Turmeric – is it good for everyone? My nightmare!

Thursday, June 30th, 2016

So everyone was talking about turmeric. Dr. Oz as early as 2012, and Dr. Christiane Northrup. My girlfriend got meturmeric her book, Goddess Never Age which I absolutely recommend to any woman! These are experts in the holistic industry that I admire and follow.

Turmeric is supposed to be anti-inflammatory, anti-cancer and have all these great properties for great health. Well, I’m in the health and wellness profession and thought I need to be taking this. I started with the powder form that I used for cooking. Now, I did go to my local Kroger store and bought what they had so it was not organic. I used it in stir-fry’s and eggs and soups and anything I thought it would be good on.

I am a massage therapist and I use essential oils on myself and my clients. I started noticing that my skin was breaking out on my hands and arms. I could not figure out what was going on. I thought maybe it’s the essential oils, so I stopped using them. I needed more turmeric to reduce inflammation in my body so I went and bought pill supplements to take.

I had taken them for a couple of days. They were the pill form that is a capsule. One day I took a pill and it must not have gone down all the way and I was in a hurry and didn’t drink enough water and I burped and the pill exploded in my esophagus. If you know about turmeric it is a deep-orange-yellow powder used in Indian foods and it’s distinctly earthy, slightly bitter, slightly hot peppery flavor and a mustard smell. There was turmeric coming out of my nose and ears and I could feel it in my head and behind my eyes and it was the most traumatic thing I have ever experienced. So much so that I immediately threw up. I was headed to the office for an appointment and here I am throwing up, turmeric coming out of everywhere and my head pounding and I’m in agony.

Somehow I made it to the office and through my appointment and just chalked that up to one of the most bizarre experiences of my life. This was my body telling me, that it didn’t want it and I didn’t listen! So what did I do? Well I said I will never take another one of those pills so I will just open the capsules and pour it into my smoothies. And that is what I did. Morning after morning I would pour this powder into my smoothies that were incredibly healthy with spinach, celery, cucumber, carrot, strawberry, blueberry, banana, whey protein. And now I was breaking out in hives over my hands, arms, back, chest and thought something is really wrong with me.

It wasn’t only hives but it was the kind of itching that I wanted to scratch my entire skin off. The only time I got relief was when I was sleeping and I was even scratching in my sleep because I would wake up and have welts on my skin. I started wearing gloves to do massage and thought my career was over and it was completely devastating. Thankfully all my clients were understanding and I found gloves that felt natural and they could hardly tell the difference. But I could. My hands were swollen and broke out and I was wearing gloves and doing massage the whole time while I was in excruciating pain.

I went to the doctor for blood work. I went to a dermatologist for biopsy. Every test kept coming back contact dermatitis. Well I knew that! I knew something I was coming in contact with was causing this. I’ve been healthy all my life, never had an allergy to anything. So I changed everything, laundry soap, shampoo, conditioner, body soap, stopped using the towels at the gym (cause I thought I was allergic to them) wore gloves to do dishes and cleaning. I was on steroids, lotions, creams, anti-histamines. Ended up doing 6 rounds of steroids which caused weight gain! They did work and then when I stopped them all the hives came back. Yay! My life was in turmoil! The hives had spread to my back, and down my arms and my chest and now my legs and I was freaking out. Funny thing is that it never got to my face! I have no idea why but I was grateful!

And I guess I should just mention that I was still using turmeric because I thought that I needed it to fight whatever inflammation was going on in my body. An entire year and a half in 2014 and 2015 with me in pain, not knowing what is going on and thinking my life as a massage therapist is over and done.

Christmas comes around and my whole family is here. My sister Dawn, said ok, “What are you doing, taking, let’s figure this out”. I said well I do a smoothie in the morning with this, this, this, and turmeric powder. She’s says “turmeric? Really” She looks it up on the internet and the classic sign if you are allergic to it is contact dermatitis and hives. OH MY GOSH!!! I would have never thought it was the turmeric because it was supposed to be so healthy and have all these great properties and I never questioned it!

It’s now June 2016 and I can say that my skin is finally healing. It’s taken six months to renew my skin. It’s still very sensitive and if I scratch it will welt so I have to be very careful. After about three weeks being off turmeric the insane itching stopped which I was so thankful for.

Someone suggested to me that because my DNA is not of Middle Eastern descent that my body could not handle it, and that is an interesting concept and might be valid but I don’t know.

So here is the moral of the story. Not everything that is out there is going to be good for YOU! Just because all the experts are saying it is so, may not be for YOU! I am in no way am demeaning those experts! They bring valuable information and you have to figure out if it is right for you! And that goes for medicine from a doctor or something holistic and healthy. When I had that first incident I should have thought, hum that was not good and my body is rejecting this. Listen to your body, it knows!

Recovery tips for Country Music Marathon

Friday, April 25th, 2014

Running or walking  in the  Country Music Marathon? Here are some recovery tips.

Our bodies have an amazing ability to do what we ask it to do. Completely a ½ or full marathon takes a lot of training and endurance. Our muscles contract and perform through a series of chemical reactions in the body. When the muscle is overused beyond it’s normal limits (whatever normal limit is for you), there are chemical reactions, microscopic tears, trauma and inflammation to the muscle. All of this causes soreness in the muscle. Your body also has an amazing ability to heal itself, here are a few holistic remedy’s to help that process.

Epsom Salt bath – Epsom salt contains magnesium which reduces inflammation and reduces pain. Pour two cups of Epsom salts into a warm bath and soak.

Stretching – stretching is your friend. Because you have micro tears to the muscles, you want to stretch with caution and listen to your body. When doing a stretch, pull to tension, hold for 3 seconds and release. Repeat the stretch and you should be able to stretch a little farther each time until you feel the muscle relax. Here are pictures of several stretches http://tinyurl.com/2djtdg

Breathing – when we are in pain, we tend to do a lot of shallow breathing. You want long deep breaths to supply oxygen to those sore muscles.

Easy walk – although rest is good for the body for recovery, you don’t want to just be lazy today. Your friend today is movement. Go for an easy walk. Your body has been recovery during last night’s sleep and moving toxins(chemical irritants) out of the muscles and dumped them into your lymph system. Walking helps move lymph through your system faster.

Ice/BioFreeze – if you have an injury, ice will help reduce inflammation and swelling. Ice for 15 -20 minutes per hour. If you can stand a lower body ice bath that is even better.  BioFreeze is a product that is great for muscle, joint pain.

Water – drink lots of water today to help flush toxins through your lymph system.

Eat really well – lots of veggies and fruits will supply nutrients and vitamins to replenish low levels.

Massage – relaxing massage helps flush toxins, helps reduce muscle soreness, moves lymph and gives the body a sense of calm and well being.

Be Nice to yourself – you just accomplished an amazing challenge. Give yourself a huge pat on the back. Instead of thinking about the pain today, think about how empowered you felt crossing that finish line and how you can accomplish anything in your life that you put your mind to. The muscle soreness is temporary, but the mental clarity and resolve can stay with you for a lifetime.

Using Your Health Savings Account (HSA) for Massage Therapy

Thursday, October 10th, 2013

Do you have a Health Savings Account (HSA) and are wondering if you can use the funds for massage therapy. The good news is massage therapy CAN be a qualified medical expense.

The IRS ruling states: “Medical expenses are the costs of diagnosis, cure, mitigation, treatment, or prevention of disease, and the costs for treatments affecting any part or function of the body. These expenses include payments for legal medical services rendered by physicians, surgeons, dentists, and other medical practitioners. They include the costs of equipment, supplies, and diagnostic devices needed for these purposes. Medical care expenses must be primarily to alleviate or prevent a physical or mental defect or illness. They do not include expenses that are merely beneficial to general health, such as vitamins or a vacation.”

Examples of some conditions that COULD qualify are: carpel tunnel syndrome, fibromyalgia, stress, chronic back/neck/shoulder pain, chronic fatigue syndrome, arthritis, anxiety, depression, migraines, pain after surgery, cancers, lymphedema. Massage therapy has been shown to be beneficial for all these conditions.  You don’t need to live with pain!

How to get Health Savings Account (HSA) approval for massage therapy.

Set up an appointment with your medical doctor and let them know that you have HSA funds that you would like to use for massage therapy for treatment/prevention of your condition.
If your physician agrees, they will need to provide three pieces of information on the prescription:
1. Medical necessity: why you need massage therapy (example: to relieve back pain)
2. Frequency: number of sessions per month (example: minimum of two sessions per month)
3. Duration: length of treatment (example: 3,6,9,12 months)

It’s also a good idea to be certain that you are getting the correct prescriptions/documentation in order to use your HSA funds so check with your employer. The appropriate department is usually human resources since they administer benefits for employees. If they can’t answer your question, then they should be able to direct you to the administrator of your HSA plan. It’s always best to be sure that you know that massage (with prescription) would be covered before you make your appointment so that you are not responsible for paying out of pocket or taking a tax hit.

Once you have the prescription then you can set up an appointment for massage. Keep the prescription in a safe place in case you need to provide documentation. Bring your HSA card with you to your appointment. NOTE: you cannot put tips to the therapist on your HSA card.

If your physician is not sure about the benefits of massage for your condition, I would be happy to provide them with articles and scientific research on how massage can help.

The great news is that I am now accepting HSA cards, so if you would like to discuss, please let me know how I can help you. I have weekend appointments available to make it easy for those who cannot do weekdays due to work/family obligations.

Below are the links to the IRS publications:
Health Savings Accounts: http://www.irs.gov/publications/p969/ar02.html
Medical Expenses: http://www.irs.gov/publications/p502/ar02.html#en_US_2012_publink1000178851

45 Healthy Ways to Relieve Stress

Tuesday, May 28th, 2013

45 Healthy Ways to Relieve Stress

Exercise                        Good Nutrition                    Reading

Massage                         Yoga                                       Movies/TV

Meditation                    Prayer                                     Mindfulness

Kids                               Restful sleep                           Self Talk

Pets                                Deep Breathing                     Time Management

Naps                             Walks/Run                              Drink Tea

Hugs                              Camping                                  Go out for a meal

Games                           Vacation                                  Call a friend

Sports                            Boating                                    Volunteer

Baths                             Being near water/nature       Get organized

Music                             A good cry                               Shopping

Hobbies                         Sex                                             Laughter

Journaling                    Theater/Plays                          Concerts

Gardening                     Manicure/Pedicure                Go for a drive

Essential Oils/Aromatherapy

Eating your favorite food in moderation

Any activity that you love that calms you down

If it’s not listed here and you would like to share what are your healthy ways to relieve stress?




Massage Benefits Are More Than Skin Deep

Monday, May 6th, 2013

Does a good massage do more than just relax your muscles? To find out, researchers at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles recruited 53 healthy adults and randomly assigned 29 of them to a 45-minute session of deep-tissue Swedish massage and the other 24 to a session of light massage.All of the subjects were fitted with intravenous catheters so blood samples could be taken immediately before the massage and up to an hour afterward.To their surprise, the researchers, sponsored by the National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine, a division of the National Institutes of Health, found that a single session of massage caused biological changes.

Volunteers who received Swedish massage experienced significant decreases in levels of the stress hormone cortisol in blood and saliva, and in arginine vasopressin, a hormone that can lead to increases in cortisol. They also had increases in the number of lymphocytes, white blood cells that are part of the immune system.Volunteers who had the light massage experienced greater increases in oxytocin, a hormone associated with contentment, than the Swedish massage group, and bigger decreases in adrenal corticotropin hormone, which stimulates the adrenal glands to release cortisol.

The study was published online in The Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine.

The lead author, Dr. Mark Hyman Rapaport, chairman of psychiatry and behavioral neurosciences at Cedars-Sinai, said the findings were “very, very intriguing and very, very exciting — and I’m a skeptic.”
Reference: http://www.nytimes.com/2010/09/21/health/research/21regimens.html?_r=4&adxnnl=1&adxnnlx=1285347720-cCMt3cfugGVttOQPmKDJpA