Bone broths

To heal the gut – Bone broths and fermented foods

Bone broth or stock was a way our ancestors made use of every part of an animal. Bones and marrow, skin and feet, tendons and ligaments that you can’t eat directly, can be boiled then simmered over a period of days. This simmering causes the bones and ligaments to release healing compounds like collagen, proline, glycine, and glutamine that have the power to transform your health.

Collagen is the protein found in connective tissue of vertebrate animals. It’s abundant in bone, marrow, cartilage, tendons, and ligaments. The breakdown of collagen in bone broths is what produces gelatin.

• Gelatin (the breakdown of collagen) was one of the first functional foods, used as a medical treatment in ancient China.
• Dr. Francis Pottenger and other world class researches have found gelatin and collagen to have the listed benefits
• Gelatin helps people with food allergies and sensitivities tolerate those foods including cows milk and gluten.
• Collagen protects and soothes the lining of the digestive tract and can aid in healing IBS, crohn’s, ulcerative colitis and acid reflux.
• Gelatin promotes probiotic balance and growth.
• Bone broth increases collagen reducing the appearance of wrinkles and banishing cellulite.
• Because gelatin helps break down proteins and soothes the gut lining, it may prove useful for leaky gut syndrome and the autoimmune disorders that accompany it.
Gelatin provides bone-building minerals in easily absorbable ways, preventing bone loss and reducing join pain.

It’s important to use body parts that aren’t commonly found in the meat department of your grocery store, things like chicken feet and neck. You’ll also want to buy animal products that you know are pasture-fed and free of antibiotics and hormones.

The essentials are bones, fat, meat, vegetables and water. If you’re making beef broth or lamb broth, you should brown the meat before putting it into a stock pot. Fish and poultry are fine to put in a pot without browning first. Add a bit of apple cider vinegar to your pot to help draw the minerals from the bones.

Cooking Suggestions

• Place bones into a large stock pot and cover with water.
• Add two tablespoons of apple cider vinegar to water prior to cooking. This helps to pull out important nutrients from the bones.
• Fill stock pot with filtered water. Leave plenty of room for water to boil.
• Heat slowly. Bring to a boil and then reduce heat to simmer for at least six hours. Remove scum as it arises.
• Cook slow and at low heat. Chicken bones can cook for 24 hours. Beef bones can cook for 48 hours. A low and slow cook time is necessary in order to fully extract the nutrients in and around bone.
• You can also add in vegetables such as onions, garlic, carrots, and celery for added nutrient value.
After cooking, the broth will cool and a layer of fat will harden on top. This layer protects the broth beneath. Discard this layer only when you are about to eat the broth.
Consume about 250ml 1-2x daily as a soup, a plain beverage, or doing a bone broth fast.

Chicken Bone Broth Recipe
Total Time: 24 hours Serves: Varies

• Chicken necks and feet
• Water to cover
• 3 tbsp apple cider vinegar
• Sea Salt and Ground Black Pepper
• 2 Bay Leaves
• garlic cloves
• Vegetables of choice

1. Place all ingredients into stock pot and add enough water until chicken is submerged
Turn setting to high and continue to simmer for 24 hours

Beef Bone Broth Recipe
Total Time: 48 hours Serves: Varies

• Beef bones with marrow
• Water to cover bones
• 3 tbsp apple cider vinegar
• 2 Bay Leaves
• Sea Salt and Ground Black Pepper
• Vegetables of choice

2. Place all ingredients in crockpot. Add in water until bones are covered.
Turn setting to high and let simmer for 48 hours

From the Heal Your Gut Cookbook, Boynton & Brackett


• 3-4 pounds beef marrow and knuckle bones
• 2 pounds meaty bones such as short ribs
• ½ cup raw apple cider vinegar
• 4 quarts filtered water
• 3 celery stalks, halved
• 3 carrots, halved
• 3 onions, quartered
• Handful of fresh parsley
• Sea salt


Place bones in a pot or a crockpot, add apple cider vinegar and water, and let the mixture sit for 1 hour so the vinegar can leach the mineral out of the bones.

Add more water if needed to cover the bones.

Add the vegetables bring to a boil and skim the scum from the top and discard.

Reduce to a low simmer, cover, and cook for 24-72 hours (if you’re not comfortable leaving the pot to simmer overnight, turn off the heat and let it sit overnight, then turn it back on and let simmer all day the next day)

During the last 10 minutes of cooking, throw in a handful of fresh parsley for added flavor and minerals.

Let the broth cool and strain it, making sure all marrow is knocked out of the marrow bones and into the broth.

Add sea salt to taste and drink the broth as is or store in fridge up to 5 to 7 days or freezer up to 6 months for use in soups or stews.

Helps heal and seal your gut, and promotes healthy digestion: The gelatin found in bone broth is a hydrophilic colloid. It attracts and holds liquids, including digestive juices, thereby supporting proper digestion

Inhibits infection caused by cold and flu viruses, etc.: A study published over a decade ago found that chicken soup indeed has medicinal qualities, significantly mitigating infection

Reduces joint pain and inflammation, courtesy of chondroitin sulphates, glucosamine, and other compounds extracted from the boiled down cartilage

Fights inflammation: Amino acids such as glycine, proline, and arginine all have anti-inflammatory effects.

Arginine, for example, has been found to be particularly beneficial for the treatment of sepsis2 (whole-body inflammation). Glycine also has calming effects, which may help you sleep better
Promotes strong, healthy bones: Bone broth contains high amounts of calcium, magnesium, and other nutrients that play an important role in healthy bone formation
Promotes healthy hair and nail growth, thanks to the gelatin in the broth

Why a Fermented Food List?

Consuming traditionally fermented foods provide you a number of benefits, including:

• Important nutrients. Some fermented foods are outstanding sources of essential nutrients such as vitamin K2, which help prevent arterial plaque buildup and heart disease. For instance, cheese curd is an excellent source of both probiotics and vitamin K2. Just half an ounce (15 grams) of natto daily can also provide all the K2 you’ll need . Fermented food is also a potent producer of many B vitamins.
• Optimizing your immune system. An estimated 80 percent of your immune system is actually located in your gut. Probiotics play a crucial role in the development and operation of the mucosal immune system in your digestive tract, and aid in the production of antibodies to pathogens. This makes a healthy gut a major factor in maintaining optimal health, as a robust immune system is your top defense system against all disease.
• Detoxification. Fermented foods are some of the best chelators available. The beneficial bacteria in these foods are highly potent detoxifiers, capable of drawing out a wide range of toxins and heavy metals.
• Cost-effectiveness. Adding a small amount of fermented food to each meal will give you the biggest bang for your buck. Why? Because they can contain 100 times more probiotics than a supplement!
Natural variety of microflora. As long as you vary the fermented and cultured foods you eat, you’ll get a much wider variety of beneficial bacteria than you could ever get from a supplement.

Introduce more fermented foods to your diet
1. Pickles
2. Sauerkraut
3. Kombucha
4. Miso
5. Tempeh (fermented soybeans)
6. Kefir (cultured dairy)

CULTURED CABBAGE JUICE– suitable for vegans
This is loaded with probiotics
• Fill a blender with raw chopped green cabbage

• Add distilled water until 2/3 full.

• Blend at high speed for 1 minute.

• Place in a glass container and repeat 2 more times add to container.
• Cover the container with plastic wrap and leave stand at room temperature for 3 days.

• Strain off the juice, store in a jar in refrigerator.

• Drink 1/2 cup 2-3 times daily. You can make a second batch in just one day by adding 1/2 cup of cultured cabbage juice to the batch. It acts as a starter.

This will heal ulcers. When abdominal pain subsides, drink intermittently to replenish the probiotics.

What can you control?

 Lessons learned doing crazy stuff

I often get asked why I do endurance events? For me it is two fold

  1. It speeds up learning who you are and what you want in life
  2. It teaches me lessons that I can implement in my daily life and inspire others to learn from them as well

I want to chat about my latest lesson, learned doing the Ironman race in Copenhagen 2 weeks ago. Just in case you do not know what this involves, it is a 3.8km swim, 180km bike ride and then a 42km marathon run – yes all in the same day 🙂

Within the first 500 meters of the swim I got stung on my face by a jellyfish, on my forehead and all over my mouth and chin – producing excruciating pain. Now, I know what you’re thinking – the old wives’ tale that says: “Just pee on the area where the jelly fish stung you”. Well as you can imagine that would have been interesting.

So, there I am focusing on my swimming stroke. And then it dawned on me. I can only control so much! Then I started going through the mantra of what I can control and what I cannot control.

Ok, point number 1, could not have controlled whether or not I got stung by a jellyfish. I can control what I am going to do about it. I am going to ask the first medic for an anti-histamine. But wait a minute ….. I cannot control the reaction from the medic. I can only control what to do with that information.

I go through this scenario during swimming portion of the race, learning a lot about the power of the mind in the heat of challenging circumstances.

As I exited the water there was a medic, and I duly asked him for assistance, saying: “I have been stung by a jelly fish on my face and need an anti-histamine. Please can you help?”. You guessed it, he said, “No I don’t have anything to give you and besides I can’t see anything. Grrr…… Ok, deep breath. I cannot control what he said, remember. So I decided I could control looking for another medic or continue with the race without assistance. I decided to continue. (Besides, I was aware that getting external could earn me a penalty.)

That led me to wondering what in your life you feel you can control but actually can’t. Once you release what you can’t control, the important thing to think about is, “So, what can I do about it aka what can I control” thereby empowering yourself rather than remaining a victim to the circumstances.

Hope you enjoyed this snippet and if you want to hear more stories and experiences from my Iron Man training and other crazy things I get up please comment on my Facebook page.


Have a great ‘controlled’ day
Dr Debbie

Blood flow

Your body’s circulation system is responsible for carrying blood, oxygen and nutrients throughout your body. What that means is, should there be a hindrance, or the flow be disturbed or reduced in any part of your body, you may experience many poor blood flow symptoms.

Your blood contains all the nutrients that feeds your whole body, this includes your organs, muscles, brain etc.

I want you to think of circulation not only as a ‘bad circulation’ but want to demonstrate how blood flow impacts your whole system.

Imagine the following :
On a Monday morning with back to back crucial meetings lined up, the last thing you would want to encounter is traffic jam. The frustration that you feel affects your physical being. And you may experience a variety of symptoms all related to a lack of blood flow :

  1. Low mood – less blood flow to the brain
  2. Tight chest – less blood flow to the heart
  3. Tiredness – less blood flow throughout the whole body
  4. Headaches – less blood flow to the head

When you stressed everything in your body constricts this includes your blood vessels. This means less blood flow throughout the body and a lack of nourishment to your organs.

Research has, however, shown that poor blood circulation in the body is a result of different underlying causes. These include:

  1. Cardiovascular disorders
  2. Inactive lifestyle
  3. Dehydration
  4. Inflammation
  5. Nutrient deficiencies
  6. Age
  7. Stress

In order to determine how I get to the underlying cause of pathologies I used a varied modalities in my practice. This helps determine how severe the blood flow is and what measurements and treatments needs to be implemented for optimal health.

1. Functional Medicine Matrix
2. The Chinese medicine Pulse diagnosis
3. Blood tests
4. Specialised Functional Medicine tests

1. Functional Medicine Matrix Approach 
In this modality I gather and organise health information in the context of the seven clinical imbalances.  With all the information that is put together, we are able to get to the root cause and come up with the most effective ways to increase blood flow in the body or to treat any other underlying cause of disease. [Look out for my next letter for a more details on how we apply this approach in detail]

2.  The Pulse Diagnosis Approach  
Chinese Pulse diagnosis is one of the most ancient diagnostic tools in Chinese medicine, used to see what the imbalance is in your body and treat appropriately.

The pulse provides immediate and specific information that can help clarify diagnostic information.
There is 12 pulses and each pulse quality determines what is happening in your organs. The main pulse for blood flow is the pulse on your wrist closest to your hand.

2.  Blood tests and Functional medicine tests

These might be included to determine the underlying cause. An example of this would be s-CRP showing inflammation in the cardiovascular system which may affect blood flow.

Upon getting to the root cause, the next and most important step is to come up with a treatment plan. We use the best and advanced natural ways to come up with the most effective ways that can guarantee a speedy movement of blood in the body:

Tibetan Foot Soaks
One of the most effective ways of dealing with blood flow is our Tibetan Foot soaks.  Our soaking base contains more than 30 different Chinese herb extracts. These extracts all come from the highest quality hand-picked wild Tibetan herbs. Your feet absorb the herbal essences released by the bags and these help with blood flow in the body. Studies have shown that after 20 minutes the essential oils are in the blood stream, indicating how well your feet can absorb herbal essences.

These herbs help activate the flow of the blood in the body.

Acupuncture treatment is by far the best way to improve blood flow. Below, is a Thermo-camera captured picture that shows the effects of acupuncture.  Picture 1 shows the foot in a blue color which is an indication that there is poor blood flow on the foot.  Picture 2 was taken after an acupuncture treatment had been done and the color change “which is red this time around ” shows the effect of Acupuncture in stimulating and promoting blood circulation in the body.  

The video below shows you how to get blood moving though the use of Natural medicine:

Remember, don’t wait for symptoms to get severe. At the slightest indication that the body is out of balance, out of order, take a step and do something about it, even better, go the natural and most esteemed way.

Why is follow up appointments so important?

Most patients opt for 1 x month appointments once their problem / symptoms / conditions is resolved to maintain their great health. These appointments are vital to determine that the medication that is being used is still correct, that the pulses are all balanced and the main focus is on prevention of disease.

Living in the moment

Learning life whilst doing crazy stuff

My previous blog about understanding what we can control and what we can’t was so popular and many patients have asked me to share some more information.

I have had so many requests to write more about my learning adventures. So here is another snippet.

A few years ago, we trained for and completed the Cape Epic. This is a mountain bike race. Today the Absa Cape Epic is routinely referred to as “the Tour de France of mountain biking”.  Lots and lots of climbing and long. When we did the event it was over 700km.  At the time we competed, it was a journey from Knysna to Cape Town with a little twist here and there on the way.

Each day you have a certain amount of time to complete a stage. For those of you who are not familiar with mountain biking, you get a race number that you put on the front of your bike. This number contains a timing chip that measures your time. The first time you don’t make the cut-off time, you get a big line crossed on your board. If this happens again you aren’t allowed to continue and get a DNF (yes this might as well be a swear word – Did Not Finish). You feel the pressure, and you can see how this pressure takes you out of experiencing the moment.

It is indeed a cruel, long race over 7 days. Each day on average about 100km and a lot of climbing. The climbing is approximately twice as much as the 94.7km road cycle race. The race organizers did a cute thing where you would think you were nearly done, your bike computer would indicate you have nearly completed the allotted distance and you might even see the finish camp, only to be swiftly headed onto a mountain and another intense 5 km. Which in mountain biking terms and terrain can take you another 30 minutes plus. That is a lot when there is nothing in the tank (i.e. your body) and your mind just wants this to stop.

You can see how I made the mistake of so NOT being in the moment. Each day I would work out approximately how long it would take to complete each stage. We would start and head off and I would say, “ok 8 more hours to go. 7 more hours to go”. And when we got close to 2 hours it would be, “ok 1h30… now 1 hour, no, 60 minutes”. I think you get the idea.

What I was doing was living in Future. Although the experience was amazing my mind was saying we should just get this done. By putting all that pressure on myself I didn’t enjoy the race. Believe me the last day getting closer and closer to the finish line my eyes started watering up and completing that finish line was a great achievement. This is not the lesson yet.

Two years later we did our first Ironman South Africa. (Yes, it sometimes takes me a while to really learn lessons). Again, there is the pressure of completing each section in an allocated time.

I started the swim and the swells were intense. I changed my thinking to, “ok feel the water be in the moment. Focus on the stroke of swimming”. When I was on my bike, I said, “wow, listen to the sound the tyres are making, soak the atmosphere of the crowds”, and, “wow, another stunning smell coming from the ocean”. I was in the moment. The excitement and joy and fun of participating in the event was great, and charged my energy instead of sapping it.

So now when I find myself worrying or over thinking the future I bring myself back to the present. Yes, it is corny, but it is a gift – the present (haha). The way I do it is to use all my senses. Touch – I was feeling the handle bars of the bike, the saddle, the pedals going round. Sight – what am I focusing and looking at? Listen – I was listening to the tyre sound on the tar. Smell – what are my olfactory senses detecting. Using all your senses can make you be more present. This only takes a few seconds now as this has become second nature.

What can you touch, see, hear and smell right now to bring yourself into the moment (even if the situation is hard) to really live?

Have a wonderful in-the-moment experience

Dr Debbie

Tibetan Footsoaks

  • Herbs in the Footsoaks and mechanism of action

I have just sourced  the most amazing Tibetan footsoaks. My colleagues in the world have been talking about these for the last 18 months.  These are pharmaceutical grade herbs that assist with so many conditions.

Listen to the podcast  :   https://botanicalbiohacking.com/herbal-foot-soaks-2/

My colleagues in the States have been using these herbal foot soaks for about 18 months now and the feedback from patients has really been phenomenal.
I am talking about conditions like peripheral neuropathy, that is very difficult to treat, where patients start to regain feeling in their nerves.  (Peripheral neuropathy is where patients have reduced feeling in their feet).

As in all conditions your whole case with all its symptoms and timeline needs to be taken into account to understand how effective these footsoaks would be.

Let me explain how it works
One of the main problems with modern society is something called “stagnation”. In Chinese Medicine this means energy in the meridian pathways is stuck. As we get older, we the strength of the blood flow in our bodies gradually dwindles – remember you need good blood flow to get nutrients to your organs for them to function well. Now think of a child younger than three. Think how many times they can fall and hardly anything happens to them. This is to do with the blood that is flowing beautifully and the abundance of blood flow. Now fast forward to a person who is in their 40’s. We fall and we can injure ourselves seriously and it takes longer to recover. This is also a result of different strengths of blood flow.

The herbs used are some of the Earth’s most powerful stimulating, warming and healing herbs that have come from some of the harshest environments. These rare plants and formulas come from the snow-covered fields high in the Tibetan mountains, to create a powerful healing foot soak.

Ancient Tibetans have known for thousands of years the benefits of soaking the feet for medicinal purposes. Only now is Western science catching up to the knowledge of the ancient wisdom of the East.
In a recent study done by Harvard, a simple warm bath before you go to bed at night can significantly improve your sleep. Click here to read the study  https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/10566907
After reading about the benefits of hot water before going bed based on the Harvard study above, imagine what a hot foot bath with the addition of powerful Tibetan herbs can do for your health.


Peripheral neuropathy
Plantar fasciitis
Painful and irregular menstruation
Back pain
Cold hands and feet
Cold abdomen with diarrhea
Sleep difficulties / Insomnia
Joint swelling
Enhance immune system strength
Sports injuries
Common Cold

So we offer these wonderful soaks in 2 different ways

  1. You come to our practice and have a relaxing foot soak (30 – 45 minutes depending on condition being treated ). Best is to experience one foot soak at our practice to understand what needs to be done at home.
  2. DIY – Or you purchase for home use and treat yourself.

Best results are to do a course of 10 treatments – again depending on your condition.

Some of the Comments of my colleagues:

“Two weeks ago I came home after a 5-day, 55-mile backpack trip in Wyoming. Along with great pictures, I brought home pain. My right foot had a sharp pain with every step, my right ankle was stiff, and my legs were swollen. As good fortune would have it, my first small batch of soaks arrived that afternoon. I’ve now done a soak or two every day for thes two weeks, and was able to dance with abandon at an event over the weekend. What I learned in the two weeks was

  1. Yes, pain was worse at first (for the first 2-3 soaks)
  2. Consistency matters in terms of the heat in the foot soak tub (those mylar sheets help) and in making time daily to have a soak
  3. Sometimes my body really craved the soaks
  4. Spider veins have almost completely disappeared.

I can see how these will be part of my life beyond just healing this traumatic injury. Other than also drinking xiao yao san, I didn’t treat my foot with any internal herbs or acupuncture, as I wanted to see what the soaks along could do. I’m looking forward to getting these soaks to patients and have to figure out how to dole them out till the big shipment comes in.

Comment 2 :
A patient texted me today: “I am completely amazed by the effects of this herbal soak. I am 90% pain free. Today I walked down by the river where I used to go. I had avoided it all summer because of the hill I have to climb. There was no pain during or after the walk.”

Castor Oil

The amazing benefits if Castor oil 

I am not going to suggest you drink it so feel free to read on….

In a comedy of events I twisted my ankle very badly about 2 weeks ago.

So the original RICE treatment has changed for a twisted ankle. The acronym stands for Rest – Ice – Compress – Elevate.

The treatment since for a sprained ankle has changed.

In a new study that was done on professional tennis players the protocols was changed to 2 groups. Group 1 immediately walking and group 2 immediately with a smile. Imagine this smiling whilst actually wanted to curse !!

The study showed that Group 2 had a much more desired effect.

So we’re was I. In a comedy of events a skipping rope was pulled under my feet and as I tried to rebalance my self I did with is on the bosu ball. Now if you don’t know what a bosu ball is it is a half ball. So stepping and then stepping twice on this ball. I knew oh boy this is bad. I immediately adapted the smile and walk approach.  I got ready for practice. During the day at practice my ankle actually felt fine. We took a drive later they day. After 1 hours arriving home I could not even put any weight on my foot. It was throbbing. I could not even move my foot in any direction. I just had stem cell therapy done for my elbow so was not allowed any pain Meds.

So I did the castor oil pack trick. I liberally applied castor oil on my whole foot and ankle. Wrapped this in cling wrap and applied 2 hot beanie bags on the ankle. I had to manouver them carefully as even the slightest weight was increasing the pain.

I laid there for an hour. After the hour I was able to slowly move my ankle. Much better.

So as you might know I am incorporating a new acupuncture technique in my practice for the last 8 months. This techniques main focus is on pain relief. So I inserted 3 points in my hand for my ankle and started to twist them. This new technique used mostly points that is not even located where the pain is.

Most people find that the pain is reduced within a few seconds.

As I twisted them I started moving my ankle. I continued doing this for about 15 minutes. Aahh! So much better.

I slept with a herbal soothe plaster during the night. (Chinese medicated plaster that speeds up healing by increasing blood flow).

I nearly cancelled the next day where I could not even consider walking from 1 treatment room to my consult room. The next morning I woke up expecting my ankle to be painful and it was dare I say nearly perfect.

Yes I know there are no pictures. I was too much in pain !!

So for me there is a few lessons in this story.

  1. See where the skipping rope is before attempting to walk 🙂
  2. A simple ingredient like castor oil can be so beneficial.
  3. This “new” acupuncture technique rocks!
  4. Also smile it not just confuses other people but apparently your brain as well.

Self healing tool

Nifty self healing tool

I have been looking for a tool that you can use to help you treat and open up your meridians and balance emotions. I have found it!!

Read more below … 

Epsom salt

This past weekend we completed the beautiful  Magoebaskloof 100km Adventure race.

It took us 21 hours to complete the race. The race started with a 4km hike, 11km cycle, 7km paddle, 13km cycle, 21km hike and  a 42 km cycle. Lots and lots of hills and the most amazing scenery.

I thought I would share with you a little trick I do do recover from muscular stiffness after such long events. In fact I recommend for patients to use Epsom salts on a daily basis for a variety of conditions that is why I decided to share this information with you.

Epsom salt is magnesium sulfate – so when you soak in the bath with the salt your body absorbs the magnesium and this relaxes the muscles.

80% of us are magnesium deficient – either due to stress or eating refined foods. As soon as we eat refined sugar our body has to use our own magnesium to convert it into energy. So much for the advertisement “Sugar gives you energy”.

All the benefits and how to use at the end of the pictures.

I love adventure racing besides for the beauty one explores, one has to constantly use your mind to find the checkpoints and read the map.
If you want to learn more about this exciting activities I have included some cool websites. Rogaine is suitable for younger kids as well as the distances are much much shorter.


Adventure racing involves map reading with a compass – Nice and old school (no modern GPS)

The view looks like a picture someone created – this was on top of a mountain

At the finish line after 21 hours of racing and climbing up a very steep cliff

Benefits of Epsom salt Drink water whilst you are soaking in Epsom salts bath. Soak anything from 10 – 30 minutes. If you have blood pressure problems please start slowly 5 minutes and see how your body tolerates Epsom baths.

1. Eases  stress  and  relaxes  the  body
Stress  drains  the  body  of  magnesium  and  increases  levels  of  adrenaline.  When  dissolved  in warm  water,  Epsom  salt  is  absorbed  through  the  skin  and  replenishes  the  level  of  magnesium in  the  body.  The magnesium  helps to  produce  serotonin,  a  mood-elevating  chemical  within  the brain  that  creates  a  feeling  of  calm  and  relaxation.  Research  shows  that  magnesium also increases  energy  and  stamina  by  encouraging  the  production  of  ATP  (adenosine  triphosphate),
the  energy  packets  made  in  the  cells.  Experts  believe  that  bathing  with  Epsom  salt  at  least three  times  a  week  helps  you  to  look  better,  feel  better  and  gain  more  energy.  Magnesium  ions also  relax  and  reduce  irritability  by  lowering  the  effects  of  adrenaline.  They  create  a  relaxed

feeling,  improve  sleep  and  concentration,  and  help  muscles  and  nerves to function properly.

2.  Relieves  pain  and  muscle  cramps
An  Epsom  salt  bath  is  known  to  ease  pain  and  relieve  inflammation,  making  it  beneficial  in  the treatment  of  sore  muscles,  bronchial  asthma  and  migraine  headaches.

3. Eliminates  toxins  from  the  body
The  sulfates  in  Epsom  salt  help  flush  toxins  and  heavy  metals  from  the  cells,  easing  muscle pain  and  helping  the  body  to  eliminate  harmful  substances.  Your  skin  is  a  highly  porous membrane  and  adding  the  right  minerals  to  your  bathwater  triggers  a  process  called  reverse osmosis,  which  actually  pulls  salt  out  of  your  body,  and  harmful  toxins  along  with  it.  For  a detoxifying  bath,  at  least  once  weekly  add  two  cups  of  Epsom  Salt  in  a  bathtub  and  soak  for  10

4.Athlete’s  Foot  –  Soak  feet  in  an  Epsom  salt  bath  to  help  relieve  the  symptoms  of  Athlete’s Foot.

5.Remove  splinters  –  Soak  affected  skin  area  in  an  Epsom  salt  bath  to  draw  out  the  splinter.

6.Treat  toenail  fungus  –  Soak  your  affected  toes  in  hot  water  mixed  with  a  handful  of  Epsom salt  three  times  a  day. Add  a  few  drops  of  Ti  Tree  essential  oil.

7.Soothe  sprains  and  bruises  –  Add  2  cups  Epsom  salt  to  a  warm  bath  and  soak  to  reduce  the pain  and  swelling  of  sprains  and  bruises.

8.Ease  discomfort  of  Gout  –  Ease  the  discomfort  of  gout  and  reduce  inflammation  by  adding 2-3  teaspoons  of  Epsom  salts  into  a  basin  and  immersing  the  affected  foot/joint.  The  water should  be  as  hot  as  it  is  comfortable.  Soak  for  about  30  minutes.

9.Remove  foot  odor  –  Mix  a  half  cup  of  Epsom  salt  in  warm  water  and  soak  your  feet  for  10 minutes  to  remove  bad  odour.

Food Sensitivity

Food sensitivity from a Functional and Chinese Medicine point of view – Part 1

You have most likely heard more and more people say they feel they are becoming sensitive to foods they were not sensitive to before.

I want to discuss why this is so in this article. Part 2 will be the Chinese view point and Part 3 will focus on how we treat this.

The first big one to look at is gluten.  Many have become sensitive to gluten. The big reason for this is the organo-phosphates (read between the lines, toxins i.e. pesticides). If your body is taking strain detoxifiying in general it now has to work so much harder getting rid of this extra toxin as well. This in turn will impact the gut.

The other big factor is wheat has been sooooo genetically modified that it is not the same as that which our great grandfathers consumed. When I imagine wheat, I see this beautiful golden yellow stalk with seeds blowing in the wind. Well what happened is the scientists discovered most of the yield comes from the top part of the plant. So they hybridized and engineered this part bigger to look like a berry, that it contains more of the yield of the plant.

Then the scientists discovered that the plant’s thin stalk could not carry the weight of the berries. So the next obvious step would be to make the stalk thicker. But alas the plant was using too much energy supporting this big stalk. So  “Voila”  we ended up with a plant that is about 30cm high and doesn’t even look like wheat anymore.

The other, oh yes there is another factor, is that the wheat is now genetically modified. And you know of course what that means?  They insert a genetic structure of a herbicide into the plant. So, when the insect eats the plant its stomach pops and the insect dies – and that’s what the farmers want, of course. Fair enough, we are not insects and we are a 1000 times bigger; however, eating these foods can have the effect of creating inflammation in the digestive system.

So many patients come to me and tell me they have done the tests for food allergies and they are not allergic to any foods so that can’t be the cause of their problems. The first thing you need to understand that there is a huge difference between allergy and food sensitivity.

If you eat peanut butter and your throat closes down and you start to have an anaphylactic reaction, then you have an allergy. However, sensitivities are much more subtle. In fact you can eat something and only have a reaction 2 days later, making it much more difficult to track down the cause of this reaction that appears to come “out of the blue.

Symptoms of food sensitivities

  1. Bloating
  2. Migraine
  3. Headaches
  4. Cough
  5. Runny nose
  6. Feeling under the weather
  7. Stomach ache
  8. Irritable bowel
  9. Hives
  10. Chronic sinusitus
  11. Diarrhoea
  12. Moodiness
  13. Brain fog
  14. Food cravings
  15. Fatigue
  16. Joint pain
  17. Acne
  18. Dark circles under eyes
  19. Depression
  20. Fibromyalgia
  21. Metabolic syndrome
  22. Otitis media
  23. ADD  / ADHD
  24. Polycystic ovary syndrome
  25. Battle to lose weight
  26. Food cravings

Cravings for certain foods can be a sign that you have developed a sensitivity to that food.

Here’s how it works: When you eat a food you’re sensitive to and it doesn’t digest well, it causes inflammation. When the lining of the gut is inflamed, small fissures open between the tightly woven cells making up the gut walls. Known as ‘leaky gut syndrome’, these chinks in the gut’s armor allow bacteria and partially digested food molecules to slip out into the bloodstream where they are considered foreign invaders.

When the undigested fragments permeate your gut and enter your circulation, where they don’t belong, antibodies rush to the scene, surrounding the offending particle creating an immune response and inflammation ensues. Sadly, it doesn’t just create enough antibodies for that one time. It anticipates another ‘attack.’ And when it has all these antibodies with nothing to break down, they crave it, and in turn, so do you.

This chronic inflammatory reaction is to be distinguished from an acute inflammation like a throat infection or a splinter in your finger. That is the body’s appropriate response to a true invader, and once the infection is controlled, the inflammation stops. These food sensitivities are more like a hidden, smoldering fire created by the immune system as it tries to fend off a daily onslaught of allergy-causing fake-foods that are no longer truly foods that the body was designed to digest and benefit from.

Healthy Villi in the GUT

Leaky Gut – gut is permeable

What suddenly causes food sensitivities?
Any thing that compromises the beneficial bacteria and affects the gut lining can make you susceptible to food sensitivities.
This can include stress, antibiotic use, birth control pill, steroids, anti- inflammatory drugs and hormones.
Absence of an enzyme is a more chronic problem. 
Enzymes are needed to digest foods fully. For example, people who are lactose intolerant do not have enough lactase, an enzyme that breaks down milk sugar (lactose) into smaller molecules. Ideally you would want to avoid lactose. However sometimes when you eat out and are not sure what is in your food, the solution is to take a digestive enzyme that contains lactase with meals to digest lactose.
Another example is where the body can not break down histamine. DAO(diamine oxidase) is the main enzyme responsible for breaking down ingested histamine.  Histamine foods are in so many different foods. Some foods are  matured cheeses, alcohol, pickeld or canned foods, smoked meat products, shellfish, beans and nuts. This is usually genetic and requires a supplement that helps break down the histamine. The best is to perform a test to see if this is the reason you have certain food sensitivities.
It is always a good idea, if you have had to take antibiotics, to take steps heal the gut effectively to prevent leaky gut from causing any long-term problems. Also remember 80% of your immune system is affected by the health of your gut.

There are tests available to establish whether you have food sensitivities, leaky gut or lack the enzyme to breakdown histamine containing foods, to name a few.
Explore more on different investigations : http://mefirst.nordicvms.com/Catalogue-tests-2.html
Intestinal permeability assessment
Nordic food panel
Celiac and gluten sensitivity
Histdao test

Easy Flying

My tips for flying locally or internationally

Flying has become such a big part of modern society and I see so many patients that have unpleasant after effects, particularly on international flights.
This weekend I went for 4 days to New York so tested my own tips to the best of my ability, with astonishing results. Some of these you might know, but I am sure there are some that will be new for you.

Hydrate well.
We all hear we need to hydrate well. It is important to start this process at least 2 days before your flight. The air inside the cabin is very dry. Water is essential for all body functions. This includes energy and immunity.

Is there, though, a way to hydrate faster? I used elete electrolyte drops that contain all the major electrolytes and 75 trace minerals. It hydrates 4 x faster than just water. This means less frequent visits to the loo but with effective hydration.

Water is also very important to prevent water retention. This is the exact opposite of what we think happens. If you have water retention you often actually have too little water. Your body is trying to hold onto the little water you have and is holding the water back in your legs. So upping your water intake is essential. Take your own buchu tea with you on the plane (Tea leaves). Why not? Buchu helps for water retention and drains the kidneys.

Also remember sometimes feeling hungry really means you are thirsty. So first have some water before eating. Both these principles of hydration and thirst are applicable to everyday life.

What to do to stay healthy.
The air on the plane is circulated so if there is one person that is not well then those viruses and bacteria will reach you. I dose myself up 2 days before flying to improve my immune system.
Here is my top list of supplements: Vitamin D, Echinacea premium (acts as a natural anti biotic), Andrographis (acts as an anti viral).

Some people are very sensitive to drafts. I am one of those.  Travelling with a beanie is essential for me.  The other important clothing is a top that covers the back of my neck. You lose a large percentage of body heat through your head; one of the main acupuncture points for immune system health is also at the back of your neck.  Any cold air, through draughts,  “enters” your body there. The Chinese diagnosis for this is: “Wind invasion”. It feels weird packing these 2 items especially if you leave your home while the temperatures are in the high 20s and where you are heading is also in the 20s. Trust me on this one pack those 2 items for the flight.

Another essential thing to take with you is Ti-tree essential oil (pun intended). My favorite brand is Thursday Plantation. Fresh from Australia.  If you feel a slight sore throat then take 2 drops on your finger and rub the back of your throat. Ti-Tree has anti-viral, anti-biotic and anti-fungal properties. Doing this stops any of the bugs going down in your throat. Remember using neat essential oils internally generally is not advised, so don’t overdo it, and only use oil from a reputable source. You can safely put drops on a handkerchief and inhale every 2 – 3 hours to help stopping the bugs getting into your system.

Sleeping problems and adjusting to different time zones.
Melatonin is released at night when it is dark and makes you sleepy. You can start to mimic the body’s natural rhythm, linking it to your destination.
How to take: Take 1 Melatonin 1 hour before your new destination’s bedtime. Once you arrive at your destination continue for a few days until you are in synch with the new zone and fall asleep easily. You can do the same thing on your return trip.

Jin Shin Jyutsu
Also increase the positive energies which would result from harmonising the elements, as well as the attitudes, related to each of the fingers, which one does by holding the fingers gently, one by one (the whole point of Jin Shin Jyutsu is the attitudes being associated with the fingers). By harmonising all the meridians, throughout the flight, you arrive at your destination in harmony with the new time zone.

JIN SHIN JYUTSU is the Art of releasing tensions that are the causes for various symptoms in the body. Our bodies contain several energy pathways (the same as the meridians in acupuncture) that feed life into all of our cells. When one or more of these paths become blocked, this damming effect may lead to discomfort or even pain. This blockage or stagnation will not only disrupt the local area but will eventually disharmonise the entire path or paths of the energy flow.
Through Jin Shin Jyutsu our awareness is awakened to the simple fact that we are endowed with the ability to harmonise and balance ourselves (in rhythm with the universe) physically, mentally and spiritually.
In my ten-week Anger program I discuss this in detail, and how it works on the emotions as well as the meridians.  If you are interested here is the link : http://manageyouranger.online/home/

Plane food
I have a patient who is a pilot who no longer eats the food on the plane and his chronic stomach issues have been resolved. The food might not what you are used to and can cause problems with your digestive system. Take your own food and some extra snacks so you can feel sufficiently satisfied and not need to eat the food you normally would not. Some examples are: small packet of dried fruit, nuts, biltong, fruit. This means you have the protein to balance your blood sugar and you have something sweet to satisfy your sweet tooth. And the fruit for energy.

And then the mindset. Think of your holiday as starting as you leave the house to get to the airport until we discover teletransportation!

Calculate your daily fluid intake with this nifty link: click here