Tuesday, February 23, 2021

Spring Cleaning: Your Home

by Dr. Leena Sripada (Athparia), ND

During spring, the body starts to detoxify. Externally, it is also a good time to clean up your environment – at home, work or even in the car. For many people, this has been a long winter with lots of time spent indoors. Whether you are working from home or doing online school, one major message during the pandemic is to 'stay home'. With increased indoors time, it is even more important to keep your space clean and organized as we move into spring. 
Removing old clutter makes space for new things and can help you feel more at ease in your space. Physically cleaning your environment can go a long way in helping you feel reenergized this season.

When you clean with conventional products, unfortunately you are exposing yourself to chemicals that interfere with health - often unknowingly. Common products that contain chemicals are laundry detergent, softeners, dish soap, air fresheners, bathroom cleaners, drain cleaners and many more common household cleaners. These chemicals can enter through your skin, eyes or respiratory tract and can be very toxic to adults, children and pets. You can read more on common contaminants here.

During spring, the body is naturally trying to detoxify so you want to minimize toxins in your food & environment. Even if you are eating organic, exercising and keeping up with a healthy lifestyle, you could be getting unhealthy chemicals through household cleaning products. At Naturopathic Foundations, we use natural cleaning products and techniques, and thought we would share some healthy and easy spring cleansing tips that you can use at home.

Natural Cleaning Tips


Fridge Cleaning:
While your fridge may store many of your nutrient-rich foods, it is one of the most common places that harbours rotting food and unhealthy mold. Start by clearing out food shelf by shelf. Check for expiry dates, and throw food in compost and recycle glass jars in the blue bin.
  • Wipe shelves and inside of fridge with a touch of natural dish soap and baking soda on a damp cloth. This lifts and softens hardened drips and spills. Rinse with white vinegar and water solution (1/2 c. vinegar to 1 c. water) which will deodorize and disinfect your fridge.

Laundry solutions:
Washing your clothes with conventional detergents and softeners leaves residue on clothing and bedsheets which gets absorbed through the skin. This increases the toxic burden on the body and can eventually lead to hormonal imbalance, autoimmune conditions, cancer, and more.
  • 1/2 c. white vinegar in the rinse compartment to soften and deodorize your clothes and replace softeners. This is especially great for baby clothes and will not leave a vinegar smell. Choose natural laundry detergents which are environmentally safe and natural (unscented is best).
  • Essential oils placed on a damp cloth and placed with clothes in the drier will give a natural scent to your clothes. Choose essential oils such as lavender, jasmine, eucalyptus or any other blend you like. Check out the wide variety of essential oils in the clinic that you can use for this.
  • Drier balls can be used to reduce the time of your load by creating more space in the load. 

Surfaces & floor cleaners:
Tables, counter tops, floors pick up dust, grease and grime and cleaning with water won't always cut it. When you use conventional surface cleaners, chemical residue sticks to the surface and can be picked up by crawling infants, pets and adults through the skin. Keeping a bottle of homemade surface cleaner in a spray bottle will come in handy for regular use.

  • 1/4 c. hydrogen peroxide (as a disinfectant) and 10-15 drops of essential oils (such orange, grapefruit) and few drops of natural dish soap in 1 bucket of hot water. Use a mop or cloth to clean floor surfaces. (If cleaning granite or stone surfaces, rinse again with warm water.)

Home-made drain cleaner:
This non-toxic solution can clear drains clogged with grease and residue and is much safer than corrosive drain cleaners.
  • 1/2 c. of baking soda sprinkled in a clogged drain, followed by 1 c. of white vinegar. Let the mixture bubble for a few minutes and then pour boiling water. 

Natural Air Freshener:
Essential oil diffusers break up aromatic oils into small volatile particles in the air and add a wonderful fragrance on the home that is non-toxic. You can choose oils that you like for their scent or even their therapeutic properties. Lavender and floral scents tend to be calming, while citrus scents tend to be energizing and invigorating. We carry diffusers in the clinic that you can use at your home or office.


You will find that if you can replace your conventional household cleaners with natural alternatives, you will reduce the toxic burden in your home and support the healing of you and your family - and you will feel better too! We carry a variety of natural cleaning products and essential oils at the clinic which you can come in to learn about anytime. You can speak with any of the naturopathic doctors at Naturopathic Foundations to find out more about ways you can help reduce toxins in your home, food and body care products, and improve your body’s ability to detoxify.



Saturday, January 9, 2021

What Is Your Word For 2021?

 by Dr. Iva Lloyd, ND


What are you hoping to achieve or experience in 2021?  The one thing that 2020 has reminded us is that ultimate control of your life is an illusion, so it is important to focus on those things that you can directly influence.

There is no doubt that we are in a time of extreme chaos and change.  Even if you are fortunate enough not to be caught up directly in the chaos, it is all around us. We are in a time of crisis and change on so many levels - health and healthcare, government, financial security, environment, technology, etc. The time of holding our breath and waiting for things to return to 'normal' is over.  It is time to learn how to adapt to this new normal and how to move forward the best way we can.

From a health perspective, times of chaos and change can be an opportunity and a reminder to refocus and to pay attention to what really matters to us.  It can be a reminder of the fragility of life and the need to address what we call the 'health basics' - how we breath, what we eat, movement and posture, sleep, stress management, hydration, spending time outside and the time that we spend with family and friends. 

Do You Need To Detox 2020?

2020 was a year of profound change. For some, it was a year of relaxation with more down-time and the opportunity to spend time at home attending to all the things that we never had a chance to get to.  For others, it was a time of relentless upheaval, loss and uncertainty filled with feelings of overwhelm, fear and anxiety, exhaustion, or anger and frustration. If this is your experience, it is often not possible to move forward without addressing those emotions.

When dealing with the emotional impact of a situation the first thing you have to do is to name the feeling or feelings. Naming it allows you to start dealing with it.  It acknowledges the significant impact that the situation has had on you. We have spend a year on-hold, waiting for the promise of things to return to normal -- but they never did and they never will return to the old normal.

The emotional states that are the hardest on the body are secrets, being 'on hold', feeling 'trapped' and being 'on the fence'.  These states block the flow of energy in the body.  They impact how we breath, how we move and every function in the body.  Emotions, when not expressed, get stuck somewhere in the body and can start to manifest as various symptoms such as disruptions in sleep, muscle pain, heartburn, headaches, increases in blood sugar or blood pressure, feelings of numbness or tingling and can result in the worsening of underlying conditions or in the manifestation of other more significant symptoms and conditions.

If you need to detox 2020, I encourage you to work with your naturopathic doctor or other health professionals that can provide you with the support and guidance that you need.

What Is Your Word For 2021?


2021 promises to be memorable. There is an expectation of tremendous change - hopefully for the better.  When in a time of chaos and significant upheaval it is even more important to set goals and to be conscious of how you live your life.

If you were to define your focus for 2021 in a single word or two, what words would you choose?  The words that jump out for me are Adaptability and Movement.

Adaptability

In a time of chaos, it is often a person's (or businesses') ability to adapt that determines how well they get through the change. Adaptability is tied to a person's resiliency and increased resiliency is often linked to a greater level of health or success. A number of things, such as chronic stress, nutrient deficiencies, lack of movement and time in nature, and lack of support of can weaken a person's resiliency and their ability to adapt. The following can help a person adapt:
  1. Detox the Old: Before you can adapt to what's new it is often important to identify, express and process the emotions that you have, especially if the change was forced upon you or unexpected.  It is important to process destructive emotions and regrets. If expressing your emotions and letting them go is not a strength of yours, it is often helpful to find the support that you need. Be patient with this phase as it can sometimes awhile. You do not need to complete this phase completely before starting the next.
  2. Willing to Change: Adaptability requires the desire to change and the willingness to embrace new things.  This is not always easy, but it is important. This step requires acceptance, a change in perspective and a recognition that change is a fact of life.  Sometimes the change is gentle, and sometimes not. I encourage you to ask yourself how willing you are to change?  
  3. Know Your Limits.  Adapting to change is important, but it is not necessary to embrace all change. Sometimes the best solution is to slow down, go back to the basics and regroup.  Achieving health is often about doing less and being more conscious of your choices.  It is seldom about embracing the latest technology, such as smart watch or devices.  Instead it is about doing less, eating whole foods, spending more time in nature and less time on devices and gentle versus intense exercise.
  4. Set Goals. Goal setting helps to focus the mind and it helps to remind a person what is important. The goals may be about changes to lifestyle, address health concerns or financial concerns.  It may include spending more time with loved one or learning a new skill. Goals help a person connect more with their life and can be the anchor that we need to get through stressful times.
  5. Make A List of Things To Do. Once you have your goals, the next step is to make a list of things that you need to do to achieve them. Remember the saying, 'whatever gets measured, gets done'.  The mind likes a 'to-do' list. There is satisfaction in crossing off things that you have accomplished. Affirmations can also be helpful in reminding us and reinforcing the desire to change. 
  6. Follow the Energy.  If you feel that the change that you want is meeting with a lot of resistance, you may need to relook at your goals. Moving through life and adapting to change is a 'dance' between what you want and what the world around you will allow. The more you pay attention to this dance, the easier it can be.
  7. Ensure You Have Support. We weren't meant to walk through this world alone. The dance of life is not a solo performance. The journey is easier with support.  Reach out.
Check out some of my other blogs that talk about the impact of the mind on health:

Movement


We often associate movement with physical health of muscles and joints, but physical movement is required for all aspects of health, even mental and emotional health.

Movement is especially important after a year where so many people were encourage to stay home, stay indoors and to limit their activities.  Gyms were closed, there was a focus on home delivery, there were even times when people were discouraged from walking outside. 

Movement is essential to health - all aspects of health.  If you plan to move forward and to make changes in 2021, you will find that easier if you incorporate movement into your regimen.  Walking outside is better for the mind than walking on treadmill as when walking outside you are actually moving forward, when on a treadmill you are staying in the same spot - similar to a mind that continually recycles the same thoughts. If walking outside is not advisable because of movability issues or the concern about weather, then indoor exercises are a good start. If you have been more sedentary during 2020 then start gently.  I encourage people to shake and to stretch.  
  • Shaking is a great exercise. Simply shaking a couple of minutes two or three times a day can helpful to loosen areas of congestion.  Shaking also helps regulate the stress response and can improve how you manage stress. Gently shaking, whether standing, sitting or lying down, is a great way to start when you want to 'shake off' the old and embrace the new.
  • Stretching. After a year of being on-hold, in isolation and waiting for something to change, it is important to recapture our own space. Stretching is our way of holding your own space in this world.  Stretching doesn't have to be extreme, gentle stretching is all that is needed.  Reach for the stars and gently move the body in all directions.

A friend sent me this video on movement, and I would like to share it with you.  Check out other blogs that talk about the importance of movement:

We wish you success in achieving your goals in 2021. If you need any support, please reach out to your naturopathic doctor or to other health professionals.  Website: naturopathicfoundations.ca




Saturday, October 3, 2020

Autumn: the Season of Facial Rejuvenation and Detox

 by Parisa Wang

The traditional Chinese lunar calendar divides the year into 24 solar terms. Cold Dew, (Chinese: 寒露), the 17th solar term of the year, begins this year on Oct 8 and ends on Oct 22. In China, the 24 solar terms were created thousands of years ago to guide agricultural production. But solar term culture is still useful today to guide people's lives through special foods, cultural ceremonies and even healthy living tips that correspond with each term.

Autumn is the season of autumn harvest. The yin and yang atmosphere is relatively peaceful, presenting a pleasant and refreshing scene, and it is also the most suitable season for beauty and detox. In terms of yin and yang and five elements corresponding to the five internal organs of the human body, regulating and nourishing the five internal organs will naturally get our body better.

So how should we detoxify and maintain health in autumn?

Fall Detoxification: Focus is the Lungs

From a Chinese perspective, autumn is the golden rule of the lungs, which means that during the year, the lungs act as executive officers in the meridians of the human body. During the autumn season the following symptoms tend to be more common:

1. The skin is rusty and dull. Traditional Chinese medicine believes that the lungs manage the skin of the whole body, and whether the skin is moist and fair depends on the good function of the lungs. When there are more toxins in the lungs, the toxins will be deposited on the skin along with the action of the lungs, making the skin color look dull.

2. Constipation. Traditional Chinese medicine believes that the lungs and large intestine are a connected system. When there are toxins in the upper lungs, there will be abnormal stasis in the lower intestines, and constipation will occur.

3. Sentimental and easy to be sad. Toxins in the lungs will interfere with the circulation of qi and blood in the lungs, making the lungs unable to smooth the suffocation in the chest normally, and feeling depressed much more sentimental.

How to detoxify lungs smoothly?

The ideal strategy for each person varies based on health status and constitution.  It is always best to work with a practitioner when you are starting any form of detox, but here are a few recommendations that may apply:

1. White radish is a detoxification food for lungs. In TCM opinion, the large intestine and the lungs are the most closely related. The degree of toxin excretion from the lungs depends on whether the large intestine is unobstructed. White radishes can help the large intestine to excrete stool. It can be eaten raw or mixed with cold dishes.

2. Lily improves lung resistance to poison. The lungs have always disliked dry air. In dry conditions, it is easy to accumulate toxins. Mushrooms and lilies have a good effect of nourishing the lungs and nourishing yin, and can help the lungs to fight toxins. Do not process them for too long when eating, otherwise the juice in the lily will be reduced and the anti-virus effect will be greatly reduced.

3. Your practitioner can show you the meridian points of lung detoxification. The acupuncture point beneficial to the lungs is He Gu, which is located on the back of the hand, between the first and second metacarpal bones. At the midpoint of the radial side of the second metacarpal bone, you can pinch this part with your thumb and index finger and press hard.

4. Perspiration and detoxification. The lungs manage the skin, so we sweat smoothly, allowing the sweat to take away toxins from the body and refreshing our lungs. In addition to exercise, the method of sweating can also be a hot bath. Add some ginger and peppermint essential oils in the water before the bath to make the sweat secrete more freely and expel toxins deeply in the body.

5. Take a deep breath. Every time you breathe, there are residual exhaust gases in the lungs that cannot be discharged. Compared with those fresh, oxygen-rich air, these exhaust gases are also a toxin. Just a few deep breaths can reduce the residual exhaust gas in the body.

6. Good sleep. TCM believes that the movement of the twelve meridians begins with the lungs, and the yin and yang alternate time of the day in the human body is at yin every day, at 3 to 5 in the morning, starting with lung qi. At this time, if you can sleep soundly, it will have a cosmetic effect, which will help the lung meridian to smooth the distribution of qi and blood.

7. Also, because of the dry climate and low air humidity, especially after the Mid-Autumn Festival, people’s skin is prone to dryness. You can choose plants that can moisturize the skin. You can blend one or two kinds of fungus, almonds, pine nuts, yam, mulberry, and honey. If you want to make your skin look more delicate. You can choose pear juice, orange juice, grapefruit juice, loofah water or barley juice, one of which is used to wipe the face (double dilution with water).

8. The best time to detoxify the lungs is from 7 am to 9 am. At this time, it is also better to detoxify through exercise. Performing aerobic exercises such as jogging when the lungs are at their strongest can strengthen the lungs to discharge toxins.

We have talked about Lung detoxification in autumn. I will continue to discuss the detoxification of other organs (kidney, liver, heart, and spleen) in winter, spring, and summer.

According toHuang Di Nei Jing (an ancient Chinese medical text that has been treated as the fundamental doctrinal source for Chinese medicine for more than two millennia), there are two types of toxins in the human body, endogenous and exogenous. If the toxins in the body exceed the ability of the body's detoxification system to interpret, it will easily lead to various diseases, and also easily lead to premature aging and accelerated aging. Strengthen detoxification and timely removal of toxins from the body, which can protect the body from disease and prolong life.

Working on different aspects of your health by season can often yield better results.  If you have questions about what type of detoxification or nutritional plan is best for you, I would welcome the opportunity to work with you. For more information, please follow my blog post on Yin Yang theory and detoxification.

Please contact Naturopathic Foundations Health Clinic at 905-940-2727 to book an appointment.



Friday, October 2, 2020

Easing the transition into Fall

by Dr. Aisha Durrani, ND

In ayurvedic medicine a person’s body can be predominant in one of 3 body types Vata (Air), Pitta (fire), and Kapha (earth).

Fall carries with it qualities of vata. The vata body type contains elements of ether and air. Vata is responsible for movement, digestion, and circulation. Vata minds are creative, quick to learn and enthusiastic. In the fall season we experience the cold dry wind picking up and causing movement of the air element that can aggravate Vata types.

A vata imbalance can show up as cold hands and feet, dry skin and hair, excessive worry, scattered thoughts, fear of the unknown, irregular appetite, and constipation. This year we face the added challenge of worry that aggravates vata further. 

Keeping your vata in balance is good for overall health to balance the immune system, keep you grounded, and energized. These physical and mental-emotional signs also show up in all body types. Here are some guidelines to keep your Vata balanced into Fall:

Lifestyle

The following lifestyle factors can help keep your Vata in balance:

  • Waking up early when the air is calm and still.
  • Eat at roughly the same time everyday, routine is key to ground Vata types.
  • Dress warm and in fall colours- oranges, red, yellow, white as these colours are grounding. If you tend to feel depressed avoid dark colours, such as black and grey.
  • Avoid fast movements- driving fast, loud music, running in wind. These movements create more movement of the air element and worsen anxiety and restlessness.
  • Gentle and strengthening exercises- hiking, swimming, biking, yoga and tai chi.
  • Abhyanga/self massage with warm sesame oil before shower can go a long way to ground Vata.
  • Pranayama/alternate nostril breathing and meditation- helps ground and control the air element.
  • Vata types need to avoid fasting during this season to prevent undernourishment.
  • Apply ghee to navel and soles of feet at bedtime if suffering from dry skin and lips.

Dietary

In general eating warm, oily and grounding easy to digest foods (such as kitchari- recipe below ). Adding warming spices and favouring sweet, sour and salty tastes will help keep vata stable. Reduce raw, cold and bitter vegetables. Increase protein and fat sources

  • Breakfast- oatmeal, cream of rice, stewed apple or pear- cook in ghee and/or milk.
  • Lunch and dinner- grains, steamed or cooked vegetables, soups, stews.
  • Protein: eggs, meat, tofu, legumes and lentils.
  • Fats: nuts and seeds, coconut or olive oil, avocado

Increase Underground Vegetables: sweet potato, turnips, beets, squash, pumpkin, carrots
Reduce bitter vegetables: kale, broccoli, brussel sprouts, bitter melon, arugula, cabbage, cauliflower- ensure they are cooked with warming spices.

Fruits- apples and pears (cooked), peaches, grapes, avocado, mango, dates, figs, banana

Spices- asafoetida, anise, bay leaf, cinnamon, clove, cumin, cardamom, black pepper, ginger, garlic, mustard seeds, nutmeg, oregano, parsley, rosemary, turmeric, saffron, dill,

Oils to favor- ghee, sesame oil, olive oil, flax oil, almond oil.

Teas: CCF tea (Coriander, Cumin, Fennel equal parts), or ginger-cinnamon tea.Warming and soothing bedtime tea- warm milk with a pinch of nutmeg, cinnamon, and cardamom.

Herbs: dashamoola, ashwagandha, haritaki, triphala, vidari.

Kitchari Recipe: https://www.ayurveda.com/recipes/kitchari 

To book a consultation with Dr. Durrani, ND and to find out about more about your body type and the recommended diet and lifestyle for you, please call the clinic at 905-940-2727.

How To Improve Iron Absorption For Pregnancy


by Parisa Wang, Nutritionist


After the initial excitement or shock of seeing a positive pregnancy test, how many of us are aware that mom’s nutritional foundation sets up the future health of our babies. Pregnancy nutrition matters for baby and mum as it:

  • Supports skeletal development
  • Supports brain development
  • Reduces risk of birth defects
  • Prevents low birth weight
  • Reduces preterm delivery
  • Reduces risk of gestational diabetes
  • Reduces risk of obesity later in life
  • Reduces risk of chronic disease later in life
  • Decreases nausea and other symptoms associated with pregnancy
  • Decreases unnecessary weight gain

When you are pregnant, eating the right balance of carbohydrates, proteins, and healthy fats, as well as micro-nutrients like iron, folate, calcium, and vitamin D is crucial!

The average female adult requires between 10 and 18 mg of iron a day. During pregnancy, Iron needs are increased by 1.5 times. This increase can be even higher and even higher for vegetarians. The increase need for iron is because of the large increase in red blood cell production which is necessary to support the growth and development of baby, and the placenta. Low iron is linked to preterm delivery, low birth weight, and impairs the mother’s thyroid function. However, everyone’s iron needs can be variable depending on their constitution, their iron level at the time of getting pregnant, how many pregnancies have had, how close together they have been and the symptoms that they have during pregnancy.

The symptoms that you may experience during pregnancy that are associated with iron deficiency include:

  • Constipation
  • Nausea
  • Anemia
  • Fatigue
  • Heartburn


Food Sources of Iron

It’s always best to get your nutrients from food first.

Iron can be found in animal foods that originally contained hemoglobin, such as red meats, fish, and poultry (meat, poultry, and seafood contain both heme and non-heme iron). Your body absorbs the most iron from heme source. Iron from animal foods have the highest absorption rate and bioavailability. The amount of iron in animal foods include:
  • chicken liver (12.8 mg / 100 gm)
  • beef liver (6.2 mg / 100 gm)
  • ground beef, 75% lean (2.36mg/100 g)
  • turkey, dark meat (2.30mg/100g)
  • lamb, shank (2.11mg/100 g)
  • haddock (1.35mg/100 g)
  • halibut (1.07mg/100 g)
Even though if you’re a vegetarian or vegan, don’t worry. Iron can be found in grains, beans, vegetables, fruits, nuts, and seeds as well. Vegetarian food sources of iron contain non-heme iron, which takes a little longer time to convert in your body.  The amount of iron in vegetarian sources includes:
  • lentils (6.6 mg/ cup)
  • soybeans (8.8 mg / cup)
  • dates (1.8 mg / cup)
  • spinach, boiled (6.43mg/cup)
  • olives (4.44mg/cup)
  • shiitake mushrooms (3.59mg/cup)
  • brussel sprouts, boiled (1.87mg/cup)
  • broccoli, steamed (1.37mg/cup)
Iron is a key aspect to healthy pregnancy, but there are other nutrients that are also important. Working with a nutritionist during this important time of your life will help you: 
  • Optimize your nutrition
  • Understand whether you’re getting enough iron and other nutrients in your diet
  • Ensure that your weight gain is optimal – not too little; not too much
  • Relieve fatigue and other iron deficiency symptoms
As a nutritionist, I can assist you in figuring out how to balance your overall nutrition levels, and provide you with individualized, personalized, customized nutrition plans. 

To book an appointment, call the Naturopathic Foundations Health Clinic at 905-940-2727

References:

https://www.hsph.harvard.edu/nutritionsource/iron/
https://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-lifestyle/pregnancy-week-by-week/basics/healthy-pregnancy

Saturday, August 1, 2020

Ayurvedic Skin Care for Summer

by Dr. Leena Athparia, ND, AAWC

Do you have dry skin? Oily skin? Mixed skin or sensitive skin? If you pay attention to your skin, you will notice that it will respond differently based on the season, weather, your activities and your diet.  The more you pay attention, the more you will also know what your skin needs.

Your skin is the largest organ in the body and it breathes. It removes waste from inside the body through sweat as a route of elimination. Your skin also absorbs what you put on it – creams, oils, lotions etc. So what you put on your skin should be clean to the extent you could eat it! Just take a look at your bathroom counter and see if you would eat any of your skin creams.  If not, it may be time to re-evaluate your personal care products.

According to Ayurveda, skin can be qualified by dosha type. The five elements in nature are also at work in your body: space, air, fire, water and earth. For example, if you have excess fire element, your skin may be triggered by hot weather or internal changes like too much spicy or fried food. Inflamed, red or breakout skin can be prevented by taking steps to keep your skin clean and cool.

Ayurvedic Skin Types

Although each person’s skin is unique, most people have a dominant skin type. Read below to see which skin sounds most like yours:

Vata skin:

This skin type tends to be dry, rough, thin, cool and worse with dry, cold, windy weather. Vata skin is most affected in the winter. This skin type does best with nourishing oils such as sesame or almond oil, warm oil massage, thicker creams topically along with frequent hydration, and a diet rich in healthy oils.

Pitta skin:

Pitta skin type tends to be red, inflamed, oily and warm with sensitivity to the sun and hot summer weather. Treatments for pitta skin types include cooling oils or creams such as coconut or olive oil, pitta balancing diet and bitter herbs to clean the skin from the inside out.


Kapha skin:

Individuals with kapha skin tend to have naturally moist skin that can get cold, clammy or oily easily. This skin type is worse with humid weather. Treatments for kapha skin involve oils or creams that are very light and warming such as mustard or almond oil, herbal scrubs, dry skin brushing and toners that are astringent.


Treatments for Summer Skin Health

In the summer, heat and humidity can easily push your skin out of balance leading to common concerns such as: acne, hives, rashes, rosacea, sun spots, redness and sun-sensitive skin. In addition, a diet rich in spicy, oily food and acidic foods (such as excess red meat, alcohol, caffeine and sugar) can cause pitta imbalance in the digestive system to ‘overflow’ into your circulatory system and out through the skin as the body attempts to detox excess waste. Spending too much time in the sun or overdoing your work can add to skin breakouts. You can read more about pitta imbalance and ways to keep cool in the summer here. Below are some tips on a few natural compounds in skin products for pitta skin:

Neem

Neem is a tropical plant with so many uses. For skin, it is found in soaps, creams and shampoos. It has cooling qualities so assists the body in removing excess heat. It is very anti-microbial so good for conditions such as fungal skin infections. It is available as an oil but has a strong odour so is more manageable mixed with other ingredients. It can be also taken as a capsule internally to clean the skin inside out. Speak with your naturopathic doctor on how to take neem based on your health concern.

Aloe

Aloe is a well-known plant that grows in the desert, but very versatile to keep at home to heal burns or inflamed skin. It is very soothing for sensitive skin and makes a great base for skin gels and creams. Try taking a small piece of aloe gel from your plant and apply it to your skin – observe how it feels. Great for pitta and vata types in the summer.

Rose

Rose is known for its aromatic scent associated with love, romance and feminine qualities. As an herb, it is cooling and rose water or hydrosol is extremely refreshing. Rose oil or creams work well with pitta skin types to help calm and cool the skin and refresh the mind. Rose mist can be kept handy in the car or at work to spray at the hot times of the day to refresh you, or used as a toner as part of your skin care routine. Rose hip oil, from the fruit of the rose, has a slightly different quality but is also very beneficial for healing burns and scars.

Clay

Clay comes from the earth and is rich in minerals. There are many different types of clays that will have different qualities but essentially clay works well in soaps or cleansers due to its exfoliating nature. Clay is drying and tightens the skin due to its astringent qualities. It is excellent to detoxify the skin by pulling out toxins. It is great to use as a cleansing mask in the summer. Great for all skin types but vata skin types may need a moisturizer after using clay as it can dry out the skin.

Calendula

Calendula is a flower which has been used traditionally in healing burns and rashes. It is commonly found in diaper rash creams, salves for burns, or as an oil infusion to apply on the skin. It is excellent in pitta skin conditions especially where there is irritated or red skin as it is an antiseptic and anti-inflammatory. It can be used as a cream, oil, ointment or infusion.


Coconut oil

Coconut oil is cooling for the skin and is great for pitta skin issues. It has been used for centuries to strengthen skin and promote healthy hair growth. It grows in tropical climates so it often suits hot climates – best to avoid using in the winter or those with very vata skin since it cools the body down but great in the summer.


These are just a few of the herbs that are used in naturopathic & Ayurvedic treatments to heal skin. These systems treat not only by condition, but by the underlying constitution of the person. Different care is needed for each skin type. If you have chronic skin concerns, topical skin care may not be enough – you may need internal approach to cleaning skin from the inside out. Triphala, burdock, neems are just some of the cleansing herbs used for skin conditions. Use these tips for healthy, glowing summer skin or speak to your ND if you have chronic skin issues that you would like to address. Ayurvedic massage with healing oils is also offered at the clinic by Mamta Pranjivan to promote healthy skin and more. 

Dr. Leena Athparia is a Naturopathic doctor & Ayurvedic practitioner at Naturopathic Foundations with a focus on joint health, pain and chronic disease. If you are healthy and looking into preventing disease or learning more about your constitution, Dr. Athparia can help you. If you are looking for Ayurvedic massage, Mamta Pranjivan is offering full body Ayurvedic treatments and head massage. Please call the clinic at 905-940-2727 to book an appointment.