The Weakest Leak :

Autoimmunity and Leaky Gut Explained

They say that any system is only as strong as its weakest link. It turns out, our digestive and immune systems are only as strong as their weakest leak.

Imagine your gut as the body’s security guard. The tight junctions between the cells of your intestines decide who gets in and who doesn’t. But what happens when the gut becomes too permissive and allows unwanted guests through? That’s where “leaky gut” comes into play.

Leaky gut, or intestinal permeability, is a condition where the lining of the intestines becomes more porous than it should be. Instead of acting like a strict bouncer to the coolest club in town, the tissue starts allowing substances that shouldn’t enter your bloodstream. This includes undigested food particles, bacteria, and toxins.

When the gut barrier is compromised and unwanted intruders enter the bloodstream, your immune system, which usually only targets harmful invaders, can get confused and launch a response against your body’s own tissues instead.

It’s like friendly fire within your body! According to the NIH (National Institutes of Health) around 23.5 million (7%) Americans suffer from an autoimmune condition. And 75% of those affected are women.

Hashimoto’s thyroid disease, ulcerative colitis, rheumatoid arthritis, psoriasis, vitiligo and multiple sclerosis are some of the more than 80 known autoimmune diseases commonly seen at Carolina Total Wellness.

Three Steps to Preventing or Reversing Autoimmune Disease:
Not every autoimmune disease is curable or reversible but there are some proven steps you can take to reduce the effects on your health.

1. Manage Your Stress Stress isn’t just in your mind; it affects your gut, too. When we are facing a perceived physical or emotional threat, our bodies are wired to respond by directing resources to your vital organs and away from your digestive and reproductive functions. When you don’t have sufficient digestive enzymes and gastric acid to break foods down, they may be more irritating to your gut lining and/or penetrate the lining as larger particles than your blood stream knows how to handle. It’s not always possible to avoid stress but you can practice strategies to help you minimize the effects. Get 8 consistent hours of sleep each night. Practice saying ‘no’ – it is a full sentence. Go outside and take a walk – without devices. Laugh with a good friend.

2. Eat Gut-Healing Foods Eating a balanced diet is crucial for maintaining gut health. A diet rich in fiber, fruits, and vegetables promotes a diverse gut microbiome and a healthier gut lining. Use the rainbow as a template to guide your shopping list and eat foodsof every color several times per week. Probiotics, found in foods like yogurt, sauerkraut and kimchi help eliminate toxins and aid the digestion of nutrients from the foods you eat. Eat fermented foods several times each week to strengthen the lining of your digestive tract. Bone broth has proteins and gelatin to soothe the inner lining of the gut. Sip on some bone broth instead of coffee in the morning if you’re trying to kick the caffeine habit.

3. Fasting Fridays Once a week, skip breakfast (and the coffee/creamer.) An occasional, extended break from the hard work of digestion, also known as intermittent fasting, lets your gut clean out old debris and calms the immune system. You may discover improved mental clarity and energy, too. In fact, you may like it so much that you decide to skip breakfast two or three days a week. Healing the Gut.

If you suspect you have a leaky gut or an autoimmune disease, consult afunctional medicine practitioner. They can recommend personalized approaches like dietary changes, supplementation, and lifestyle modifications to heal your gut and reduce inflammation.

Autoimmunity and leaky gut are two puzzle pieces that fit together more than we once thought. Maintaining a healthy gut through a balanced diet, managing stress, and seeking professional guidance when needed can be your key to preventing or managing autoimmune diseases.

Remember, the journey to optimal health is unique for everyone. Keep exploring, learning, and making choices that support your well-being.  

Your Partner In Health,
Erica Nelson, MSPH, NBC-HWC

Grilling With Care: Preserve Flavor And Health!

As grilling season kicks off, let’s explore how to enjoy deliciously grilled meals while minimizing oxidative damage for the sake of our health. Let’s fire up the grill with care!  

What is Oxidative Damage?
During high-heat cooking methods like grilling, oxidative damage can occur. This happens when certain compounds in food interact with heat and create harmful free radicals, which can potentially damage cells and contribute to various health concerns.  
Grilling Tips for Healthier BBQ:
1️⃣ Marinate to the Rescue: Marinating your meats before grilling can offer a protective shield. The combination of herbs, spices, and acidic ingredients like lemon juice or vinegar can reduce the formation of harmful compounds while adding flavor.
2️⃣ Mindful Meat Prep: Trim excess fat from meats to minimize flare-ups and reduce the risk of charring. Fat dripping onto the flames can generate harmful smoke that may deposit on food.
3️⃣ Precook Partially: To reduce grilling time and limit exposure to high heat, consider partially cooking meats in advance. This can be done through baking, steaming, or parboiling, and it allows for more controlled grilling.
4️⃣ Opt for Lean Cuts: Choose leaner cuts of meat or skinless poultry options. These tend to produce fewer drippings and, thus, fewer harmful compounds.
5️⃣ Embrace Veggies and Fruits: Incorporate an array of colorful vegetables and fruits onto the grill. They are naturally packed with antioxidants, which can help counteract oxidative damage and provide a healthier grilling option.  

The Importance of Healthier Grilling: Reducing oxidative damage while grilling is crucial for the following reasons:  
Cellular Protection: By minimizing exposure to harmful compounds, we support the health and integrity of our cells, reducing the risk of chronic health conditions.
Antioxidant Boost: Enjoying antioxidant-rich foods and reducing oxidative damage contributes to overall well-being and helps maintain a balanced diet.  
Flavorful and Safe: Following these tips not only supports our health but also preserves the flavors of grilled foods, ensuring an enjoyable and satisfying culinary experience.  
Grill with Care, Savor with Joy: As we embark on grilling adventures, let’s keep in mind the impact of high-heat cooking. By adopting mindful techniques and incorporating healthier choices, we can enjoy delicious grilled meals while prioritizing our well-being.  

Enjoy grilling  season and let’s celebrate the summer with flavors, health, and togetherness!    
Your Partner In Health,
Clarissa A. Kussin, ND, FMCHC, ERYT-500

Non-Toxic Cleaning Recipes


Whether you’re a new parent, someone with sensitivities to chemicals, or just looking to create a healthier home environment, the Non-Toxic Home Guide will help you tremendously.

I hope this guide is informative and helpful in your journey toward a healthier home. If you have any questions , please don’t hesitate to contact your functional medicine health coach at CTW.  We are always here to help.

RECIPES:

All-Purpose Cleaner: Mix equal parts white vinegar and water in a spray bottle. Add a few drops of your favorite essential oil for a pleasant scent.

Glass Cleaner: Mix equal parts white vinegar and water in a spray bottle. Spray the solution onto your mirrors or windows, and use a microfiber cloth to wipe them clean.

Mirror and Glass Cleaner: Mix equal parts white vinegar and water in a spray bottle. Spray the solution onto the mirror or glass surface and wipe with a clean cloth or newspaper.

Tile and Grout Cleaner: Mix 1/2 cup of baking soda with1/4 cup of hydrogen peroxide and 1 tablespoon of dish soap. Apply the solution to the tile and grout using a spray bottle or a sponge. Let it sit for 5-8 minutes before scrubbing with a soft-bristled brush. Rinse thoroughly with water.

Carpet Stain Remover: Mix 1/4 cup of white vinegar, 1 tsp of dish soap, and 1 cup of warm water in a spray bottle. Spray the mixture on the stain, let it sit for 5-10 minutes, then blot with a clean cloth.

Toilet Bowl Cleaner: Pour 2 cups of white vinegar and then 1 cup of baking soda into the toilet bowl. Let it sit for15-20 minutes before scrubbing it with a toilet brush. Flush the toilet to rinse.

Oven Cleaner: Mix 1 cup of baking soda with a small amount of water to form a paste. Apply the paste to the inside of the oven, avoiding heating elements. Let it sit for a few hours or overnight, then wipe it clean with a damp cloth.

Grease Cutter: Mix 1 cup of warm water with 1/3 cup of white vinegar, 1/8 teaspoon of dish soap, and 1 teaspoon of baking soda. Apply the solution to greasy surfaces with a sponge or cloth and wipe clean with a damp cloth.

Floor Cleaner: Mix ¼ cup of castile soap with a gallon of warmwater. Use a mop to clean your floors as usual.

Stainless Steel Cleaner: Mix 1/2 cup of olive oil with 1/2 cup of white vinegar. Add 10-20 drops of citrus essential oil. Spray onto stainless steel surfaces and wipe clean with a micro fiber cloth.

Shower and Tub Cleaner: Mix 1/2 cup of white vinegar with 1/2cup of Sal Suds. Apply the solution to the shower or tub using a spray bottle or a sponge. Let it sit for 3-5 minutes before scrubbing with a soft-bristled brush. Rinse thoroughly with water.

Basic Laundry Detergent: Mix 1 cup of washing soda, 1 cup of baking soda, 1/4 cup of Epsom salt, and 25 drops of essential oil in a large bowl. Store in a glass jar and use 1-2 tablespoons per load.

Vinegar Fabric Softener: Mix 1 cup of white vinegar with 20-30drops of essential oil in a spray bottle. Spray onto clothes before putting them in the dryer


Your Partner In Health,
Clarissa A. Kussin, ND, FMCHC, ERYT-1000

Chocolate: The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly

Frances Meredith, MD

For many Valentine’s Day brings with it thoughts of chocolate. February is both American Heart Month and National Chocolate Lovers Month, a brilliant combination as the nutrients within chocolate can help to improve heart health. Let’s dig into the good, the bad, and the ugly of chocolate.

Dark chocolate is rich in polyphenols, specifically flavonoids, the substances that have a wide range of health benefits. These include lowering blood pressure, improving the function of our vascular endothelium (the inner walls of our arteries), protecting skin against sun damage, improving blood flow to the brain, and reducing the risk of cardiovascular damage. Dark chocolate has also been proven to help with mood. These benefits come from chocolate’s ability to promote production of the vasodilator Nitric Oxide as well as the anandamide within, a cannabinoid compound (like CBD) that binds to receptors in the brain to alter mood and brain activity. In addition, methylxanthine compounds, such as theobromine and caffeine, are powerful antioxidants. Remember that these are stimulants as well and should be kept far from your bedtime.

As milk chocolate has a much higher sugar content and lower flavonoid content, dark chocolate, at least 70%, is the best choice.  Know that white chocolate has no flavonoids, and hot chocolate mixes have very low amounts. As even dark chocolate has sugar, limiting daily intake to 1 oz of at least 70% dark chocolate is the best choice.

There is however, a DARK side to chocolate: heavy metals. Lead and cadmium have been known for many years to be elevated in chocolate. Consumer reports has recently reported their results of batch metals testing of multiple brands of chocolate. They have confirmed levels of metals in many brands of chocolate that exceed California Proposition 65 standards, specifically for lead and cadmium. These metals are associated with multiple health issues in both children and adults. The risk is highest for young children and pregnant women as metals have a negative effect on brain development and IQ. However, even outside this patient population, accumulation of metals in the body can cause a wide range of health conditions including kidney damage, elevated blood pressure, immune and hormonal disruption, and central nervous system dysfunction.

Now why would metals be in our chocolate? For cadmium, the cacao plant absorbs the metals from the soil and levels accumulate in the beans. Lead, however, gets in after harvesting, with levels rising as the beans dry and are processed. Highest levels are found on the outside of the bean, consistent with environmental contamination.

So…. should we give up chocolate? My vote is a resounding NO! The “Yum” and “Aaaaah” response to chocolate are undeniable, and the health benefits are substantial and backed by science. The Consumer Reports study gives us guidance as to which brands of dark chocolate are lowest in metals. See the report for details where one bar each from Mast, Tatza, and Valrhona, and two bars from Ghirardelli have relative low levels of both cadmium and lead

https://www.consumerreports.org/health/food-safety/lead-and-cadmium-in-dark-chocolate-a8480295550/

From the Functional Medicine perspective, food is medicine. But the devil is in the details where purity, dose and timing make it medicine or poison. Choose your brand wisely, be moderate in your amount, and time your chocolate well away from your bedtime. And most of all: ENJOY!

Your partner in health,
Frances T Meredith, MD

Leaky Gut

Susan Denny, MD, MPH

Do You Have Leaky Gut?

If you suffer from a chronic health condition and have been researching how to improve your health, you may have heard of leaky gut.  If that conjures up an unpleasant image of gut materials leaking in to your bloodstream, you are not far off.  Leaky gut happens when contents from the small intestine spill into the sterile bloodstream from a damaged or “leaky” gut wall.   This contamination of the bloodstream by digested foods as well as bacteria, yeast, and other pathogens is often the foundation for chronic inflammatory and autoimmune health disorders. 

Leaky gut is referred to as increased intestinal permeability in scientific research and is increasingly being recognized as a common underlying factor in most inflammatory symptoms and disorders.  As our body’s largest immune organ, the gut powerfully influences the rest of the body. Importantly, this includes the brain. Current scientific studies link intestinal permeability with inflammatory bowel disorders, gluten sensitivity, celiac disease, Crohn’s disease, type 1 diabetes, depression, anxiety, psoriasis, and many other chronic conditions.

Given what we know about the connection between gut health and immunity, it is vital to include a gut repair protocol in the treatment of inflammatory and autoimmune disorders. Repair of leaky gut begins with understanding why it developed in the first place.   Reasons for leaky gut can include over the counter or prescription medications, antibiotic use, toxin exposure, hormonal changes, food intolerances, poor diet and others.  After root causes are identified, a leaky gut protocol can help you improve your health, relieve symptoms, boost energy, make you happier, and clear your brain fog. Ask our office for advice on improving your overall health through a personalized leaky gut evaluation and treatment plan.

Your Partner in Health!

Susan Denny, MD, MPH

TOXINS… Mercury, phthalates, and lead, oh my!

Frances T Meredith, MD

We are swimming in toxins every day from the water we drink, the air we breathe, the food we eat, and the products we use on our bodies, and in our homes and yards. We have all heard the story of Flint Michigan. But lead exposure is just the very tip of the iceberg of our daily toxin exposure.

Toxins now are well established to impair the ability of our mitochondria, the batteries in every cell, to create energy. That has downstream effects in every organ system. Many studies clearly establish that toxins underlie many chronic diseases including neurogenerative disease (think Parkinson’s, Alzheimer’s, ALS), autoimmunity, hormone disruption (think thyroid and endometriosis) and > 50% cases of gout. Did you know toxins often lurk beneath depression, anxiety, and ADHD?

There are simple things we can all do to both decrease our exposure and assist our body in moving out toxins. The first step is a good look at where the toxins are coming from. Stop the inflow! Environmental toxins include chemicals, metals, mold, particulate matter in the air, ozone, radiation, and EMF. And don’t forget those ever-present psychic toxins that have escalated in the past few years: toxic relationships, social media, and news. Toxins also can come from within, in the byproducts created by intestinal bacteria, our own hormone processing, and our own natural detox pathways. Then we often “choose our poisons”, drinking that evening wine to wind down, vape, diets that are too acidic, or choosing non pure forms of hemp, and often using them for the wrong reasons.   

I’d like to take a bit of time to dig into environmental toxins. First, metals. We all know about lead exposure, but did you know that our city water has arsenic? Kale is often filled with thallium? Do you have mercury fillings? If so, are they stable or are they leaking low level mercury into your body every day?

Next, a bit more focus on chemicals. Many chemicals are known to be “gender benders”, disrupting our hormone pathways, plugging into the estrogen receptors and not letting go, decreasing fertility in women, sperm counts in men. The big offenders on the “gender bender” list are phthalates, bisphenols, parabens, triclosan in antibacterial soap, and PCBs. Below is a list of chemicals to which we are frequently exposed, creating buildup over time.

  • Polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs): burning of tobacco, oil, coal, gas, garbage
  • Plastics (phthalates): from plastics and from anything with “fragrance” or “parfum” not labelled as organic (think Bath and Body Works); microplastics are also in our water
  • Phenols, particularly bisphenol, (BPA); found in hard plastics, sippy cups, linings of beverage/food containers, transferring through the skin of your hands on your Publix receipt.
  • Parabens: in many cosmetics, creams, medications etc
  • Organochloride pesticides: DDT is still  in soil from use 1940s-1960s
  • Organophosphate pesticides: RoundUp etc
  • Polychlorinated dibenzo-dioxin and furan (dioxins): exposed in high fat dairy/meat/FISH
  • Polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs): illegal 1979, but we are still exposed in high fat dairy/meat/FISH
  • Polybrominated diphenyl ethers (PBDEs): flame retardants, FATTY FISH     
  • Polyflourinated compounded (PFCs): stain, grease, water resistant products

So how can we help our body deal with this onslaught of chemicals? First, stop the inflow:

  • Clean Air: Create a “scent free zone” in your home. Avoid living near highways if possible. Add plants that absorb toxins (ficus, mums, gerber daisies). Leave shoes at the door. Just 2 days with clean air improves health
  • Clean Water: Quality water filtration is essential, such as Aquasana, or Zero Water
  • Clean Food: Organic where possible using Clean 15 Dirty Dozen list; grow your own food where possible; wash chemically grown food in acidic solution such as vinegar, no plastic for food storage, no perflouride based nonstick pans
  • Clean up household, lawn, personal hygiene products using www.ewg.org and the Think Dirty Shop Clean app to guide product choice. No RoundUp.
  • Clean frequently, especially with crawling children in the home.

Then we can get the body ready to move toxins out. This will take guidance from your Functional Medicine provider and will include essential nutrients, balancing the intestinal bacterial microbiome, an “oil change” to remove and replace damaged oils in cellular membranes where toxins reside, adding binders to catch and remove toxins as they are excreted by liver/gallbladder into the intestinal tract. The “prep” also includes many pieces to get liver and kidneys ready. Then, and only then, can we proceed to escort the toxins out without creating further damage. “Detox” without this prep is very dangerous.

Once we move into the process of escorting out the toxins, we choose supplements, foods, and sometimes medications to grab and move toxins out of tissues. At the same time, we use many modalities including lymphatic massage, infrared sauna, castor oil packs, and CranioSacral therapy to support the lymphatic system whose job it is to move those toxins through and out.

Unfortunately, we no longer live in an organic world as did our predecessors. We are swimming in toxins every day and all have a role to play in the cleanup and healing of our planet. As we set this intention, we must support the beautiful creation that is our body in order to survive and thrive in this toxin filled world.

“Detox your mind, body, AND your contact list”

-Supa Nova Slom

Your provider at Carolina Total Wellness would be happy to discuss strategies to better optimize your body’s ability to thrive in this world of toxins.

Your partner in health,

Frances T Meredith, MD

Toothpaste: What should I use?

Caroline Wilson, M.Ed., FMHC


Do you ever wonder if the toothpaste you and your kids are using is toxic?  Let’s take a look at some ingredients of concern that are in most conventional toothpaste brands.

Artificial Colorings – Linked to ADHD & hyperactivity in children.


Titanium Dioxide – It’s just there to make toothpaste white.  EWG has a list of safety concerns, including possibly a carcinogen when ingested.


Sodium Lauryl Sulfate (SLS) – Causes canker sores for many people.


Triclosan – A pesticide and hormone disruptor.


Glycerin – It isn’t toxic, but ideally has no place in the mouth as it’s a soap that can strip your body’s natural oral mucosa and leaves a film. This could alter the microbiome in the mouth.

Ingredients we love:
Hydroxyapatite (HAp) – is a naturally occurring mineral that makes up 97% of our tooth enamel and has been scientifically-proven to strengthen and protect your teeth without fluoride. While Hydroxyapatite is not as well-known in the US, it’s been the gold standard in Japan for over 40 years.
TIP – Don’t rinse your mouth after brushing with HAp.

Bentonite Clay – A natural polisher that is rich in minerals and not too abrasive.  It’s alkaline and helps reduce acidity in the mouth. 
TIP – Make sure it’s “lead-free” clay.

Xylitol – Reduces cavity causing bacteria in the mouth. 

Approved Hydroxyapatite containing toothpaste: Boka, Risewell, Wellnesse, Karex

Find these approved non-toxic brands in our clinic: Dentalcidin and Hyperbiotics Probiotic Toothpaste. 




Call our office and schedule and appointment with one of our Health Coaches to learn more about non-toxic personal care products. 
 

Your Partner in Health!
Caroline Wilson, M.Ed., FMHC

Welcome to Tick Season

Frances T Meredith, MD

Prevention is the best medicine

We are all familiar with Lyme disease and likely know someone who has had to deal with this incredibly complex, and sometimes debilitating disease. Lyme, caused by multiple species of the Borrelia bacteria,  is not new, the Borrelia bacteria having coexisted with humans for thousands of years. What is new is that our immune systems are increasingly compromised by the stressful and no longer organic world in which we live. In addition, ticks that most often carry Lyme disease are now all over the United States. Lyme is now endemic EVERYWHERE in the US, though the species of the Borrelia bacteria vary in different areas of the county. And thanks to global warming, tick season is now all year round in many areas, though certainly numbers increase as temperatures warm in the spring.

To make things more complicated, Lyme disease, most often spread by hard Ixodes ticks, is also carried by other ticks as well including several soft ticks. Lyme bacteria are also found in mites, fleas, mosquitoes, biting flies and in tick feces (and those little suckers poop continuously while feeding; think bite, itch, scratch, I’m in!). Other infections often travel along with Lyme including Babesia and Bartonella. These little suckers are smart and know how to evade our immune systems to become “baggage for life” and create havoc all over our bodies.

 Prevention is indeed the best medicine with avoidance and early detection of tick bites the goal. According to Stephen Buhner, an internationally renowned expert on Lyme and coinfections, a blend of essential oils is about 99% effective for repelling the major tick species that carry the many Borrelia species that carry Lyme and coinfections (Healing Lyme, 2015)

Here is his recipe: Take ½ teaspoon of each of the below essential oils, add the oils (4 tspn total volume) to 8 oz pure grain alcohol (95%), blending well and storing in a brown glass bottle out of sun. Subdivide this into 1-2 oz brown herb bottles with spritzer/spray attachment, using this to apply liberally and often during tick season when going outdoors.

-Rhododendron tometosum (Labrador tea; NOT Rhododendron anthopogon)
-Tagetes minuta
-Chamaecyparis nootkatensis
-Artemisia absinthium
-Myrica gale (bog myrtle)
-Juniperus Virginia
-Eucalyptus citriodora (lemon eucalyptus)
-Origanum majorana (marjoram)

I have just ordered these myself, most of them very cheap on Amazon, though several more expensive and coming from Canada. The bottles are also available on Amazon. The total price was $152 which should provide a family with several seasons of protection.

In addition Stephen Buhner suggests Andrographis tincture applied to tick bite site, covering with a “moistened glob of bentonite clay, cover with thin cotton, and leave on for 12-24 hours)”. This tincture is also easily available on Amazon.

This will make for a fun and fragrant home chemistry session! Time to get out there and enjoy some gorgeous spring weather, safely.

Your partner in health,
Frances T Meredith, MD

How To Choose A Safer Sunscreen

Caroline Wilson, M.Ed., FMHC



Summer is coming and while sunlight is vital for health AND is an important way for us to obtain Vitamin D, it is important to practice safe sun exposure and prevent sunburn, which is a risk factor for skin cancer. A recent study in JAMA found that chemical ingredients from sunscreen were detected in the bloodstream after one use, sometimes for days after. These ingredients are also detected in breast milk, and have been associated with lower testosterone levels in teenage boys.
Recently Johnson and Johnson voluntarily recalled 5 of their sunscreens due to the presence of benzene, a carcinogen in these products. 
Using a safer sunscreen without known harmful chemicals is important.  EWG, the Environmental Working Group, is a non-profit, non-partisan organization dedicated to protecting human health and the environment. They score products based on safety data. EWG scores 0-10, 0 is the cleanest and 10 is the worst. Here is a list of ingredients to avoid with the EWG ratings:

  • Oxybenzone(EWG 8), sometimes called benzophenone-3, is banned in Hawaii due to its harm on aquatic life, and yet still found in around 40% of non-mineral based sunscreen. In animal studies, it is an endocrine disruptor and there is some evidence it has a similar impact in humans too – In an evaluation of CDC-collected exposure data for American children, researchers found that adolescent boys with higher oxybenzone measurements had significantly lower total testosterone levels. It is also a contact allergen, may cause systemic toxicity, and be harmful to aquatic life.
  • Octinoxate(EWG 6) – (aka OMC or methoxy-cinnamate) linked to endocrine disruption as well as reproductive toxicity in animal studies. Harms coral reef.
  • Homosalate(EWG 4) – linked to reproductive and developmental toxicity. 
  • ParabensPhthalates – endocrine disruptors, can hide under the guise of ‘fragrance’, so avoid the word Fragrance on that ingredient list. 

Lowest Risk Ingredients: Zinc Oxide (EWG 2), Titanium Dioxide (EWG 2), Avobenzone(EWG 2).

Some recommended brands that use the better ingredients are Babo Botanicals, Earth Mama, 365 Clear spray, Think Sport, Blue Lizard and Badger. For a complete list of safer sunscreens you can go to www.ewg.org.

For more information on using safer products for your skin, contact our office and schedule an appointment with one of our Health Coaches.   

Your Partner in Health!
Caroline Wilson, M.Ed., FMHC

Benefits of Infrared Sauna

Caroline Wilson, M.Ed., FMHC


Curious about how using an infrared sauna can benefit you? Keep reading to learn why this has become one of my favorite health practices.
 
Infrared saunas can provide a host of health benefits by using far- and near-infrared light to penetrate body tissue. Now they are even more accessible with smaller, in-home options.

Unlike traditional saunas, which must heat the air to very high temperatures, infrared saunas heat your body while the surrounding air stays cooler. Infrared saunas are definitely more comfortable than traditional saunas which is a big bonus if you are sensitive to heat. Plus, infrared energy can go deeper into your skin, helping you sweat even more and helping your cells eliminate toxins better.

7 Benefits of Infrared Sauna:

1) Detoxification – Sweating is one of the body’s most natural ways to eliminate toxins, making it a crucial part of detoxification.

2) Cardiovascular Health – Countless studies have shown that the cardiovascular benefits associated with infrared sauna therapy are numerous and varied, and include improved circulation, lower blood pressure, enhanced vascular function and lower risk of heart-related disease.

3) Immunity/Cell Health – The heat generated by an infrared sauna stimulates energy at a cellular level which, in turn, increases the body’s production of white blood cells. Infrared sauna usage can also strengthen the immune system by stimulating cell regeneration. This kind of regeneration can help your body dispose of cells that might be old, damaged, or ineffective and replace them with new cells.

4) Pain Relief – If you suffer from muscle aches or joint pain, infrared saunas can relieve this form of inflammation by increasing circulation and relaxing your muscles.

5) Physical Fitness – The heat generated by an infrared sauna will cause your core temperature to increase, which can also lead to an increased heart rate – the same increase in heart rate that you experience when exercising. An article titled, Effect of Sweating, in the Journal of the American Medical Association concluded that a 30-minute infrared sauna session could burn roughly 600 calories.

6) Relaxation – The heat generated by the sauna will also help to relax muscles and relieve tension throughout the body, allowing you to relax and de-stress.

7) Anti-Aging/Skin Purification – Infrared sauna technology can help purify your skin by eliminating toxins from your pores and increasing circulation, resulting in clearer, softer, and healthier-looking skin.

If you’re interested in exploring the benefits of infrared saunas, here are a few things to keep in mind:


Start slowly. It doesn’t feel as hot when you walk into an infrared sauna, so you may feel inclined to stay in there a long time right off the bat. Start off by sitting for 5-10 minutes and work your way up from there.

Stay hydrated. Ensure you drink enough to stay hydrated, as you’ll lose fluid through sweating.

Listen to your body. Our bodies are wise and will start to show signs if they are unhappy. Pay attention to how you’re feeling. Warm and sweaty is OK – but if you feel excessively thirsty, dizzy, nauseous, headache-y, or have any other symptoms that do not feel right, get out of the sauna.

Don’t eat a huge meal.
 You wouldn’t gorge before going for a run or other vigorous exercise – it’s best to sit in a sauna on a light or empty stomach.

Rinse off in a clean shower.
 With all of the impurities released during a sauna we want to ensure they are washed away

 

There are many local spas that offer Infrared Sauna as a service or you can explore purchasing one for your own home. Two reputable companies are Sunlighten and Therasage. 
  

Contact our office to schedule an appointment with one of our Health Coaches to learn more about healing health practices, like infrared sauna, that can help you along in your journey to optimal health.  

Your Partner in Health!
Caroline Wilson, M.Ed., FMHC





References:
Biro, S. (2003, November). Clinical Implications of Thermal Therapy in Lifestyle-Related Diseases. Experimental Biology and Medicine (Maywood), 228(10), 1245-1249.
Laukkanen, T., Khan, H., Zaccardi, F., & Laukkanen, J. A. (2015). Association Between Sauna Bathing and Fatal Cardiovascular and All-Cause Mortality Events. JAMA Internal Medicine JAMA Intern Med, 175(4), 542. doi:10.1001/jamainternmed.2014.8187.