Blog#74: It’s Still Spring – Here’s More About Detoxification

  One health problem that is becoming increasingly common is “leaky gut”.   This is a condition of the large and small intestines in which the walls of these internal organ becomes increasingly inflamed and swollen until the intestinal walls become hyper-permeable, allowing larger-than-usual particles to pass into the outer layers of the gut and even out of the intestines entirely.  The particles that pass through the hyper-permeable intestinal walls include microorganisms, partially digested food, and toxins, such as those found in some chemical drugs, preservatives, tobacco, alcohol, and more.  Although many allopathic physicians have not heard of leaky gut, even physicians at Johns Hopkins University write about it, are unsure about how to treat it, since there have not been many scientific studies of this condition.

 Symptoms of this condition include abdominal bloating, chronic constipation or diarrhea, gas, abdominal pain, fatigue, body aches, food sensitivities or allergies, headaches, sinus congestion, seasonal allergies, asthma, PMS, and more.  Some holistic pharmacists and physicians link leaky gut to autoimmune illnesses, such as lupus, Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis, Rheumatoid Arthritis, Crohn’s disease and Celiac disease (a severe allergy to gluten).

 Causes of leaky gut most likely include the standard American diet, which is full of processed foods, high in sugar and inflammatory fats and low in fiber, vitamins and minerals. Also causative are poor lifestyle habits, such as insufficient sleep, little or no exercise, sitting for long hours before blue screens, and insufficient water consumption.  Other causes may include tobacco and alcohol consumption, some prescription medications, including antibiotics, environmental pollution, and intestinal infections due to yeast, bacteria and other microorganisms.  The strongest factor of all often appears to be mental and emotional stress. 

 Leaky gut is a complex problem.  Several different approaches are usually needed to resolve this issue.  Probiotic foods, such as raw sauerkraut, kimchi, miso, yoghurt, kefir, apple cider vinegar and high quality probiotic supplements all can be helpful in normalizing the body’s microbiome – the balance of micro-organisms living in the body, especially in the intestines.  Prebiotics, such as asparagus, jicama, beets, okra, leafy greens, and sources of fiber such as psyllium seed husks and sprouted seeds and legumes can all help provide an environment in which “friendly bacteria” can thrive. Healthy lifestyle changes, such as getting enough sleep, stopping alcohol consumption, and learning to relax in stressful situations also are often necessary for a resolution of this problem.  Many people find foods such as high quality home made bone broth and baked organic apples helpful.  Processed foods must be eliminated from the diet until the problem is resolved. Since the gut is inflamed and compromised, it is also vital to remove all foods to which the person is sensitive or allergic.  In most cases, all dairy, gluten and GMO foods must be eliminated from the diet for an extended period of time.  Sometimes soy and corn will need to go, as well as fried foods and any natural or artificial sweeteners. 

 Fortunately, after several months or years of this treatment, people are usually able to include some of these foods into their diets again, but not always.  Depending on how long the condition has persisted and how much damage has been done to the body, a person may need to permanently eliminate some of these foods from their diet in order to remain healthy. Often acupuncture helps leaky gut resolve more quickly, as long as people also observe appropriate dietary and lifestyle changes. 

 This week’s offer: contact me for some great recipes for bone broth and green smoothies.  I also can give you suggestions about a detoxification program and for fiber supplements. 

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Blog#73 Its Spring – Seven Ways to Detoxify

Blog#73: It’s Spring – Seven Ways to Detoxify

Spring is known as the best time of the year to detoxify to improve health and increase vitality. Out of the plethora of detoxification methods, I have chosen seven that are gentle and effective.

Three day raw apple detox. Suitable for everyone. In this detox, only organic, raw apples, (preferably green apples, such as Granny Smith) are eaten for three days, along with as much water as desired. No tea, coffee, cigarettes, alcohol, sugar or juice – just purified water (distilled, filtered, bottled) and organic apples, as many as desired. Leading up to this detox, observe one day as vegetarian/vegan and one day as raw food only. Then start the detox. On day four consume only raw vegetarian foods, and on day five observe a vegetarian diet. Return to normal, but hopefully improved diet on day six.

One week organic vegan diet. Suitable for omnivores and vegetarians. It’s just what it sounds like. All organic, no processed foods, as much water, tea, juices as desired. Hopefully at the end of this detox, there will be a desire to eat a little more healthfully.

One to four week raw foods diet. Suitable for just about anyone, unless they have difficulty digesting raw foods. This could include raw fish or meat (be careful) as well as raw dairy and raw eggs (once again, be careful). It would be more likely to be composed of vegetable based food (grains, nuts, seeds, beans, herbs, fruit, vegetables). Four weeks can result in some impressive healing from infections such as fungi and also might reduce or eliminate many sinus problems for quite a while. Afterward, hopefully a diet with a higher percentage of raw food will be appealing.

Three day organic juice fast. This is not a true fast, though it is a fast from solid food. It gives the digestive system a chance to rest and rejuvenate. Only organic juices and water are to be consumed. Preferably, the juices would be raw, since this will yield much better results.

One to five day water fast. This is a true fast. It is not right for everyone. If someone is over 65 years of age, or if they take certain medications that are best utilized when a person eats food, then this would not be a good fit. It is essential to break this fast appropriately – with organic juice and then with fresh fruit or vegetables on the first day. Even the second day would preferably be vegetarian, adding cooked foods if the person does not follow a raw diet already. When they return to their regular diet, it would be best if it is a little cleaner than before.

Information fast. Good for everyone, especially information addicts. Yep, no information for however long you choose, but at least for 24 hours. No TV, radio, newspapers, magazines, internet, smart phone, landline phone, newsletters, blogs, classes, computer smart cars, etc. This will give the mind a much-needed rest and also set the scene for greater creativity in the future. Some people take a primitive camping trip. That will do the trick, for sure. Consider some forest bathing or earthing on the vacation/fast.

Fast from Y-fi and other harmful energies. Good for everyone who is currently exposed to these energies. Stay home from the office for a few days. Unplug Y-fi and computer, do not use cell phone.  Even better – arrange to spend several days away from homes, office buildings, Smartphones, even traffic lights. This helps take a burden off the nervous system as well as the mind and emotions.

This month’s blog offer: Call or email me with questions regarding the detox of your choice. Consider a 21-Day Standard Process detoxification program – ask me about that also.

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Blog#72 Strong Posture Can Improve Your Life

                          Blog#72: Strong Posture Can Improve Your Life

Strong posture involves standing, sitting and doing other activities with as much stability, comfort, symmetry, and vitality as possible for each individual. Every one who can stand up is balanced; otherwise they would fall down. But they might not be balanced in a strong, stable way. According to Dr. Steven Weiniger, founder of the Strong Posture program, “strong posture” requires three elements: optimal balance, alignment, and movement, (BAM).

 In today’s world, fewer and fewer people have optimal posture. People bend over, texting on smart phones, sit at desks working on computers, and slouch while standing in lines for the bus the bank, appointments, and more. Increasing numbers of people have forward head posture, which is just what it sounds like. When the head is forward, the body is not well aligned. As a result, the center of gravity is compromised and balance is not as stable as it could be.

 Also, in today’s stressed, rushed world, less and less people breathe abdominally. Instead, they engage in more shallow chest breathing. When core muscles are engaged in deep abdominal breathing, the body is more balanced and stable than it would be with chest breathing.   Motion is also important, since this is how bones are strengthened and muscles are toned, blood and lymph are circulated, the nervous system is best balanced and utilized, and internal organs are efficiently massaged, detoxified and replenished.

 Increasingly, it is being said that sitting is the new smoking. There is a significant amount of truth to this. If the body is folded for many hours each day, the fold becomes increasingly indelible. The heart is not exercised as much as it needs to be. The intestines and other internal organs are not massaged as often as they need to be to stay healthy. The spine is impacted due to lack of blood circulation and insufficient muscle tone and stability. Vertebrae become inflamed, less dense, and more poorly aligned.

 With toned muscles, optimal alignment and good balance, the elderly are less likely to suffer spinal compression fractures or falls. They are also less likely to loose inches in height. As a result, they will tend to enjoy longer and better quality lives than those who do not have good balance, alignment and motion.

 Strong posture training involves daily exercises lasting about 20 minutes total. Over time, these exercises will help improve the body’s stability and also improve resilience and coordination in those who choose to engage in other types of more challenging exercise, such as playing in sports or daily yoga practice.   The “strong posture” program also involves taking photos every month or several months against a grid. This will track changes in posture as a person becomes stronger, more stable, and more aligned.

 One rather simple exercise that I can share in this blog is the stork: the person stands on one leg with the other leg flexed at both hip and knee. The thigh of the raised leg is parallel with the floor. If the person needs to wave their arms or leans from side to side to keep from falling, then a “peel-back” is taught first. The stork is done three times a day, for an equal amount of time on each leg, and for increasingly long time intervals. As the person becomes more proficient, many variations are introduced to keep the exercise challenging. It is important that posture should be good when doing any of these exercises. The head should not be held forward, the shoulders should be level, and so on.

 This blog’s offer: contact me with any questions about this exercise or about the Strong Posture program. I teach the series of exercises and also use a grid to help measure and evaluate progress.

 

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Blog#71: Earthing – A Re-connection

                              Blog#71: Earthing – A Re-connection

 What do chiropractic, acupuncture, yoga, tai chi and chi gong all have in common? Lots of things, including helping facilitate physical, mental and emotional healing and facilitating strength, longevity, and balance. Balance is unwavering stability when standing, walking, climbing, running and even standing on one leg. In past years or today, in cultures living in natural, rural settings, earthing is part of daily life. Earthing includes walking barefoot on the ground, sitting and sleeping on the earth, growing or hunting one’s own food, swimming in natural bodies of water, and walking long distances barefoot or wearing leather or cloth-soled shoes or moccasins.

 Western civilization’s more urban, industrial setting prevents earthing in many ways. People wear rubber soled-shoes, live many floors up from the ground, ride in cars, planes, trains, buses and other public transportation rather than walking, sleep indoors on synthetic beds, buy food from the supermarket, and swim in human-made swimming pools, to name just a few problematic things.

 Healing exercises and arts such as tai chi, chi gong, and yoga help us reconnect to the earth by improving our balance and helping us perceive and utilize the energy arising from the ground. They also help us connect with the energy in the air around us, as well as that within our own minds. Skilled practitioners use acupuncture and chiropractic to help us feel and benefit from our connection to the earth’s energy and our own energy systems. Chiropractic especially helps us improve our posture and balance.

 There are some relatively new therapeutic devices that help connect us to the earth’s energy. These earthing devices include mats, sheets, throws, bands, and clothing that are inlaid with conductive metals, usually silver, and are plugged connected via a cord into the grounding part of an electrical outlet or else directly into the ground via a window or door. Theses devices are reputed to help alleviate pain, normalize the immune system, improve sleep, enhance detoxification, calm the mind, and improve circulation by thinning the blood. Some caveats: they may magnify the effects of certain medications, such as prescription thyroid or blood thinners. If used for longer than appropriate time periods, they can overwhelm the body with heavy detoxification.

 All of us can begin earthing by standing and/or walking barefoot on the ground, gardening with our bare hands, walking more often and riding less, sitting on the earth, perhaps underneath trees, camping out in the wilderness, and generally spending more time in rural or natural settings. We are fortunate to have numerous natural settings within the city of Chicago in the form of parks, forest preserves, and nature centers. Take advantage of them and notice their calming and strengthening influence.

 This blog’s offer: contact me with questions about earthing, including chiropractic, acupuncture, chi gong, tai chi yoga, and Earthing devices.

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Blog#70 Help Balance Mind and Body with Forest Bathing

Today, when vast expanses of wilderness are being destroyed by pollution or plundered for fuel, housing, and food for earth’s exploding population, Forest Bathing, or Shinrin-Yoku, as it is called in Japan, is gaining popularity in the US, Europe, Australia, Japan, Korea, and Central America, among other places.  So many scientific studies have documented the health benefits of Forest Bathing that doctors across the world now write prescriptions for it.  Forest Bathing involves spending time in a wooded area, relaxing and tuning into sights, sounds, scents, tastes, and tactile sensations while relaxing in a wooded area. Benefits include diminished stress, depression and anxiety, lowered blood pressure, improved or even normalized blood sugar levels, and strengthened immune response to threats such as infections and cancer. 

Forest bathing involves walking at a very leisurely pace in a wilderness or park area that is as free of pollution and distraction as possible.  Focus is on the therapeutic aspect of the experience.  There are no destination or time constraints.  Instead, people walk slowly, and may sit down or lie down on the ground.  They may close their eyes for a few minutes and then open them, looking around as if for the first time.  They may notice unusual leaves, the sound of wind rustling branches, distinctive bird calls, the scent of earth, or the sensation of a tiny ant crawling over their hand.

Increasingly, people are turning to trained guides to lead them.  There are now quite a few schools that offer certification training as forest guides throughout the world.  Most guides work in the counseling or health care fields. Finland launched a government-supported taskforce on forests and human health in 2007. Things went global with the International Society of Nature and Forest Medicine (INFOM) in 2011. A North American chapter was established in 2013. 

PubMed returns well over 100 studies on the health benefits of forest bathing, including studies indicating that it significantly lowers blood pressure (-1.4 percent), heart rate (-5.8 percent), cortisol levels (-12.4 percent) and sympathetic nerve activity (-7 percent) compared with city walks, while also alleviating stress and depression.  Some studies conclude that exposure to phytoncides, the airborne, aromatic chemicals/oils emitted by many trees, have a long-lasting impact on people’s immune system markers, boosting natural killer (NK) cells and anticancer proteins by 40 percent.

As the amount and quality of wilderness areas diminishes and as more anti-biotic-resistant bacteria develop, Forest Bathing may play an increasingly significant role in the world healthcare system.  Physicians and therapists are increasingly prescribing time in parks and forests, as was common before the pharmaceutical era.  Studies have found that a retreat of two to three days is optimal, and some benefits last a month or more. In Japan and Korea, Forest Therapies are integrated into the healthcare system and covered by insurance. 

This blog’s offer:  each month, I lead a Nature Writing Group at the North Park Village Nature Center at 5801 North Pulaski Road, in Chicago.  After sharing our writing, we go for a leisurely walk in the nature preserve.  We next meet on Sunday, January 28th from 11 am until 1 pm, by the fireplace.  Feel free to join us.  If you have any questions about this please email or call my office.  Happy Holiday season and New Year to you.

 

 

 

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Blog#69: From Gratitude to Inner Peace to World Peace

              Blog#69: From Gratitude to Inner Peace to World Peace

Some sentiments of the Thanksgiving to New Year’s Holiday Season, including gratitude and peace, become more attainable when we first find and use them in our individual lives. One could argue that world peace will not be attainable until most people find inner peace. It could also be argued that inner peace would not be possible without gratitude.

In our materialistic Western culture, we tend to be conditioned to always look for more that we would like to have, thus making us consumers who keep our country’s economy “healthy”. Never mind that we spend vast amounts of time and energy earning money, which we then spend on luxury items such as new wardrobes, iPhones, late model cars, and tickets to sports events. Never mind that when we are not able to obtain desired luxury items, we may feel angry, sad, insecure, or even depressed. These feelings are the opposite of gratitude or inner peace, and do nothing to contribute to world peace. In fact, they detract from it. Not that we should never long for or enjoy the beautiful, delicious, entertaining or inspiring; but why do so at the expense of time spent with loved ones or at the expense of our good health and longevity or our cultivated interests and talents?

 One way to develop a sense of true gratitude is to compile at the end of each day ten things for which we are really grateful, and then to give thanks for these things as we fall asleep that night. A list might consist of: 1.having the ability to talk, 2.having a car or other reliable form of transportation, 3.having a job or avocation, 4.having clothing which keeps us warm or dry, as the weather requires, 5.having watched a beautiful sunrise on our walk outside that morning, 6.having neighbors, friends, and/or family with whom to share our lives, 7.having just finished reading an interesting or inspiring book, 8.having cooked and consumed a satisfying meal that day, 9.having music or a musical instrument which we enjoy listening to or playing, 10.having just learned a new joke that made us laugh. That makes ten, and the list could go on and on. After doing this for several nights, we usually find that our sleep becomes sounder, we wake more rested, and we feel more appreciative in our lives. This leads, in turn to more feelings of inner peace.

 Eventually, feelings of inner peace tend to guide us toward interacting with others in more appreciative, considerate, and generous ways than we might do otherwise. We might find it more natural to listen to others’ differing viewpoints without feeling threatened or judgmental. We might discover new ways to manage or de-fuse conflict or stressful situations. We might find that we are wishing happiness, good health, gratitude and peace for increasingly larger portions of the world’s population. Which brings us to inner peace consciousness feeding world peace.

 And so I wish all of you a happy, healthy, loving, and peaceful holiday season. That is also this monthly blog’s offer. Plus, if I can be of help this holiday season, please let me know.

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Blog#68 Strength Balance and Breathing: Antidotes to Fear

For this Halloween, I have chosen to address the emotion of fear.  We can conquer or at least ameliorate this constricting emotion in a variety of ways.  Many people may not consider physical strength (especially strong legs) or good balance as means to help overcome fear; however, when you think about it, it makes sense.  With a strong body and good balance, we can run toward or away from something; we can climb, kick, jump, fight, and stand or walk for a long time.  We also have more capacity for of physical work.  With good balance, the body is lined up optimally, allowing each muscle to function at its best, minimizing stress on the bones and joints, and allowing the diaphragm to facilitate deep breathing and full oxygenation of the body.   This deep breathing allows heart, brain, and nervous system to function at their best, and helps us remain calm and think clearly.  This type of breathing also helps us detoxify our bodies efficiently and provides a massage for the internal organs, allowing them to function better.  Below is a link that explains and demonstrates abdominal breathing.

How to do abdominal (belly) breathing

 Regarding physical strength, I would recommend some regular physical exercise, something that you enjoy and will do daily, or at least several times per week.  Some excellent ways to improve your strength and balance are weight lifting and/or band work combined with aerobic exercise, Yoga, and even certain types of Tai Chi. If you do not have free weights or bands at home, or if you want to have some supervision regarding exercises of your choice, consider taking some Yoga or Tai Chi classes, or working with a personal trainer.  If you think this last option is too expensive, then you may not have heard of Planet Fitness, an unassuming, nation-wide health club where you can work with free weights or many types of exercise machines.  They also provide unlimited classes with a personal trainer as part of each membership.  These classes last 30 minutes and address different areas of the body, such as legs, arms, shoulders, back, abdomen, and chest.  There usually are no more than five people in a class, so you get plenty of individual attention. Membership prices start at $10.00 per month.

 Lastly, good posture facilitates abdominal breathing and allows our muscles a fuller range of motion, which in turn helps us to increase our physical strength.  Some physical trainers, chiropractors, physical therapists, yoga instructors, and massage therapists specialize in helping patients and clients improve their posture. 

 So take a step toward increasing confidence and courage and overcoming fear, and start improving strength, balance, breathing and posture today, in the season of Halloween, and before winter sets in. 

 This blog’s offer:  contact me for a free consultation regarding improved posture, balance, strength, and breathing.  This is a specialty in my practice, and I develop programs for each individual.  I also have a posture grid, which can demonstrate your yearly improvement.

 

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