Monthly Archives: January 2013

Oh Yes I Did!

When I come across something good, I want to share the joyful news of its existence with everyone, sooo…

After another blissful 15  min. under Xiu-Mei’s far-infrared TDP lamp, I decided to buy one myself. For all my C. Diff. peeps out there – the pain relief one gets from one of these babies is incredible…

tdp lamp

It’s expensive (you’re looking at around $160 – $300), but if you’ve got the funds, just go for it. I have no idea if the science behind the “mineral” part of it is sound (TDP infrared lamps were developed by a scientist in China and have a plate studded with minerals that are said to ionize and enter the body through the skin with the infrared light waves). All I know is that the heat from a TDP lamp feels like it goes deep – better than a heating pad or a hot bath – and it stops intestinal spasms almost immediately. The lamp emits infrared light and heat below the visible spectrum, so the first time I encountered a TDP lamp I thought Xiu-Mei had forgotten to turn it on until I felt the deep heat. The lamp works best when its rays hit bare skin, like the lady being treated in this pic:

tdp abdominal treatment

If you have one at home, you can treat yourself about twice daily, with each session lasting up to 45 min. Of course, you don’t get the benefit of acupuncture if you D-I-Y, but you do get the heat and increased circulation. And at a cost equivalent to about three acupuncture appointments, I consider it a deal. Here are some of the other benefits TDP far-infrared therapy claims (I cannot verify anything but the “I feel good, and hurt less” effect):

Benefits:

1) Far Infrared expands capillaries which stimulates increased blood flow, regeneration, circulation and oxygenation.

2) Far Infrared is excellent for detox. Scientists in Japan report that in the FIR treatment of clogged capillary vessels, heat expands the capillaries and then initiates the start of a process to dissolve hidden toxins. Far Infrared thereby promotes elimination of fats, chemicals and toxins from the blood: Poisons, carcinogenic heavy metals – toxic substances from food processing – lactic acid, free fatty acids, and subcutaneous fat associated with aging and fatigue – excess sodium associated with hypertension – and uric acid which causes pain. Furthermore, if sebaceous glands are activated, accumulated cosmetics in pores can be eliminated through the skin (sweat and oil glands) rather than by the kidneys.

3) Far Infrared stimulates enzyme activity and metabolism – One hour under the hothouse improves metabolism. FIR heat aids in breaking down cellulite – trapped water, fat and waste.

4) Far Infrared may induce the killing of varied pathogenic (disease causing) bacteria, viruses, fungi and parasites.

5) Far Infrared promotes rebuilding of injured tissue by having a positive effect on the fibroblasts (connective tissue cells necessary for the repair of injury). Furthermore, it increases growth of cells, DNA syntheses, and protein synthesis all necessary during tissue repair and regeneration. Excellent for healing burns, scar tissue and skin problems.

6) Far Infrared relieves nervous tension and relax autoneuro muscles thereby helping the body make the most of its intended healing abilities. FIR reduces soreness on nerve endings and muscle spasms, as muscle fibers are heated.

7) Far Infrared strengthens the Immune System by stimulating increased production of white blood cells (leukocytes) by the bone marrow and killer T-cells by the thymus.

8) Far Infrared strengthens the Cardiovascular System by causing heart rate and cardiac output increase, and diastolic blood pressure decrease – Extensive research by NASA in the early 1980’s led to the conclusion that far infrared stimulation of cardiovascular function would be the ideal way to maintain cardiovascular conditioning in American astronauts during long space flight.

Quoted from: http://www.chimachine4u.com/fir.html

TDP FIR treatment is also said to help replenish one’s Chi (those of us who are ill are thought to have less Chi, and therefore less ability to heal). So there you go.

 

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Lindsey’s Tummy-Pain Tea

I’ll say it again, just to be loud and clear: I AM NOT A DOCTOR. The herbs I’m about to list may or may not be right for you, and they may interfere or react with other herbs or prescription medications you may be taking. Please be careful when taking any herbal remedy, and consult a professional to make sure it’s safe for you.

tea

That said, this concoction (which I dreamed up on my own based upon what I know about western herbs and their benefits) helps with both my digestion and abdominal pain.

Lindsey’s Tummy-Pain Tea

(For 1 Small Pot)

-3 to 4 tbsp dried peppermint leaf

-1 tsp fennel seed (crush with mortar and pestle)

-2 to 5 cardamom pods (crush with mortar and pestle)

-1 small pinch dried raspberry leaf

-1 generous pinch licorice root (crush with mortar and pestle)

-1 small pinch dried nettle

-1 small pinch dried skullcap

-1 generous pinch marshmallow root

-1 medium pinch cramp bark (crush with  mortar and pestle)

-Optional: 1 to 2 tsp white tea leaves

-Optional: small handful of crushed fresh blackberries (will alter taste)

-Optional: 1/8 tsp dried dill (will alter taste, but helps digestion)

-Optional: 1 pinch dried fireweed blossom (just for colour and to make you feel nice – I gather this myself from local forests)

-Optional: 1/16 to 1/8 tsp white stevia powder concentrate; or a very small amount of dried stevia leaf (to sweeten)

Allow all of these ingredients to steep in 2 to 3 cups of just-boiled water for 5 to 10 min. Pour through a teacup strainer into your teacup to drink, and replace the contents of the strainer back into the teapot to continue steeping. It’ll look like you’ve got the entire forest floor in your teapot, but each ingredient has an effect on the digestive system. The main ingredients (peppermint, fennel, licorice root, and marshmallow root) are all soothing ingredients. The other ingredients draw blood to the digestive system and have anti-inflammatory and anti-spasmodic effects. You can brew this tea with or without the white tea, depending on your caffeine preferences. Also, you can tweak the recipe to your taste as long as you are aware of what each herb does, and what concentrations are safe. Beware of using clover blossoms to sweeten your tea, as red clover can interfere with birth control in women.

The only drawback to making your own tea this way is that each ingredient must be placed into each pot or cup; if you throw large amounts of the ingredients into a bowl and mix it up like a salad, not every cup of tea will have every ingredient and the potency will change. One option for convenience is to fill your own tea bags, which you can purchase empty for that very purpose. You’ll need very large tea bags, though, to allow all the herbs to expand and steep properly in the water.

Hope you enjoy!

Xiu-Mei is an Angel…

Time for an update…

So: after my last surgeon’s visit, I decided I was done with hearing the words “there’s nothing we can do” and “you’ll have to learn to live with it.”  While I’ve been trying alternative routes to health all along through herbs, gentle yoga, and meditation, I decided I needed an expert on board. So with great expectations, I walked into the office of a lovely woman who practices both Western and Eastern/Chinese medicine.

I was greeted by potted plants, shelves of tea, herbs, chinese teapots and teacups, an invitation to don some comfortable slippers, and the presence of several wooden foot-massagers under the chairs in the waiting room; I was also given a cup of fresh, cool water to drink.

Xiu-Mei saw me for my first consult and her gentle presence was a balm in itself. She patiently took my history, and unlike every Western doctor I’ve seen, identified my battle with C. Diff. as the main cause for my present state. Every other doctor felt that since I had beaten the infection, it was now a non-issue, but Xiu-Mei felt differently. She considered not only the damaging disease, but the hammer-like drugs used to treat it, and the length of time I was on them. These were the very concerns that I have held for the past 2.5 years, and I felt for the first time that I was finally with a doctor who was on the same page.

Xiu-Mei saw me as a whole being, past, present, and possibility. She saw me as a body, energy, and psyche. Her questions touched on every aspect of my life, not just my physical well-being. In the end, Xiu-Mei saw a broken body and a stressed psyche. Her main concern was not just that my digestive system consistently malfunctions, but that my immune system can barely respond as it is supposed to. The strange hives, the scratches that refuse to heal, the bone-crushing fatigue and constant nausea – all this is related to my over-taxed immune system. Xiu-Mei also confirmed that I was on the right track by trying to eat a light Paleo/Crohn’s diet and cooking all my fruit and veg. Xiu-Mei also identified dairy, most grains, and dense foods as harmful. “You simply cannot digest a regular meal” she said. So seafood has become my best friend. Crab, ground shrimp, and light fish have become my main protein sources and most days, they sit in my stomach like a dream (compared to what I usually feel after eating protein). White rice is also a part of my diet; whole-grain or brown rice irritates my intestines too much. This may not be considered strictly Paleo, but my body really needs this carb source to battle the severe fatigue I’m struggling with right now, especially since other forms of protein are too heavy for me.

I’m still existing on one meal per day right now, but thanks to Xiu-Mei, I’ve learned to eat it in parts – 1/3 at a time, over three hours. This means I can make sure I’m getting a balanced meal, but my system only has to deal with very small amounts of food at a time. The rest of the day, I drink water and tea. I also take several Chinese herbs Xiu-Mei prescribed for me to rid my liver and body of the toxins still stored there from when I was on heavy antibiotics and pain-killers. The herbs also help my body to digest food. I’ve worked my way up to a high dose of probiotics, and take omega-3 fish oil to promote the healing and strengthening of tissues.

Xiu-Mei also uses acupuncture to treat me, and places an infrared heat lamp over my abdomen to draw blood flow to my digestive system. As far as pain relief goes, it works! After my last visit, I’m going to start a B-vitamin complex again since my intestines don’t seem to be absorbing those vitamins from food. I’m pretty sure I’m anemic again too, judging by my fatigue levels, and Xiu-Mei suggested I ask my Western medicine doctor to order blood tests to check my iron levels.

What impresses me most is that Xiu-Mei makes no bones about the fact that she can’t cure me, but in no way has she given up on me. She believes I can have a much better quality-of-life and that her techniques can help my system to heal and strengthen itself. She treats me as a complete being which is so refreshing – I can’t express how good that feels. She’s given me hope  🙂