Sunday, December 11, 2016

Winter's Impact on Muscles & Joints

By Dr. Leena Athparia, ND

In colder weather, do you notice that your joints feel stiffer? Do you feel that your muscles are tighter? If you are like many Canadians, chances are that your joint and muscle pain increases with the onset of colder temperatures. For example, individuals with arthritis notice a striking connection with damp cold weather and increasing joint pain. It’s not just limited to arthritis – many individuals notice increased muscle stiffness when the temperatures drop, regardless of whether they are indoors or outdoors. Many people brush off joint and muscle pain assuming that it’s just part of “getting older” and that you “just have to live with it”. The truth is, you don't have to live it.  There are a number of things you can do to feel strong and active all year year long.


How Does Winter Affect Joints & Muscles?

The change in the weather doesn't cause arthritis, but it can worsen symptoms and increase pain in areas that are weakened or susceptible. When you feel cold, blood vessels constrict in the extremities (arms and legs) so that warm blood can supply vital organs such as the heart and liver. This means that there is less blood flow to the joints increasing discomfort. On top of that, when it is cold outside, you have a tendency to stay indoors. When you are less active, there is a tendency to put on weight which adds to the stress on the joints.

Also, when you are cold, muscles have a tendency to contract. According to Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM), winter is the season of Yin – with the qualities such as cold, slow, passive, contracting. These qualities manifest in the physical body as well as in the mind, and the opposite qualities are needed to restore balance. From the perspective of Ayurveda, fall and early winter is dominant in Vata – which has the qualities of cold, dry, rough and mobile. These qualities that exist in nature also exist in your body. Vata easily enters the more vulnerable areas of the body causing dry, stiff and cold joints and muscles. If you have a constitution that is dominant in Vata, you may be even more prone to these issues.

Tips To Protect & Strengthen Your Muscles and Joints

To help restore balance and bring relief to muscles and joints, the following tips can keep you moving pain-free this winter.

Stay Warm

  • Apply heat: Most joint and muscle pain feels better with heat. Warm showers, heating pads and clothing can help keep you warm. When your joints are stiff or sore, apply heat.
  • Protect vulnerable areas: If you have neck pain, keep neck warm with scarves or hot packs at home. If you have back pain, make sure you dress warm and cover your low back. Whatever joint is sore or stiff, ensure that it stays warm and protected.
  • Wear layers: Dressing in layers helps you stay warm according to the climate and keeps you insulated while reducing your chances of muscle spasms from the cold. You can peel off layers as you warm up with outdoor activities.

Posture

  • Suitable footwear: If you are prone to slips and falls, footwear is an important place to start. To protect yourself and keep your balance on icy pavement, wear footwear that is warm, waterproof and has good grip for winter walking. Taking care of footwear can help you walk more comfortably and confidently outdoors.
  • Stay warm outdoors: Wear suitable winter gear when outdoors to protect from the cold & the wind. Your body tends to curl up and hunch over to conserve heat when outdoors and this increases postural imbalance. 
  • Self-awareness: Pay attention to your posture to reduce strain on your joints and muscles while doing activities such as shoveling snow or walking on slippery pavement. With increased time spent indoors, be aware of how you are sitting (at the computer, watching tv etc.) and take breaks every 30 minutes to move.

Diet

Eating a diet suited to your unique constitution can help keep you warm and balanced throughout the winter and prevent you from putting on extra weight. Speak to your naturopathic doctor to learn more about how diet can be tailored for you.
  • Follow a seasonal diet: According to Ayurveda, winter diets promote warming foods and help counteract the qualities of cold. For individuals with a Vata or Kapha constitution, it is easier to experience imbalance during the winter and it is crucial to follow a diet suited to the season. Food such as root vegetables are very grounding and nourishing in winter. A colourful plate with a variety of vegetables brings life and stimulates digestion in long winter months.
  • Eat warming foods: Foods that are warm in temperature help regulate your body's temperature. Certain foods also have energetically warming properties that warm up your body from the inside out. Herbal teas such as ginger or spices such as black pepper and cinnamon keep your body warm and promote circulation to keep your fingers and toes warm during winter.
  • Avoid cooling foods: Cooling foods are not only foods that are cold in temperature but have energetically cooling qualities. When the temperature is cold outside, cooling foods such as dairy, ice cream and raw food add to the cooling effect on your body. It is best to avoid these foods to stay warm, active and healthy during winter.
  • Avoid heavy foods: You may have a tendency to feel more tired, and have a tendency to put on weight. Foods such as deep fried foods, cheese and junk food are heavy to digest and increase your tendency to feel sluggish. It is best to avoid these foods to feel light and energized throughout winter.

Exercise


Exercise is crucial during the winter – but you need to warm up to your activities. Movement generates heat, promotes circulation, strengthens muscle tone and produces endorphins.
  • Stretch before exercise: Stretching helps you prevent injury and muscle spasms due to the cold. Warming up loosens muscles and ligaments and lubricates the joints.
  • Relax post workouts: To help relax sore muscles after activity, enjoy warm epsom salt baths which helps reduce muscle tension.  Massages are also beneficial for sore muscles.
  • Customize exercise: If you have joint conditions, speak to your naturopathic doctor about what kind of exercise is suitable for you so you have the right balance of movement without over-doing it. There is no "one-size-fits-all" when it comes to exercise. 

Relief With Naturopathic & Ayurvedic Therapies

When you have tried the above and are still struggling with joint pain or muscle stiffness, it is best that you speak to your naturopathic doctor who can help identify other factors that may be impacting your health. If you are unable to enjoy winter activities due to pain or are worried about stepping out due to fear of slipping, it is important to seek professional guidance to address your muscle & joint issues so that you enjoy this season.

If you are young and active, but finding recovery time is slower, naturopathic medicine can help improve your recovery time. Even if you are on conventional medication for joint pain, there are many more natural ways to reduce your discomfort with Ayurvedic and naturopathic medicine. The next time you notice you wake up with a stiff neck or find it difficult to bend your joints – listen to your body and take steps to address it before it gets worse. Chronic diseases develop over time. When you catch imbalances early it is much easier to address than in more advanced stages. With the necessary self-care techniques, in addition to naturopathic care, you can get relief from muscle and joint pain and prevent chronic disease. Joints and muscles are what allow you to move - if you take care of them, they will take you where you want to go.


Dr. Leena Athparia is a naturopathic doctor at Naturopathic Foundations with a focus in musculoskeletal conditions related to aging, metabolic issues and chronic disease. If you are experiencing joint or muscle pain, please call the clinic at 905-940-2727 to book an appointment with Dr. Athparia. 

Tuesday, November 29, 2016

Tips For Soft Glowing Skin Throughout The Harsh Winter Months

As we move into the colder temperatures, it is common to experience noticeable differences in how your skin looks and feels. The combination of cold air outside, heated air inside and low humidity creates a perfect storm resulting in decreased moisture in the skin.  Chapped lips, peeling dry and itchy skin are some of the most common concerns during this season.  Dehydrated skin sets the stage for less elastin, breakdown of collagen and premature aging, and you guessed it - wrinkles!  Key changes to your skin care regime can help keep your skin subtle, smooth, plump and vibrant throughout the cold winter months.

1.  Use the right cleanser.
Most skin cleansers on the market today are very harsh on the skin.  Cleansers used to remove makeup have ingredients in them that are often irritating to the skin and remove the natural oils on the skins surface.  I often recommend removing makeup with cotton pads and coconut oil and then washing the face with a gentle, natural face wash or a natural clay based soap.  Individual recommendations of products can be helpful as everyone's skin is different.

2.  Wash your face with lukewarm water and apply a moisturizer within minutes of washing.  
Hot water also wipes away your skin's natural oil, so wash your face with lukewarm water and apply your moisturizer within minutes of drying.  Since pores are dilated and your skin is moist after washing with warm water hydration is better locked in the skin and absorbed at this time.

3.  Choose the best moisturizer for your skin.  
As the seasons change so should your skin care products.  Moisturizers in the winter should be heavier than those used in the warmer more humid months.  I often recommend oils versus water based moisturizers in the winter as many natural oils penetrate deeper into the layers of the skin making sure hydration is not just on the surface of the skin.  Every oil has a different molecular structure and therefore can penetrate differently into the skin or in some cases can even block pores. Almond oil, rosehip oil, jojoba oil, and argon oil are some great winter oils that allow hydration to penetrate deep into the layers of the skin ensuring your skin feels softer longer without the need to re-moisturize repeatedly.

4.  Stay hydrated with lots of water!
Dry skin is also a sign of internal dehydration.  Hydration from the inside out is essential!  We often neglect our water intake more in the winter since we don't feel hot and thirsty.  The demand for water to keep our cells hydrated is extremely important to soft skin and wrinkle prevention.  The more hydrated you are the more your skin looks plump!  The recommendation is at least 7-9 glasses of water a day.

5.  Increase healthy oils in your diet.
The quality and quantity of oils you get from your diet is reflected in every cell of your body.  I often stress with patients that the quality of the oil is what is most important.  Healthy oils such as avocado, coconut, oils from nuts and seeds and olive oil are an important part of any diet regime to help keep skin hydrated from the inside out.  Your Naturopathic Doctor may recommend a fish oil supplement which is high in omega 3.  Omega 3 fatty acids not only function an anti-inflammatory helping to decrease redness and any itching that could be occurring on the skin, but it also helps to improve the quality of our skin, hair and nails.  A good quality fish oil ensures that you are getting the benefits of the omega 3 at the appropriate therapeutic dosage and ensures it's free of chemicals, heavy metals and impurities that are often high in fish.

6.  Exfoliate regularly and moisturize immediately afterwards.
Dry skin brushing and using a gentle exfoliating face mask 1-3 times a week helps remove dry skin debris and keeps your skin smooth and more radiant.  Make sure you apply a moisturizer or a hydrating oil right after to lock in the moisture.  Some exfoliating masks also draw out impurities and help reduce pores and acne.  Discuss exfoliating products with a Naturopathic Doctor to see what best suits your skin's needs.

7.  Use a humidifier at home while you sleep. 
Keeping a humidifier  by your bedside helps keep the air your breathe moist and also keeps your skin hydrated throughout the night.  It's important to keep your humidifier clean as to prevent any mold production. Adding an essential oil to the humidifier can help reduce the growth of mold.  I have found that keeping a peace lily plant by the beside helps keep the moisture in the air.

8.  Soak in alka-baths 2-3 times a week for at least 40 minutes at a time. 
Alka-baths are alkaline mineral salts that are a combination of 8 finely ground precious stones that help alkalinize the skin and optimizes the self-oiling process of the skin.

9.  Cold weather calls for eating warmer foods.
Cooked, warm foods not only help with digestion but these foods contain more moisture.  The energetic balance of the season requires avoiding raw and cold foods.  Soups, stews and cooked foods hydrate and nourish the body adding more moisture to the skin.

10.  What to avoid in skin products:
Avoid moisturizers that are petroleum based or contain alcohol in them. Make sure your cleanser doesn't have ingredients such as alcohol, salicylic acid or glycolic acid.  Most importantly avoid any skin care products that have parabens, thalates, triclosan and methylisothiazolinone.

Dry itchy skin can also appear very similarly to other skin conditions such as eczema, psoriasis or different forms of dermatitis that often aggravate in the winter.  It's important to have your skin checked by a healthcare professional to ensure the treatments you use are suited for your health. Naturopathic Doctors can help with this assessment and advise on more thorough treatment plans based on your presentation and needs.

If you try the steps above and you don't get the results you desire, ask for personalized recommendations from your ND.  Naturopathic Doctor at Naturopathic Foundations focus on women's health.  To discuss products or other skin care regimes please call the clinic at 905-940-2727 and book an appointment with one of our naturopathic doctors

Friday, October 28, 2016

Healthy Hallowe'en for Healthy Kids

By Dr. Leena Athparia, ND

Hallowe’en is a festive time of the year when sweets and treats are in abundance and children are exposed to skyrocketing intakes of sugar. It can be a challenging time for parents that are caught between worrying about the health impact of junk food and wanting their children to enjoy the excitement of Hallowe’en. Below are some guidelines to help make Hallowe’en healthier for children.


Before Hallowe’en

  • Support the immune system: sugar suppresses the immune system, making you more susceptible to colds, flu, infections and more. Incorporate immune support into your child’s daily routine – herbs, homeopathics, vitamins, probiotics can all support the immune system. Talk to your naturopathic doctor about supplement and herb dosages that would be optimal for your child. 
  • Limit candy access: avoid buying Hallowe’en candy until a few days before to reduce temptation to snack on candy that is lying around.

Hallowe’en Night

  • Eat a wholesome meal prior to trick-or-treating: children will fill up on candy if they are hungry, spiking blood sugar levels and creating a vicious addictive loop to craving more sugar. Ensure your child eats a healthy dinner with protein, plenty of vegetables (including green veggies) and healthy fats such as olive or coconut oil. Avoid large portions of starches or sweet foods within the meals such as: rice, potatoes, noodles, yams, which spike blood sugar levels.
  • Hydration: a glass of warm water or ginger tea can help your child stay hydrated and warm while they are out.
  • Dress appropriately: make sure costumes don’t take precedence over dressing appropriately for the cold weather - ensure your child is wearing layers and that their throat, low back and abdomen are covered.
  • Be a role model for your child: children will imitate the behaviour of those they see around them. Set a great example for your child by minimizing your own candy and sweet intake and encourage healthier options for the whole family.
  • Choose healthy treat options: give out treats such as almonds, sesame snacks, goji berries, chia or applesauce packages, protein bars, organic agave sticks or chocolate covered fruit. Treats don’t always have to be sweet – you can give out stickers, colourful pens or pencils, squishy stress-balls, bottle of bubbles, mini-card decks etc. Party stores or dollar stores often have a great selection of affordable small toy items. You can check out the website Green Halloween for many treat ideas (food & non-food items): http://greenhalloween.org/content.php?page=treats
  • Sort treats according to health hierarchy: not all treats are equal. For example, potato chips are better than chocolate bars as they are lower in sugar and have a relatively lower blood sugar spike. However, some chocolate bars, especially dark chocolate may be better than hard candies which are often loaded with artificial colours, flavours and additives. It is always a good idea to sort your child’s candy from healthy to least healthy, and removing any foods that your child has a sensitivity towards (such as dairy or gluten). Involve your child in the sorting process, helping them understand why some treats are better than others. To avoid disappointment or resentment, try negotiating a trade for the candy – such as a toy, spending money or a special privilege. 
  • Set a timeline: The excitement of Hallowe’en for kids should not be hampered. However, it will naturally wane after a few days. After sorting through their candy, let your child eat what they want for three days, and then get rid of the extra candy. This is important since larger servings of junk food over a few days is far less damaging to your child’s health than a continuous stream of candy eating over weeks or months.

After Hallowe’en


Health concerns associated with increased intake of candy include: hyperactive behaviour, difficulty sleeping, reduced concentration, digestive symptoms, skin outbreaks and compromised immune function resulting in colds, coughs, or the flu.

While the effects of sugar cannot be completely neutralized, here are a few strategies to help minimize the effects of Hallowe’en candy intake:
  • Ensure your child takes immune support (herbs, homeopathics, supplements) prior to Hallowe’en and the week after, or even longer if they are more susceptible to colds & flu.
  • If you child is taking fish oil, double the dose temporarily to reduce restlessness, hyperactivity or sleep disturbances.
  • If your child is on a multi-vitamin, double the dose for the following week to assist balancing the impact of food that is rich in calories and deficient in nutrients.
  • Candy is better had after a meal or snack rather than on an empty stomach. This helps balance the sugar spike, and reduces the amount of candy intake in one sitting.
  • Improving the pathways of elimination help support detoxification and the impact of junk food on the digestive system and other organ systems. Talk to your naturopathic doctor to see if any liver or digestive support is advisable for your child.
  • Intensify your child’s oral hygiene regimen: regular brushing, flossing, and rinsing their mouth every time after they have candy. Your naturopathic doctor can advise natural toothpastes, mouthwashes and cleansing techniques for your child.

Hallowe’en can be healthy AND fun ! A moderate amount of holiday indulgence paired with extra health measures helps everyone enjoy treats and long-term health. Remember, healthy habits start in childhood, so you are paving the way to healthy adults with these simple measures integrated into your child’s routine.


Dr. Leena Athparia, is a naturopathic doctor at Naturopathic Foundations Health Clinic. She has a special interest in healthy eating and works with individuals one-on-one to address their health concerns. If you are interested in booking an appointment at our clinic, please contact 905-940-272.

Oral Health: What is Oil Pulling?


Recently there has been lots of hype about the health benefits of oil pulling – a process of swishing oil in the mouth for about 10 to 20 minutes and then spitting it out to pull out toxins from the mouth. This technique, which claims to originate from Ayurveda, is a modern adaptation of some of the traditional Ayurvedic methods of daily self care known as gandusa and kavala. These therapies are not only prescribed to detoxify the oral cavity, but are also used to strengthen muscle tone in the neck, throat, jaw, and face in addition to treating systemic conditions such as arthritis and migraines. Substances such as ghee, oil, milk or herbal decoctions are gargled, swished or retained in the mouth for a specific duration at a specific time of the day.  The type of treatment, the duration and the oil used is always customized to your constitution for maximum benefit.

The technique has been around for centuries, but the term oil pulling is a modern term adapted by Western practitioners and this technique has spread in the last decade to the point where even dentists are starting to advocate the technique as part of a daily health routine.

How does Oil Pulling work?

There is no doubt that your mouth is a breeding ground for bacteria and toxins.  The oral cavity is constantly exposed to food which feed bacteria that reside on the teeth, gums and tongue.  While bacteria naturally reside in the oral cavity, when an overgrowth of non-beneficial bacteria flourish, they produce unwanted toxins. This leads to cavities, bad breath and other health concerns.While regular dental visits are important, as you know, daily self-care such as brushing and flossing are essential. Sometimes daily brushing and flossing are not enough, and further self-care is needed.

In Ayurveda, oils are used therapeutically topically and internally.  Oil has a lubricating and grounding quality and is beneficial for imbalances related to vata (air and ether element).  Externally, specific oils are used for massages and therapies, and internally, they are beneficial for lubricating the digestive tract and tissues. Oil Pulling  involves retention of specific oils which help cleanse the oral cavity, fight unwanted bacteria and plaque while rejuvenating the gums.

If you have ever tried oil pulling, you will know that your cheeks and mouth muscles get tired.  The technique involves active use of muscles in the oral cavity which helps strengthen muscle tone in addition to increasing blood flow which bring nutrients to the tissues and carries away waste products.  From a TCM perspective, stimulation of the oral and facial muscles can activate acupuncture points and reduce stagnation in the area to increase flow of qi or energy.


Benefits Of Oil Pulling:

  • Strengthen teeth & gums
  • Maintain healthy oral pH
  • Promote flora balance
  • Reduce inflammation
  • Prevent plaque build up
  • Increase circulation to oral tissues
  • Draw toxins out of mouth
  • Reduce frequency of colds and infections

How Is It Done?

Oil pulling can be done on a regular basis, however the specific duration and type of oil that is best for you is determined by your naturopathic doctor based on your age, constitution, and state of health. For some individuals, it may be recommended to do daily for several weeks and for others, 1-2 times a week may be sufficient.

Here is a general example of oil pulling that you can try:

  1. In the morning, after brushing your teeth and cleaning your tongue, take 1 Tbsp. of coconut oil and swish it in your mouth.
  2. Continue swishing actively for about 10 to 15 minutes, involving all of your mouth muscles until you feel them getting tired. The oil will liquefying and the saliva will build up. (You can even do this as you shower.)
  3. Once finished, do not swallow - discard the oil in the garbage (not down the sink so that you don't clog up the drain). Feel free to brush your teeth and clean your tongue again if there is a lot of residue. 

While the common oil used for oil pulling is coconut oil, other oils such as sesame or herbal oils with antimicrobial herbs must be individually tailored to you.  Coconut oil has excellent anti-viral and cooling properties, and can suit a person with a Pitta constitution while sesame oil may suit individuals who have a Vata constitution. Turmeric may be blended with the oil to increase anti-microbial effects.  Oil pulling can be done preventatively for individuals who are prone to colds and respiratory infections at this time of the year.

Since oil pulling is a gentle detoxification therapy, it is always best to do it under guidance of your naturopathic doctor for long-term so that the duration of treatment can be customized, along with any additional natural therapies that will support detoxification and healing of the oral cavity.

Dr. Leena Athparia is a naturopathic doctor with specialized training in Ayurveda and can help you identify your constitution to guide you on a customized health plan – whether you have specific health concerns or just want to promote general wellness. Please contact Naturopathic Foundations at 905-940-2727 or email lathparia@naturopathicfoundations.ca to book an appointment with Dr. Leena Athparia ND.


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Wednesday, September 21, 2016

Healthy Fall and Winter Eating

by Iva Lloyd, ND

Transitioning from summer to fall/winter eating can be challenging for many people. Cold and raw foods are best replaced with soups, stews, casseroles and "winter salads", especially when you live in a region where temperatures drop quite low.

Local seasonal fruits, vegetables and spices are mother nature's way of providing what we need to stay healthy. Foods that are available in the fall assist in strengthening the immune system, sustaining energy levels during the cold weather and preventing that winter weight gain that so many people experience. Local seasonal food is not only healthier for you, but also for the environment. They have more flavor, higher nutrient levels and require less resources spent on transportation and storage.

Value of Eating Warm / Seasonal Food

Those people that tend to have increased dryness, skin rashes, sensitivity to the cold, cold hands and feet, increased frequency of colds and flus, decreased energy levels in the winter and increased fatigue or malaise will often notice the greatest difference by adding more fall and winter foods into their diet.

On a physiological level, the reason for changing your diet based on seasons is that the body needs to warm food up to body temperature in order to aid proper digestion.  When your diet is cold in a cold season, it takes a lot more energy which can result in depleting the energy reserves for other metabolic functions.

Examples of Fall and Winter Foods

Vegetables: there are a number of vegetables ideal for fall/winter eating, including:
  • squash are excellent baked in the oven or made into soups
  • cauliflower and broccoli are great steamed or added to stir-frys
  • carrots and potatoes can be used to make some great winter salads, in soups or stews or by themselves - parsnips are from the carrot family and add a nice earthy flavour to stews
  • rutabega or turnips last great throughout the winter and can be baked or added to stews
  • beets are a deep rich purple colour and are great on their own or as a winter salad
  • sweet potatoes or yams can be used like white potatoes, either boiled or baked
  • pumpkin is often associated with soup or with pies
  • swiss chard and kale are calcium-rich dark leafy greens that are great on their own or added to soups and stir-frys
Fruit : the primary seasonal fruits in Canada are apples, pears and grapes

Herbs: most of the herbs common in the fall and winter have immune enhancing, anti-viral and anti-bacterial properties including thyme, oregano, ginger and garlic.  Herbs such as peppermint, cilantro and parsley are more cooling and are best consumed in the summer.

Additional Information on Staying Healthy in the Fall / Winter

Check out the following information to assist you in staying healthy in the fall and winter months:
At Naturopathic Foundations Health Clinic we offer a number of services to assist you in staying healthy during the fall & winter months including same-day walk-in appointments, IV Meyers treatment, specialized Ayurvedic massages, as well as a number of natural treatment options for acute infections. If you have any questions, please talk to one of our naturopathic doctors.

Are Environmental Toxins Causing your Joint Pain?


If you are suffering with joint pain, you are not alone - many Canadians are struggling with osteoarthritis, knee pain, rheumatoidarthritis, back pain, sports injuries and more.  However, just because joint pain is common, it doesn’t mean you have to live with it. Pain is your body’s way of indicating that there is a problem that needs to be addressed. Getting to the root of your joint pain is the first step towards finding relief. 


What’s causing joint pain?


There are a number of causes of joint pain. There is a natural wear and tear of the joints that happens as you age, but there are also a number of other factors that can affect a person of any age including: postural issues, nutritional factors, chronic dehydration, infections, trauma that has not properly healed, etc. One of the causes of joint pain that is often overlooked is the impact of the ever-increasing toxins in our environment.

Environmental toxins are often associated with chemicals in the outside environment, such as in industrial or polluted areas. However, your home is one of the most common sources of toxin exposure. Whether it is fabric softeners, pesticide-ridden produce or personal care products, you are constantly exposed to toxins. When toxins such as lead, mercury, cadmium, radon, formaldehyde, benzene, parabens, xenoestrogens, and pesticides enter your body at a faster rate than they can be detoxified and eliminated, they can deposit in tissues and initiate inflammation. It can take many years for toxins to accumulate before you start noticing symptoms of chronic joint pain

Some common sources of environmental toxins include:

If you are experiencing on-going symptoms such as joint and muscle pain, stiffness, swelling and fatigue, toxic elements may be contributing factors. For example, heavy metals can deposit into the joints leading to inflammation in the joint space, or heavy metals can replace essential minerals needed for bone and joint strength.  Understanding your constitution (body/mind type) plays a role in understanding weaknesses in the body and why certain parts of the body are affected more than others.

Autoimmune conditions can also be a major cause of joint issues, and identifying food sensitivities triggering an immune response can be very beneficial in reducing joint pain.  However, additional factors in food such as pesticides, heavy metals and other chemicals are often overlooked and can be playing a larger role in joint health than previously thought.

What you can do to relieve joint pain:


You can reduce joint pain by eliminating chemicals in your surroundings, improving detoxification and supporting elimination. Decreasing your level of toxicity under the guidance of a naturopathic doctor in addition to self-care can not only reduce joint pain, but improve overall musculoskeletal health and improve general vitality.
  • Identifying potential sources of toxins
  • Heavy metal or environmental toxin testing can be done through your naturopathic doctor.
  • Relevant blood work to determine the impact of environmental toxins, such as the GGT test.
  • Reducing toxins at home (switching to natural cleaners, detergents, personal care products). For the average person, environmental toxins enter primarily through food and water, and through household products. The harmful impact of household cleaners and skin-care products is largely underestimated. If you are struggling with joint pain, going chemical free at home is crucial to improving your health.
  • Switching to organic, non-GMO meat, dairy, fruits and vegetables, especially the ones with consistent high pesticide residues such as: apples, strawberries, celery, peaches, green peppers and spinach can help you experience significant improvement in joint pain.
  • Adequate liquids: as joints are made up of fluid, drinking enough clean water helps keep them lubricated. Joints also need healthy fats such as fish oil which not only help reduce inflammation but keep the joints mobile. Speak to your ND on which oils and how much are best for you. 
  • Exercise suited to your age, fitness and health condition
  • Individualized detoxification program (which may involve diet, supplements, herbs, acupuncture, homeopathy and Ayurvedic therapies).

Many people believe that there is not much they can do about their joint pain and they have to just live it. However, joint pain is not something that you have to live with, at any age. If you have addressed issues such as wear and tear by lifestyle, diet and joint supplements, and you are still struggling with join pain, then you need to look into other contributing factors such as environmental toxins. Speak to your naturopathic doctor if you have joint pain and would like to discuss how to address it naturally.

Dr. Leena Athparia is a naturopathic doctor at Naturopathic Foundations with a focus in musculoskeletal conditions related to aging, metabolic issues and chronic disease. If you are experiencing joint pain, please call the clinic at 905-940-2727 to book an appointment with Dr. Athparia.