Archive for ‘detox’

October 24, 2011

hydration better than “five hour energy?!”

Living in the city means we are constantly bombarded by toxins in our environment – not to mention, all the toxins we may be consuming in our food, absorbing from products we put on our skin or that we drink from unfiltered water.

Note: In our discussion on water, I am always advocating that the source of water be from a clean reliable source – I personally prefer to drink water that has been filtered through reverse osmosis. If you do not have access to this, the next best is to invest in a charcoal filter for your water (ie. “Brita” filters). Bottled water is okay if you confirm its source, but obviously contributes to more landfill issues and is rarely cost-effective.



Why drink water?  I know its cheesy but, I truly believe it…. The Solution to Pollution is Dilution!

Environmental toxins (air pollution (VOC), pesticide in foods, etc.) can decrease immune function: Toxins can eat up all your antioxidants needed to fight infections, white blood cells (your immune cells) need them to function properly, when your toxic burden is too high, you are prone to getting sick more often. In addition to reducing toxic burden in the body, hydration will increase fluidity of the blood so your white blood cells can move to the target area with ease.

Daily, you should make a goal to drink 1/2 your weight in pounds in fluid ounces. So if you weigh 120#/2=60 so drink 60oz. Add 8oz for every 1 hour of sweating and 8 oz cup of coffee or soda (carbonated sugar drinks).

Our total body is 70-85% water. We lose water through evaporation, and urination. So it may be obvious that hydration is important but many people forget to drink water. Hydration is important for cardiovascular health, energy level and weight issues.

5% of water loss can lead to 20% of energy loss and thirst is often mistaken for hunger – so next time you are feeling that afternoon lull in energy try reaching for a glass of water (or maybe two) because it is likely dehydration kicking-in… not a deficiency in an energy supplement! I had a patient ask – “you mean drinking water is better than five-hour energy?!”  ha ha, (of course) I said “yes!!!”

Your body uses water to maintain its temperature, remove waste and lubricate joints. Water is essential for good health. You lose water each day when you go to the bathroom, sweat, and even when you breathe. You lose water even faster when the weather is extremely hot, when you exercise, or if you have a fever. Vomiting and diarrhea can also lead to rapid fluid loss. If you don’t replace the water you lose, you will become dehydrated.

What to do when you are dehydrated:

– Start drinking water – your body cannot absorb more than 8 oz in 20 minutes so do not exceed this rate.

– Avoid dehydrating beverages such as coffee, soda and alcohol.

– Help increase movement of water into the cells by adding electrolytes to your water: I like “EmergenC” packets although they do have some sugar. Coconut water is another good option and is naturally infused with electrolytes! Avoid “sports drinks” that are sweetened with artificial sweeteners or high fructose corn syrup.

What to do to maintain good hydration:

– Keep a bottle of water with you during the day. Consider carrying a reusable water bottle and filling it from a filtered tap rather than purchasing bottled water, which is expensive and creates plastic bottle waste.

– If plain water doesn’t interest you, try adding a slice of lemon or lime to your drink.

– If you’re going to be exercising, make sure you drink water before, during and after your workout.

– Start and end your day with a glass of water. If you have trouble waking in the night to urinate, do not drink water right before bed.

– When you’re feeling hungry, drink water. The sensation of thirst is often confused with hunger. True hunger will not be satisfied by drinking water. Drinking water may also contribute to a healthy weight loss plan, as some research suggests drinking water will help you feel full.

– Drink on a schedule if you have trouble remembering to drink water. For example, drink water when you wake up; at breakfast, lunch and dinner; and when you go to bed. Or drink a small glass of water at the top of each hour.

– Drink water when you go to a restaurant. Not only does it keep you hydrated, but it’s free! (Although, I do advise ensuring the water comes from a filtered source.)

…don’t you feel thirsty now?! ;o)

Be well,

Dr. Rachelle

April 22, 2011

a chat about colonics

The Seattle Times recently published an article discussing the often mystifying topic of colon hydrotherapy; also know as colonic treatment. Colon hydrotherapy – as the name suggests – utilizes water (at body temperature) flushed through the colon with the intention of cleaning out impacted bowel and the nasty toxins lurking within one’s large intestine.

Sounds good? Eh, maybe? Sounds pleasant? Eh…?

Colon hydrotherapy has been used for centuries by humans as a form of health promotion and good gastrointestinal health (in the form of colonics, enemas, and the like) but may have fallen out of popularity due to its “sensitive” nature and the development of more user-friendly laxative medications. In the U.S., colon hydrotherapy was first popularized by Dr. J.H. Kellogg, MD (Yes, as in the Kellogg sported on your Special K!) Whether it is a fashionable health habit may be questioned, but what is up for greater debate is the safety and efficacy of colonic treatments. Some opponents of colon hydrotherapy fear the possibility of damaging the intestinal wall during treatment while others simply believe it to be completely ineffectual.

On the other hand, individuals who chronically suffer from constipation and experience the long-term negative effects of toxemia can greatly benefit from a therapy that aims to move the bowel. Colon hydrotherapy excels as a form of catharsis and detoxification. The other advantage of colon hydrotherapy is that is utilizes the natural muscular contractions (called peristalsis) of the large intestine rather than bypassing this mechanism (as laxative meds do) and creating a dependency on medication to do the job for the body…. It could be said that colonics are like calisthenics for your G.I.!

Although I have not personally seen anything incredible – other than the brown stuff – pass during the use of colon hydrotherapy in my patients, some practitioners tell incredible stories of small balls of colored wax or chewing gum passing from their patients’ intestine – ah, those crazy childhood years, when crayons looked so tasty!

When patients undergo a colonic their experience can range from “mild-discomfort” to “euphoria” – for some it is nothing more than a mechanical cleansing of the intestine and for others it borders on spiritual catharsis. Some people love them and even join colonic spas such as the Tummy Temple here in Seattle.

In my own practice, I do not offer colonics although I performed quite a few during my clinical rotations. Mostly this is because a colon hydro machine is a significant piece of equipment and requires a trained medical practitioner to operate (in order to ensure the patient’s safety and avoid the bowel perforations those nay-sayers are so worried about), but also because my professional opinion on the benefits of colon hydro are often stuck in a grey area. While I see the great benefits of detoxification that a colonic can achieve, I am leery of employing such a high-force intervention without first exploring other options. If my patient is suffering from constipation I want to do my best to address the cause of this abnormal GI behavior rather than resort to therapies that may eliminate the negative side-effects without fully exploring the underlying problem. Also, as a cranio-sacral therapist and acupuncturists in training, I am greatly aware of the flow of energy (or Qi) throughout the body and the significant importance of encouraging and supporting that natural flow of Qi. Personally, I am concerned that colon hydrotherapy may interfere with this natural flow in the large intestine as it promotes movement both forward and backward through the bowel rather than strictly in the a downward, descending direction.

Nonetheless, if you are interested in further increasing your body’s detoxification, or if you suffer from GI complaints that you think could be helped by colon hydrotherapy, talk to your local naturopath and find out what she thinks!

Be Well,
Dr. R