31 Ways To Use Coconut Oil


Coconut oil is everywhere now. And there's a good reason why - it has a huge range of uses. From health benefits and hair and skin uses to nifty ways to use it around the home.
There are several types of coconut oil on the market: 
Unrefined Organic Coconut Oil
This is considered to be the gold standard.  It is extracted from fresh coconut using a wet-milled fermentation process that protects the beneficial properties of the coconut. This type of coconut oil has been found to have the highest antioxidant levels.
“Extra Virgin” Oil
While this is the gold standard for olive oil, it is not for coconut oil. This is produced by cold-pressing the oil and does not preserve the antioxidants as well.
Refined Coconut Oils
Refined coconut oil is often tasteless and has no coconut smell. It is usually heated, bleached and deodorized.
Fractionated Oil or MCT Oil
Fractionated oil or MCT (medium chained triglyceride) oil is a liquid oil that does not get solid below 76 degrees like unrefined oil does. It doesn’t contain all the beneficial properties of unrefined coconut oil but is higher in brain-boosting fats.
Now that you know all the different types, here are 31 ways to use coconut oil. 

Natural Remedies for Coconut Oil

1. Can help sooth the skin of eczema and psoriasis. 
2. Can help speed the healing of a sunburn. 
3. Can reduce the itch of mosquito bites
4. A tablespoon melted into a cup of warm tea can help sooth a sore throat
5. Naturally clears up cold sores
6. Blend a tablespoon into hot tea to help speed recovery from cold or flu
7. The antimicrobial and antibacterial properties make it helpful topically to kill yeast or yeast infections

Coconut Oil Uses for Your Hair

8. Rub into scalp daily to stimulate hair growth
9. A tiny dab rubbed on your hands and then through hair makes a great anti-frizz treatment
10. A natural conditioner- Rub into dry hair, put a shower cap on and leave for several hours before washing out with several rounds of shampoo

Coconut Oil Beauty Uses

11. On the skin as a basic lotion
12. Coconut oil makes an excellent eye-makeup remover on its own
13. Rubbed on lips as a natural lip balm
14. As a natural shave cream and after shave lotion
15. Rub on cuticles to help nails grow
16. Add a couple drops of a favorite essential oil to make a delicious massage oil
17. It may help lighten age spots when rubbed directly on the skin
18. As a facial scrub - combine coconut oil with Himalayan crystal salt and apply to face each night. 

Coconut Oil for Pregnancies, Babies and Children

19. Use as a cloth diaper-safe diaper cream. 
20. In place of Lanolin cream on nursing nipples to sooth irritation (also great for baby!)
21. Used directly on the perineum to help heal after birth
22. To get rid of cradle cap on baby- just massage in to head, leave on for a few minutes and gently rinse with a warm wash cloth
23. Use on skin to avoid stretch marks during pregnancy. 

Coconut Oil Health Benefits and Uses

24. Is an immediate source of energy when eaten that isn’t stored as fat
25. Some studies show that it can help improve insulin levels when consumed regularly
26. Can relieve the pain of hemorrhoids when used topically
27. Some studies show it can boost circulation and help those who often feel cold
28. Some evidence shows that the beneficial fats in coconut oil can help with depression and anxiety
29. It has been shown to increase absorption of calcium and magnesium 
30. Topically, it help skin heal faster after injury or infection because of its beneficial fats
31. Add one tablespoon of coconut oil into your favorite smoothie recipe and increase your energy with the oil's MCTs.


Share This Post:

30 Hidden Names For Sugar



According to Statistics Canada the average Canadian is consuming 26 teaspoons of sugar a day. That’s the equivalent of 40 kilograms or 88 lbs of sugar a year!! 
Recently, a study out of Ontario found that over two-thirds of products on our grocery shelves had sugar in it. Surprised? Not really, eh? Some call sugar the last legal drug.  When you think about how prevalent and ubiquitous sugar is… the impact it has on our emotions and the evidence that sugar acts similarly to cocaine or alcohol in our brains, sugar addiction is society’s worst kept secret?
For years, sugar has been touted as the main cause for diabetes. However, a new book out called "The Case Against Sugar", proposes that it is sugar.. not fat.. that is the true cause of cardiovascular disease. The author implicates researchers, nutritionists and especially the sugar industry in what he claims amounts to a major cover-up.
Take a listen here on CBC's The Current for an interested interview with the author, Gary Taubes.
Now, I'm sure that you are all aware of the evils of sugar, but did you know that there are over 50 different names for sugar?? Here are 30 of them for you to keep an eye out when choosing what you are bringning home from the store: 
1.  corn sweetener
2.  ethyl maltol
3.  corn syrup
4.  dextrose
5.  fructose
6.  fruit juice concentrates
7.  glucose
8.  high-fructose corn syrup
9.  invert sugar
10.  lactose
11.  maltose
12.  malt syrup
13.  raw sugar
14.  sucrose
15.  sugar syrup
16.  florida crystals
17.  cane sugar
18.  crystalline fructose
19.  evaporated cane juice
20.  corn syrup solids
21.  malt syrup
22.  barley malt
23.  agave nectar
24.  rice syrup
25.  caramel
26.  panocha
27.  muscovado
28.  molasses
29.  treacle
30.  carob syrup
Share This Post:

26 Natural Beauty Tips

Here are some beauty tips straight from your naturopathic doctor’s mouth.  Warning – some of these pointers are tricks to get you healthier too!
1. Drink more water for a healthy glow.  Drink at least 8 cups (2L) of water or herbal tea per day.
2. Cut out refined sugar once an for all.  Did you know sugar causes wrinkles?!

3. Get 8 hours of sleep and set your clock so that you get enough sleep every night.

4. Smile and laugh often.  Smile lines are the best kind of lines.

5. Eat good food sources of Omega 3 and other good fats such as wild salmon, flaxseeds, chia seeds, olive oil and avocado to prevent dry skin.

6. Dry, brittle hair and nails?  Ask your naturopathic doctor if hypothyroidism might be a concern for you.

7. Eat curry!  Curcumin, also called turmeric, is an anti-inflammatory and can help reduce skin redness.

8. Drink lemon water every morning to reduce bloating.

9. Add a bit of cayenne pepper to your lemon water to improve circulation and get a rosy glow!

10. Drink green tea daily for anti-aging antioxidants.

11. Be sun smart.  Get at least 15 min of sun without sunscreen to get your body making vitamin D.  After that, lather up with sunscreen!

12. Make 2017 the year to quit smoking and avoid second-hand smoke as much as possible.  

13. Breaking hair and nails a problem?  Check in with your naturopathic doctor to be sure you are absorbing the nutrients from your food.

14. Dark circles under your eyes?  Food sensitivities could be the culprit.

15. Eat more fibre from brown rice, legumes, oatmeal and veggies.  Getting the system moving eliminates toxins so they don’t come out through the skin! (Think - prevention of acne and most skin rashes)

16. Have more sex!  And talk to your naturopathic doctor if libido is a concern.

17. Eat a cup of berries every day for anti-oxidants that help fight wrinkles and age spots.

18. Avoid coffee and red wine which stain teeth but also make you more acidic so you lose enamel.

19. Dairy and gluten can sometimes cause acne.  Time to bring in the almond milk and rice pasta?

20. Bothered by your silver fillings?  Did you know that they contain mercury, a very harmful toxin?  Getting them removed properly might be more than a cosmetic investment.

21. Got a mole that is bothering you?  Did you know that your naturopathic doctor can give you a healthy mole check up?

22. Check your cosmetics for parabens and chuck them out!  Parabens mess with your hormones.
23. Eat leafy greens such as kale and spinach on a daily basis for minerals and folate to help hair grow

24. Try something new and laugh at yourself when you suck at it!  

25. Commit to having more fun in 2017

26. Be kind.  Kindness is the most attractive feature of all.
Share This Post:

22 Tips For Better Sleep


Who doesn’t want a better sleep?  Whether you truly struggle with falling or staying asleep, or just want a half hour more of quality sleep, here are 22 ways to get it:

Minimize or Avoid Stimulants 

1.  Avoid alcohol (wine, beer and hard liquor) within 3 hours of bedtime. 
2.  Avoid caffeine-containing beverages or foods after 2 pm; if sensitive to caffeine, avoid it after 12 (noon). These items include Pepsi, Coke, Mountain Dew; tea, coffee, lattes, and chocolate; coffee- or espresso-containing ice creams or desserts. Read the labels of everything you eat and drink! 
3.  Avoid Sudafed or other decongestant cold medicines at night. 
4.  Some medications may have stimulating effects. Consult your pharmacist and doctor to determine whether any of them might be contributing to sleep problems. Do not discontinue them without permission from your doctor. 
5.  Complete any aerobic exercise before 6 pm (or at least 3 hours before bed- time). 

Nighttime Tension and Anxiety 

6. Avoid anxiety-provoking activities close to bedtime: 
7. Avoid reading or watching the news before going to bed. 
8. Schedule difficult conversations well before bedtime—preferably at least 3 hours before.  Avoid arguments right before bed.

Sleep Planning and Bedroom Preparation 

9.  Plan your sleep by putting it into your schedule; plan for 8.5 to 9 hours in bed. 
10.  As much as possible, go to sleep and wake up at the same time each day. This will help train your biological clock. 
11.  Avoid getting in bed after midnight as late-hour sleep is not as helpful as earlier sleep. 
12 . Avoid large meals or spicy foods before bed. 
13.  Finish all eating 3 hours prior to going to sleep. 
14. Avoid drinking more than 4-8 ounces of fluid before going to bed. 

Strategies to Use with Trouble Falling Asleep or Staying Asleep 

15. Consider reading a good neutral book under low light to help with falling asleep. 
16. Don’t stay in bed more than 20-30 minutes trying to fall asleep. Leave your bedroom and go to a relaxing room other than the bedroom and read or do a relaxation technique (i.e., meditation.) 
17. If you awaken early because of light, put a dark covering over your eyes. 
18. If you awaken early because of recurrent thoughts, try writing them in a journal. If this does not help, consider counseling. Depression might be a factor. 

Bedroom Air Quality 

19. Keep your bedroom air clean, especially if you have nasal congestion or are prone to snoring. Use HEPA or other types of air purifiers/ filters to clean the air in your bedroom. Use the filter on a low setting at night if the noise is soothing. Otherwise use the filter on a medium setting for 4-6 hours during the day. 
20. If you see mold or have a musty smell in your bedroom, have it checked or cultured for mold with culture plates. If there is mold, have the house evaluated for water leaks and air quality issues to be fixed and see that the mold is cleaned appropriately. 
21. If your nose is blocked up and you have trouble breathing through it, take the above steps and consider using a saline spray before bed. Also consider Breathe-Easy strips on your nose. Make sure you read the instructions and t them over the lower third of your nose.
22. Consider replacing your pillows with hypoallergenic pillows. Use Ultra allergy pillow and mattress covers. 
Keep these tips in mind for you and your family. Consistent restful sleep is part of the foundation of good health.
Share This Post:

21 Healthy Toddler-Friendly Foods


Introducing healthy foods to your toddler can be an exciting time. There are a couple of tips to keep in mind when preparing your toddler's meals.

Keep trying with new foods and new textures. It can take up to forty times before a toddler will accept a food option. Don't give up on first or second try. Make sure that food is cut up into small pieces. Beans need to be cut in half. Grapes are cut in half length-wise and meats need to be moiste, soft and tender to chew. Before offering a food to your toddler, try a bite of it yourself to see how hard it is to chew. If it's too difficult, it's probably not a good choice.  

This list of 21 foods is broken down into three sections for you: starches, fruits/veggies and proteins. 


1.  Oatmeal

Try making stovetop oatmeal using whole rolled oats and coconut milk instead of water. This will add a natural sweetness and healthy fats to this breakfast option. 

2.   Sweet Potatoes

High in fibre and beta-carotene, this naturally sweet root vegetable can be roasted whole and cut into cubes or cut into sticks (fries if you will!) roasted in some olive oil for a great finger food option. 

3.  Spaghetti Squash

Mix with your favourite pasta sauce (that you can load up with even more veggies) and let them feed themselves. If you`d like it to have a softer texture, put it in the slow cooker on low for 6 hours. (Yes! You can cook more than meat in your slow cooker!!)

4.  Homemade Mini-Muffins

Mini muffins were made for toddler hands. Check out this recipe for gluten-free sweet potato mini muffins!

5.  Whole Grain Pasta

Brown rice, whole wheat and quinoa pastas are great options and come in lots of fun shapes.

6.  Pancakes

`Dollar sized`pancakes are great breakfast and snack options. Try making little pancake sandwiches with nut butter spread in between! If you`re looking for a simple, protein packed pancake option, check out this recipe for Banana Protein Pancakes made with just two ingredients!

7.  Brown Rice

Rice can get a bit messy with a self-feeding toddler but is a great addition to any meal. 

Fruits + Veggies

8.  Roasted Cauliflower

Roast cauliflower florets, tossed in some olive oil at 325F for 45 minutes for a great finger food veggie option at dinnertime!

9.  Avocado

A great first finger food to introduce as it can be easily mushed between the gums of your toddler. Plus anything leftover gives you an excuse to make guacamole! 

10.  Watermelon

This refreshing fruit can be either cut into cubes. Older toddlers can be given watermelon slices to much down on on a hot summer day. A great backyard treat.

11.   Raspberries

You can't go wrong with this option.  My kids love to place a raspberry on each of their little fingers, sing `Five Little Monkeys`and munch away at each berry after they gleefully sing 'one fell off and bumped his head". 

12. Spiralized Zucchini

Zucchini noodles can be a fun side dish to any dinner. 

13.   Pureed Soups

One our quickest meals that we do in our house is a pureed soup, which simply consists of cooking up a roughly chopped stir-friend onion, chicken or veggie broth, one chopped potato, a large handful of baby spinach and either asparagus or broccoli. Once you've simmered this mix for 15-20 minutes, whiz it up in a high powered blender and voila - soup! Or as the French call it, velouté.  Or as we call it in our house... green soup. (creative, I know)

14.  Mango

This is a great option as you can easily use the frozen variety (that`s already peeled and cubed... bonus!).  A slightly thawed mango cube can also be great for teething toddlers as well!


15.  Eggs

This quick and easy protein can be served up scrambled or hard-boiled. An omelette can also be made to include other veggies like spinach. 

16.  Plain pulled pork

Using a slow cooker, this is a great option for little ones to try pork. If your toddler likes to eat like the grown-ups, then wrap a soft corn tortilla around it, add some avocado and you've got Taco Tuesdays down pat. 

17.  Shreds of pot roast or short rib

Slow cooker short rib is a favourite in our house.  Who knew toddlers like short rib?? Tender and moist beef from a chuck roast or short ribs can be a great option to serve over rice with a side of roasted cauliflower. Yum!

18.  Chia pudding

Chia is a great way to add fibre and protein into a toddler's diet. We love this recipe from Simply Quinoa!  Or check out our version of Coconut Milk Chia Pudding!

19.  Hummus

Including legumes is a great way to include plant-based proteins into your todder's diet. If you're making your own, you don't need to stick with just chick peas. Try subbing them out for white navy beans or black beans for a little twist on a classic. 

20.    Homemade Meatballs

Using ground turkey thigh meat produces a high-protein and flavourul option that is perfect for little toddler hands. 

21.  Full-fat plain yogurt

Look for the 9% full-fat yogurt that is naturally thick (no extra thickeners required). Add in your own fruit, honey and cinnamon for a healthy dessert or snack. 


Well, there you have it. Lots of options for you to try at home with your toddler.  Remember.. monkey see, monkey do. If your kids see you enjoy a wide variety of healthy foods, then they will see this as normal and will soon follow suit!

Share This Post:

19 Non-Dairy Sources of Calcium


You know that you need calcium for strong, healthy bones. Usually, getting enough calcium means drinking milk and eating yogurt and cheese. Is drinking milk and eating dairy products the best way to get the calcium you need? The answer might surprise you. 
Various research studies show that milk and dairy products are not necessary for strong bones. In fact, the opposite could be true, as a recent study in the British Medical Journal found that women who drank multiple glasses of milk daily had a higher fracture risk than women who drank less than a glass a day.  American magazine Mother Jones summarized the research and the marketing by the dairy industry in the US that impacts what you think about milk in a great article here
Milk and dairy products are also high on the list of food allergies and intolerances and can be common triggers for inflammation in the body, resulting in eczema, acne, bloating, gas and joint pains. 
Calcium is still an important mineral proper muscle tone and nerve function, and not just for women and kids. So how do you get calcium without drinking milk? 

1.  Tofu

4 oz of tofu has a whopping 774 mg of calcium in it! You can easily add diced tofu to stir fry or you can enjoy it scrambled as a substitute for eggs. Buying organic, non-GMO tofu is highly recommended

2.  Collard greens 

1 cup of steamed collard greens has almost the same amount of calcium as 1 cup of cow’s milk (266 mg vs 276 mg) and can be enjoyed as a side dish with some drizzled olive oil and your favourite spices.

3.  Spinach 

1 cup of spinach has a bit less calcium than 1 cup of milk and can be enjoyed in salad or even added to your morning smoothie.

4.  Mustard Greens

5.  Beet Greens 

6.  Turnip Greens 

7.  Bok choy

8.  Swiss chard

9.  Kale

All of these greens can be enjoyed steamed or stir fried to add an extra punch of calcium to your meal. 

10.  Cinnamon

Did you know that 2 tsp has over 50 mg of calcium? Add a big dash to your oatmeal or tea to get a touch more sweetness and calcium in your life. 

11.  Sesame seeds

You can add ¼ cup for over 350 mg of extra calcium in your cereal, salads or snacks.

12.  Sardines

Sardine fans rejoice! 3 oz gives you almost 300 mg – more than a cup of milk!

13.  Cabbage

Using cabbage in soup or enjoying it fermented as sauerkraut? One cup gives you 60 mg of extra calcium.

14.  Broccoli

15.  Brussels sprouts

16.  Green beans

You can easily enjoy the above greens roasted or steamed and they give over 50 mg of calcium per cup.

17.  Oranges

Did you know that a medium sized orange provides over 50 mg of calcium?

18.  Summer squash

When summer comes around again, you can get 50 mg of calcium in 1 cup. 

19.  Fennel

You can add fennel to stir fry or salad for an extra 40 mg of calcium per cup.
Whether you’re looking to get enough calcium for yourself or your kids, it doesn’t have to mean reaching for milk, yogurt or cheese. A combination of the above foods can make it easy to get enough calcium. If you have any questions about how much calcium you need, don’t hesitate to ask your naturopathic doctor!



Share This Post:

18 Vitamins and Minerals You Should Eat Every Day


Eating a balanced and healthy diet is the foundation to good health. Today, we are highlighting some vitamins and minerals that are important for our health and where to find them in our diet. 

1.  Vitamin A

The beautiful yellow pigment found in plants is fantastic to keep skin, eyes and your immune system healthy! Incorporate more carrots, sweet potatoes and spinach into your daily meals.

2.  Vitamin C

One of the most important anti-oxidants in our bodies and helpful to reduce allergies! Add a scoop of mixed berries to your smoothie or snack on an orange or kiwi to get your dose of C

3.  Vitamin D

The Sunshine Vitamin, often difficult to get in the winter. This vitamin is important for keeping bones strong, improving mood and immune system! Cod liver oil is a good source

4.  Vitamin K

Found in our leafy greens including broccoli and spinach. Vitamin K is important to build strong bones along with Vitamin D

5.  Vitamin E

Another important anti-oxidant to protect our cells especially our red blood cells. Make a trail mix of sunflower seeds, pecans and hazelnuts and enjoy a lovely mid-afternoon snack!

6.  Magnesium

Marvelous magnesium is a wonderful mineral to help combat constipation, muscle cramping and insomnia! Eat your beans – soybeans, kidney beans and lima beans are great sources!

7.  Calcium

An important mineral to help prevent osteoporosis. Also helpful for insomnia along with magnesium! Some non-dairy suggestions include turnip greens, collard greens, rhubarb and sardines. 

8.  Iron

Feeling tired? Incorporate some more iron rich foods into your daily diet! Beef and liver are fantastic animal sources.  Lentils, lima beans and the leafy greens are vegetarian sources

9.  Zinc

important to enhance immune function in the winter months and help reduce skin concerns from the dry weather! Add some pumpkin seeds to your daily routine to increase that Zinc in your diet.

10.  Vitamin B1

Known as Thiamin, helps keep our nervous and cardiovascular system healthy. Brewer’s yeast added to oatmeal will provide you with some B1!

11.  Vitamin B2

Known as Riboflavin, helps with metabolism and converting the food we eat into useable energy! Best food sources include organ meats, dairy products and eggs.

12.  Vitamin B3

Known as Niacin, also helpful for metabolism. Can help reduce cholesterol as well! Food sources of niacin include turkey, chicken, sunflower seeds and avocado.

13.  Vitamin B5

Known as Pantethine, is great at reducing stress hormone (cortisol) levels! Foods to eat that are high in B5 – yogurt, salmon and sunflower seeds!

14.  Vitamin B6

B6 is a favorite female vitamin! Known to help reduce PMS and irritability it’s a great one to eat! Wild tuna, salmon, bananas and sweet potatoes have B6

15.  Vitamin B12

Our fantastic energy vitamin! Helps protect our brain and nervous systems as well. Animal sources give you your best bang – beef liver, sardines and cottage cheese rank high for B12 content

16.  Iodine

Supports thyroid function, energy levels and metabolism. Iodine-rich foods include kelp and dulse are good sources

17.  Selenium

A fantastic mineral for immune system and thyroid function, Three – four brazil nuts per day give you your daily dose of Selenium

18.  Vitamin B9 

Folate, important to keep red blood cells healthy. Best food sources include chickpeas, lentils and our favorite….spinach!


Share This Post:

17 Signs that You are Dehydrated & Reasons to Drink More Water


Yes we live in Calgary.

And yes, it`s dry here. Like a cornflake kind of dry.

But the dry climate of YYC isn`t always to blame for everything! Many people are under-hydrated and don`t even recognize is. Why is water so important for our health?

Dehydration can be a complex thing with several warning signs. Water makes up approximately two-thirds of our body. It plays a large part in your normal functions, such as lubricating your joints and eyes, keeping your skin healthy by eliminating toxins, and facilitating proper digestion. Here are 17 ways to know you are dehydrated and why you want to do something about it:

7 Signs of dehydration:

1.  Increased thirst- um, yes, you feel thirsty! 
2.  Dry mouth- also known as the pasties
3.  Tired or sleepy- tired at the office?  Have a water before a coffee
4.  Decreased urine output - your body is trying to conserve its fluids, so will decrease volume.  You urine may also be amore concentrated yellow.
5.  Headache- again, with an oncoming headache, try a glass of water and wait 20 minute before popping an aspirin.
6.  Dry skin- imagine how much money we could save if we drank water instead of slathered our skin with scented creams?
7.  Dizziness- especially when you change positions from sitting to standing
8.  Few or no tears- an especially telling sign in young children who may not be able to communicate with words.


10 Reasons to Drink Plenty of Water during the day 

1.  Water is absolutely essential to the human body’s survival. A person can live for about a month without food, but only about a week without water. 

2.  Water helps to maintain healthy body weight by increasing metabolism and regulating appetite. 
3.  Water is necessary to maintain energy levels. The most common cause of daytime fatigue is mild dehydration. 
4.  For a majority of sufferers, drinking water can signicantly reduce joint and/or back pain because water is necessary for cartilage repairs. 

5.  Water leads to overall greater health by flushing out wastes and bacteria that can cause disease. 
6.  Water naturally moisturizes and ensures proper hydration of skin to give it a healthy, glowing appearance. 
7.  Water aids in the digestion process and prevents constipation
8.  Water is the primary mode of transportation for all nutrients in the body and is essential for proper circulation
9.  Stay healthy – all our organs need water to function, without it the body has to work harder. 
10. Know that you're getting enough! How to calculate the appropriate amount of water -  take your weight in pounds, divide by 2 and that’s the number of ounces of water you should be taking in a day.  Ex. 150 lb person should aim for 75 oz of water per day.
So folks, bottoms up! Water is the foundation to good health. Do your calculations and start including water in your daily routine!
Share This Post:

14 Natural Ways to Address Pain

There are many reasons why we experience pain. Perhaps it is from a tension or Chinook headache, or we were in an accident. Chronic pain and overuse injuries are also on the rise with our daily activities of driving for long hours and sitting at a desk all day. The best way to address pain is to make sure not to ignore it and get it properly assessed right away.

Once you know the cause, it will be easier for you to find the best way to get rid of, which might include one of more of the following:

1.  Diet

Certain foods can help increase inflammation in the body, such as processed foods, refined carbohydrates, trans-fats, and sugar. Other foods that are high in anti-oxidants and polyphenols help to reduce inflammation in the body. The more inflammation in your system, the more likely you are to be sensitive to pain or have an injury. The research on specific anti-inflammatory diets is still mixed, but eating a more plant based and whole food diet has been shown to reduce inflammation and improve overall health. 

2.  Meditation

Meditation and mindfulness have been shown to be beneficial to many aspects of our health. Studies are now being done showing how the practice of meditation, even in new participants, can change how the brain responds to pain. In some studies pain was reduced by 27% (in comparison to 22% from morphine).

3.  Sleep

There is a strong association between sleep and pain, though research is still catching up on which has a greater effect.  There is also the role of sleep in addressing inflammation in the body and therefore improving pain. Most findings show that sleep has a greater effect on pain and therefore improving the quality of sleep has a greater impact on reducing pain as well as reducing the risk of devolving pain in the future.

4.  Yoga

Several studies have shown that participation in group yoga classes can help with chronic pain, especially lower back. The effects are often more dramatic and longer lasting than those who participate in just stretching activity. There have also been benefits seen in improving the mood of those in pain as well as decreasing disability and improving functionality. 

5.  Stretching & Rolling

Often pain can be from overuse or underuse. We all recognize the fact that sitting all day at a computer is not great for our posture so what do you do? Gentle stretching to help balance out tight muscles has been shown to reduce chronic pain as well as lower injury. Rolling with a foam roller or a therapy ball also helps to target specific trigger points to pain and allow those muscles to release. 

6.  Exercise

There are many ways that exercise helps when dealing with pain. New research shows that regular exercise can help improve pain tolerance, as well as research on chronic low back pain and fibromyalgia show that regular exercise programs help to reduce daily pain. Increasing core strength and improving posture are often attributed to the pain improving benefits of exercise, as well as the improved circulation. Depending on the pain that you are addressing and the cause it is important to have an exercise routine designed specifically for you. 

7.  Acupuncture

Lots of people have tried acupuncture for addressing their pain. The traditional method is often found to be relaxing and painless during the treatments. Studies, such as the one the University of Maryland, is showing acupuncture to be effective in short term relief of chronic back pain as well as long term effects. Through analysis of several studies they found that that acupuncture provides real pain relief, not just a placebo effect. 

8.  EFT 

EFT or emotional freedom technique has moved from being more on the fringe to being well accepted not only for psychological health but also physiological conditions such as pain and athletic performance. Several studies have shown EFT or tapping to be effective in reducing pain experienced from tension headaches, following PTSD symptoms and fibromyalgia.

9.  Massage & Cupping

We all know how relaxing a good massage can be. Even the mean ones, like the deep tissue, help to release those tight muscles and get us back on track. Research shows it too, not only decreasing pain levels immediatly but also improving relaxation, sleep and recovery.  As the recent Olympics in Rio showcased the popularity of cupping; research is also getting behind that as an adjunct to a massage. The increase in blood flow and the release of fascia have shown it to be helpful in back, neck, knee pain and even carpal tunnel.

10.  Bowen & Craniosacral Therapies

Bowen therapy is a soft tissue technique that uses gentle manipulation along certain muscles to help the body and muscles relax. Scientific studies on Bowen therapy is limited, of those that exist 53% reported pain reduction and 33% reported improvements in mobility. Craniosacral, similarly, is another gentle technique with limited data. Again it is very relaxing and some of the research there on it does show a reduction in pain symptoms.

11.  Trigger Point injections

Trigger point injections and other injection therapies like neural therapy, that include injections into a trigger point or a referral pattern with a local anesthetic are quite common-place. You can even get injections with corticosteroids or botox from an MD.  The way it works seeds to be a disruption of the trigger point or pain generator from the needle and then the effect of what is injected causing vasodilation and relaxation of the muscle fiber. 

12.  Prolotherapy

Can you point to your pain? Is your pain from a tendon, ligament or muscle strain or tear? If so, prolotherapy might be an option for you. Prolotherapy, or proliferative therapy, is an injection technique that uses dextrose, a sugar water, diluted down with a local anesthetic to help stimulate connective tissue repair. Studies have shown it to decrease pain and improve joint function.

13.  Nutritional supplements

There are many supplements out there that help to reduce pain and inflammation. Some work by decreasing inflammation, such as Omega 3 fatty acids, others help to improve joint health and function, like glucosamine, and others replace key minerals, relax muscles and decrease pain perception such as magnesium. Your naturopathic doctor can help you determine which nutrients would be the most beneficial in your case, as well as reduce any potential side effects or interactions.

14.  Herbs

Herbs have been used hundreds of years for pain relief and are becoming popular again as an alternative to medications. There is more research and studies being done now to assess their efficacy and how they work to avoid any potential negative interactions. There are many useful herbs that help to reduce inflammation, improve healing time, decrease pain signaling and help protect joints. Common herbs and herbal extracts include Turmeric, White Willow, Resveratrol and Boswellia to name a few. Even though they are considered safe, it is important to speak to your naturopathic doctor to ensure that the source, the dosing and the choice of herb is right for you and your health.
Share This Post:

11 Must-Haves for a Healthy Pregnancy


Pregnancy is an amazing and dynamic time in a woman’s life. Many symptoms of pregnancy can be managed effectively with Naturopathic Medicine; it is amazing how well clinical nutrition, botanical medicine and homeopathy can safely optimize health in the pregnancy, labour and delivery, and postnatal periods. Fill up your education tool box with a few tricks and ideas to getting started on the exciting path of a healthy pregnancy

1. An awesome prenatal vitamin

Choosing a prenatal with proper mineral and vitamin composition, correct dosages, and great bioavailability offers a great nutritional base for two changing bodies. One with no additives, waxes, artificial colours or fillers offers a clean and absorbable product.

2. Glass water bottle

Staying hydrated is so important during pregnancy, invest in a glass water bottle that can travel with you throughout the day. Add lemons, cucumber, mint, or chlorophyll to keep it interesting.  Pick up a set of mason jar glasses, or a decorated glass water bottle from a health food store.

3. Adequate protein

During pregnancy your dietary protein requirements increase dramatically. Striving for adequate protein can be a challenge for some mamas. Increasing protein at breakfast time with a green smoothie with added hemp hearts, vegan protein powder and almond milk, or a delish Spanish omelette. Match protein with snacks and meals throughout the day to assure balanced blood glucose levels.

4. Body pillow

Sleep during pregnancy is ESSENTIAL. A pregnant belly can be an obstacle to getting comfortable – check out body pillows to help find a good fit to get the rest and rejuvenation your body needs.

5. Red raspberry leaf tea

Starting in late second trimester or early third trimester, this yummy tea helps “tonify” your uterine muscle. Botanical medicine at it’s best!

6. The book: Ina May Gaskin – Guide to Childbirth

It celebrates the pregnancy goddess in each and every one of us! This empowering book strives to ease fears and remember that our bodies where made for this beautiful, intense event.

7. Prenatal yoga

Breathe, stretch, connect with your baby, your body and other pregnant mamas. Get your body ready for the marathon than is childbirth.

8. Super foods

Everyday, try to turbo-charge your diet with fresh, whole-food, colorful and organic super foods. Reach for antioxidant-rich berries, pomegranate, grapes, red and pinto beans, brightly colored veggies like yam, peppers, red cabbage. Nutrient packed nuts and seeds, like walnut, pecan, pumpkin seed, almonds can complement fresh salads with dark leafy greens. Healthy oils are great, alternating olive oil, avocados, and clean salmon, coconut oil to boost our bodies and brains.

9. Self care

Book that massage (with a licensed registered massage therapist), have a mani/pedi, rebalance your Qi with acupuncture.  Get some fresh air, have a bath, drink some tea, grab your fav book and light a few candles….looking after yourself and bringing your health and well-being to the forefront is pivotal in maintaining health, happiness, and preparing for labour and delivery.

10. Labour preparation acupuncture

For the whole of the pregnancy, until late third trimester, your body is doing it’s best to keep the babe snug and happy in the uterus. The big switch, both hormonally and energetically, needs to happen when baby is full term to give the signal it is time for the body to let go and babe to make its way into the world. Supporting the body with the gentle, downward-encouraging energetics starting around 37 weeks can help both the mother’s body, and the babe, to come on time. Naturopathic doctors and traditional Chinese doctors / Acupuncturists can all help during the home stretch.  

11. Support

It comes in many forms: partner, family, friends, OB, midwife, doula, family doctor, or naturopath. Whoever your team is, at the end of the day – this is all you really need. 
Share This Post:


Subscribe to RSS - Health