Cleaning indoor air

As the season changes we spend more time indoors.

It is important to be mindful of the quality of the air that we are breathing. Hypoallergenic house plants can be a great option. Remember to keep a few things in mind. ..

Check the lighting requirements. Depending on the room and desired placement of your plant, you might need to either pick a low light, direct light, or indirect light plant. If you have a specific plant in mind, make sure to place it appropriately.

Check the maintenance requirements. Some plants require more TLC than others. Succulents are known for being low key. Other plants are notoriously finicky and might not be best for beginners.

Where to buy… depending on your location, visiting a near by nursery or plant shop might be the best option. They can assist you in choosing the right fit. If that does not sound ideal, you can purchase plenty of live plants right on amazon and they can be delivered to your door.

Plants known for air quality?

  • Snake Plant
  • Dracaena (not pet friendly)
  • Aloe Vera
  • Spider Plant
  • English Ivy
  • Areca palms

Chronic Pain

Neck pain • Back Pain • IBS pain • shoulder pain

Factors contributing to pain and pain perception

Sitting
Sitting too long is one of the worst culprits. We often don’t notice until we try to get up and feel all those aches and pains. Ideally the longest anyone should be sitting is one hour.

Moving
Moving and stretching our body encourages our body’s natural pain killers. Not to mention it’s vital to maintaining joint function. Take the stairs when you can. Take your cat or dog for a walk. Swim. Try yoga (yin yoga is nice and slow). Our personal favorites are yin yoga and Pilates.

Sleep
While sleep could be a whole series in itself, trying to maintain some basic sleep hygiene can help. Lights dim an hour before bed, going to bed at the same time, and reserving the bedroom for sleep are all ways that can improve sleep.

Stress
Stress management can help us sleep better. Stress impacts so many areas of our lives. Stress can affect our ability to concentrate, our mood, our productivity, our immune system, our gut health, and even affect our pain perception.

Stress management techniques range from breathing exercises, to cardiovascular exercise. Some of our favorite methods for stress management include meditation, slow weight training, and of course Reflexology and Reiki.

Shifting energy

Seasons change
the winds shift
the temperature drops

Fall begins the transition from Pitta to Vata. With fall breeze, comes the airy energy of Vata. Vata season is dry, changing, cool, and full of creative energy.

We may find that this is a good opportunity to shift our mindset, and focus. Vata season can inspire us, and create an open space for change.

Eating seasonal local fresh food, particularly root vegetables can be helpful in assisting in our transition to autumn.

Children at home and gluten

Play Dough and finger paint are fun activities that many of us grew up with. Come to find out many of these products contain gluten.

There are a couple issues with this. First is that this stuff gets everywhere and can cause contamination of surfaces for other family members.

The second issue is that somehow these products always end up in someone’s mouth. If you are lucky enough not to have any celiacs or gluten challenged people in your house then no big deal.

If however you do have gluten challenged family members you might want to think twice before smearing gluten all over the house.

That being said, playing with your hands as a child is very important. Perhaps a homemade mixture of cornstarch and water?

There are gluten free finger paints… you just have to look for them.

Here’s one that I like

Here is a company that is very open and honest about gluten in their products.

Your Holistic Nurse, Carolee

Ayurveda

What is Ayurveda?
Ayurveda is literally translated to mean the science of life.  This knowledge of life is more than 5,000 years old and describes ways to stay well emotionally, physically, and spiritually.  Practices such as yoga, meditation, herbs, nutrition, and aromatherapy are all incorporated into a persons customized recommendation for health.  Yoga is considered to be a sister science of Ayurveda. Knowing your dosha can help determine what practices are good for you.

What is your dosha, you ask?
Your dosha is an assessment of all of the different elements that you are currently experiencing. In Ayurveda, the elements are ether (space), air, fire, water and earth. Simple things like, diet, exercise, sleep, caffeine, work and home environments can greatly impact your dosha. Want an example?  Peppermint has a cooling affect and decreases fire, while cayenne has a warming affect and increases fire.  Because these elements seem to present themselves in groups, these elements have been labeled as doshas. Vata = Ether + Air    what moves (creativity, change) Pitta = Fire + Water  what burns (transformation, achievement, metabolism)

Kapha = Water + Earth   what sticks (groundedness, stability, growth)

try this online Dosha Guru!
A consultation is best, but this is the best online tool I have found
http://doshaguru.com/

Did you know that your “constitution” is not the same as your “dosha”?!
Although you may have overheard many conversations where these two terms are used interchangeably, they are very different.  As we previously discussed, your dosha is what you are currently experiencing due to lifestyle, sleep, work, diet, and home environments.  Your constitution (AKA prakruti) is what your natural tendencies are, or you innate makeup.  For example if your constitution, or natural tenancy is to be very calm and relaxed, but you drink 8 cups of coffee every single day you may not be experiencing that a feeling of calmness or relaxation.  Your constitution is something that takes a skilled practitioner to discover and analyze, as you can imagine, since it is not quite so apparent, and only needs to be done once, since it doesn’t change.  Your dosha on the other hand should be evaluated on a regular basis, and is a bit easier to determine.

Tips for balancing your Dosha…

Vata
– get plenty of rest and sleep (bed at 10 and up at 6)
– eat warm foods (not raw) and warming spices like ginger and cayenne
– practice ways to stay calm, and not rushed, like breathing deeply
– wear plenty of layers to stay warm

Jatamansi essential oil  is derived from the root of a flowering plant called nard ( nardin, muskroot ) which is of the valerianacea family.  It balances the nervous system, and is very grounding for Vata.  Some people like to put a drop on their pillow at night to help them sleep.  Jatamansi Oil has a tremendous ability to calm and sooth frayed nerves.

Pitta 
– eat cooling foods like mint and lime (not spicy)
– limit intake of salt, and oil
– make sure rigorous activities are done during cooler hours of the day
– avoid heat and steam

Kapha
– stay active and exercise
– avoid ice, and cold food or drinks
– avoid cat naps
– eat light
– eat dried foods
– avoid heavy, fatty, oily, dairy foods
– vary your routine
– practice flexibility

Chewing

Ayurvedic Institute Resource Library

Meditation

When you think if meditation, what comes to mind?  When I first started meditating,  I thought that meditation meant that you had to try to sit still, in perfect lotus position, and clear your mind of all thought.  I thought that the only way to meditate was to think of nothing.  Well, come to find out, there are as many kinds of meditation as you can think of!  Guided meditation, breath meditation, and mantra meditation are just a few.  Meditation is one of the most profound healing experiences that I have come across.  It is truly life altering.

One place you can start is to sit or lie down somewhere that is comfortable, making sure that you are warm, and have already used the restroom.  Turn off your phone, and tv.  Then set a timer (preferably one that is gentle and not alarming) for 15 minutes.  Get comfortable, and lightly pay attention to your breath.  Feel your breath filling your body with life energy as you breath in, and feel yourself letting go as you breath out.  Allow yourself to sink into the floor (chair) and let it support you.  After a few breaths, you may want to allow your attention to shift away from your breath, and just experience the present moment.  Allowing any conceptualizations, analysis, or thoughts to float away when they present themselves, and coming back into the present moment.

If you have difficulty, don’t worry.  You are not supposed to get it right away.  That’s why it is called a practice.  Just stay with it, and try it every day for 15 to 20 minutes.  If you can do this twice a day, this is ideal.  When a thought comes into your mind, just acknowledge the thought, and let it pass through you like a warm breeze.  It is natural.
Eventually you will find yourself able to disappear into the gap between thoughts.  This is where consciousness is accessed.  In this gap we can connect to our higher selves, our inner knowing, and a place of inner peace, bliss, and tranquility.  When this inner knowledge is cultiviated and combined with fierce compassion we call this enlightenment.  In this space, we are able to step out of Samsara, the realm of suffering.

Deepak Chopra has some great 21 day meditation challenges that are available online, if you feel that you would like some help getting started, or would like to try a guided approach.  He also has a healing meditation and love mediation album that I find particularly helpful.
Guided Meditations
21 day meditations
Primordial Sound Meditation
The Secret of Healing

Meditations by the Foundation of the Sacred Stream
“a non-profit organization dedicated to bringing the wisdom of ancient spritual and healing traditions into the consciousness of those interested in being of service in the world”
https://www.sacredstream.org/Meditations/View-all-products.html

profound podcasts by the Sacred Stream Foundation
https://www.sacredstream.org/Podcasts/View-all-products.html

Vasant Lad, B.A.M.S., M.A.Sc.
Empty Bowl Meditation (Kevala Kumbhak)
http://www.ayurveda.com/online_resource/empty_bowl.html

The Ghanta & Dorje
suited for meditation
The use of the Dorje & Ghanta together symbolize the union of wisdom and compassion, which is enlightenment.

Practices Derived from Buddhist Meditation Show Real Effectiveness for Certain Health Problems

Mindfulness

Mindfulness has become the new buzz word at the water cooler, in business seminars, and everywhere in between. What comes to mind when you think of this concept? In its essence, mindfulness really just means that you have your mind actively focused on what you are doing…. without extraneous thoughts. But what does this really mean in everyday life? When you are reading for example, you are simply experiencing reading. You are not thinking about what you will do next, or why you are doing what you are doing… you are free from all attachments, and analysis.

Inspiration, Intention, Mindfulness, and Intriguing Articles… The Law of Intention and Desire Deepak Chopra http://www.chopra.com/laws/intention

The Law of Detachment, and the wisdom of uncertainty Deepak Chopra http://www.chopra.com/laws/detachment

It Starts With Uncertainty MARGARET WHEATLEY and PEMA CHÖDRÖN discuss how organizations can acknowledge their confusion and trust in the goodness of the underlying order http://shambhalasun.com/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=1874&Itemid=0

Enlightenment Through an Evolutionary Lens by Diane Hamilton http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=6xv0KZFsg8k

Foot Reflexology… that’s the foot massage, right?

So… some 20 years ago I was just starting to explore reflexology. I’ve been a life-long fan of massage and holistic health in general, so to me this was just another therapy to try. It felt like a unique type of foot massage / touch therapy to me. I felt amazingly calm and felt my nerves kick it down a notch.

As an autoimmune disease person with anxiety issues, I found this profoundly helpful. I also started noticing that my bowels were functioning better and my sinuses drained… getting rid of that constant head pressure and groggy feeling. Can you say…. Ahhhh

I started going regularly and noticed that the calm feeling started to take, and it took more to rattle my nerves. I felt less fatigue and less brain fog overall. As time went on with my regular weekly or biweekly sessions, I felt that I was able to space out my sessions, and keep myself even keeled with yoga/meditation/breathing in the mean time.

This, of course, led to some reading / research. Come to find out…. reflexology is not massage after all. It may feel like massage, but in principle it’s actually more like acupressure. This simply means that it is based on energy pathways similar to acupuncture. It is not based on the skeletalomusclular system… like massage. So, similar sensation, different theories and different objectives.

Reflexology is actually ancient and transcultural. Many ancient cultures have a form of “reflexology”. During a Reflexology session a variety of specialized techniques which feel similar to a combination of massage and acupressure are applied to reflexes to promote balance and mind – body integration. It is a relaxing way to promote your body’s natural healing abilities through nerve stimulation, while improving circulation and encouraging immune system balance. It has been practiced throughout the world in ancient cultures including ancient Egypt, China, India, and Native America. The name “reflexology” is a relatively new term, which is used to collectively refer to ancient methods based on energy, as well as newer methods based on neurophysiology.

What defines reflexology is the principle that the microcosm represents the microcosm. In essence, it is practiced on a smaller part of the body that represents the whole. Reflexology can be practices on the face, ears, hands, and most commonly, the feet. Some methods are very gentle, while other are deep pressure. While every Reflexologist has their own signature style, a good reflexologist will have studied enough methods and techniques to work within you comfort and make it an enjoyable session. Similar to massage, communication is an important part of your session. Through my experience, when you are fully vested in a session and working through kinks, sometimes your mind will go to sleep, to let the energy flow.

At times when the heart and body know best, the mind only gets in the way.

Namaste,

Your Holistic Nurse, Carolee

Insulin – a series part II

Insulin – a series part II: What exactly does it do?

Insulin lowers your blood glucose level by promoting cellular uptake of glucose.  This means that the glucose goes inside your cells, instead of hanging out in the blood stream.

.

Did you know?

Diabetes type one and type two are COMPLETELY DIFFERENT… as in the body works in opposite ways in these two disease pathologies. Some people argue that they are so entirely different that they cannot figure out why we still call them both diabetes.

.

Lock and Key

There are receptors (think of them as locks 🔒) on the outside of cells. Insulin is like the key 🔑. The receptors open the gate for the glucose to enter the cell when the key is in place. Sometimes, there are not as many locks on a cell as there should be. Sometimes the locks are sticky (I hate it when that happens). In both of these cases, we call this insulin resistance, and this is the issue in Diabetes type 2 only.

In diabetes type 1, there is not enough insulin circulating. So if there are no keys, or not enough keys, the glucose can’t get in. In this disease, the problem lies in the beta cells of the pancreas. These cells are attacked by the immune system. This is referred to as an autoimmune disease.

.

How does it get in?

This part is interesting and understanding this can help you understand the difference between insulin resistance in Diabetes type 2, and lack of insulin in Diabetes type 1.

When you have a key (insulin) fit into the lock (receptors), the gate opens and glucose moves inside your cell.

So… essentially in diabetes type 1, the locks and the keys on your body’s cells are all working fine. Unfortunately, there are not enough keys (insulin) to open the gates, and let all the glucose in. This requires intense medical management and taking prescribed insulin. It is an autoimmune disease.

And in diabetes type 2, there are not enough locks (receptors) or the locks (receptors) are not working too well… ie. the sticky lock. So frustrating! So you have enough insulin (keys) but when there are not enough locks to open gates or the locks don’t work correctly, the gates don’t open. This is helped with diet and exercise. Weight, lifestyle, and environment are considered significant factors.

.

Cellular Energy

Once inside, your cell can use the glucose as energy to perform vital cellular functions.

Normal Blood Sugar?

Around 70-90… but you might have a specific goal set by your PCP, depending on a multitude of things.

.

This Post was written by Critical Care RN, Carolee V. Nevulis

Probiotics Can Alter Your Cholesterol

A systematic review of the effects of probiotics on the lipid profile concluded that probiotic use is beneficial in improving your cholesterol.  This is amazing!

 

My thoughts on the data
The systematic review explores how probiotics affect the Lipid profile. There are many non pharmacological factors that affect cholesterol such as exercise, diet, and the microbiome. Cardiovascular disease is a large problem in the United States. Improving inflammatory factors, and the lipid profile would prove useful to a large demographic.

The systematic review addressed probiotic use alone, and did not address the use of probiotics in conjunction with medications. This is important for control, but it is also limiting due to the fact that patients with hyperlipidemia are commonly taking medications. It would be important to assess if there is any interaction between the two, or other contraindication for concurrent use. This research also highlights now probiotics affect our health in complex ways, and could be investigated for further use.

One critique I have in this systematic review is that there were a variety of different probiotics used in different studies. It might be useful to compare the results of different studies using the same probiotics. Different probiotics have different effects, as we well know. There seems to be lumping together of all probiotics, in general. Some of the studies referenced do not list the specific strain, but only the bacterial species, which is not particularly helpful due to the highly variable genetic nature of bacteria. There is a high degree of variability within species. These studies could have been excluded.

 

Health Care Implications
The review itself was summarized in a table that was clear, concise, and very helpful from a clinical perspective. The species, and strain was listed, along with the results, limitations, and conclusions. This is useful for a prescriptive perspective, as well as to reference against other studies. The table listed specific species and strains if they were tested.

It is easy to determine which studies resulted in alterations in the lipid profile, and exactly how. This is clearly presented with the exact intervention (bacteria utilized). Based on the chart provided, it is easy to determine which bacterial strain you might prescribe based on the desired lipid effect.

 

Conclusion
The overall conclusions highlighted the fact that the microbiome affects many different elements of the metabolic process.  It affects not only the lipid profile, but also many other factors affecting cardiovascular disease such as glycemic control and low grade systemic inflammation. This review acknowledges the need for studies with probiotics and medication concurrent use.

Check out the article for specifics

 

Gadelha CJMU, Bezerra AN. Effects of probiotics on the lipid profile: systematic review. J Vasc Bras. 2019;18:e20180124. https://doi.org/10.1590/1677-5449.180124

 

 

If you have cholesterol problems, ask your PCP!

.

Be aware that not all probiotics are created equal. I personally like Seed (seed.com). I love their probiotics so much that I contacted them asking for a promo code. While this does nothing for me, it does get you 20% off your first month.

Promo code: YHN20

.

Remember to take probiotics on an EMPTY stomach when there’s less acid

.

 

 

 

 

 

.