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Cupping Therapy

glass cups

There has been a lot of talk about cupping since the onset of the 2016 Olympics in Rio.  The Olympic superstar, Michael Phelps, made his arrival poolside with large curious circles all over his shoulders and back.  The media jumped on this opportunity for publicity and their first reaction was to say that this ancient technique has not been scientifically proven.  We will not get into the science of evidence based medicine, but the Chinese have been recording results of this mysterious medicine for over 2000 years. One must not discount that which has stood the test of time.

After 5 gold, and one silver medal at the 2016 Olympics, one can safely say that cupping certainly did not hurt the 31 year old superstar. We could be optimistic and say that Phelps performance at the 2016 Olympics was improved with cupping.

BUT WHAT IS CUPPING?

There are a few variations of cupping, but the traditional form of fire cupping that we saw evidence on Phelps back, has been around for over 2000 years. Cupping is a technique that has been used in several ancient cultures including Asia, and the Middle East. Actually, it is uncertain exactly how long cupping has been around because the original instruments used for cupping were biodegradable.  It is believed that the original form of cupping was done with bamboo.

Today practitioners use glass or silicone cups to create suction on the body.  With the glass cups, suction is created by placing a heat source (fire) under the cup before applying it to the body. Silicone cups have a pump to remove the air from the inside of the cup.  Stationary cups are applied to specific acupuncture points, which are used for muscle or tendon strain.  These points usually coincide with the muscle belly or tendinous attachments of injured muscles.  The acupuncture points that are chosen are usually powerful points for moving Qi and Blood, and promote circulation in the body.  The cups are retained for up to 20 minutes.

Other styles of cupping include flash cupping, and sliding cupping. In flash cupping, the cups are quickly applied and removed over a variety of locations on the body.  During sliding cupping, a sliding agent (oil or linament) is used on the skin, and the cups glide along the meridian lines. The cups have less tension in this method.  More recently cupping has also been adapted in cosmetic treatments.

cupping therapy

 

AND WHAT IS CUPPING ACTUALLY DOING?

Now that you know the procedure, we can discuss the application of cupping.

  1. CIRCULATION: Through the action of suction, cupping is drawing blood toward the surface of the body. The lymphatic system is the system that cleans the blood, and is located close to the surface of the skin.  Cupping can help to flush the lymphatic system, which is why it is effective for detoxification;  therefore, cupping is often used for patients with a cold or immune system illnesses.  The cups are breaking small capillaries during the act of suction, increasing blood circulation to the local area, and sometimes leaving dark marks.  Any area that has more blood circulation will naturally function better.
  2. MUSCULO/TENDINOUS ISSUES: In order to function correctly, a muscle must have a healthy stretch reflex, and be able to contract and relax freely. Through the simple act of suction, the cups are helping to encourage the stretch reflex of the muscles.  When the body builds muscle, it creates micro tears in the muscles, and if it is too extreme it will cause inflammation and increased tearing in the muscle.  The body is equipped to deal with micro tears, but when this phenomenon recurs too frequently the muscle cannot manage the inflammatory response.  The muscle becomes stiff and sticky from the chronic inflammation, and heat created from the injury.  By drawing blood and lymph to the area, the body can clean up the area and get on with the healing process.  During a muscle injury, the body creates an inflammatory response and ‘shunts’ the area, thereby cutting off the blood supply.  This is an important part of the healing process for the first 24-36 hours, but with repeated injury this shunting can continue and actually restrict proper circulation to the area.
  3. SCAR TISSUE: When the body builds muscle/tears muscle, the new tissue that forms is collagen fiber. This collagen has less stretch than regular muscle fiber, and when it forms, the fibers can be uneven.  With a buildup of scar tissue, the muscle does not contract and relax as effectively. Using cupping technique on scar tissue can help to even out the collagen fibers as well as increase blood circulation to the area, thereby improving muscle function.
  4. FASCIA: Fascia is a web of connective tissue that encapsulates the entire body.  Different areas of the body are enveloped by different fascial chains, and when the body goes out of alignment, the fascia of that area can be affected.  Cupping therapy helps to release congested areas of fascia, thereby allowing the body to return to balance.

 

IS CUPPING RIGHT FOR ME?

It is very likely that cupping would be a helpful therapy for you.  Most often, cupping is used to release muscular tension on the body, and  immune related conditions.  Cupping is an incredible form of therapy, but there are some cautions that we need to consider.  Generally speaking, we tend to avoid doing cupping on pregnant women, as well as people who have bleeding disorders.  Cupping can cause a strong reaction in persons who have a weaker system, have a chronic illness, or very low blood pressure.  It is usually best to receive cupping from a qualified health professional. A practitioner of Traditional Chinese Medicine and Acupuncture,  or a practitioner who has done a thorough training in the modality, and really understands the risks and benefits of cupping would be recommended.

 

 

Lisa Dowling first studied cupping in 2000, and later completed her studies in Acupuncture in 2007.  She is a Registered Acupuncturist with the College of Traditional Chinese Medicine Practitioners Association of Ontario.  Lisa teaches and supervises the student acupuncture clinic at the Shiatsu School of Canada, as well as teaches her own continuing education classes in Toronto and abroad.

If you would like more information, or would like to set up a free 15 minute consultation, either by phone or in person please contact Lisa Dowling at Life Acupuncture Bodywork     www.lifeacupuncturebodywork.com       416-986-3429  lifeacupuncturebodywork@gmail.com

 

Survival Tips for the Holidays...

First of all, I would like to wish everyone a safe and peaceful holiday season.

This time of the year is busy, and can be very stressful for many people for a variety of reasons.  Let us always try to remember to be kind to our fellow friends and neighbours.  Many people are not celebrating Christmas, and for them it must be difficult to see all of the festivities around them.  Some are religiously not participating, and others it is because they are on their own.  Families may be far away, or they are required to work through the holidays. Then of course there are the cases of those who cannot afford to participate in Holiday festivities. There are many reasons this can happen.  In any case, remember to be empathetic to others – and in this case it may mean being an active listener and allowing people to share their story.  For some who are celebrating Christmas with their family, it can also be extremely stressful.  not everyone has the perfect family.  Whatever the case, try to remember that everybody has a story.

For those who are in the celebrating spirit, there tends to be a shift towards overconsumption.  This includes food, drink, and also objects.  A good way to manage consumption is to ask yourself “do I need this?”  before partaking.  This could keep you from that one last drink that takes you over the edge, the last serving of turkey before the dessert, or the last purchase that fits on the credit card.  Overconsumption doesn’t benefit anyone… it feels good sometimes but the after affects are not positive!!

If you are in the spirit of partaking this season, here are a couple of tips to help the body assimilate:

  1. If you are drinking heavily, don’t forget the water!!  If you drink one glass of water for every alcoholic drink, you will probably be fine in the morning.  That headache you feel is dehydration.  It doesn’t matter if it is sparkling water, or regular tap water.  As long as you hydrate, you should minimize the effects of dehydration.
  2. And of course the obvious… DON’T DRINK AND DRIVE!!!  There are so many R.I.D.E programs out there at this time of the year.  You might think that you are fine, but those are some famous last words.  Some of the most famous!    And I think the absolute worst case scenario is that you get involved in an accident and someone else gets hurt or even worse… please don’t become a statistic!!
  3. Turkey gut – if you have a belly full of turkey, and you can’t keep your eyes open.  That’s tryptophan. You can drink a glass of coconut water and add sea salt for electrolytes to help the digestive process.  Another helpful tip is to drink a smoothie with greens, and ginger.  The greens help break down the meat and the ginger soothes the digestive tract.  Digestive enzymes can also help the overall feeling we get in our tummy when we are eating too much.
  4. If you are finding you are suffering from an overall feeling of malaise, bloatedness, tired, and wary there are two easy ways to manage it.  First, try lemon water in the morning.  First thing, drink a cup of room temperature water with just a few drops of fresh lemon juice in it.  Wait 30 minutes before eating or drinking anything.  This will flush toxins from the gallbladder and kick start the metabolism.  NOTE:  if you have had your gallbladder removed, or been diagnosed with gallstones you may want to consult your physician.  Secondly, probiotics are a good thing.  If you start taking probiotics it will help your gut produce more good bacteria, and aid your digestive process.  I personally like Bio-K, it is in a liquid form and has been tested extensively in labs.  Again, if you have a chronic or degenerative condition always contact your primary care provider.

If you are suffering from the Holidays Blues, and are feeling isolated or alone during this season you are not alone.  There are so many people who are alone for the Holidays.  The best thing to do is to reach out and find others with a similar situation.  There are things you can do when you are alone for Christmas.  Here are some ideas

  1. Volunteer at a shelter to help those in need.  There are so many people who are not only alone, but in poverty as well.  Many churches and charities are involved in offering a holiday meal or care packages to those less fortunate at this time of the year.  This is an amazing distraction, and helps to put things in perspective as well. Convenant House and Meals on Wheels are examples, there are many more.
  2. Do something nice for yourself.  That’s right, have a nice herbal bath, give yourself a pedicure, or whatever it is that will give you a lift at this time. Making a nice meal, or doing some baking might be enjoyable.
  3. Keep the traditions going.  If you had regular holiday traditions in the past, hold them up – whether it was a special activity or a special dish that was meaningful to you at this time of the year.  If the day was never special to you, then carry on like any other day.
  4. Do something!!  Fresh air is an amazing cure for sadness, so is the sound of laughter.  Go for a walk to a park where there will be children playing, dogs running, and allow their energy to penetrate you.
  5. Don’t be afraid to feel what you feel.  If you want to have a good cry, go ahead.  It is ok to let your feelings out.  This is a very emotional time of the year for a lot of people, and it is positive to acknowledge these feelings.  It is also a good time to address them and try to see the root of these feelings and try to resolve them so that you are not sitting in the same place next year.
  6. Gratitude.  Everyone has something to be thankful for.  Sometimes it may not feel like it, but just the fact that you are reading this says that you do.  It can be the smallest thing, but always remember there are many people who are suffering in ways we cannot even fathom.
  7. Always remember we are not alone.  Life can be lonely and isolating at times, but the truth is that all we have to do is reach out and seek the companionship of another and it will be there.  So many services are available – from support groups to meet up groups… the choice is always yours.

Gratitude and shifting consciousness

gratitudeFirst of all, I would like to express my gratitude to all of those individuals who have supported my journey through this incredible process of raising my own awareness and shifting consciousness to where I am today.  Of course, there is so much work still to be done… there always will be.  But I do try to stay on course and contribute to the improvement of the human experience to the best of my ability.

This year, my own personal life lessons have been around gratitude and empathy.  The most important shift happened during a journey workshop which I began attending in January 2015.  At first I found the marketing for this work off-putting, and wondered if the work was this powerful did it really need such hard advertising.  My doubts were lifted when on the first day of the workshop I felt a transformation within myself.  Suddenly my feelings were given permission and the space to come to the surface.  In the past, my true feelings were suppressed with shame and anger.  This was a life changing realization. I was given permission (by myself) to address my deeper feelings, no matter what they were.  I was learning self-empathy.

The value of this lesson has been exponential. The walls of protection I had built around myself came from a difficult childhood; being lied to created self doubt, growing up in a dictatorship left no space for negotiation, communication, or reconciliation.  I was part of the greater family unit that has been dysfunctional for generations (aren’t most families??)  My point in saying this is only that the process of working on my own ability to be self-empathetic has made me more empathetic to others as well.  This has had a powerful effect on my family dynamic, as we deal with some complicated ongoing issues, and six strong personalities.  My ability to make decisions based on the needs others is now filtered through my own highest being.  I have begun replacing the protective and impenetrable walls I had built around myself.  These walls were ineffective, because what was on the inside could not get out, which meant that when I let people in, I became vulnerable to their needs before my own.  The walls are being replaced with a filtration system that is my empathy.  This of course is a process that needs to be checked on regularly.  It is an easy process for the nervous system to go back to the ‘automatic’ responses to stimulus that the nervous system finds familiar.

http://www.thejourney.com/seminars-schedule/main-track-events/journey-intensive/

I don’t believe that we intentionally create mental blocks within ourselves, nor do I believe that anyone wants to be miserable.  I believe that many people have not learned to reflect on their feelings, why or where the source of these feelings occurred.  We are raised to respect our elders and parents – and this is a good thing however what many people are not raised to do is to trust their own feelings FIRST.  Sometimes the most innocent thing can create blockage, a simple experience could cause us to create a mental vow that can be damaging to us.

Every year at this time, I try to reflect on the lessons of the year, the positive moments and the challenges that came up.  I try to see if hindsight can offer any wisdom on the situation, as well as what personal growth may have happened during these times.  Loving kindness comes from the heart, and should not be shadowed with any intention other than itself.  As soon as any shadow appears on our purest intentions the problems of human existence appear.

This Holiday Season, I am going to collect all of the objects that are abundant and underutilized in my home especially warm clothing.  It is a good year to help others, as we will have many innocents arriving who may not have experienced the challenges of a Canadian winter.  I hope that we can all embody a little more gratitude and self-forgiveness.  No matter what your belief system, it all starts with self.

…and the shiatsu adventure begins

ok. as it does sometimes, the desire to write has entered my system. I realize that I’m about to embark on a grand adventure. Well, I haven’t been on a grand adventure for a long time, but this one feels more like a pilgrimmage.

I had set my sights on a shiatsu conference in Switzerland, which the topic this year would be the business of shiatsu. In the process of deciding to go to Europe, I also decided that I couldn’t possibly go to Europe without visiting my good friend Catherine who happens to live in Barcelona… which happens to be the city in Europe I most wish to visit.

 

A couple of months ago I realized that if I didn’t try to raise the funds to go to this conference, it was most likely not going to happen. I have volunteered so much of my time and energy into the preservation into what has become a rather frail shiatsu community over the last three years, and I was feeling like this was a worthwhile cause. I was hoping that funds could have been raised through my association but it became abundantly clear that it was going to be my own project. So, I got the guts up to do some crowdfunding, and put it out into the universe. To my utter shock and disbelief, I had over 50% of the funds raised within three days. Amazing!! Apparently people believe in me, and in shiatsu. Now, just 24 hours before I board the plane I have fundraised the whole trip. How incredible is that? I am infinitely grateful to everyone who has stood behind me now, and also all of the way through this journey.

 

As life does sometimes throw us some twists and turns I am lucky enough to have learned a little bit (and I do mean a little bit) about navigating these paths. Since last December my brother has been in Thailand, somewhat stranded there from a back surgery that did not go as was hoped. We are not completely surprised as it is his ninth back surgery and no-one should have nine back surgeries. However he has, and he is there. His friends who he travelled there with left in April and he has been left alone with an ipad, a magic jack, and a world of pain. He has been trying to stay positive, although as his family we know that he is suffering greatly on all levels. On top of the back surgery, he can’t seem to beat the infections that he keeps getting. From a medical perspective, this is tissue necrosis which is what can happen when there is too much trauma to nerve and muscle tissue. The tissue simply dies, and the body has to try to remove the dead cells. It is very hard on the system and it gets overloaded, causing infection. My whole family has been worried sick about him for months, and feeling very helpless.

 

When I realized that most of my Switzerland trip was going to be funded, I decided to look into what it would cost me to continue my flight to Thailand to visit my brother there, and to give him treatments to hopefully help him get more strength. To my utter disbelief the ticket was not much more than the flight to Geneva. I quickly booked that ticket before it went up in price. Since then, more good keeps flowing in as my cousin who is a nurse and very close to both my brother and myself has decided to come along on the journey with her daughter. Amazing! A support system!

 

So, here I am the eve before my flight doing all of my last minute packing and trying to remember everything that I forgot before packing my friends car to go to the airport tomorrow.

 

… let the adventure begin…

No carbs, no sugar... no problem

Day 2
To be honest, day two was not very memorable in terms of food. I felt pretty normal in the morning… a bit tired as I stayed up beyond when my body wanted to sleep. I’m not sure if that is because I’ve cut sugar and carbs from my diet or not.

I decided to boil a bunch of eggs – good quick sources of protein. Unfortunately, last winter I realized that eggs give me foul gas. So, I’d all but stopped eating them. Even when I ate foods with eggs in it I would be gassy. But somehow they were calling me, and so I wondered if maybe they would be ok…

I haven’t mentioned my supplements yet… I started taking some supplements as soon as I found out about my thyroid and cortisol. I immediately took everything off of my plate as quickly as possible, started sleeping, and taking down time. On top o f that I went to the health store and finger tested supplements. Finger testing is a technique that I learned from my studies with Ted Saito through his Shin So Shiatsu training. http://www.shinso-shiatsu.com/

I am taking Nutra Sea EPA and DHA omega 3

AlgaeCal plant calcium with magnesium and vitamin D

THYROsmart – its full of trace minerals and iodine

I then bought the e-book http://www.amazon.ca/s/?ie=UTF8&keywords=the+metabolism+miracle&tag=googcana-20&index=aps&hvadid=7015261643&hvpos=1t2&hvexid=&hvnetw=s&hvrand=11091767531145041360&hvpone=&hvptwo=&hvqmt=e&hvdev=c&ref=pd_sl_93od7b9i5b_e

All morning I was running back and forth to my computer, checking the carb value of various foods. I was sad to see that I couldn’t eat and red or orange veggies, except a little bit of red pepper, small amounts of tomatoe, and spaghetti squash. Well, it is temporary… and by the time it is actually the right season for those veg I will be eating them again!!

 

With my newfound knowledge, I went to one of my favourite grolamb burger

cery stores, Lady York Foods and stocked up on veg. I wanted carb free things to snack on, as well as some nice veg and salad to go with the salmon I had thawing for a BBQ at my brother’s house. I spent my afternoon resting and lounging by the pool, ending with a bunch of brisk laps. We fired up the BBQ, the boys got roasted potatoes and we otherwise ate the same dinner of green salad with green onion, raddicchio, red leaf lettuce, cucumber and a lemon balsamic olive oil dressing with brussels sprouts and grilled salmon. I was not impressed with the salmon. My brother thought it was overcooked… my son said it was rubbery, and I thought it was gross. I looked more closely at the packaging… made in China. What? I usually bought my meat fresh and ethical, so this was a hard pill to swallow. I had picked these fillets up at Costco because they were individually packaged and looked really nice. The packaging was pretty, and impressive if you don’t read the small print. We all fall into the trap! The rest of the salmon sadly went in the green bin.

My evening involved diving into the Metabolsim Miracle. So far I have had the process of reprogramming the metabolism explained to me in general, and I’m in the first of three phases. The first two phases are two months each, so I guess I will see how the rest of the book resonates with me. I got to the point where I started to see some recipes for the first phase, and I’m impressed. Less than 5 net grams of carb per 5 hours is not very much. I am going to basically go carb free, and assume that any unknowns in sauces and whatnot will be my 5g.

DAY 3
According to the Metabolism Miracle, today was supposed to be the tired day. I go myself prepared to feel sluggish and set myself up for a difficult day.

The first thing that I did was that I habitually put sugar in my coffee… I quickly realized it and gave it to my son. ‘I can do this no sugar in my coffee thing…’ I’ve already gone half decaf in the morning, now I’m moving toward mostly decaf, we’ll see how that goes. The taste of coffee without sugar will certainly curb my urge to drink it. No problem…

Breakfast started with a boiled egg – no gas and I’m realizing that I no longer am experiencing the uncomfortable gas that I was previously suffering from (or should I say everyone else was suffering from 🙂

This is the point when I actually decided that I needed to blog about this experience. This might be quite the journey!!

My first trip to the store on this diet was astounding. Looking around at everything, all I could see was what I couldn’t eat. Shopping had become a real chore, reading labels and realizing that other than fresh foods, green vegetables meat and dairy a no carb diet was quite limiting.

At dinner I realized that I’d regained my sense of taste. This is why the salmon tasted so obviously terrible to me. I hadn’t actually realized that my sense of taste had been dulled, but it made sense as to why I hadn’t had an appetite for several months.

I didn’t feel so tired today, I don’t know what that book is talking about

 

omelette

Day 4
Today I feel a bit more energy, and I’m happy to have my sense of taste back.

 

This day started with a beautiful breakfast omelette of leftover lamb, feta, and spinach burger with a bit more feta, red peppers, kale, onions and zucchini. It was too much food so it also became lunch. It was so delish!! I don’t know if it was so much better than anything else, or if I am just tasting everything so much better. I thought I’d just lost my appetite, but apparently I lost my taste for food as well.

 

The day was busy and a bit stressful. It is the first time that I have felt myself going into that stressed state since starting this diet, and I did not enjoy it. I had a second decaf coffee just after noon, but still felt mildly headachey. In the early afternoon I realized what I was feeling – sugar craving!! It would have been so easy to fall off the wagon at that point, or at any point today. My afternoon snack was some cucumber and hummus, and cottage cheese. Then I had to do some errands which took much longer than expected and I needed to eat. I crashed really hard, could hardly lift my head up and felt really crappy. I started to second guess this process, and what I was doing to myself.

 

 

Dinner was yummy. I warmed up some of the chicken breast that I’d prepared the other day, and had fajitas without the bread… chicken, salsa, cheese, guacomole wrapped in lettuce leaf. Yummers!!

 

 

lettuce tacos

DAY 5

This day is starting off with the old feeling of fatigue, stress, and an overall sense of ugh. I wish I could say that the euphoric feeling of the first three days had continued, but it hasn’t. The book cited day three as the hardest day, but day four was definitely rough for me. I know that I’m dealing with some deeper health issues, and in the middle of a move as well so I shouldn’t expect things to be perfect… but I liked how I was feeling!!

Breakfast was a decaf coffee, hard boiled egg, cucumber, a couple of slices of cheddar and a slice of salami. Today is going to be a good day… but I am really feeling super fatigued. I hope there is a time for me to take an acu-nap!!

A friend showed up for dinner with ‘sugar and carb free’ truffles. Well, it is not completely, as the centre of the trufffle is made with a raspberry reduction. Hmmmm….. the dilemma… what are the chances that I can have a sliver of this truffle without disrupting my diet? I can’t disappoint my friend, he spent ages in his workshop developing this truffle especially for me. I cut the truffle in half, then took a wedge of it. As I was raising it to my nose I could smell raspberry. It was like I’d just nudged a raspberry bush the smell was so fresh. So, I popped it into my mouth, and my first sensation was creamy dark chocolately paradise.mmmmmmmmmmmmmmm!!!! Next came the raspberry. Intense, like sweet concentrated raspberry puree and it stayed in my mouth as the chocolate taste went down. I’m not sure if its just because my tastebuds are acutely aware or if that truly was the best truffle I have ever eaten. Even if it was just a sliver!! I will save the rest for later…

DAY 6

The day before moving day… so, I woke up pretty rested and felt normal in the morning. For breakfast I had some cottage cheese and a hard boiled egg, as well as some cucumber slices. I’m starting to get used to coffee without sugar, which I never thought was possible. My day of food was pretty insubstantial except that I made sure that I had no carbs so that I could justify having a quarter of a truffle after lunch and dinner. I also had wine in the afternoon as today is the day before I move so it was pretty intense. No cravings or different feelings in my body to speak of. Lunch was the rest of the lettuce leaf tacos, and dinner was leftover steak with leftover spaghetti squash with sauteed veg on top and salad with leftover chicken on top. Delicious use of leftovers and an empty fridge for the move!!

DAY 7-22

Not much different. I really thought that making this substantial diet change would be much more difficult and that there would be more notable changes.

Today is softball playoffs. I am going away for a week vacation in two days, and have decided to give myself a break and eat fresh fruit and rice and beans while away. Thinking about the diet in Costa Rica, I cannot imagine how I would be able to be sugar and carb free while there without a lot of cooking and hassle. So for that reason, I am going to try to stick with my diet during our barbeque but I am also going to forgive myself if I don’t.

seafood

As it turns out, except for marinades on the barbequed meats, it was very easy to stay with the diet, I bought a bunch of tapas, made some salads so there was plenty of options. The only possible cheat were the marinades on the meats but I feel that they were not overly sweet.

Truth of the matter is that I feel better overall and with the stress of moving and settling into a new place this blog once again took a back seat.

…jumping ahead…

DAY 24-31

Costa Rica rest and relaxation. I gave up the idea of staying with my diet while always being cognizant of my options. Breakfast was rice, beans, eggs and fruit. A couple of mornings I also had a tortilla so I definitely failed miserably on breakfast. Other than that, I drank coconut water and ate regular and small amounts of lychee, and some coconut jelly. I also ate plantain when offered with my meals but tried to keep my rice and bean consumption to a minimum except for breakfast.

 

fish

 

DAY 32

Back to the metabolism diet. The transition back to the diet was very easy, and I felt immediately better. Funny, as I know that we need sugar and carbs in the long term for survival but right now my body seems quite happy to go without. In fact, I ate way less fruit on my vacation that I expected. I simply love exotic tropical fruits.

Day 37

Today I retested my thyroid. My feeling is that overall I am better, but not where I would like to be. My biggest concern is actually that the test will come back normal and that my doctor will not hear me when I talk about how I am feeling overall. I have come to terms with the idea of taking thyroid medication to try to get my body functioning a little better without having to work so hard as it seems that my thyroid has been a little high for a few years.

DAY 39

Thyroid results in. As I felt and hoped, my thyroid had improved in a somewhat substantial way but is still too high. So my bloodwork reflects how I feel. Interesting when I think about it that my thyroid pattern also follows the pattern of when I am having regular acupuncture treament. Although the acupuncture did not fix the thyroid and bring it to normal, it certainly kept it balanced and consistent… and helped some.

I have come to terms with the idea of taking thyroid medication in anticipation that I will start to feel well again. Here is hoping. In the meantime, I have 26 days left in my metabolism diet. I may as well see it through and take advantage of the health benefits of this program. Hopefully within the next couple of weeks I will find the energy to start exercising again and can begin to burn more fat as well.

DAYS 40-46
Started taking a very low dose of thyroid medication, but determined that I will continue to take natural supplements and do what I can to support my deficiencies. I am hoping that I can get off the medication once my system has balanced itself.

DAY 46
Wii fit age 34, 141 lbs and that’s how I feel. That, and hugely relieved. Only 13 more days on the first phase of the Metabolism Diet, then I’ll move into the second phase which is 11-20 net grams of carbs every five hours. Looking forward to having some treats!!

Metabolism and how it is effected by carbs

So, the very low carb diet that I am following is based on the book “the Metabolism Miracle” by Dianne Kress.

http://www.amazon.ca/s/?ie=UTF8&keywords=the+metabolism+miracle&tag=googcana-20&index=aps&hvadid=7015261643&hvpos=1t2&hvexid=&hvnetw=s&hvrand=11091767531145041360&hvpone=&hvptwo=&hvqmt=e&hvdev=c&ref=pd_sl_93od7b9i5b_e

Her theory makes total sense, although she is very focussed on weight loss rather than my own concerns of insulin resistance, high cortisol and hypothyroid.  The idea is that by only eating 5 net carbs every 5 hours, the body learns how to break down its own fat stores and re-learns how to recognize the fats and sugars.  This is a simplified version of insulin resistance.  Either way, it is a stress response in the body and it makes sense.

The carb-free journey is a scary one to think about.  I thought that it would be easy for me, but when I first committed to doing it and realized everything that I would have to eliminate from my diet I felt crushed.

DAY 1

I’m not sure if today qualifies as the first day of this diet.  yesterday I found out about the “Metabolism Miracle” and thought to myself that I would start this diet after Ontario fruit season was over.  So I started this day as any other, breakfast was a low fat half decaf latte and a protein shake.  My protein shake qualifies for this diet as the ‘Net Carb’ is less than 5, but I did have sugar in my coffee. My next stop was the Osteopath, where she gave me a grim look and told me that my organs felt ‘dead’.  Never the message you want to hear.  Right away, she said “forget about your knee… we need to get you your health…” and immediately told me to cut ALL carbs out of my diet for two weeks.  My liver and pancreas would reset, and hopefully start my kidneys working properly as well. Then of course she gave me a referral for a new surgeon.

*segway* Frank… you failed me!! My right ACL is not all there… no end feel on the joint which is not good.  It hurts a bit, definitely it was sore for a week but as soon as I brought out the brace and started doing acupuncture on myself the pain all but disappeared.  Before that, I was liberally applying ‘the magic purple cream’ http://www.bleulavande.ca/index_english.php/fiche/view/10GELC250

the best shit. ever.

 

return…

My Osteopaths reaction was a bit harsh, but I got the message.  And I know… I’ve been feeling horrible for months. I wasn’t surprised when my Dr told me that my bloodwork came back as Hypothyroid and my cortisol was through the roof.  I’ve been working like a fiend for two years now, way beyond what is realistic and normal for one person.  Since last fall, I knew that I needed to slow down and catch my breath and do a little less.  The projects that I was working on are just so amazing and exciting, and a lot of work!  I really wanted to see them all though to fruition and looked for ways to make that happen.

OK back to the diet…

DAY 1: home from the osteopath appointment, I looked in my fridge and saw that the only food which qualified for my diet were some wrinkled up kale, cucumbers, cheese and some leftover steak.  OK so shopping needs to happen… lunch for me was a couple of slices of cheese and some cucumber. I went about packing and getting ready for my move and lost track of time.  The next I knew it was time to get the load of stuff to the Goodwill.  As a treat for my son and I, we went to the local poolhall/chinese restauraunt.  Wings!! perfect!  So we had wings and chow mein for dinner.

Boo, the wings were battered… nice try

well, day one was not perfect.

 

 

The journey to better digestive health - a tour from vegan to paleo

Oh life is such a wonderful journey!!  The ups and downs, the successes and losses and the moments in between are what make this life so rich.  We are so fortunate to be conscious beings with the ability to be aware of our circumstances with the understanding of how to change and improve them.

With all of that intelligence, humans can still be pretty dumb.  We resist what we know helps us, and continue with habits that we know are harming us.  We are the only species that kills for sport, and apparently we find amusement in watching our fellow humans create suffering for others – either fictional like the movies or questionably true through the screens of our television.  Some even go right to the frontlines to observe this phenomenon.  oh, humanity.

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Yet with all of this intelligence we still do not always do what is best for us.  Why?  I would say there are two main reasons.  1.  We are creatures of habit 2. We are a pleasure seeking species.  How do we break good habits?  By teaching ourselves to not enjoy them any more, and by using large amounts of self discipline to stay on course.

I have been suffering with digestive issues since I was a teenager.  Growing up in the country before the internet, there were very few resources available to us to learn about basic digestive health issues except the family doctor.  When the medical route failed, I turned to advice from my chiropractor on what to do next.  I was advised to try an elimination diet.  Sage advice!!  So off I went, eliminating everything out of my diet until I was left with  green vegetables.  Well, obviously I was not going to survive on green vegetables and at this point I was going off to college where more information was readily available.  Veganism was very cool at the time, so it was a perfect fit.    Like many vegetarians/vegans in college who are young and stupid, my diet consisted of beer, pasta, and tofu with veggies.  My digestive health improved in time, and eventually I began to add fish and chicken.

After twelve years of this diet I had a child and found myself energetically depleted.  After receiving bloodwork and tests from a naturopath, I was instructed to start doing blood building supplements, B12 shots, and that I might just have to eat a bit of meat as I was an O bloodtype.

So, yet another shift occurred and I began to eat tiny amounts of meat again.  Eventually, I moved right back into a diet of eating everything and started to see bloating and sluggishness again.  (bouts of gastro attacks have been happening throughout this process, they did not get worse) So, from hearing about the latest craze of gluten intolerance, this seemed to make sense for me.  So, six months of no gluten… leading to worsening of symptoms every time I ate a gluten free carb.  Argh… So, strike wheat, corn, soy, spelt and who knows what else off the list.  Of course, once you eliminate something out of your diet you quickly become intolerant to it.  So, I started back slowly with sprouted bread for convenience sake and occasional pasta and breads keeping them as clean as possible.

More recently I have been diagnosed with Hypothyroid Disease and Adrenal Exhaustion.  As a result of the side effects, I have re-injured my knee and am simply not recovering.  I’ve now been instructed to do a ketogenic diet, all but eliminating carbs from my diet for 2 weeks to two months.

I’ve decided to blog the journey…kneetake2

2 minutes for better eyes

Two minutes a day to improve my eyesight?

Eye exercises

Eye exercises are very simple and can make the difference between glasses and no glasses, or sharpen weakening vision.  They can also help with floaters, tired eyes, and general fatigue.

YES.  Two minutes a day to improve your eyesight.  It is so easy, like so many health matters.

You can do this anywhere… so get ready for the easiest thing you have ever done for yourself!!

Start in a relaxed position, laying down, sitting up, it doesn’t really matter.  Begin the eye exercise by averting your eyes up, as far as you can.  Look into your eyelids and feel the strain on your eyes.  Allow your head to shift slightly, but do not make the movement starting from your head.  Hold for 5 seconds to start, then look down.  Once again, looking at your lower lid and allowing your head to bow slightly.  Holding for five seconds.  next, looking to one side with a slight shift in your head and a strain and again to the other side holding each for about five seconds.  Finally, make a circle with your eyes, stretching your sight line through the full three hundred and sixty five degrees of your vision.

Repeat this eye exercise five times, two or three times per day.  Gradually increase the holding of each position to about 10 seconds.  Watch your eyesight sharpen within days!!  Continue the practise to keep the ocular muscles strong whenever you feel your eyes tired or weak, and these eye exercises will strengthen your eyes!!

You should feel an immediate effect with this exercise.  It is also helpful when doing a long drive, and the eyes become tired from staring at the road for hours on end.

 

Here is a helpful video which demonstrates the exercises…

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sAF07V_FWe8

 

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chronic pain

Pain.  It’s a terrible thing!  It comes for many reasons, and stays around sometimes for way too long. Studies say that one in ten Americans live with chronic pain at some point in their life.  I would tend to say that ratio is higher if you include emotional pain on a chronic level.  Emotional pain and trauma can cause feelings of anxiety, fear and hopelessness in an individual which can interfere with one’s own healing process.

Sometimes when we visit our healthcare practitioner, they say ‘ there is nothing that can be done’ which is absolutely wrong, and should be replaced with the words ‘I’m not sure how I can help you, but there may be someone or something who can.’

If you think you suffer from chronic pain, there are a few things that you can consider:

1) Is it a musculoskeletal issue?  If so, have you tried going to a sports medicine doctor?  Sports medicine doctors are specialized practitioners who work on the musculoskeletal system.  It doesn’t mean that we need to be an athlete to go there, and in Ontario you do not need a doctors note or a referral.

2) Are you on multiple medications? Sometimes combining medications causes pain.  This is due to a reaction that happens in the body which can cause the liver to secrete various acids into the muscular system. (and other more complicated cellular changes)  The point is, that you should have your medications checked.

3) Check your diet.  Some people react strongly to certain foods.  Night shades (potatoes, tomatoes, peppers, eggplant, etc) react badly in some peoples systems and are actually mildly toxic to some.  Dairy products, wheat, some proteins, certain fruits and vegetables can be very hard on some peoples system.  Also the alkaline/acid balance of your diet may be unbalanced.

4) Simple exercises.  Every day… two minutes of stretching the muscles and joints can make all of the difference.  And guess what?  The exercises that you hate are probably the ones that you need.  Sorry to be the bearer of bad news. If you have questions or concerns always check with a qualified health care provider.

If you have looked at all of these possibilities, then you may want to look deeper.  is there an underlying problem in your body that it is fighting?  Your doctor can perform tests, and you can also see a natural health practitioner to check if they identify problems in your diet or lifestyle that could be more balanced. Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) practitioners identify problems in the body systems differently than western medical practitioners.  Sometimes a TCM practitioner or acupuncture can easily and quickly identify a problem.

 

Why does pain remain after an injury has already healed? When injury happens, the body goes into a protective mode and isolates the area of injury.  Some of us have a natural tendency to behave as such and pack our pain away, work around it and find our best way to ignore it.  Unfortunately, pain is there for a reason and will remain there until we identify the problem and resolve it.  This is why it is important to deal with pain and injuries as quickly as possible.  The longer pain has persisted, the longer resolution will take.  We must be very patient with ourselves.

One of my teachers told me that we need one month of healing for every year a condition has existed in the body.  In my experience, this is a pretty good model for chronic pain.  So, forgive yourself and give yourself permission for the healing.

 

Chronic pain is an illness that receives little sympathy.  Humans by nature are attached to labels, so we tend to address problems by giving them a name.  This is frustrating, because it leads to a lot of misdiagnosis and and even more people walking around who seem fine on the outside.  They do not have a limp or an assistive device, and they appear normal.  We have to learn to be empathetic to all.  We never know what one person is going through.

In short?  There may be a solution for your pain.  Don’t give up, the power of thought is very strong.  Always believe, and ask for what you need… in the meantime be proactive about your health.  It is your body, you have to live in it for the rest of your life!!!

2 minutes for holistic health

Staying on the 2 minutes theme, I take this opportunity to provide the link for a recent Toronto survey about body rub parlours and holistic centres in the city of Toronto.

It seems a bit ludicrous that body rub parlours and holistic centres would be mentioned in the same article, never mind the same sentence.  We have been struggling with this by-law for years, and it has limited the capacity for shiatsu therapists to practise their art in many cases.  For example, one cannot own a holistic centre if they are not a practitioner.  However, one has to have studied holistic medicine and be in good standing with a professional association to be a holistic practitioner. There are many gray areas, but I know one clinic that was told they could not have shiatsu therapists working there because the owner was not a practitioner and therefore couldn’t have a holistic centre.  So in fact it is restricting our right to practise.

For the record, the only shiatsu therapy programs in Toronto are 2200 hours, which is the same training as Registered Massage Therapists.  Yet, an RMT can currently study for 30 hours and receive a piece of paper that says they have studied shiatsu.  The system is very skewed.  We need to start nipping this in the bud, and the problem is that this set of issues has reduced the number of practising shiatsu therapists by more than half in ten years.

If you have had shiatsu, and enjoy the treatment or its benefits we would be grateful if you could show your support by filling out this survey.  It will literally take two minutes of your time.

thank you!!!

https://docs.google.com/spreadsheet/viewform?formkey=dG5udHV4R0hZNWZiNzZVd09nWjVoU3c6MQ