Two Years Ago Today I Was Headed Into An Operating Room

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Exactly two years ago, I ignored a growing, intense pain in my abdomen for about 24 hours, because I felt that I could not afford to take a break from all the work I had to do.

 

 

Only when I was passing out from the pain did I have to be strapped into an ambulance and rushed into surgery because my appendix had ruptured.

I ignored it and ignored it until I was in a life threatening situation.  That was so dumb of me.

I wish I could say two years later I was working less and prioritizing my own health more, but honestly I need to write this blog post as much for me as for you.

 

Taking the time to rest each day isn’t a luxury, even though we often treat it as such.

It’s actually a medical necessity.

You absolutely, 100% need deep, restorative sleep!

 

Working all hours of the day and night has serious ramifications to your health, which impacts every part of your life… decreasing your concentration, increasing your likelihood of accidents and impairing your judgement.

Did you know there are serious long term health consequences to getting too little sleep…  things like rapid weight gain, increased risk of dementia, and even heightened anxiety?

 

So today, to encourage you to make the time to get the rest you need, I want to tell you

the top 3 ways that taking the time to catch your zzZs will ultimately enhance your health:

 

 

1.  Sleeping Protects Your Brain:

 

A study (published in Neurology on Sept 3, 2104) found widespread changes in brain volume with poor sleep over time.

Researchers looked at 147 people and followed them (using MRI imaging) to look at the effects of poor sleep on the brain.  They found longitudinally over time that poor sleep quality was associated with smaller brain volume in the frontal cortex, temporal lobe, and parietal cortices… with more brain atrophy happening in those with the shortest sleep durations and poorest sleep quality.

In addition to that study, sleep has been shown to play crucial role in many long-term chronic brain diseases, such as Alzheimer’s disease.

A study (published in JAMA Neurology on March 11, 2013) showed that patients with poor sleep quality had the highest percentage of amyloid deposition in the brain (the classic hallmark lesion of Alzheimer’s disease.)  In fact, in follow up they found that participants with the worst sleep quality had a 5 TIMES greater chance of developing Alzheimer’s Disease then those who slept soundly.

Poor sleep has also been shown to be a hallmark of ADHD, and a recent study (published January 20, 2015 in the British Medical Journal) found that even a simple, brief sleep intervention with ADHD children provides lasting benefits that lead to a significant decrease in sleep problems, an increased average sleep duration time, a marked and significant decrease in ADHD symptoms, improved assessed working memory and recall, and parents and teachers both reporting improved behavior and improved daily functioning… better than treating with ADHD medication!

Even more exciting, these improvements were sustained at both the 3 month assessment AND the 6 month assessment, showing that addressing sleep problems can lead to substantial and sustained benefits for children with ADHD, over and above the effects of any medical interventions or medications.

The bottom line: better sleep equals better daytime functioning in the short term and a healthier, more dementia resistant brain in the long term.

 

 

2.  Sleeping Helps You Maintain

Your Ideal Body Weight:

 

A study (published in SLEEP, July 2013) found that folks gained a significant amount of weight after only 5 days of poor sleep.

Previous studies have shown a link between poor sleep and weight gain, but this is the first study where participants slept in-house in a sleep facility and the actual weight gain was measurably significant after sleeping four four hours several nights in a row.

They found that healthy individuals who experienced a short period of sleep deprivation (for only 5 days) gained 9 times as much weight as healthy individuals who get a full night of sleep.

What does this predict for folks who are chronically sleep deprived?

Many of us live in a chronic state of catching only a few hours of sleep a night… not just for 5 days but for weeks, months, even years at a time.  This has a huge impact on your weight.

Imagine gaining 9 times as much weight over the course of a year of poor sleep as you normally would had you slept well.

If you are watching your weight or struggling to understand why your best efforts are not good enough to prevent you from gaining weight, examine your sleep. Sleep deprivation is incredibly stressful to the body.

 

3.  Sleeping Supports A

Healthier Outlook:

 

A study (published in The Journal Of Neuroscience on June 26, 2013) showed that if you have anxiety, sleep deprivation actually impacts you even more than it impacts other people.

Sleep loss has been shown to decrease our ability to judge social interactions and social threats accurately (making you more likely to be hypersensitive and more emotionally reactive) as well as impair emotional control (making you more likely to have outbursts or impulsive behavior.)

This study furthered our understanding of the impact sleep has on anxiety by demonstrating amplified activity in the amygdala and anterior insula of the brain, which exacerbates anxiety.

And those that had the worst anxiety had the most overstimulation of those areas of the brain in response to poor sleep.

Meaning that people who have anxiety issues in the first place will suffer greater harm from sleep deprivation than folks without baseline anxiety issues, although in all cases the brain becomes overly sensitized and prone to hyper-reaction.

Years ago the world was stunned by the testimony that Michael Jackson had gone approximately 60 days without any deep, restorative REM sleep, which was likely responsible for a constellation of his symptoms including confusion, memory loss and paranoia.  It is thought that no human being has ever gone that long without restorative sleep before, as previous laboratory experiments show that rats perish after only 5 weeks without restorative sleep.

 

Ready to protect your brain volume, more easily maintain your ideal body weight as you age, and decrease your anxiety levels?

 

Here are some ways to grab better sleep for yourself, tonight!

  •  Sleep Grounded — Connecting to the earth during the day or sleeping grounded with an indoor sleeping product (my Grounding Boutique carries many different options for sleeping grounded!) has been shown in sleep studies to increase the amount of time we spend in deep restorative phases of sleep, as well as treat jet lag and other circadian rhythm disturbances.
  • Sleep Shielded — If you lay in bed and still feel overstimulated, the next step would be to sleep under a shielding blanket or better yet, a shielding sleeping bag for 360 degrees of protection to all of your internal organs.  Or simply wear a shielding robe to bed every night (the most cost effective 360 degree shielding plan I know of, and my Shielding Boutique is the only place to have one hand sewn just for you!).  If you simply can’t turn off your router completely at night, or paint your entire bedroom with shielding paint, or hang a shielding canopy all around the bed (both the paint and the canopy run into the thousands of dollars and they are so cost prohibitive at this point that I don’t even use them myself and don’t yet carry them for my patients until they are a more reasonable price) then the most cost effective thing you can do is to shield your body as you slip into bed.  Ahh… the relief is immediate.  Similar to the relief I feel when I zip up in my shielding windbreaker before heading out the door for the day — you can feel your entire autonomic nervous system relax and appreciate the break from the onslaught of eSmog that is pervasive across the globe now.   You can find the blanket and sleeping bag and jacket all of my other favorite shielding tools right here.
  •  Melatonin At Dusk —  The hormone that signals it is time to sleep for our body, our melatonin levels naturally decline with age.  I know some people avoid melatonin because they believe it decreases your body’s own production, but the truth is that the body naturally makes less and less over time, and is not likely to ever rebound production on it’s own anyway.  So if you find it hard to naturally  fall asleep, you can safely boost your own melatonin levels with a low dose melatonin supplement.  But here is the key, that most people don’t know: most melatonin labels instruct you to take it one hour before bedtime, but that is incorrect.  Actually, the very best time to take melatonin is at dusk, as the sun starts going down.  It doesn’t matter if you don’t plan to go to bed for several more hours, still take it at dusk, because this is the natural rhythm of melatonin production.  This one simple tweak can change everything for people who think melatonin doesn’t work for them.  Take it as the sun goes down and you will find that no matter when you finally go to bed that night, you are so much more aligned with falling asleep than you would every have been only taking melatonin an hour before bed.  I’ve found that patients can take a much much smaller effective dose of melatonin, sometimes as small as only 0.3 mg (instead of the usual 5 mg) as long as they are taking it right at dusk
  • L-Theanine At Bedtime — GABA is the brain’s soothing neurotransmitter.  If you are have trouble with anxiety or racing thoughts at bedtime, you might feel the calming benefits of supplementing with a product containing L-Theanine, which crosses the blood brain barrier and converts to GABA to help relax over active thoughts.  You can find both my favorite melatonin supplements as well as my favorite L-theanine supplements in my pharmacy-grade, trusted online dispensary right here.
  •  Daily Activity — As I talk about in this blog post, walking each day is the one of the single best things you can do to prolong your life. Walking has been shown to do everything from predict better remission rates during cancer recovery to prolonging life span to simply helping deepen sleep at night.  If I am not sleeping well at night I have to ask myself, did I truly move my body during the day?  Increase your daytime activity levels and watch your nighttime sleep deepen.  It’s directly proportionate.
  • Re-examine Your Work Schedule — Lower your stress at work in order to protect your sleep patterns.  Not only by re-examining your work hours and job responsibilities, but also consider ways to lower stress loads all together.  Hop over here to read my blog post on how to decrease the negative impact that job stress can have on your life and re-consider or re-negotiate your work hours, your job load, your career path, your commute, your training requirements, think of ways you can delegate or ask for help for routinely overwhelming responsibilities, and many more ideas here.
  •  Develop A Nightly Routine — turn off all the lights, make sure there are no computer screens or clock faces or night-lights lighting up the room while you sleep, and drink a soothing cup of warm milk, sleepy-time tea, or take a hot bath to relax your body and transition into bed.  And if you must have your cell phone in your bedroom with you, be sure to put it on airplane mode or place it behind a bedside shield!!!
  • Block Blue Light From Reaching Your Eyes —  Ok I’m a mother of two teenagers (oh my how the time has flown) and it’s just completely unrealistic for me to expect them not to use their computers to complete homework assignments, or use their phone to arrange plans with friends, or to use their televisions to unwind at night to catch up on their favorite TV shows or (in my son’s case) watch their favorite sports teams play.  And not to mention, I have a bad habit of my own screen exposures at night, including catching up on emails, writing blog posts, and watching some reality TV before bed.  That said, you can make the glow from these screens less disruptive to circadian rhythm simply by wearing truly blue light filtering glasses, like these.  They need to be a dark orange color to truly block out enought light from screens that they optimize your sleep in a noticeable way.  The blue light shield on your regular prescription glasses help prevent eye strain but are not enough for nighttime use.
  • Relax With Magnesium — Magnesium is very relaxing and because it helps your muscles relax and release, it is a wonderful nighttime drink.  On nights when I am feeling tense (especially helpful for anyone who grinds their teeth at night or has restless legs!) instead of laying in bed growing more and more frustrated, I break out of that rut by making myself a hot cup of water with a teaspoon of powdered magnesium drink mix stirred into it, found in my online dispensary as well.  Just get up, take 10 minutes to sip your warm magnesium beverage, then settle back in and literally feel your muscles relax as you sink into bed more deeply.  There, isn’t that so much better?
  •  Reduce Nighttime Cortisol Levels — high nighttime cortisol levels and constant stress (leading to adrenal fatigue) will sabotage anyone’s best sleep attempts.  Seek help if you are in adrenal fatigue and make sure you are supporting your natural hormonal repair by including healthy fats (like whole fat yogurt, organic butter, organic eggs, coconut oil, fish oil) and consider a supplement like Ashwagandha at bedtime to decrease nighttime cortisol levels.  Sleeping grounded at night will also help normalize your cortisol levels, which is win-win.
  •  Address Perimenopause — hormonal fluctuations and hot flashes can definitely interrupt your restorative sleep.  Seek help if perimenopausal symptoms are ruining your sleep, and consider Maca Root supplementation to support and balance hormone levels.  Honor the energetic transition of menopause by making sure you give your body the space and down time it needs to navigate the journey (more on this right here.)

 

Make sure you are taking plenty of time to relax each day, and sleep deeply each night.

Your body will thank you for it not only in the short term, as you will feel more emotionally and physically resilient each day, but in the long term as you protect your body and your brain’s longevity!

 

I’m dedicated to spending a little extra time resting this week — won’t you join me?

xoxoxo, Laura

 

 

It’s Not Too Late To Significantly Lift Your Mood, Even Mid-Winter

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I’m no stranger to the winter blues…

…otherwise known as Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD.)

 

This temporary blah feeling that accompanies the winter months is thought to be triggered by shortened hours of daylight, which causes an imbalance in melatonin rhythms and decreased serotonin levels in the brain.

SAD is thought to have a genetic component as well, and sure enough, almost every woman I know in my family has a touch of the winter blues.

But there are 8 things you can do right now to help re-balance your mood naturally and feel better this winter than you ever have before.   You might think it’s too deep into the winter to make a difference, but actually you’d be wrong!  Typically you can start to notice an improvement after only 3 days of treating SAD.  So it’s absolutely not too late to begin to address it mid-January, knowing you can start feeling better as early as the end of this very week!

It absolutely IS possible to enjoy winter and feel just as centered and joyful as you do during every other season. 

If you typically feel more tired, crave carbohydrates, lose pleasure in the things that normally bring you joy or feel weepy or sad during only the winter months, you might be suffering needlessly with SAD too.

Read on to support your body holistically during this natural seasonal fluctuation and feel just as good this winter as you typically do in the warm springtime!

 

 

1.  HYDRATE

 

Are you drinking plenty of water each day?

More important than the food you eat today is your hydration status, especially amidst all the dry artificial heat.  Even all natural heat sources like wood burning fires and gas heaters cause the air to become incredibly dry.

Focus on drinking plenty of water during the winter months.

It’s easy to remember to drink water in the summer when you are perspiring, hot, and sticky.  It’s trickier to remember to drink plenty of water in the winter when you are dry and cold and flaky.  Drink it anyway.

Bonus points if your water is filtered and pure — removing toxic fluoride, chlorine and other stressful chemicals from your water supply.  Find my favorite water filtration system here.

 

 

 

2. SLEEP

 

Are you allowing yourself the time to sleep more than you usually do in the spring, summer and fall?

Allow yourself to re-connect to the natural rhythm of the earth.  That means more sleep during the darker winter months.

Bright artificial lights and TV channels blasting shows 24 hours a day can keep us feeling like there isn’t much difference between the middle of the night and the middle of the day.  But there is.  To your body, to your pineal gland, your hormones, your muscles, your brain… the difference between night and day is iron clad.

You are meant to sleep at night, and you are meant to sleep longer in the winter months.  Allow your body to get an extra hour of sleep each night during the winter and watch your mood, energy level, eating habits, activity level and joy all get a boost!

If you need help in getting more restorative sleep, hop over to my blog post here for ideas.

 

 

 

3.  GROUND

 

You knew I had to include this one!  If you only do one thing on this list to feel immediately better today, I would go outside and touch the earth.

There is a beautiful relationship that our brain has with the energy of mother earth.  This helps support everything our brain helps us to do — from enhancing our mood to deepening our restorative sleep — both things that are crucial to support in the winter time more than any other time.

Most people believe that our circadian (day/night) rhythm is dependent on sunlight to set that pattern for us, and that is true in part, as I will mention below.

But scientists have actually known since 1970 that the earth’s energy field has as much, if not more, to do with our sleep/wake pattern than even the sun.

 

Researchers built two underground isolation chambers that completely cut occupants off from any evaluation of time passing.  The two chambers were light proof, sound proof, temperature controlled bunkers, with one difference between the two rooms.  While one was allowed to be connected to the electromagnetic field of the earth, one was completely shielded so that all connection was severed between the earth’s energy and the occupants of the bunker. 

Looking at several hundred test subjects for up to a two month period of time, researchers looked at sleep wake cycles and found that participants who were in the bunker that still allowed the earth’s field to reach them kept patterns that were close to a 24 hour rhythm, while those in the bunker that was completely shielded from the earth’s energies became completely desynchronized and experienced significantly longer, more irregular rhythms. 

Researchers then experimented with introducing different electrical and magnetic fields into the shielded bunker, and only one restored normal sleep/wake patterns…  you guessed it, the one that is our Mother Earth’s natural energy, the Schumann frequency.   From this the researchers postulated that it is actually the frequency of the earth that regulates our natural biorhythms. 

Based off of this understanding, it’s easy to understand how directly connecting to the earth, grounding our body with our planet, can help enhance restorative sleep at night and boost daytime wakefulness… especially during winter when you can feel cut off from enjoying time outside in nature.

To combat this, I highly recommend we all sleep grounded in the winter.

My favorite way is picture above — the world’s only grounding hot water bottle that will keep you toasty warm in bed all winter long, and is hand-made right here in the USA using organic, eco-friendly materials.  Grab your organic hot water bottle, organic grounding fitted sheets, or other grounding sleep systems right here.  

 

 

 4.   POOP

 

It’s normal for everything to slow down in the winter,  but if your bowels are feeling full of rich and hearty winter meals and you are feeling dense or bloated on the inside, getting things moving again can help you feel more balanced.

Up your water intake as recommended above, take tons of healthy fish or flax seed oil, go on a walk every day to stimulate bowel peristalsis, and ground each day to boost vagal tone, which improves digestion naturally.

In addition, one of my favorite remedies is juicing a whole bunch of apples, or eating a prune a day during the winter.  In addition, if you need a supplement to help things move along in the winter months, a cup of nighttime tea with senna in it or a magnesium supplement is a great choice.   We all need more magnesium than we get through diet alone, and taking magnesium at night will help your muscles relax and help you sleep better, so this advice is win-win!

I’ll have a few more supplement recommendations for you below, but meanwhile you can find my favorite magnesium supplements in my online dispensary here.

 

 

 

 

5.  LIGHT

 

Stave off the sadness that can become overwhelming in the winter by increasing your exposure to light.  As I blog about here, light therapy has been actually shown to naturally treat depression better than a prescription anti-depressant!  And yes, you can do both at the same time (take an anti-depressant and use light therapy together) for additional benefit.

So try your best to go outside and get as much natural light as possible between 6:00 a.m. and 10:00 a.m each morning. If you can, bundle up and get outside for a morning walk, or at least sit by a window.  Open the curtains or blinds and spend time in the sunniest room in your home or office each and every morning.

Even if it’s cloudy, the natural light will do you good.

If getting some natural light exposure each day in the winter is not enough to lift your mood naturally, one of the most effective interventions for SAD is using a light box daily.  The light from these devices are 10 times the intensity of regular household lighting. 

I use a light box every morning year round… morning light has been proven to help everything from treat depression (as mentioned above) to successfully treating fibromyalgia to boosting libido!  And hey I’m all for that… a healthy sex drive is the spice of life!   

Find my favorite light box right here.  

 

 

 

6.  SUPPLEMENT

 

5-HTP:  One of the causes of SAD is thought to be decreased serotonin levels in the brain in winter.  You can naturally raise serotonin levels by supplementing with the pre-cursor to serotonin, which is 5-HTP.  Basically 5-HTP is a nutritional supplement that provides more building blocks for your body to naturally make it’s own serotonin.  Using 5-HTP in the winter months works really well for many of my patients with SAD (and heck, for myself too!)

MELATONIN:  Another natural supplement that helps combat SAD is restoring nighttime melatonin levels to ensure deep sleep.  If you have low serotonin, you likely have low melatonin, since serotonin is a precursor to making melatonin in the body.  Taking melatonin 1 hour before bedtime can get you that extra winter sleep that your body naturally craves which paradoxically can help you feel more energetic, happy and centered during the daytime hours.

L-GLUTAMINE:  You can use the supplement L-glutamine to help curb your carbohydrate cravings in winter.  This amino acid supplement can help take the intensity out of sugar cravings and help you avoid the carb overload that so many of us turn to in the middle of winter for comfort.

VITAMIN D:  Most of us are Vitamin D deficient and could benefit from Vitamin D supplementation, especially in the winter months.  Vitamin D is important and impacts everything from cancer risk to stroke to mood.  Supplementing with Vitamin D is more crucial during the winter months than at any other time of the year, as we are exposed to less sunlight and are likely experiencing a natural dip in our Vit D levels.

OMEGA 3s:  Start an Omega 3 fatty acid supplement such as fish oil or flax seed oil.  Omega 3s are crucial for  mood support and supplementing with fish oil, flax oil, cod oil, krill oil, coconut oil or flax seed oil will help lift the winter fog in our brains and help protect our body from the brittleness that winter brings.

PROBIOTICS:  Along with the gut/brain connection we talked about earlier, another supplement to consider upping in the winter months is probiotics.  Probiotics have been shown to make a significant impact on mood, alleviating anxiety and depression.

 

Find all of these supplements plus all of my very favorite, tried and true, most trusted pharmacy grade supplements, all at a special discount for my readers, waiting for you right here:

 

 

7.  WALK

 

Engage in regular aerobic exercise, especially if you can exercise outdoors in the early morning hours. Simply walking for 10 minutes each day can make a HUGE difference in your mood all winter long. 

Other options include biking, swimming, yoga.   If you must exercise indoors, try exercising in the morning near a sunny window.

If you can’t walk or get any other form of exercise?  Sauna is your answer.  Medical studies show that sauna is just as good as exercise in boosting longevity.  I blog about that for you right here.

Sauna in the wintertime?  Hells yes.

 

 

 

8.  TRAVEL

 

Most people can’t just get up and relocate to a sunny place, even though the research has shown that ultimately, living in a sunnier climate closer to the equator is a potent cure for SAD.  SAD rarely affects people living within about 30 degrees of the equator.

But realistically most of us can’t re-locate. Instead, if at all possible, plan ahead to take a trip during the winter months to a warm and sunny climate… it only takes about three days of bright sunshine to reverse symptoms of SAD.   

So if you know your mood tends to take a dip in the winter, be sure to go ahead and use up your vacation time to take a much needed break in a sunny location and soak in the relief that the sunshine brings.

You can definitely justify a winter trip as a medical necessity if it gets you through the darkest part of winter in a healthier mindframe!

 

 

 

 

If your depression does not respond to these natural remedies or if you feel overwhelmed and struggling from the winter blues, be sure to seek guidance from a healthcare professional.

Otherwise, enjoy incorporating these 8 tips into your wintertime routine and feel better this winter than you ever have before. 

With a little extra attention on hydrating, bowel movements, sleeping, exercise or sauna, seeking early morning light, grounding and adding on a few holistic supplements, you can work in concert with the seasons and feel your best year round… winter included!

 

xoxox, Laura

Your Food Choices Impact Your Anxiety Levels… Here’s What To Look Out For

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Today I wanted to share some foods that are medically proven affect anxiety,

so that you can use this information to naturally decrease your anxiety levels.

 

Did you know treating anxiety actually adds years to your life span?

More on that in a moment.

But first, let’s not worsen or trigger your underlying anxiety with the wrong foods.

Nutritional psychiatry is a real thing — using nutrition to treat mood disorders can transform your life and make huge shifts in your ability to function and even thrive, despite having a predisposition towards anxiety.

 

Two foods that might be worsening your anxiety:

 

1.  Gluten —

 

This medical study followed anxiety in patients with celiac disease after being placed on a celiac free diet.

Researchers followed these patients for an entire year, and found the rate of anxiety dropped significantly… from 72% of patients having high levels of anxiety at baseline down to only 25% of patients having anxiety after going gluten free.

The control group had no change in anxiety levels after a year, and interestingly, depression rates did not change at all.  This transformative lessening of anxiety after going gluten free was very impressive and suggests that a gluten free diet can improve anxiety, but may not impact depression.

Although now we need continued research to see if the same reduction in anxiety is true for non-celiac patients, I can completely understand why gluten might trigger anxiety and why going gluten free may help alleviate it.

As I reported years ago that gluten is an irritant to the central nervous system and can even induce brain fog and add to dementia risk.  Read more on that here.

 

 

2.  Sugar —

 

A huge meta-analysis correlated blood sugar control in diabetics with anxiety.

Researchers found that when patients were hyperglycemic, they had significant spikes in anxiety levels.

This after research in vivo showed that rats who binged on sugar became anxious and rats fed sucrose had significantly more anxiety than rats fed honey. 

Again, it would be very helpful to have more medical studies confirm if this reduction in anxiety happens with non-diabetic patients, but since sugar is so inflammatory for the body and immune suppressive as well, reduce sugar as much as possible and see if this helps reduce your anxiety levels too!

 

 

Two foods that can help relieve anxiety:

 

1.  Fish —  

 

As I blog about here, omega 3 fatty acids offer a calming effect on the brain.

In fact, this medical study showed that taking Omega 3 fatty acid supplements dropped anxiety rates by 20%!

Krill oil is an easy way to boost your intake of Omega 3s.  Find all of my very favorite, pharmacy grade, pure and potent Omega 3 fatty acid supplements in my online dispensary right here.

 

 

 

 

2.  Fermented foods & probiotics —

 

As I blog about here, the link between the body and mind starts in our gut.

In fact, this interesting study showed that patients who ate fermented foods actually lessened social anxiety.

Enjoy yogurt, kefir, kombucha or fermented foods routinely to naturally decrease anxiety levels, and if you don’t like to consume those foods routinely, get started on a high quality probiotic supplement.

You can find my favorite supplements, including the best strains of probiotics, in my online dispensary here.

 

And a few more tips about eating:

 

 

 

1.  Eat regularly —

 

I’ve found in my past 20 years of practicing medicine that patients who do not eat consistently and routinely have more anxiety and even panic attacks when they are skipping meals and/or not eating enough grounding protein and healthy fats.

If you tend to get panic or anxiety symptoms, look over your eating habits and be certain you are actually getting enough protein and healthy fats to keep your body feeling grounded and stable.

Make sure your home and work areas have nutrient dense foods such as nuts, cheese, yogurt, nutritional rich veggies like avocado and coconut, chia seeds, granola bars with nuts and seeds in them, and other easy to grab foods.  Start your day with an egg or other protein rich food.

Don’t skip breakfast!

 

 

 

2.  Hydrate fully —

 

The symptoms of dehydration can give you the same symptoms as anxiety — racing heartbeat, cloudy thinking, overwhelm, muscle fatigue, etc…

If you feel anxiety coming on, take a few deep breaths and drink a big glass of clean filtered water.

 

 

3.  Make sure you are getting enough minerals, especially magnesium.

 

Just like with dehydration, being mineral deficient can trigger anxiety symptoms too… especially shakiness, muscle tension and irregular heartbeat.  Your muscles (including your heart!) and your central nervous system absolutely need minerals to function.

I highly recommend magnesium replacement if you tend to feel anxious, get trigger points or other areas of muscle tension, have difficulty relaxing at night, grind your teeth or have restless legs, or any other difficulty allowing your body to unwind.

Nightly magnesium bath soaks or topical application of magnesium lotion, as well as trace mineral drops in water throughout the day can do wonders to settle a hyper-irritable central nervous system and soothe a tense musculoskeletal system.

 

Don’t ignore anxiety.

There is no reason to suffer, accelerate aging, or even shorten your lifespan because of untreated anxiety.

 

 

 

Did you know that addressing and treating anxiety

actually slows the aging process and reverses the damage

that anxiety does to your body?

It’s true.

Published February 5, 2015 in the British Journal of Psychiatry, researchers found that anxiety increases the rate of aging AND that treating anxiety helps reverse the aging process!

Telomeres are complexes of DNA that cap the ends of your chromosomes.  They shorten with age.

The length of your telomeres are considered a direct indicator of cellular and biological aging, because telomere shortening is accelerated when the aging process is accelerated.

This has been shown in other disorders such as depression, stress, increased cortisol levels, oxidative stress, higher levels of inflammation and now… anxiety conditions.

 

The study:

 

  • The study looked at 1283 patients with active anxiety disorders, 459 patients with a resolved anxiety disorder, and 582 control patients with no psychiatric disorders… over 2,300 patients total.
  • The average age was 42 years and 66% of the participants were female, 34% male.

 

The Results:

  • Telomere length typically shortens by about 14 base pairs a year.
  • Accelerated aging was found in all anxiety disorders including social phobias, agoraphobia, panic disorder and generalized anxiety disorders (GAD).
  • Even after controlling for sex, weight, health, lifestyle factors, smoking, drinking, etc… patients with active anxiety disorders had significantly shorter telomeres than those without anxiety (by 75 base pairs on average — over 5 years!)
  • BUT!  Participants who had their anxiety disorder adequately treated had telomere length almost the same length as their non-anxious counterparts… only a 7 telomere difference (about a 6 month difference.)

 

This shows the incredible resilience of our body to stress, disease, and trauma!!

 

  • After the anxiety was alleviated, telomere length returned to almost the exact length that non-anxious patients had!
  • And the longer the patient has been anxiety free, the closer it was in telomere length to those who had no history at all of any anxiety disorder.

 

Just as it is never too late to stop smoking (because there are immediate health benefits as the body immediately starts to repair) it is NEVER too late to address anxiety… as the body is fully capable of reversing the aging effects of anxiety on our DNA.

 

 

This latest study showed an average life span shortening of about 5 years or more just due to anxiety.

And a near complete reversal by addressing that anxiety.

 

Add years to your life by getting help when you need it.

Don’t ignore anxiety.  Anxiety is extremely common and there is a lot of support out there just waiting to help you.

I’ve blogged about anxiety quite a bit because just like many of you, I’ve had my own share of anxiety and have learned how to work with this energy to optimize my own health and the health of thousands of my patients who have anxiety struggles.

I really hope these resources help!

I truly believe in the power of positive, uplifting, empowering health information.

Positivity, support, wellness tips, encouragement, fun…  all of these things make a difference and ACTUALLY IMPACT LONGEVITY… adding years to your lifespan!

If these tips are not enough to make your anxiety levels lift, please seek professional support from an in person health care provider and do not suffer in silence.

xoxox, Laura

 

 

 

 

Save Your Winter Skin With These 10 Unique Tips

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Winter is a tough time for skin.

 

The dry, heated air that cracks our vulnerable skin when we are indoors combines with whipping cold winds that chaff skin when we are outside…

…absolutely no fun if you suffer from chronic skin conditions such as psoriasis, eczema or other forms of dermatitis.  

The very moment you turn on the heat… yes, even heat from natural heat sources such as wood burning stoves or gas fireplaces… the air dehumidifies and the skin begins to dry out.

Another reason skin gets a double whammy in winter is that not only are the elements harsher and more dehydrating both inside and outside, but we tend to ignore and neglect our skin because it is not on display.  

While there are constant discussions, advertisements and products everywhere in the summer to remind us to protect skin from excessive UV exposure, to moisturize our skin, and constant reminder to drink more water in the hot summer months, we tend to completely neglect our skin in the winter.  Out of sight, out of mind!

But this neglect is hard on us… our skin is the largest organ we have!  Our body is in a constant state of stress trying to repair this organ system if we neglect it. 

So right now is the perfect time for a little extra TLC for our skin.

 

Any skin that has a compromise in the skin barrier function needs the ultimate TLC above and beyond regular skin care needs.   

This is especially important in the winter, as any crack in the barrier of our skin can invite inflammation, lead to infection, and even lead to scarring. 

To make it through winter with the best skin possible,  I recommend these 10 all natural, holistic skin care steps, in addition to any skin care steps your physician or dermatologist recommends to treat your unique skin issues.

 

 

My 10 Favorite Winter Skin Care Tips:

 

1.  Protect your skin while outdoors: 

 

Invest in a good pair of gloves to shield your hands from harsh winter elements and a soft scarf to wrap around your delicate nose and lips to prevent windburn and chapping before it begins. 

 

 

 

 

2.  Exfoliate with baking soda or dry brush your skin: 

 

Many of us stop exfoliating in winter as our skin isn’t on show as much.  But giving your skin a quick daily or even just a weekly exfoliation will sweep away dead skin cells and allow your skin to better absorb your moisturizer afterwards as well. 

To exfoliate, simply make a paste by mixing baking soda and a little water in the palm of your hand and us it to gently scrub your skin to remove dead skin cells, or alternatively you can dry brush your skin using a natural bristled brush before stepping in the shower or bath.  

 

 

 

3.  Soak in honey: 

 

Add a half cup of honey to your bath water to nourish your skin and speed the healing of any winter whipped irritations.  Honey is all natural, anti-fungal and anti-bacterial, accelerates wound healing and decreases the risk of scarring…. making it the perfect skin supportive, holistic bath soak!

And use warm, not hot water when you bathe.

Even though it is tempting to blast hot water in the shower to warm up, the extra heat strips the skin of its oils more quickly.  Keep the bath or shower warm, not hot, stay in the water for less time, and decrease the frequency of your bathing in the winter months.

 

 

 

 

4.  Slather on coconut oil as a whole body moisturizer twice daily:

 

Morning and night, especially after bathing, use a beautiful, all natural, super healing organic oil directly on skin such as coconut oil or sunflower seed oil (my two favs that are both medically shown to repair the lipid bilayer best.). Oil seals in moisture better than a lotion or cream which both are water based and will not protect skin the way a pure oil will.

 

 

 

5. Protect your nasal mucosa with a humidifier + apply coconut oil to the interior rim of your nose: 

 

Humidifying room air and keeping well-hydrated internally by drinking water copiously will prevent the tendency to develop chapped tight skin and dry, uncomfortable nasal passages.  If you only have one humidifier, place it in your bedroom so that you can sleep in a moisturized environment at night. 

You can also apply a little coconut oil just inside the nasal openings to help protect your nasal mucosa from drying out! 

 

 

 

 

6.  Make organic coconut oil lip balm to use throughout the day:

 

It’s so easy to whip up your own homemade lip protection, it takes less then one minute and you can even use it as an intensive hand and foot salve.

Simply melt 2 parts coconut oil with one part beeswax (for example, 2 TBSP coconut oil and 1 TBSP beeswax) in a microwave or over a double broiler.  Stir and add a few drops of Vit E (I simply snip the end off of a capsule of Vit E and squeeze it right in) and stir again.  You can add a drop or two of honey for sweetness (and honey is incredibly skin supportive as a topical treatment for wound healing) and pour the mixture into a clean, recycled container or small jar.  Empty skincare jars or mint tins work well. 

Use liberally to protect your lips and save them from winter dryness!

 

 

 

7.  Moisturize skin from within:  

 

If you are not internally hydrating your body, there is no amount of external moisturizer you can put on your skin that will effectively hydrate it.  So all winter long, drink lots of pure, filtered water all day, every day.

This is the water filter I recommend to my patients.

Even though it’s so much easier to remember to stay hydrated in the summer when we are hot and sweating, please don’t ignore your hydration status in the winter when it is every bit as crucial, if not more so.  Dry skin is dehydrated skin.

You can also support your skin by eating foods rich in healthy fats that supply your skin with the essential vital nutrients it needs to maintain its crucial lipid bilayer.  Take care to consume foods such as olive oil, coconut oil, avocados, walnuts, almonds, pecans, cashews, pistachios, macadamia nuts, pumpkin seeds, sunflower seeds, sesame seeds, chia seeds, fish, flaxseed and kelp all winter long.

 

 

 

 

8.  Take high quality Omega 3 supplements daily:

 

Drinking water and eating healthy fats in the winter may not be enough to maintain a healthy skin lipid bilayer, especially if you are prone to dry skin, psoriasis or eczema.  I highly recommend taking a high quality Omega 3 supplement daily (for so many reasons, from preserving brain volume to decreasing ADHD symptoms to supporting heart health to keeping your skin supple.)

Find all of my very favorite Omega 3 supplements in my online dispensary right here.

 

 

 

9.  Extra sleep: 

 

Take advantage of the longer nights, the soft indirect lighting of winter and the natural urge to hibernate more to repair your sleep deficit and stock up on restorative beauty sleep.  This decreases the stress on your body from the inside and out, allows your skin to repair more easily, giving your complexion a natural boost!

 

 

 

 10.  Re-evaluate your boundaries:

 

Your skin is always speaking to you.

Skin can speak subtly through chronic messages that it whispers to you your entire life… or skin can scream loudly and angrily during acute transitions and times of crisis.

Because our skin replicates so quickly, it is a wonderful mirror for what is going on with the rest of our body and mind:

  • If we are anemic, it shows us quickly.
  • If we are dehydrated, it shows us quickly.
  • If we are malnourished, our skin will lack that robust glow that healthy skin gives.
  • If we have been neglecting our selves in other ways, our skin will reveal us.
  • If we are unhappy, our skin literally sags.
  • If we have lost connection with joy, our skin tells it.
  • If we feel ugly, our skin mirrors that.

 

And because it covers our entire body, every thought we think and every word we say and every intention we ever have passes through our skin on its way to communicate with the outside world.

So it doesn’t just protect us from the world… quite the opposite is true too:  it translates our inner being to the surface.  It shows the world what is going on inside of us.

It is constantly in contact with and intimate with our inner workings.  Because of this, skin reflects how we feel about ourselves.

Skin forms our barrier, our identity.  It forms what we perceive as *us* and delineates *us* from *the rest of the world*.  Skin is our outer projection of our inner truths.

 

 

In short, skin represents our personal boundary.

 

And every winter… during the darkest, coldest months, we get an invitation to go inward re-evaluate our boundaries before we emerge this coming spring fresh and new.   Grab a journal or get into an open meditative mindframe and ask yourself:

  • Are you grinning and bearing something that you’d secretly like to say a firm “no” to?
  • Are you letting someone in your energy space that constantly irritates or drains you?
  • Do you need to set some healthy boundaries at work?
  • Do you need to set clearer boundaries around your time?  We all have the same 24 hours in a day, but if you are doing activities you don’t feel aligned with or tending to emotional needs of others constantly, you will find much of that time will disappear and you won’t even know where it all went.
  • Do you have a friendship that needs some boundaries clarified and strengthened?
  • Do you have a family member that you need to create firmer boundaries and consequences of boundary violations with?
  • Do you need more personal space when you are home?  Do you have a place where it’s clear to everyone sharing your home that they are not to disturb you?
  • Do you need to set boundaries in your sexual relationships?

 

Double-check that you say no when you need to and have clear boundaries that allow you to do what you truly want to do and enjoy that without guilt.   

If you are sucking it up in any area of your life and just putting a smile on your face, your body feels this. Your skin will be working over time to set a boundary that you are failing to make for yourself.

There is no way your skin should be having to set boundaries that you aren’t setting for yourself.

If you find your skin is stressed out, ask yourself what boundaries need to be strengthened in your life and meanwhile give your skin a little TLC with the other 9 steps listed above and watch the energy shift and your skin improve dramatically.

 

 

 

skin

 

To your beautiful, radiant, ever repairing body boundary… your skin!

xoxo, Laura

My Favorite Tips For Navigating Food & Drinks At Holiday Parties

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Holiday stress isn’t all just about juggling the social commitments, traveling or picking out just the right gift.

Most people report that being surrounded by rich holiday foods, alcohol, temptation everywhere, impulse eating, and weight gain during the holiday season adds a significant amount of stress as well.

 

If there was ever a time that people worry about their weight, it’s during the holidays.

How to navigate this tricky but wonderful time of comfort food, decadent desserts, and celebratory toasts galore?

Today, I’ll tell you!

 

It’s tricky to be around party foods…  what if you want to stick with foods that are healthy for your body… or, at the very least, don’t undo all of the benefit from the grounding, the exercise, the deep sleep and good supplements you take?

You absolutely can, if you know what party foods to look for.

So today, I offer you some of my 5 favorite holiday party foods that I never ever restrict.  You are almost guaranteed to find at least one of these four treats on any holiday party spread:

 

 

My 5 Favorite Party Foods:

 

1)  Chocolate!

 

Shown to support heart and brain health, women who consume chocolate on a regular basis have a lower body mass index then those who don’t!

 

2)  Caffeine

 

Warding off dementia,  Alzheimers and depression, even decreasing your risk for developing diabetes… a warm cup of coffee or tea is the perfect way to indulge at a party, guilt free, especially if you can skip the sugar and whipped cream.

 

 

3)  Berries

 

Super-powered antioxidants that decrease inflammation throughout your body, enjoy the fresh fruit party platter!  Best dessert yet?  Snag that chocolate covered strawberry and enjoy every single luscious bite!

 

4)  Nuts

 

Medically proven to lower heart disease risk and boosting energy without causing any weight gain, find the nut bowl and dig in!

 

 

5)  Deviled Eggs

 

I saved the best for last. My favorite party food of all time is deviled eggs.

I truly believe in eating eggs regularly… the protein and healthy fats are second-to-none.  Although traditional recipes for deviled eggs double their calorie content, it’s still so much less calorie dense (at about 160 calories per deviled egg) than almost anything else that you can find at a holiday dinner.  And the protein is sure to keep you much more full and decrease your desire to fill your stomach with empty carbs and inflammation-inducing sugar.

If you are truly concerned about keeping calorie counts low, you can always offer to be the one to bring deviled eggs to the party!

Using this recipe for a skinny deviled egg (which uses only some of the yolks and substitutes in greek yogurt instead of mayo) each deviled egg is only 37 calories and has 3.8 grams of satisfying, delicious protein!

 

 

 

 

But what if is the holiday drinks that are stressing you out?

It is possible to buffer your liver — at least a little — during your next holiday toast.

 

Drinking wine occasionally has enjoyed mixed health reviews — with some studies reporting cognitive benefits from wine (although for those you can simply take resveratrol supplements!) but many more concerning studies reporting that alcohol increases cancer risk and decreases life span, well outweighing the benefits in my opinion.

And because holiday parties typically mean a lot of driving out and about to attend these parties, my first recommendation is just not to drink at all!

 

 

 

But if you realistically are going to toast the holidays with friends and family and a drink or two… and you have a safe ride lined up… there is a way that you can help that drink be less toxic to your dear old liver.

 

Plus, we can’t ignore that even if the recommendation is not to drink at all, there are 140 millions folks (in America alone!) that regularly drink and about 16 million of them have an alcohol abuse disorder.

So instead of ignoring a huge population of folks that need health support, I share this information in an effort to help their body stay as healthy as possible while they seek the help and support they need to stop drinking.

 

Let’s start with the basics:

Alcohol is metabolized into acetaldehyde by your liver.

 

If acetaldehyde sounds familiar, you might be be thinking of it’s cousin, the more well known autopsy chemical:

formaldehyde.

 

Yep, they are related, and just like formaldehyde is well known to pickle human tissue, acetaldehyde isn’t very gentle on your liver or body either.

Both are harsh chemicals known to cause cancer.

If you are drinking one drink an hour or more, you can expect to feel cumulative effects of acetaldehyde build up as your body can’t metabolize the acetaldehyde quickly enough: heart racing, pounding, nausea, dehydration, dizziness.

 

How can we protect ourselves from this dangerous metabolite?

 

Our body can use l-cysteine to protect against the acetaldehyde effects until our liver can further break the acetaldehyde down into carbon dioxide and water.

You can also add on Vitamin C to help keep the l-cysteine activated and working more efficiently as well.

A combination of l-cycsteine and vit C — taken before you start drinking and continuing with a dose of about 200 mg per ounce of alcohol consumed — to help block the toxic effects of the acetaldehyde can help your body recover more easily from those holiday gatherings.

 

These supplements are not a recommendation to make drinking safe… rather to make drinking less toxic.  Remember, no supplement can make drinking safe.

And no supplement can make drinking and driving the slightest bit safe… or morally correct… or legal.  If you are going to drink… don’t drive.  Ever.

 

 

And of course, no pharmaceutical company out there has poured money into researching how to reduce harm from alcohol… so there are no large human medical studies to back this up.

But there are some very encouraging animal studies that show that having l-cystiene on board was protective and prolonged the life of rodents who were fed toxic doses of acetaldehyde.

Only 10% of animals initially survived a large dose acetaldehyde challenge without supplementation, but 80% initially survived with L-cysteine on board!  That is an 800% increased survival!

Because these supplements are safe, cheap, and readily available to humans everywhere, Big Pharma knows they are unlikely to make a huge profit from pour large amounts of funding into examining how these vitamins might help us preserve and protect our health.

But on the upside, exactly because they are safe and inexpensive and readily available, this means you have easy access to these supportive healing supplements too.  Woot!  But be sure to stick with very high quality supplements made in fantastic, reputable pharmacy grade nutraceutical facilities.

To help, I’ve added these supplements in the Detox category of my online pharmacy dispensary so that you can be sure you have pharmacy grade, super pure quality supplements on hand to protect your body if you do decide to drink this holiday season.

 

 

Taking a dose before drinking,

a dose with each round of drinks,

and another dose after you finish all alcohol consumption completely

might help spare your body from some portion of the the ill effects of the toxic acetaldehyde.

 

 

 

Please enjoy a safe, beautiful, loving, connected holiday season and know that I am so grateful for each of you for joining me on my blog each week for some encouraging, uplifting, holistic health topics… from my heart to yours… (((xoxoxo))).

 

I’m excited to dive into 2020 with you my friends!

 

I have so many new and exciting plans to share with you in this upcoming year, including the release of my new book, plus a brand new, absolutely free online health class this spring and so much more!

 

Make sure you are signed up for my weekly newsletter so you can get all of these details and more… just enter your email in my sign up box on my homepage. 

You absolutely can successfully navigate holiday eating this year, and armed with these tips, you’ll feel your best while doing so!

xoxoxo, Laura

 

How To Protect Your Teens From EMF Exposures

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Today I made a video for you to answer one of my most frequently asked questions:

How can I protect my teenager from all the radiation they are exposed to?

 

These tips aren’t just applicable to teens, but would work well with anyone that seems a little resistant to (or even openly defiant about, lol!) considering that EMFs are harmful to our body’s health.

With plans for 5G being implemented throughout our nation (and the globe) and our loved one’s exposures increasing dramatically, any little thing you can do to get them to understand that these exposures come with health risks is very very important.

 

 

 

This is a timely message that is worth listening to — in this video I provide 20 different ways to reduce the cumulative radiation that your children are exposed to:

 

20 Ways To Protect Your Teen From EMFs:

 

(click to watch on YouTube)

 

(click to watch on my website)

 

Here is a summary of the 20 ideas I share with you in this video, along with links to some of the shielding tools I show you in the video as well.

Make sure you watch the video above where I go into detail on how to implement these ideas with resistant teens and watch me demonstrate exactly how to use the shielding tools as well!

  1.  Use Airplane Mode
  2.  Phone Free Car Rides
  3.  Phone Free Meals
  4.  Phone Free Sleep
  5.  Shielding Phone Case
  6.  Bedside Shield
  7.  Speaker Phone
  8.  Repetition
  9.  Shielding Router Bag
  10.  Shielding Blankets
  11.  Shielding Sleeping Bag
  12.  Shielding Robe
  13.  Outlet Kill Switch
  14.  Shielding Tank Tops
  15.  Shielding Boxers
  16.  Grounding Computer Cord
  17.  Shielding Throw Blanket
  18.  EMF Test Meter
  19.  Remove Charging Cords From Bedrooms
  20.  Move Gaming Systems Into Main Living Spaces

 

 

Lastly, here are some awesome resources that can help you feel more empowered and supported in reducing your loved one’s radiation exposures:

 

1.  Wireless Education

 

This awesome website offers a completely free, 5 minute introductory online course… perfect for gently introducing the topic of EMFs to those who are resistant to the message.  This website also has a fabulous 10 minute Children & Family Course and a 15 minute Corporate Safety & Awarness Course for work place awareness that I highly recommend!

 

 

 

2.   Screen Strong

 

This fabulous website offers tons of free resources to help parents figure out if their child might have a screen addiction, and what to do to if so… including a free quiz to help assess if screen addiction is an issue, medical studies, tips, books, videos and more to help you and your child break the strong pull of screens:

 

 

3.  Electrohypersensitivity Resources

 

This is a page full of tons of free resources that I have personally pulled together for you to support the health of those who are electohypersensitivie (EHS) — how to diagnose EHS, how to treat it, even print outs you can take in to your own personal physician to help them understand how to support your recovery better:

 

 

 

4.  How To Protect Yourself From 5G

 

This is another free article (with a free video) that I created for you on the topic of how to protect from 5G, after I returned from a 5G conference where the focus was more on the dangers or 5G and less on actionable solutions.  I really desire to spread solutions, not fear, so I created this video just for you.  Because no matter what, there absolutely are things you can do to protect yourself!

 

 

(me speaking at a 5G conference,

which is what inspired me to create a video full of solutions for you!)

 

4.  Shielding Boutique

 

Want more wonderful shielding ideas and tools?  Hop over to my Shielding Boutique for the most wonderful, physician developed and curated (by me, Laura Koniver MD!) stocked with eco-friendly, artisanal, custom hand crafted shielding tools made just for you:

 

 

 

 

To your innate and ever-resilient health!

And the innate resilient health of your precious children.

God bless you as you work to implement safe strategies that protect their wellness for a lifetime.

xoxoxo, Laura

Sauna + Grounding = A Win-Win Combo To Boost Your Health All Winter Long

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The weather is getting unbearably cold for me, so I thought today I would share with you what I do whenever it’s too cold to ground outside and too cold to go outside to exercise:

  1.  I head to my local YMCA and sit in the sauna to reap very similar benefits to exercising, but without the risk of slipping on dangerous ice or feeling my lungs burn from the frigidly cold air
  2. Then immediately after my sauna session, I am warm enough to embrace grounding outside for a few blessed moments while I cool down.

It’s win-win!  Let me show you:

 

 

 

 

 

 

I love anything that boosts circulation — like grounding, sauna, steam room, hot baths, sleeping with a hot water bottle, massage, even (on occasion) exercise LOL…. it just feels intuitively right to get your blood flowing.

Sauna increases the circulation of blood all throughout your body — getting the blood pumping through your cardiovascular system, your muscles, your skin, your joints, your brain — so it turns out that routine sauna has many of the same health benefits that exercise does.

So when the weather is too harsh outside, if you can find a local sauna to go to, you can feel confident that you are still boosting your health and longevity even without hitting the treadmill.  

And now, there are several recent major medical studies that back this up!

 

 

 

 

Medical studies have shown that folks who use a sauna two or more times a week have a significantly reduced risk of cardiovascular disease and death, and a reduced risk of all-cause mortality (meaning they died less from all causes put together) than folks who used a sauna once a week or less.

 

This study was the largest yet, a meta-analysis of all of the medical literature on dry sauna from 2000 to 2017, so it provides definitive proof of the overwhelming health benefits of routine sauna.

 

Published in Evidence Based Complimentary & Alternative Medicine Journal, April 2018 , researchers review 40 studies that included almost 4,000 patients and found that routine sauna use:

  • reduced risk of heart disease, heart attack and sudden cardiac death
  • lowered blood pressure
  • lower risk of stroke
  • reduced risk of dementia and other neurocognitive changes
  • reduced risk of pulmonary disease such as asthma and lung infections like influenza
  • decrease risk of rheumatologist and immune disorders
  • decrease in pain conductions such as arthritis and headaches
  • decreased risk of death
  • improved quality of life

 

 

 

Looking at cognitive function yielded even more exciting results.

Turns out, sauna not only lengthens lifespan but protects against dementia to preserve quality of life, too!

Published in Age and Ageing (Dec 8, 2016) researchers followed more than 2,300 patients for an average of 20.7 years, and found:

  • Patients who averaged 4 to 7 trips to the sauna a week were two-thirds less likely to develop dementia over the next 20 years (a 66% decrease in dementia)
  • Patients were also two thirds less likely to be diagnosed with Alzheimers Disease (AD) during the 20 year follow up (a 65% drop in AD diagnosis)
  • This risk reduction was independent of any known risk factors, including body mass, age, smoking status, alcohol consumption or previous heart attack.

The Bottom Line:

Sauna users enjoyed a 66% reduction in dementia risk of all types (including Alzheimer’s) from this very easy-to-enjoy lifestyle intervention.  

It turns out, the circulation boost from sauna preserves memory function and protects us from developing memory diseases.  So, not only does sauna help you live longer (avoiding heart disease and all-cause mortality) but it also helps you avoid dementia and memory loss disease to enjoy that longer life more!

 

 

 

 

 

Why is sauna so good?

 

Sauna raises whole body temperature which activates metabolic changes like a neutralizing inflammation, reducing oxidative stress, increase nitric oxide bioavailability, increased insulin sensitivity, and improved vasodilation.  

In other words, raising the core body temperature and increasing circulation makes the benefits of sauna very similar to the benefits of exercise.  So increased time in the sauna helps increase vascular perfusion of the brain, increasing endothelial function and reducing inflammation.  And not just in your brain, but throughout your entire body, too, which is one of the reasons it’s so cardioprotective as well.

So if you can’t exercise (or, ahem, like me, don’t particularly love to do it in the cold winter months) then one good alternative is sauna.

 

Sauna is also a great idea for disabled or mobility-limited folks, who might find getting outside to exercise more challenging.  Almost anyone can sauna and enjoy very similar longevity benefits as if they exercised!

 

Often, the folks that could benefit from exercise the most (like those recovering from cancer, those with metabolic and weight issues, those with high stress loads, those who must sit for long periods of time at work, those caretaking of others with very limited time away, those recovering from trauma, etc…) may find it hardest to participate in regular exercise. 

So the answer to this is routine relaxing in a sauna to raise basal metabolic temperatures.

If you know someone who doesn’t have time to exercise routinely, someone who had mobility issues, someone who doesn’t have the energy to exercise, someone who is in recovery and doesn’t have the strength for exercise, someone who lives in such a cold harsh environment they are not likely to be outside for long… let them know about the healing benefits of sauna to supplement during the times when exercise is harder to come by.

Three times a week all winter long I wake up and ask myself — is it warm enough to go on a nice long brisk walk for exercise outside?  Is it warm enough to go ground outside?  And if the answer is a resounding “no!” on both counts, then I know where I’m headed — to my local YMCA that has a sauna that I can have unlimited access to 7 days a week.  Making it one of the least expensive holistic therapies I know of… less expensive than chiropractic care, less expensive than massage, even less expensive than acupuncture.

As an added bonus, I can use my cool down period to get outside in the fresh air and get grounded.

 

Sauna to boost circulatory health and grounding to boost conductive health…

…that’s your win-win winter health care routine.

 

 

 

 

Interested in giving sauna a try?

 

  1. The recommended routine is to sauna at least once a week and up to three times a week, for a time period of at least 5 minutes and a maximum of 20 minutes.
  2. Hydrate before, during and after sauna.
  3. Be sure to cool down afterwards by grounding for several minutes in the fresh air outside.
  4. Touch the ground, or cement, the sidewalk, concrete, a tree, a bush, or a rock to get grounded.  Take five minutes to breathe deeply, let your core body temperature normalize, and then dive back into your day knowing you powerfully boosted your health.
  5. Don’t sauna if you have a fever, an active inflammatory condition like a rash or hives, or are intoxicated, and ask your physician if sauna is right for you if you have a serious cardiac issue or other health issues.

Sauna + grounding is so pleasurable it just might be one health care routine you want to keep up all year long, well past when winter’s chill is over!

xoxoxo, Laura

 

PS — I get asked all the time which type of sauna is better for your health: traditional sauna or far-infrared sauna.

From a medical point of view, most of the research that has been conducted has been using traditional (hot stone or wood burning) types of saunas in countries around the world, like Finland, where sauna is a cultural norm and part of a weekly, if not daily, household routine.

But while the most research has been done on traditional sauna, some promising newer research has shown similar positive benefits from far-infrared saunas.  For example, in the largest medical literature review to date looking at thousands of sauna participants in over 40 different studies many of the studies on cardiovascular disease and congestive heart failure used far-infrared saunas instead of traditional sauna. 

Traditional saunas have been used for over two thousand years, so if you want to go with the safest, most researched option, stick with traditional sauna. 

However, advocates for the newer, far-infrared saunas would point out that while far-infrared saunas haven’t been around as long, they require less heat to provide the same results because far-infrared waves penetrate more deeply into tissues.  They are also generally less expensive and make the possibility of investing in an at-home sauna more accessible.

So if you find a traditional sauna is too uncomfortably hot for you, you might prefer to choose an infrared sauna, which reaches temperatures typically about 70 degrees Fahrenheit cooler than traditional saunas reach (roughly 120 degrees Fahrenheit for far-infrared as opposed to 190 degrees Fahrenheit for traditional sauna.) 

But the best answer of all is that whatever sauna you are more likely to use routinely, and whichever one you have access to, is the best sauna of all!