Guest article by Brandi Bovell, owner, Old Mechanicsville Health Spa.
Being in the spa & wellness industry for the past 22 years I know a lot about chronic inflammatory conditions and people who suffer with them. Some people are in pain from a car accident, some from work related repetitive motion, some from auto immune conditions, and others just burning the candle at both ends for too long and becoming burnt out. No matter what caused your suffering, it’s up to you to take the steps to start feeling better, becoming unstuck if you will in the cycle of inflammation. In today’s blog I will talk about effective and affordable ways to do that.
- Hydrate, hydrate, hydrate. Maybe you’re not sick, maybe you’re thirsty! If you have ever been a client of mine you are likely already familiar with the sponge analogy, you have probably already heard it more times than you can count. If I have not had the pleasure of connecting with you yet, I’ll tell you all about it here. Your body is supposed to be 65% water, and I mean actual water, keep in mind coffee, sodas, etc. do not count (the diuretic effects of sweet, caffeinated beverages cancel out the hydrating effects). If your muscles hurt, they may be simply dehydrated. Water is free or cheap, so drink up. If you were washing your dishes and attempted to use a dry sponge it would not be very pliable, and may even break or tear, however when the sponge is wet it moves easily and freely, (sort of how your muscles should move, when they are hydrated). Should you really be walking around with dry muscles?
- Have you ever heard the term, “starve a cold”? Let’s say starve the inflammation! Stop feeding the inflammation and start feeling better. Cut inflammatory food from your diet. Inflammatory foods can be different for different people, however foods that tend to generally cause inflammation are:
- Grains – grains are hard for human intestines to digest, think about it this way if we were supposed to eat them, couldn’t we just go pick a piece of wheat, rice, or oat and eat it without it going through a ton of processing? Grains weren’t designed for humans to eat. You can go pick a cucumber from the garden and eat it without any process, although you should rinse it off first.
- Dairy – Cow’s milk is for baby calves. Humans aren’t supposed to be eating that stuff, we are not infant cows. You do not drink breast milk past infancy. The enzymes in cow’s milk are very large, making them hard for humans to digest because we are not baby cows. Our bodies attempting to break down and digest these enzymes is very inflammatory for the body.
- Sugar – Avoid white sugar and instead add a little raw honey if you need a little sweet in your day.
- Certain Fats and Oils – Avoid vegetable oil, canola oil, corn oil, and margarine instead use Olive Oil, Avocado Oil, or Coconut oil.
- Stay away from processed meats, instead look for organic, grass fed, and free range. High quality meats will provide you the protein your body needs without the added hormones, steroids, and antibiotics that your body doesn’t need that are typically still present in regular store-bought meats. I am a huge fan of Butcher Box personally.
- Overall, I have personally found the most success for myself and my clients with a strict Paleo or Whole 30 diet. You can Google either of those for meal plan ideas and/ or allowed food lists.
- Yoga. I suggest #yogaeverydamnday but also realize that may not be possible for everyone. Muscle and joint movement and regular stretching is essential for free range of motion. If your muscles are not tight, they will hurt less, or not at all. Robin Rison Ashworth, E-RYT and Owner of Synergy Yoga Studio says ” Arthritis is frequently a source of chronic inflammation and related stiffness and pain. Yoga is decidedly appropriate in bringing mobility back. I have students who absolutely insist that yoga has enabled them to continue to live independently, and function with strength and improved agility, despite having arthritis. But benefits under these circumstances warrant a regular practice (benefits are usually cumulative), and a slow-paced, deep-stretch focus, as opposed to a vigorous vinyasa flow. Chronic pain that emanates from injury or chronic irritation (think tendinitis in wrists or knees) is best served by rest and refraining from overuse until the inflammation subsides. Another yogic approach to chronic inflammation is Ayurveda, which emphasizes appropriate nutrition and the right combination of foods, herbs, spices, and essential oils to rid the body of ‘ama’ or disease. Ayurveda is the sister science of yoga, and these practices are ideally observed simultaneously. Ideally, a yoga practice-an established, routine practice-functions to prevent injury and pain. Any physical practice, any exercise, yoga included, can be overdone. Best not to incur problems as a result of the very thing meant to prevent them. “
- Regular Massage. Receiving regular massage therapy care from a licensed and Insured Massage Therapist can help reduce or eliminate your aches and pains when performed in conjunction with an overall healthy lifestyle. It is important to continue receiving regular care even once you start to feel better for maintenance of your sacred vessel. Talk to your massage therapist to determine which type of massage is best for you and to determine how often you should schedule to receive treatments.
- Supplements. Keep in mind even if you are very restricted in your diet and taking excellent care of yourself, taking supplements may be indicated for you. Most of these are easily found at your local vitamin or herb shop. My favorites are listed below.
- A good whole food multivitamin recommended for your age range.
- Fish Oil – has been shown to fight inflammation, prevent heart disease, increase brain function.
- Yucca – has been shown to prevent osteoarthritis, reduce high blood pressure, reduce migraine headaches, reduce inflammation, and increase circulation.
- Turmeric / Curcumin – is an excellent anti-inflammatory, and antioxidant.
- Devil’s Claw Root – has been reported to be effective at treating a wide variety of pain including migraines, back pain, gout, tooth aches and more.
- Topicals. There are many excellent topical pain relievers on the market these days. I really like capsicum and CBD topicals. They work instantly and quality products will usually work most of the day and usually only need to be applied once or twice daily.
Capsicum comes from hot peppers, so has an instant or gradually warming sensation, and penetrates deeply to relieve pain and reduce inflammation when applied to a painful area. Capsicum topicals are usually very affordable as well, since they are easily sourced and have been around for ages.
CBD topicals are incredibly popular right now, and everywhere you look you can find testimonies to their efficacy. They are however usually at a higher price point due to the current demand and the higher overhead involved with sourcing, extracting and labor.
In summary it’s hard work to live your best healthy life, but easier and cheaper than taking pills every day in my opinion. What do you think? Are you ready to make the appropriate lifestyle changes to be well?