Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Slaves or Partners?

Unfortunately, I think most people today treat their bodies like slaves. They do whatever they want to them (bad eating habits, little sleep, etc.) and then expect their bodies to still do everything they tell them to. If their bodies try to protest it is ignored. They give very little time to taking care of their bodies or considering what they really need.
It's sad.

I can say this, because I used to be like this. I used to think my body was supposed to do what I wanted it to and not bother me. I didn't listen to my body, I didn't consider its needs. So it crashed. Then I learned to pay attention.

So if you're reading this and your body hasn't crashed yet, this would be a good time to evaluate your thinking toward your body and maybe make some changes.

God said our body is HIS temple, His dwelling place (Eph. 2:22, 1 Cor. 6:19-20). It is not our slave. I like to think of my body more as my partner. Without my body functioning properly I am limited in what I can do, thus limited in what God can do through me.

Over the last several years I've learned to listen to my body. It may sound a little weird to you, but it's true that your body will try to communicate to you when it needs rest, water, healthy food, exercise, etc. The hard part is learning to listen and then to act. Make your health a priority, not for selfish reasons, but because you want to be a good steward or caretaker of the body God has given you.

Now it's true that we shouldn't let our bodies rule our lives (1 Cor. 6:12-13). If we learn how to work with our bodies and how to be prayerful about what we do, I don't think we'll have to worry that. I believe God will give us the strength we need to do the things He's called us to, and that includes taking GOOD care of our bodies.

Your body is a gift from God. Learn to treat it like one.

Thursday, March 4, 2010

"Bottom 5"

You've heard of the "Top 10" list. This is the "Bottom 5" list, in honor of the fact that I have now survived 9 whole months of detoxing!

Now, you probably won't experience all these things as you detox, but for me here are the 5 worst things about detoxing:

1. "Toxic nightmares" - whenever I'm detoxing something especially nasty like pesticide or mercury, I tend to have really awful dreams all nght, sometimes so bad that I have to wake up and turn on lights and praise music. At least I know they are "toxin-induced" though and not because I'm crazy. =)

2. Being allergic to my clothes - the toxins are literally pouring out of my skin so that my clothes are so full of them, my mom has to wash them at least 3-4 times before I can wear them again without having a reaction. It's nuts.

3. An annoying rash that comes and goes whenever and wherever it pleases. - it especially likes to itch the worst in the middle of the night. Not fun.

4. All the detoxing symptoms - depending on what I'm detoxing, the symptoms can range from nausea, brain fog, or a metallic taste in my mouth, to trouble breathing, joint and muscle pain, headaches, etc.

5. Feeling like this detoxing will never end - no matter how many toxins my body gets rid of, it seems there's always more just waiting to come out. I get really tired of feeling "toxic."

There you have it. Now aren't you excited to start detoxing? =)

Here's a quick addition to my "You know you're detoxing..." list, from my friend Sam, who also suffers with E.I.

"You know you're detoxing...when a mosquito lands on your arm, bites into your skin, and expires."

Just think, it could be a new method of mosquito control! =)

Monday, March 1, 2010

Lymphatic Massage

As I mentioned in my last post, I believe lymphatic massage is the best way to begin detoxing and the key that unlocks your body's natural detoxing system so that other methods become even more effective for you as well.

Lymphatic massage is so powerful because it works with your body, instead of pushing your body. It assists your body's natural detoxification process.

Sickness, stress, lack of exercise, etc. cause our bodies to tense up. As the muscles get tighter the lymphatic system is basically choked. Doing the massage relaxes the muscles and opens up the flow of the lymph, which is a fluid that moves the toxins out of your body.

The really amazing thing about lymphatic massage is that as you continue to do it, your lymphatic system will actually pull toxins out of the places where they are stored (in organs, tissues, glands, etc. So you don't have to do chelation or take a bunch of supplements to dig out the toxins buried deep in your body. Your body will do it naturally if you keep the lymphatic system moving well.

Basic lymphatic massage is pretty simple. Just start with gentle stroking or gentle pressure, whichever feels good. When I first started, my mom could barely touch me because I was so toxic that even my skin hurt. Gradually as the toxins came out she was able to rub a little harder, use a little more pressure, etc. Just remember that it's supposed to be a relaxing massage, not painful like a deep-tissue massage. And always massage toward the heart/torso.

My naturopath recommends using oil on the skin for the massage since it cuts down on the friction. I'm sensitive to any kind of oil, so that didn't work for me. I think it works ok without the oil. If you do use oil, try to find something natural like organic coconut oil or something that will not harm your body since it will be absorbed into your body through the skin.

When my mom feels a tense place or a kind of 'lump' under my skin she'll often just place her hand on top of it for several seconds and let that heat sort of "melt" the lump. Then she can gently rub it out. This happens most often in my feet. For some reason they always have lumps in different places.

The following website has some brief video clips that show how to do different parts of the massage as well as where the major lymph nodes are, and more more.

Just remember, go slow. When I first started I could only handle about 10 minutes of massage. After that I'd feel nauseated and weak. As my body got rid of more toxins I could handle longer massages. If you do too much massage or too often, your body will be dumping a bunch of toxins at once and you'll deinitely feel worse because of it. Always pay attention to your body and listen to what it's telling you. A little at a time is better than a whole lot at once. =) And don't forget to drink LOTS of water after a massage, to help move the toxins out quickly.

There's plenty of information about lymphatic massage online if you want to learn more. These websites have information about what it does and why it's helpful.

Here's a sample paragraph from the second website -

"The lymphatic system has no central pump and depends on muscle contraction through deep breathing, exercise and manual manipulation to move fluid.
Lymphatic massage utilizes a very light pressure combined with soft pumping movements in the direction of the lymph nodes. Immune system function can be significantly increased, improving metabolism and helping the body to eliminate waste and toxins."

I think my naturpath would say that lymphatic massage is good for everyone. However, the above websites do list a caution for people with certain health issues.

"For the most part lymphatic massage is safe. However as with all massage therapies there are some contra indications. For lymphatic massage specifically, these include acute inflammation, malignant tumors, thrombosis and major heart problems."

"Lymph massage is a type of massage which is designed to promote the healthy flow of lymph, the clear fluid which supports immune system function by flowing through the body and sequestering foreign material like viruses. Practitioners of lymph massage believe that the massage eliminates blockages in the lymphatic system, while also helping to pull out toxins. This type of massage is generally very gentle, but there are some serious contraindications, because massage work around the lymphatic system can make some medical conditions worse. Therefore, it is important to talk to a doctor before booking an appointment for lymph massage.
You may hear this type of massage called lymphatic massage, lymphatic drainage, or manual lymphatic drainage. People with inflammations and current infections should not get lymph massage, because the massage can encourage the spread of the infection. Lymph massage is also contraindicated for people with tumors and undiagnosed lumps, as well as people with clotting issues and heart problems. Lymph massage can make all of these conditions worse."

My best advice (as long as you don't have any of the above conditions) is just give it a try and see how it feels. It's made a huge difference for me! My naturopath discovered this when he was struggling to recover from chronic fatigue. He's very healthy now and still has a massage once a week.

If you have any questions, please let me know. Anyone can post comments on this blog now, so feel free! =)