Category Archives: Body
Most everyone has dealt with an upset stomach at some point in their lives. Much of the human population today suffers from frequent heartburn, diarrhea, bloating, or constipation. More and more people every day are being diagnosed with gluten intolerance or other Irritable Bowel Diseases (IBD). Even more are being diagnosed with Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS), which is particularly more dominant in young females.
Along with so many of my fellow friends and peers around my age, I myself am also have IBS symptoms and have been struggling to find balance with it for several years. For this post, I would like to go through some of my experiences of what I have found works and what doesn’t work.
In Western Medicine, most digestive issues are treated with either synthetic medications or dietary changes. A good portion of the US population is spending large portions of money each year in hopes to “cure” their chronic digestive issues. With the recent discoveries of traces of IBD and IBS, this has influenced Western Medicine to invent detox diets, promote diets with high fiber, and promote overall healthy eating.
From my personal experience, I can say that with my IBS I had no options with medications nor was I really in favor of allowing myself to become dependent on them because I realized early on that it simply doesn’t work in the long term. Rather than cure the issue, it only fixes the issue for that moment. And even then, the any medication I’ve used would make the issue worse over time.
As a result, I jumped on to a big health kick. Many of my old roommates can certainly confirm my strong motivation on eating healthy. I have often been the one ordering a anything vegetarian — and not for the reason that I’m vegetarian, but because I knew it would be better for my stomach than large portions of meat, dairy, and starches.
I’ve also often purchased herbal cleansing kits and followed the diets of all-natural foods along with it. Though following this type of diet and still allowing myself to go out and be social was difficult, I did notice a difference in digestion and felt better overall after a 7 or 14 day cleanse.
Since that time I have now moved to Korea, which certainly has different food available from Western cultures. Whole grain foods are difficult to find and very expensive, food is often spicy, and vegetables are often in the forms of roots rather than the vegetables we are used to in the US. And needless to say, despite my attempts to find a way to balance it in this environment, I wasn’t quite doing as well as I hoped. The probiotics of kimchi and vegetables in bibimbop just wasn’t quite working for me, and I kept feeling that the spice was triggering heartburn.
As a result, I found myself a Chinese Medicine doctor to receive acupuncture and herbs. After about 6 treatments, I found myself perfectly normal again. Like, I forgot what “normal” actually felt like until I had these treatments. For a few weeks I took 20 small pills of chinese herbs after every meal and had needles put in my stomach under a heat lamp.
And you know the best part? I could eat anything. Yes and I mean ANYTHING! I could go to Baskin Robbins and eat ice cream every day without a fear of eating too much dairy. I could eat spicy and had no heartburn. I experienced no bloating or abdominal cramps. And I must say — it was amazing!
In Chinese medicine, the cause for IBS is a Qi Spleen Deficiency (and other digestive issues can as well). If you have a deficiency in Qi you can actually tell by looking at your tongue. If there are teeth indentations then it means that you are lacking Qi energy. What causes it? Often stress and emotions. Which, of course, leads to my next issue…
… it didn’t last. I wish I could say that all was well and Chinese Medicine worked jubilantly and I never had to get a treatment again, but no.
Why didn’t it work? Based on my experience and self observation I can only think of one reason: Ego is too often present. Meaning, the reason that it didn’t work is because there is still more thinking than living in the moment. I can say that in all of my personal experience that the only time that I had a perfectly balanced system without watching diet or using herbs was when I was so busy that I had no time to think. I was constantly running around teaching, organizing, directing, and preparing. I was spread thin every single day with time to do things yet. Why did it work? Because with the work I was doing I was constantly overcoming fears and acting out of my intuition rather than my mind. Any past hurts or fears didn’t exist in those moments because I had no time to even have them cross my mind. All I could talk and think about was what I had to do later than day and tomorrow and developing new ideas.
So what are my 2 suggestions to help settle your gut?
1. Try acupuncture. It truly does help you to release and balance your emotions. The trick is that is that you also need to keep suggestion number 2 in mind.
2. Live in the moment. Quite the mind and allow yourself to be fully engaged through spirit in each and every moment.
Of course, the second suggestion can be the ultimate struggle for many. This is why I am providing this recommended reading:
“Perfect Digestion” by Deepak Chopra, MD (a Indian medicine approach to IBS)
“The Power of Now” by Eckhart Tolle (its like therapy to read it by influencing you to quiet the mind)
Got a headache, but unable to find anything to relieve it? I’ve been there — perhaps more times than I would like to (in fact, I have one right now! Ha). And if you’re at all like me, I always want to fix the underlying cause rather than retort to a pain reliever or some prescription drug, so these leaves me to get rather creative in finding methods of relief.
For each person the causes can be a little bit different, but for myself I’ve noticed that it’s usually either digestive or sinus related — and either of those could very well just be rooted in stress. One may simply say “take some time to relax in a hot warm bath” and that will relieve everything. Yet, as I’m sure many others can agree, that’s not so easily the case.
What I have found in my exploration of “natural cures” using aromatherapy can work wonders. Now, I don’t necessarily mean just lotions or shower gels, but rather actual 100% natural essential oils with no additives. These are four that I have found work well for me for headache relief and they should also not negatively effect your sleep in anyway if you use it at night or before bed.
1. Eucalyptus Essential Oil. For all of those Bath and Body’s Works fans out there: Yes, this is the main ingredient in their “Stress Relief” product. This was actually recommended to me from a friend who used to regularly suffer from migraines. I must say that has really help me find relief — even in the most torturing migraines. It is also great to use during any sinus headaches because the powerful smell of eucalyptus helps clear your sinuses. It is a natural expectorant and is anti-inflammatory.
2. Lavender Essential Oil. Personally, I use this not only for headaches but also to help me “wind down” at the end of the day and to sleep more peacefully. As an essential oil, lavender has a very mild scent and it’s likely that if you’re used to more synthetic smells you won’t notice it at first. However, this is still one of the most popular essential oils purchased. It is naturally anti-inflammatory and a sedative. Because it is so mild and is anti-inflammatory, it can also be used to treat acne spots.
3. Roman Chamomile Essential Oil. With the natural scent of Chamomile, it is no doubt that this oil is great for relaxation and to help you sleep better. Dab some of this on before bed and hopefully you’ll wake up fully rested and headache-free!
4. Helichrysum Essential Oil. I have honestly not tried this one yet, but it is supposed to have a fresh scent. It is also supposed to be a very powerful anti-inflammatory.
Now, how do you use these essential oils? Technically, you are supposed to mix it with a carrier oil because it is too strong to put directly on your skin. However, I’ll admit that I’ve put lavender oil directly on my neck and forehead without any problems or hesitation because it is such a mild oil. I suppose that yoga instructor that used to put essential oil on our necks during our final relaxation pose put me into a bad habit!
How are you technically supposed to use them? Here’s a little guide:
1 oz Carrier Oil (such as Jojoba or Sweet Almond Oil)
10-12 drops of the essential oil of choice (Eucalyptus may only require 6-8)
You should mix the ingredients in a bottle thoroughly and then rub the mixture on your next, temples, forehead, etc. You must always be careful not to get it in your eyes — and if you happen to on accident, trust me you will know!
Would you like to try it out? Here are some options below. Always be sure when purchasing essential oils that it lists 100% on the label.
*Note: Also, always be sure to check the size of the bottle of essential oil you are purchasing. Some are harder to extract from the plants so they cost much more per ounce. Always know how much you are getting beforehand so you are not unpleasantly surprised.
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