Demystifying Menopause: Finding Facts and Ignoring Fiction

Demystifying Menopause: Finding Facts and Ignoring Fiction

By the year 2025, there will be over one billion women in the world who are either menopausal or postmenopausal. These women are in the prime of their life, but some have been led to believe this natural stage of womanhood is a sign that their body is betraying them.

Menopause is one of the biggest biological shifts a woman endures. Hot flashes, night sweats, emotional ups and downs, periods are heavy and painful one month and non-existent the next…

These are indications that your body is transitioning into menopause, and how a woman’s body can respond during this change can vary from day to day. This constant state of change can be difficult and worrisome for a lot of women, but it’s possible to enter into menopause gracefully and healthfully. Part of that is a willingness to talk about it. In honor of those soon-to-be one billion women—menopause is not something to be feared. Think of it not as an end, but as a beginning.

What is Menopause?

In the United States, more than one million women a year experience menopause. The years leading up to menopause are referred to as perimenopause. This process generally begins between ages 45-55, and it can last, on average, around 7-10 years. Premature menopause is when this process begins before age 45. Menopause is, by definition, when menstruation has ceased for 12 months.

Menstruation cessation is triggered by hormone shifts as a woman’s ovaries stop making adequate amounts of estrogen and other hormones. These naturally declining hormones no longer signal the maturation and release of an egg in a monthly cycle. Without an egg being released, there is no need for menstruation.

Some women sail right through menopause without any symptoms, and others deal with a whole boatload of them. Women who have had a complete hysterectomy can experience these symptoms immediately after the surgery. Those who have had a partial hysterectomy (leaving the ovaries intact) can experience menopause years sooner or in a normal time frame depending on their body.

Symptoms of Menopause

There are a variety of symptoms that can occur during perimenopause and continue through menopause. Typically, symptoms will start to reduce after menopause, but this is not the experience for all women. Symptoms can include:

  • Hot flashes – also known as vasomotor symptoms where a sudden feeling of heat/warmth can spread throughout your body
  • Night sweats
  • Sleeping difficulties
  • Vaginal dryness – this can make sex difficult or painful
  • Urinary urgency
  • Weight gain
  • Dryness – this can include your skin, eyes, or mouth
  • Emotional changes – Mood changes can include being more irritable, depressed, or anxious
  • Breast tenderness
  • Irregular periods – menstrual cycles may be heavier or lighter and more or less frequent

Additionally, women can experience symptoms like headaches, racing heart, pain in their joints or muscles, memory or concentration difficulties, and hair thinning or loss. There are also a few important health concerns to keep in mind after menopause (referred to as postmenopause). Osteopenia/osteoporosis is more likely to occur with reduced estrogen levels. Estrogen helps mature bone in childhood, and it is key to maintaining bone density and strength in older years.

The risk of coronary artery disease also goes up roughly ten years after menopause. This is because estrogen is anti-inflammatory and protective of the small blood vessels in the body. Once estrogen production slows down, the risk goes up. Heart disease is the leading cause of death in women and men worldwide, so heart disease prevention should always be considered.

Conventional Approaches to Menopause

Hormone replacement therapy (HRT) is a popular conventional approach to perimenopausal symptoms. There are two main types including estrogen-only hormone therapy used by women who no longer have a uterus, and estrogen-and-progesterone hormone therapy used by women who still have their uterus. These therapies are typically dosed orally with pills or topically via creams depending on doctor/patient preference. Risks do exist with HRT including an increased risk of endometrial cancer (if you use estrogen therapy and still have your uterus), breast cancer, blood clots including deep vein thrombosis, gallstones, pulmonary embolism, and stroke. Risks are lower if you start HRT close to when you started perimenopause or went through menopause.

Antidepressants such as selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) and serotonin and norepinephrine reuptake inhibitors (SNRIs) have been used to help reduce menopause symptoms. Birth control pills may also be recommended to assist with hormone fluctuations during this time. Additionally, vaginal hormone creams can be used directly on vaginal tissues to reduce vaginal dryness. You can choose other non-medical interventions to supplement these options or medications as a first-line approach.

Ways to Support a Healthy Postmenopausal Lifestyle

During menopause, it’s very important to help support your liver and adrenal glands. The ovaries will produce far fewer hormones, including estrogen, after this transition. This means estrogen is going to come mainly from fat cells and the adrenal glands. Liver health is also critical during this time. The liver helps regulate sex hormone levels by breaking them down and supports detoxification.

Healthy Diet. An overall healthy diet will contribute to a reduction in symptoms. Research has shown a reduction in weight in women can lower symptoms. Even a reduction of 5-10 pounds has demonstrated positive effects on hot flashes. A whole foods diet with whole vegetables, a moderate amount of leaner meats, and fruits are great for supporting a healthy weight. Foods such as avocado, turkey, fatty fish, dark leafy greens, strawberries, and pumpkin seeds can also support healthy adrenal glands.

Fiber. Fiber is critical to dietary support through the menopause years. Research shows fiber lowers the risk of cardiovascular events, especially coronary artery disease. The best kind of fiber to consume comes from a whole-food diet. Vegetables, fruits, and whole grains are all great sources of fiber that can be added to your diet. The USDA’s Dietary Guidelines for Americans recommends at least 22-28 grams of fiber per day depending on your age. Additionally, fiber helps bind with broken-down hormones so they leave the body instead of being reabsorbed.

Protein. Menopause has been linked with a decline in bone mineral density and lower muscle mass and strength due to declining estrogen. Adding in good sources of protein and minerals can help with this. Eating adequate amounts of protein can help stimulate muscle formation, especially when paired with quality mineral intake. Experts recommend elderly adults consume between 1.2 and 2.0 grams per kilogram of weight per day. This means that an adult weighing 150 pounds, should be eating a minimum of roughly 80 grams of protein per day. This means eating protein with every meal and snacks can help people reach this goal for optimal health.

Other things to keep in mind include physical activity, drinking enough water, breathing fresh air, getting some sun when you can, and working to get plenty of rest at night can all improve the menopause experience. It’s also a good idea to limit sugar intake to smaller amounts as it has been linked to many diseases.

Natural Approaches to Menopause

Here are a few other ideas you can consider to support health and wellness through your menopausal years.

Emotional/Mental Support. Menopause is another life transition for women. From childhood to teen years, to focusing on your career and/or having a family (if you choose), to kids growing up and leaving the house… Life is full of shifts. Seeking out talk therapy can help support mental health and may even lower hot flashes. Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) can help improve sleep. Finally, reaching out to other women such as family members or friends for chats can also be helpful.

Alternative Therapies. Besides talk therapy, studies have shown reflexology sessions may be helpful though more research is needed. Acupuncture and traditional Chinese herbs may also be helpful with a wide variety of menopausal symptoms. Research is mixed, but acupuncture is very practitioner-dependent; seek a trained licensed professional near you if you’d like to give this a try.

Botanical Support. Herbs can be a great way to help support your body in menopause. Valerian (Valerian officinalis) and lemon balm (Melissa officinalis) can be helpful to support sleep. Black cohosh (Cimicifuga racemosa) and wild yam (Dioscorea villosa) may be helpful with many menopausal symptoms such as irritability, hot flashes, night sweats, etc. Red clover (Trifolium pratense) and soy (Glycine max) can be helpful in supporting bone health. As always, especially if you are taking medication, see advice from your health professional before adding new herbs and supplements.

Exercise. Getting movement helps you maintain your health and wellness throughout life, not just menopause. Research has shown yoga may help improve hot flashes, fatigue, and mood. Other evidence has found that high-intensity and high-impact exercise can help maintain, and possibly improve postmenopausal bone health. Weight-bearing exercise in general can be very supportive of bone health. Even going for walks daily with a water bottle in a backpack adds weight which can support healthy bones.

To Sum It Up…

Perimenopause, menopause, and post-menopause are natural stages of menopause. There are many different ways to ease yourself through this transition. Self-support during this change may be connecting with others going through the same experience. To connect to others online, Healthline has a great listing of online blogs offering connections to women. Their listing can be found here.

Most importantly, remember this is your body changing to support you through the coming decades. It’s a life event for women that’s been ongoing since the beginning of humankind. To read more about menopause and hear the voices of other women from around the world, visit Women First for your free copy. As always, remember to reach out to a trusted health professional for information and advice on menopause and other health concerns.


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Unlocking the Freedom of Minimalist Footwear

Unlocking the Freedom of Minimalist Footwear

This post contains affiliate links. For more information, see our disclosures here.


In a world filled with high-tech sneakers and cushioned soles, there’s a quiet revolution happening in the realm of footwear – the rise of minimalist shoes. These understated wonders have gained popularity not just among athletes and runners but also among individuals seeking a more natural and comfortable way of moving through life. The benefits of wearing minimalist shoes extend far beyond style, offering a host of advantages for your overall well-being.

  1. Enhanced Foot Health: One of the primary perks of minimalist shoes is the way they encourage a more natural gait and foot function. With their thin soles and minimal arch support, they allow your feet to move and flex as nature intended, strengthening the muscles and tendons that support your arches. This can reduce the risk of common foot problems such as plantar fasciitis and shin splints. Plus, improved proprioception – your body’s awareness of its position in space– helps prevent injuries by promoting better balance and posture. Say goodbye to cramped, constricted toes; minimalist shoes often feature a wider toe box, allowing your feet to splay naturally, which can be especially beneficial for individuals with bunions or other toe deformities.
  2. A Sensory Connection: Minimalist shoes bring you closer to the ground, heightening your sensory perception. As your feet make direct contact with the terrain, you become more attuned to your surroundings. This tactile connection not only offers a more immersive outdoor experience but also contributes to better stability and coordination. Whether you’re walking, running, or simply going about your day, minimalist shoes invite you to engage your feet and body in amore mindful way. So, if you’re looking to step into a more balanced and healthy lifestyle, consider giving minimalist shoes a try – they might just be the perfect fit for you. These brands are some of our favorites: WHITIN, Xero Shoes, and Joomra.
What Is Ayurveda?

What Is Ayurveda?

By Ava Wentzel, LMT, Ayurvedic Yoga Therapist in training!

“As human beings, our greatness lies not so much in being able to remake the world … as in being able to remake ourselves.”


-Mahatma Gandhi

Ayurveda—translated literally from Sanskrit as “Life Science”—is an ancient system of medicine that has been practiced for over 5,000 years. It’s understandable that some are wary of Eastern medicinal practices such as Ayurveda or Traditional Chinese Medicine; we’ve all heard stories of people seeking out non-traditional healing methods who have ended up worse off than they were before, or maybe we ourselves have gotten “natural” advice that sounds our inner alarm bells. Allow me to explain why Ayurveda, this ancient Life Science, is safe and effective for every being spiritually connected to the Earth. (That’s you!)

Now, if you dive deep on the Internet, you will uncover Ayurvedic practices such as enemas, vamana therapy (which isn’t as pretty as it sounds), and even leech therapy. It’s true! All of these therapies, when utilized safely with an educated Practitioner or Ayurvedic Doctor, are incredibly healing and not harmful to our bodies. But these more “extreme” therapies, as the Western world might call them, are not Ayurveda. Ayurveda is an embodiment of life’s natural cycles.

When we practice Ayurveda, it looks like …

  • Living in harmony with animals and plants.
  • Eating the foods that nature is providing right now.
  • Getting the proper amount of rest for our bodies every night.
  • Mindful appreciation of how hard our bodies work for us every day.
  • Taking in as much prana (energy) as we need—and knowing that there is always enough for all of us.

The bulk of Ayurveda is truly just to live a simple life with sustained presence. It is not, however, a pseudoscience.

The definitions of “science” vary only slightly, but generally all state that science is “knowledge or a system of knowledge covering general truths or the operation of general laws especially as obtained and tested through scientific method.”

“Scientific method” is what we call the “collection of data through observation and experiment, and the formulation and testing of hypotheses.”

Knowing that Ayurveda is a system of medicine and healing that has been around for over 5,000 years, whereas Western Medicine, as we know it now, has only been practiced for about 200 years (give or take a hundred if you like), it becomes clear that this ancient system of medicine has had quite a bit more time to work out a hypothesis or two! This is not to discredit Western medicine. The contributions Western doctors have made to modern medicine at large are invaluable. However, the fact that Ayurveda is still practiced in the modern world today is a testament to its success and effectiveness.

Ayurveda offers a massive wealth of knowledge that would take (and has taken) many lifetimes to learn. But being that it is, at its core, Earth Wisdom, it becomes easier to let it in when we take the time to ground ourselves in our bodies and truly, truly, feel. Feel what it feels like to be in this one body.

Here is a challenge: Remove your eyes from this screen. Stare at an object in the distance, out of the window if you can. Take three long, slow breaths. Focus on the exhale. What is happening in your body?

Most people cannot answer this simple question.

It’s okay if you can’t right now either. Most of us have become disconnected from our own bodies. It’s a wild time to be alive and it’s no secret that so many people have simply left their bodies. Stress, trauma, you name it. It overwhelms us, it’s too heavy a weight to carry, to feel all the time. So we simply… leave. Even if we don’t realize it. Even if we don’t mean to.

But Ayurveda offers us hope. It offers us a way back. It enables us to regain that essential connection to the most important thing in our life—our Self.

ॐ शान्तिः शान्तिः शान्तिः

Om, Shanti, Shanti, Shanti

(Om, Peace, Peace, Peace)

Ways to Deal with Foot Pain, Naturally

Ways to Deal with Foot Pain, Naturally

This post contains affiliate links. For more information, see our disclosures here.


Suffering from foot pain? Statistically, you aren’t alone. In adults over the age of 45, it’s estimated that 20 – 25% can have foot/ankle pain. Dealing with pain of any kind can negatively impact day-to-day life, but foot pain affects every step you take. With musculoskeletal complaints being one of the most common reasons people go to the doctor, foot pain should not be dismissed. If you are dealing with foot pain, here is more information and suggestions to help support your feet naturally.

Causes of Foot Pain

In general, older adults are most affected by foot pain. Women are more affected than men and typically, those with a high BMI are at a higher risk of having foot pain. Additionally, it’s not uncommon for people with foot and/or ankle pain to also have pain in other places such as their hips or knees.

There are many different causes of foot pain. Some of the most common reasons are accidents and overuse. If you have foot pain after an injury, it’s recommended you see your doctor as you may have a sprain, fracture, or ligament/tendon injury. Overuse can happen when walking miles on hard surfaces or standing in one position for most of the day. And, there are other causes of foot pain. Diseases such as diabetes and arthritis can cause nerve damage or joint pain respectively. Infections from fungi or viruses (think athlete’s foot, warts, etc.) can also cause pain. Wearing shoes that don’t fit properly or are worn out can also be responsible for foot conditions. For example, it’s strongly suggested runners replace their shoes at least every 500 miles. Finally, genetics and the way you move can lead to foot deformities such as bunions and bone spurs which can also cause pain.

Natural Therapies to Help with Foot Pain

Soft Tissue Therapy. This is where we come in! Massage therapy (along with physical therapy, chiropractic, and acupuncture) can be helpful in cases of acute or chronic foot pain depending on the cause. Specific techniques include massage, trigger point therapy, reflexology, gentle stretching, IASTM, or gua sha respectively are shown to be the most helpful.

Barefoot Walking/Minimalist Footwear. Walking barefoot has been gaining popularity over the last few years. Modern-day humans commonly walk in shoes that have thick soles, reducing ground feedback and feeling through the feet. This also can weaken the muscles in your feet, potentially leading to chronic pain over time. It’s recommended to walk barefoot outside and slowly introduce it. Start by walking outside for just a few minutes, and gradually increase the time by a few minutes every week or two. This can help strengthen the foot and lower pain in conditions like shin splints and plantar fasciitis. If going barefoot is not for you, minimalist shoes might be a solution.  One study compared minimalist shoes which have a flatter sole and wide toe box to going barefoot, and both were found beneficial to improving gait and foot health.

Dietary Support for Foot Health

Eating well can affect many different areas of your body, and this includes the feet. Research has shown high inflammatory markers are associated with foot pain. This means the more inflamed your body is, the more likely you are to have foot pain in the first place. Maintaining a healthy weight and blood sugar through diet is very important.

One way to help with this is to balance your calorie intake by consuming 40% carbohydrates, 30% protein, and 30% fat. Eating this way has been shown to be anti-inflammatory as well as promoting weight loss, improving blood sugar, and increasing meal satiety. While correcting your eating habits it is important to remember carbohydrates should mainly be whole vegetables which contain complex carbohydrates. Additionally, consuming a diet high in omega-3s, from fish and grass-fed proteins, can be helpful. Eating foods high in minerals such as magnesium and calcium can also support the feet and overall musculoskeletal health.

Other Supplements to Consider

Protein. Protein is critical to good health. Proteins in your body are built from essential amino acids which must be eaten in your diet, or non-essential, meaning your body can make them itself. These molecules are the building blocks of your body. Proteins make up your organs, hair, and nails. They are also responsible for sending messages, fluid balance, maintaining pH, building cells, transporting nutrients into cells, and even helping create energy in your body. If you have edema, mood changes, weakness/fatigue, are frequently hungry, have a poor immune system, etc., AND foot pain, you may not be eating enough protein. You can add protein by eating more plant or animal proteins, or by adding a powdered protein supplement to your daily regimen.

Collagen. Collagen accounts for one-third of protein in the human body. It can be helpful with reducing chronic pain in muscles and joints. Collagen is generally in powdered form and is water-soluble. It is sourced from bovine, porcine, marine, and poultry sources. Vegan and vegetarian options are starting to become more available. It’s recommended to consume between five to fifteen grams of collagen daily. Pairing this with a regular exercise routine seems to make collagen supplementation even more effective.

Vitamin C. Vitamin C is a potent antioxidant present in many different fruits and vegetables. This vitamin is necessary for creating the triple-helix structure of collagen, allowing for soft tissue repair throughout your body. Research has also found it can help reduce pain in a variety of situations from chronic diseases to surgery. This can be taken as a supplement (1,000 mg two to three times daily) or by eating vitamin C-rich foods including bell peppers, broccoli, kale, spinach, guava, strawberries, currants, cantaloupe, etc.

To Sum It Up…

Foot pain can be hard to deal with, and it affects daily activities. There are many different natural methods to consider when looking to manage your foot pain at home. As always, seek professional help in the case of sudden acute pain, especially after an injury. Talk to your health practitioner before adding any new lifestyle changes to make sure they are a good fit for you and your health goals.


  • Carr, Anitra C, and Cate McCall. 2017. “The Role of Vitamin C in the Treatment of Pain: New Insights.” Journal of Translational Medicine, 15(1): 77. doi:10.1186/s12967-017-1179-7
  • Hawke, Fiona, and Joshua Burns. 2009. “Understanding the Nature and Mechanism of Foot Pain.” Journal of Foot and Ankle Research, 2(1). doi:10.1186/1757-1146-2-1
  • Health Partners. N.D. “Why Does my Foot Hurt? Here are the Top Causes of Foot Pain” Retrieved Aug. 29, 2023.
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  • Juchli, Lydia. 2021. “Effectiveness of Massage Including Proximal Trigger Point Release for Plantar Fasciitis: a Case Report.” International Journal of Therapeutic Massage & Bodywork, 14(2): 22-29.
  • Khatri, Mishti, et al. 2021. “The effects of Collagen Peptide Supplementation on Body Composition, Collagen Synthesis, and Recovery From Joint Injury and Exercise: A Systematic Review.” Amino acids, 53(10): 1493-1506. doi:10.1007/s00726-021-03072-x
  • Petersen, E., Zech, A. & Hamacher, D. 2020. “Walking Barefoot vs. with Minimalist Footwear – Influence on Gait in Younger and Older Adults. BMC Geriatr, 20(88).
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  • Sears, Barry. 2015. “Anti-inflammatory Diets.” Journal of the American College of Nutrition, 34(1): 14-21. doi:10.1080/07315724.2015.1080105
  • Siefkas, Anna C et al. 2022. “Foot Pain and Inflammatory Markers: A Cross Sectional Study in Older Adults.” Journal of Foot and Ankle Research, 15(1): 57. doi:10.1186/s13047-022-00565-0
  • Thomas, M. J., et al. 2011. “The Population Prevalence of Foot and Ankle Pain in Middle and Old Age: A Systematic Review.” Pain, 152(12): 2870–2880. doi:10.1016/j.pain.2011.09.019

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Prevent Brain Drain in Your Elder Years

Prevent Brain Drain in Your Elder Years

This post contains affiliate links. For more information, see our disclosures here.


Is memory decline inevitable or are there things that can be done? Across the world, especially since COVID, the topic of mental health has gained in popularity as people try to recover from and prevent future mental health conditions. These worries can be especially concerning with age. We now know one in ten adults over age 65 in the United States suffers from dementia while with an additional 22% suffering mild cognitive impairment. Of older adults over age 90, 35% have dementia. 60–70% of all dementia cases may be due to Alzheimer’s disease, the most common form of dementia. With these statistics in mind, it’s no wonder memory concerns are a hot topic for middle-aged and elderly adults.

Who Is Most At Risk

Generally, age is the most important factor. The older you are, the higher your risk of developing dementia or another form of cognitive decline. Those who have lower levels of education or are African American or Hispanic are also at a higher risk. Additionally, those with a family history of Alzheimer’s or dementia are also at an increased risk. This is true regardless of gender. Men and women have similar rates of developing cognitive decline or impairment over time.

Lifestyle choices can also have a significant impact on the risk of developing memory problems. Smoking has a significant impact on mental decline, potentially because it increases the risk of cardiovascular disease. Heavy alcohol use also contributes, though moderate drinking doesn’t seem to pose the same level of risk. High cholesterol, atherosclerosis, and diabetes also increase the risk of memory problems. Physical inactivity, social isolation, and being overweight or obese are additional factors putting people at risk of cognitive decline. Finally, high inflammatory markers in the body such as homocysteine level is a strong risk factor for Alzheimer’s and vascular dementia.

Signs and Symptoms of Brain Drain

It’s important to note that everyone presents memory loss and cognitive decline in different ways. Signs and symptoms depend on the person’s mental status before becoming ill, underlying causes, and if there are any other health conditions present.

According to the World Health Organization, early signs and symptoms are:

  • forgetting things or recent events
  • losing or misplacing things
  • getting lost when walking or driving
  • being confused, even in familiar places
  • losing track of time
  • difficulties solving problems or making decisions
  • problems following conversations or trouble finding words
  • difficulties performing familiar tasks
  • misjudging distances to objects visually

Common changes in mood and behavior include:

  • feeling anxious, sad, or angry about memory loss
  • personality changes
  • inappropriate behavior
  • withdrawal from work or social activities
  • being less interested in other people’s emotions

As time progresses, symptoms get worse. The affected person may not be able to recognize family members or friends, have a hard time moving around, or experience a loss of bladder/bowel control. They can also have trouble taking care of themselves, oftentimes including eating and drinking, and in some cases, they can develop aggressive behavior as well.

Conventional Treatment Options

In 2019, dementia cost 1.3 trillion US dollars globally with the majority of money spent due to caregivers. This mainly includes family members and close friends providing an average of five hours of care each day. With this in mind, therapies and treatments to help maintain memory and independent function are critical to overall public health.

First-line therapies for those with Alzheimer’s dementia (AD) typically include cholinesterase inhibitors. This class of medications delays the breakdown of the neurotransmitter acetylcholine. Since acetylcholine is one of the first neurons and neurotransmitters affected in Alzheimer’s, these medications can help reduce the damage early on. Additionally, these medications have been shown to slow down mental decline in mild to moderate AD. Another medication for moderate to severe AD is memantine which helps protect neurons from excitotoxicity.

Antidepressants can be used to help with any mood disorders which may occur. Some medications may also be used to help lower any agitation or anxiety which may arise. Other drugs are being developed to help deal with neurofibrillary tangles and beta-amyloid plaques which are thought to be a main cause of AD.

Overall, people suffering from dementia may stabilize, but the vast majority of them continue to decline over time. These folks rely on family members and friends to help care for them. In some cases, the affected person has to be placed in a full-time care facility with a memory unit.

Prevention with Natural Therapies

Again, lifestyle choices contribute significantly to the risk of developing memory loss and cognitive decline. Considering this, it’s important to try and prevent your mental state from declining. One great way to help with this is to eat a whole foods diet with a rainbow of colors to make sure you are getting adequate nutrition. Exercising for thirty minutes at least three times a week is supportive of overall health and can lower disease risk factors that contribute to memory decline in addition to a healthy diet.

Eat Less Sugar. The World Health Organization in 2015 recommended sugar consumption should be twenty-five grams or less every day for the average adult. Modern diets across the world are often exceeding these amounts. Research has shown the more sugar older adults consume, the worse their memory is. Conversely, the same study found people with diets rich in vegetables and fruits had a better memory.

Fish Oil. Fish oil contains EPA/DHA, omega-3 fatty acids that can help improve overall health. In addition to being anti-inflammatory, EPA/DHA supports healthy cellular membranes. Research has shown adding one gram or more of fish oil a day can improve memory in older adults with mild memory problems. Dietarily, it’s recommended to eat oily fish twice a week.

Green Tea (Camellia sinensis). Numerous studies have been done on green tea which have all shown it supports a healthy brain. Green tea contains L-theanine and caffeine as well as other constituents that work together synergistically. Consuming green tea has been shown to improve memory and attention and can even support a healthier mood. It also lowers the risk of developing neurodegenerative diseases, and it appears to lower beta-amyloid plaques. These plaques are a primary contributor to developing Alzheimer’s disease. This can be taken as a supplement or by drinking it as a tea at least a few or more times a week.

Mental Exercises. Don’t forget the importance of exercising your brain! Research has shown doing games, puzzles, and other activities helps strengthen neural connections. One study found doing 15 minutes of varied online memory exercises had more benefit than just doing crossword puzzles for the same amount of time each day. Not only is it important to exercise your brain, but your brain benefits from variety too. If you already include mental exercise in your daily habits be sure to try different exercises to get the most out of your time.

Adequate Sleep. It’s been said sleep is important to health, but adults are recommended to get seven or more hours of sleep nightly. Less than seven hours has been associated with impaired performance and increased errors. It also raises the risk of diseases such as diabetes and heart disease which directly increase the risk of memory dysfunction.

To Sum It Up

Most importantly remember living a healthy lifestyle can help prevent brain drain. Work to manage your stress, get your body moving a little bit every day and eat a whole foods-based diet. Be sure to get at least 7-9 hours of sleep every night, and drink water throughout the day. Last but not least, make sure to get out and socialize in person with your friends and family. These basic healthy lifestyle practices can have a greater impact than any supplement. For more personalized recommendations, reach out to your local holistic health practitioner.


  • Chong, C P et al. 1019. “Habitual Sugar Intake and Cognitive Impairment Among Multi-ethnic Malaysian Older Adults.” Clinical Interventions in Aging, 14; 1331-1342. doi:10.2147/CIA.S211534
  • Hardy, Joseph L et al. 2015. “Enhancing Cognitive Abilities with Comprehensive Training: A Large, Online, Randomized, Active-Controlled Trial.” PloS one, 10(9); e0134467. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0134467
  • Kan, Zhipeng et al. 2021. “Green Tea Suppresses Amyloid β Levels and Alleviates Cognitive Impairment by Inhibiting APP Cleavage and Preventing Neurotoxicity in 5XFAD Mice.” Molecular Nutrition & Food Research, 65(19); e2100626. doi:10.1002/mnfr.202100626
  • Liu, Y et al. 2018. “The Effects of Green Tea Extract on Working Memory in Healthy Women.” The Journal of Nutrition, Health & Aging, 22(3); 446-450. doi:10.1007/s12603-017-0962-8
  • Mancini, Edele et al. 2017. “Green Tea Effects on Cognition, Mood and Human Brain Function: A Systematic Review.” Phytomedicine: International Journal of Phytotherapy and Phytopharmacology, 34; 26-37. doi:10.1016/j.phymed.2017.07.008
  • “One in 10 Older Americans Has Dementia.” N.D. Columbia University Irving Medical Center. Revised Oct. 24, 2022.
  • Stanford Medicine Health Care. N.D. “Dementia Risk Factors.” Retrieved July 29, 2023.
  • Yiannopoulou, Konstantina G, and Sokratis G Papageorgiou. 2013. “Current and Future Treatments for Alzheimer’s Disease.” Therapeutic Advances in Neurological Disorders, 6(1); 19-33. doi:10.1177/1756285612461679
  • Yurko-Mauro, Karin et al. 2015. “Docosahexaenoic Acid and Adult Memory: A Systematic Review and Meta-analysis.” PloS one, 10(3); e0120391. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0120391
  • Watson, Nathaniel F et al. 2015. “Recommended Amount of Sleep for a Healthy Adult: A Joint Consensus Statement of the American Academy of Sleep Medicine and Sleep Research Society.” Sleep, 38(6); 843-4. doi:10.5665/sleep.4716
  • World Health Organization. “Dementia.” N.D. Revised Mar. 15, 2023.

Image attribution:

Electrolytes – Are They In You?

Electrolytes – Are They In You?

This post contains affiliate links. For more information, see our disclosures here.


Most of us grew up knowing that roughly 60-70% of our body is made of water. You’ve been told to drink water when it’s hot or when you exercise. Suddenly, you learn that water alone isn’t enough. Fancy commercials with name-brand products in dozens of colors and flavors burst onto the scene. Drink your electrolytes, and electrolyte drinks are better than water, they say. But is this really true? Are electrolytes crucial to a healthy body? Read on to learn more.

What are Electrolytes?

Electrolytes are substances that, when dissolved in water, create an electrical charge. These positive and negative ions are what allow your body to maintain electrical signaling between cells. To communicate and work effectively, your cells rely on electrolytes to create electrical signals. This is especially important in muscle cells and neurons. Besides playing a role in muscle contraction and nerve impulses, electrolytes also support healthy hydration and pH balance. Electrolytes in humans include sodium, potassium, chloride, magnesium, calcium, phosphate, and bicarbonate.

What Affects Electrolyte Balance?

For the average person, sweat, urine, vomiting, and diarrhea are the primary sources of electrolyte changes. Hormone signals help maintain proper levels of electrolytes. The kidneys help maintain electrolyte balance, holding on to electrolytes in the blood when they are low and excreting them in the urine when they are high. Other organs including the brain, adrenal glands, and to a lesser extent, the lungs also contribute to electrolyte balance.

Additionally, not eating enough food or the right foods can affect electrolyte levels. Alcohol consumption, excessive workouts, and eating disorders can all negatively change electrolyte balance.

Generally, your doctor will check electrolyte balance as part of routine lab work. They can also check again if you are experiencing gastrointestinal problems, arrhythmias or other heart concerns, lung disorders, endocrine disruptions, etc. Some medications such as diuretics can also affect electrolyte balance and ongoing labs to monitor electrolytes levels may be ordered.

Importance of Electrolytes

Electrolytes are crucial to overall health. When electrolytes are out of balance, symptoms such as headaches, low energy, fatigue, nausea, blood pressure changes, just not feeling well can occur and/or more may occur. Electrolytes also play a role in many health conditions.

For instance, if you are more active, electrolytes are critical to maintaining proper hydration. As you are sweating, electrolytes and water are lost through sweating. We now know water alone is not as hydrating as water with electrolytes. Research shows that trace minerals and bicarbonate help keep water in the proper places and balance within the body.

Electrolytes have also been linked to maintaining a healthy blood pressure. For instance, table salt (sodium chloride) has been found to increase blood pressure when consumed in larger amounts. On the flip side, consuming potassium, calcium, and magnesium may lower blood pressure.

Natural Ways to Support Healthy Electrolyte Balance

Buy Commercial Electrolytes. This is a viable option for those who don’t have a lot of time on their hands. Yet, this can be complex in and of itself. There are dozens of brands and products from powders, dissolvable tabs, and premixed drinks you can buy. Most importantly, before you buy any product, make sure it has little to no sugar in it. Generally, these products are best for people who will be sweating for an hour or more in heat or from working or exercising. We like this one and this one.

Make Your Own. It can be as simple as drinking a carton of coconut water and adding a pinch of Himalayan salt. If you want to make your own liquid or powdered mix, you can also do that.


1/4 teaspoon baking soda (307 mg sodium)
1/16 teaspoon Morton’s Lite Salt (87.5 mg potassium and 72.5 mg sodium)
1/16 teaspoon Epsom salt (30 mg magnesium)
Optional flavors such as lemon or pomegranate juice (you can also choose tea, stevia, or another water enhancer)


Measure directly into 16 ounces of cold still or sparkling water or other beverage

Please note that using the less is more approach is important with electrolytes as it may cause stomach upset. Start with less and increase if needed. Everyone’s body chemistry is different, especially while sweating or working out.

Eat Mineral-Rich Foods. There are a variety of foods you can consume to help maintain a proper electrolyte balance. Healthy whole food options include whole milk, yogurt, unsweetened soy milk, butternut squash, spinach, dill pickles, celery, and lettuce. An easy natural option to consider is drinking coconut water with a tiny pinch of Himalayan salt in it.

Support Your Kidneys. Another approach to consider is supporting your kidney health. Your kidneys filter, on average, about 150 quarts of blood daily. By optimizing function, your kidneys can do a better job helping to maintain electrolytes in your body. Herbs to consider include astragalus (Astragalus membranaceus), Cordyceps sinensis, or ginger (Zingiber officinale). A great way to add these herbs to your diet is via tea or supplements.

As always, if you have a medical condition affecting your electrolytes, it’s important to seek medical advice from your doctor or a professional nutritionist trained on your health disorder. If you are looking for personalized natural options for yourself and your family, consider visiting your local holistic health professional.


Bewick, Kyle. N.D. “What Are Electrolytes?” Cedars Sinai. Revised Oct. 16, 2019.

Choi D-H, Cho J-Y, Koo J-H, Kim T-K. 2021. “Effects of Electrolyte Supplements on Body Water Homeostasis and Exercise Performance during Exhaustive Exercise”. Applied Sciences. 2021; 11(19):9093.

Cleveland Clinic. N.D. “Electrolytes.” Revised Sept. 24, 2021.

Khan, Muhammad Ali et al. 2022. “Promoting Plant-Based Therapies for Chronic Kidney Disease.” Journal of Evidence-based Integrative Medicine, 27: 2515690X221079688. doi:10.1177/2515690X221079688

Kotchen, Theodore et al. 1998. “Dietary Electrolytes and Blood Pressure.” Circulation, 98(6); 613-617.

Shrimanker I, Bhattarai S. Electrolytes. 2023. StatPearls. Revised Apr. 2023.Treasure Island (FL): StatPearls Publishing.

Whitbread, Daisy. N.D. “High Electrolyte Foods.” Revised May 29, 2023.

Image attribution: kues1/

Manual Lymphatic Drainage: A Gentle Approach to Health and Wellness

Manual Lymphatic Drainage: A Gentle Approach to Health and Wellness

In the realm of holistic wellness, one therapeutic technique stands out for its gentle yet powerful impact on our bodies: Manual Lymphatic Drainage (MLD). While often misconstrued as a massage, MLD is a specialized therapy designed to stimulate the lymphatic system—a vital component of our immune and circulatory systems.

Unlike traditional massage techniques that focus on muscles, MLD targets the lymphatic vessels and lymph nodes, gently encouraging the natural flow of lymphatic fluid. This gentle, rhythmic approach allows for the removal of toxins, excess fluid, and waste products from the body.

The Transformative Power of MLD: Elevating Health and Wellness through Lymphatic Stimulation

The lymphatic system plays a crucial role in maintaining overall health and well-being. It acts as the body’s drainage system, filtering and eliminating waste materials, fighting infections, and supporting the immune response. However, because the lymphatic system has no pump of its own (like the heart pumps blood) it relies on natural movement, such as muscle contractions and deep breathing, to efficiently carry out its functions.

With today’s sedentary lifestyles, where physical activity may be limited, and stress levels can soar, the lymphatic system may become sluggish, hindering its optimal performance. This is where Manual Lymphatic Drainage comes into play. By employing gentle, precise hand techniques and stimulating lymphatic flow, MLD helps revitalize the lymphatic system, promoting detoxification, reducing swelling, boosting immune function, and enhancing overall well-being.

The significance of MLD extends beyond its physical benefits. It provides a unique opportunity to reconnect with our bodies, fostering a sense of relaxation, balance, and harmony. Through its gentle touch and focused attention, MLD can also promote mental and emotional well-being, helping to alleviate stress, anxiety, and fatigue. We find it even more relaxing than massage!

Differentiating MLD from Traditional Massage Techniques

When it comes to Manual Lymphatic Drainage (MLD), it is important to distinguish it from traditional massage techniques. While both involve touch and hands-on therapy, MLD focuses specifically on the lymphatic system rather than targeting muscular tissues.

Unlike the deep pressure and kneading commonly associated with massages, MLD utilizes gentle, light strokes and rhythmic movements. The intent is not to manipulate the muscles but to stimulate the lymphatic vessels and encourage the natural flow of lymphatic fluid. This distinction is crucial to understanding the unique nature and purpose of MLD as a therapy.

The Gentle and Rhythmic Movements Involved in MLD

The hallmark of Manual Lymphatic Drainage lies in its gentle and rhythmic movements. MLD therapists employ a sequence of precise hand techniques that follow a specific order and direction.

The strokes used in MLD are light, rhythmic, and repetitive, ensuring a consistent and harmonious flow. These delicate movements create a wave-like effect that gently guides the lymphatic fluid towards the lymph nodes and drainage points.

How MLD Stimulates the Lymphatic System and Aids in Detoxification

Manual Lymphatic Drainage serves as a catalyst for the lymphatic system, promoting its natural functioning and enhancing the body’s detoxification process. By employing the gentle strokes and rhythmic movements mentioned earlier, MLD stimulates the contraction of lymphatic vessels, facilitating the movement of lymphatic fluid throughout the body.

This stimulation helps to remove metabolic waste, toxins, excess fluid, and cellular debris from the tissues, redirecting them towards the lymph nodes for filtration and eventual elimination. By aiding the lymphatic system’s detoxification process, MLD supports the body in maintaining a healthier internal environment.

Furthermore, MLD can have a profound impact on reducing swelling. By promoting lymphatic flow, MLD assists in redirecting excess fluid away from swollen areas, providing relief and a reduction in localized swelling.

Understanding the basics of Manual Lymphatic Drainage allows us to appreciate the gentle yet purposeful nature of this therapeutic technique. The precise hand movements and rhythmic strokes work synergistically to stimulate the lymphatic system, encourage detoxification, and alleviate swelling.

The Benefits of Manual Lymphatic Drainage

1.     Reducing swelling through improved lymphatic circulation

One of the primary benefits of Manual Lymphatic Drainage (MLD) is its ability to reduce swelling. By stimulating the lymphatic system and improving lymphatic circulation, MLD helps to redirect excess fluid away from swollen areas. This gentle therapy can be particularly effective in managing post-surgical swelling, lymphedema, and sports-related injuries. The reduction in swelling not only provides physical relief but also enhances mobility and promotes healing.

2.     Enhancing the body’s detoxification process by eliminating toxins and excess fluid

The lymphatic system plays a vital role in the body’s detoxification process, and MLD can significantly enhance this function. Think of the lymphatic system as the body’s REDUCE, REUSE, RECYCLE system. By stimulating lymphatic flow, MLD aids in the elimination of toxins, metabolic waste, and excess fluid from the tissues. This detoxification process helps to create a healthier internal environment, supporting overall well-being and reducing the burden on other elimination organs such as the liver and kidneys.

3.     Strengthening the immune system and its role in fighting infections

A robust immune system is crucial for defending the body against infections and illnesses. Manual Lymphatic Drainage can contribute to strengthening the immune system by promoting lymphatic circulation. Improved lymphatic flow helps to facilitate the transport of immune cells, antibodies, and other defense mechanisms throughout the body, enabling a more efficient immune response. By supporting the immune system, MLD can assist in reducing the frequency and severity of infections, colds, and flu.

4.     Help alleviate symptoms with fibromyalgia, rheumatoid arthritis, and migraines

Manual Lymphatic Drainage has shown promise in alleviating symptoms associated with various chronic conditions. For individuals with fibromyalgia, rheumatoid arthritis, and migraines, MLD can help reduce pain, inflammation, and discomfort. By enhancing lymphatic circulation and promoting the removal of waste products and inflammatory substances, MLD can provide relief and improve overall quality of life.

5.     Promoting relaxation, stress reduction, and improved sleep

In our fast-paced, stress-filled lives, relaxation and stress reduction are essential for our well-being. Manual Lymphatic Drainage offers a unique opportunity for deep relaxation and rejuvenation. The gentle, rhythmic movements and focused touch during an MLD session are extremely relaxing and can help promote a sense of calmness and tranquility, allowing the body and mind to unwind. This relaxation response can lead to reduced stress levels, improved sleep quality, and an overall enhanced state of well-being.

Are You Ready to Experience the Benefits of MLD at Holistic Lakewood?

Take the opportunity to explore the benefits of Manual Lymphatic Drainage and experience the transformative potential it offers. Visit Holistic Lakewood, where our trained, licensed massage therapists can guide you on this journey of wellness and help you discover the healing touch of Manual Lymphatic Drainage.

Remember, it is always advisable to consult with a healthcare professional before starting any new therapy or wellness practice.

10 Signs You Need a Massage: Listen to Your Body

10 Signs You Need a Massage: Listen to Your Body

Whether you’re dealing with persistent muscle tension, chronic pain, high stress levels, or other discomforts, recognizing these signs can empower you to prioritize your well-being. By recognizing these signs and responding to your body’s needs, you can experience the numerous benefits of massage therapy. In this article, we will delve into each sign, exploring how massage therapy can help address these issues and restore balance to your body and mind.

Sign 1: Persistent Muscle Tension

If you find yourself experiencing persistent muscle tension, it’s a clear indicator that your body could benefit from a massage. Whether it’s caused by stress, overuse, or poor posture, tense muscles can lead to discomfort and limited mobility.

Persistent muscle tension is a common issue that many people face. It often occurs as a result of stress, overuse of certain muscles, or maintaining poor posture for extended periods. When muscles remain tense for prolonged periods, it can lead to discomfort, pain, and limited mobility. Massage therapy can effectively address persistent muscle tension by applying targeted pressure and gentle manipulation to release muscle knots and tension. This helps to improve blood circulation, relax the muscles, and restore proper function, ultimately providing relief and allowing you to move with greater ease.

Sign 2: Chronic Pain

Living with chronic pain can be incredibly challenging and negatively impact your overall quality of life. Whether it’s caused by conditions such as fibromyalgia, arthritis, or injury, chronic pain can be persistent and debilitating. Massage therapy is known for its ability to alleviate pain and promote healing. By targeting specific areas of discomfort, massage therapy can reduce inflammation, improve blood flow, and release tension in the affected muscles and soft tissues. This can lead to significant pain relief, increased range of motion, and an improved sense of well-being. Chronic pain can significantly impact your quality of life. When pain persists for an extended period, seeking relief through massage therapy can be transformative.

Sign 3: Poor Posture

In today’s sedentary lifestyle, poor posture has become increasingly prevalent, especially with long hours spent sitting at desks or looking down at screens. Poor posture can lead to muscle imbalances, strain on the spine, and increased risk of injury. Massage therapy can play a crucial role in correcting poor posture by addressing the underlying muscular imbalances. By focusing on specific muscles that contribute to postural issues, massage therapists release tension, stretch tight muscles, and restore proper alignment. This can not only alleviate discomfort but also help you develop better postural habits and prevent future issues.

Sign 4: High Stress Levels

Stress has become a common part of our daily lives, and its effects can manifest physically, mentally, and emotionally. High stress levels can contribute to muscle tension, headaches, sleep disturbances, and a weakened immune system. Massage therapy offers a holistic approach to stress management by inducing deep relaxation and reducing the production of stress hormones like cortisol. Through gentle strokes, kneading, and the application of pressure, massage stimulates the body’s relaxation response, calming the nervous system and promoting a sense of tranquility and well-being.

Sign 5: Limited Range of Motion

If you find yourself experiencing a limited range of motion in your joints or stiffness in your muscles, massage therapy can be highly beneficial. Restricted movement can occur due to injury, muscle imbalances, or conditions such as arthritis. Skilled massage therapists employ techniques such as stretching, joint mobilization, and myofascial release to target and address these issues. By loosening tight muscles, increasing flexibility, and improving joint mobility, massage therapy helps restore the full range of motion, allowing you to move more freely and with greater comfort.

Sign 6: Sleep Problems

Sleep is essential for our physical and mental well-being, but many individuals struggle with sleep-related issues such as insomnia or poor sleep quality. Massage therapy has been shown to promote relaxation and improve sleep patterns. By reducing muscle tension, decreasing anxiety, and triggering the release of endorphins, massage therapy can help regulate the sleep-wake cycle and induce a state of deep relaxation. This, in turn, can lead to improved sleep duration and quality, allowing you to wake up feeling refreshed and rejuvenated.

Sign 7: Headaches or Migraines

Headaches and migraines can be incredibly debilitating and disrupt your daily life. These conditions can be triggered by various factors, including muscle tension, stress, or poor posture. Massage therapy can provide significant relief by targeting the specific muscles and trigger points associated with headache pain. Techniques such as craniosacral therapy, gentle neck and shoulder massage, and acupressure can help reduce muscle tension, improve blood flow, and alleviate headache symptoms. Regular massage sessions may even help prevent the recurrence of headaches and migraines.

Sign 8: Low Energy and Fatigue

Feeling constantly tired and drained can be a sign that your body needs a reset. Massage therapy can help boost your energy levels by stimulating blood circulation, promoting the release of endorphins, and reducing the production of stress hormones. These physiological responses can result in increased energy, mental clarity, and reduced fatigue. Massage therapy also provides an opportunity for deep relaxation, allowing your body and mind to recharge, rejuvenate, and restore balance.

Sign 9: Emotional Imbalance

Emotional well-being is closely linked to physical health, and massage therapy can play a vital role in promoting both. Stress, anxiety, and depression can manifest in the body as muscle tension, digestive issues, or headaches. Massage therapy helps release endorphins, which are natural mood enhancers, and reduce the levels of stress hormones such as cortisol. The therapeutic touch of massage, combined with the soothing environment and focus on relaxation, can help alleviate emotional distress, promote a sense of calmness, and restore emotional balance.

Sign 10: Overall Discomfort or Feeling “Off”

Sometimes, despite not having specific symptoms, you may experience a general sense of discomfort or simply feel “off.” This can be an indication that your body and mind are in need of attention and care. Massage therapy provides a holistic approach that addresses both physical and mental well-being. Through the combination of soothing touch, relaxation techniques, and the release of muscle tension, massage therapy can alleviate overall discomfort, improve circulation, boost the immune system, and promote a sense of overall well-being.

By paying attention to these ten signs and responding to your body’s needs, you can benefit from the transformative effects of massage therapy and experience improved physical health, mental clarity, and emotional well-being.

At Holistic Lakewood, we believe that listening to your body is crucial for maintaining optimal health and wellness. The ten signs we’ve discussed in this article serve as valuable indicators that it’s time to prioritize self-care through massage therapy. Whether you’re experiencing persistent muscle tension, chronic pain, poor posture, high stress levels, limited range of motion, sleep problems, headaches, low energy, emotional imbalance, or an overall sense of discomfort, our skilled massage therapists are here to help.

Located in Lakewood, just west of Cleveland, Ohio, Holistic Lakewood offers a range of massage techniques and personalized treatments to address your specific needs. We invite you to visit us and experience the transformative power of therapeutic massage. Take the time to invest in yourself, prioritize self-care, and unlock the many benefits that massage therapy can bring to your life.

Is your body speaking to you now? Contact us today to book your appointment!