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Tag Archives : sleep and beauty

What Is A Colonic…And Do You Really Need One?

Perhaps you’ve noticed, detox is the buzzword du jour. Everyone is juicing, cleansing and cupping their way to a totally toxin-free body. I ain’t mad at them – it’s a worthwhile pursuit. But no matter how detox-dedicated you are, you may draw the line at colonics. Perhaps you think about colonics in the way I did: sounds interesting, intriguing even, but nothing I could ever go through with it. Colonics just seem too:

A) mortifying

B) degrading

C) the absolute physical manifestation of a TMI

When it comes to detoxing, though, colonics are the gold standard. If you’ve always been colonic-curious but have yet to climb up on the table, read on.

Do I Really Need A Colonic?

This is the question I grappled with…the question that kept me “off the table” for years. But the information on the myriad benefits of colonics, and the rationale behind their purported necessity, is overwhelming. For instance, our bodies fully empty our colons once, very soon after birth, and then never again. That one complete colon cleansing happens after just nine months in utero, before we’ve had a single Dorito. Imagine what can accumulate over a lifetime of even the most careful consumption!

It is this toxic accumulation that can cause and/or contribute to a number of health problems: Acne, allergies, anxiety, bloating, candida (yeast), constipation, depression, fatigue, headaches, hormonal imbalances, insomnia, irritability, poor posture and weight issues. This list, by the way, is far from exhaustive.

After my first pregnancy, I considered getting a colonic (or three) before my next pregnancy. Then pregnancy number two happened sooner than expected, so that plan fell through. The plan remained in the back of my mind, though, as something I’d like to do…someday.

Someday came recently, when I went through two rounds of antibiotics (thank you, wisdom teeth extraction), which is as many times as I had been on antibiotics in my life up to that point. After that ordeal, I really wanted – felt I needed – to reboot my system. It was this feeling that had me finally book a colonic appointment.

How It Actually Goes

The therapist I saw, Gina Mikan, uses the Wood gravity method. A colonic irrigation with the Wood gravity method is an “internal bath” (probably my favorite euphemism ever) that helps cleanse the colon of gas, mucus and accumulated fecal matter. There is no discomfort (really!) and no internal pressure, just a gentle flow of water in and out of the colon, expertly controlled by the therapist. Gina explained, step-by-step, what was going on so I felt as at ease as possible, given the circumstances.

The colonic appointment is one hour. You wear an ankle-length exam gown, naked from the waist down. During the colonic you lie on a massage table below the temperature-controlled holding tank – this is why it’s called the “gravity” method. Water flow, which is always under the direct control of the practitioner, flows into the colon via a small tube and out through a wider evacuation tube, carrying with it waste from the body. As the water flows out, the practitioner (and/or you) gently massages the abdomen and acupressure points to help the body release as much waste as possible. You can actually see this expelled waste through a clear section of the outflow tubing. I know – sounds vile – but if you’re going to get a colonic, it is rewarding to see the results in real time! After the colonic, you spend some time in the bathroom before you go on your way.

How You Feel After

I felt very tired, especially that evening. I was asleep by about 9 pm…and what a great night’s sleep it was! I did feel…lighter, too. I felt good! Since I felt so good, and since I didn’t die of embarrassment (initially I thought I’d only be able to go through with it but once), I decided to see Gina for another session a few days later. It’s beneficial to cluster your first few treatments close together – one sole colonic ain’t gonna do much. You need a series to reap the real benefits, though the exact number of treatments will vary from person to person. Once the colon is clean, it is then recommended to have a regular colonics (Every month, at the change of seasons, etc.)  to maintain bowel (and overall) health.

Did I Lose Weight?

Sorry, I don’t weigh myself so I can’t really tell you. But if I had to guess I’d say yes, as my whole abdomen was flatter; trimmer. I was surprised to notice how much more pronounced my waistline was. And it wasn’t only the bottom of my stomach that flattened out, but the top as well, around my ribcage! After two kids, any degree of abdominal flattening is, of course, warmly welcome.

I’ve done 3 colonics so far. Will I do it again? Absolutely. It wasn’t the horrifying, mortifying, I could never face that person again type experience I thought it would be. This is in large part a function of Gina’s consummate professionalism and gentle manner. She made the entire experience as unawkward and educational as such a thing could possibly be. I cannot recommend her highly enough!

A lot of what I feel is hard to articulate – it is an overall feeling of wellness. I wake easier in the morning. Food feels more satisfying; when I eat, I feel more in tune with what and how much I actually need to eat. My insides are just…happier. As nearly three quarters of the immune system resides in the digestive tract, I am curious to see how my cleaner colon helps me through cold and flu season.

Intrigued? Colonics Q & A for Beginners

I asked Gina some “colonics for beginners” questions, below. To find out more or book an appointment with Gina, visit her site here.

Q: What are some examples of good times to start a series of colonics? I know anytime is good, but in particular?

A: People start a series for countless reasons, some of the most common being for constipation, IBS, during a seasonal cleanse, to compliment lifestyle changes (healthier diet and exercise), for maintenance, illness, inflammation, psoriasis, eczema and candida. Personally, I have done multiple colonics when healing my bladder infections – antibiotic-free – in conjunction with diet, herbs and lifestyle choices. When starting a series, I emphasize that it takes a lifetime to get to where we are with our health, so there is no quick fix. We don’t go to the gym and expect to lose 50 pounds on one visit, or run a marathon on our first day, so it is important to have reasonable expectations when beginning the journey.

Q: What are some surprise benefits of colonics – conditions you’ve seen improve from colon hydrotherapy?

A: In combination with dietary and lifestyle changes, I have seen the skin heal significantly – whether it be from psoriasis, acne or eczema. The clients glow!

Q: Anything else you want to share about colonics, and/or your practice?

A: I learn a lot from my clients, and everyone has a unique journey. What I’ve gathered is that, although there are fundamental “no-brainers” that are important to everyone’s health (i.e. whole food diet, exercise, adequate rest), we all have different histories and different needs. I enjoy supporting clients to solve their own health puzzle, drawing from all the resources available (allopathic medicine, ayurveda, chinese medicine, living foods lifestyle, etc.) to create their personalized regimen.

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5 More Steps to Getting a Great Night’s Sleep: Sleep Strategies Part 2

If you’re still burning the midnight oil in spite of Tuesday’s tips, don’t worry! I have more sleep strategies to share!

Drown Yourself in White Noise

You may be reading this from a rural sanctuary, where you are lulled to sleep each night by a chorus of crickets. If so, good for you! But for my fellow city dwellers, you know the relentless noises of a metropolis can keep you up, and often even wake you from a sound sleep! A white noise machine (a loud fan works, too) will help drown out noises that would otherwise startle you awake or keep you awake. I prefer ones that sound like swooshing air, but you can download white noise apps for your phone or tablet that have several different sleep soundtracks. Choose the one that best entrances you!

Clear the Air

Invest in an air purifier with a negative ion setting. Purportedly, negative ions have myriad positive effects on us psychologically and physically. I can’t really speak to that, but I can say that breathing freely has made it infinitely easier for me to fall asleep – and I’m not even a serious allergy sufferer. All the dirty little bits floating in the air around us can irritate even the stoutest of us, so an air purifier can benefit everyone. For serious allergy sufferers, I would say it’s close to a necessity. It really does purify the air – I was shocked at how “clean” my room smelled within a few hours of switching it on! I keep my house clean as a whistle, so I didn’t realize it didn’t smell as fresh as possible until the air purifier made it smell like my dentist’s office. Added bonus? It doubles as white noise machine!

Rescue Sleep Spray

I cannot say enough good things about Dr. Bach’s flower remedy products. Rescue Sleep is made specifically to help you- you guessed it- fall asleep. And it works! Just two sprays on your tongue are all you need – like a bedtime Binaca. Dr. Bach’s products are totally natural, safe and non-habit forming.

STILL Awake?!

You may need to call in the big guns. Valerian root tea is always very effective at knocking me out. But caveat emptor! While Valerian root tea definitely puts me to sleep, it also makes me totally loopy and woozy, so I only use it when I really need to sleep, and once I’ve done everything I need to do that requires clarity of thought or grace of movement. It also has a very strong, almost pungent smell that some people may find too displeasing to tolerate. A supplement I’ve had success with is L-Theanine. I have taken 1-2 150 mg. capsules about 30 minutes before bed. It doesn’t knock me out or make me feel cuckoo, there is just an absence of the usual flashing beeping mental dashboard that keeps me up at night. Caveat emptor: I wouldn’t use this for a prolonged period of times or several days in a row. It seems to put your bowels to sleep – if you know what I mean. I hope these sleep strategies help you get your well-deserved good night sleep so you can look and feel your very best. If you’ve employed any of these sleep strategies, please let us know how they worked for you! And don’t forget…

Fake It Till You Make It

While you’re waiting for one (or all) of these strategies to kick in, you can grab some of my favorite skin care products that approximate the effects of a good night’s sleep. These creams and serums leave me looking dewy and glowing – even when my sleep has been scarce.

Claire McCormack Twitter & Instagram: @clairemcmack

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8 Sleeping Strategies to Get A Great Night’s Sleep

There is No Substitute for Sleep

You can’t scroll through your Twitter feed these days without reading an article extolling the scientifically-proven esthetic benefits of a good night’s sleep. We get it! Not even our most beloved creams and serums can recreate what eight solid hours does for our faces. I resent these articles, because like Firefly pose and the perfect cat eye, easily falling asleep is a challenge for me. I also go to bed each night next to a husband who falls asleep so immediately upon getting in bed, I swear he’s hiding an anesthesiologist in the closet. While my husband is snoring up a storm, the wheels in my brain feel like they’re vying for first place in the Tour de France. I feel compelled to ponder the meaning of life, my kids’ educational trajectory and how to get that ink stain out of my favorite Phillip Lim bag. Oy. This is nothing new, either. I’ve been this way as long as I can remember.

Sleep Strategies

Since “accepting the things I cannot change” has never been my forte, I have accumulated several sleep strategies that I think beat counting sheep any day of the week. In the name of looking and feeling beautiful, I share them here with you now. Whether you are battling a temporary bout of insomnia, or are regularly reading at 2 AM, I hope these tactics help deliver you to La La Land.

Commit to a Bedtime Beauty Routine

We’ve all done it – fallen asleep with our makeup on. I have only ever done this out of sheer exhaustion – feeling like I couldn’t possibly stand at the sink for those extra two minutes and wash my face. But what gets me into bed quicker actually ends up keeping me awake longer. Washing my face at night is a matter of integrity for me, so when I don’t do it, I lie there thinking I should have and worrying that I’ll end up in the morning with a huge zit.

Also, when I don’t wash my face, I don’t use any of my fabulous creams and serums that I know make me wake up all dewy and glowing. So an essential step to a good night’s sleep is going to bed with a clean face. For emergency situations, I keep cleansing wipes on my nightstand so I can still do a quick clean, no matter what. After my face is clean, I apply my skin care with a delicate and relaxing touch. I especially like to take a moment to massage my oft-tense temples. Face clean and conscience clear, I find it much easier to fall asleep.

Dim All the Lights

Donna knew what she was singing about! I dim the lights all over the house at least 1 hour before bed. I started doing this once I had kids, as a way to signal to them that it’s wind down time. I’ve found that it works wonders for me as well. My husband and I actually start talking more quietly once we dim the lights! And who needs hundreds of watts to put on PJs anyway?

After 9 PM, I put all dimmers at half-mast so my brain starts to slow down. If you’re reading in bed (I always am), grab a small book light or dim the screen on your tablet to a pale glow.

Permanent Midnight

Once you’re ready to fall asleep, you need total darkness in the bedroom. Physiologically, this helps your body produce melatonin, which then makes us drowsy. I have blackout shades on my bedroom windows. I’ll admit – Elle Decor worthy they are not. BUT, they go right next to the window pane, so they’re easily hidden by a more stylish window treatment.

Next, move any electronics with little charging lights OUT of the bedroom. That orange light on your MacBook may seem like an insignificant speck during the day, but in an otherwise dark room, it can give off quite a stimulating glow. Move anything giving off even a little light to another room while you’re sleeping.

Upadate: I have found the most amazing product that is basically like blackout shades for your eyeballs. This Binchotan Charcoal Eye Mask puts me in the deepest, most restorative sleep I can ever remember experiencing. This is a must-have for any insomniac, party animal and/or anyone that stares at screens for most of the day. (That pretty much covers everyone, right?)

Stay tuned for Part II on Thursday…

Claire McCormack Twitter & Instagram: @clairemcmack

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