Join us! Program begins June 20th

Join your fearless (well, most of the time) leaders, Anita Bondi and Louise Bowman as we painlessly (well, we do our best) guide and help you to:

We know these are tough times for many of us. The cost of the entire FMP program is $200 – but for those in need we are offering a sliding fee scale of $100 – $200-.

Sign up with a friend and get 10% off. Read more blog posts about it.

Please know that we are open to hearing from you and your personal needs.
All are welcome.

If you are interested in participating in the FMP, or have additional questions, please contact Wellspring Holistic Center at 570-421-3708 or email wellspring@wellspringholisticcenter.com

Boosting Your Immune System – Part 3

If you would like a session with Louise to discuss how to boost your immune system, please scroll to the bottom of this post for a special covid-19 discount.

The immune system is the body’s defense against infections. The immune system attacks germs and helps to keep us healthy, but everyone’s immune system is not the same.  There are many lifestyle factors that can cause our immune systems to not function optimally.  Some of these factors include:  stress • loneliness • sedentary lifestyle • extreme exercise • smoking • alcohol • and diet.

In “Boosting Your Immune System  – Part 2”, we discussed how sleep, exercise and stress can help the immune system function.  Now it is time to delve into one of the key areas that all of us have access to, which will not only increases our immune system function, but will decrease inflammation: Diet and Nutrition.

There is a lot of stress right now with some people not working, others working from home, children home from school, parents learning to home school their children, and work from home at the same time, fear of contracting the virus, feeling alone … we could go on and on.  I know that for myself, those first few weeks were filled with a few more snacks, a little more chocolate, a few less vegetables, and many skipped meals.  This is not a good combination for boosting the immune system.  As we approach the time when we will all be reentering the world, it is time to give our diets a reboot.

Sugar

When some people are stressed, or bored, they tend to reach for a sweet treat.  Eating a small treat sweetened with naturally derived sugar may not be an awful thing for the immune system, but some people can’t stop with a small treat – it usually turns into something much bigger.  There have been some studies that suggest that eating sugar may suppress the immune system for several hours after it has been eaten. How? “Consuming too much sugar can affect the cells in your immune system – more specifically it affects the way your white blood cells attack.” explained board-certified internist and gastroenterologist Niket Sonpal.  Also most foods that are high in sugar, are also void of nutritional value, which can can increase your risk level when warding off infection.  Lastly, sugar triggers low-grade inflammation in the body, which we already know can decrease immune function.

So if we have a small sugar treat once a day, it may not affect the immune system too badly.  However, if we choose to consume one sugary treat after the other, the immune system will not be able to respond to an attack.  So the bottom line is that it would be better to choose a sweet treat like fruit or something sweetened with stevia or monk fruit.

Vegetables and Fruit

Did you know that the recommended daily allowance for vegetables was increased a couple of years ago to 5-7 servings per day.  However, the government received a lot of flack for such a high number so they decreased it down to 3-5 servings including fruit.  Honestly, I recommend that all of my clients eat at least 7-10 servings of vegetables alone per day.  I know, you are thinking that there is no way that you would ever be able to eat that many, but it really is not as difficult as you may think.  A serving size is 1 cup raw or a 1/2 cup cooked.  Eating this many vegetables does require a shift in thinking.  Instead of focusing on what meat you are going to eat, you need to start your meal planning with vegetables.

Why such a focus on fruits and vegetables? Studies have shown that fruits and vegetables provide nutrients—like beta-carotene, vitamin C, and vitamin E—that can boost immune function. Because many vegetables, fruits, and other plant-based foods are also rich in antioxidants, they help reduce oxidative stress.

And so what about fruit?  I recommend that most people only consume about 1-2 servings per day. Most of the time a serving is 1 small piece of fruit or 1/2 cup.  Fruit still contains sugar and while it has many of the same nutrients as vegetables, it comes with a lot more calories.  As noted above, sugar in excess is not good for the immune system so while the sugar in fruit is different than refined sugar, we still want to watch how much we are consuming each day.

Inflammation

Again with the inflammation?  Yes, unfortunately there are a lot of foods that could potentially cause inflammation in the body.  It would be better to avoid eating these foods as we leave sheltering in place.  However, every body is different and what causes inflammation for one person might not be the same for another person.  There are tests that you can do, but one of the best things to do for yourself is an elimination/regeneration diet.  This approach removes the top offending foods for a period of time, which is then followed by a reintroduction of foods to look for symptoms of inflammation or intolerance.  I like to think of this method as an easy detoxification for your whole body.  Most of the time, people feel great when doing the elimination/regeneration diet -more energy, better focus, maybe some weight loss, and sometimes even better sleep.  If you are curious about the foods that you are eating that might cause inflammation, this is the perfect opportunity to discover them.  With everyone social distancing and eating at home, now is the time to take a deeper look.

If you are interested in learning more about how to do an elimination diet, please contact Louise at the information below.

Intermittent Fasting and the Fasting Mimicking Mindfulness Program

There is way too much for me to say on this topic.  This might have to be a separate post.  There has been a lot of talk recently about fasting, time restricted eating, and the fasting mimicking diet.  Finally there are starting to be studies that show the benefits. Six years ago, a study showed that a 3-day fast can essentially reset the immune system, providing many potential benefits. These benefits include better cardiovascular health, better endurance, lower blood pressure, reduced inflammation and a boost for the immune system.  Check out our page on the Fasting Mimicking Mindfulness Program for more information on it’s benefits.

Nutrition and Supplementation

There are functional medicine doctors (doctors that focus on identifying and addressing the root cause of disease) online giving lots of advice on simple supplements that we should be taking everyday to boost our immune systems. Some people are firm believers in vitamins, others think that they are a waste of money.  Only you can decide what feels right for you.  I personally am a strong believer in getting most of the nutrients that we need from the food that we eat, hence eating 7-10 servings of vegetables per day, but sometimes we just can’t get enough from our foods and we need a little help. Extra help for the immune system during a pandemic is probably not a bad idea.

Dr. Mark Hyman, who works as the Head of Strategy and Innovation at the Cleveland Clinic Center for Functional Medicine suggests that we start with a simple supplementation strategy by taking a multi-vitamin, vitamin D3, vitamin C, zinc, and fish oil. It is important to remember that not all supplements are created equal. If you want to take something that is going to make a difference in your health, than it is probably best to consult with a professional about which form of the vitamin to take and which brands are reputable.

 

There is a lot of information on the internet and sometimes a lot of it is conflicting.  It is difficult to know which direction to go in.  If you are needing some extra assistance in deciphering all of the information, feel free to contact Louise.  She would be happy to help you develop an individual plan for boosting your immune system.

Please call her at 570-421-3708 or contact her at wellspring@wellsprigholisticcenter.com.  Sessions are 60 minutes ($65) or 90 minutes ($90).

Ragweed and Pollen and Mold …. Oh My!

Diet, Neti Pot, Acupuncture and Air Purifiers to the rescue!

It has happened once again … September has arrived and so has the fall allergy season.  It is pretty much always the same thing this time of year: the ragweed starts blooming, the leaves start falling to the ground, and the mold starts growing and with that comes the allergy symptoms.  Everyone is starting to feel the effects.  Itchy eyes, congested or runny nose, sinus pressure and headaches, sneezing, and a general feeling of “can I just stay in bed today?”  Allergy season … what fun!  For some of us, this happens only once a year but for others spring and fall bring some or all of these symptoms.  Is there anything that can bring relief this time of year?  Yes, I think that there are several things that can help people to  feel more human again.

Diet

food

Dietary changes can help a lot.  I am not saying that diet will cure all of your symptoms but what I am saying is that if there are things in your diet that are compromising your immune system causing inflammation in your body, then identifying them and removing them will free up your immune system to deal with the allergens outside and may help to decrease your symptoms.  I think that one of the best things that people with allergies can do for themselves is to put themselves on an elimination/challenge diet and see if there are any foods that create similar allergy symptoms.  Even if you only remove these foods during allergy season, your body will function much better and you will be much happier.  What is an elimination/challenge diet?  Basically, you are taking out the top 8 foods that have been shown to cause people to have reactions, avoiding them for a 2-3 week period and then adding them back in to see what happens.  It is a pretty simple process.  The most common food sensitivities are wheat, gluten, corn, dairy, sugar, citrus, eggs and soy.  I would say that there are a lot of people out there that would benefit greatly from taking dairy out of their diet during allergy season.  From the Chinese Medicine perspective, dairy creates dampness (phlegm/mucus) in some people and by eliminating it, people can decrease their congestion, runny nose, sinus pressure and headaches.  It is certainly worth a try! [If you would like more information on the elimination diet, send me an email at wellspring@wellspringholisticcenter.com]

Neti Pot

Another option that helps some people is the neti pot.

neti pot

I know that a lot of people find this option to be disgusting, but it really does help. Many ear, nose and throat doctors are recommending some type of nasal irrigation whether it be with a neti pot or other device.   Here is what WebMD has to say about the use of neti pots:

” Many people with sinus symptoms from allergies and environmental irritants also have begun to regularly use the Neti pot or other nasal irrigation devices, claiming that these devices alleviate congestion, and facial pain and pressure. Research backs up these claims, finding that nasal irrigation can be an effective way to relieve sinus symptoms when used along with standard sinus treatments. For some people, nasal irrigation may bring relief of sinus symptoms without the use of medications.

The basic explanation of how the Neti pot works is that it thins mucus and helps flush it out of the nasal passages.

A more biological explanation for how the Neti pot works has to do with tiny, hair-like structures called cilia that line the inside of the nasal and sinus cavities. These cilia wave back and forth to push mucus either to the back of the throat where it can be swallowed, or to the nose to be blown out. Saline solution can help increase the speed and improve coordination of the cilia so that they may more effectively remove the allergens and other irritants that cause sinus problems.”

So, as you can see, there really is something to nasal irrigation!  The warm water actually feels good as it flows through the nasal passages.  I have found that during allergy season, if I have been outside for an extended period of time, coming right in and flushing out my nasal passages can really reduce my symptoms later on.  You can buy a neti pot pretty much anywhere these days – the grocery store, drug store, health food store and also at Wellspring.  If you need more information about them, you can call or email us and we will be happy to help you.[wellspring@wellspringholisticcenter.com or 570-421-3708]

Acupuncture-

acupuncture

Another option for allergies is acupuncture.  Acupuncture is based on the idea that there are meridians or channels that run along the body which carry Qi or vital energy.  By taking your pulses and looking at your tongue, the state of the energy in the meridians and hence in your body is assessed. This helps a practitioner to create an acupuncture treatment designed specifically for you.  Needles are then placed along the meridians to stimulate the flow of qi changing its direction or increasing or decreasing it which helps to create more balance in the body.  This balance can allow the body to handle the allergens better, decrease congestion, eliminate itchy, watery eyes, eliminate headaches, and increase overall energy.

In a small but significant study of 26 hay fever patients published in the American Journal of Chinese Medicine, acupuncture reduced symptoms in all 26 — without side effects. A second study of some 72 people totally eliminated symptoms in more than half, with just two treatments.

“Acupuncture can be particularly useful if you are suffering from multiple allergies, since it works to quiet the areas of the immune system that are overstimulated by exposure to multiple irritating factors,” Dillard tells WebMD.

 Austin Air Purifiers

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One of the best things that Anita and I have found to help our allergies, as well as our family’s allergies, is the Austin Air Purifiers. Anita has been using them for years and has sworn by their effectiveness.  When I moved to Stroudsburg, I immediately noticed an increase in my allergy symptoms and decided it was time to invest in a couple of air purifiers.  I have not regretted my purchase.  Several years ago Anita and I started to notice that our allergies were worse when we were working at the Wellspring office, so naturally our first thought was air purification.  We now have 2 machines at the office and have noticed a huge difference.  There are many brands of air purifiers on the market but we feel that the Austin Air purifiers are the best.  New York Times best-selling author and allergy expert, Dr. Doris Rapp, awarded Austin Air her esteemed Seal of Approval.  This accolade was given to the only air cleaner brand proven to get real results based on independent studies.

Here is some additional information about the air purifiers from the Austinair.com website.

“Sources such as dust, dust mites, pet dander, chemicals, and other household pollutants need to be managed with a plan. A very important part of your relief plan should be to first, find a good Austin Air purifier. The Austin Air Allergy Machine is the ideal air purification system for allergy sufferers. This Austin Air purifier is a high quality system that is very affordable while at the same time, exceptionally efficient in the removal of germs, bacteria, viruses, chemical sensitive particles, tobacco smoke, dust, pollen, gases, pollutants, allergens, and bothersome odors. It is also very effective at removing the harmful effects of mold and mildew!

How is this done? The Austin Air Purifiers contain the advanced features of a gas trapping military carbon cloth combined with High Efficiency Particulate Arresting (HEPA) filtration. Austin Air calls this revolutionary filtering solution High Efficiency Gas Adsorption (HEGA). This particle filtration, a new industry standard, delivers the most effective relief of symptoms for allergy and asthma sufferers. This Austin Air Purifier is so effective that the US military personnel use it to remove toxic poisons from the air.”

Wellspring Holistic Center sells Austin Air Purifiers.  Contact us for more information about models available and prices.  Allergy Season Special: take 15% off any machine and/or filter.

Ragweed and Pollen and Mold, No More!

So, is there one thing that can bring relief this allergy season?  No, I do not think that there is one magic bullet, BUT I do think that a combination of one, two or all of the suggestions above can bring significant relief.  If you have any questions, do not hesitate to contact us at wellspring@wellspringholisticcenter.com or by phone at 570-421-3708.  Happy Breathing!