Post-holiday Tips — Shiatsu, Reflexology and Diet

Tips for winter colds and coughs inspired by Parade Magazine, January 8, 2017

It’s not fun to start a new year in bed coughing and sneezing miserably after the holidays. The seasonal treats start on Thanksgiving with heavy meals, desserts, drinks and staying up late. Right after that we are hit by all the gifts that have to be bought, wrapped, shipped, and then decorating and so on. All the above can be quite stressful and it takes a big toll on our body and immune system. After that come all the pre-Xmas parties, Xmas and New Years, with all the foods and indulgences. Nothing wrong with that but some of us have bodies and systems that cannot tolerate it well.

Sunday’s Parade Magazine January 8th, 2017 had a Winter Cold and Cough Survival Kit by Nicole Pajer.  I was very impressed. I’ve summarized it and added onto it.

1 – Listen to relaxing music that can boost the Immunoglobulin A (lgA) level found in tears and saliva. Apparently, a decrease in lgA puts us at risk for infections spread through mucous membranes.
2 – Eat Chocolate (chocolate lovers will love this). Apparently it contains significantly more Antioxidants than fruit juices. (My thought is that it has to be at least 70% organic cocoa with a  natural sweetener, ideally.)
3 – Try a shot of saline: in winter, a dry nose is our enemy. The article suggests using Arm & Hammer “Simply Saline Spray.” I suggest using a neti pot or what we used to do in Lebanon (my country) – diluting sea salt in warm water and then putting some in the palm of your hand and inhaling through one nostril, then the other. It works and is simple. But the spray is handy for traveling. It keeps our mucous membranes moist and the nose from being an access point for harmful viruses and bacteria.
4 – Meditate: It has a stress-reducing effect and it has been lately celebrated for its immune-boosting properties. A study was done at the University of Wisconsin that an 8-week course of mindfulness meditation resulted in increased levels of antibodies (blood protein produced to protect the body from bacteria and viruses). Find a moment to sit still, close your eyes and simply observe your breath. It is as simple as that, starting with 10 to 15 minutes daily.Breathing Exercises
5 – Pop a Probiotic: A large amount of immune cells are found in the intestines and good gut health is increasingly being linked to protection from infection and a host of other diseases. “Daily probiotics are a great defense not only during flu season but all year long,” says Erica Lehman, M.D. founder of Pro Health Group in Beverly Hills CA. “Choose a supplement that contains at least three different bacteria strains such as lactobacillus and bifidobacterium which survive the digestion process.” (Personally, I eat pickles, sauerkraut, tempeh and miso soup on a regular basis).
6 – Watch funny shows (we do it almost daily): “Laughter lowers the stress hormone cortisol, increases the release of neurotransmitters, which can also ward off depression and increases the production of natural killer cells which defend against colds and flus,” says John Salermo, M.D., a board certified family physician in New York.
7 – Give dancing a whirl: “Dancing is a great way to improve lymphatic function and to help you to detoxify,” says Erica Hornthal, founder of Chicago Dance Therapy. “Stimulating the circulation and passage of fluids within the body can help maintain a healthier immune system, which will help us fight off illness.” But if you don’t like dancing, take a brisk walk in nature or on the treadmill, or do yoga asanas, Tai Chi or Qigong.
REMINDER: don’t forget to get Shiatsu Massages, Foot and Facial Reflexology treatments. Eat your vegetables daily. Cut back on baked desserts and sweets. Drink water to avoid dehydration and have miso soups 3 to 4 times a week and cooked whole grains.
Wellness Studio Sarasota

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