Posts Tagged With "Adult, Senior (55+)"
Boosting Your Immune System Naturally
When I see the word Immunity, my brain automatically hears I am Unity. I am Unity could mean so many things, but when it comes to the immune system, I see all the little cells holding hands and singing Kumbaya, united together for one mission: To protect and defend. This is the time of year where illness travels around school, work, and home and the flu becomes a household "experience". Building immunity is a life long endeavor, different with each stage of life, but creating a robust immune system includes the basics for everyone, young or old. Below is my simple list- believe me the list could go on, and on, and on.....but lets start here.
1) Combat emotional stress. “Stress-related disease emerges, predominantly, out of the fact that we so often activate a physiological system that has evolved for responding to acute physical emergencies, but we turn it on for months on end, worrying about mortgages, relationships, and promotions.” - Why Zebra’s Don’t Get Ulcers.
Reducing stresses such as fear, worry, and conflict, while increasing love, pleasure, and laughter can increase biochemicals such as oxytocin, natural killer cells, and Immunoglobulin A,( all increase immunity), while decreasing cortisol and adrenaline (which increase blood pressure, elevate blood sugars, and suppress the thyroid). Adopting stress reducing habits, removing negativity, and processing traumatic events, can overtime add years to your life, improve your outlook, and strengthen your immune system.
2) Let food be your medicine. Over 70% of the immune system resides in the digestive system, thus what you choose to eat (or drink), directly affects your immunity.
Many illnesses can be avoided or lessened by eating nutrient dense foods such as lean protein, vegetables, fruits, nuts, seeds, and legumes, all year round. Stay away from processed foods, sugars, trans fats, excessive alcohol, and foods that are not organic.
Organic foods are important because they are not sprayed with herbicides/pesticides, are hormone and antibiotic free, and are not derived from GMO products. These harmful compounds can alter hormone and immune function and even damage DNA.
Moderation is the key to success, and “cheating” a few times a week is fine, but cheating all day long every day of the year is going to decrease immunity, period.
3) Add Superfoods to your diet. SUPER DUPER foods (SDfoods) as I like to call them are a great example of high nutrient, low calorie foods, that are full of vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, and amino acids that strengthen immunity. Look for high Vitamin C SDfoods such as Camu Camu (YouthH2O), acai, and goji berries. Vitamin C is a water soluble vitamin that squelches free radicals and helps fight infection, thus boosting immunity. I will be posting my favorite SDfoods in the next few blogs, so stay tuned.
4)Exercise. Just like healthy nutrition, exercise is at the core of having a strong immune system. Exercise improves circulation aiding the body in elimination of toxins, decreases insulin levels and reduces the harmful inflammatory chemicals created by stress. This means you need to lift something heavy at least 2-3 times per week and increase your heart rate at least 4 times per week. Stress reducing activities such as yoga, Tai Ji, Qi Gong, and meditation are also immune stimulating. Besides, losing those excess pounds can't hurt. Yippee!
5) Sleep. Many studies show that sleep deprivation decreases T cells, inflammatory cytokines increase, and thus you are more succeptable to colds and flus. Millions also suffer from sleep related disorders such as sleep apnea, which recents studies have shown increased cancer diagnosis with severity of sleep apnea. Bottom line: Your immune system needs adequate restful sleep.
6) Get your head on straight and your body aligned. As many of you know I specialize in a powerful cranial, spinal, and neurological treatment, NeuroCranial Restructuring, and I can tell you from thousands of clinical examples that being pain free and standing tall has a direct impact on the immune system. Pain itself causes cascades of chemicals to be released into the system and chronic pain just plain wears everything out including your immunity. Other treatments I like: Reiki, Manual Ligament Therapy, Reflexology, Acupunture, and Hydrotherapy.
7) Vitamin D. Living in the rainy Northwest, I can tell you most everyone here and in any other dark climate during the winter, is deficient. Vitamin D is not really a vitamin, it’s more like a super hormone, and some studies show it as or more effective than the flu vaccine. Taking Vit K2 with the D is important too, so consider this when beginning to supplement.
8) Probiotics. Since the digestive system holds most of your immunity, you need to support the good bacteria and help them thrive. Probiotics assist the body in a multitude of ways and are the true champions of our inner ecology.
9) Lastly, turn off your phone, your computer, your iPad, your X-box, your TV, your alarm clock, your WiFi.... and look others in the eye and have a real conversation, make love to your partner, hug your chidren and get outside and put your feet on the earth more. Electromagnetics are making us sick in more ways than one, but this is a topic for another blog. Connect with people, nature, and not just your devices, your immune system will thank you.
Nottingham and Sherwood Forest
Nottingham, England is a beautiful "village" of around 300,000 people in the center of England. Originally a University town, Nottingham is dotted with both old and new architecture. The Sherrif of Nottingham, Robin Hood, this was once their haunts, and the accent of the native Nottingham resident is like a bird singing a song, so beautiful. My hosts, Don and Sarah Camilleri have an amazing flat right in the heart of Nottingham. Don, an engineer by trade is introducing me to what I believe will be a strong part of the Wild River Spa concept. Don is originally from the small island of Malta (close to Sicily) and arriving on a Sunday night meant I was treated to his Sunday Maltese dinner- chicken, tomato pastry, and of course wine.
Don, besides being a fabulous cook, is the design and mastermind behind a concept that was adopted from Holland, Centre Parcs. Center Parcs is day break and holiday village, started in dense woodlands creating an ecosystem with lakes, streams, and sustainably built cabins/houses, treehouses, and a village center complete with resturants, swimming facilities, stores, hiking, biking, playgrounds, sailing, golf, and the spa- Aqua Sana.
Sherwood Forest is just North of Nottingham, the land of Robin Hood. Twenty five years ago Don walked through Sherwood's dense woodlands, with not much ecosystem, water, or wildlife. Now the forest is teeming with deer and small animals. There is a lake for sailing, kayaking, and streams that are fishable. No cars are allowed in the village- only bikes and walking, so for the full week that guests are in the village, their car stays parked outside and the beauty of the forest is not scarred by the sounds of cars, and thus is very safe and promotes activity. There is an entire sporting facility, two bowling alleys, the waterpark with slides and a moving river. Center Parcs is teaming with families, (4000 people per week are staying in the village), and offers a holiday vacation like no other.
In the center of Centre Parcs is Aqua Sana- a community spa that Don has created from the ground up. Adopted from the Austrian concept, the Aqua Sana Spa is tailored for everyone (over age 16), and sends the goer through different healing rooms of water, heat, cold, and relaxation, using nature as a central theme. The list of experience rooms are as follows: Aqua Meditation Room, Finish Sauna, Greek Herbal Bath, Ice Fountain, Indian Blossom Steam room, Japanese Salt Steam Room, Japanese Zen Garden, Laconium, Multi-sensory Showers, Outdoor Heated Spa Pool, Reflexology Foot Baths, Tepidarium, Turkish Hamman, Tyrolean Garden, Tyrolean Sauna, and Water Beds.
With all those choices, there is a well mapped out routine that each visitor does, travels from cooler to hotter rooms, resting, hydrating, showering and swimming along the way. It takes about 3 hours to do the entire facility as prescribed. There are also ample wellness treatments to chose from: massages to mud wraps, reflexology to ear candles. With a beautiful cafe serving Italian fare, prossecco, and of course afternoon tea and cakes, Aqua Sana is a place to spend an entire day relaxing and rejuvenating, and is affordable, non pretenscious, and the staff is happy and helpful. After doing the 3 hour ritual of rooms, meditation garden, then a wonderful stone massage and facial I felt lighter, calmer, and my jet lag started to lift.
One big difference from the States is that Aqua Sana is co-ed. The place is full of couples, young and old, enjoying their afternoon together soaking in the waters, detoxing in the saunas, and relaxing outside in the beauty of nature. As I'll come to see on my travels deeper in Europe, the couples concept (and the inclusion of children) becomes an integral part of the healing experience. Community and membership spas are a wonderful service, they provide a healthy and relaxing activity for the ever increasing stress disease, but can this work in the States where the spa culture is not yet developed? Its a question I will continue to ponder as I move through this trip.
Center Parcs was a wonderful first introduction to the world of European spa, thanks to Don and Sarah Camilleri, such amazing hosts and now friends!
Read more about Center Parcs here.
And to see more pictures of my trip- like our Facebook page!
Best in Health,
*Next stop, the French countryside
My first child was born in January and since then my life has been in fast forward. Almost every minute of the day is filled with new experiences for her, and at the same time everyday bodily functions such as eating, sleeping, peeing, pooping, touching, and feeling become exciting and new for a grown up adult such as myself. Watching her discover her world around her, increasing her coordination and being able to hold a toy, laughing for almost no reason, and giving unconditional love to me and her father, has been one of the greatest learning experiences of my life. This world is so new for her, and I can see her brain absorbing all her new surroundings like a sponge.
In April, I took my daughter to Colorado to see my paternal grandparents who are living in an assisted living home. Married over 60 years, these two were instrumental in my life and have given me immense lessons in love and family. My grandfather was a survivor of Polio, left with a slightly deformed foot, but not willing to accept being held back by such a "disability". He went on to be a successful baseball player, coach, teacher, and principle of a high school. My grandmother was a homemaker, raising three children, and was a talented musician and worked for many years with a school for the deaf. My grandmother began having tremors many years ago, and eventually was diagnosed with Parkinson's Disease. My grandfather's mother died of Alzheimers Disease when I was twelve, and now he has been diagnosed with beginning stage Alzheimers.( His sister also had some Alzheimers).
They are interesting to watch together now, my grandmother is mentally strong, but her body is slowing failing, while my grandfather looks the same as he always did, but he tells the same story over and over again and has a hard time discerning who is in the pictures hanging on his wall. It is hard to see them this way, but as they move into their mid 80's, seeing their world become simple as my daughters life becomes complex has turned on something in me that makes me want to preserve my brain as long as I can. After medical school, I had a series of blood tests on me as I hadn't been feeling well for years, most likely due to stress. One of the many things that was found, was that I was deficient in CoQ10 and some essential amino acids essential for dopamine (a neurotransmitter) production. I was told at that point that I was setting myself up for Parkinson's Disease, and since I may have a genetic predispositon to this, it was ESSENTIAL for me to address these deficiencies.
So where am I going with this long story you ask? I guess it's in witnessing life beginning and life ending, and how the brain can be as it's healthiest. Did my grandmother have the same genetic marker for deficiency and could she have prevented her Parkinsons? Was my grandfather genetically low in acetylcholine (a neurotransmitter) and thus inheritied Alzheimers from his mother?
Neurology has always been my greatest interest, and so I want to continue my research into the chemicals and personality that we all possess when we are born, and how our environment and choices through out life either enhance or inhibit health. I have family history of neurological disease, and I must be PROACTIVE in my brain health, so that my daughter or grandchildren never have to worry about me or themselves. This is why I have to figure out my brain... and if you relate to this story, I can help you understand yours.
Stay tuned to this blog each day for the simplified learning of the biochemicals that make up your nervous system! As always I look forward to your comments!