Whenever I tell someone that I am a Registered Acupuncturist (R.Ac), they always have so many questions! So today I wanted to write a blog on what exactly acupuncture is, how it works and some of its origins. The cool thing about this ancient technique is that it originated in China over 2,000 years ago- so as mystifying as acupuncture may seem, it has been around for longer than most people realize!
What is Acupuncture?
Acupuncture involves the insertion of thin needles in strategic points around the body. These points were first mentioned in The Yellow Emperor’s Classic of Internal Medicine which dates back to approximately 100 BCE. This information continued to be passed down from generation to generation, until the acupuncture points were refined and it became a standard practice in China.
Today, acupuncture has gained popularity around the world and is a regulated health profession in many countries. Research suggests that acupuncture can be used to help treat a number of conditions and diseases such as pain, insomnia, digestive issues, migraines, anxiety and depression.
How does it work?
In biomedical terms, acupuncture works by stimulating the central nervous system using specialized points to activate your body’s own natural healing capabilities.
In Traditional Chinese Medicine however, our organ systems play a pretty big role. Take the digestive system for example, the main organ responsible for digestion is the stomach or spleen. If a patient presents with no appetite and feels tired all of the time, I would choose acupuncture points on the “Stomach Meridian” to promote healthy digestion and help the overall digestive system function better.
It’s important to differentiate between both Eastern and Western Medicinal systems because both systems look at the human body completely differently. Utilizing all of the knowledge that we have as a modern society, while applying it to ancient concepts can be an amazing integrative approach to any treatment plan.
What does it feel like?
In most cases, patients report feeling a dull sensation after the needle is inserted. But because acupuncture needles are so thin, most people don’t feel a thing! My personal acupuncture style is to make sure that my patient feels comfortable at all times. This can be done by engaging in an open conversation, asking questions and reading body language.
How to prepare for your very first acupuncture treatment!
Booking your first acupuncture treatment can be intimidating but it’s something that you should be thrilled about! Taking your health into your own hands and trying new things is something to celebrate!!
Here’s a list of things that I always remind my clients to do before our session:
Make sure you eat beforehand! Because acupuncture works at a superficial level, it’s hard to predict how you may feel afterwards. Eating a nutritious breakfast will help you to feel fully energized and provide your body with everything it needs.
Wear loose and comfortable clothing. This allows your practitioner to locate and needle acupuncture points precisely.
Don’t drink coffee before your session- aside from coffee preventing relaxation, it also affects the appearance of your tongue. The tongue is a crucial indicator of internal health and can be used to aid in diagnosis.
Try and book your appointment on a day off. Booking on a day off will allow you to fully relax and immerse yourself in the experience.
I hope you enjoyed my blog and learned something new about acupuncture! I am currently accepting new clients for Registered Acupuncturist treatments, so please check out my services page! Stay healthy and stay glowing ✨
Most people assume that menstrual products contain safe, non-toxic ingredients. However, that is unfortunately not the case for pads and tampons. The problem with Tampax, O.B and other conventional menstrual product manufacturers is that they use genetically modified cotton, as well as a list of other toxic ingredients such as wood pulp, plastics and dyes.
So today, I wanted to write a blog on the hidden dangers found in our menstrual products and what products to use instead! Because let’s face it- we should not be putting toxic chemicals inside of our bodies on a regular basis.
Periods: The basics
Before I dive into the horrible and unnecessary ingredients in both pads & tampons, I want to talk about why a menstrual period is such an important cycle that happens within the human body.
A period is a way for the body to cleanse itself, reproduce necessary hormones and shed off the lining of the uterus. We go through many phases both before and after our monthly cycles based on the hormones being released. Examples of this include the follicular phase, ovulatory phase and the luteal phase.
Throughout the week of our actual menstrual cycle, it is so important to allow your body to do a full cleanse! This can be experienced emotionally such as crying (PMS) or even just focusing more on your diet. What I want to get at here is that it’s so important to not add toxic chemicals to your cycle because this can later cause hormonal imbalances, bacterial infections or even a heavier flow. Chemicals and ingredients found in conventional tampons have many unadvertised side effects and dangers so let’s get into it and explore healthier alternatives!
Ingredients found in Conventional Pads and Tampons
The information that I retrieved about the ingredients found in varying menstrual products can be found on Tampax.com.
1. Genetically Modified Cotton
Genetically modified cotton was introduced in 1996 (only 25 years ago) and is thought to be one of the world’s dirtiest crops. Globally, cotton crops cover just 2.4% of the worlds cultivated land, but uses 6% of the worlds pesticides and 16% of insecticides- more than any other single major crop. This greatly increases the risk of residues being present in your personal products and can throw off the natural pH balance within your vagina.
Vaginal pH imbalances can lead to yeast infections, bacterial vaginosis and can cause allergy related symptoms such as itching.
Aside from the negative health effects associated with GM cotton, thousands of cotton farmers and their families suffer from pesticide poisoning every year. Some cotton farmers earn less than $2.00 a day for their cotton and spend up to 60% of their annual income on pesticides.
Rayon is a semi synthetic fabric made from recycled wood pulp. It’s widely used in the fashion industry because of its ability to mimic the look and feel of other fabrics such as silk, cotton, wool and others. This may sound great for fashion and clothing, but it does not belong in our bodies!
Rayon is processed with many other chemicals to be broken down into cellulose, which according to Tampax “helps absorb and retain fluid”. However, rayon is processed with many chemicals such as carbon disulphide, sulphuric acid, ammonia, acetone and others. The carbon disulphide emitted from rayon has been proven to cause symptoms such as nausea and vomiting, headaches and chest pain when inhaled. Toxins released from rayon can also rarely cause tissue necrosis for people who regularly wear clothing made of this fabric.
The interesting thing is that most studies done on rayon are based on fashion or clothing, not on the effects of putting it inside of the body. It is considered one of the most dangerous fabrics, but is still one of the main ingredients in our menstrual products! #notokay
Propylene is a plastic that is found in food containers like those that hold yogurt, cream cheese and butter products. It’s derived from petroleum and is found in some beauty products because it’s very cheap and is considered safe by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).
However, a recent study conducted in November 2020 demonstrated that micro plastics are released from propylene infant feeding bottles. In the study, 48 regions were surveyed to estimate the global exposure to infants up to 12 months. They found values ranging from 14,600-4,550,000 particles per capita per day, depending on the region.
This greatly demonstrates that propylene plastics release micro plastics into our bodies and can have damaging health effects. The vagina is an extremely sensitive organ and using plastic derived ingredients is a big no no!
Paraffin is a by-product of the petrochemical industry and has to be intensively refined with bleach and other harmful chemicals in order to be useful. Its production is not sustainable nor environmentally friendly, making it a harmful and unnecessary ingredient in our menstrual products.
On its own, paraffin is greasy and has an unpleasant odour. So manufacturers add preservatives, fragrance and bleach to make it more appealing. This ingredient is used by Tampax as a wax “to keep the [tampon] string clean”. However, paraffin is far from clean!
Paraffin on its own can cause inflammation and irritation, but with the concoction of other chemicals added during production, it’s the perfect storm to throw off your pH.
As I mentioned earlier, vaginal pH imbalances can lead to different bacterial and fungal infections.
5. PEG-100 Stearate
PEGS or polyethylene glycols are petroleum-based compounds that are widely used in the cosmetic industry as thickeners, solvents and softeners.
You would think that with all of the evidence behind the dangers related to this ingredient that it would not be used in menstrual products, however there is very little regulation as you can see! Most people assume that their personal products are safe and are willing to use them regardless of ingredients which is why big companies are still using cheap and unsafe ingredients. We definitely need more activism and awareness around this issue!
6. Titanium Dioxide
Titanium Dioxide is a pigment that is used in both pads and tampons to make them appear whiter. Titanium dioxide has recently been classified by the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) as an IARC Group 2B carcinogen “possible carcinogen to humans”.
This ingredient is widely used to provide a whiter appearance and opacity to products such as paints, plastics, papers, inks, foods and toothpaste. It can also be found in a variety of beauty products and lotions such as sunscreen.
Although it has been proven to likely be carcinogenic, this ingredient is still used in many products including menstrual products.
Healthier Alternatives for your Cycle & Your body
So now that you know why you should avoid conventional menstrual products at all costs, let’s explore some healthier alternatives and brands!
This brand is my go to- you can find it at Loblaws or even Amazon! I love this brand because it lists the ingredients right on the box. I also love that they use 100% organic cotton, are plastic & fragrance free, totally chlorine free and are biodegradable!
If you’re looking for a healthier alternative to your personal care products, check out Natracare. They are about the same price as regular pads and tampons, but contain much cleaner ingredients!
Organyc is also a safe and clean choice for menstrual products. They are very similar to Natracare and do not contain genetically modified cotton or any of the other chemicals that we discussed. You can find their products at Healthy Planet or order from their website.
The Diva Cup
I don’t want to speak much on something that I personally have never tried, but I have heard great things about the Diva Cup! Not only is it a more environmentally friendly option, it doesn’t contain many ingredients that will linger in your body afterwards.
As you can see, there is not much regulation that goes into the manufacturing of menstrual products. It seems that because most people trust the ingredients, big companies and corporations can get away with adding cheap and harmful ingredients to our personal products. That is why it’s so important to take your own health into account and start educating yourself on common ingredients. Before I wrote this blog, I knew tampons and pads contained harmful chemicals but I will admit that I’m a bit shocked by the amount of information there is on this already. Needless to say, we need to start voting with our money and stop buying products that we know are not good for us.
Always remember- you are the only one with your health in best interest! Most big companies will do anything to make a bit of profit.
Li, D., Shi, Y., Yang, L., Xiao, L., Kehoe, D. K., Gun’ko, Y. K., . . . Wang, J. J. (2020). Microplastic release from the degradation of Polypropylene feeding bottles during infant Formula Preparation. Nature Food,1(11), 746-754. doi:10.1038/s43016-020-00171-y
Mancini, F., Bruggen, A. H., Jiggins, J. L., Ambatipudi, A. C., & Murphy, H. (2005). Acute Pesticide Poisoning among Female and Male Cotton Growers in India. International Journal of Occupational and Environmental Health,11(3), 221-232. doi:10.1179/oeh.2005.11.3.221
A few of my clients have asked me how I balance my worklife, schooling and staying healthy while still having time for my hobbies (like blogging)! I will admit, at first I felt like I was juggling a million things.
The main thing I struggled with was time. I felt like the days were flying by and I didn’t have time to cook, workout or do anything for leisure. There were days when I wouldn’t eat to have more time to blog, and times when I would skip a workout because I hadn’t eaten earlier. It became a cycle and it’s so easy to fall into it!
That’s why it’s so important to keep your goals and best interests in mind! Having an organized and balanced lifestyle means having time to eat healthy meals, exercise regularly and still have time for your daily tasks & hobbies!
So today I wanted to give you some tips to help you balance and organize your lifestyle this 2021:
1. Buy a daily planner or agenda
Having a place to write down all of your tasks, goals and daily activities will really help you add organization to your life. I recently bought an agenda from the dollar store and it honestly works wonders! I use it to plan my blog posts, instagram posts, write down my goals, appointments and even leave reminders for myself. It’s a great way to start organizing your life in a way that makes you happy.
Start by writing down 3 goals every morning that you would like to accomplish. Whether it’s a hobby like practicing guitar or a chore such as going grocery shopping, setting goals for yourself is crucial for a productive lifestyle. Just think of where you could be six months from now if you started setting goals for yourself and working hard to achieve them! 💫
2. Develop a regular sleeping schedule
Developing a regular sleeping schedule benefits both our mental and physical wellbeing. Research has linked getting proper sleep to improved concentration, better moods, increased productivity and better overall health! Even if you have an extremely busy lifestyle, you owe it to yourself to get enough rest and genuinely feel good throughout the day.
Having a regular sleeping schedule means going to bed around the same time every night and waking up at a set time each morning. You should be getting at least 7-9 hours of sleep per night for your brain to properly function the following day!
To regulate your sleeping schedule, set a time that you would like to wake up at and start your day. If waking up at 7:00 am is ideal, make sure you’re in bed by 10:00 pm latest to ensure you get at least 8 hours. This will give your body a full 8 hours to rest and you will wake up feeling replenished! If you have trouble falling asleep at a set time, try exercising throughout the day or taking a hot bath before bed.
Creating a set eating schedule is just as important as getting enough rest per night! Our bodies work on a circadian rhythm which is basically a fancy word for our own internal clock. Our sleep schedule, our eating schedule and daily routines all depend on our circadian rhythm. So that’s why it’s important to eat around the same time everyday- if you eat at around 12:00 pm daily, your digestive system will be expecting food. But if you decide to skip a meal, you will throw off your bodies natural cycle and you will leave your digestive system feeling depleted. This results in feeling even more hungry later on which increases the likelihood of weight gain.
To create a healthy eating pattern, set three times a day that you would like to eat and actually have time to enjoy your food. If you have work or school, it’s best to plan meals during break times. Make sure you pack a healthy lunch and bring some fruit like bananas! When I was in school full time, I would bring 3 bananas with me to eat throughout the day and they’re such a nice source of energy!
If you have more time at home, plan your meals and create grocery lists to reduce wasting money and time. Each time I go grocery shopping, I write down some foods I would like to eat and then break them down into ingredients that are needed. It makes things so much easier and ensures that you will have everything you need for the week!
4. Do your grocery shopping and laundry at least once a week
Which brings me to my next tip, make sure you do your grocery shopping and laundry at least once a week otherwise you will fall behind! I used to just let my laundry gather in my hamper until I had 2 loads to do at a time and it became overwhelming. So now, I make sure to do my laundry on Sunday’s and my grocery shopping on Monday’s. But you can choose the days that work best with your schedule!
Setting a day for tasks that (let’s be honest) no one really wants to do, allows you to spend the other 5 days a week focusing on things you’d like to focus on like your hobbies, family or personal relationship. Not to mention, having clean clothes and a stocked kitchen feels really nice! So set two days of the week where you really aim to get stuff done!
5. Make sure you get enough physical activity
I recently wrote a blog on the importance of physical activity and some statistics based on the dietary guidelines. Getting enough physical activity is crucial for maintaining a healthy weight and sweating out toxins. Working out is also a great way to relieve stress! But with gyms being closed, I can understand why it can be hard to stick to a schedule.
However, just think of how good working out makes you feel and look! You can still maintain that feeling in the comfort of your home! You don’t even need much equipment. I stay fit by using resistance bands, a kettlebell and a yoga mat! I also workout every other day of the week, so on Sunday’s, Tuesdays, Thursdays and sometimes Saturdays.
Start by working out twice this week for at least 30 minutes and watch how amazing you’ll feel! Your skin will feel revitalized and your muscles will feel nice and tight. Then you can gradually increase the amount of time that you workout, as well as the amount of days! Always go at your own pace and have fun with it!
Thank you so much for taking the time to read my blog! I really hope that you gained something from it that will help you become healthier this 2021! If you’re interested in personalized advice or meal plans, please check out my services page!