January = Clean

Posted by Judy Moon

January is always an exciting time of year – full of resolutions, good intentions, and goals. I love all of the energy the New Year brings – it’s kind of like a fresh clean canvas. What do I want to create for this year?

January at my house also means The Clean Program. Created by Dr. Junger and made famous by Gwyneth Paltrow. It is a 21 elimination detoxification program. It is the perfect thing after the holidays and all of the over-indulgences that can occur. What I really liked about this program is that you CAN EAT! It’s not about being hungry, or juicing or fasting. I know those things have their purpose, but this program seemed very doable to me. Just stick to the list of foods that you can have and you’re good! The “eating factor” was also the tool I used to rope my husband in to doing it with me as well. It is definitely easier to do with the buddy system.

I tried a 3 day juice cleanse once after a vacation week at the beach. I felt like I needed a boost to get me back on track to healthy eating.  I used Catalyst Cleanse – it couldn’t be easier. They have done all of the homework and created the perfect combinations of what you need throughout the day. There are six bottles numbered in what order you drink them. I have to say they were all pretty tasty. Day 1 – easy  peasy. Day 2 – I felt a kind of “sloshing” in my gut most of the day. Day 3 – was definitely ready to be done and to chew on something. To all of you who have done the Master Cleanse – I salute you! You all deserve a trophy or some sort of award. I put you in the same category of those brave ones who do the Tough Mudder runs. The juice cleanse though did open my eyes to something I had been taking for granted before – the pleasure of eating and chewing.

This is the fourth time my husband, Joe, and I have done Clean and it seems to get easier every time. We both struggle with different parts of it – he misses coffee and bread, I of course miss my red wine and cheese. The mantra becomes – “it’s only 21 days.”

I don’t buy the kit from the website. I make my own shakes and get our supplements at Whole Foods.  We don’t always have a soup or shake for dinner, sometimes we have a light meal from the list of foods you can have. I found a great blog from two sisters that is really fun and inspirational – Spinach For Breakfast. I also really enjoy this Chai Ginger Bread Shake from Goop. They have some really great recipes.

If you are feeling like you need a little kick in the pants in the healthy eating department or you need to really detox and reset – I would say give it a shot. If my beer drinking, chicken wing eating husband can do it – anyone can!

What do you do to start the year off right?

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Massage Tips for TMJ

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Posted by Alicia McCarthy

When clients come to me with neck pain, upper back pain, or frequency of headaches or migraines, I usually try to start the massage with their face. The jaw can be very telling when it comes to alleviating tension in these other areas of the body.

TMJ or the Temporomandibular joints are on either side of the face, and can be felt if you follow your finger from your ear to the tiny depression at the beginning of your jaw line. This joint connects the area at the side of your head to your jaw. Tension in the muscles surrounding this joint can displace it, and prevent it from moving with fluidity. TMJ dysfunction can cause the jaw to click out of place or lock up all together resulting in chronic pain and frustration.

We use our faces all of the time, everyday to express love, laughter, and the occasional grimace (we’re only human). So sufferers of TMJ dysfunction are acutely aware when their condition is flaring up, and making it impossible to eat anything the least bit crunchy. Oftentimes the pain is the most noticeable in the morning. This can happen for a few reasons. Sleeping with your mouth slightly ajar due to stuffy sinuses can cause the muscles surrounding the TMJ to work overtime. Sleeping on your side or on your stomach can have the same result compressing everything around the joint. Another cause is good old-fashioned teeth grinding and jaw clenching which often comes about during a night plagued by nightmares.

Fortunately, there is help! Massage is awesome for treating TMJ dysfunction, and so is acupuncture. Massaging your own face is very helpful and easy, and I’ve had success doing this for myself before I go to bed and when I wake up in the morning. You simply hold the trigger point around the TMJ even going into your mouth to release those contracting muscles. Alternating hot and cold compresses also relieves the tension. As a bonus, facial massage, when done regularly, can improve the tonicity of the muscles of the face giving you a youthful glow!

Patterns

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Posted by Gwyn MacDonald

I’ve been thinking about patterns. The patterns that ice or frost make on the sage leaves in the winter garden or the bedroom window.  How the bark on a tree layers itself just so. The geese that flew away south in that perfect ever-evolving “V”.

And about our patterns, as humans. What we do each day or each week or for that one week each year. I want to take the time to be a bit more conscious of my own patterns and habits. What purpose do my patterns serve?  What is nourishing me and what is just an old pattern and hard to change?  How do I engage with people? Am I really listening or just barely there? Am I paying attention to the cycles in my own life?

Just some things to ponder and patterns to unravel as I wander through this winter. What patterns are you observing?

Lighten Up! LOL

Image Map Posted by: Debi Phillpotts

With so much awareness placed on the harmful effects of stress and the toll it takes on our well being it’s no surprise some of us are taking action to diminish these effects via exercise, diet, meditation and replacing our negative habits for more positive ones.

I for one have been “re-vamping” myself for the last decade (my never-ending life’s work), which can be quite the harrowing task at times. But there is a method that’s so enjoyable it literally leaves you feeling lighter immediately. Laughter. Even better, deep belly laughter. Researchers already know laughter helps to assist those coping with a major illness or life’s stresses but have also found laughter actually balances all the components of the immune system which helps us fight off disease. Scientifically, laughter works by reducing the production of stress hormones and the fight or flight compounds our body produces in times of stress, anger and hostility. Stress hormones suppress the immune system and raise blood pressure.

On the flip side, when we laugh, we produce natural killer cells that destroy tumors and viruses, along with Gamma-interferon, (a disease fighting protein), T-cells, which are a major part of the immune response and B-cells, which make disease destroying anti-bodies. Our respiratory tract is strengthened by laughter, which allows for better protection from infectious organisms. Not only can laughter be a total body workout, hence the feeling of exhaustion after a good bout of laughter, but there are many positive psychological effects. According to American Association for Therapeutic Humor, laughter provides a harmless way to release old stored negative emotions without having to express them. What a great way to rid yourself of “old baggage”!

There are some obvious ways to engage in laughter like watching comedy, being silly or surrounding yourself with funny people. Some other ways are laughter therapy which get people laughing in a group or individual settings, laughter yoga, created by Dr. Madan Kataria and don’t forget the infamous Dr. Hunter (Patch) Adams who was the catalyst for clown therapy worldwide. You can actually join a professional organization called The International Society for Humor Studies.

Whatever the case may be, lighten your load and start with a smile or go for a full on outburst of laughter, its contagious and worth spreading. Enjoy knowing your laughing your way to better health!

Some quotes on laughter:

“I love people who make me laugh. I honestly think it’s the thing I like most, to laugh. It cures a multitude of ills. It’s probably the most important thing in a person.” ― Audrey Hepburn

“Sometimes crying or laughing are the only options left, and laughing feels better right now.”  ― Veronica Roth, Divergent

“The human race has only one really effective weapon and that is laughter.” ― Mark Twain