“Hydrate This Summer!”

“By means of water, we give life to everything.”~Koran

Summer heat is no joke, especially in sunny, hot, and humid Southern Florida. Hydration is necessary all year but the summertime is the perfect opportunity to increase and improve the consistency of our water intake. According to a nationwide study from the Harvard T. H. Chan School of Public Health, more than half of children and teenagers in the United States might not be properly hydrated. One researcher stated, “I was surprised that almost one in four kids drank no water during the course of their day.”

We may think of dehydration as “dry mouth” under a scorching sun but this is not the case. It can sneak up on you if you aren’t aware of the need to hydrate regularly.

Though not usually deadly, mild dehydration can cause cognitive impairment, headaches and even nausea in severe cases. Symptoms in younger children may be fussiness, infrequent urination, dry mouth and a lack of tears when crying. For kids and teenagers, daily water requirements depend on several factors, including age and activity level.

Another study has stated that 75% of Americans tend to be mildly dehydrated. THIS IS AN EPIDEMIC AMOUNT. Our bodies are roughly 60% water by mass depending on age and body composition and adults lose nearly 4 cups of water a day through the skin and normal breathing, not to mention sweating and elimination.

Some Common Symptoms of Dehydration Include:

  1. Fatigue, Energy Loss
  2. Constipation
  3. Digestive Disorders
  4. High/Low Blood Pressure
  5. Gastritis, Stomach Ulcers
  6. Respiratory Troubles
  7. Acid-Alkaline Imbalance
  8. Excess Weight (Thirst is often confused with hunger.)
  9. Eczema
  10. Cholesterol
  11. Cystitis, Urinary Infections
  12. Joint Pain
  13. Premature Aging

Some Great Reasons to Drink Water Daily

  • Glowing, Soft Skin/Softer Hair/Healthy Weight-Health and Beauty go hand in hand!
  • Healthy Heart-A six-year study found that participants who drank more than 5 glasses of water a day were 41% less likely to die from a heart attack than those who drank less than two glasses (May 1, 2002 American Journal of Epidemiology)
  • Headache cure (in many cases)
  • Breastfeeding-increase hydration because breast milk production increases a mother’s water loss
  • Digestion-it’s necessary to digest food properly. Can help cure stomach acid problems and, with fiber, can cure constipation.
  • Cleansing/Immunity-it helps flush out toxins and waste products from the body.
  • Reduced Cancer risk-has been found to reduce the risk of colon cancer by 45% and bladder cancer by 50%
  • Better exercise-Exercise requires additional water, so be sure to hydrate!

Form a routine: Drink a glass…

  • when you wake up (an optimum time to drink a lot to flush and detoxify the system)
  • with each meal,
  • in between meals,
  • before, during and after exercise

Carry a bottle:

  • Fill a large (20-32 oz) drinking bottle and carry it with you all day. When it’s empty, fill it and empty it again. 64 oz. is a healthy baseline.

Set a reminder:

  • Set your clock for once an hour, for example.

Substitute water:

  • For soda, coffee, etc. Try sparkling water at social functions.

Filter:

  • Purchase a filter for your home faucet to save money on bottled water.

Track it:

  • Keep a little log check for each glass you drink daily.

Infuse It!:

  • Add sliced fruits/vegies if you dislike plain water.

This basic habit that gets overlooked by so many people can make a huge difference in your health, well-being, and quality of life! Drink up!

Healing After C-Section Birth: Dry Skin Brushing

Healing After C-Section

Dry skin brushing is an effective tool for self-care and recovery after c-section birth. It can increase circulation, remove dead skin, decrease infection, and assist healing by protecting an incision from developing ingrown hairs.

Healing After C-Section dry-skin-brushingBenefits of dry skin brushing include:

  • Moves the lymph which flows down in the deep skin layer.
  • Helps prevent or reduce ingrown hairs on or around the incision.
  • Stimulates the skin’s oil glands maintaining healthy, functional skin.
  • Stimulates circulation which helps remove toxins, tightens the skin, and accelerates healing.
  • Improves the function of the nervous system.
  • Tones the muscles.

LYMPH is a major component of our IMMUNE SYSTEM. In fact, our bodies contain more lymph than blood. Lymph brings our cells nutrients and removes their waste through white blood cells called lymphocytes.

Dry skin brushing moves the LYMPH when it can get clogged with large proteins and particulate matter. Lymph is the only way they can be transported back into the circulatory system. When these proteins are not removed, they attract other fluid which results in swelling. This is called lymphedema.

Consistent skin brushing will reduce and eliminate INGROWN HAIRS around the incision. If not treated, these hairs can create blemishes and lead to more scarring.

The skin is your body’s largest organ and vital to proper ELIMINATION OF WASTE PRODUCTS. If the skin is not maintained, the kidneys will take over this duty and be put under great strain.

Dry skin brushing removes the old top layer of skin, allowing the clean new layer to come to the surface. Our bodies make a new top layer of skin every 24 hours thus producing a softer smoother scar and skin in general. The old, neglected outer layer of skin has been tested and found to contain uric acid, which is highly toxic.

Our skin actually BREATHES when unclogged! It is designed to be a major route of detoxification but cannot function properly when clogged with dead skin cells and the waste excreted through perspiration. Dry skin brushing increases circulation to skin, encouraging our bodies’ natural capacity for discharge of metabolic wastes.

Many women report that their scars feel numb. Dry brushing rejuvenates the nervous system by stimulating nerve endings in the skin. This stimulation causes the individual muscle fibers to activate and move which also helps muscle tone. This benefit greatly contributes to the recovery of the abdominal muscles as well.

The combination of dry skin brushing with daily cesarean scar self-massage (see “Healing After C-Section Birth: Scar Massage”) is a great combination in your toolbox for healing.

C-section birth recovery and postpartum recovery in general, can be a multilayered and sometimes delicate process. Your commitment, consistent effort, patience, and perseverance will pay off! It takes strength to ask for help when you need it.

Remember to have compassion and give yourself major credit for doing the amazing and hard work of being a mother!

Sacred Body: Helping Ourselves

Helping Ourselves - Nang Talinee, the Lao Earth GoddessSuppose… the body is a God in its own right, a teacher, a mentor, a certified guide? Then what? …. Are we strong enough to refute the party line and listen deep, listen true to the body as a powerful and holy being?”

-Clarissa Pinkola Estes (Women Who Run with the Wolves)

Our bodies are a sacred gift that, when cared for, are a vital part of our ability to live life to the fullest and be our truest selves. The body has great intelligence and is capable of profound healing and amazing feats as well as the little things that give us so much pleasure. It will also tell us when something is wrong.

Our job is to listen and respond accordingly.

Developing this relationship with our bodies is a skill that takes practice and support to develop because we are generally taught to do the opposite. The conscious connection between our minds and bodies has, in many cases, been weakened or even severed. We may walk around numb to the signals and signs as well as our emotions and feelings. We often feel guilty when we give priority and take the time to listen to our intuition.

But there is a big difference between thoughtful listening and responding and being selfish.

I find that one of the greatest challenges for us as women is valuing ourselves enough to focus our attention upon our own needs to an effective level.

Our bodies love to be loved and we are each the only person who can ultimately give that love. Movement, fitness, proper breathing, nourishing foods, plenty of water (dehydration is epidemic in this country), and the cultivation of a positive mindset can form the foundation of a healthy lifestyle. This is extremely powerful medicine. It can help us find our strength and balance in these times.

Reclaiming Ancient Feminine Wisdom

In our culture, postpartum is generally considered to be the first 6-8 weeks after giving birth. In some traditional cultures, the mother and baby are secluded, sheltered, protected, and nurtured for the first 40 days postpartum. This is to ensure that the mother’s womb and belly heal properly and that her full health and vigor is restored before she takes on the full-time job of childrearing.

What a humane and logical way to prepare mothers for perhaps the most challenging job they will ever undertake.

But in the modern world, without the family, community, and “village” structures in place, the health of families and often the postpartum mother is “falling through the cracks” of public health. It is alarming to me to see how many mothers have never received any support or education about postnatal recovery, including women with grown children. Many issues will not go away without proper care.

I’m witnessing how women beyond the socially acceptable period of 6-8 weeks, are often ashamed that they couldn’t “get it together and recover” during this short period. Sometimes they just give up or beat themselves up, adding to their sense of being burdened.

The true definition of postpartum is simply “following childbirth or the birth of young.” How can we accept that the term “postpartum” is now automatically synonymous with “depression” in our culture??

Helping Ourselves

I’ve heard many stories of mothers whose health concerns such as diastasis recti (split in the belly muscles), inability to rebuild the core (aka “mommy tummy”), incontinence, constipation, depression, numbness around cesarean scar incision, and birth trauma are disregarded. Without proper education and support, women may not know what solution to pursue, or if a solution exists at all. These issues are often brushed aside, never to be addressed as the demands of parenting take hold. They may last a lifetime, causing further pain and complications.

Finding your voice in the face of being disregarded and owning the fact that you need help or to take action can be the biggest stumbling block. This is exactly why proper postnatal recovery support, education, and services are so important and necessary for mothers at any stage. Whether it’s a network of mothers, women, family, community, and/or women’s health and fitness professionals, mothers deserve to be respected and acknowledged for the priceless contributions they make.

The well-being of our children and our planet ultimately depends on the health of mothers.

Dancing Life to the Beat of Your Own Drum

 

image dancing M2M Nwsltr May 2015

When was the last time you danced because you felt like it? How does it feel when you let yourself dance for no particular reason?

Dance is everywhere in our culture, often organized in classes, performances, and entertainment in the media. Some people don’t like to dance but many eventually love it once they feel safe and less self-conscious. There’s a common belief in our culture that dancing is only for special, highly trained and extra talented individuals. But dance as a natural expression of daily life is in the roots of human culture throughout history and enjoyed globally by all generations.

I dance for the joy of it. I’m happiest when I don’t care what others think, when attention and approval don’t matter. The challenge is to focus on the sheer sense of freedom, release, expression, celebration; like a meditation, stepping inside of the music and the rhythm, allowing it to lead me.

Dancing Life

Dance Walking with a group of fellow sweet souls in downtown Portland, Maine. (Photo by Robyn Wiley, author of “My Happy Book: A Guided Journal to Light Up Your Life”)

Why don’t people dance down the street? I do. Usually by myself. Why is it considered normal to watch others perform, but not move your own body? I was delighted to find dance walking was a “thing”. Have you ever turned up the music and just danced your heart out? How about with your kids or loved ones? How did they respond?

This is a public health issue. Everywhere you look, people are stressed and frazzled; even little children. What is going on? The dangerous foreign invader that we keep missing is the epidemic of fear we’re carrying inside.

What if instead of fighting with themselves and others, people chose to turn up the music and sing or dance? Dancing can also help eliminate depression more than aerobic exercise or listening to music. A recent study in the New England Journal of Medicine considered 11 different physical activities. Researchers found that dancers have a sharper mind and are at a lower risk of developing brain disease in the long term than non-dancers. Dancing was the only activity of the 11 studied that lowered the risk of dementia by at least 76 percent.

I am a dancer. I dance because it comes from and nourishes my soul. I have to dance so I weave dance throughout my life. I make that effort because it made me miserable to deny myself this joy and the happiness of generally being myself.

WHAT DO YOU DO THAT MAKES YOU HAPPY?

Even if it’s just for 5 minutes? It doesn’t matter what it is. Dancing is just an example. Try something different! What have you always wanted to try but felt like you couldn’t because of what others might think?

My point is sSelf Portrait Sept 16 2014imply that we can BE OURSELVES and DO WHAT MAKES US HAPPY in the context of our lives right now.  Hiding your true self and stuffing your truth is sure to make you sick and unhappy. I know because I’ve been there myself and I now know there is another choice.