Amoeba, Candida and Spirochaetes, Oh My!

Posted by Maria on November 23, 2012 under Homespunspa Wellness Tour, Newspapers and Newsworthy, Self-Care, Uncategorized, Wellness | 8 Comments to Read

by Maria Koropecky, Homespunspa owner

I’m one week into my Homespunspa Wellness Tour and I’ve already learned so much. Last Friday, I had the chance to attend Dr. Oksana Sawiak’s Periodontology seminar. The seminar is geared to dentists who are interested in learning new approaches to treating gum disease and although I’m not a dentist, I do have teeth :) and I was fascinated by the topic.

Wellness Starts in the Mouth

The first thing I learned was: wellness in the body starts in the mouth. The mouth is the gateway to the rest of the body and it also mirrors what’s going on in the body. (The same thing can be said about your skin, hair, and eyes, however, because they also reflect the general health of the body). So if you have gum disease, for example, it’s likely you have other health issues elsewhere in your body. The good news is, if you treat the gum disease, then your overall health and wellness will also improve and you may even prevent the development of more serious illnesses in the future.

What is Gum Disease?

Gum disease is also known as Gingivitis, Pyorrhea, Periodontitis, Periodontal Pockets, Gum Recession, or Trenchmouth, in its most severe form. Sadly, 80% of North American adults suffer from some degree of gum disease. If not treated, you can lose your teeth. Often times, people opt for gum surgery to heal this infection, but as I learned from Dr. Oksana, there are other treatments available these days that are less destructive.

How do you Know if you have Gum Disease?

You might suspect you have a gum infection if:

  • Your gums bleed or swell,
  • Your teeth are loose or are shifting,
  • You experience a sour or salty taste in your mouth,
  • You have the ever-popular morning breath,
  • You feel like there’s something stuck between your teeth, even after flossing,
  • You have heart problems, Diabetes or any other chronic illness,
  • You are scheduled to have a professional teeth cleaning appointment every 3 to 4 months.

If you ignore your symptoms and go ahead and have your hygienist clean your teeth, the infection in your mouth can spread into your blood stream, which will allow the pathogens to settle in a weak spot, like your heart valve, your pancreas or your reproductive organs, which can lead to heart problems, Diabetes and fertility issues. Oddly, many people report that the feel like they have the flu after dental cleanings and that is a sign that their gum infection has travelled throughout their body. To avoid this feeling, it’s better to treat your gum infection first and then go ahead with your teeth cleaning appointment once it’s all cleared up.

Microscopic Imaging of Dental Plaque

It’s one thing to have symptoms; it’s another thing to see the science behind the scenes. During the seminar, Dr. Oksana showed us what plaque looks like under a microscope and my jaw dropped. Seeing microscopic images of live dental plaque on a screen was like looking at a city on Google Earth! It was a whole new world.

To prepare for the slide collection, we were asked to let our plaque “mature” by not flossing or brushing for 24 hours before the seminar or eating spicy, citrus or salty food or drinking any alcohol. It was all I could do not to brush my teeth that morning!

One of the visiting dentists took a sample of my plaque from around the gum line of the teeth and placed it on a microscopic slide. Once the slide was placed under the microscope, we were able to see all kinds of activity and I had a really good lesson in biology (a grade 10 class I vaguely remember).

Each slide we viewed was filled with activity and information. It’s hard to know what you’re looking for on a slide and to understand the lay of the land, but after a while, the patterns start to become more noticeable in the terrain. Dr. Oksana said, “Start with the lakes and work from there.” We identified (still living) things like Spirochaetes, Candida and Bacteria on the slides. We didn’t see any red blood cells because it just so happened that no blood was drawn but we were able to identify some white blood cells .

White blood cells are pretty easy to spot and seeing them provides a really big clue because the body sends white blood cells to fight off an invading enemy and to heal an infection. They are the “soldiers” of the body, so, if there are white blood cells present, then there must be an enemy like, for instance, an Amoeba nearby. Unfortunately, white blood cells are powerless against Amoebas and Amoebas take the nucleus from the white blood cells, are fed and nourished and are able to carry on while the white blood cells die off. :(

The Amoeba is a parasite and parasites are ultimately the core issue behind gum disease. Therefore, you have to kill the parasites in order to treat gum disease. Make sense?

If you’d like to see your own live microscopic “Amoeba, Candida and Spirochaetes, Oh My!” show, you’re welcome to make an appointment with Dr. Oksana in the Integrative Wellness and Detox Clinic in Norval, Ontario. She also knows of 12 other dentists who are doing this type of work in Canada and who have a microscope in their dental office. If that’s not convenient and you suspect you have gum disease and want to treat it naturally, you have options and there is hope and I will describe the treatment protocols in my next blog post, coming soon.

Tip To Stay Fit On Your Trip

Posted by Maria on November 10, 2012 under Fitness, Green Living, Homespunspa Wellness Tour, Humour, Nutrition, Photo gallery, Self-Care, Travel, Uncategorized, Weight Management, Wellness, Yoga | Be the First to Comment

by Maria Koropecky, Homespunspa owner

My Homespunspa Wellness Tour 2012 is starting in just a few days and I’m getting really excited about my trip. But while I’m away, I don’t want to forget about exercising and lose all of the ground I’ve covered in the last several months. And with American Thanksgiving and the Christmas holidays coming up, I’m sure many of you will be tempted to let your exercise routine lapse while you’re travelling to different cities to visit family and friends. My advice: Now is not the time to slack off; try to find a way to include regular exercise in your daily routine throughout the festive season and beyond.

And if you need a little extra motivation to get off your butt and move your body, I recently heard the average person consumes 3000 calories on Thanksgiving Day. That’s a lot of delicious food! If you workout regularly, you’ll definitely avoid gaining unnecessary weight and you won’t need to make any New Year’s resolutions come January 1.

“So, how do I stay fit while travelling,” you ask? Well, as much as I’d like to bring my yoga mat, 12-pound weights and treadmill on the road with me, :) that’s not practical. My personal trainer, Jeanette, however, came up with a brilliant solution: Bring an elastic/ resistance tube and use it. That’s the tip to stay fit on your trip.

She suggested I bring my tube with me on my trip because it’s lightweight and fits in nicely in my suitcase and there are countless strength training exercises I can do with it wherever I go.

Jeanette told me I’ve lost almost 24 inches since May and I’m not about to undo all of that hard work by discontinuing my regular workouts. I plan on running, doing abdominal crunches and push ups and using my resistance tube often.

Tube exercises:

Before launching into the exercises, make sure you’re wearing proper fitness clothes, have a bottle of water handy and you warm up for 5 minutes to get your heart rate up. Also, remember to cool down and stretch when you’ve finished your tube workout.

Obviously, you’ll need a tube for these exercises. Mine is purple (of course) and has medium resistance. It also has a casing over it to protect me if the tube ever wears thin and suddenly snaps during a workout. I think it cost me around $30 at a local fitness supply store but I don’t remember exactly. I definitely recommend adding one to your home gym.

Of course there are dozens of strength training exercises you can do with a tube but I’m just going to highlight seven. I’m sharing these instructions and illustrations with Jeanette’s permission.

Elastic Double Over Head Press.1) Elastic Double Overhead Press: Stand on the tube and hold the elastic in both hands with your arms at each side and your elbows bent. Push your arms over your head, keeping your elbows no higher than your ears. Return to the starting position. Do 12 reps and 2 sets. Maintain good posture and wrist alignment and exhale while pushing your arms up and inhale while bringing them back down.

Elastic Double Lateral Raise2) Elastic Double Lateral Raise: Stand on the tube and hold the handles in both hands with your arms at your sides and palms facing forward. Lift arms to shoulder level, keeping your elbows straight, then lower and repeat. Do 12 reps and 2 sets. Exhale while lifting your arms and inhale while lowering them. Maintain good posture, abdominal contraction and wrist alignment.

Elastic Bent Over Crossed Row3) Elastic Bent Over Crossed Row: Stand on the tube with feet hip-width apart. Take the end of the tube that is under your left foot with your right hand and the end that is under your right foot with your left hand making a criss-cross with your wrists. (I have to think about this every time). Bend your knees slightly and tilt forward from the hips. Pull up the elastic and raise your hands toward your waistline then return to start. Do 12 reps and 2 sets. Exhale when pulling the tube back and bending the elbow and inhale while straightening the elbow. Keep wrist aligned, abs contracted, and spine neutral.

Elastic single biceps curl4) Elastic Single Biceps Curl: Stand on the tube with feet outside hip-width apart. Grab the handle with palm facing forward, keeping your arm extended. Pull up while bending at the elbow and then return to start. Do 12 reps and 2 sets with each arm. Exhale as you pull the elastic and inhale on the return. Maintain good posture and keep the abs engaged and watch your wrist alignment.

Elastic Lateral Biceps Curl5) Lateral Biceps Curl with Elastic (External Rotation): Stand on the tube with feet hip-width apart. Grasp handles. Arms are at each side and palms are facing away from the hips. Bend elbows and pull the tube until the hand reaches the shoulder. Lower the hand and repeat. Do 12 reps and 2 sets. Exhale when bending and inhale while extending the elbow. Maintain a space between the elbow and the side of the trunk, keep abs contracted and wrists in neutral position.

Elastic Trunk Sidebend6) Elastic Trunk Sidebend: Stand on the tube with your right foot and hold the other end with your right hand. Bend to the left, keeping the elbow straight. Return to start. Repeat 12 times. Switch sides and repeat, bending to the right. (I just figured out I’ve been doing this one without following the instructions and bending the wrong way… oh well). Do 12 reps and 2 sets each side. Exhale when bending the trunk and inhale when straightening the trunk. Maintain good posture and keep abs contracted.

Elastic Standing Hip Abduction7) Standing Hip Abduction with Tube (Outer Thigh): Stand on tube with both feet together. Place your weight on your left leg. Keep your knee straight and raise your right leg to the side. Return to the starting position. Repeat 12 times. Switch sides and repeat with your left leg. Do 12 more reps and 2 sets each side. Exhale as you abduct your leg and inhale as you lower it. Maintain good posture and keep your ankle aligned in neutral.

I hope you get a chance to try out these tube exercises. I’m sure they’ll keep me busy and fit in the coming weeks. Let me know how things go and I’ll keep you posted on my progress during my Homespunspa Wellness Tour 2012. And thanks Jeanette for your great idea!

20 Things You Can Do To Avoid The Flu

Posted by Maria on November 2, 2012 under Aromatherapy, Fitness, Green Living, Home spa, Ingredients, Newspapers and Newsworthy, Nutrition, Recipes, Self-Care, Sleep, Stress Management and Relaxation, Uncategorized, Wellness | 2 Comments to Read

by Maria Koropecky, Homespunspa owner

Last December/January, I caught the worst cough I can remember and I don’t want to go through that ever again. I lost my voice to laryngitis for a few days, the painful, phlegmy coughing kept me and everyone in my household up at night, and it took about three weeks for the nastiness to clear out of my system.

Flu, short for influenza, is a viral illness that tends to flare up in the winter months and to involve many people in the community at the same time. Flu symptoms include: fever (38.3 to 40 degrees Celsius or 101 to 104 degrees Fahrenheit), chills, body aches, headache, pain when you move your eyes, fatigue, weakness, runny nose, sneezing, coughing, etc. It usually lasts for about 10 days and then everything will be back to normal, but the flu can also lead to more serious and dangerous complications for some.

Having a cold or flu or cough is not fun to say the least so I’ve come up with a list of home-spa-inspired suggestions that will help us all stay healthy this season.

20 things you can do to prevent, avoid, or at least minimize the flu this year:

  1. Immune System: Fortify your immune system and keep up your resistance to infections by eating a healthy and nutritious diet, exercising regularly and getting plenty of good quality sleep year-round.
  2. Avoid exposure: If you can at all help it, (easier said than done, I know), avoid contact with people who are showing flu symptoms.
  3. Vitamin C: Take Vitamin C supplements daily, (I like the chewable kind), and eat foods that have a high vitamin C content.
  4. Vitamin D: Boost your Vitamin D intake during the dark, winter months.
  5. Echinacea: Take Echinacea capsules or drink Echinacea tea. Echinacea is a popular healing herb that boosts the immune system, has antiviral properties and helps prevent the onset of colds.
  6. Zinc: Take Zinc Lozenges at the onset of a cold. This mineral is often used to reduce the length and severity of cold symptoms. Foods that contain zinc include: eggs, meat, seafood and whole grains.
  7. Panax Ginseng: Take Panax Ginseng supplements during the winter and especially at the onset of a cold. You will find Ginseng in products like ColdFX.
  8. Garlic: Eat fresh garlic (like on toast or in a salad dressing) at the onset of flu symptoms.
  9. Oil of Oregano: Take drops of oil of oregano to boost your immune system.
  10. Hydrate: Drink lots of liquids throughout the day. Choose hot tea with lemon and honey, water, orange juice, and apple juice.
  11. Soup: Eating a bowl of comforting chicken noodle soup may be just the recipe to alleviate your cold symptoms.
  12. Clean Hands: Wash your hands regularly and keep your hands away from your nose, eyes and mouth. Also, use a tissue or your upper arm when you cough or sneeze.
  13. Exercise: Sometimes exercising just as you are starting to feel a cold or flu coming on, may be a good idea; however, do not exercise if you have phlegmy congestion below the neck.
  14. Relax: Managing your stress will go a long way to keep illness at bay.
  15. Sauna: Sitting in a sauna for a few minutes may help flush out your cold symptoms.
  16. Room Sprays: Use room sprays made with essential oils like: basil, bay, benzoin, bergamot, black pepper, cajeput, citronella, coriander, eucalyptus, frankincense, ginger, grapefruit, helichrysum, juniper, lavandin, lavender, lemon, lime, marjoram, myrtle, niaouli, orange, oregano, peppermint, petitgrain, pine, rosemary, tea tree, and thyme (wow that’s a long list) to freshen the space, disinfect surfaces, help breathing and foster sleep.
  17. Stop smoking: You may think now isn’t the time to quit smoking altogether, but many years ago, my father went off on a fishing trip and came home with the most miserable cold and after that, he never smoked his pipe again. Quitting smoking will only increase your health in the long run.
  18. Flu Shot: Consider getting a flu shot early in the season.
  19. Stay Home: If you’re feeling sick, stay home and rest. Your co-workers and the people that you would otherwise meet when you walk down the street, would appreciate it.
  20. Sleep: Get lots of rest and do your best to sleep well at night.

I hope these suggestions and recommendations help keep you and your family healthy this winter. If you have any other ideas, please leave a comment and share your wisdom.

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