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Flu season is in full swing right now. Either you’re sick, or your kids are sick, or your neighbors’ kids are sick.
The cashier at the grocery store is sniffling.
When you recently went shopping at Target, every time you heard a sneeze or a cough, didn’t you twitch ever so slightly?
Today, I sit down with Massage Therapist Kendra McLean, and she provides some excellent wellness insight.
To be honest, I don’t sit, I lie down on Kendra’s massage table and ask her some questions.
She has some great words of wisdom to offer on the journey to wellness.
As I stare up at the ceiling, covered in a warm comfy sheet, Kendra starts working on a problem I have been experiencing with my left leg.
I take a deep breath and start complaining about how everybody is sick right now.
She responds, saying, “preventing illness starts with caring for yourself.”
“You can’t snap your fingers and have a great immune system.”
Of course, I hear, “snap fingers for a great immune system,” so, I’m really glad she wrote her responses down in an email after my massage!
Kendra goes on to say, “It often takes six months to build a good immune system if it is indeed in a poor state.”
Oh great, so I’ll be in wonderful shape by August!
Kendra shares, “we should all start now to build our immunities for the next flu season.”
But, how does one do that, I question as she finds knot after knot on my left leg.
Have you ever had your quad worked on? It’s a tad painful, just saying.
In her lovely calm voice, Kendra tells me, “eat a well-balanced diet that include a lot of vitamin C.”
“Turmeric helps to maintain healthy muscle, joint, or cartilage function as well as copaiba and black pepper oil.”
I have heard about turmeric, but I have never heard of copaiba oil, which also reduces inflammation. I didn’t know that black pepper oil is good for tendons and supports immune systems.
Heck, I just thought black pepper was for cooking.
As I lie there, I realize that we have so much at our fingertips to empower us towards wellness.
Kendra continues, “not all oils are safe to ingest. Young Living, a company that sells essential oils, has a vitality line that is FDA approved to ingest.”
Kendra uses Young Living essential oils in her practice and at home on her family and herself, so it must be good.
Not only should we focus on essential oils, but Kendra mentions that we should also take probiotics daily.
“A good healthy digestive track aids in a good immune system,” she tells me as she finds yet another knot on my leg, but this time it is on my sartorius, which is on the outside of my quad.
Truth be known, I didn’t even know I had a sartorius, nor did I know it was possible for the sartorius to become irritable and cause knee pain.
I work on breathing while she works on the knots in my irritable sartorius. Kendra puts in a word of caution about using hand sanitizers. “Don’t overuse hand sanitizers. Better yet, avoid using it when possible. A good old fashion handwashing is the better choice.”
I have heard about the dangers of hand sanitizers before; although it is a good reminder, I’m not surprised by it.
I ask Kendra, once I’m sick, what can I do?
“You need to drink water, listen to your body and rest. Get a lot of rest.”
I lie there on the table, arms by my side, taking big breaths while she finds knots on my abductor magnus because my muscle to the right of my quad must have felt left out. I work out with interval training three times a week and teach and practice yoga nearly every day.
Sometimes, when my body begins to get stronger, old issues flare up. For today, weak hips lead to a sore knee caused by my sartorius and abductor magnus pulling on my knee.
One issue leads to another.
It would be nice to think that my body was easy to fix, as in:
That’s not how anyone’s body works, though.
When I was in a car wreck a few years back, I had a headache after the incident that lasted what seemed like forever. I had to get physical therapy and massage therapy on my neck to stop the headaches.
Wellness is the same way.
We can’t just drink a shot of orange juice and be on our way.
We have to incorporate different modalities to help fix what ails us.
Luckily, there is a lot that we can do to help us move towards wellness.
She asks me to relax and breathe as she works on my ankles and my other leg. It’s so easy to tense up and hold my breath when I’m getting a massage, but that’s not going to help direct me towards wellness.
I take a deep breath, and she continues, ”Young Living essential oils make a product called Thieves, which is an overall good immune boosting agent. The type of oil you use depends on the kind of sickness you have.”
“Your feet have the biggest pores, so applying essential oils to your feet will help the oils absorb into your system faster.”
“A good hot foot soak will help open the pores making the healing properties of the oils work even faster.”
Kendra asks me to roll over on my stomach. I place my face on the soft ring and stare down at the floor as she continues to talk working on my neck and back muscles.
“I use eucalyptus on my feet and chest to open up my airways and suport a healthy respiratory system.”
“Oregano is great to help support the body’s natural defenses and strengthen the immune system. When you use oregano oil, I suggest upping probiotics because oregano can kill all bacteria in the gut, bad and good, so it is important to replace the good bacteria that was killed off.”
“It’s also good to reduce the use of chemicals in your life.”
“Young Living has a cleaning line, or you can make your own cleaning products.”
“There are many recipes available on the web.”
After I got home, I looked some recipes up with the help of my computer, and Kendra was right, there are many to be found. Here’s an interesting article from MoneyCrashers.com entitled 11 Homemade Natural Cleaning Products.
While I was back on the table, Kendra tells me, “I use Young Living oils on my family of six and have had wonderful results. I recently used the oils to put a halt to a stomach bug one of my children had. Another child came down with a virus, and by using Young Living oils, her symptoms lasted a ¼ of the average longevity of the virus. I’ve also had great outcomes using the oils to heal wounds with no scar left behind.”
I am happy that my back isn’t as jacked up as my left leg. My neck is often an issue, but Kendra focuses more on my back to help settle me down from all the tensing I just did while she worked on my leg.
While I begin to relax, I asked her if the oils interfere with antibiotics from a doctor.
She replies, “If you are on an antibiotic, you should talk to your doctor prior to using essential oils. Most of the time, it’s safe, but you should never assume.”
Kendra asks me to turn back over while she works on my shoulders and scalp. I stare up at the ceiling and ask, “What do you believe are the three top things we can do for overall health?”
? and a good night’s sleep
Basically, live a balanced life!
2. Practice healthy eating habits
3. Use essential oils when at all possible before reaching for medications or even before using household cleaners that are full of chemicals
Since Kendra is a Massage Therapist, I ask her how her profession helps with overall health?
Regular massage helps with
Kendra tells me our session for the day is over, and she quietly leaves the room. I slowly get up from the massage table and get dressed. My knee feels better, I’m breathing calmly, and I have an overall feeling of wellness. I glance in the mirror on my way out of the room and my hair is a poofy mess from the scalp massage and oil, but I don’t care because it’s all about the journey to wellness.
Kendra McLean is a Massage Therapist with a focus in pre and postnatal massage, raindrop technique, sports massage, trigger point therapy, and deep tissue massage.
She works with Sara Toogood for Bodywork Connections which exclusively uses all Young Living oils customized and tailored to the needs of clients.
To schedule an appointment with Kendra, go to http://bodyworkconnections.com/
If you’d like to learn more about Young Living oils, check out the resources tab at bodyworkconnections.com/resources
I was on the rowing machine the other day, and the guy next to me started coughing. I tried to wipe the look of horror off my face as I thought, “Oh my God, I now have the flu!”
Is it just me, or do others have the same fears?
As if that wasn’t bad enough, a person working out at the gym next to me today started sneezing, and I winced and thought, “Sweet Baby Jesus, I’ve been exposed.”
Am I the only one that thinks these thoughts?
I got the flu shot this year, as I do every year…except that one year I didn’t and ended up getting the flu. Boy was that awful!
Then there was also that year I got the flu even though I got a flu shot.
Honestly, I don’t want to ever have the flu again. I bet you don’t want to get the flu either this year or any year for that matter.
Let’s face it. Germs are everywhere. Here’s the thing, we can sit in agony every time a sneeze crosses our path. We can ball our fists, roll our eyes, and hold our breath each time a cough occurs near us. We can keep holding our breath in angst until flu season passes, wishing hazmat suits were in style, or we can breathe and be proactive.
Since I’m not really that great at holding my breath, and I don’t think I would look good in a hazmat suit (They are not very slimming.). I like to be proactive and prepare for the big win against the flu during the season of germs!
Here are 7 easy steps in preparing for the big fight.
Please get your flu shot. You can get the mist instead if you don’t want to get the shot.
Now I know I just told you that one year I got the flu after getting the flu shot, but here’s the thing. I was much less sick than I was when I got the flu several years back without getting the flu shot.
It’s the responsible thing to do. You might not care whether you get the flu or not, but if you have the flu and go out of the house while you are contagious, which happens, then you could be exposing someone to the flu who has an immune system that can’t fight off the flu. You could be doing great harm to a weaker person by being near them when you are sick, so be responsible and get your flu shot.
During flu season, make sure you have plenty of frozen dinners on hand. Now, you might be saying, “Frozen dinners? What? That doesn’t sound healthy. How am I suppose to fight the flu with unhealthy food?”
Here’s the thing, if your child, or husband, or you are sick, you don’t have time to cook, and you won’t feel like cooking, trust me! But, hey, your family still needs to eat. Make sure you have some great tasting and as healthy as possible dinners stored away in the freezer for those days sickness has hit your house.
Stack up on instant meals like soup or macaroni and cheese. Simple meals that nearly anyone in your household can cook in a microwave will help you get through those days when illness prevails.
Buy extra boxes of healthy snacks like oranges, protein bars or dried fruit. Make sure you keep a protein bar in your purse during flu season. We all know what it’s like to be in a doctor’s office waiting room. You’re stressed out enough, and you don’t want to add “hangry” to the list of symptoms.
Go ahead and buy that large pack of toothbrushes. Now, I know it seems excessive, but when someone in your household is sick, you have to get rid of that germ carrying weapon. Changing out the toothbrushes more frequently during cold and flu season is a smart investment. While you are at it, pick up several new tubes of toothpaste.
Of course, you will want to buy a few jars of hand sanitizers. Buy one to place by the door. Buy a travel-sized one for your purse and car.
Make sure that you purchase enough soap to get you through the season. You’ll be washing your hands more frequently.
Your hands may begin to get dry and chapped from all the handwashing, so make sure you have hand lotion sitting right beside your soap.
Keep extra tissue boxes on hand, and make sure they are the soft kind. Trying to blow your nose on a lovely thick paper towel, or walking around the house with a toilet paper roll tucked under your arm is not the way to go. Have many boxes of soft tissues strategically placed around your home so you can catch that runny nose.
Buy extra paper towels, and place a roll in each bathroom to help reduce the spread of germs. During flu season, I’m not a fan of drying my hands on a damp hand towel in the bathroom. I’m guessing you aren’t a fan of that either.
Stock on up laundry detergent because you will be doing laundry more often than usual, especially if your house gets hit by the dreaded stomach flu. Changing sheets more regularly becomes a must during flu season.
Take vitamin C and Zinc daily when you start to feel ill, and make sure you have enough for the family to last through the season of sickness. Black Elderberry is a great supplement to take during the winter. If you aren’t familiar with it, you can check out information on Black Elderberry here.
Go through your medicine cabinet BEFORE you or your family member gets sick and throw out any medicines that have past their expiration date.
If you are low on the staples (like ibuprofen, Tylenol, Immodium, antihistamine, cough syrup), then make sure you replenish your supply to prevent that 2 a.m. run to the store. As always, if you have children in your home, make certain that your medicines are out of reach. A padlocked tackle box is a great place to store medicines when youngsters are in the home.
Make sure your oral thermometer is working well. There’s nothing worse than struggling with the on/off switch of a thermometer that is not working during the wee hours of the morning when your child is sick.
Make sure you have an updated list of your family doctors’ names and contact information as well. There may be a time when you or your loved one will need a specialist during flu season. You may find yourself on a trip to the hospital, which may require your physician’s name and contact number. It’s best to keep that information on hand.
Is your pharmacy’s number listed in your contacts? If not, make sure to add that. You don’t want to have to carry a prescription to the pharmacy and wait when your doctor’s office can easily call it in. Proving the office with the pharmacy contact information will prevent you from standing at the pharmacy waiting for your prescription to be filled.
Health Insurance cards should live in your wallet, that way you will never have to mentally struggle over where you put the darn card while you are feeling miserably sick.
Many times, your insurance will provide you with a separate prescription card. Make sure that card resides next to your health insurance card in your wallet.
Keep an extra phone charger in your car. A quick trip to the doctor’s office or hospital is unheard of, especially during flu season. There is nothing quick when flu season is upon us. If you must spend hours in a waiting room, you want to be able to charge your phone if you need to so you can let the rest of your family members know what’s going on. If you keep the extra phone charger in your car, or in your purse, you can find an outlet in the waiting room and charge your phone. That will be one less thing you need to worry about while you wait.
Follow these simple steps, and you’ll be well armed to fight through flu season. Good luck, and (Did you just sneeze?) God bless you.
Did you make one or several New Year’s Resolutions this past New Year’s Eve?
Well, here’s what you need to do: dump them!
Completely get rid of them right here and now. Yes, right now. It’s true, we are not even a month into the new year, but let go of those resolutions!
Does anyone really ever keep New Year’s Resolutions?
Have you ever heard anyone accept an award, maybe a Grammy or a Nobel Peace Prize, saying, “I owe this all to that New Year’s Resolution I made back in 2002?”
I know I never have heard anyone say anything great resulted from New Year’s Resolutions, and I’m pretty sure it’s because of the fact that all too often they deal with a specific outward change.
Do these New Year’s Resolutions sound familiar?
I’m going to…
Usually, those resolutions come after a month of overindulgence during the holiday season, and we’re are trying to appease our guilt.
We all know that the definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again but expecting different results. So, I say STOP with the New Year’s Resolutions dealing with a specific change to your outward life.
Come on now, we all know that those rapid ten pounds that you may lose in January are going right back on during that spring cruise you plan on taking.
That exercise class you signed up for in January will end quickly when you find something less jarring to take its place, like watching March Madness.
Those outward changes won’t stick, and you will find yourself sad, and feeling sad too often takes us all back down the road to overindulge.
Think about that time when you saw a friend go on vacation, and she was so excited about it. She goes on vacation, comes back home, and talks about how calm and wonderful her life was while on vacation. Then, she goes back to being chaotic and miserable in her everyday life. She tells you she needs to go back on vacation. Have you ever heard that from a friend?
Maybe you have heard yourself say those things.
Life isn’t all about the outward. It has to be balanced with the inward.
Just stop the insanity of trying to change an aspect of your life that won’t change without an inward resolution.
Wouldn’t it be awesome if each day of your life was like a vacation?
Wouldn’t it be great if you could lose the weight and keep it off?
Change the inward, and you can start to change your life.
I challenge you to make an Inward Resolution.
Here are some to start you off:
I will focus on…
Just pick one. You don’t have to do all three. Just start with one.
Find time to sit and think.
I don’t want to hear that you don’t have time for that because you do.
You have ten minutes in your day to be calm. Once you make time to be calm, you will find that you have more than ten minutes. Remember that 20-minute rant you went on about how you don’t have any time for yourself? Lord have mercy, I know I remember that rant you went on. Guess what you could have been doing with those 20 minutes instead of going on a rant?
Calm down. You’ll find it so much easier to make better life choices when you are calm, and often those better life choices include exercise and healthy eating, which means you are winning on that New Year’s Resolution you dumped!.
Find time to focus on your breathing. We all spend far too much time holding our breath or shallow breathing, which are signals to our nervous system that we are stressed-out!
Don’t tell me you don’t have time to focus on your breathing. I don’t want to hear it. We all know we have time to breathe. We have no choice.
Take a few moments while you are at your desk, close your eyes, and take some deep breaths.
What does that mean?
Do this for several cycles.
While you are at a stoplight, focus on your breathing.
While you are sitting on the train, focus on your breathing.
When you focus on your breathing, your body will begin to calm down.
Bring that sweet magic of vacation back home and breathe!
Focus on the here and now.
What is in the past is in the past.
Leave it there!
You are not the same person you were back then and neither is anyone else. You are going to cause a terrible crick in your neck by constantly looking at what went on behind you.
You can’t control what will happen in the future.
We all wish we could, but let’s face it, we can’t control the future.
All you can do is do the best you can NOW.
Stressing about the what-ifs will throw you off balance.
Life is happening right now!
Pay attention to what is going on around you right now.
You’ll find yourself less likely to make bad choices when you live life in the present.
Remember back to when you were on that vacation. You weren’t thinking about the past or present. You were living life largely in the here and now, and you loved living that way!
Now, think farther back at your happiest childhood memory.
Maybe you were 4, or 8 year’s old?
We were all probably doing something different, yet we all had a few things in common: we were non-stressed or calm, breathing freely, and living in the present.
Maybe you were like me, eight year’s old and riding your bike on a sunny day. I wasn’t worried about tomorrow. My breathing was deep and steady. While living in the moment, I felt joy.
Get back to that childhood feeling of joy!
Get back to that vacation-induced joy!
Dump those New Year’s Resolutions you made a few weeks ago, and set your Inward Resolutions.
A visit to the doctor’s office can be challenging. We elevate doctors to a God-like level believing they should know everything with 100 percent accuracy. Doctors don’t know everything. I’m pretty sure they don’t want to know everything because that’s pretty near impossible. There are two simple yet important steps to a successful appointment with your doctor because what your doctor doesn’t know may hurt you.
A few days ago, my teenage daughter started complaining of a sore throat. So, being a Mom, I got out a flashlight and asked her to say, “AH.” Of course, looking at the back of her throat with my flashlight didn’t take away her sore throat, so I made a doctor’s appointment for her.
The doctor declared, “You have either strep throat, mononucleosis, or a virus.” She did a strep test and said she would call in an antibiotic for a positive result. She told my daughter to rest, drink plenty of fluids, and come back if it doesn’t get better in a week.
My daughter stormed around the kitchen when we got home. “What’s wrong with that doctor? She said it could be this or it could be that. Why couldn’t she tell me what was wrong with me?”
I replied, “She couldn’t tell you what was wrong with you because she is a doctor, she’s not God, nor does she have magic know-it-all powers. She is limited to science and the tests she has to figure out what’s wrong with your throat.”
Her visit to the doctor got me thinking about what it takes to have a successful doctor’s visit.
I narrowed down the criteria for a successful doctor’s visit to two steps.
The doctor needs to know as much relevant information as you can give her.
Last year, I was taking the herbal supplement Ashwagandha because I was told by a friend that it would increase my overall health. Luckily, I told my doctor at my yearly check-up. She told me, “You know, that doesn’t work well with the thyroid medicine you take?” Oops. I didn’t think she needed to know about the Ashwagandha, but she did. The herb did mess up my thyroid numbers, but luckily all I had to do is stop taking it and my numbers returned to normal.
Sitting on the examination table and saying, “I feel yucky,” will get you nowhere. The doctor needs a concise list of what brought you to her office. Maybe it was a sharp stomach pain or a sore throat that brought you in? The doctor needs to know specifics.
Once, 15 years ago, I went in to see the doctor because of a sharp pain in my stomach. The doctor was smart, and luckily he asked me what I was doing right before the sharp pain. I was trying to get rid of my post-pregnancy belly fat with launching into 150 sit-ups. After examining my abdomen, he suggested it was a muscle cramp and that I try to start with 10 sit-ups next time and work my way up. I was a tad annoyed that after pregnancy and a c-section, I was reduced to a 10 sit-up starting point, but it did stop the muscle cramp. Can you imagine all the scans and blood work a less savvy doctor may have issued had he not been given enough information?
If your doctor doesn’t have enough information to diagnose you, it could hurt you by either not getting the right treatment in a timely manner or being put through a battery of tests you didn’t really need.
Make sure you are in front of the right doctor.
All doctors are not the same. Many people make this mistake. You’ve got to know what doctor to go to for which ailment to get the best care possible.
My younger daughter tripped and broke her foot during a dance performance months ago. I took her to a foot specialist because I knew her pediatrician wouldn’t be able to tell if it was broken or not just by looking at it. There was little to no swelling that I could see. The foot specialist was able to look at her foot, point out the swelling (What swelling? I couldn’t see any.), use a tuning fork on the bones, and tell my daughter that her foot might be broken. After listening to my daughter explain how she thought she broke it and what her lifestyle was like before, during, and after the fall, she x-rayed her foot, and sure enough, it was broken.
Going to the correct doctor is hugely important. I thought the foot doctor was fabulous, but there is no way I would take my daughter to see her for a sore throat. I think her pediatrician is wonderful, but I am not taking her to a pediatrician for a broken foot.
You have to know what doctor to go to for your specific ailment. An easy way to figure this out is to ask before you make the appointment. If you are at your doctor’s office and can’t get answers that make sense, don’t panic. It might just be that you need to be seen by a specialist. My daughter’s throat is getting better, thank goodness! If it didn’t get better, I would have brought her back to the pediatrician. If the care she got there didn’t help her ailment, I would take her to an ENT (Ear, Nose, and Throat) doctor.
Communicate with your doctor. Everyone wants the same thing – wellness. Empower yourself when you visit your doctor with good communication and knowledge in choosing the right doctor to help you because what your doctor doesn’t know may indeed hurt you.
Here is your FREE downloadable form that you can use to place the information you will need for your next doctor’s office visit. 🙂
If you want to have wellness, you’ve got to take care of yourself. An easy step towards wellness is to go soak in a tub!
You’ve got ten minutes, don’t you?
I’ll give you my Epsom Salt Bath recipe so you can go take a soak as you journey towards wellness.
As a toddler, one of my daughters had a very wealthy friend. Her mother was so generous with her time and always opened her home for playdates. She gave all of the moms a tour of her 10,000 plus square foot home during the first playdate. I remember the mom as being a very kind and humble person, yet I also remember her standing in her very large bathroom, motioning to her very large tub, telling us that she had this fantastic tub, but never had the time to use it.
She had a maid.
She had great wealth.
Yet, she couldn’t find ten minutes to soak in her own tub?
There’s something wrong with that.
If you’ve never taken a ten-minute soak in your own bathtub, you might not understand, so I challenge you to take a soak.
Fill your tub with warm water, get in, and just relax for ten minutes.
If you don’t have ten minutes to soak in your own tub, then you may need to look at how you are spending your time.
Let’s amp-up the Me-Time and add Epsom salts with essential oils to the water.
That’s where you might draw the line.
Those little containers of lavender-infused Epsom salt can run from $5 to $50, and they definitely don’t last long, especially if you are like me and pour in a good two cups per bath. But hang on, my simple recipe helps create more for less.
You may now be thinking, “More for less is great, but what is all the fuss about Epsom salt?”
Well, Epsom salt was discovered in the early 1600’s in Epsom, England. It’s been around for some time now.
Although I use it for sore muscles AND wellness, Epsom salt is also used for arthritis, sprains, sleeplessness, ingrown toenails, and the list goes on! (Check out some other uses at “Why Take An Epsom Salt Bath?” at WebMD.)
Some people drink Epsom salt, but I don’t want to encourage that here because of the health risks. Check out some of these risks at WebMD.
Soaking for a good 10 minutes in a warm tub with a couple of scoops of Epsom salt helps me relax and refocus.
Here is my simple recipe to keep your bathroom stocked with Epsom salt for your next soak!
I bought mine from Bed Bath and Beyond for $9.99. This one-time purchase is reusable and will last indefinitely, as long as you don’t drop it!
I found the one I like at World Market for $7.99. This is also a one time purchase and lasts indefinitely.
I purchase fine grain Epsom salt in a 50 lb bag from Salt Works for $49.99. The bag usually lasts me about a year.
I use Radha essential oils and they cost about $12.95 – $14.95 for a 4 oz bottle, which lasts me about six months. It would last longer, but I also use the oils in diffusers as well as mixing it in the Epsom salt.
Now, go take a soak for ten minutes. You deserve it!
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