lentils, corn, peanuts, peas, rice, sesame seeds, soybeans, tofu, walnuts, wheat.

  • Calcium can also affect iron absorption. However note that If you are taking calcium for other issues you can just take it a few hours after you've eaten OR at bedtime.

  • Disrupt Iron Balance: Alcohol, Animal fats & Refined Sugar.


EAT MORE:

  • Vitamin C rich foods which helps with absorption, such as: brasaic vegetables (Broccoli, Brussels sprouts, and cauliflower), Green/Red peppers, Spinach, cabbage, turnips, citrus fruits like orange and lemon etc.

  • B12 rich foods like, which helps in the production of iron, like: animal liver or kidney, clams, beef, tuna, trout, fortified nutritional yeast.

  • Iron rich foods - animal liver, red meats, pumpkin seeds, spinach, shellfish, beans and lentils. 


HOLISTIC PERSPECTIVE ON BUILDING BLOOD WITH DIET:

From a Traditional Chinese Medicine perspective certain foods can help improve the quantity and quality of blood. Combatting Iron deficiency anemia by tonifying the organs related to the production of blood in the body. See the list below and try incorporating some of these blood building foods into your diet in addition to the above recommendations.

  • Grains - barley, oats, corn

  • Vegetables - alfalfa sprouts, artichoke, beetroot, cabbage, celery, dark leafy greens, shiitake mushroom, spinach, watercress.

  • Fruits - apple, apricot, dates, fig, mulberry, go ji berry,

  • Beans - aduki, black soya, kidney; nuts/seeds - black sesame and almonds.

  • Meat - all red meats especially bone marrow and liver of beef/pork/sheep, eggs.

  • Herbs - nettle root, parsley.

  • Condiments - molasses; Beverages - soya milk. 

HERBAL TEA’S FOR ANEMIA & STINGING NETTLE:

Stinging nettle is a herb that may help build blood from a TCM perspective; though there is limited research into whether it actually helps with anemia from a allopathic perspective. In the beginning try small amounts to see how well tolerated this tea is for you.

wellness

Tumeric [Curcumin]: Natures Anti-Inflammatory & How to Use

WHAT IS CURCUMIN [ TUMERIC ] & WHY SHOULD I ADD IT TO MY DIET & INFLAMMATION REGIME


Curcumin, primarily found in turmeric, is a powerful medicinal plant belonging to the same genus/family as the ginger plant. It is usually found dried, ground up and used as spice to enhance the flavour and hue of many curries and cuisines. However the naturally occurring curcuminoids in turmeric have been shown to have many benefits, most notably it’s affects as an anti-inflammatory and powerful antioxidant. These benefits have been extremely well documented and researched - see below for more information with links to peer-reviewed articles on this topic. 

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EVIDENCE BASED ANTI-INFLAMMATORY BENEFITS OF CURCUMIN [ TUMERIC ]

Our bodies inflammation response is completely natural, helping the body fight off disease and infection. However, when the body enters a state of chronic inflammation - or prolonged inflammation, it can contribute to a number of chronic pathologies such as cancer, heart disease and diabetes. For that reason, if you suspect your body is under a state of consistent inflammation (i.e. from injury or stress) or would like to help bolster and protect the body from such a response, finding ways to lower inflammation is advantageous. Curcumin has been found to receive inflammation in the body by inhibiting the activity of enzymes involved in this process (1).

One peer reviewed study compares the anti-inflammatory effects of several compounds - like aspirin and ibuprofen, two commonly prescribed medications to treat inflammation - and found they were the least effective while curcumin extract was most effective in combatting the inflammatory response (2).

The implications of the known anti-flammatory effects of curcumin could have potential benefit in treating other inflammatory related conditions like arthritis, inflammatory bowel disease, psoriasis, asthma as well as getting the body quicker out of inflammation as a result of injury (3). Curcumin has also been found to be have impact on joint pain overall - especially relevant for those suffering from osteo and rheumatoid arthritis by acting as a natural pain killer (4); as well as having implications in reducing nerve related pain (5).


INCREASING THE ABSORPTION
OR BIO-AVAILABILITY OF CURCUMIN [TUMERIC]

When choosing a supplement aim to find one that contains piperine (a natural compound found in black pepper); traditionally black pepper was added to dishes and ayurvedic recipes to increase the absorption of the turmeric (curcumin) One animal study found that the combination of curcumin and piperine together increased the bioavailability of cur cumin by a whopping 2000% (1) . There is also evidence that fermented versions, and varieties adding fats to this product have higher bioavailability (2). 


PRECAUTIONS & POSSIBLE
DRUG INTERACTIONS OF CURCUMIN [ TUMERIC ]

Though a generally safe to consume product be mindful and consult your health care practitioner in you experience - nausea, diarrhea, low blood sugar, increased bleeding, fertility issues, or increased menstrual flow. These are some of the most common side-effects associated with cur cumin use but generally it’s well tolerated (1). If you are anemic, you may want to exercise additional caution in your consumption; one study found that there was a possible association with iron absorption and curcumin consumption (2). If you are on diabetes medication or blood thinners be sure to consult with your physician before using these products as there are potential drug interactions. 


HOW TO BEST INCLUDE CURCUMIN IN
YOUR DIET OR INFLAMMATION REGIME?

Adding curcumin to your diet is relatively straight forward, make sure to see the precautions section to ensure that this is the right choice of inflammation fighting supplement for you (i.e. that you dont have any drug interactions or are anemic). Whether using natural tumeric or a supplement make sure that it includes pepperine (pepper) to increase the bioavailability and get the most benefit out of this naturual product.

You can use Tumeric in your cooking, especially suited to making rich curry dishes, but you can use it as seasoning on baked/cooked meats as well - again making sure to add a pinch of pepper to get the most benefit. I’ve included a recipe for one of the ways Tumeric has been enjoyed traditionally - ‘Golden Milk’ - this tumeric infused latte is soothing and a great way to include it in your diet if you aren’t going to use it as a cooking spice or buy a supplement.


GOLDEN MILK RECIPE (2 Servings)

goldenmilk.jpg
  • 1 cup of organic coconut milk (buy organic full-fat coconut milk in a bpa-free can )

  • 1/2 teaspoon of ground turmeric 

  • big pinch of freshly ground black pepper

  • 1 small (1/4 inch) piece of ginger root (peeled and grated)

  • big pinch of ground cardamom (optional)

  • 1/4 teaspoon raw honey added off the heat (optional)

Method: Blend / Whisk all ingredients then warm on the stove. Simmer (do not boil) for 15 minutes if using ground turmeric powder (see notes above). You can blend the ingredients manually by hand or in a high-steed blender for a frothier drink.

tcm, wellness

Hydrotherapy for Pain, Swelling & Detoxification


WHEN TO TRY HYDROTHERAPY

  • DETOXIFICATION & SPRING TIME - The spring is the best time to try detoxifying techniques like hydrotherapy. Spring is also the time of the Liver, and a great time to start anew.

  • INFLAMMATION & SPORTS INJURY - Aches and pains, bruising, inflammation, attributed to help with pain management, as well as improving circulation in areas applied.

  • SWELLING / PUFFINESS / WATER RETENTION - Hydrotherapy helps manually pump lymph glands; one of our primary systems of elimination, aiding in its process of filtration - swollen limbs, edema, puffiness and inflammation can be reduced with Hydrotherapy.


WHAT IS HYDROTHERAPY

This technique uses hot and cold water to move and mobilize blood. Applying hot water expands blood vessels and moves lymph fluid, blood circulation increases superficially in the extremities. Alternating to cold water contracts blood vessels, moving the blood and fluids inwards towards organs. The alternating between hot and cold creates an external pump moving blood inwards and outwards; improving circulation and aiding in lymphatic filtration.


AT HOME HYDROTHERAPY TECHNIQUE
 

TUB SOAKS
(local swelling/Injury)

IN THE SHOWER (detox/inflammation)

HOT WATER TUB (10MIN)

Fill a basin or tub with hot water to the furthest you can tolerate - without causing pain or burning. Dunk area i.e. elbow, foot, limb in tub for 3-5min.

ICE & COLD WATER TUB (5MIN)

Fill a tub 50-75% ice and add cold water - depending how much you can tolerate. Soak limb here for 1-2 minutes.

REPEAT (2-4X)

Repeat this technique 2-4times (30min-45min) daily or immediately following exercise for best results.

HOT WATER (4MIN)

Raise your showers heat gradually to the furthest you can tolerate - without causing pain or burning. Make sure to increase heat gradually to avoid burns.

COLD WATER (2MIN)

Change the water temperature to the coldest setting you can tolerate- bathe here for 2-3min minutes soaking and brushing all areas thoroughly.

REPEAT (2-3X)

Repeat this exercise 2-3 times (12min-18min) daily with your first shower of the day.