Category Archives: Natural Remedy

DIY Epsom Salt Dead Sea Salt Scrub

My skin has been super dry this winter and nothing has offered relief, at least not long term. I made this yesterday and so far I am in love. Skin is feeling super smooth, I even put it in my hair for the best hair day I’ve had in awhile. Epsom salts are known to give hair volume and contribute to relaxation. Dead Sea salts are wonderful for dry skin. If you don’t have Epsom salts or Dead Sea salts you can also use sea salt course or fine grain work. Let me know what you think!

What You Need:

1 1/2 cups Epsom salt
1/2 cup Dead Sea salt
1 cup olive oil or your oil of choice
20 drops of your favorite essential oil or blend, I used a blend called gentle baby (geranium, rosewood, coriander, palmarosa, lavender, yang ylang, chamomile, lemon, jasmine and rose)
Mason jar

What You Do:

Combine ingredients until mixed well. Leave in shower or by the sink and massage into skin then rinse off. Use as needed.

Enjoy!

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Natural Remedy for Dryness

The pathogen that is most active in the fall is dryness. Interestingly enough, the lungs which are associated with the fall also control the skin and this is a common place to experience dryness starting in the fall and carrying into winter.

I have talked about dry brushing in the past as well as home made Epsom salt spray. Recently I started combining the two. The results so far have left my skin feeling smooth and polished like I just spent the day at the beach without the sand.

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My routine is to dryness brush before a shower and then during the shower I will spray my skin with the Epsom salt spray and massage for a gentle extra exfoliation and then continue my shower as usual.

To read more about the benefits of dry brushing and Epsom salts click on the respective links. Let me know what you think!

Watermelon, A Natural Remedy


Did you know that watermelon is a Chinese herb?

Watermelon or xi gua is a sweet and cold herb and like anything grown in the summer resolves summerheat.
Summerheat is induced by excessively high temperatures, overexposure to the blazing sun especially while working or staying too long in poorly ventilated areas.
Summerheat manifests with:
>> High fever
>> Restlessness
>> Thirst
>> Profuse sweating
>> Dizziness
>> Blured vision
>> Sunstroke
>> Sudden collapse
>> Nausea
>> Poor appetite
>> Loose stools
Watermelon enters the lung and stomach channels thus cools the lungs and stomach, relieving irritability, quenching thirst, and facilitating urination. Because it can do all of this it is sometimes referred to as the natural White Tiger Decoction. The easiest way to take this herb is simply to eat watermelon or drink 100-300ml of its juice. Make sure to eat some of the white part too.
Essentials of Materia Medica states that xi gua “restores sobriety” after over-consumption of alcohol. It has also been said that xi gua aids in weight loss.
Many people get dehydrated in the summer months due to the heat. Eating watermelon is one way to fight against this. Your body doesn’t differentiate hunger from thirst a lot of the time. If you find yourself feeling insatiable check to make sure you are drinking enough water before having 2nds or 3rds at meal time.
Watermelon peel or xi gua pi is more of a diuretic than it is cooling and is especially good for edema caused by summerheat.
 
Both the flesh and peel of watermelon can be used for jaundice.
 
Who would have thought Chinese herbs could taste so good?

Acupuncture for the Post partum Mother

I spoke this past weekend at the Chicago Birth Professional Conference. Many of you expressed interest in what I spoke about so I am sharing my notes here. Let me know if you have questions 😉

Chinese Medicine for Post Partum Care

The 3 days following child birth are considered a time of purging. Because the body is open it can be susceptible to depletion especially of energy (qi) and blood. Rest is paramount, ideally for 30-90 days. Staying warm regardless of climate or time of year is also important and is very protective of the body. (talk about back of neck and abdomen covered) A warming nourishing diet and avoiding cold and damp foods is also important during this time.

Foods to tonify qi:

Oats, rice, potato, sweet potato, mushroom, yam, basil, cinnamon, clove, dill, fennel, fenugreek, ginger, nutmeg, rosemary, thyme and jasmine tea

Foods to build blood:

Corn, sweet rice, beetroot, all dark leafy greens, apricot, avocado, date, kidney bean, sesame seeds, egg, red meat and spinach

Wheat and barley grass, green vegetables are important during nursing and are a Japanese folk remedy to support healthy milk supply.

Cooked foods are especially nourhishing at this time. Soups, stews, porridge etc are ideal

Foods to avoid: raw foods, dairy products especially milk and ice cream, greasy fried foods, foods cool in nature like cucumbers, peppermint etc

Moxa or Artemisia Vulgaris is a species of chrysanthemum and can be used for a variety of conditions. In Chinese Medicine there are several ways to use moxa and all involve burning this herb over or on acupuncture points.

One major benefit of Moxa is that it benefits circulation. It can be used to regulate the energy and blood of the body, expel cold and dampness especially if pain is worse in these kind of environments, warm the uterus, stop bleeding, regulate digestion as well as menstruation, and ease the fetus or turn a breech baby.

Moxa can be used preventatively as well. Burning moxa over the acu-point Zu San Li St36 on a regular basis is a great way to stay healthy. In Notes on Bian Que’s Moxibustion, it says, “when a healthy man often has moxabustion to the points of CV4, CV6 and CV12 he would live a very long life, at least one hundred years.”

Currently in Africa moxabustion is being used as a treatment for tuberculosis through the organization Moxafrica. There is research evidence from Japan in the 1930s and 40s where moxabustion was used effectively and cheaply to treat and in many cases cure TB.

Mother warming is a technique  used to gently nourish the body helping to tone the uterus and aid recovery after birth at a time when a woman needs to regain her strength to care for her newborn and establish breast feeding.

Benefits include strengthening the center, promoting lactation, preventing post partum depression, and boosting energy.

The properties of moxa help to build energy and blood and it is a warming herb.

Mother warming is usually preformed between day 4-6 post partum. This treatment can energize the mother and aid in recovery.

Moxa is applied to the midline of the abdomen to the acu-points cv2-8 (apprx the top of the pubic bone to the navel on the midline of the body)

 

photo credit http://www.compassionatedragon.com/images/acupuncture/ac_points/ac_ren3.png

 

Moxa is done in an upward motion until the mother feels a pleasant warming sensation appx 5-10 minutes.

Moxa can then be applied in the same way to the du channel of the back, midline of the body from appx the sacrum to the top of the iliac crests.

 

photo credit http://www.compassionatedragon.com/images/acupuncture/ac_points/ac_du4-14.png

 

UB23 the shu point of the kd is also a beneficial point to moxa at this time. It is in the same line as du4

photo credit http://www.itmonline.org/image/cystitis2.jpg

Contraindications: fever, night sweats or over a c section scar that has any suspicious redness or pus like discharge.

Other postpartum concerns Acupuncture and Chinese Medicine can help:

  • After pains (abstain from cold, raw foods especially, protect against wind and cold environmentally) LV3 acupressure also great for menstrual cramps
  • Insufficient lactation
  • Mastitis/plugged duct (if treated right away can usually stop in its tracks and recover faster)
  • Termination of lactation (acupuncture and moxa 3-5 treatments)
  • Post partum depression
  • Night sweats
  • Dizziness
  • Complications from Excessive post partum blood loss
  • Palpitations/anxiety
  • PTSD (when working with other health care providers)

 

 

Acupressure for Morning Sickness

If you are pregnant and suffering from nausea or vomiting seriously consider giving acupuncture a try. It can offer serious relief with no negative side effects.

From The Essential Guide to Acupuncture in Pregnancy and Childbirth by Debra Betts,

Research by Smith et al (2002) involving 596 women confirmed the benefits of acupuncture by concluding that acupuncture for nausea was safe and effective treatment for early pregnancy. This was an interesting study as women who received a traditional Chinese diagnosis and treatment had better outcomes than those receiving needling at PC6(the seasick/nausea point) only.

Acupressure is a nice simple DIY way to treat yourself. The only real difference between acupuncture and acupressure is the tool used to stimulate the point. While needles can be retained for 20-60 minutes and offer continuous pressure to several points at once acupressure usually involves stimulating one or two points at a time for one to three minutes using finger pressure. Acupressure can also be done using what are called vaccaria seeds, sometimes refered to as ear seeds. These seeds are held in place by an adhesive and are usually used after an acupuncture treatment to help the treatment last longer.

If you’ve tried the sea bands or massaging the nausea point, PC6 on the inner wrist and didn’t find much relief here are 2 other points to try that many women have found helpful.

KD27

located just below the collar bone approximately 3 finger breadths from the sternum. Feel for a divet or tender spot and hold for 1-3 minutes.

located just below the collar bone approximately 3 finger breadths from the sternum. Feel for a hollow or tender spot and hold for 1-3 minutes.

Often times this can offer immediate relief especially if you are overcome with an episode of nausea or feel like you could throw up.

KD6

Located in the hollow just under the inner ankle bone. Sitting with the soles of feet together and legs in a diamond is an ideal position to access this point. Hold this point for 1-3 minutes as well.

Located in the hollow just under the inner ankle bone. Sitting with the soles of feet together and legs in a diamond is an ideal position to access this point. Hold this point for 1-3 minutes as well.

This point is also an useful points for insomnia, prolapse of the uterus, constipation, frequency of urination and sore throat and can be used at any point during pregnancy.

Give it a try and let me know how it helps. Need some acupuncture? I can help with that too. :)

 

 

 

 

 

Peppermint for Pregnancy

Peppermint is a very versatile oil/herb to have on hand when pregnant. Here is why, when and how to use it. Hope it helps!

Peppermint is great to combat the digestive ails during pregnancy such as nausea, the burps, heartburn and flatulence.

Some women are sensitive to smells during pregnancy, especially early pregnancy. If that’s the case the easiest way to get the benefits of peppermint oil for nausea is to simply take a deep breath while holding the bottle under your nose. Many people make the mistake of putting an essential oil bottle directly under their nose, instead hold the bottle by your heart and slowly bring it closer to the nose until you can smell it. This way it will be subtle and less overwhelming. Smelling peppermint from the bottle can be great for nausea, car sickness, indigestion and flatulence as well as if you are in an area with an unpleasant odor to help combat it. Stick the closed bottle in your purse or pocket to have on hand when needed.

PC6, "the seasickness point"

PC6, “the seasickness point”

You can also try massaging a drop of peppermint oil into the acu-point PC6. The combo of scent and acu pressure can be quite profound. From time to time you can feel free to hold your wrist close to your face and take a deep breath too.

Diffusing peppermint essential oil is another option. This can also be helpful for tummy troubles as well as fatigue, pregnancy brain, and feeling overheated. :) If you don’t have a diffuser you can place a drop of peppermint oil on a cotton ball and place in your car air vents or fill a spray bottle with water and a few drops of peppermint oil and mist into the air.

For feelings are heat you can add a drop of peppermint oil to a bowl of cool water and dip a wash cloth into the bowl, wring out and place the wash cloth on the back of your neck and/or back of knees to cool off.

Peppermint can also be added to coconut or olive oil as a massage oil for tired, achey, sore muscles. You can also try any of the above techniques for headaches too. (peppermint is very cooling in nature, if it causes discomfort cover the area with olive or coconut oil to cut the intensity of the sensation do not put water over the area as this will make it worse!)

A few drops of peppermint oil on the highest point of your belly or where baby’s head is has been known to help turn a breech baby. (especially when in combination with moxabustion)

I recommend peppermint from young living because they are super high quality and pregnancy especially is not a time to be using toxic products. You can order some here!

Have you used peppermint oil during pregnancy? Did I miss anything?

 

 

 

 

Beat a Cold Quick

This was supposed to be posted last week but my computer ate it. Its even more relevant now that we have a break in the cold. A friendly reminder to keep you neck covered if you ditch the jacket this week so you don’t end up getting sick.

I could end this blog pretty quick, beat a cold by not getting yourself run down and then eating sugar.

That’s not usually what happens though does it?

Last week was my daughter’s birthday and I spent 2 days cooking and cleaning for what was meant to be a low key party with the family.

 

There was left over cake to eat. So we did on Sunday night. Monday I had a little at lunch too.

 

When I was leaving work on Monday night the bug that’s been bothering everyone decided to attack. I felt like I got hit by a bus. The sore throat, achy body and chills started almost all at once. I was low on my vitamin D supplement and didn’t feel well enough to grab my needles. So here is what I did.

I drew a bath of the warmest water I could stand and dumped a coffee cup of Epsom salts, bentonite clay and dead sea salts into it. I soaked until I felt nice and warm then I took my time getting out of the tub as many times if I get up too fast I have a tendency to feel dizzy. Once out of the tub I put on layers: sweat pants and a big heavy sweatshirt and fuzzy socks. I gave my husband and daughter a squeeze goodnight and crawled into bed under a big heap of blankets to sleep for the night. Its best to stay under the covers until you sweat to get all the yuck out. It took a while before I felt warm enough to peak a toe out from under the covers but I slept all bundled up for the night. When I woke the next morning most of my symptoms except for fatigue were all but gone.

 

Lucky for me I had the next day off to rest and load up on my usual cold go-too’s. Thieves in the diffuser. Chinese Herbs, Yin Qiao which rocks for a sore throat. Loaded up on my vitamins, extra fluids, and rest. This has been my (knock on wood) only cold all winter and I was able to kick it super fast.

 

Never under estimate a warm bath and rest to the rescue! (also never under estimate how sugar can knock down your immune system)

 

Stay healthy my friends. :)

Natural Remedy for Cellulite

A few years ago I was on a cruise and treated myself to a “burrito wrap”, body wrap spa treatment. The experience taught me alot. Part of the procedure was having the therapist dry brush my body before applying the clay. She was trying to sell me on a $50 brush to cure my “cellulite”. I didn’t buy it but I did look into what dry brushing was all about (and bought a dry brush at Wal-Mart for $4 when I got home).

I never got completely into the dry brush routine and had all but forgotten about it until several weeks ago. This crazy winter has been giving me dry skin and I thought I’d give the dry brush a go and see if it would help. Its been feeling quite amazing. The dry brushing helps to rev up circulation and feels quite invigorating. Other benefits include opening the pores, glowing skin, tighter skin, reduction in cellulite. Dry brushing can also aid digestion and kidney function. It seems to put me in a better mood too.

Its best to do when your skin is dry. (I usually do before a nice hot shower) You can do twice a day if you like or remember (I’m not usually that good about remembering) :)

Make long brush strokes up towards to the heart to promote proper circulation.

If your goal is getting rid of cellulite after dry brushing and shower massage some citrus fresh essential oil blend over the affected area and cover with coconut oil to seal in the blend. Order your citrus fresh here!

Enjoy!

 

cold

Natural Remedy for Shoulder Tension

This cold weather may be making you tense your shoulders without you realizing it half the time. In Chinese Medicine the back of the neck is extremely sensitive to wind. If that wind gets into the body it can wreck all sorts of havoc. Its a pretty instincutal thing to hunch your shoulder when the slap of cold hits you. Here is something you can do to release some of that built up tension. (it works for regular old tension too from sitting at a computer too long, driving, stress etc)

 

Sit or stand up nice and tall. Take a deep breath and lift your shoulders to your ears. Now take your shoulders back (while keeping your chest in the same place) and slide your inner shoulder blades down. Ahh doesn’t that feel good?

The mom in me is going to remind you not to forget your scarf when you go outside too! Stay warm :)