Our bodies are magnificent machines, making sure all of our organ systems, breathing patterns and energy functions are correctly working behind the scenes to keep us alive. We don’t consciously think about when to breathe, how fast our heart beats or when to filter acidic substances through our kidneys, it’s all part of the built in regulatory system. So when something is not functioning at it’s highest capacity, compensations are made to make up for it. It’s survival of the fittest and we have been equipped to overcome some harsh conditions or threats that we expose ourselves to on a daily basis. We have been designed to survive and given the right materials, we have the capability to protect and heal ourselves from the inside out. What we put in our bodies directly impacts the output.
Although it may not feel like summer’s quite over with the incredible weather being in the 30’s, the first leaves have fallen, the days are getting shorter and this is about that time where the summer blues start to kick in. It’s back to school, back to work and back to reality for most, with all those BBQ’s, festivals, patio drinks and camping trips a distant memory, but is there something lingering from all that overindulgence? If you’re feeling more brain fog, sluggish, headaches and mood swings lately, or skin issues, muscle aches and gas and bloating, it may be your body telling you to start detoxing!
Let’s get back to the classroom and learn the 5 W’s of Detoxing.
Most often, acne is caused by hormonal imbalances, improper diet, insufficient sleep, or harmful cosmetic and cleansing products. Other factors that can impact the skin are drug use, pollution, smoking, poor digestion, irregular menstruation or improper epidermal shedding.
There are TCM records dealing with acne cases and treatments dating back over 2000 years ago. Of course, many of the causes have changed over the years, but the internal environment created, and the treatment plans to correct that environment are still the same as they were so long ago.
Written by Janna Hattingh, Holistic Health Consultant
Especially in Calgary, we suffer from being in one of the driest climates contributing to our dry skin, hair, nails and irritating nose bleeds. Those red bumps on the back of your arms or legs are also signs of severe dryness as well as itchy scalp, dandruff, respiratory problems, and dry/tired eyes. Since the skin is one of the last places your body shows signs of internal problems, if any of these issues strike a cord with you, you may be deficient in vitamin A.
With the beautiful weather here in Calgary, Canada Day celebrations and Stampede all approaching soon, it is incredibly important to make sure you are getting your intake of vitamin A, whether it be from the animal or vegetable sources. Unfortunately, those overindulgent late nights, (or early Stampede breakfasts) deplete your stores. Alcohol intake, as well as stress, and lack of sleep contribute to decreased vitamin A absorption. Other ways a reduction in absorption of vitamin A may occur are excessive iron intake (anemics), illness, vitamin E deficiency as well as cortisone treatments.
Written by Dr. Amy Nykoluk, DTCM
June is here, bringing with it lilac blooms, green trees, and of course a special day to celebrate the wonderful men in our lives, Father's Day. I thought it would be a good time to focus on an issue that affects over 70% of all men, male pattern baldness (MPB), or androgenetic alopecia. It's one of the most common and most feared signs of aging for men, and usually, before the problem is noticed cosmetically, over half of the hair has already fallen!
What causes the hair to fall out? For men, it is triggered by dihydro-testosterone (DHT), which is a byproduct of the breakdown of testosterone. It causes the hair follicle to shrink, which in turn only allows for thinner and shorter hair to grow there. Eventually, DHT will stop the hair follicle from functioning altogether, and no new hair returns.
Written by Janna Hattingh, BKin, CHN - Holistic Health & Nutrition
Vitamin D is made by the body most predominantly through the sun’s UVB rays permeating our skin and after a cascade of chemical reactions in the liver and kidneys, the active form of Vitamin D (Calciferol)is produced. Vitamin D is the only vitamin that requires the entire body to participate in its formation. Any break in the chain will severely reduce its production and may lead to deficiency.Vitamin D is fat-soluble, meaning that it needs to be in the presence of fat to be properly absorbed and utilized by the body. It is stored in the liver, skin, brain and bones and helps maintain proper functioning of the nervous system, muscle and heart tissues, bone strength/development, assists in prevention/reduction of kidney stones, improves mood and increases motivation and reduces dizziness while helping to restore balance in the body.
Written by Dr. Amy Nykoluk, DTCM
Our reproductive health is often one of these issues that we don't consider until we realize we have a problem, which about 10-15% of couples trying to conceive will eventually find out they do! Of this group of people, 35% are issues relating only to the man, 35% are issues relating only to the women, 20% are issues including both the man and woman, and the last 10% arises from an unknown problem in either partner. Of course it can be a very scary and sad thought to some couples that having a child isn't happening as quickly as we would like, so many people are turning to very invasive, complicated and expensive procedures to help conceive. Just like any other health issue, TCM is an excellent option to consider before spending large amounts of money on other available treatments.
Fertility issues, along with any issue treated with TCM, can arise from multiple organ or substance imbalances in the body, and the correct diagnosis is critical when creating an effective treatment plan. In order to ensure proper diagnosis and treatment, we must first take a complete patient history, including sleep patterns, diet choices, menstrual cycle, bowel movements, mood patterns, family history, etc., so we can see the workings of the body as a whole. In addition to these topics, a thorough examination of a person's pulse and tongue are done, as these are two very important diagnostic tools used in TCM.
Don't wash it every day. Try to only wash your hair every 2-4 days. Building up the natural oils is the best form of hydration for healthy hair and scalp.
2. Use natural shampoos such as Calgary's own Lowen's "Shampoo is Betta!" This is a gentle Vegan, sulfate-free coconut based shampoo great for replenishing the hair! Use high-quality natural hair products that are free from synthetic
sudsing detergents like SLS (sodium luaryl sulfates) that strip the natural oils from the scalp and dry out the hair follicle making it more prone to split ends and damage. Artificial fragrance is another ingredient that can cause contact dermatitis to the scalp, further causing irritation and imbalances.
3. Use a natural bristle brush. Here at the spa, we carry Bass Brushes with 2 different options; natural boar hair bristles and organic bamboo bristles. These do not strip the hair's follicle shaft, therefore not creating split ends. They glide easily and help pull your natural oils through the hair.
4. Use a natural hair oil to treat the ends of your hair. Don't be fooled by marketing, a lot of the hair oils on the market are just cheap fragrance filled nonsense. You need a hair oil where you can pronounce the ingredients on the back! We carry an organic oil line called Burnt Whisky. It's a great beard oil line that all us ladies love for our dry ends!
Drinking an adequate amount of water daily is important for overall good health. This is because water aids in all the mandatory and regulatory bodily functions that keep us alive, like digestion, circulation, absorption, excretion of water, fluids, toxins and bacteria, it helps regulate the body's temperature through sweating, aids in proper circulation, boosts the immune system, helps with muscle and skin tone and is a key component in the communication between cells! Water is the body’s transportation system and when we are dehydrated, our body just can't function as well. This is because dehydration slows everything down, and messes up the natural hormone functions of the body.
Written by Dr. Amy Nykoluk, DTCM
It's officially fall - the temperature has dropped, the leaves are too, and our city is bursting with rich oranges, reds and yellows. The long days of summer are over, and as we get back into our busy routines of school, work, sports and/or other extracurricular activities, it is important that we listen to our bodies and not forget about our well-being. In following the 5-Element Theory that is widely used in Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM), autumn is the season of the lungs, a time to pay extra attention and TLC to these powerhouse organs that they are! During this time of the year, the seasonal Qi turns crisp and clear. All living things, including humans, rely on this natural force to ripen. We want nature on our side, especially when it comes to our health, so let's use this time wisely and focus on our lungs.