Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Stay Healthy with Non-Toxic Weed Control

Monsanto’s Roundup herbicide is the most popular brand of weed killer on the market. However glyphosate, the active ingredient in Roundup, has been linked to non-Hodgkin’s Lymphoma, Alzheimers, and glyphosate formulations have been shown to induce Apoptosis (programmed cell death,) and Necrosis (death of body tissue.) in Human Umbilical, Embryonic, and Placental Cells.

Seriously, do you really want anything like that around you, your kids or your pets? I don’t know about you, but just one of these risks is enough to keep me far away from Roundup and anything remotely like it. So, what do you use instead of Roundup to control weeds in your yard? Start by heading to your kitchen and pull out the vinegar, salt, and dish soap. Then look here for instructions on How to Make Organic Alternatives to Roundup Weed Killer.

Another alternative is to re-think your yard. Consider landscaping with plants native to your area which will attract beneficial insects to help with pests, and use weed cloth and mulching methods to control weeds. I have yet to run across a serious health hazard when applying these methods for weed and pesticide control.

Be well.

photo credits: navets, rolu dsgn

More Reading: Control of Pests and Weeds by Natural Enemies: An Introduction to Biological Control

Monday, March 28, 2011

Massage Therapy can Support Your Weight Loss Program

Integrating regular massage therapy into your weight loss program has benefits of which you may not be aware. Massage alone will not get you to your weight loss goal, but when used in conjunction with strategic exercise and a nutritional diet plan, it can help you lose inches faster.

Massage can help take inches off your thighs.
Massage reduces fat deposits. According to a study published February 2010 in the Journal of the European Academy of Dermatology and Venereology, massage is effective in reducing subcutaneous fat deposits. This study was made up of 60 subjects who were randomly divided into three groups. Group 1 received mechanical massage. Group 2 received lymphatic massage (manual lymph drainage,) and Group 3 received connective tissue manipulation (myofacial release/deep manipulation). The results of this study showed that all three groups had “thinning of the subcutaneous fat after the treatment”. Thigh circumference measurements were reduced by an average of 0.5 cm in all groups while thigh fat thickness in Group 1 decreased 1.66 mm, 2.21 mm in Group 2 and 3.03 mm in Group 3. You will notice that the hands-on massage modalities produced the best results for fat loss.
Massage tones your skin.
Massage is a vasodilator which means that it increases blood and lymph flow to your tissues and increases circulation. Increased blood and lymph flow supports your weight loss program by:

·       removing toxins and fats from your tissue
·       bringing oxygen and nutrients to your cells for faster repair
·       toning and tightening the skin

Additional ways that regular massage therapy will support your weight loss program:

Massage supports weight loss efforts.
·       After your workout when your muscles are tense and tight, massage will smooth and lengthen muscles which will go a long way in deterring soreness and injury. Swedish massage and sports massage/deep tissue work well for this.
·       If you’ve pulled a muscle, proper massage techniques can shorten your recovery time and get you back into your workout routine faster. Therapeutic massage or medical massage can address specific conditions such as IT band syndrome or shin splints.
·       An abdominal massage can aid in digestion and elimination which can help you lose inches on your waistline.
·       Lymphatic massage is especially effective in helping the body drop water weight and reduce bloating. Your lymph system is a transport and filter system for the body. Increasing lymph flow gives your body an immunity boost while it rapidly pulls toxins, fluids and waste products (including fat) from your tissue.

The key to effective weight loss and maintenance is proper eating habits (not fad diets,) and a good exercise program that incorporates strength training, cardio, and stretching. Incorporating regular massage therapy will support and accelerate your weight loss efforts.

Contact me to incorporate massage therapy into your weight loss program: http://gentlespirit.massagetherapy.com

Photo credits: Pink Sherbet Photography, mikebaird, seier+seier+seier

Monday, March 21, 2011

Natural Beauty Begins Within - Healthy Tips for Women

While you can apply makeup, get botox, or style your hair, the best way to get natural beauty is to start on the inside. What you eat can have a profound affect on your complexion and your body in general Keep the following foods handy in your kitchen and make a point of adding them to your diet to enhance your natural beauty.

Eat the whole citrus fruit for the fiber too.
Citrus Fruits are rich in Vitamin C, which promotes healthy cell reproduction. Vitamin C is an antioxidant that slows the rate of free-radical damage -- free radicals are unstable molecules that damage collagen and cause skin dryness, fine lines and wrinkles. New research shows that ascorbic acid 2-phosphate, a derivative of vitamin C, not only neutralizes free radicals, but also reverses DNA damage [source: University of Leicester].Be sure to eat the fruits whole instead of as juice only. The fiber is essential.

Add fish oil to your diet for natural beauty.
Fish Oil is rich in Omega 3 essential fatty acids such as Docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) and Eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA). Other useful essential fatty acids include Alpha-linolenic acid or ALA and Gamma-linolenic acid or GLA. Not only is fish oil good for the heart and warding off a variety of conditions, it is also beneficial for psoriasis and acne.

Carrots are excellent for your natural beauty diet.
Carrots are a rich source of Vitamin A and beta carotene which offer strong skin support. Carrots also help balance the pH of your skin surface, increasing the acidity slightly which kills bacteria.

Sprinkle ground flax seed on your cereal.
Flaxseeds are another good source of Omega 3 oils to use for natural skin care. Use ground and add to recipes or sprinkle on a fruit salad.

Eggs support your natural beauty.
Eggs contain several vital nutrients that support and skin and body function:
  • Choline: necessary for healthy cell membranes in the body.
  • B vitamins folate and riboflavin converts food into energy. 
  • Lutein is an anti-oxidant and is used in the retina of the body for blue-light absorption.
  • Selenium supports a strong immune system and is a powerful antioxidant.
  • Vitamin A is needed for general cell growth and healthy skin.
  • Vitamin E is an antioxidant that works synthetically with vitamin C and selenium to prevent damage to your body from free radicals.
You can never have too many green leafy vegetables in your diet.
Green leafy vegetables are packed with anti-oxidants, B vitamins, fiber, calcium, iron, Vitamins A, C and E and are rich in carotenoids - beta-carotene, lutein, and zeaxanthin. All these combined support healthy cell function and repair, and help clean out free-radicals and carcinogens from the body. Additionally, a diet that is heavy on the green leafy vegetables will aid in raising the body's pH to a more alkaline state; a state where disease cannot live.

photo credits: D'Arcy Norman, magstefan, designkryt, thebittenword.com, KeRmo, brokenarts

Friday, March 18, 2011

Liquid Herbal Extracts for Hemorrhoid Relief

Gotu Kola Liquid Herb Extract for Hemorrhoids
 Gotu Kola (Centella asiatica) has been used in traditional Ayurvedic medicine for centuries as a rejuvenator and is an herb which, among other things, provides relief from hemorrhoids. It has a high concentration of active triterpenic acid (almost 70%). Its action strengthens connective tissue and skin, improves the elasticity of blood vessels and hastens the healing of wounds. General dosage of the liquid extract is 30 to 40 drops two to four times a day.

Dong Quai for hemorrhoid relief
Dong Quai (Angelica sinensis) has anti-inflammatory properties and is used for varicose veins, hemorrhoids, phlebitis, bruises, and thrombosed external hemorrhoid treatment.  It is believed to enrich the blood and increase healthy blood circulation. Consult a doctor if you are pregnant before taking Dong Quai as it has affects on the uterus. Liquid extract dosage for hemorrhoid relief is 30 to 40 drops, two to five times a day. Can be taken in a bit of water.

Milk Thistle for Hemorrhoids
Milk Thistle (Silybum marianum) is rich in antioxidant flavonoids and is used as a vascular tonic. It is helpful for degenerative disorders of blood vessels such as hemorrhoids and varicose veins. Liquid extract dosage for hemorrhoid relief is 30 to 40 drops, two to four times a day. Can be taken in a bit of water.

Stinging Nettle Liquid Herb Extract
Stinging Nettle (Urtica dioica) has anti-inflammatory and antihistamine properties as well as being astringent to mucous membranes. It is used for chronic inflammation which is beneficial for treating hemorrhoids. Liquid extract dosage for hemorrhoid relief is 30 to 40 drops, two to five times a day. Can be taken in a bit of water.
Yarrow Liquid Herb Extract for Hemorrhoid relief
Yarrow (Achillea millefolium) is an excellent vascular tonic. It is astringent to atonic tissues which is helpful for treating hemorrhoids and varicose veins. Liquid extract dosage for hemorrhoid relief is 30 to 40 drops, two to four times a day. Can be taken in a bit of water. Nausea may occur with high doses.

Friday, March 11, 2011

Easy, Natural Remedies for Menopause Symptoms

Hot flashes, night sweats, anxiety, forgetfulness, hair loss, irritability just to name a few of the typical menopause symptoms that you may be experiencing. As your body decreases its production of estrogen, your body reacts with symptoms. If your body slowly decreases estrogen levels, you may find your symptoms to be mild. However, a sudden drop in estrogen may leave you with a wild roller-coaster ride of hot flashes, irritability, anxiety and more.

Natural remedies for relieving menopause hot flashes and other symptoms are many. Personally, I’ve found an array of natural menopause treatments to be more effective than just sticking to one type. Following is my routine for relieving the hot flashes, anxiety and irritability.

Exercise helps with menopause symptoms.
Exercise – This is my number one remedy for my menopause symptoms. I’ve been working out four days a week, for 45 min each session since Oct 2010. This is a boot-camp style work-out that focuses on cardio, resistance training, and stretching. I break a sweat, I elevate my heart rate, and I’ve increased my metabolism which is staving off the menopausal weight gain. Exercise is also effective for relieving:
  • Depression
  • Body tension and stress
  • Irritability
  • Anxiety
Burdock Tea for blood cleaning.
Herbs – There are several herbs on the market that help with hot flashes, night sweats and other menopause symptoms. Here is a list of what I have used with good results:
  • Pycnogenol®  - a pine bark extract that is an excellent anti-oxidant and promotes circulation. I found that my hot flashes ceased all together after a few days of taking this herb. However, I also found that if I take Pycnogenol® continuously, my hot flashes return. I take this herb every other day for a month, then go off of it for four weeks.
  • Roasted Dandelion Root tea – This tea works by purifying the blood and increasing bile from the liver. I drink this tea about once every few days.
  • Burdock tea – Effective in cleansing the liver and helping with inflammatory conditions. Balancing the liver helps with hormonal imbalances. Burdock is a blood cleanser also.
  •  Red Raspberry Leaf tea – This tea is typically considered a woman’s tea, especially for women of child bearing age. However, for the menopausal woman, this tea is good for toning and strengthening the uterus and pelvic region, and most of us can use that!
  • L-Theanine – This is actually an amino acid derived from green tea that works very well in relieving irritability and anxiety. This amino acid takes the edge off without leaving you feeling drowsy, and is non-addictive. In order to get the same level of L-Theanine as in a capsule, you would need to drink 20 cups of green tea all at once! I recommend the capsules.

Friends of mine have had great success with Evening Primrose Oil, and Black Cohash. I’ve not tried these menopause remedies so I cannot offer an opinion, but these have worked wonders for many.

Decrease menopause anxiety with massage.
Massage – Regular massage can be effective for decreasing feelings of depression and/or anxiety. Massage increased body awareness, improves muscle tone and promotes better sleep which is beneficial for managing menopausal symptoms.
  • A study from Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles showed that the body can have a significant response after just one massage. A group of 53 adults were split into two groups. One group had a light Swedish style massage and the other group received a deep tissue massage. The results showed that the light massage group had increased levels of the contentment hormone oxytocin, while the deep tissue group had lowered levels of the stress hormone cortisol and increased lymphocytes which support the body’s immune system.

Nutrition – Dump the sugar. Seriously, it’s bad stuff. While you’re at it, skip the white flours, white rice, crackers, cookies, and anything else we already know is bad for our bodies. If you’re craving something sweet, then eat a piece of fruit, not fruit juice, but the whole food fruit. Fiber is critical to our bodies. It absolutely assists our digestive system, which is an integral part of our body function. It’s where we absorb our nutrients and make the energy our bodies use. If you gum it up with foods with no fiber, you aren’t eliminating properly, and that leads to constipation, bloating, and a thicker waistline.

My biggest suggestion here is, before you start an exercise regime, find a whole food nutritionist (I say whole-food because they will recommend foods to eat over supplements to get the proper food-fiber-protein balance you need,) to work with. It will really make a difference in the long run on managing your menopausal symptoms and have a greater impact on menopause weight gain and decreased metabolism.

What I’ve found is that by cleaning up my body, I cleaned up the majority of my menopausal symptoms. I feel great. My body is stronger, I feel leaner, I rarely get hot flashes, and sleep comes more easily too.

Menopause is a time of change. If you’ve been less than vigilant about taking good care of your body in years past, then this is the perfect opportunity to clean house and create a new and better you. You can naturally minimize the effects of menopause; you just have to commit to it. Be well.

Photo credits: duane_j; Michael Wilson; ABMP; familymwr; Cjcj


The Information Contained Herein Should not be Considered Medical Advice; Nor is it Meant to Treat, Diagnose, Prescribe or Cure Any Disease. Seek the Guidance of a Qualified Health Professional if You Have Concerns or Questions About your Health issues.

About Me

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Southern California, United States
Holistic living, natural remedies have been part of my life since the early 80's. As a natural progression of my passion, I became a certified massage therapist in 2006, a Reiki Master in 2008, and in 2013 an Ayurveda Lifestyle Coach. I am here to promote natural healing, for it is my deep belief that with a little help from our friends and nature, we can all heal ourselves.