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Entries in self care (3)


Moving lymph

Lymph circulation is the waste management system of our bodies. It transports waste materials (toxins, dead bacteria and cells, cancer cells, dietary fats from our digestive system, interstitial fluid, etc.) out of our bodies. Lymph travels just under the skin through vessels. It is cleaned in the nodes and eventually returns to the whole blood in the circulatory system. Unlike blood, which has the heart to pump it, the lymph has no pump to keep it flowing. It is entirely dependent on external factors in order to operate optimally. Here are some ways to keep it moving:

  • pumping action of your gastrocs through walking or running
  • massage, particularly the light, directional, rhythmic lymph drainage massage
  • jumping, particulary on a rebounder or trampoline
  • skin brushing
  • hydrate
  • deep breathing
  • hot & cold treatment
  • stillingia tincture
  • Qi machine
It's terribly important not to restrict lymph flow with tight clothing, especially bras. If you wear a bra make sure it's well fitted and doesn't leave long-lasting grooves in your skin when you take it off.

Oil Pulling

After a month of oil pulling, I can't say that I've noticed an objective difference--my teeth aren't whiter, my mouth doesn't feel cleaner or different. But I do feel as though I am doing something good for myself and my mouth does feel cleaner just after doing it.

Oil pulling is an ayurvedic method of oral hygeine whereby one continuously swishes coconut or sesame oil for 20 minutes after brushing one's teeth, then spits it out. It is best if you brush your teeth or scrape your tongue afterwards, too, ridding your mouth of the bacteria-laden oil. The oil pulls out the bacteria that form the biofilm called plaque, which causes gingivitis.

Oil pulling is receiving a lot of attention in the past few years. Bloggers attribute all sorts of benefits to the practice including curing ulcers, solving menopause, "detoxifying the body", & medical miracles. That's the internet. In fact, a randomized, controlled, triple-blind study (2009) shows statistically significant results that

oil pulling therapy has been as equally effective as chlorhexidine against plaque-induced gingivitis. Sesame oil has the following advantages over chlorhexidine: no staining, no lingering after-taste, and no allergy.

Another randomized, controlled, triple-blind study (2008) shows that oil pulling inhibits growth of Streptococcus mutans, reducing colonies after one week and two weeks of use and yet another study (2011) demonstrates "oil pulling therapy has been equally effective like chlorhexidine against halitosis and organisms which are associated with halitosis."

The connection between oral health and cardiac health has been recognized for decades. Recent research (2012) by the Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland found that if Streptococcus gordonii, which naturally resides in the mouth, finds its way into the bloodstream it can cause life-threatening blood clots. While the effects of oil pulling are not known with this particular strain, if oil pulling does reduce these colonies, it is helping to improve cardiac and circulatory health.

It's a job half done if one only kills the pathogenic bacteria. Dr. Mercola interviewed a Dr. Brady who emphasized eating fermented vegetables to promote the healthy flora of the gut and mouth.


Self Care: skin brushing

Skin brushing is an important part of self care. Do it before showering as you want to do it on dry skin. Your pores will be more open for hydration after brushing. The reason for brushing "toward the heart" is that the body's major drainage for the lymph system is in the center of the chest, near the heart, so we want to brush in the direction of flow. Your skin will immediately become red as blood flow increases. This is also a sensory awakening for your brain.