To Yourself With Love
Dr. Melissa Carr, B.Sc, Dr.TCM
I say it all the
time to my patients, so don't be surprised if this sounds familiar
to you. You are the most important person in
your life. I wrote about this in January’s
newsletter, but be honest…did you really put yourself first?
Did you really do something great to better yourself or to
improve your health? If you did,
congratulations! If not, it’s not too late!
does not need to be just a Hallmark holiday. You
can make it something special. I don’t mean
buying a box of chocolates and a bottle of wine.
Not that that’s not nice too, but why not try something different
this year? Don’t you want to give yourself
and/or your loved ones the best?
How about a
magnet bracelet or necklace? Functional and
fashionable, the magnets will help to ease pain, and are also
beautiful. A twist on the traditional jewellery
Who knew that
detoxifying could be so relaxing? Instead of a
regular bubble bath, try
Dr.Singha’s Mustard Bath. It smells
fantastically invigorating and relaxing at the same time!
Not only that, but it will help to draw toxins out of your
system. If you aren’t ready to do the whole bath
thing, you can use half the packet for a stress-melting foot soak.
Instead of a
bottle of wine, how about trying a powerful kick of antioxidants of
a different sort? Goji fruit has been heralded
by herbalists for centuries as a longevity herb.
The whole fruit (looks like red raisins) are often added to hot
water with or without tea leaves in China and drunk regularly to
Goji Juice is a convenient way to get the benefits of this
powerful herb in a tasty premixed fruit juice.
You decide what to do with the extra energy this gives you!
Whether you are trying to create a romantic venue, a
meditative retreat, or a soothing setting, lighting is key!
Mist Humidifier Lamp can create the scene, help to clean your
air, prevent dryness, and even act as an aromatherapy diffuser.
What could be
more heartfelt than making something yourself?
Try some baking that’s still yummy and healthy? It uses
stevia--a natural, non-caloric sweetener. In December’s
newsletter I gave you a recipe for Pineapple Carrot Raisin Squares.
I’m not much of a baker, but I’ve already made those a few
times and love them! On to something new though,
see below for a recipe for Monster Cookie Balls.
Stress and Aromatherapy--
by Arline Trividic, R.A., owner of Smell This!
aromatherapy means “a therapy using aromas”. The essences come from
plants, such as flowers, trees, shrubs and herbs. Smell is our most
primitive sense and is powerfully connected to our emotions. Each
essence has its own unique qualities: some lift depression, some
have calming influences, and others can even awaken our sensual
side. Why wait for your body to run down and increase your chance
of disease when you have the tools available to protect your body
and build up your resistance, so that ill-health does not occur?
Essential Oils can be
used a number ways, such as in a bath, aroma lamps, or massage
oils. Make sure that essential oils are added to a carrier oil such
as sweet almond, grapeseed oil or jojoba oil before applying
directly to your skin.
Bath: Add a few drops of oil or oil blend to your bath – Sit back and relax.
: In a carrier oil such as Sweet Almond Oil use a 2% ratio of
essential oil to 98% carrier oil (40 drops oil to 100ml carrier oil)
Diffuser/Aroma Lamp: Add a few drops of the oil or oil blend
to your aroma bowl filled with water and let the aroma take your
There are many
essential oils that can be used to help in a stressful situation:
Bergamot, Lemon, Grapefruit, Orange, Mandarin (Citrus Oils), Basil,
Roman Chamomile, Clary Sage, Frankincense ,Geranium, Juniper Berry,
Lavender, Marjoram, Melissa, Rose, Sandalwood, Ylang Ylang.
Clinical research has
shown that the synergistic combination of smell and touch can have a
profoundly nourishing and comforting effect on the psyche. Clinical
tests have shown several oils -- including valerian, nutmeg, neroli
(citrus family), rose, and lavender -- to have stress-relieving
Here are some general guidelines
as to what oils may help in a particular stressful situation:
Lavender - insomnia, restlessness, anxiety, nervous tension
Neroli - bergamot - depression
Rosemary - a reviving pick-me-up, good for nervous fatigue (debility)
Roman Chamomile - insomnia, anxiety
Jasmine, rose, geranium - can help restore equilibrium and cope with the emotional after-effects of a shock.
Most of the oils can
be used in a synergy together to help multiple symptoms but the
ideal blend for each person can vary.
Do not use essential oils in your first trimester of pregnancy and
please consult a professional aromatherapist before using any
essential oils during your pregnancy. Do not apply directly to your
Because each of us is
unique, it is fortunate for us that there are many different types
of scents that will help in a stressful situation. Not everyone
likes the same smells! Below are two of my favorite combinations to
help with stress.
After a Long day –
PULL YOURSELF TOGETHER
with: Neroli, Bergamot, Geranium and Petitgrain
HAVEN with: Lavender and Patchouli
Achoo! Allergy Attack!
by Dr. Melissa Carr, B.Sc, Dr.TCM
Yes, that sneezing, snuffling
spring season is soon to be upon us! Say that five times fast! It may seem
right now that spring and its associated allergies are a long way away, but for
hay fever sufferers, February in Vancouver is often the beginning. How lucky we
are that unlike most of the rest of Canada who cannot expect spring to start
until around April, we have blossoms on the trees and on the ground so early!
Beautiful as those flowers may be, they are not welcomed by all.
While fall is ideally the time to start treating your allergies, now is better
than never, and it is still early enough to find benefit. According to
Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM), autumn is the season that is connected to
the Lung system, and allergies can be blamed most directly on the lungs. After
all, the main function of the lungs is to bring in air from the nose and mouth,
and common signs of an allergy are a runny nose, sneezing, itchy throat, and/or
a cough. However, depending on the allergy, spring is the time when many hay
fever victims suffer.
Spring is related to the Liver system. Another common allergy symptom is itchy,
red, watery eyes. How appropriate then that TCM relates the eyes with the
Liver. A main function of the liver is detoxification. If your liver is
overburdened by toxins and pollutants from the air, food, water, household
products, toiletries, and so on, then it will be unable to be effective at
keeping your body clean. So, how does that relate to allergies? Well, the link
here is the immune system.
The job of the immune system is to keep out invaders—things that can make you
sick. The problem is that sometimes the immune system can get overzealous,
attacking things it needn’t worry about and overreacting against things that
are minor problems. If you have too many toxins circulating or stored in your
body, your immune system can become confused. Allergies are one kind of
Last year Vancouver had the warmest and driest
February on record. Sounds great, especially in light of the weeks of
seemingly non-stop rain we’ve been getting. On the other hand, it also
brought a pollen count (the number of grains of pollen per cubic metre of
air) of an almost unheard of 500. That’s exceedingly high when you
consider that a high pollen count is around 80!
For some, allergy season simply means carrying around a small pack of
tissues, just in case. For others, it can mean being kept housebound. The
producers of the allergy medication Reactine found that allergies can also
cause fatigue, low sex drive, and a reduced desire to participate in social
activities. Other studies have found that since the 1970s, our measured
level of allergy antibodies has been steadily increasing. While we may not
know for sure the reasons why, it is clear that we are doing something that
is increasing our sensitivity to potential allergens.
Why not just take an antihistamine? For one, many of them can make you
drowsy and I don’t know about you, but I certainly want to be alert for my
job, driving, and social activities! In addition, while it offers an
immediate solution, for the long term, antihistamines are not doing
anything to reduce the chances that you will have to go through all of this
all over again next year…and the year after that…and the year after
that…Finally, regular use of antihistamines can further tax your already
It’s not that antihistamines shouldn’t have their place in the treatment
line-up. They can be useful if you need immediate relief. You need to be
able to sleep, to focus, and to breathe without fear. At the same time,
you can balance your body with natural remedies and lifestyle changes. If
your symptoms are manageable without drugs, you might also consider giving
“natural” solutions a chance on their own.
Both acupuncture and Chinese herbals have been shown to be helpful in
eliminating or reducing allergy reactions. A randomized-controlled
clinical trial published in the journal “Allergy” demonstrated
that “traditional Chinese therapy may be an efficacious and safe treatment
option for patients with seasonal AR”. Medical doctors are also
recommending acupuncture as a safe alternative or complementary therapy to
standard treatments. (“Acupuncture
or Allergy Shots?”)
Identifying food sensitivities and avoiding those culprits can also lessen
the burden on your immune system. As with acupuncture and herbs, TCM
relies on your TCM diagnosis to make specific food cures recommendations,
but you can start with writing out a food diary and paying particular
attention to any foods that you consume in excess, foods that are
processed, and foods that you react to.
Of course, avoiding inhaling the offending allergens is another important
step in breathing comfort, but that doesn’t mean being kept in an airtight
bubble. You might think that you are safe once you step inside, but
allergens can be abundant indoors too. One way to help clean the air you
breathe and reduce the amount of circulating pollen, dust, bacteria,
dander, cigarette smoke, chemicals, gases, and other pollutants is to use
an air purifier such as a negative ionizer and/or HEPA filter. (Scroll
down to “ionizer”
and you’ll see several products to choose from)
Some other allergy helpers are:
Finally, strengthening your lungs can also be helpful. See September
2005’s e-newsletter for “Breathing
Exercises to Strengthen the Lungs”
Instead of saying “gesundheit”, it’s time to say “auf wiedersehen”
(i.e. goodbye) to your allergies!