2020 End Of Year Celebration Ideas

say goodbye to 2020

2020, the year that most of us won’t soon forget. It was a year where everything changed and we were forced to adapt to a “new normal”. And we did!  We made adjustments, found ways to connect, work and learn. We persevered. But not without some ‘bumps’ and ‘bruises along the way.

With the holiday season now amongst us we are once again forced to adapt. However, here are some healthy ways you can still celebrate the holidays regardless of which stage this pandemic world is at.

benefits of pine tea

Drink Pine Tea

With its evergreen branches, the smell of pine can definitely ignite a wintery holiday spirit. Although traditionally used to help support the respiratory system, pine tea is known as an excellent source of vitamin C.

So, the next time you feel like watching the snow fall or your favourite holiday movie, light a candle, get cozy, and try this festive pine tea recipe

how to connect during a pandemic

Connect

The holidays are often the one time a year where everyone remembers to take some time to connect with people they haven’t seen all year. Sadly, this year many of us will be connecting with our loved ones differently then in years past.

Perhaps take this time to reflect on the ways you’ve connected with loved ones this year and set some intentions about what you want your connections to look like in the future. Consider even ‘putting paper to pen‘ and bring back the lost art of writing letters. Challenge the recipients to do the same.

According to MarthaStewart.com;

Seven Reasons to Reclaim the Lost Art of Letter Writing

Handwritten letters provide you the gift of time. You can build relationships and further connect with people. They have more value than a digital letter. Furthermore Letters are historical artifacts. 

I challenge all who read this to send out three notes to three unexpected participants. Be it family, friends or neighbors.  Also, consider some of the friendly faces around the community who work so hard to keep their businesses up running and your health and safety their top priority.  This small act of kindness could help put that extra little spark in that someone’s life who may be feeling particularly down or lonely from the added stress of the ever changing epidemic.

Bringing back the lost art of letter writing

Reflect

While you are reflecting on your connections, perhaps reflect on the year in general. Many of us were forced to slow down this year. Some of us used that time to learn some life skills like bread. Some of us took that time to just be. And some of us were really forced to face our “stuff” head on.

Maybe you liked this new slow pace. Maybe you hated it. And maybe you went back and forth between liking it and hating it. Either way, take some time to reflect and set some intentions about what you want to let go of and leave in 2020 and what you would like to bring with you into 2021.

Grieve

At the very least this year, you have lost the life you once knew. Things have changed for better or worse. Take some time to grieve what you have lost. Perhaps reach out to someone who can help you through the grieving process like a grief counselor or psychotherapist. Don’t forget to express gratitude for what you do have and even for having had something to lose in the first place.

cooking for the holidays

Prepare A Holiday Meal

This is the year anything goes. Maybe start a new tradition? Maybe try to recreate a dish your grandmother used to make? This year has led to a bit of letting go of expectations. Last year a wrote a holiday article called keeping the holidays magical. There I advised of letting go of expectations to keep the holidays magical. This year has forced many of us to let go of expectations and this might not be such a bad thing.

Let your creativity run wild and don’t forget to reflect on how a holiday without expectations compares to your usual holiday celebrations.

Contribute

Find ways to help others in your community. You may have experienced the special way that giving can actually make you happier if done with intention. In fact, there is some evidence to show the neural link between generosity and happiness (1). Maybe take some time to find some creative ways to contribute to your community, family, and friends.

If you need any help or support during this time of year, please reach out. Even if you simply want a relaxing acupuncture treatment to recharge you to face 2021, get in touch, I’d love to help.

References
  1. https://www.nature.com/articles/ncomms15964

Sodium Hypochlorite, The Magic Chemical You Didn’t Know You Needed!

sodium hypochlorite for hand sanitizer

If you’re a business owner like me you’ve probably noticed your bill for sanitary products skyrocket. The obvious cause for this influx is the coronavirus and its potential infectibility on surfaces (although,  the jury is still out on this). In addition, you likely experienced frustration due to temporary shortages both online and in stores. Demand for hand sanitizers has risen exponentially. Furthermore, it looks like it’s not going to change any time soon! Therefore I want to introduce you to something called, sodium hypochlorite.

Sodium Hypochlorite is an alternative that is;

  • Safe
  • Cost-effective
  • Strong enough to kill viruses on contact
most effective hand sanitizer

Not All Sanitizers Are Created Equal

Now, it’s important to note that there are strict guidelines when it comes to hand sanitizers. For example, according to the Health Canada website, hand sanitizer must contain at least 60%-70% alcohol in order for it to be effective. (1)

But here’s the problem.

hand sanitizer for kids

High alcohol content can be fatal. For instance, if a child was to get their hands on it and ingest it. In fact, according to data from the Canadian Poison Control Centre;

“the number of reported incidents related to hand sanitizer has increased in 2020 compared to 2019. Up to 4.5-fold higher on a month-to-month basis.” (2)

In addition, alcohol based disinfectants can also be corrosive to both materials and human skin over time. I personally learned this after months of use on my clinical equipment, ugh!

So, what if there was an alternative? Something that didn’t require household toxic ingredients such bleach?

how to kill bacteria

The Power Of Hypochlorous Acid – HOCL

One day my dentist and I were speaking and he mentioned a disinfectant that I had never heard of before. It was called, Hypochlorous Acid or HOCL. What sparked my interest is how relatively easy and cheap it is to make. Yet, still strong enough for dental professionals to disinfect their equipment. In fact, HOCL is a powerful oxidant and is 100 times more efficient at killing bacteria than chlorine bleach or sodium hypochlorite (NaOCl).

Hypochlorous acid (HOCl) - Devices & Products for COVID 19 Protection

The Facts About HOCL

At first, I was skeptical. However, why would my dentist lie to me I thought to myself? As usual when I hear something that is too good to be true, I decided to look into this revelation further.

First off I needed to learn about the chemistry involved. Second, it’s safety and effectiveness. Then, lastly, whether public health agencies approved its use to kill bacteria and viruses. Especially it’s effectiveness on the coronavirus.

I was surprised at the amount of data and research involving hypochlorous acid. Not to mention all the research specifically focused on coronaviruses. (4)  HOCL had actually been used in the medical field since World War 1! Even the American Environmental Protection Agency as well as Health Canada recognize that;

hypochlorous acid may be applied to: Food-contact surfaces in public eating places, dairy-processing equipment, and food-processing equipment and utensils.(5)

OK, I’m Convinced, But How Do I Make It???

Make sure you read PART 2 of this article for how to make this powerful disinfectant.

Disclaimer: The content of this article is for informational use only. Do your own due diligence before investing in any of the products mentioned. It is possible to generate higher concentrations of solution by running multiple cycles of electrolysis which can significantly increase the potency of the end-product.
References:
  1. https://www.canada.ca/en/public-health/services/diseases/2019-novel-coronavirus-infection/prevention-risks/cleaning-disinfecting.html
  2. https://www.canada.ca/en/health-canada/services/drugs-health-products/disinfectants/covid-19/information-manufacturers/hand-sanitizers-containers-labelling-requirements.html
  3. https://www.canada.ca/en/health-canada/services/drugs-health-products/disinfectants/covid-19.html
  4. http://ecoloxtech.info/research-search-display?search=ecoloxtech
  5. https://www.govinfo.gov/content/pkg/CFR-2005-title40-vol23/xml/CFR-2005-title40-vol23-sec180-940.xml

Benefits Of CBD

CBD oil benefits

CBD oil benefits are now becoming mainstream. But what exactly is CBD oil and how does it work?

CBD oil is short for Cannabidiol and is found in the oils of the Cannabis plant species, including marijuana and hemp. Cannabis oil is the concentrated liquid extract of the marijuana plant, Cannabis sativa – sativa being the “euphoric” type of Cannabis. Similar to the herbal extracts, the chemicals in CBD oils vary depending on how the extract is made.

Many have worried that CBD oil will give you a “high” feeling which marijuana is believed to do. However that part of the marijuana is called THC which is not used in CBD oil.

Tetrahydrocannabinol (or THC) is the primary psychoactive compound in marijuana and usually what people search for when they want to feel “high”. But unlike THC, CBD isn’t known to cause psychoactive effects. So, if you want to avoid the “high”  but still want to feel the outcome, CBD oil is a good option. Especially for those just looking for the medical CBD oil benefits and effects of cannabis.

Featured Podcast

All You Need To Know About CBD And The Therapeutic Use Of It

What is CBD? What is THC? Where does CBD oil come from?
Debunking myths about CBD, the therapeutic use of CBD oil, benefits of CBD oil and much more
Wellness influencers

How Does CBD Oil Work?

Usually the method of extracting the oil from the plant for consumption is done using CO2; a temperature control applied to force concentrated CO2 through the plant. As such, the CBD molecules are confined from other plant nutrients and compounds. Thus avoiding ruining the final product, leaving a pure, distilled form of CBD which can then be put cautiously in food-safe oils.

All cannabinoids, including CBD, produce effects in the body by attaching to certain receptors. Our brains have specific receptors designed to accept cannabinoids, known as CB1 and CB2.

Such receptors are responsible for the consumption of cannabinoid molecules into your system. Resulting in psychoactive and immune responses corresponding with cannabis consumption.

When these receptors are activated within the body, serotonin and adenosine receptors are reached. Thus allowing your mood to enhance and regulate your central nervous system.  The brain can then suppress perceptions of pain and reduce stress on the mind and body.

CB1 receptors in the brain affect;

  • Coordination and movement
  • Pain
  • Emotions and mood
  • Thinking
  • Appetite
  • Memories and other functions

Whereas CB2 receptors are more common in the immune system which affect inflammation and pain.

how to take cbd oil

Ways To Take CBD Oil

There are many ways to take CBD. However, it’s important to note that the effects can vary from person to person. CBD oil is the most common form of taking pure CBD for medicinal purposes and is generally used for the purpose of either oral ingestion or through food.

Also, it can be consumed in a variety of ways which includes;

Examples include;

  1. Ingesting oil-filled capsules
  2. Eating edibles which is food infused with the oil
  3. Sprays and Creams which allows the oil to soak into your skin
  4. Vapes or Inhalation type of Pens which allows smokers to have a higher affect and get into your system quicker and are easy and quick to use
  5. Powders can even be used to mix into liquids such as protein shakes

However, the most commonly used method is with a Tincture.

A tincture allows you to easily distribute drops into your mouth or on food. A tincture may also help distinguish the bad taste. However the downside is that you cannot use it in a vape. It is not only dangerous when lighting up the oil but it also means constantly imbibing a small amount of alcohol whenever you’re trying to get your CBD. In addition, using a tincture can actually alter the quality of your food.

Click here to read more about the Dangers Of Vaping .

health benefits of cbd oil

What CBD Oil Benefits

First off, in addition to affecting the brain, CBD influences many body processes. Thus help to maintain a numerous amount of medical, neurological and physical conditions and appearances.

Secondly, CBD Oil can be used as an:

Moreover, help general conditions such as;

How CBD Oil Impacts the Body

Overall, CBD oil has been studied to prove the remarkable effects it has on people trying to maintain a healthy life. Whether from acne to glowing skin, or from back pain to being able to move more…CBD oil can help it!

Daily Meditation And Its Place In Modern Medicine

daily meditation

Do you often feel stressed? Struggling with an ongoing eternal battle of  feeling ‘tired’ and yet ‘wired’  at the same time.  There is nothing more frustrating then lacking the ability to turn off the brain and quiet mind during times of rest. In fact did you know that being able to decompress mentally and emotionally is just as important to your overall health as it is physically for the body? This is why I want to introduce you to the practice and perks of daily meditation.

meditation zen

I’m certain, many have heard about mediation in one aspect or another and how the effects can be life changing for some but how do you know if the benefits of meditation will work for you?

Well, if you’re serious about attaining better health, and not just physically, I’m talking the whole package, then take a look into the benefits meditation.

This ancient practice when done correctly:

  • Makes it easier to cope with the demands of modern life
  • Relieves stress
  • Keep your brain sharp
  • Eases pain and improves overall health

Honestly, what more could you ask for? So, let’s dive deeper into what it actually means and how to achieve the best benefits from mediation.

Click here to read, 6 essentials for a vibrant life.

The Scientific Power of Meditation

What Does Daily Meditation?

Meditation involves controlling your breathing while focusing your attention on;

  • A word/phrase
  • Mental image or object

It’s a state of thoughtless and awareness that allows you to connect with your inner self. Meditation has been practiced across different religions and has been part of many traditions for thousands of years.

In ancient times, it was used as a way to understand the mystical forces of life.  Allowing you to get closer to God and/or other higher entities. Today it commonly serves as a tool for relieving stress and achieving a state of relaxation and calm.

Throughout the day adults will be functioning in Beta; a brain wave frequency that can best implement the skills of planning, logic and reason. However as the stress of every day life begins to pile on, this frequency becomes faster and is associated with a stress response in our bodies. However, if our brain is in that state for a prolonged period of time it can lead to sickness and even chronic diseases.

The practice of meditation helps to reduce the frequency of our brain waves to a very slow pattern. It is in this state that the body will not only benefit from the feeling of relaxation but also ‘turn-off’ the stress response that we are experiencing.  This helps us return to a state of balance in the body referred to as homeostasis.

Dr. Oz Shares The Benefits of Meditation

The Amazing Benefits of Mindfulness Meditation

People who practice meditation have noticed complete relief and/or management of symptoms associated with many health conditions including but is not limited to;

  • Migraines
  • Chronic pain
  • High blood pressure
  • Anxiety
  • Depression

The benefits of meditation have been repeatedly confirmed through many research papers detailing the positive impact on physical, emotional and chemical well being. Some of the benefits from meditation include;

  • Help in balancing emotions
  • Increase self awareness
  • Effective for stress management
  • Relieves the symptoms of asthma, allergies, heart disease, pain and many other stress-related conditions
  • Helps reduce blood pressure
  • Prevents and reduces depression
  • Improves quality of sleep
  • Enhances mental focus and concentration
  • Supports endocrine function
  • Helps stop addictive behaviors

Harvard Study: Clearing Your Mind Affects Your Genes And Can Lower Your Blood Pressure

mindfulness meditation

Brain Health

Most health experts agree that meditation has a positive impact on the performance of our brain. In fact, it can alter the brains structure and boost cognitive function in as little as eight weeks in addition to:

  • Increasing attention
  • Enhancing memory
  • Help to prevent atrophy of our brain tissue

By taking all of these benefits into consideration, it comes as no surprise that the practice of mediation is becoming more and more common. If you are wondering where to start, there are many helpful tools out there via websites and apps that are readily available to guide you in the right direction.

The great thing about practicing meditation is that you can do it anytime, anywhere. This practice requires no special equipment or fancy devices. All you need is a quiet space and a few minutes of your time.

Begin taking back control of your life and your health.   Start reaping the benefits of meditation by introducing this habit into your life today!

Want to learn more ways to help alleviate stress?  Check out this article about 23 Instant Mood Boosts You’ll Want to Make a Habit.  

Vegan Tomato Soup

vegan tomato soup

There is something so addictive about this classic vegan tomato soup recipe. Who can deny being in love with a piping hot cup of tomato soup especially now that we are approaching autumn! Maybe it is because we all have some fond childhood memories associated with it: slowly sipping from mugs, cozy family meals, lots of heartwarming conversation, and unapologetic bonding with family members, all the while enjoying this hearty soup.

Now, that we are already through the first half of this really terrible year, how about using this quarantine to strengthen bonds with our family members in an old- fashioned way… over hot tomato soup!

Here is a very easy and quick tomato soup recipe that you will definitely enjoy with your loved ones. It is quite filling, and if served with a nice salad and flavored toasted bread, your light dinner meal is pretty much sorted. So, here’s wishing happy cooking to you all!

You Will Need:

  • A hand blender
  • A pan (use a non-stick pan, it will make your life easier)

Ingredients:

  • 4 large red ripe tomatoes, roughly chopped
  • 1 large red onion, peeled and roughly chopped
  • 3 large cloves garlic, peeled and sliced
  • 2 bay leaf
  • 1½ tablespoons unsalted vegan butter
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • Salt, to taste
  • Black pepper powder, to taste
  • 3 cups water
homemade tomato soup

Directions For Vegan Tomato Soup:

  1. Add half of the butter in a nonstick pan. Heat it until it starts to melt.
  2. Add bay leaf and onion into the melted butter.
  3. Cook it on low heat until onions are pale pink in color.
  4. Stir in garlic and tomatoes. Cover and cook it all until tomatoes are a bit soft.
  5. Pour water into the pan and let the soup boil until it is slightly thick in consistency.
  6. Add sugar, salt, and mix it well.
  7. Turn off the heat and let the soup cool a bit. Remove the bay leaf.
  8. Now, use a hand blender to blend the soup into a smooth consistency.
  9. You can either strain the soup or enjoy it as such, depending upon your preference.
  10. Adjust the seasonings and add black pepper powder to it.
  11. Give the soup another boil, add the remaining butter to the soup, and enjoy it hot!

Super Food: Tomatoes lower risks for cancer & heart attacks

Did You Know??

Tomatoes are more beneficial for your health when they are processed vs fresh?  That’s right! According to a second study;

“…lycopene from tomato paste is better absorbed by the body than lycopene from fresh tomatoes, suggesting that processed tomato products-such as tomato paste, tomato sauce and ketchup-are a better source of this antioxidant.”

Why Is This Important? Click here to find out why you should be adding antioxidants to your diet.

Text Neck Syndrome

text neck

Chiropractors are reporting more cases of strain than ever before.  Commonly referred to as text neck, resulting from the overuse of today’s tech such as cell phones or tablets.  I often squirm when observing guests using their cell phones at my office.  They all tend to mimic this horrifying posture:

  • Flexed at the hip
  • Hunch-backed
  • Staring down at their mobile device (sometimes just inches from the screen)

I jokingly say that it’s just a matter of time before our bodies merge with technology and we transform into robo-humans.

Ideal Posture

First, allow me to clarify that I’m excluding individuals who suffer from specific spinal conditions.  Our spines are generally capable of handling certain loads and stresses without injury.  If not, we would all be suffering from some form of spinal damage each time we carried something heavy or engaged in activities requiring us to be in less than ideal postures.  However, this doesn’t mean that repetitive movements don’t have a detrimental effect on our spines long-term.  Rather that we are built to take on high amounts of physical stress.

Due to gravity, our bodies constantly endure downward stress on our spines.  This usually occurs without injury every day.  There is an argument to be made about what the “ideal” posture is to minimize the amount of stress on our spines.

For the purpose of this article, it’s important to note that the ideal curvatures of the spine are based on theoretical models that are published in reputable peer-reviewed journals. (1)

Click here for Exercises to Help Improve Your Posture.

natural neck posture
text neck posture

How To Evaluate Your Posture

There are two simple ways to visualize your posture at home; the side and front.  From the side, draw a line (often called a plumb line) connecting your ear to your shoulder joint (AC joint) to the hip, knee and ankle.  Observe how these landmarks fall in line.

Next, observe your posture from the front.  Note any deviations left or right that you notice if you were to draw a line splitting your image in two through the middle.  Anything falling outside of the line would be considered “out of alignment”.  A health professional would analyze the effect that your posture has on your musculoskeletal system.

For more information consult a Chiropractor or Physical Therapist to have your posture assessed for a more detailed analysis.

Physical Proof

Research has been published on the health consequences associated with poor spinal or postural alignment.  Thoracic kyphosis (hunch-back syndrome) for example, has been associated with the following health concerns (2):

  • Impaired physical function,
  • Pain and disability,
  • Impaired pulmonary function,
  • Increased mortality

As a practicing chiropractor, I have seen first-hand the clinical benefits of reducing excessive curvatures in my office.  Patients who had their mis-alignment addressed have reported less aches and pains, improved breathing, better sleep, and overall improved physical function.

What Texting Does To Your Neck

How ‘Text Neck’ Affects Your Spine

As your head leaves the plumb line it effectively weighs more.  The effective head weight in some individuals can result in it weighing as much as 60lbs more than their natural head weight!  Can you imagine the consequence over time of that posture on our bodies?!  This leads to an increased demand on the soft tissues of your neck and back to hold the head in a forward position for an extended amount of time.

Obviously, limiting the amount of forward and flexed head posture to shorter duration’s helps to minimize the stress on your body.  Since our spines are resilient, it is able to withstand these movements under normal circumstances as stated earlier.  Otherwise, we would all be suffering from neck and back pain every time we used our mobile devices.

Reality Of Technology

This is the point at which we may start feeling the effects on our bodies.  Strain on our muscles, joints, discs and eyes are entirely possible if we are using technology for most of the day.  It’s also possible that we will ultimately feel the strain after having our head forward and flexed for a long period of time.  In my opinion, this is a learned behaviour and as such can be unlearned.  Therefore, try to limit your exposure to mobile devices for short periods of time.

But the reality is that technology and the applications that we are accessing on our mobile devices are highly addictive.  This causes us to keep our heads glued to our phones or tablets for an extended period of time.  Many cell phone manufacturers now include a timer with the newest operating system update in order to detail the amount of time you spend on your phone.  I would argue that these companies knew all along just how addictive their products were, as it was built into the design.

Posture Test

Tips To Implement Change

  • Limit your use of cell phones to help protect from text neck.
  • Pay attention to the metrics of phone use and see where most of your time is spent.
  • If social media is the culprit, assign a specific time during the day that you will check your news feed.
  • Get out of the habit of feeling “FOMO” (fear of missing out) when checking social media.
  • Set the notifications on your device to OFF no matter how many times the app reminds you to do otherwise. This way the device doesn’t rule over you and you avoid constantly checking your phone each time you receive a Like, Share, or Comment on social media platforms.

If after trying all these tips you still find yourself in pain, consult with a health professional trained to address your concerns. See a Chiropractor!  The master system controlling all your body’s function and healing is your nervous system.  It controls all your muscles, cells, glands, organs, and tissues.  Removing interference to your nervous system and addressing the underlying cause of your problem is the only way to truly heal.

Click here to learn more about your Nervous System – What Conventional Medicine Doesn’t Want You To Know.

 

References:
1. https://idealspine.com/cbp-research/
2. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/26378354

Effects Of Anxiety Can Disappear Just By Doing This!

effects of anxiety

With all the uncertainty that everyone has been experiencing this year, one of the most common concerns that I have been seeing in my practice lately is anxiety. Experiencing the effects of anxiety, stress, or fear are not necessarily problematic if the right coping strategies are in place.

Examples of coping strategies and tools for dealing with uncertainty include:

  • Exercise
  • Creative outlets
  • Mindfulness/prayer
  • Proper nutrition
  • Acupuncture
  • Herbal support

Since we’re nearing the end of gardening season and I have herbs on the brain, I’m going to take this opportunity to talk about herbs. These can help calm the mind when anxiety gets to be a little too overwhelming.

Here are five of my favourite herbs for helping to calm the mind and ease the effects of anxiety.

lemon balm herb

Lemon Balm (Melissa officinalis)

Lemon balm or Melissa officinalis, is a great herb for bringing some calm. In fact, the great thing about lemon balm is that it can help address stress and bring a sense of calm typically without any feelings of drowsiness. This makes it great to use in stressful situations where you may want some calm but still want to stay alert. My favourite way to use lemon balm is as a calming tea. Most people find the taste of lemon balm to be quite pleasant so it tends to work very nicely as a tea.

If you have any thyroid concerns, take some caution when it comes to lemon balm as it may interfere with the production of thyroid hormones (1).

passion flower herb

Passion flower (Passiflora incarnata)

Passion flower, like lemon balm, is another great calming herb to use during the day when you may still need to be alert. The two actually combine quite nicely to make a calming herbal infusion or tea. Passion flower has also been studied for its effects on easing symptoms of anxiety disorders and has even been compared to pharmaceuticals used in conventional treatment of anxiety disorders (2).

Like any of the herbs mentioned here, it should not be used as a stand alone treatment for anxiety disorders but can be quite helpful when used in conjunction with other treatments.

chamomile uses

Chamomile (Matricaria recucitata)

Chamomile is a herb most people have heard of or have had experience with. However, this herb can cause some drowsiness so is best used before bed. While chamomile has shown to be helpful in managing symptoms of Generalized Anxiety Disorder (3), it also helps with digestion. This digestive aspect of chamomile makes it great for those with “anxious stomachs” especially before bed or after dinner.

My favourite way to use chamomile is as an herbal infusion or tea but it can also be used as a tincture or dried herb capsule.

Lavender Essential Oil: Best Uses & Benefits + Quick How To

Lavender (Lavendula angustifolia)

This is another herb that many people are familiar with. If you have ever smelled lavender, you have probably experienced the relaxing effect that comes from simply smelling it. While I generally do not recommend extensive use of essential oils because of the huge amount of plant matter required to make them, lavender essential oil is one that I make an exception for. This is because of its strong calming effects.

A couple drops of lavender in a diffuser, on a pillow, or in a bath can be quite helpful in calming the mind. Please do not ingest the lavender oil, use for smelling purposes only.

best natural herbs

Valarian (Valariana officinalis)

Valarian or Valariana officinalis is a herb that has very strong calming or sedative properties. This is definitely one that is best taken before bed as you may not have the most productive day if you were to take it first thing in the morning.

When it comes to trying herbs for the first time, I usually recommend an infusion (like a tea) or decoction (boiling the herbs) before trying a tincture (alcohol extract). Although all three are great ways to diminish the effects of anxiety, stress and fear.

Valerian is one of the herbs I make an exception for mainly because it stinks! I’ve heard the smell described as “sweaty gym socks” and “my son’s hockey bag that hasn’t been cleaned for a week”.  Therefore, consider yourself warned. Valerian is a smelly but effective herb best taken as a tincture or dried herb capsule, especially for a restless mind that keeps you up at night.

What herbs have you tried that help you calm down? Are there any I missed? Comment below!

Remember to talk to your Naturopathic Doctor or Herbalist before using any herbal medicine

References

1. Auf'mkolk M, Ingbar JC, Amir SM, et al. Inhibition by certain plant extracts of the binding and adenylate cyclase stimulatory effect of bovine thyrotropin in human thyroid membranes.
Endocrinology. 1984 Aug;115:527-34

2. Miyasaka LS, Atallah AN, Soares BG. Passiflora for anxiety disorder. Cochrane Database Syst
Rev 2007;(1):CD004518 https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/17253512/

3. Amsterdam JD, Li Y, Soeller I, et al. A randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial of oral
Matricaria recutita (chamomile) extract therapy for generalized anxiety disorder. J Clin
Psychopharmacol. 2009;29(4):378-382 https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/19593179/

Orange Essential Oil Uses And Top 5 Health Benefits

Orange Essential Oil

The benefits of essential oils can be experienced in many ways.  Have you ever walked into a room after someone just peeled open an orange?  Remember that sweet citrus aroma that filled the room?  What feelings and thoughts come to mind when you smell that aroma?  For me, I feel uplifted and refreshed. The air smells clean and usually makes me want to open an orange and eat one. Same can be experienced when using orange essential oil.

Those thoughts and feelings that you experience when smelling orange oil happen because of tiny little receptors in the nose that react to the aroma.  Those receptors speak up to the olfactory bulb where signals are sent into the limbic system and amygdala of the brain. This is where your brain does emotional learning and memory.

Click here to read, Essential Oils are More Than Just Herbs.

Why Every Home Needs A Bottle Of Orange Essential Oil

Benefits Of The Citrus Sinensi Orange Plant

The essential oil often called sweet orange or wild orange is from the fruit of the citrus sinensi orange plant.  The orange essential oil is pressed from the rind of the fruit.  Many studies have been conducted on citrus sinensi proving the essential oils benefits.  Here are just a few benefits from this impressive essential oil.

Boosts Mood & Improves Anxiety

Orange oil is uplifting because of its high content of limonene.  Limonene has many benefits and one is its ability to uplift mood.  Often, I will sample people with orange oil.  I ask them to think of something they don’t like and then inhale the aroma in the palms of their hands.  I can visibly see the effects this essential oil has because as they inhale you see their eyes raise, a smile appears, and their body language and posture improves.

Aromatherapists and natural health practitioners have used orange oil as a mild tranquilizer and natural antidepressant for centuries.  Because of its anxiolytic properties, you can alter your mood and enhance motivation in as little as five minutes of diffusing orange oil.  In a 2015 published study women’s stress and anxiety during labor was studied using orange oil.

One group had diffused water and one group orange oil.  The women with the orange oil reported feeling less stress and anxiety during labor than the group with water.  In this study orange oil was observed to reduce salivary cortisol level and pulse rate when diffused during pediatric dental procedures showing a reduction in anxiety during the dental procedure.  This oil has a powerful effect on emotions, you can see that by simply experiencing the oil and evidence in these studies listed.

Click here to read, Get Your Body Ready For A Baby.

fight infection naturally

Infection Fighting Orange Oil

Like many essential oils, orange oils have antibacterial, anti-fungal and antiviral properties. One in vitro study discussed 10 essential oils and their ability to kill 22 different strains of bacteria and 12 strains of fungi.  Orange oil was able to kill off all strains.  Now that’s impressive!

In another study orange oil was found to prevent the proliferation of E.Coli Bacteria.  E. Coli Bacteria is a dangerous type of bacteria that present in contaminated foods.  It can cause serious reactions when ingested, including kidney failure and even death.

Click here to read, I Can’t Believe I’m Sick AGAIN – 5 Things You Need to Do to Stop the Cycle!

natural cleaner

Natural Surface Cleaner

Because of orange oils effectiveness against microorganisms it happens to be a fantastic oil to clean with.  Putting the oil in a glass bottle with vinegar and water can be a great non-toxic way to clean your home.  I make all my cleaning products with essential oils.  It’s safer for my pets and family and in my opinion, does a better job!

Click here to read, Are you poisoning your family?

natural pain relief

Provides Pain Relief

In this study from 2008, it was discussed using orange oil with ginger oil as a way to reduce joint pain in a group of elderly people.  The group received six massage sessions over six weeks and reported an improvement in pain levels at the end of the 6 weeks. Orange oil may be effective because of its strong anti-inflammatory effects.

Click here to read, How our perceptions affect our pain.

natural sleep enhancer

Improves Sleep

Because of Orange oils limonene component, its calming effect can be beneficial for sleep. It was shown in this 2015 study as one of many essential oils effective for insomnia.

Try diffusing this essential oil 15 minutes before bed.  When picking your essential oils to use there are many on the market.  It’s important to understand that there is no FDA regulation on the labeling of essential oils.  Many companies are adulterating their essential oils that they sell to get more bang for their buck.

When choosing who you purchase essential oils from be sure that the company is proving to you the purity.  Not by what’s on the label but what’s in the bottle.  They should be showing you the GCMS testing of their oils.  This is the only way to know the purity of the oil.  If you choose an oil that is not pure your results may not be as effective.  Also,  you may be causing more harm than good.  Contact me to learn more about how to use essential oils for healthcare!

Further Reading

People Who Enjoyed This Article Also Liked:

Chiropractic Care Study Reveals Surprising Results

chiropractic care

Low back pain (LBP) is one of the most common and costly problems in the world today [1]. While it is not the sole reason people choose to seek Chiropractic care, it is the most common [2, 3]. Most Chiropractors recommend maintenance care (MC) after the resolution of a patient’s primary complaint [4] and is generally offered as a secondary or tertiary prevention strategy.

Until recently, empirical evidence investigating the effectiveness of MC was scarce. The alternative to MC is to discontinue care and instruct the patient to schedule a new visit when they experience a new episode of pain or when the patient perceives a need (symptom- guided treatment). In other words: one is controlled by the doctor (maintenance care), the other is controlled by the patient (symptom-guided treatment). So, which is more appropriate? Let’s look at the evidence!

This article examines the outcomes of a pragmatic randomized controlled trial that investigated the effectiveness of MC for patients with recurrent or persistent low back pain. The study compared MC to symptom-guided treatment with regard to the total number of days with bothersome LBP over 52 weeks, the prevalence of days with pain per week over time, and the total number of treatments.

Are Chiropractors Doctors?

Chiropractic Care Study Results

Treatments mainly consisted of spinal adjustments followed by information and/or advice. The total number of days with bothersome LBP over 52 weeks was significantly less in the maintenance care group. Patients who received MC had approximately 13 fewer days of bothersome LBP over 12 months compared to patients who only sought care when a new episode of pain occurs. The MC group also had a FASTER reduction in days with bothersome LBP and reached a lower steady state earlier.

While maintenance care resulted in only a slightly higher number of visits to the Chiropractor, it was MORE effective than symptom-guided treatment in reducing the total number of days in a year with bothersome low back pain.

Although these results may be surprising to you, they don’t surprise clinicians that offer maintenance care. It’s a valuable step towards validating the prevention strategy used by many Chiropractors around the world for the benefit of their patients who suffer from persistent or recurrent low back pain.

Click here to find a chiropractor near you!

chiropractic benefits

Further Reading

People who enjoyed this article also viewed:

References

1. Hoy D, March L, Brooks P, Blyth F, Woolf A, Bain C, et al. The global burden of low back pain: estimates from the Global Burden of Disease 2010 study. Ann Rheum Dis. 2014; 73(6):968–74. https://doi.org/10.1136/annrheumdis-2013-204428 PMID: 24665116

2. Leboeuf-Yde C, Hennius B, Rudberg E, Leufvenmark P, Thunman M. Chiropractic in Sweden: a short descriptionof patients and treatment. J Manipulative Physiol Ther. 1997; 20(8):507–10. PMID:9345678

3. Sorensen LP, Stochkendahl MJ, Hartvigsen J, Nilsson NG. Chiropractic Patients in Denmark 2002: An Expanded Description and Comparison With 1999 Survey. J Manip Physiol Ther. 2006; 29(6):419–24.

4. Axen I, Jensen IB, Eklund A, Halasz L, Jorgensen K, Lange F, et al. The Nordic Maintenance Care Pro- gram: when do chiropractors recommend secondary and tertiary preventive care for low back pain? Chiropr Osteopat. 2009; 17:1. https://doi.org/10.1186/1746-1340-17-1 PMID: 19161611

GI Tract Health Guru Discusses #1 Gut Dysfunction

gi tract

Here we will discuss the first of five most common gut dysfunctions that people often face when it comes to the health of their gi tract; digestion and absorption. The full list which I will go into depth with in future articles includes:

  1. Digestion and absorption
  2. Intestinal permeability
  3. Gut microbiota and dysbiosis
  4. Inflammation and immunity
  5. The nervous system

The amount of energy that we harvest from the food we eat is largely determined by the bugs in our gut. It’s important to note that the bugs rely on fibre. Therefore without fibre they will starve. Thus, a diversity of food is needed in order to keep our microbiome healthy in your gi tract. In other words, the wider the variety of foods we eat, the more strains of bacteria we will find in our gut.

Unfortunately, when the gut is not working optimally, a wide array of symptoms can occur. These symptoms include:

  • Gas, cramping and bloating
  • Constipation or diarrhea
  • Fatigue
  • Inflammation
  • Nausea
  • Headaches
  • Food Cravings
  • Depression or poor mood
  • Frequent infections
  • Vitamin deficiencies
  • Insomnia

So, let’s get started and dive into the first issue affecting the health of our gi tract.

1. DIGESTION AND ABSORPTION

First, on a mechanical level improper breakdown of food can happen through:

  • Mastication (chewing)
  • Lack of bile, enzymes and acids

This may be a cause of malabsorption and poor nutrient assimilation. So, as insignificant as this step may sound;

“Chewing your food properly actually plays a vital role in easing the rest of the digestive process.”

Therefore, it is important to avoid eating when in a rush or stressed.  Take time and chew methodically to ensure proper breakdown of food can occur in your gi tract.

Next, adequate levels of stomach acid and enzymes are required for optimal food breakdown. The stomach needs to be acidic to break down protein. Therefore, an optimal pH of 1.5-3 is needed in order to do it’s work and activate pepsin (among other enzymes).

If our stomachs aren’t sufficiently acidic, we can’t digest protein properly. As such, we won’t be able to access many of the minerals in our food and properly trigger vitally important functions during later stages of the digestive process.

The Role Of HCL

The secretion of hydrochloric acid (HCL) is an absolutely essential part of the digestive puzzle. Furthermore, this highly acidic environment is our body’s first line of defense against foodborne pathogens.

As hard as it is to believe with the heavy promotion of antacids and acid-blockers, most people with heartburn often have low acidity (hypo-chlorhydric), not too much acidity (hyper-chlorhydric).

Bottom line, if you have any kind of digestive dysfunction, the level of HCL needs to be addressed or you won’t get anywhere with your gut healing.

Signs You Have Low Stomach Acid (And What That Means) with Dr. Lori Arnold

Signs And Symptoms Of Hypochlorhydria

  • Bloating or belching right after a meal
  • Sense of fullness after eating
  • Feeling like food sits in the stomach
  • Itching around the rectum
  • Weak, peeling or cracked fingernails
  • Acne
  • Undigested food in stool
  • Dilated blood vessels in face (rosacea)
  • Iron deficiency
  • Chronic intestinal infections
  • Food allergies or sensitivities

If some of these symptoms sound familiar, there is a good chance that you are not producing optimal levels of stomach acids.

Causes Of Hypochlorhydria

  • Stress
  • Poor diet
  • Consuming too little calories
  • Usage of PPI medication (proton pump inhibitors)
  • H2 blockers (also called H2 antagonists)
  • Antacids used for acid reflux and ulcers
  • H. Pylori bacterial infection

Antacids have also been shown to inhibit the absorption of many essential nutrients. This can include:

  • Zinc
  • Calcium
  • B12
  • Iron

Intrinsic factor (which is a glycoprotein produced by the stomach cells) is necessary for the absorption of vitamin B12. However, the body can develop antibodies to the intrinsic factor which can lead to the diagnosis of pernicious anemia. So be sure to follow up with a health care practitioner if you are concerned.

Hypochlorhydria Consequences

  • B12 deficiencies
  • Dysbiosis (lack of good gut bacteria)
  • Chronic Candida Infections
  • Mineral deficiencies (like calcium, zinc, manganese)
  • Small Intestinal bacterial overgrowth (SIBO)
  • Increased risk for asthma, celiac disease, diabetes, eczema, gallbladder disease, osteoporosis, psoriasis, rheumatoid arthritis and thyroid dysregulation

Do You Have Acid Reflux or GERD?

Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease (GERD)

GERD is a digestive disorder that affects the lower esophageal sphincter (LES). The ring of muscle between the esophagus and stomach, creating a reflux of stomach acids into the esophagus. Also causing a burning sensation.

Did you Know?

20% of adults in the U.S. experience symptoms of heartburn weekly. 60% of the population experience it annually.

Although, it is quite common during pregnancy, in most cases it is related to dietary choices. In fact, studies also show that obesity plays a role in the onset of its symptoms. Therefore, in most cases, GERD can be relieved through diet and lifestyle changes.

Relief Tips For GERD

  1. Avoid wine, chocolate, citrus fruits, tomatoes and peppermint. Also avoid onion, garlic, high fat meals and carbonations.
  2. Eating smaller portions.
  3. Weight loss.
  4. Quit smoking.
  5. Elevate your head in bed.
  6. Sleeping on left side (this can prevent stomach content being pushed into the esophagus).
  7. Not eating 3 hours prior to bed.
  8. Follow a low carb diet.
  9. Supplement with GABA, melatonin and licorice root extract. Also try aloe vera, slippery elm, and zinc-l-carnosine.
pancreatic enzymes

Pancreatic Enzyme Deficiency

The pancreas is most commonly known for its role in blood sugar regulation through its secretion of insulin. But the pancreas also secretes specific enzymes to break down fats, protein and carbohydrates which included:

  1. LIPASE – Lipase works with bile from the liver to break down fat molecules so they can be absorbed and used by the body.
  2. PROTEASE – Proteases break down proteins. They help keep the intestine free of parasites such as bacteria, yeast and protozoa.
  3. AMYLASE – Amylase breaks down carbohydrates (starch) into sugars which are more easily absorbed by the body. This enzyme is also found in saliva.

Causes For Enzyme Deficiencies

  • Stress
  • Toxicity
  • Nutritional insufficiency
  • Damaged gut microvilli
  • Free radical oxidation
  • PH imbalance

This can result in:

  • Indigestion/fullness 2-4 hours after meal
  • Bloating or flatulence 2-4 hours after meal
  • Undigested food in the stool
  • Fatty stool
  • Glucose intolerance
  • Malnutrition and vitamin deficiencies
  • Slow transit time (no your bus is not late, it means the time it takes for your food to go from entrance to exit)
  • Diarrhea
  • Fatigue
  • Increased risk for chronic pancreatitis, cystic fibrosis, diabetes, celiac disease and gastric ulcers. Also, autoimmune conditions, Crohn’s disease, anemia, bone loss and even neurological problems

Today, there are several natural alternatives that stimulate enzyme functions. Therefore, do your research when looking to restore proper enzyme levels before resorting to medication.

Effective Digestive Spices And Herbs Aids

  • Ginger
  • Cumin
  • Fennel
  • Ajowan
  • Piperine
  • Curcumin

Also, if you decide to take a natural supplement, look for ones that have lipase, protease and amylase. Vegetarian formulas are now available for you gi tract.

bile acids and salts

Bile Acids And Salts In Your GI Tract

Bile is a fluid produced by the liver and concentrated in the gallbladder. It serves to digest lipids in food and increases the absorption of fats and fat- soluble vitamins. Bile salts are made up of sodium salts of different acids manufactured in the liver. These are derived from cholesterol.

Therefore, in order to understand what scientists mean when they refer to bile salts, it is necessary to know a little chemistry.

An Explanation Of Acids, Bases And PH

I know, you thought you were done with biochemistry! But bare with me. When a base encounter an acid, a neutralizing reaction occurs. This reaction produces water and a chemical salt. It is this reaction that produced bile salts in the liver.

When bile salts are secreted into the lumen of the intestine, fecal bacteria and probiotics metabolize:

  • Primary bile acids
  • Cholic acid (CA)
  • Chenodeoxycholic acid (CDCA)

Into secondary bile acids:

  • Deoxycholic acid (DCA)
  • Lithocholic (LCA)

Fiber plays an important role in getting rid of harmful toxins, cholesterol and fat as it forms a tight bond with the bile in the intestine. Soluble fibers cannot be absorbed by the intestinal wall, nor can the bile attach to it.

This fiber-bound bile ultimately leaves the body in a bowel movement with its load of toxins, cholesterol and fat in tow. Those who had their gallbladder removed can face bile salt insufficiency. Thus, may benefit from taking a bile salt supplement or a digestive enzyme supplement containing bile salts.

Signs And Symptoms Of Bile Salt Insufficiency

  • Sour or bitter metallic taste in the mouth, especially in the morning.
  • Incomplete digestion and absorption of fats.
  • Chronic diarrhea, which can be caused by obstruction (stones), liver toxicity, gallbladder disease and cholecystokinin (CCK) deficiency. Also, bacterial overgrowth and certain medications can cause this result.

Major risk factors for the development of gallstones are broken down into the 4-F’s:

  1. Fair
  2. Female
  3. Fat
  4. Fertile

Foods And Supplements That Stimulate Bile Production

  • Radishes
  • Dandelion
  • Bitter greens
  • Artichoke
  • Taurine supplement
  • Limonene

What’s Coming Up!

Make sure to stay tuned for my next article on Intestinal permeability. AKA ‘leaky gut‘ syndrome.

Did you know leaky gut can manifest as many different ailments? This makes the diagnosis a challenge for health care practitioners. As such, many doctors don’t seek the root cause of illness but simply treat the symptoms. Learn why you need to take a different approach and what you need to do when searching for a solution.