Hey, everybody! This is Day 3 in my week of birthday favourites. (You can read more about that here.) Leave a comment to let me know what you’re loving right now, and have your name entered in a draw for an Amazon gift card!
Today’s list of favourites is all about the healthy stuff. This has been a big year for me – I’ve made significant progress with my health, and discovered some awesome things that have improved my life considerably.
1) Epsom Salt Baths
I’ve read about Epsom salt baths for years, but never tried them, because I’ve hated baths for a long time. I remember liking them as a kid, but showers have been my thing since I was a teenager, and I always thought baths were too hot, too uncomfortable to sit so long on a hard surface, and too boring.
But around Christmas, I had a problem. I’ve taken magnesium to help me sleep for a few years now, but once the body has enough magnesium, taking it orally can cause diarrhea. I wanted a good sleep and all the benefits of magnesium , but I didn’t want to be running to the bathroom all the time! What to do??!
After some reading, it seemed the best solution would be Epsom salt baths, which have tons of health benefits besides giving the body magnesium and getting better sleep. They also help with detoxing and relaxing the muscles, but since my focus was on sleep, it came as a pleasant surprise when my body started feeling really good after a few days.
I solved the problem of sitting on a hard surface by folding up a towel, and the boredom problem by listening to podcasts (more on that a different day!). It didn’t take long before I eagerly anticipated my nightly Epsom salt bath.
A cup or two of salt is recommended, and I was delighted to find that Costco sells big jugs of it for a good price.
Magnesium lotion is amazing for sore muscles, but it’s expensive and it makes my skin itch. For awhile I was making my own magnesium spray (also itchy, but much cheaper), but then one day, I received a package in the mail. Tiffany fromDon’t Waste the Crumbs sent me a tin of her own homemade magnesium lotion, as a thank you for being part of the affiliate program for her Grocery Budget Bootcamp, which was really nice of her, and this stuff is AMAZING! It works better than any store bought lotion, and it doesn’t make me itchy.
Her recipe is found here, and I made my first batch recently, after finishing the container from Tiffany. I can’t go without this stuff!
OK, this is a weird one, but it’s so good that I have to share it! It’s a new therapy that I started last fall, and it’s made a huge difference for me.
I’ve been going to my muscle therapist, Nigel Jeffers, for many years already, and I’ve learned that when he tells me to try something for health reasons, I should just do it, no matter how weird it is (although Ben says if it ever involves jumper cables, I need to draw the line!). When Nigel started talking about discs that are stuck onto the body and instantly remove pain, it sounded too good to be true.
But sure enough, that’s how it works! Nigel finds the sore spots on my body, puts discs in specific places, and almost immediately, the pain is greatly decreased. I don’t understand all the science behind it, but what I’ve read is that the discs reset the frequency in the body in a similar way to ultrasound when it’s used for physical therapy, except the discs stay on for a few days to a few weeks, and fall off when they’re done, so the treatment is steady and much longer than ultrasound. It removes inflammation which allows the body to heal on its own.
They look like little round stickers, and people are always asking me about them, which would be fine, except it sounds so weird when I try to explain it!
Besides being able to feel an obvious difference, I’ve been able to see the effects when Nigel used an infrared camera to show the temperature coming off my body before and after treatment. The discs caused the heat to drop by a few degrees within minutes.
This was especially significant when Ben used disc therapy after his knee surgery last fall, and was able to stop pain killers one day after his surgery. According to his doctor and physiotherapist, he recovered from surgery much faster than the average person, which makes sense, since the inflammation was diminished, allowing for faster healing.
In the beginning, I had to go for a disc appointment every week, and had about 28 discs all over me, but now my body is feeling so much better that I only have to go every four weeks, and only got 8 discs last time.
Nigel says he also treats a lot of pets, which he enjoys because he says the dogs don’t have to be convinced that the discs will work, don’t say anything about a placebo effect, and are much more thankful for the treatment than people are!
This one gives me great delight to share, because I discovered it through the comments from last year’s birthday favourites, and I’m so thankful someone took the time to pass it on! (Thanks, Laura!!)
But it’s another one that’s super hard to explain. It’s a combination of appointments with a therapist for treatment, and doing videos at home on my own, which basically teach how to move with greater ease and less pain.
You guys, I’ve tried A LOT of things for pain management, and this is unlike anything I’ve ever done. Within two days, I was feeling so much better. I’ve never had any stretch or exercise work that quickly or effectively.
It’s worked really well together with the disc therapy, because the discs take away inflammation and pain, but I still have bad habits in how I sit, walk, and move in general, so I continue to experience pain from the movements I make.
Neuromovement is making me change the way I move and teaching me new habits so that my muscles don’t hurt as much anymore. I love it so much, I do a movement video almost every day, just because it makes me feel so good! And my therapist, Brooke, is completely amazing, and I always enjoy my appointments with her!
Around Christmas, I was coming across a few different podcasts about meditation, and was convinced it would be a great thing to try as a way of dealing with anxiety. I made it my New Year’s resolution to meditate every day, and I’ve stuck with it. I love it, and I never want to stop! I actually can’t imagine my day without it anymore, because I would feel so disconnected in my thoughts.
The concept is simple – I lie there and breathe in for five seconds, hold for five, breathe out for five, hold for five, and so it all over again, for about 15 to 20 minutes. The hard part is staying focused. But the best explanation I heard about meditation is that realizing your thoughts have strayed and bringing them back again is the whole point – you exercise your control over your thoughts by making the effort to bring them back to your breathing again and again.
I have felt more control over my thoughts in general since starting to mediate, and find it very calming to start each day with it.
Another weird one to share! Grounding means spending time barefoot on the ground! There are a lot of studies that have been done to show the benefits of being barefoot outside. Because we’re surrounded by so many electrical currents, our bodies need a way to get rid of the electric charge that builds up in us, and it does this by going into the ground.
But there are two problems – we don’t spend much time outside barefoot anymore, and here in Manitoba, it’s not even an option for most of the year.
So another way to ground is to use grounding mats or bed sheets that plug into the grounding outlet on an electric outlet, and you can ground yourself while sleeping or sitting at the computer or whatever.
I heard about grounding years ago, but never had room in the budget to buy a sheet or mat, when I didn’t fully understand how critical it was for me to be grounding.
Then last fall, my naturopath gave me a free grounding kit, including a blanket, mat, and wristband, because I was having a lot of trouble with tingling in my lips and extremities, and headaches from cell phones and computers. The level of stray electricity in my body was extremely high, but after a few months of sleeping with the grounding blanket, I started feeling much better. It makes me sleep very deeply and I love it!!
I also try to spend as much time as I can outside, barefoot and in the sand or my garden, and it feels so good! It makes me aware of how little we actually touch the ground these days. We’re so removed from something as simple as getting our feet dirty! Even taking your shoes off and sitting outside for 20 minutes can help relax your body and improve your sleep.
If you want to check out a grounding mat or sheet, this is the site I got mine from.
Whew, that’s a lot of weirdness – most of my secrets exposed! But anyone who lives with pain probably could agree that desperation makes a person willing to try just about anything!! If you have pain, just know that there are lots of options, and don’t give up hope!
What do you do to bring more comfort, relaxation, or better sleep into your life? Leave a comment to be entered in the draw at the end of the week!