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4 Natural Immune Boosters Simplified

It’s that time of year again (finally!) when the air cools down and the germs they start a-spreadin’.

With six kids all over the place, there’s not much that doesn’t walk through our door. Remarkably, we hardly ever get sick and when we do it is short lived and quickly kicked out by our immune systems. While genetics may certainly play a role in this, I also believe that 14 years of parenting experience and intuition have helped me find an immunity “sweet spot” that yields these kinds of results.

Certainly, adjustments will need to made to allow for individual circumstances. I do not profess to have found the all the answers but these are four things that have really worked for us.

No.1  Limit Processed Sugars

It is common knowledge that processed sugars are toxic and lower our immunity. Aside from the junk foods we all know we should limit we have to be careful of how remarkably skilled the food manufacturers have become at hiding these processed sugars in things like condiments, cereals, dairy products and even pickles! Read the labels and look for anything that ends in -ose (fructose, sucrose, dextrose, etc.) as well as filler sugar substitutes like maltodextrin (it’s everywhere!)Processed foods are not healthy

No. 2  Learn to Use Essential Oils

Like anything powerful, essential oils must be used with skill and wisdom to ensure safety and efficacy. Educate yourself on whatever method you see fit as there are many. Also, use high-quality reputable oils from companies like doTERRA, Rocky Mountain, and Young Living. Investing in quality essential oils will make all the difference. Learning to properly use essential oils has truly empowered me as a mother and saved me countless trips to the doctor and even the ER on occasion.Essential Oils are a natural immune booster

No. 3  Skip the Flu Shot

I am a big believer in the idea that the human body and the earth can do things far better than we ever could synthetically. While there is certainly a time and a place for those with severely compromised immunity, the flu shot introduces more risk than benefits for those with reasonably functioning immune systems. Avoiding a common, ever-evolving illness like the flu is far less important than building a solid personal immunity.Avoid the Flu Shot

No. 4  Avoid Chemically “Antibacterial” Substances

There are SO many products out there that “sanitize”, “disinfect” and “clean” by using chemically “antibacterial” synthetics like triclosan and bleach.

The problem, especially when it comes to hand sanitizers (which I avoid at all costs) is that they kill EVERYTHING both good and bad. Yes, there is healthy, good bacteria that we need on our skin and our digestive tract for healthy function. Antibacterial chemicals are not healthy

When we kill it all there begins to be an “imbalance in the Force” (for your Star Wars fans) between the microorganisms that inhabit our bodies. Fewer bacteria means more yeast (which is a fungus) which leads to different kinds of infections and problems. So if you see the word “antibacterial” or the phrase “kills 99.9% of germs” opt for a more natural soap, cleaners or hand sanitizer.

Pure Haven is easily the best company I have found out there for this because they skip the toxic chemicals altogether and are very effective.

 

What’s Causing My Back Pain?

Why Does My Back Hurt

One of the most common complaints that walks through my door is a client suffering from “low back pain”.

What’s Causing My Low Back Pain?

There are several different muscle groups that can be the culprit of this ailment. Unless the pain is coming from the quadratus lumborum (which is your lift-with-your-back-and-not-with-your-legs muscle) the solution to finding relief does not come from rubbing the back at all.

So… My Back Hurts, But That’s Not Where The Problem Is?

Instead, it comes from focusing on the anterior (or front) and lateral/medial (or side) muscles of the body. Now there’s no one protocol to solve all low back problems.

However, in my experience, the key is focusing on lengthening out the constricted shorter muscles of the front and sides results in the relief of pressure and pulling on the back or posterior muscles. The simple fact of the matter is that gravity is our nemesis when it comes to good posture.

If It Isn’t My Back, What Is It?

Typical culprits of that low back pain include but are not limited to the adductors, obliques, abductors, TFL (Tensor Fasciae Latae), quads, psoas, abs, serratus anterior, etc.
Don’t worry if you don’t know any of these muscle groups, your therapist will. And if they don’t, then it’s time to find another therapist. At Blue Heron Massage all our therapists understand the dynamic of anterior pull and posterior weakness as well as how to work through these imbalances.

Pair Theory: The Three to Five Day Rule

Pair Theory The Three to Five Day Rule

Often times when clients come to me they are in dire straits.

Their pain is so debilitating that they are unable to work, sleep or function normally. This tends to stem from long-term chronic holding patterns and neglect. Usually, when you are at this degree of dysfunction multiple subsequent sessions are required to retrain the body out of this cycle of chronic pain.

When retraining the body. It can get worse before it gets better.

In my experience, retraining the body is like retraining a toddler. It gets worse before it gets better. One of the keys in this retraining is appropriate repetition inside an optimal window.

After the initial session of unwinding and retraining the muscles, it is my experience that the client will feel significant or noticeable relief for the first one to two days. In between days 3 to 5 the symptoms will begin to return as the body reverts back to its old habits. It is most effective to receive a second session in this window between days 3 and 5 to reinforce the new habits of muscle release from the first session. Massage is most effective when paired with another massage between days 3 and 5Depending on the severity of the client’s pain, repetitive pair treatments may be required until the body embraces the new pain-free habits over the old chronically painful ones. We schedule these sessions one at a time based on the individual progress of each client.

How long will it take for my body to respond to massage therapy?

There is no way to know how quickly each person will respond because everybody is different. As always, I encourage my clients to listen to their body and book an additional massage session when they feel like they need it.

Occasionally I encounter a skeptic. They may question why I recommend that they come in so often or why they are not getting results as quickly as they hoped.

My response to them is usually this: give me as many months of regular massage treatments as you did years of neglecting your body and THEN tell me that what we’re doing is not working. All things considered, that is a relatively quick reversal of habitually chronic pain.

Communication is Key

No matter where we are in our journey,  communication remains a consistent need in our lives.

Adequate communication between massage therapist and client is certainly no exception. In fact, it is becoming increasingly popular with the #metoo movement for female clients to accuse male therapists of sexual assault and battery; when in fact, all that has occurred is poor communication.

Recently, I found myself in court as a qualified expert witness in one such case. I was responsible for educating the judge about what is considered proper, reasonable and even expected in Massage and Bodywork.

It is understandable for both male and female clients to sometimes feel uncomfortable with bodywork in the breast, gluteal or groin area; it is the responsibility of both client and therapist to maintain open lines of communication.

While massage therapists are trained to look for nonverbal cues while working on our clients, this does not absolve the client from the responsibilities of communicating at any point during the massage how they would like the therapist to alter their pressure, area or technique.

Since communication is a two-way street, I call upon both massage therapists and clients everywhere to ensure that they are adequately communicating during this important therapeutic experience.