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Detox Options

Many of the things we eat routinely can not only be “not good for us,” they can often be toxic. Add these effects on our bodies to the others we encounter every day (smog, air pollution, industrial pollutants, household cleansers, food preservatives and dyes, chemical fumes, car exhaust, normal metabolism, poor elimination of food, waste products in the blood from illness or disease…), and we can see that we can really have our bodies bombarded with toxins. The inevitable consequences are further disease or debility. Cleansing (detoxification) should be a recurring part of our normal routine. I personally follow a routine that includes a monthly detoxification – perhaps an organ or a body system or a whole-body cleanse.

Periodic cleansing has been included in recorded history for millennia. Traditional health practices of many nations – Chinese, Europeans, Ayurveda, Native American, and Asiatic Indians – practiced and still continue some form of detoxification. In early American history, the Pennsylvania Dutch ate wild greens like lettuce and dandelions and other herbs in the spring to cleanse their bodies after a long winter of heavy foods. Native Americans used black teas made from yaupon hollies to produce sweating and bowel evacuation. One writer even suggests “nature herself seems to suggest the importance of detoxification … many of the plants that burst forth in early spring are cleansing in nature.”

There are many ways to cleanse. The program you choose may last only a day or two or a week or two. It may even take the form of a recurring dietary change. Most of us know of foods that seem to “go right through us … a hint that they may be added to our personal cleansing program. And some foods seem to work for most everyone – e.g., fresh cherries, available in early spring, have a definite cleansing effect on the bowels and help eliminate the uric acid buildup linked to heavy meat consumption and diseases like joint problems or gout. Fasting often accompanies detoxification regimens as well, but we’ll make that the subject of a future article.

I personally enjoy using herbs and herbal combinations to cleanse. The phytonutrients in many of the herbs encourage the body to detoxify naturally. And as a rule, we should be sure to cleanse the eliminative organs (kidneys and liver) and the blood and lymphatic systems, as well as the intestinal system.

Combinations for the organs should include herbs such as milk thistle, burdock root, barberry root bark, and dandelion root. Adding lecithin and amino acids to your diet are also helpful especially for the liver. The blood and lymph glands also benefit from the dandelion and burdock, and combinations for them should include red clover, Oregon grape root, butcher’s broom, garlic, pau d’arco bark, and yellow dock. Cleansers for the intestine include natural laxatives like cascara sagrada and senna leaves, high-fiber “scrubbers” like psyllium hulls, and parasite killers like artemisia, black walnut hulls, and elecampane.

Regular cleansing and detoxifying (at least two to four times per year) along with good nutrition, exercise, and proper supplements will add quality to your life and ward off many of the diseases that rob us of real joy. Our improved distribution systems make most foods available to us year-round, so we tend to forget the cycles of nature. Start your own cleaning program and see how much better you feel.

– For more information, contact Naturopathic Doctor Randy Lee, owner of The Health Patch at 1024 S. Douglas Blvd, Midwest City, at 405-736-1030 or e-mail pawpaw@TheHealthPatch.com or visit TheHeathPatch.com.

Joint Health

joint_health, Painful joints affect millions of Americans. Basically, they are inflammation issues, but the inflammation may have a variety of roots. Recent research says delayed food allergies may cause joint diseases. And there are other diet and weight issues to consider, too.

Pain is generally the primary concern for sufferers.  And besides common prescription painkillers, there are many natural pain relievers, such as turmeric, curcumin, white willow bark, una de gato, yucca, colostrum and others.

Gout is one prevalent joint issue that occurs when there is too much uric acid in the body.  It was once called the ailment of the rich due to the fact that many foods in their diets (now common in most of our diets) such as red meats, mushrooms, alcohol, flour and sugar leave a uric acid residue.  Reducing these in your diet and adding black cherries and celery seed can reduce these symptoms. You might also consider supplements containing safflowers and juniper berries.

Uric acid often collects in the joints forming small crystals that grind into the tissues as the joints move.  A great tonic to help dissolve these crystals in made by mixing an ounce of raw, unfiltered apple cider vinegar with a teaspoon of raw honey, two ounces of warm water and two ounces of apple juice and drinking this one to three times per day.

The breakdown and loss of the tissue pads between the bones of your joints due to wear also causes bone-to-bone inflammation. While much research says that these tissues cannot be rebuilt, we have found that long-term use of glucosamine with chondroitin is helpful. Here, MSM also helps to alleviate much of the pain in the tissues around the joints.

Several years ago I had a customer come in early while I was cleaning the floors and wanted to talk about joint pain in her knees. I noted her weight without mentioning it to her and asked if she would walk with me while we chatted.  A moment later I asked her to hold a 25-pound wooden display barrel so I could clean under it and then walked a few steps further. She followed. Then I picked up a second barrel and asked her to hold it. Still talking, she followed me and began to breathe a bit harder. I chuckled and took the barrels from her and asked her what she felt as we walked only those few steps. She mentioned the hard breathing but also commented on the added discomfort in her knees. She admitted that the two barrels weighed about the same as the amount of weight she needed to lose. Being overweight definitely contributes to the wear and inflammation in our joints. Try to get to and maintain the optimal weight for your age and physical structure and you may have less joint issues as well.

Our body systems all work together. Proper anti-inflammatory diets, appropriate exercise, sufficient hydration, and recommended supplementation may all help you enjoy health joints and painless movement throughout your life.

–  Randy Lee, ND, Owner, The Health Patch, 1024 S. Douglas Blvd, MWC 73130, phone/fax: 736-1030, e-mail: pawpaw@thehealthpatch.com. See our blog at www.TheHealthPatch.com. Our full staff is now offering affordable private consultations – call to schedule yours!

Reflexology

Years ago I heard an illustration regarding the importance of each of us doing our part to make the world a better place.  It used the Biblical picture of us all being a part of the body, and noted that most of us think of the foot as being relatively unimportant – until we stub a toe!  At that moment all the energies of the rest of the body are concentrated toward that hurting member.  Thus it is with our feet.

If I were to take a survey (as I often do in some of our classes), I’d find that most of us spend quite a bit of time applying cosmetics to our faces, washing and fixing our hair, bathing our bodies, and perhaps even getting massages and spa treatments.  But little attention is paid to our feet until they begin to give us trouble.  If we are in a career that requires us to be on our feet for extended periods of time, then we are more apt to pay attention to them.  Or if we hurt them in some way, then they get some attention.  But they need that attention regularly in a preventive role as well.  We need to realize their importance to our overall well-being.

How much do you know about your feet?  On average, each foot contains 26 small bones, 114 ligaments, and some 20 muscles.  These are held together by connective tissue, blood vessels, and nerves and covered with layers of skin. Your feet contain about a quarter of all the bones in your body and they are the foundation of your whole skeletal structure.  They support your whole upright body weight throughout your life.

Over a century ago, the feet were “charted”.  It was noted that the feet were particularly sensitive in spots that directly related to areas of distress in the body.  So a chart was created that linked areas of the feet to specific portions of the body.  Thus “reflexology” was born.

In her book on Reflexology, Inge Dougans states, “Reflexology is a gentle art, a fascinating science and an extremely effective form of therapeutic foot massage that has carved an impressive niche in the field of complementary medicine.  It is a science because it is based on physiological and neurological study and an art because much depends on how skillfully the practitioner applies his or her knowledge, and the dynamics which occur between practitioner and recipient.”

She later continues, “Reflexologists do not isolate a disease and treat it symptomatically, nor do they work specifically on a problem organ or system, but on the whole person with the object of inducing a state of balance and harmony.  The art of reflex foot massage must not be confused with basic foot massage or body massage in general.  It is a specific pressure technique which works on precise reflex points on the feet, based on the premise that reflex areas on the feet correspond with all body parts.  As the feet represent a microcosm of the body, all organs, glands and other body parts are laid out in a similar arrangement on the feet.”

And since the nerves of the feet are “linked” to various parts of the body, it stands to reason that the use of essential oils and aromatherapy may also enhance that feeling of completeness.

So what does all this mean to you and me?  Well, we all enjoy a good foot massage, don’t we?  But there may be times when we are particularly stressed in some portion of our lives or some part our bodies and we may want to seek out the advice and counsel of a competent reflexologist.  Knowing just how much pressure to place on just the right spot on our feet may be “just what the doctor ordered” to bring us a renewed sense of well-being.  Good health and God bless.

–  For more information, contact Naturopathic Doctor Randy Lee, owner of The Health Patch at 1024 S. Douglas Blvd, Midwest City, at 405-736-1030 or e-mail pawpaw@TheHealthPatch.com or visit TheHeathPatch.com.

Food Allergies

Though food sensitivities take many forms and various levels, most of us begin to have allergies to foods as we age – even foods we once enjoyed.  Did you ever wonder why?

When we put things in our mouths, the body asks “can I digest that?” If it is something the body can readily digest, it considers it “food”, and begins the digestive process.  This will mean the body has the enzymes and nutrients to turn the substance from its raw form to a form from which it may extract the nutrients and distribute then throughout the body. But as you age, your pancreas may lose the ability to produce some of the enzymes it needs.

So if the body says “I can’t digest this!” it considers it a foreign substance and begins the process of refusing it.  It produces “allergic” reactions to kill, compartmentalize, or expel the matter:

– specialized cells are generated to “kill” the invader

– mucous is produced to smother it

– coughing and sneezing start to expel it

– fever may be raised to “burn it up”

– tearing may occur to wash it out

While we call these “allergic reactions”, they are a valuable part of our immune system – they keep the “foreign material” from harming us.

So, what can we do when these reactions start?  Well, obviously we can stay clear of the foods that cause the reactions. But often we can just take a supplemental enzyme to “digest” the matter. This is especially true if it is foods that we once enjoyed and digested well.

Remember, many food sensitivities may be much more critical – don’t treat them lightly.  While this won’t work for all food sensitivities, it may be a welcome relief for those who develop allergies to once-cherished foods later in life. You may not have to give up many of your favorite foods just because “old age” is slowing you down!

–  For more information, contact Naturopathic Doctor Randy Lee, owner of The Health Patch at 1024 S. Douglas Blvd, Midwest City, at 405-736-1030 or e-mail pawpaw@TheHealthPatch.com or visit TheHeathPatch.com.

As Sweet As… Well, Stevia!

You might be looking for an alternative to sugar — one that doesn’t carry a warning label, or affect your health the way sugar does. You’re in the right place. Let’s talk about the “sweet little secret” from South America.

Much of the world uses a natural herb named Stevia Rebaudiana to sweeten things like soft drinks, candy, gum, cakes, pies, ice cream, pickles, seafood and vegetables. It’s a small, perennial shrub native to Paraguay, Brazil and Argentina. It’s grown in China, Japan, Malaysia, Israel, all over South America and many other places.

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