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Irritable Bowel Syndrome

Definitions and facts

Ouch! Eina! Why!? This is normally the course of thoughts that run through your mind as you realize your IBS is flaring up again. Followed by where is the nearest bathroom or how can I get home as soon as possible without being noticed. It is painful. Physically and emotionally. The worst part is when your family and friends look at you like you are a crazy person because just a moment ago you were all smiles and giggles.

Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) is a group of symptoms that occur together, including repeated pain in your abdomen, swelling, bloating, nausea and changes in your bowel movements, which may be diarrhea, constipation, or both. With IBS, you have these symptoms without any visible signs of damage or disease in your digestive tract. If you have been rushed to the hospital before, thinking that you will not see the sun come up the next day, only to hear that there is nothing wrong and that you need to take these laxatives and rest, you will understand the frustration.

IBS is a functional gastrointestinal (GI) disorder. Functional GI disorders, which doctors now call disorders of gut-brain interactions, are related to problems with how your brain and your gut work together. These problems can cause your gut to be more sensitive and change how the muscles in your bowel contract. If your gut is more sensitive, you may feel more abdominal pain and bloating. Changes in how the muscles in your bowel contract lead to diarrhea, constipation, or both.

Are there different types of IBS?

Yes, there are three main different types of IBS. These three types of IBS are based on different patterns of changes in your bowel movements or abnormal bowel movements. Sometimes, it is important for your doctor to know what type of IBS you have. Some medicines work only for some types of IBS or make other types worse. Your doctor might diagnose IBS even if your bowel movement pattern does not fit one particular type. Many people with IBS have normal bowel movements on some days and abnormal bowel movements on other days.

What are the symptoms of IBS?

The most common symptoms of irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) are extreme pain in your abdomen, often related to your bowel movements, and changes in your bowel movements. These changes may be diarrhea, constipation, or both, depending on what type of IBS you have. Other symptoms of IBS may include :
* bloating
* the feeling that you haven’t finished a bowel movement
* whitish mucus in your stool
* women with IBS often have more symptoms during their period

IBS can be painful but doesn’t lead to other health problems or damage your digestive tract. It is a chronic disorder, meaning it lasts a long time, often years. However, the symptoms may come and go.

What causes IBS?

Doctors aren’t sure what causes IBS. Experts think that a combination of problems may lead to IBS. Different factors may cause IBS in different people.

Certain problems are more common in people with IBS. Experts think these problems may play a role in causing IBS. These problems include

  • stressful or difficult early life events, such as physical or sexual abuse
  • certain mental disorders, such as depression, anxiety, and somatic symptom disorder
  • bacterial infections in your digestive tract
  • small intestinal bacterial overgrowth, an increase in the number or a change in the type of bacteria in your small intestine
  • food intolerances or sensitivities, in which certain foods cause digestive symptoms
  • research suggests that genes may play a role in the development of IBS

Changes to what you eat and other lifestyle changes

Changes in what you eat may help treat your symptoms. You can try one of the following changes:

  • eat more fiber
  • avoid gluten
  • follow a special eating plan called the low FODMAP diet

Research suggests that other lifestyle changes may help IBS symptoms, including

  • increasing your physical activity
  • reducing stressful life situations as much as possible
  • getting enough sleep


Your doctor may also recommend probiotics. Probiotics are live microorganisms, most often bacteria, that are similar to microorganisms you normally have in your digestive tract. Researchers are still studying the use of probiotics to treat IBS.

To be safe, always talk with your doctor before using probiotics or any other complementary or alternative medicines or practices. If your doctor recommends probiotics, talk with him or her about how much probiotics you should take and for how long.

Mental health therapies

Your doctor may recommend mental health therapies to help improve your IBS symptoms. Therapies used to treat IBS include

  • cognitive behavioral therapies, which focuses on helping you change thought and behavior patterns to improve IBS symptoms
  • gut-directed hypnotherapy, in which a therapist uses hypnosis—a trance-like state in which you are relaxed or focused—to help improve your IBS symptoms
  • relaxation training, which can help you relax your muscles or reduce stress.

Gut-directed hypnotherapy session

With gut-directed hypnotherapy we can work together to find the perfect solution for your unique situation.


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Treat your furry friend

Reiki Benefits

The powerful healing energy of Reiki can have many wonderful benefits for pets as well as their owners.

Benefits for pets may include:

  • Alleviating anxiety, stress, nervousness and producing a state of calm
  • Increasing energy levels and overall well-being
  • Supplementing medical treatments
  • Helping to heal after surgery, injury or trauma
  • Relieving aches, pains, strains and allergies
  • Addressing issues with the coat, skin or feathers
  • Getting pets through depression or bereavement
  • Owners benefit from knowing they are passing along loving kindness and healing, all of which strengthens the bond between you and your pet.

How It Works

If safe to do so and I have permission from your animal friend, I will keep him/her in my open hand or lay my warm hands on them, making sure that they are comfortable and can move freely to breathe. If your pet sits still, I will place my other hand directly on the area that seems to be afflicted. If your pet won’t sit still, I will hold my other hand up to four inches above your pet, or place my hands lovingly on their cage or bedding where they sleep.

If you’re not comfortable using Reiki on your pet yourself, seeking out a veterinarian that incorporates Reiki techniques or a Reiki practitioner that treats animals, is an amazing way to ensure that your animal friend still gets to enjoy this wonderful treat.

Finding a Reiki Practitioner

To learn more about how Reiki can help you and your pets or to schedule a Reiki session,  please use the contact form below to reach out to me. If your pet is sick or injured be sure of course to see your veterinarian. Reiki may help in conjunction with your veterinarian’s care.

Please Note: Reiki is meant to be used as a complement to traditional care or as a personal relaxation or stress reducing tool. It isnot a substitute for qualified medical or traditional care.

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Reiki and healing your Chakras

Reiki is an ancient form of Japanese healing that is practiced by many practitioners around the world. It is omnipotent energy that gives life to every living thing and the Japanese call this “Ki.” It is also known as Chi by the Chinese, Prana by a number of Asian cultures, and most of the western world refers to it as the Holy Spirit.

Chakras, a Sanskrit language word meaning “wheel of life,” are energy centers found throughout the body. The position of each of the major chakras corresponds with an endocrine gland controlling hormonal balance. These chakras are located at the base of the spine (root chakra), between the genitals and naval (sacral chakra), a couple of inches above the naval (solar plexus chakra), the center of the chest (heart chakra), middle of the neck (throat chakra), just above the brow area (third-eye chakra), and top of the head (crown chakra). Chakras represent specific aspects of the conscious being and their main functions and characteristics are as follows:

Color: Red

Body Parts: Adrenal glands, kidneys, spinal column, leg bones

Function: Grounds you physically.

Imbalance: Afraid of life, feel victimized, selfishness, prone to violence; low back, feet, and leg pain, lack of trust in others and self.

Color: Orange

Body parts: Gonads, prostate gland, reproductive system, spleen, bladder

Function: Deals with creativity, sexuality, and emotions

Imbalance: Overuse of food, sex, or alcohol; sexual or reproductive disorders; confusion, jealousy, and self-esteem issues.

Color: Yellow

Body parts: Pancreas, liver, digestive tract, stomach, spleen, gall bladder, autonomic nervous system

Function: Intellect and is known as the seat of personal power

Imbalance: Insecurity about financial matters; need to control others; digestive disorders

Color: Green

Body parts: Thymus gland, heart, lower lungs, circulatory system, skin, hands

Function: Bridge between the physical and spiritual worlds; the center of emotional well-being and love

Imbalance: Sad feelings, fear, anger, and can lead to heart disease

Color: Blue

Body parts: Thyroid gland, throat and jaw areas, lungs, vocal cords, digestive tract

Function: Communication and mental creativity

Imbalance: Communication breakdowns, overindulgences in eating and drinking to keep from speaking the truth; respiratory diseases, dental problems, and low self-esteem as well as anger, hostility, and resentment

Color: Indigo

Body parts: Pituitary gland, lower brain, left eye, ears, nose, central nervous system

Function: Intuition and clairvoyance; ability to visualize and manifest

Imbalance: Fear of dreams, headaches, insomnia, anxiety, and depression

Color: Violet

Body parts: Pineal gland, upper brain, right eye

Function: Direct connection to spirit and higher self

Imbalance: Loneliness, need to compare ourselves to others, fear of death, narcissism, selfishness

By placing the hands over each corresponding seven major chakra centers that are experiencing any of the imbalances mentioned and performing Reiki, these centers can be rebalanced leading to better health and leaving you feeling so much better than you did before.

Reiki session with Chakra healing

Book this 90-minute session today and experience true peace and calmness while allowing your body and mind to activate its own healing abilities. Reiki can be done anywhere. From distance online sessions to sessions at my home office or at your home or workplace.


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Natural remedies to clear sinuses

ARGH! The dreaded season is upon us. Yes, the dreaded cold and flu season. Those horrible last few months of winter where everything is dull and miserable. A big part of dealing with SAD (Seasonal affective disorder) is dealing with sinus infections, colds, and flu.

Staying healthy is always the ultimate goal, so if a sinus infection (also known as acute sinusitis) starts creeping up on you, there are a number of things you can do to help clear your sinuses naturally and boost your immune system to help fight the virus. Feeling strong and healthy also gives us a better mental state and ability to fight winter depression. Nobody wants to go outside and have fun if you are feeling sick.

Acute sinusitis is almost always the result of the common cold and, in most cases, home remedies are all you need to shake it within 10 days or less. To tell you the truth, I have never had any luck asking a doctor to miraculously heal my sore throat or stuffed nose. They always tell you to get enough rest, take it easy for a few days, drink lots of fluids and drain those sinuses. And even though they might give you something for the symptoms, you still need to listen to your doctor (and your mom) and do those things anyway.

According to The Mayo Clinic, “acute sinusitis (acute rhinosinusitis) causes the cavities around your nasal passages (sinuses) to become inflamed and swollen. This interferes with drainage and causes mucus to build up.” Over the counter medications can relieve the symptoms, I know. But its best to let your body tell you when it needs downtime and don’t try to mask these symptoms. If you do take medications that might make you feel better or you ignore these symptoms, you might overwork and exhaust yourself, ending up worse than you are feeling now.

If you’re already congested or feel any of the above symptoms, there are a number of surprisingly effective, natural things you can do. You do not have to get dressed, leave your cozy home, or brace the cold to get better. Unless you feel that you have tried everything, and your situation is getting worse. Then, always go see a medical professional.

Below are a few of the best natural remedies for clearing your sinuses, and I’ll begin with the loudest, and easily the most fun of all…singing your heart out! Whether you’re a touring professional or a carpool karaoke legend, singing or humming on a daily basis has a ton of health benefits – and keeping your sinuses clear is one of them. Crazy, right? Let’s see why it works…

The whole idea revolves around keeping your air passageways clear. Sinus infections occur when the sinuses are inflamed, clogged, and trapping air, germs, bacteria, and pus inside the nasal cavity. The New York Times suggests you clear your sinuses naturally by humming or singing to alleviate the pressure. Singing forces you to control your breathing and take deeper breaths which naturally improve ventilation in your nostrils.

A study published by The American Journal of Respiratory Critical Care Medicine found that humming, and by extension singing, “greatly increases nasal nitric oxide.” As one of the most important molecules for blood vessel health, every cell in our body produces nitric oxide. It relaxes the inner muscles of our blood vessels causing them to expand which increases blood flow and lowers blood pressure.

By extension, nNO is produced in the upper airways and directly aids natural defenses against germs, bacteria, and other pathogens by preventing buildup as well as helping regulate mucus production. Rightly so, the study suggested the therapeutic effects of humming and singing should be investigated further.

And that’s exactly what happened a year later when a second study was published by the European Respiratory Journal and concluded that humming on a daily basis increases nNO production and decreases the risk of having chronic sinus problems.

Humming also plays a role in certain meditation practices. For example, some yoga practitioners use a breathwork technique called Brahmari, or “the bee.” Essentially, this technique involves taking a series of slow, deep breaths through the nose with tightly sealed lips. On each exhalation, the person makes a humming sound similar to a bee buzzing. This technique is often recommended for calming the mind and relieving stress.

For those of us lacking a singing voice, or if you are just not feeling it today, you may still be asking yourself, “how can I unblock my sinuses?” Lucky for you, there is a myriad of safe and natural home remedies to help answer that question!

Take a shower

Taking a hot shower can help clear your sinuses. The heat and steam from a hot shower do wonders for congestion and sinus pressure. Close the bathroom door and run the shower on super-hot for a few minutes, staying in the bathroom to breathe in the steam. Lower the temp and hop in, allowing the hot water to gently massage your sensitive sinuses. If you don’t want to get in the shower, you can also place a towel over your head, and lean over a pot of hot water, breathing in the vapor.

Using Aromatherapy oils when steaming always enhances the experience. Here are a few Aromatherapy oils to try for sinus clearing –

What you will need  

A bowl to hold the water  

Boiling hot water  

A towel  

Aromatherapy Oils

Aromatherapy Oils

Oregano oil  

If you’re going to go with only one essential oil for steam inhalation, then this would be the one. It acts as an expectorant, un-bunging your sinuses and clearing mucus from the lungs, but also simultaneously soothes the mucous membranes. It ’s anti-inflammatory, antibacterial, anti-fungal, antiviral and a potent anti-oxidant. If your sinus congestion is due to an allergic response then oregano oil is also anti-allergenic, helping reduce the effects of an allergic reaction.  

Tea Tree oil

There have been over three hundred scientific studies into the anti-microbial effectiveness of tea tree oil, and a study in the British Medical Journal found that tea tree oil was a ‘powerful disinfectant and non-poisonous and gentle to the body.’ Tea Tree oil is anti-bacterial, anti-fungal, anti-microbial, and boosts immunity. If you’re suffering from a sinus infection, then this is definitely an essential oil you want to be using.

Rosemary oil

One of the benefits of using Rosemary essential oil is its powerful anti-inflammatory action. If you’re using steam inhalation to help control an allergenic exposure, then rosemary can help reduce any inflammation that has been created. Essential oil of rosemary is also a diuretic, helping flush out toxins that have accumulated in the body. Important if you’ve been feeling under the weather. And rosemary is also anti-bacterial, specifically for preventing the growth of H.pylori.

Thyme oil

Thyme is an essential oil I turn to whenever I feel I’m coming down with a cold. It’s antibacterial, antiseptic, and boosts immunity. It’s also a potent expectorant, so used in steam inhalation, can help shift stubborn, trapped mucous.

Eucalyptus oil

A double-blind, randomized, placebo-controlled trial in 2004 showed that Eucalyptus oil was effective in treating rhino-sinusitis and should be considered before the use of antibiotics. Eucalyptus oil is antibacterial, anti-fungal, anti-inflammatory, antiviral, antimicrobial and a natural decongestant. It’s amazing for steam inhalation and also has the added benefit of increasing blood flow around the body and stimulating brain function.

Peppermint oil

Peppermint oil is a common flavoring in breath mints, chewing gum, toothpaste, and mouthwash, traditionally used for digestion as well as the relief of headaches. However, peppermint is full of the active ingredient menthol, which is an expectorant, helping to clear the sinuses and chest of gunk. It’s also anti-inflammatory and has been shown to be powerfully antiviral, antibacterial and anti-fungal, resistant to some bacterial strains such as salmonella and E. coli. Peppermint oil also increases blood circulation and is an oil that most people love.

What you’ll do

Boil a kettle. Fill a large bowl with a small amount of cold water (approx. 200-400ml) and place it on a table. If you are using essential oils, have them to hand, next to the bowl with the lids off. Pour enough boiling water into the bowl to create vapor, but not so much heat that it burns your skin. Sit comfortably at the table and place a towel over your head and the bowl so the water vapor is trapped inside. If you are using essential oils, carefully drop 1-4 drops into the bowl (under the towel so the volatile oils don’t escape) Keep your eyes closed and take long, slow breaths in and out of your nose for at least ten minutes to open up your sinuses easily.

Tips & Warnings

You may need to top the water up with more boiling water or add some more essential oils. You can still get many benefits from steam inhalation without the use of essential oils, as the steam will still help to shift mucous, but essential oils have many other beneficial properties.

When you have finished, clean the bowl thoroughly and make sure that you keep warm. If you live in a cold climate, try and avoid going outside for a few hours. Essential oils are powerful things and most cannot be used neat on the skin. Do not use any product other than the pure essential oil. There are many contraindications for essential oils, especially when pregnant, so when choosing the right essential oil to use, research to see if there are any contraindications for you.


Limiting inflammatory and mucus-causing foods like dairy, sugar, and alcohol, while increasing consumption of anti-inflammatory foods, such as turmeric, will help relieve your sinuses. Curcuminoids is the ingredient in raw turmeric that is responsible for its anti-inflammatory actions. Additionally, adding a bit of lemon or lime juice to your water may also help break up the mucus, and upping your water intake, in general, will also help break down mucus.

Your tongue and your thumb

This may sound silly, but Reddit user Adam Dachis purports that applying the right pressure with your tongue and thumb may alleviate your sinus pressure. After exhaling all of the air from your lungs Adam advises you to, “push your tongue against the top of your mouth and place a finger between your eyebrows and apply pressure. Hold it for about 20 seconds (or as long as you can) and your sinuses will begin to drain.”

While this may sound like a snake-oil remedy, the explanation for why it works is about as simple as it gets. Creating mechanical pressure on the sinuses will hopefully force the clogged mucous to drain. However, the technique’s success will be dependent on how thick the mucus in your nasal passageways is.


Many pressure points on the body have been accessed to provide relief for several ailments. The V point between your thumb and forefinger is directly tied to your large intestine but can also help with sinus congestion. However, don’t access this point if you ’re pregnant. Directly below the center of the eye above the cheekbone is another point that can help drain the sinuses. A third helpful pressure point that can help clear the sinuses and alleviate pressure around the eyes, a symptom of acute sinusitis, is found on the inside corner of the eyebrows. Having an Indian head massage for sinus relief is a great idea and will help boost your immune system as well.

Spicy Foods

Spicy foods will offer short-term relief causing your nose to run and your sinuses to drain. However, researchers David S. Cameron MD, and Raul M. Cruz MD, both from the Department of Head and Neck Surgery at Kaiser Permanente Medical Center on Oakland, CA explain that when they tested the effects of wasabi consumption on the sinuses the relief was temporary and that “while there is a trend towards a subjective increase in the sensation of nasal airflow, and certainly a widely held misconception by the general public that eating wasabi decongests the nose, it actually congests the nasal mucosa.” So, wasabi can actually increase mucus production over time, making it less of a cure, and more a short-term reliever of acute sinusitis symptoms. If you need that short-term relief, or just want to taste something again, spicy food may be the ticket, but don’t count on it as a cure.

Steam It Out

The Neti pot is a time-honored way to help your body break up the mucus, but if you don’t have one you could “MacGyver” one out of a cotton ball, a humidifier, and essential oils. Put a drop or two of the essential oil on the cotton ball and set the cotton ball over the humidifier. The humidifier and cotton will diffuse the essential oil, hopefully alleviating your congestion and generally making your space smell delightful.  

Beeswax Candles

While most candles are currently made of paraffin, a byproduct of crude oil production (and not surprisingly bad for sinus and respiratory health), 100% beeswax candles have the purported opposite effect. This is because beeswax produces negative ions in the air, which act as natural air purifiers, cleaning dust, mold, bacteria, viruses, and other pollutants.


Whenever you feel acute sinusitis symptoms and find yourself pondering “how do I unblock my sinuses naturally,” rest assured there are plenty of safe and natural options (such as singing, taking a shower, and acupressure) without having to consult your physician.

Acute sinusitis usually clears up naturally within 10 days. But if it doesn’t, that’s when your acute sinusitis may be making a turn towards being chronic and you should head to the doctor.