Spring Clean Your Body: Gentle Ways to Detoxify this Spring

The snow is gone, the grass is green, and we are spending our weekends doing Spring clean up in our homes and yards. The leaves get raked, the storm windows come out and screens go in. Maybe the house gets a fresh coat of paint, and all the stuff (junk) we accumulated over the winter gets thrown out or organized. What we are missing in our “Spring cleaning” routine, though, is Spring cleaning our bodies.

In bloom-2

 

Spring is the perfect time to add more cleansing or detoxifying regimens to your self-care routine. In Chinese Medicine theory, we say the season associated with the liver is Spring, and the liver is the most important organ of detoxification. The liver not only filters and cleans the blood, but also removes toxins we are exposed to from our food, environment and stress.

Signs your liver may need some help detoxifying include:

  • fatigue
  • headaches
  • brain fog
  • PMS
  • menstrual cramps digestive imbalance seasonal allergies
  • irritability
  • poor sleep

While the quickest way to more efficient bodily detoxification would be an assisted detox with a knowledgeable health provider, there are ways to improve elimination of toxins each day. Here are a few to get you started.

1) Warm lemon water or just more water!

An oldie, but a goodie. Drinking warm water upon waking aids digestive function and rehydrates the body. If you aren’t pooping, you aren’t eliminating toxins, period. The lemon juice stimulates bile production which helps to aid the function of the liver and lymph system. Also, if you find the only water you drink during the day is from brushing your teeth, this a huge problem. Water aids toxin removal through urination and defecation. Drink more water!

2) Breathing techniques

A large portion (around 70%) of the body’s toxins are removed through the breath. If we aren’t breathing correctly, we aren’t detoxifying. Taking a few moments each day to pause and be more in tune with our breath does great things, not only for detoxification, but also for lowering the body’s response to stress. Focusing on breathing from your belly is a great place to start.

I also love the 4-7-8 breathing exercise, and teach it to my patients on a regularly. Learn how to do it here:

3) Foods that aid liver detoxification

Adding foods to your diet that naturally aid the liver’s detoxification process is another easy way to “spring clean”.
These foods include:

  • carrots
  • broccoli spinach avocado apples asparagus oats
  • brazil nuts
  • eggs (pasture raised)
  • cilantro
  • watercress

4) Sweat!

The skin is the largest organ of detoxification. Our pores help remove waste via sweat. Try and break a sweat each day. If you are having a hard time fitting in exercise, try some movement that can include your kids, like pushing the stroller up hills or playing a game of tag. Make it fun!

This Spring, don’t just clean your home and yard, clean your body too! My challenge for you is to include at least two of the above detoxing aids to your routine each day.

Spring cleaning isn’t just for your home anymore!

About the Author

Stephanie BrauView More: http://alycarroll.pass.us/stephanienwarth is a board-certified Licensed Acupuncturist with a special focus in womenʼs health, fertility and nutritio
n. Stephanieeducates her patients about the importance of treating the underlying cause of a health condition and encourages them to take an active role in their health.

Stephanie serves patients at Des Moines Acupuncture Clinic in Des Moines.

Des Moines Acupuncture Clinic

Five Reasons You Should Try Acupuncture

When I get asked what my career is and I reply that I’m a Licensed Acupuncturist and Chinese Medicine practitioner a common response is “Cool! Tell me more.”. I love these moments as it’s an opportunity for me to educate an individual about the amazing benefits of acupuncture.

5 Reasons You Should Try Acupuncture

Acupuncture has been performed for thousands of years, but has only gained popularity in the United States since the 1980s. The fact that as the years go by, the number of people using this form of holistic medicine is growing exponentially is an indication of it’s effectiveness and depth of health conditions it can treat. As acupuncture has become more mainstream, the amount of research studies and clinical trials have increased only further proving it’s efficacy.

There are a number of amazing benefits to regular acupuncture care. The following explains just some of the reasons why you should add it to your health regime:

1) It treats the root cause of your symptoms

We take an over-the-counter pain reliever or NSAID for our muscle tension and headaches, an anti-histamine for our allergies, birth-control pills for our menstrual cramps and an anti-diarrheal for our IBS. These medications, though, are masking your symptoms and not treating the root cause of why you have the symptom in the first place. They may be a temporary relief, which at times is necessary, but when a condition becomes chronic, the issue lies in the person’s body constitution. That’s where acupuncture and Chinese Medicine come in. It treats each individual uniquely, based on what their body needs and what traditional diagnostics are showing. By treating the root cause of a health condition, the individual’s health stabilizes and their body becomes more in balance.

2) It reduces the body’s stress response

Your stressors aren’t going to disappear with acupuncture, unfortunately, but your body’s response to potential stress will be reduced. Acupuncture helps to relax the sympathetic nervous system, which kicks in to high gear when we are in “fight or flight” mode. We need our fight or flight response when we are in danger, but do we need it sitting in traffic or at our job each day? Daily activities will be more enjoyable when we are in a more relaxed, coherent state.

3) It can balance your hormones

Monthly irritability, mood swings, food cravings, cramps, sound familiar? These are all signs of hormone imbalance, all of which acupuncture can help to correct. By increasing circulation to the ovaries, uterus, hypothalamus and pituitary glands, acupuncture can treat the underlying cause of these unenjoyable symptoms. It is also effective at helping the liver remove toxic estrogens from your body, a common cause of hormone imbalance.

4) Better sleep

When our sympathetic nervous systems don’t feel the need to release cortisol all night long, the body can more easily go in to “rest and digest” mode and sleep soundly through the night. Our bodies heal and repair when we sleep. If we don’t sleep, we don’t heal, period.

5) Improved digestive function

In my opinion, Chinese medicine is one of the best forms of therapy for digestive imbalance. If digestion is not functioning properly, other body systems will be affected. By bringing circulation of fresh oxygen, nutrients and hormones to the digestive tract, the system can rebuild and begin to digest our food and fluids efficiently. Signs of an out-of-balance digestive system include constipation, diarrhea, bloating, gas, upset stomach, heartburn, immune system weakness, such as seasonal allergies, and much more. When the digestive system is working properly, food and fluids are turned in to blood and energy which result in more energy and a stronger immune system.

If you are experiencing any of the unfortunate symptoms listed above, consider treatment of the underlying cause of your health concern. By tailoring acupuncture treatments to your needs, the body is the ability to heal and flourish.

About the Author

View More: http://alycarroll.pass.us/stephanieStephanie Braunwarth is a board-certified Licensed Acupuncturist with a special focus in womenʼs health, fertility and nutrition. Stephanieeducates her patients about the importance of treating the underlying cause of a health condition and encourages them to take an active role in their health.

Stephanie serves patients at Des Moines Acupuncture Clinic in Des Moines.

Des Moines Acupuncture Clinic

Want To Boost Your Family’s Immune System? Go With Your Gut!

Itʼs Monday morning, you are getting yourself ready for work, walking the dog, making breakfast, packing lunches, thinking about what to make for dinner that evening, as well as having at least 10 other thoughts running through your mind when one of your kids wakes up with a terrible cold. Thoughts change to, “Who will stay home from work to watch him or her?”, “What does my child need to feel better?”, “When will the next family member fall to this illness?”. Sound right? What if you could reduce the number of times this event occurs in your household? By strengthening your familyʼs immune system, the number of missed work and school days can be dramatically reduced. Save your paid time off and sick leave for something fun, like a vacation!

belles fleur-2

Building the bodyʼs defense system is much easier than one may think. Here is an easy way to start:

Focus on Gut Health

At least 70% of the bodyʼs immune system lives in our digestive system. Because of this, it is of the utmost importance to keep our gut healthy if we want to experience less sick days. To do this, one has to focus on removing foods that donʼt agree with their body constitution, as well as any foods a person is sensitive or allergic to. Adding pre- and pro- biotic foods and supplements are a great way to feed the healthy gut flora we already have, as well as make more good bugs. Examples of these include:

• Non-dairy yogurt (no sugar added)
• Plain Yogurt (if you are not sensitive to dairy) • Kefir (non-dairy coconut is my favorite)
• Kombucha
• Raw, Unpasteurized sauerkraut
• Unpasteurized pickles!
• Probiotic supplements

Chinese Medicine also focuses on the importance of a healthy digestive system, as well as digestionʼs relationship to the lungs. Focusing on consuming a majority of your food cooked versus raw allows for the digestive system to not have to work as hard to break down food and turn it in to energy. This is especially important during the colder months of the year.

Reduce Stress

Stress has a huge impact on the immune system. Long-term stress causes more bad bugs to consume our digestive system leading to poor immunity.
When we are stressed the body releases a hormone called cortisol. An increase in bodily cortisol, over time, has been shown to decrease the bodyʼs defense system. Things that increase cortisol besides stress include, sleep deprivation, caffeine, alcohol, and refined sugar consumption.

While stressful situations are impossible to ignore completely, there are things you can do to help your body handle it more gracefully and reduce the number of times cortisol is being released. These things include:

• Mediation
• Breath work
Mindfulness
• Acupuncture
• Massage Therapy
• Essential oils
• Homeopathy
• Yoga
• Light walks
• Dietary changes (i.e. reduce caffeine, sugar, alcohol, and refined carbohydrates)

With the never-ending “to do” list that can come with a busy life, taking care of yourself and family when sick with colds and flus shouldnʼt be one of them. Adopt healthy immune system habits now and impact your familyʼs health for life.

About the Author

View More: http://alycarroll.pass.us/stephanie Stephanie Braunwarth is a board-certified Licensed Acupuncturist with a special focus in womenʼs health, fertility and nutrition. Stephanieeducates her patients about the importance of treating the underlying cause of a health condition and encourages them to take an active role in their health.

Stephanie serves patients at Des Moines Acupuncture Clinic in Des Moines.

Des Moines Acupuncture Clinic

Taking Care of Mama: Why Self-Care Isn’t Selfish

Taking Care of Mama_

Self-care. Weʼve heard the phrase, but are we actually doing it? Are we letting go of the feelings of “mama-guilt” or thoughts such as “I donʼt have time”? Or, do we feel stressed, tired and maybe, at times, a little resentful of the things we donʼt get to do since we had our sweet little ones? I have felt all of these things and had all of these thoughts. So whatʼs a mama supposed to do?

After my son was born, I felt, to put it lightly, awful. I was so incredibly tired, hormonal and emotional. The newborn stage was the most trying time of my life. All of the focus was on taking care of this little human. I didnʼt even think about taking care of me.

Once we were past the newborn stage, I still felt guilt about leaving baby to do some self-care. I donʼt ever remember my mom getting “me-time”, so why should I? It wasnʼt until a friend described self-care using an analogy that I finally got it. When on an airplane, when the flight attendant is giving safety instruction, they always say “Put your air mask on before helping others with theirs”.

So, how does a busy mom fit in self-care? While Iʼm still learning Iʼd like to share some thoughts and ideas that have been helpful to me for the past 9 months. I have one child, so I know for moms with more than one at home this is a bit more of a challenge. Do your best.

1) Ask for Help

No, really, ask for help. This is something I still struggle with, but Iʼm getting better. I felt so much guilt leaving my baby with my husband to go to an hour Yoga class, or even a walk around the block for that matter. But after the conversation with my friend, I almost had to force myself. I always felt so good after I did, and I felt more present and patient with my son and husband. You donʼt have to leave the house to do self-care, but sometimes itʼs a good idea to get out by yourself for a bit. So, ask your partner, trusted friend, family member, etc. ahead of time if they wouldnʼt mind watching your little one(s) for a short-period of time while you step out. Again, when you are ready, or as ready as youʼll ever be.

2) Focus on Health

Being healthy while caring for your family can be a challenge, especially if the household budget allows only enough funds for health visits for your kiddos. These visits, however, are important, and by taking the time to get an acupuncture treatment, massage, or chiropractic adjustment or any other healing modality you love, you are not only reducing stress producing hormones in your body, but also boosting your immune system and eliminating aches and pains. This not only teaches your kids the importance of taking care of yourself, but also puts your body back in to balance, so time with your children is spent feeling your best.

Food and meal prep can be a challenge as well. However, anything you put in to your body feeds vitality, or feeds stress, anxiety and illness. I use about one to two hours on the weekend (usually a Sunday) to prep some food for the week to make healthy meals quicker to prepare. I have also become good friends with my slow cooker. You can include your kids and have them help, or if you have a baby, you can wear him or her while you prep. It also helps to make sure only healthy options are available for quick meals and snacks so one isnʼt tempted to eat something that wonʼt make you a healthy mama.

3) A Little Goes a Long Way

When it comes to self-care, for me, itʼs not something I have to do daily to feel itʼs effects. If you can make time for 1 acupuncture session a month, great! If you can spend 15 minutes taking a bath uninterrupted, fantastic! Itʼs all about balance.

4) Do Something You Enjoy

Do self-care that makes you feel rejuvenated. If it has been so long since youʼve included some self-care in to your life, here is a list of things you can try:

• Meditation
• Yoga
• A walk outside
• A bath
• Acupuncture
• Massage therapy
• Chiropractic adjustment • Energy work/Reiki
• Counseling
• Reflexology
• Aromatherapy
• Read
• Journaling

Letʼs banish the thought of self-care being selfish and understand that itʼs not a “treat” but a necessity. The love and care a mother gives her child is unlike anything else. How amazing would it be if our children were able to see their mom love and care for herself as well?

About the Author

View More: http://alycarroll.pass.us/stephanie Stephanie Braunwarth is a board-certified Licensed Acupuncturist with a special focus in womenʼs health, fertility and nutrition. Stephanieeducates her patients about the importance of treating the underlying cause of a health condition and encourages them to take an active role in their health.

Stephanie serves patients at Des Moines Acupuncture Clinic in Des Moines.