Naturopathic Medicine does not offer a cure-all, but it does conjoin the best of the tried and true well-founded practices of the past and neo science. The truisms of daily, healthy living are not always complex or impractical. As A Matter Of Fact, many health-promoting practices are comparatively easy to accomplish, though making a habit of any of them is likely the secret to their effectiveness. The following suggestions address some simple ways to directly meliorate essential physiological functions. Your choice of which tips to adopt is personal, and an honest consideration of which ones will most benefit you will make their effectuation that much more significant, and will increase the likelihood of making a habit of them.
1. Start the day with positive thoughts or by forming a smile as soon as you open your eyes. Our thoughts impact our emotions by releasing positive neurotransmitters like dopamine and serotonin or stress producing ones like cortisol and adrenalin.
Before you shower try:
2. Dry skin brushing: Using a natural bristle brush or loofah, make small light circles starting at your feet working towards heart. Continue from your fingertips to your heart area. Do this on bare skin, without water, and promptly. Dry skin brushing will only take a minute once you make this a habit. The benefit of this practice is its ability to remove dead skin, allow for better gas exchange, increase venous return to the heart which helps unhealthy veins and most importantly, increase lymph circulation which removes infections and furthure boosts the immune system.
After washing in the shower try:
3. Contrast shower: End your shower with 1minute of water as hot as can handle followed by 30 seconds of as cold as you can handle. Repeat this 3 times. It’s the difference in temperature that has the therapeutic benefit. Contrast showers increase circulation, help remove toxins, stimulate lymphatic circulation which improves your immune system, and it awakens you
4. Good Food:
Start your day with a glass of room temperature water with 1 tbsp of lemon juice in it. Lemon, a great source of Vitamin C, is a natural antimicrobial so it cleanses and disinfects the inside of your body. Additionally, it stimulates the production of bile which is an important part of detoxification.
Eat breakfast every morning. If time is limited try a smoothie, nuts and seeds, or organic protein bars. Try to keep healthy snacks in your brief case, bag or purse, glove box, or desk drawer so when things get hectic you can still eat well. Eating frequently, but intelligently, stimulates your metabolism.
There is no direct diet and you need to determine what works best for you. Remember, you are what you eat. Everything you consume is broken down to make up the cells of your body. Food can be your best medicine or your greatest poison: you decide. Diet is also about cultural expectations, financial constraints, emotional well-being, social activities and fine-tuning it is a gradual and life-time experimentation. Consider seeking help from your Naturopathic Doctor to find the eating plan that works best for you.
Sedentary lifestyles often begin at work, so try to get up every hour throughout the day even if only for 30 seconds as this will help prevent blood and lymph from stagnating. If possible try walking, stretching, jogging on the spot, yoga, or Tai Chi. While you’re at it, try deep breathing through the nose. Make one of those movement breaks intense enough to bring on a good sweat for at least 15 minutes. This doesn’t need to be “exercise”. Chasing toddlers, moving furniture, cleaning windows…it all counts.
While reading or watching TV, try:
6. Castor Oil packs: Obtain a 9 by 9 inch piece of flannel, soak the flannel in castor oil and apply it over the liver area which is the upper right quadrant of the abdomen. Place a plastic bag over top the flannel and a hot water bottle on top of that. Leave it on for at least 30 minutes and up to 2 hours. This process promotes detoxification which increases energy, balances hormones and improves digestion.
7. Health Journal: Every day briefly write down entries under the following headings:
Diet: Be aware of the food and drinks you choose each day by keeping a diet diary. You can’t make changes until know what you’re choosing now.
Symptoms: Headache, fatigue, constipation etc.
Emotions: Irritable, content, weepy etc.
Dreams: Writing down your dreams improves your memory and gives you insight into your subconscious. You may want to write them down first thing in the morning when they are still fresh in your mind.
Keeping a health diary teaches you to become more aware of yourself and helps you identify patterns and changes in your well being. Realize the more information you have about your health the more accurate a diagnosis you will get so bring this health journal to your medical appointments. Keep one for your children until they are old enough to do so themselves.
8. Prepare your bedroom for sleep.
Good sleep is as significant to your health as what you eat.
Discard the clutter around your bed—hide it if necessary.
Use your bed only for sleeping and intimacy—no reading in bed.
If you use your bedroom as an office or for studying, separate that part of the room from the sleeping area. You may use dividers, sheets, or open shelves to separate the space.
Sleep in complete darkness. Studies have shown that women who sleep in completely dark rooms have better hormone balance. Darkness increases the release of melatonin to promote better sleep and more alert wake cycles. This means no light through the window, no night lights, and no alarm clock shining into your eyes.
Once in bed try:
9. Alternate nostril breathing:
Plug the right nostril and take a deep breathe lasting 4 seconds through the left nostril; hold for 16 seconds, or as long as you can without straining; unplug the right nostril and release for 8 seconds. Take another breath through the right nostril for the count of 4, hold for 16 seconds and release on the left for 8 seconds. Repeat 10 times.
This will promote nasal breathing which is great for respiratory health. Through this breathing exercise you can increase the secretion of melatonin, which protects against cancer, reduces anxiety, promotes hormone balance and regulates the day and night cycle.
10. End your day with gratitude
Take time to find one thing in your day to be thankful for. This is a great time to compliment yourself on incorporating these new techniques into your routine.