Body Brushing... What is That?

We tend to focus most of our attention making sure that our face has everything it needs but often neglect the skin on the rest of our body.  We need to remember that our skin is the largest organ in the body and it’s up to each of us to take care of the skin we are in. Body brushing is a simple and effective way to support the health and function of our skin and our body.

Body brushing is exactly what you would think, you have a specific brush that you use to literally brush the skin for a therapeutic benefit.   

Body brushing the skin increases circulation and helps to remove toxins by stimulating the lymphatic system, which helps to eliminate cellular wastes in the body.  It is very important to support lymphatic drainage so we can help reduce overall inflammation in the body.  With the increase of stimulation and pressure on the surface of the skin, it also draws more blood circulation to the area which brings more nutrients and oxygen to the tissues. Body brushing is a great way to boost the overall function of the immune system, especially going into the fall and winter months. A wonderful added benefit is that is also helps to reduce cellulite plus it just feels amazing… You must give it a try!

You can pick up a high-quality body brush at most health food stores or online.  Make sure it’s made with natural materials and make sure to get one with a longer handle so you can fully reach your back.  They are very inexpensive and easy to find so there is no reason at all not to be incorporating body brushing into your regular daily skin routine.  

Body brushing is great before a morning shower as its quite invigorating.  When brushing, make sure your skin is dry and always brush towards the heart.  Start at your feet and work your way up, then from your hands up your arm, then brush your back and stomach.  Don’t brush your face though as it can be too abrasive with a body brush.  Make sure to avoid any private areas or areas with irritations.   You want a firm stroke but not anything that is painful, we are brushing not scrubbing. :0)   After you are finished, simply hop in the shower, and wash off all the dead skin, that’s it.  Its super simple.  Make sure to moisturize with a great all natural body butter right after the shower to lock in the moisture and reap even more skin nourishing benefits.

All up, body brushing only takes a few extra minutes for a huge return on the health of your skin and body.  You will feel the difference…

Enjoy!

 Body brushes…

Body brushes…

Ever try cupping?

Cupping is all the rage at the moment, and with good reason…it’s amazing! But did you know that cupping has been used for over 3000 years in Traditional Chinese Medicine?  It’s true!   So, even though the famous stars and athletes are starting to use it, it’s a tried and true therapy that stands the test of time.  

Cupping can be a wonderful therapy for the body and can help with pain, sluggish lymph, cellulite, improving circulation and reducing inflammation, just to name a few benefits.   However, my favorite way to use it is for the face.  Facial cupping is part of our Signature Rejuvenating Facial Treatment since it also helps with fine lines, wrinkles, facial puffiness and helps to tone and improve the complexion.  Facial cupping leaves NO marks!

Cupping is a very gentle treatment that feels wonderful on the face and results can be seen right away!

Most therapies that are preformed are done by pushing into the body.  Whether that is massage, adjustments, trigger therapy, etc. -  its all pushing.  But cupping is different.  Small cups are placed on the skin and a gentle suction is created inside the cups.   This suction help facilitates blood flow by pulling fluids inside the body up through the tissues towards the cups, literally bringing fresh blood, which is carrying oxygen and nutrients, into the muscles and tissues of the skin. This helps to rejuvenate and improve function to the area treated.  

This pain free therapy is one of my favorites and offers wonderful results!

 Facial cupping…delightful!

Facial cupping…delightful!

Ask me more about it when you are in the office.

It's back to school time! Can you believe it?

It’s hard to believe that September is here and the kiddos are back in school again…summer went WAY to fast.

For those of you with kids who seem to catch everything during the school year, lets chat about some great herbal immune boosters for them so they don’t get sick this year.  Yea!

Here are just a few simple things to add to the diet to strengthen their immune systems and keep them healthy.  It goes without saying that a healthy diet with proper protein, vitamin and mineral nutrition is at the core of a healthy immune system.  :0)

Astragalus has to be my all-time favorite adaptogen herb for boosting the immune system.  This amazing herb is a powerhouse for increasing immune function and has been used in TCM for thousands of years.  You can find it in a pill or tincture for kids.  For a tincture, make sure it’s in a glycerin base for the kids, it will taste better.  A super easy way to add it to your diet is to put some in your bone broth or stocks so you can benefit anytime you cook.  I take this one everyday.  :0)

Elderberry is a wonderful option for kids.  It comes in a syrup and tastes great, so kids LOVE it.  You can easily make your own or purchase it already made at any health food store.  Its super high in vitamin c and anthocyanins (the antioxidants that give it that deep purple color) both of which offer fabulous immune boosting properties.  Its been used for centuries in Europe.

Garlic is a wonderful addition to any diet and it tastes great in so many dishes.  It strengthens the immune system in a multitude of ways but also helps to kill off any bugs that may find their way into your kid’s system from a classmate’s sneeze or cough.  You can add more garlic when you cook during the school year or you can get it in a pill form.  Both ways will help boost the immune system.  I like Kyolic garlic, which is an aged garlic.   

Probiotics are a must for a strong immune system and should be taken every day, by kids and adults alike.  They are super easy for kids to take since they come in pills, gummys, powders or drinks.   Make sure to get the highest variety of strains possible in the supplement, just read the back and take a peek.  Remember 70% of your immune system is in your gut so a strong gut is going to support a healthy immune system!  It can be challenging for kid’s tastes but if you can get them to add fermented foods to their diet its great, just not always an option depending on the pallet.  But things like kombucha, kefir, sauerkraut or pickles are also a good addition.    

Oregano Oil is another great option for boosting the body’s natural immune response.  It can have a boosting effect for the gut as well by supporting the microbiome of the belly.  This one can also help to fight off bugs in the kiddos.  

Additional things:

Decrease Sugar!   Sugar decreases your immune function and significantly impairs proper functioning.  Minimize extra sugar in the diet as much as you can.

Increase Cruciferous veggies! Specifically, broccoli, cabbage, Brussels sprouts, cauliflower, kale, etc.  These foods contain components that increase immune function.

Get outside and get moving! Getting outside will support healthy vitamin D levels, which is vital to a healthy immune system.  Running around and being a kid outside is great for the lymphatic system and supports healthy detox.

If you have any specific questions, give me a call at the clinic. 

If your kiddos get sick or need something more, just let me know.  I have many herbal formulas that can work wonders and be tailored to their specific needs.

Hope this helps.

 

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What is Microcurrent and why is it so wonderful?

Microcurrent is a non-invasive therapy that offers a safe, all-natural option for facial rejuvenation. Microcurrent supplies gentle, painless, low frequency electrical impulses to specifically selected muscles and areas on the face to firm and tighten the muscles and skin. This is achieved by placing two metal probes gently on the surface of the skin so the microcurrent can run between the two probes and stimulate different parts of the face. 

These electrical impulses are subsensory in nature and mimic the electrical impulses already present in the cells of the body.  Since it mimics the body’s own electrical system, it can help to stimulate and increase Adenosine triphosphate (ATP) production by up to 500%!  The ATP molecule is known in biochemistry as the "molecular currency" of intracellular energy transfer; that is, ATP is able to store and transport chemical energy within cells…so increasing ATP production is an amazing thing! When our cells have extra energy, they can perform properly and maintain a more youthful appearance.

Microcurrent has been around for over 50 years.  It was initially used for wound healing treatment of non-union fractures and bone implants during World War II. In the 1960’s it was used for the treatment of Bell’s palsy.  Today, it is currently used in many health care practices around the world for acute and chronic pain, wound healing, and facial rejuvenation treatments. Microcurrent machines are FDA approved devices that are completely safe and without any harmful side effects. 

Microcurrent stimulation acts as a stimulus which triggers responses from the cells which in turn tightens the skin and reduces the wrinkles.  To tone and sculpt, specific muscles in the face and neck are targeted for stimulation resulting in skin that is hydrated, lifted, firmer, softer and rejuvenated in appearance.  A soothing microcurrent treatment can safely restore the skin’s natural balance for a healthier and younger looking appearance.  It is used to visibly diminish fine lines or wrinkles on the face, neck and décolletage, smooth and rejuvenate the skin, reeducate the muscles of the face and neck, and help maintain healthy radiant skin. And…its so relaxing and pain free that most people fall asleep during the session.  What is not to LOVE??

Microcurrent can act as a preventative treatment for people in their late 20’s or during their 30’s to keep skin looking great or as a therapeutic treatment for those in their 40’s, 50’s and 60’s to reduce the signs of aging and improve the health of the skin and muscles of the face.   

For facial rejuvenation, a series of 10 to 12 treatments are usually needed for the best results and for long-term benefits.  Monthly maintenance treatments are required after the series is completed which holds the results from the series.  A series typically knocks off about 8 to 15 years from the appearance.

Microcurrent treatments can..

  •          Improve muscle tone & skin texture
  •          Reduce appearance of fine lines and wrinkles
  •          Stimulate blood circulation
  •          Promote production of collagen and elastin
  •          Tonify, tighten and sculpt the face
  •          Reduce puffiness
  •          Improve muscle tone and firm skin
  •          Improve skin tone & complexion
  •          Shrink facial pores

There are so many facial treatments on the market today, but I personally prefer to use natural treatments.  Microcurrent can be a nice all-natural alternative to Botox and facial fillers, which can include unwanted chemicals and toxins.  Unlike some other treatments, there is no discomfort during or after the treatment, no redness or swelling and no downtime required.  This treatment is very relaxing, and with glowing skin and visible positive changes, normal daily activities can immediately be resumed after the treatment.

Microcurrent is one of my favorite facial treatments.  A series of treatments are needed to get long lasting effects, but a single treatment can be done for a special event when someone needs to look extra fabulous!  Try a treatment for yourself to feel and see the difference just one treatment can make and see what all the fuss is about… 

 Microcurrent wands.

Microcurrent wands.

Holistic Facial Treatments...what's that?

Aging is inevitable…but we all want to look and feel as good as we can for as long as we can.  Throughout society cosmetic procedures are on the rise, however, many of the most common procedures are quite invasive and can be toxic to the system.  Because of this, many people are opting to go with a more natural approach to reduce the chemical load on their bodies while still achieving some great results.

There are numerous natural facial treatments that are wonderful at turning back the clock.  They will never replace cosmetic surgery, but they can certainly get your skin looking and feeling a good 5 to 15 years younger and healthier! 

Creams, lotions, and potions can be wonderful, and necessary, but if the underlying skin isn’t healthy, the topical applications will only take you so far.  What if you could naturally improve the health of the skin and the body while building collagen, reducing fine lines and wrinkles, increasing tonicity of the facial muscles, improving circulation and blood flow for a glowing complexion, moving the lymphatic system to reduce puffiness, and reducing inflammation of the skin for an even skin tone?    Well, you can!

I have worked with body and cosmetic acupuncture, microcurrent, LED light therapy, facial cupping, facial gua sha, derma rolling, acupressure point stimulation and facial exercises for years and these natural therapies can make a huge difference!  Unfortunately, most of these therapies are not well understood by many people.  I would like to change that!

I want everyone to know about these effective and gentle options that are available and what these wonderful natural therapies can achieve for the face and body. So, I will be starting a blog series about these therapies to help give you a better understanding of these natural options that can help you look and feel your best!  

I am looking forward to sharing more info with you so stay tuned!!

 Signature Rejuvenating Facial Treatment.

Signature Rejuvenating Facial Treatment.

Adaptogen Herbal Treat

I am always talking to people about how they can add more herbs into their diet.  Some standard ways to ingest herbs are in teas, tinctures, syrups, capsules, or pills.  These all work great.  But, did you know you can also cook with medicinal herbs and integrate them into a meal as well?  Medicinal herbs can be added to smoothies, stocks, soups or bone broth, cookies, cakes or breads, dressings or sauces or if they are fresh, they can be added to salads or as toppings on veggies…there are just so many delicious options for adding herbs into a daily routine to reap their many benefits. 

There are so many wonderful herbs to choose from and, depending on what is needed, different ones will be used.  But, I specifically love using adaptogen herbs and I use them daily.   Adaptogen herbs help the body adapt to stress, support normal metabolic functions, and restore balance in the body.  They can help increase the body’s resistance to physical, biological, emotional, and environmental stressors and offer a defense response to acute or chronic stress.  They are unique in the herb world as they can restore balance of endocrine hormones, modulate the immune system and allow the body to maintain optimum homeostasis.  So, they literally help you “adapt” to all types of stressors!   Who doesn’t need that??

Since adding herbs into a daily diet can be a new concept for some people, I thought I would start with a sweet treat idea to get you started.   This is my healthy “candy” option that is nourishing, energy boosting and delicious.  With summer coming up and more physical activities on the schedule, a quick boost of energy and nutrition is always a good idea.   Here is an option to a power/protein bar that you can make at home using simple ingredients and some great adaptogen herbs.     

The adaptogen herbs I am use in this recipe are ashwagandha, rhodiola, astraglus, eleuthero, maca, and goji berries, in addition to other yummy ingredients. 

This is a great “Energy Candy” that you won’t feel guilty about eating. :0) 

Ingredients:

2 cups nut butter (your choice – peanut, almond, cashew, etc.)

2 cups tahini

1 cup honey (this is to taste so you can add more or less)

1 ounces maca powder

.75-ounce ashwagandha powder

1-ounce eleuthero powder (Siberian ginseng)

1-ounce rhodiola powder

1-ounce astragalus powder

1 cup nuts (your choice – walnut, almonds, etc.)

8 ounces shredded coconut

8-10 ounces of your favorite dark chocolate (cut into small pieces)

½ cup goji berries

Unsweetened cocoa powder for dusting

Instructions:

1)      Combine the nut butter, tahini and honey in a large bowl and mix until smooth

2)      Mix the herbal powders in a separate bowl and then add them to the nut                   butter mix

3)      Add the chopped nuts, coconut, chocolate pieces and goji berries and mix well.           (hands work great)

4)      Roll the dough into small walnut size balls.

5)      Finish the balls with cocoa powder.  Put some cocoa powder in a baggie and               then drop the balls in to coat. Put them on wax paper once coated and put                 them in the fridge. They will last for several weeks in the fridge.

Dosage:

2 balls a day

This is a great treat to have on hand for a hike, bike ride, or other physical activity when you need a nice energy boost and/or a tasty snack.

I really enjoy these and think they are delicious, let me know what you think.

Enjoy!

Suffering with Digestive Symptoms? You are not alone...

Do you regularly experience stomach bloating, cramping, diarrhea, constipation or gas? If so, you are not alone. You may be suffering from a condition called Irritable Bowel Syndrome or IBS.  IBS is a very common condition that effects more than 30 to 55 million people in the United States and results in 2.5 -3.5 million office visits every year.   Studies suggest that at any one time, 10-15% of the population have IBS.   However, only a small percentage of these people will seek professional help.  IBS is more common in women (14-24%) than men (5-19%).

IBS is normally characterized by abdominal pain, bloating, flatulence and changes in bowel habits, and no specific disorder to point to as the cause.  IBS is called a functional disorder which means that there is no sign of disease when the colon is examined, but the bowel isn’t working as it should.  IBS is not a new problem and has been around for hundreds of years. In the late 1800’s, it was referred to as mucous colitis and still has many names, including spastic colon, nervous colon, and irritable colon.  It is often a chronic problem ranging from symptoms several times a day to several times a week to several times a month.

About 50 -60% of people with IBS report that their symptoms arise after eating a meal, giving rise to the theory that food sensitivity may be the culprit.  Therefore, foods in the diet may be the main source of the symptoms associated with IBS, including pain, bloating, abdominal discomfort, flatulence and alterations in bowel habit. 

Some of the most common foods that are likely to cause IBS symptoms are dairy products, wheat, eggs, soy, yeast, salicylates, corn, and alcohol.  Other common potential food triggers include coffee, caffeinated drinks, sugar, beans, onions, and raw fruits & vegetables.  However, the symptoms can arise from any foods that are being eaten.

People typically get rapid relief with their IBS symptoms once the food sensitivity has been addressed.  Wouldn’t it be nice to be able to eat your favorite foods again or have your favorite drink without having gut symptoms?  We can help! We have a great treatment that can address most symptoms associated with allergies and sensitivities to get you symptoms free quickly.

IBS, though problematic to the individual with its decrease in quality of life, is not a life-threatening condition.  However, it is important to be able to distinguish between IBS and other more serious problems.  Some alarming symptoms, in combination with IBS symptoms that should be examined by a physician are increasing pain at night, pain that disturbs sleep, red blood in the stool or black stools, a fever, and or weight loss.  These symptoms describe conditions that are more serious and should be looked at by your doctor. 

IBS symptoms are very common.  However, there are holistic options available that can significantly reduce the symptoms of IBS so there is no need to suffer with this condition. 

Give us a call or check out our website to get more information on how we can help you! 

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Are you ready for Spring Allergy Season?

Winter weather is still upon us but springtime is just around the corner and that means that seasonal allergies will be in full swing very soon.   Spring is such a beautiful time of year in Northern Virginia and a great time to be outside.  However, for thousands of people, springtime can be debilitating and dreaded by many.  Some people will be forced to stay inside just so they can breathe.  Many experience non-stop symptoms of sneezing, itchy, watery eyes, congestion, and runny nose with a foggy head or headache when they simply walk outdoors.    Others may be luckier and only experience some of the symptoms associated with springtime allergies.

The most common triggers of springtime allergies are pollens, trees and grasses.  Tree pollens especially affect the Northern Virginia area.  The time and duration of springtime allergy symptoms is determined by the species of trees that people are reacting to.  Trees are the earliest pollen producers of the year, releasing their pollen as early as late February to early March and as late as June.  Tree pollens can aggravate allergy symptoms, even if they are not on your property, since trees release large amounts of pollen that can travel miles away from the original source.

When springtime allergies are high, other common, year-round triggers such as mold, dust and dust mites, animal dander or cockroaches may be exacerbated for some individuals.  This can happen because more burden is placed on an already stressed system during this time of the year.

Common springtime allergy symptoms include:

Sneezing

Itchy, red or watery eyes

Runny nose

Congestion

Fatigue

Headaches

Skin reactions

If you suffer from any of the above symptoms, you are not alone.   Pollen allergies affect nearly 19 million people in the US alone with one of the main symptom being allergic rhinitis, which affects between 10% and 30% of all adults and as many as 40% of children.

Spring allergy season hit us really hard last year, as the amount of pollen floating around was four times greater than normal.  Pollen is measured in grains per cubic meter.  For Trees, 1,500 grains per cubic meter is considered high. Last spring, some areas of the East Coast measured 6,000 grains per cubic meter, which is crazy high.  There is no way to predict if pollen counts will be as high this year since daily and seasonal weather conditions impact the pollen counts and make it difficult to predict precise pollen counts more than a few days in advance.  But, we need to prepare ourselves since each season seems to bring more and more pollen.

If you experience springtime allergy symptoms, get prepared for the season before it hits and address your symptoms before they arrive.  Why suffer through another spring season when you can get relief from spring time allergy symptoms (before they start) with a needless and pain free treatment that offers rapid long term results! Give us a call for more information or check us out online at www.strivingforhealth.com

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Food Sensitivities

Millions of Americans suffer with food sensitivities.  These sensitivities can cause a wide array of symptoms from rashes to bloating, from congestion to a runny nose, from headaches to aches and pains or from fatigue to mood swings.  Food sensitivities can be difficult to identify as some symptoms can manifest several hours after eating while others may not surface for several days. However, it is important to identify what foods may be causing a reaction in order to avoid the substance and reduce the symptoms.  This can be tricky even if a certain item is suspected it can be hard to track as the reaction that is present today could be from something that was consumed yesterday. 

Some reactions can depend on the amount of the item eaten. Meaning that a small or moderate amount of a reactive substance may not cause any noticeable symptoms, but a larger amount of the substance would cause symptoms.  If the reaction is low to an item, symptoms may only happen if the reactive item is eaten in combination with another reactive item, thus making identification of a food sensitivity even more difficult.

Although some food sensitivity reactions can be dramatic, many times the reactions are more moderate symptoms that can be annoying or uncomfortable. Having only moderate symptoms make it easier for them to go unchecked, and because of this, it’s easy to eat a food that is reactive day after day without even realizing it is causing any symptoms.  Over time, the moderate symptoms can accumulate and result in significant symptoms.  

How prevalent are food sensitivities?
 
3 in 4 people report a sensitivity to dairy.
1 in 3 people report a sensitivity to yeast. 
1 in 7 people report a sensitivity to wheat/gluten. 
1 in 3 people report a sensitivity to sugar.
 
Food sensitivities are different from true food allergies, but they are often confused.  A true allergy directly involves the immune system where a sensitivity does not always involve the immune system.  However, the symptoms can be very similar.  Symptoms from food sensitivities are more common than symptoms from food allergies and affect a much higher percentage of people then previously thought.  Medical evidence shows food sensitivities are much more prevalent than true food allergies, which is only about 2 to 4% of adults and 4 to 6% of children.  Many people don’t fully understand the effects of food sensitivities and because many symptoms can be ongoing, the symptoms are often attributed to something else.  Symptoms of food sensitivities tend to be those that people deal with on a daily basis but don’t want to fully address, like: itching skin, rashes, mild diarrhea, coughing, fatigue, stomach bloating, flatulence, congestion, or headache.  Often, by the time the food sensitivity is properly identified, the symptoms have become elevated and the patient's overall health can be compromised.  
 
According to a recent report by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control (CDC), 90% of food sensitivities are associated with 8 food types:


*       Cow's milk
*       Eggs
*       Peanuts
*       Soy foods
*       Wheat
*       Fish
*       Crustacean shellfish (such shrimp, prawns, lobster, and crab)
*       Tree nuts (such as almonds, cashews, walnuts, pecans, pistachios,
         Brazil nuts, hazelnuts, and chestnuts)
 
The items above make up the bulk of our western diets.  Many people have some form of food sensitivity and needlessly suffer with the symptoms associated with them.   

Other possible food reactions can be to corn, salicylates, fruits, wine, beer, food additives, yeasts, food components, oils, veggies, etc… the list goes on and on…

If you are suffering with food sensitivities, give our office a call. We can help.  We treat the symptoms associated with allergies and sensitivities with great success!