How can I lower inflammation in my body?
What is inflammation? It’s much more than a swollen ankle or pimple or anything else that can be cured with ice or over-the-counter medication. For many of us there’s another kind of inflammation that’s wreaking havoc throughout our entire body. According to Women’s Health Magazine, chronic inflammation is a slow, silent disturbance that never shuts off. You can’t feel it. You can’t be tested for it. Yet it has become a medical hot topic. ”More and more research shows that chronic inflammation is involved in heavy-hitting illnesses” says integrative medicine specialist Frank Lipman, M.D., director of the Eleven Eleven Wellness Center in New York City, “It’s an underlying cause for many, many diseases.” Inflammation may be the root cause of cancer, heart disease, diabetes, depression, allergies, and autoimmune diseases such as arthritis or fibromyalgia. Think of it this way: your immune system’s job is to be the first line of defense against any kind of harm. Armies of white blood cells attack to destroy infections such as viruses or bacteria. With inflammation, misguided white blood cells deploy as if you were sick, but with no infection they hang around in your body for a long time. This type of faulty-signal activity can begin damaging your internal organs. These white blood cells needlessly attack healthy cells. Basically, our body begins an assault on itself. Top Triggers of Inflammation
Overweight/Obesity-When we gain weight our fat cells enlarge. Our body gets confused by the added stress and sends out a signal to the immune system that may cause white blood cells to attack the fat cells. What’s more disturbing is that unneeded white blood cells may start leaking into the bloodstream, eventually aggravating the liver. A high-sugar, high-trans-fat, high-processed-carb, GMO, pesticide filled diet is a main contributor.
Living an Overstressed Life-Chronic busyness, trying to make ends meet financially, grief, changing jobs, divorce, death, and every day expectations of life leave many individuals feeling stressed, anxious, and depressed. The same parts of our brain that sense pain are also activated by social stress according to George Slavich, Ph.D, a researcher in psychoneuroimmunology at the University of California at Los Angeles.
Toxins in our Environment– Our world is overloaded with toxins including: smog, pesticides, chemicals used to make clothing, carpets, vehicles, cigarettes, alcohol, etc. It is almost impossible to become toxin free.
he Link Between Inflammation and Autoimmune Disease What is an autoimmune disorder? According to WebMD, immune system disorders cause abnormally low activity or over activity of the immune system. In cases of immune system over activity, the body attacks and damages its own tissues (autoimmune diseases). Immune deficiency diseases decrease the body’s ability to fight invaders, causing vulnerability to infections. Below is a list of autoimmune disorders. This list was shocking to me when I first learned about it.
- Rheumatoid Arthritis
- Systemic Lupus
- Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD)
- Multiple Sclerosis
- Type 1 Diabetes
- Guillain-Barre Syndrome
- Grave’s Disease (Hyperthyroidism)
- Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis (Hypothyroidism)
- Myasthenia Gravis
As we age, we too often, believe that joint pain, arthritis, stomach upset, diabetes, and obesity are simply a part of the aging process. This does not have to be the case. It’s time for us as a society to start advocating for our health. It’s also about understanding how our bodies work and that we have the capacity to heal ourselves. Eight Tips for a Healthier Immune
System and Digestive Tract
- Eat Omega-3 Fats-These are great for your heart and nervous system and are labeled the “good” fats. These can be found in salmon, sardines, chia seeds, and flax seeds. I take a liquid fish oil every morning to insure I get enough of this precious oil. Studies have shown an increase in memory and focus as an added bonus.
- Eat Fruits and Veggies-This is a no-brainer, folks. We all know this and yet, it’s this food group that is usually neglected. Eat the rainbow, meaning you should eat a variety of food including: strawberries, squash, lemons, kale, blueberries, plums and eggplant. Eat foods that are in season. Not only does the food taste better, but it’s more cost effective. There are thousands of amazing vegetable and fruit recipes on the web. Whip up a fruit smoothie in the blender. Throw in some spinach leaves. You won’t taste the spinach, but you will feel like you’re drinking a sweet treat. Eat organic as much as possible. Healthy food can taste good.
- Grains & Carbs-Listen to your body as far as carbohydrates go. Some do well, others not so much. If you decide to eat carbs choose wisely. Grains such as quinoa, buckwheat groats, oats, and gluten free options are the best. Stay away from refine processed foods.
- Enjoy Your Food-We live in a world of all or nothing. Try to follow the 80/20 rule. Make healthier choices 80% of the time and you’ll be on your way to feeling more vibrant and having more energy within a few weeks.
- Move Your Body-I hesitate to use the word exercise because I’d like you to think about movement as a way of life and not something that you have to do. What excites you? Get out and walk, dance, ride a bike, practice yoga, garden, etc. Exercise can be moderate. The old days of the “no pain, no gain” motto doesn’t have to be the case. New research is showing that walking longer at a more moderate pace is just as beneficial if not more beneficial than speed walking for shorter periods.
- Stabilize Your Mood-Lowering stress and anxiety can lessen inflammation. Choose what works for you. Whether you seek Western medical treatment, take the more natural path or a do a combination of both, all have the potential to help. Take time for yourself and learn how to say “no.” Realize you will never get it all done, so do what you can and know the rest can wait for another day. Laughter is one of the best ways to boost your immune system. It’s easy and free.
- Believe in Yourself-Nothing is more powerful than believing in you. It’s important to eat healthy, move your body, establish a plan with your doctor, and lower your stress, but when you believe you can feel better, the healing process speeds up ten-fold. Dr. Joe Dispenza recently released a book titled You Are the Placebo where he gives many examples of evidence-based research outlining the power our thoughts have over our ability to heal. Seriously powerful stuff and it’s nice to give the brain something to chew on while the body does its work.
- Have Patience-It takes time to make lasting changes in our lives. We are creatures of habit. Start with one small change. Don’t deprive yourself. Instead, begin by adding something in whether it be a new food, movement, short meditation, etc. Don’t be afraid to experiment to see what works for you. Don’t believe everything you read or hear. Listen to your gut and then give something new a road test. Remember there is no such thing as perfection or failure. If we never try anything new, we’ll never find out what we like and dislike.
How can I add more laughter into my life?
According to a recent article in About Stress, research has shown that laughter has many health benefits. Laughter can increase happiness, relieve pain, and boost our immune system. I started plugging into this a few months ago when I realized I don’t laugh as much as I used to. One study suggested that kids laugh about 400 times a day and adults tend to laugh only 15 times per day. This is a big wake up call for most of us. So how exactly does laughter benefit us other than just feeling good? • Stress Management-Laughter lowers stress hormones such as cortisol and adrenaline and increases your antibody producing cells. This is another step toward a health immune system. • Abdominal Workout-A deep belly laugh exercises your abs and shoulders. I don’t know about you, but I’m game for anything that works my belly muscles. • Physical Body Release-One of my greatest joys in life is when my granddaughter comes to visit. A few weeks ago, my granddaughter, hubby, and I were enjoying breakfast when she came up and gave me a big hug. I was sitting, so her head was resting on my belly. When I laughed, her head started bouncing. Some weird switch got turned on within me. I started laughing so hard I couldn’t breathe. My husband and granddaughter joined in and none of us knew why. I know you know what I’m talking about. Later, I recalled having that same experience when I was five. I had been hugging my grandmother and her belly was bouncing my head around. It’s amazing what we remember. Anyway, once my heart rate came back to normal and I wiped the tears off my face, I felt a physical release. I just plain felt lighter. • Distract from Negative Emotions-It seems like the last thing most of us want to do when we are feeling angry, depressed, or stressed is laugh, but this is exactly when you should find something funny to distract yourself from unpleasant emotions. Often times, the negativity fades away. • Laughing with Others-Many of us don’t spend enough time with others. Laughter is another way to connect us to the community. It’s contagious. If we laugh, they laugh, stress is lowered; all feels much better. There are many easy and simple ways to bring laughter into your life. Drumroll please…
Eat Omega-3 Fats-These are great for your heart and nervous system and are labeled the “good” fats. These can be found in salmon, sardines, chia seeds, and flax seeds. I take a liquid fish oil every morning to insure I get enough of this precious oil. Studies have shown an increase in memory and focus as an added bonus.
- Watch something funny on TV-I’m not a huge fan of sitting in front of the tube, but if given a choice between feeling depressed, angry or sad and a comedy, I say, “Go Comedy.”
- 2. Read something amusing-With technology what it is today, if you can type “www” you can find something funny to read. The Kindle app through Amazon is free and you can download thousands of books, or pay $9.99 a month to get access to over 700,000 rental books. Also, dare I say it? You can pick up an old-fashioned, flip the pages book.
- 3. YouTube-For short bursts of entertainment or hours of gut busting laughter, YouTube has it all from funny animal and kid videos, to comedians, and raunchy slap-stick humor. Honestly, I usually spend a few minutes before bedtime watching a short clip of something funny. Helps me sleep.
- 4. Pandora-Pandora is a free music app that has every imaginable genre, one of which is comedy. You can download on your phone, tablet, and/or computer and enjoy 24/7. With the added benefit of reducing stress through music, this app serves multiple purposes. A “thumbs up” in my book.
- Family-Get the kids together for game night. Call the grandkids. They are usually good for at least one belly laugh. Most of my life I thought the moving steps at the mall were called escalators. I’ve recently been informed by my granddaughter that it’s called an “Upalator and Downalator”. Honestly, that makes more sense. Ahhh, the mind of a five year-old.
- Contact a Friend-Our friends love us just as we love them. Reach out. Go to a funny movie or comedy club. Or, if you guys go way back, start reminiscing about bellbottoms and horned-rimmed glasses.
- Lighten up-Stop taking yourself so damn seriously! Remember to laugh at life. We all do goofy stuff sometimes. Imagine the awesome stories you’ll create and the way I see it…if somebody else gets a good laugh over something I was a part of, then whatever the frustration was, it ended up being a success.
- Our brain is a processor-Our brain is nothing more than a fancy computer. For example, it can’t tell the difference between seeing a picture of the beach and actually being there. Remember a funny incident or story. Your body will receive the same benefits as if you were living it in the present. Most of us don’t have a problem laughing if things are going well. When we’re not feeling our best is when we need to consciously think about adding laughter in. It’s these times we tend to fight self-care the most. I’ve been known to have a few pity parties myself. Find something funny anyway. You’ll be glad you did.
What can I do to sleep better?
“Develop A Sleep Ritual”
- Surround yourself with items that feel good to you. For example, I have my favorite books, crystals, divination cards, and other trinkets on my nightstand. I even take these items with me when I travel. It’s comforting and grounding. What is important to you?
- Set a bedtime and stick to it. It’s important for your body to have stability. Don’t strive for perfection, but do honor this as much as possible.
- Start winding down at least an hour before you want to go to sleep. I enjoy reading before I go to bed. What helps you relax? Try to stay away from your computer, phone, or T.V. as studies are showing that the blue light that is emitted from these electronic devices can actually keep you awake. My five kids and hubby are trained. Unless they are bleeding or dying, whatever they need can wait until the following day.
- Dim lights in the evening. Think about how your ancestors lived. Most were up at sunrise and went to bed at sundown. If they did need light they used lanterns or candles. Change some of the light bulbs in your house to a lower wattage or use candles. Model lighting like nature. Can you imagine seeing little lights on in the trees where all the birds and squirrels live? Probably not. J
- Don’t eat anything heavy at least an hour or two before bedtime. The body works hard to digest all the food which makes it more difficult to sleep. Some studies have shown that a light healthy snack may be beneficial. Choose wisely.
- Spend a few minutes connecting to your breath. Lay on your back in a comfortable position. Breathe in through your nose to the count of five filling your belly. Breathe out through your mouth feeling your belly emptying to the count of six. This simple exercise will tell your nervous system to slow down. I’ve tried many breathing exercises and this one really works. Start with five minutes a night and work up to 15 minutes.
- Spend a few minutes giving yourself self-love. Talk to yourself. Remind yourself how amazing you are. Now is the time to pat yourself on the back for all that you are. I know this feels selfish sometimes. Believe me, it’s not. You are worth it.
- Finally, spend the last five minutes before you go to sleep thinking about all the things you’re grateful for. This may be the most important part of your sleep ritual as you will carry this information into your dreams. Even the tough days bring gratefulness. It could be a roof over your head, food to eat, a friend, family, pet, or just the fact that you are Be open to all possibilities. I usually fall asleep listing all the things I’m grateful for.
How can I help?
The two most important assets I can give you is my ability to listen and my intuitiveness. While you will always be the navigator of your life, I can help you brainstorm, focus, and come up with a plan. I will also help you get rid of old belief patterns and thoughts that have kept you stuck. Many of the medical and mental health professions are specialized where one hand doesn’t know what the other is doing. This can feel overwhelming at times. Many therapists focus only on mental health. I use a more holistic approach integrating nutrition, exercise, and emotional wellness.
How much will this cost me?
I’ve made a decision not to take insurance at this time. By keeping my costs down I can offer a lower rate to you. I have a flat fee of $100 per hour therapy session. The fee for soul retrieval/chakra clearing is $150 per 1.5 hour session. Workshops and retreats are priced per event.