Free talk at Gaia Garden Herbals: lymphatic drainage detox massage June 7

I will be doing a free talk at Gaia Garden Herbal Dispensary, 2672 W. Broadway, Vancouver on Thurs, June 7, 1:30-2pm on the benefits of lymphatic drainage detox massage.  From 2-5:30pm  I will be offering free 10-15 min. one on one consultations so you can see if this would be beneficial for you. Or choose a 30 min appointment which includes a consultation and a 10-15 min. mini lymph drainage demonstration on you by donation.  Email me to pre-register for the talk and/or free consultation as there is very limited seating and/or consultations. 


The Best Kept Secret in the Health Industry:

Lymphatic Drainage Detox Massage

Donna Sam has been practicing lymphatic drainage detox massage for 6 years. Her techniques are
geared toward the average person who wants to rid their body of toxins. People who get frequent head-
aches, have joint pain and inflammation, recurrent respiratory problems, fatigue, difficulty losing weight,
often have toxin overload and are needing to detox. Donna’s techniques can help give you more energy, brain clarity, lose weight,reduce cellulite, boost your immune system, relieve PMS and other hormone issues, and even reduce skin problems like eczema and acne.  Lymphatic drainage detox massage can also help relieve bloating, gas,
elimination issues, etc. And can be very effective for improving circulation and reducing fluid retention issues (such as swollen legs and ankles). Known to alleviate allergy-like symptoms (e.g. hay fever, watery eyes, runny nose) and it
does an amazing job of calming the nervous system and improving your sleep.
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Benefits of Far Infrared Therapy including far infrared emitting fabric

If you are a lymph drainage detox massage client of mine you will notice that I encourage the use of far infrared saunas for further detoxification.  If you have also purchased the Firma Energywear circulation socks/leggings/tops or compression knee bands that I sell,  you will know that the unique selling feature of these products is the far infrared benefit.

(Please see separate  page on Firma Energywear products (socks/leggings/tops/compression knee bands).

Most of us are probably familiar with far infrared saunas for their detox and other health benefits for aches and pains, etc.  However, not many of us are familiar with far infrared emitting ceramics and  fabrics which is the smart yarn technology that Firma Energywear incorporates.

Far infrared energy is the same gentle energy we experience from the warmth of sunlight or body heat.  In this post I want to talk about some of the further benefits of far infrared.

Below I  quote from and exerpts from PubMed (clinical  medical studies). The emphasis is mine.

1) Far Infrared expands capillaries which stimulates increased blood flow, regeneration, circulation and oxygen. It also maintains and promotes healthy lung function.

2) Far Infrared is excellent for detoxification and helps lymphatic cleansing. Scientists in Japan report that in the FIR treatment of clogged capillary vessels, heat expands the capillaries and then initiates the start of a process to dissolve hidden toxins. Far Infrared thereby promotes elimination of fats, chemicals and toxins from the blood: poisons, heavy metals – carcinogenic substances from food processing – lactic acid, free fatty acids, and subcutaneous fat associated with aging and fatigue – excess sodium associated with blood pressure – and uric acid. Furthermore, if sebaceous glands are activated, accumulated cosmetics in pores can be eliminated through the skin (sweat and oil glands), as opposed to the kidneys.

3) Far Infrared emits photons, photons help release enzymes, enzymes stimulate macrophage activity increasing the elimination of damaged and unhealthy tissues – nitric oxide (NO) is released which expands capillaries and increases circulation, which carries toxins to the lymph system and out of the body.


FYI: Food does not contain nitric oxide, but some foods contain nitrates, which the body can turn into nitric oxide. Source:

4) Far Infrared promotes creation of nitric oxide. The action of nitric oxide was not discovered until about 1991 by Dr. Salvador Mondada. Then three Pharmacologists, Robert F. Furchgott, Louis J. Ignarro, and Ferid Murad won the Nobel Prize in 1996 for “for their discoveries concerning nitric oxide as a signalling molecule in the cardiovascular system”. –

Note on nitric oxide:
“From diabetes to hypertension, cancer to drug addiction, stroke to intestinal motility, memory and learning disorders to septic shock, sunburn to anorexia, male impotence to tuberculosis, there is probably no pathological condition where nitric oxide does not play an important role.” – Source: – Nitric Oxcide Society Website.

FYI: Far Infrared heat and Nitric Oxide (PDF format).

5) Far Infrared may promote the elimination of various parasitical and non-parasitical invaders.

6) Far Infrared promotes rebuilding of injured tissue (tissue regeneration), by having a positive effect on the fibroblasts (connective tissue cells necessary for the repair of injury). Furthermore, it supports cell growth, DNA syntheses, and protein synthesis all necessary during tissue repair and regeneration. Excellent for healing burns, scar tissue and skin problems such as acne and skin breakouts – anti-aging effects and lessening/softening of wrinkles due to enhanced collagen production.

7) Far Infrared relieves nervous tension and relax auto-neuro muscles thereby helping the body make the most of its intended healing abilities. FIR reduces soreness on nerve endings and muscle spasms, as muscle fibers are heated. As a result, rapid reduction of swelling, inflammation and associated pain occurs. Relaxation of muscles and relief of muscular aches – reduces back, shoulder and neck pains.

8) Far Infrared strengthens and supports the Immune system by supporting increased production of white blood cells (leukocytes) by the bone marrow and killer T-cells by the thymus.

“Natural killer cells in the immune system are crucial to effective immune defence. Hyperthermia releases a bunch of zytokines and heat shock proteins which make cancer cells more immunogenic that means they are better recognized by the natural killer cells. NK cells are essential in killing virus-infected cells and destroying cancer cells. The nutrients selenium, ß-glycan and zinc increase circulating levels of natural killer cells and boost their cancer-killing activity.” – Extract from article written by Dr. Friedrich Douwes, Klinic St. Georg, Germany.

9) Far Infrared strengthens the cardiovascular system by causing heart rate and cardiac output increase, and diastolic blood pressure decrease – research by NASA in the early 1980’s led to the conclusion that far infrared stimulation of cardiovascular function would be the ideal way to maintain cardiovascular conditioning in American astronauts during long space flight.

10) Far Infrared thermal therapy – commonly known as hyperthermia across Europe and Asia – provides support in the destruction of malignant cells which cannot survive if the temperature of the cell becomes 107.6F/42C and above.

11) Far Infrared soothes tension and stress in both body and mind.

12) Far infrared radiation (FIR): its biological effects and medical applications. – PubMed, first published online Oct 16th, 2012.  These medical studies are often quoted to back up claims on the efficacy of far infrared including far infrared emitting fabrics.

The last link provides clinical medical evidence (government publications) supporting Firma Energywear’s claim on increased blood microcirculation,  reduction of muscle fatigue, weight loss/cellulite reduction , pain relief (examples  given were for menstrual pain, diabetic chronic foot pain from  neuropathy,  arthritic pain inflammation reduction, pain relief from Raynaud’s syndrome due to gloves made from far infrared emitting  fabric).  Cosmetic benefit is enhanced collagen production.

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Why detox? Why a lymph drainage detox?

I have been asked why a person would want to do lymph drainage detox massage as opposed to just doing a cleanse from the health store (or something equivalent).

In order to answer that question it is necessary to understand what the lymph system of the body is.

It is the system of the body that drains all the wastes and toxins from the body (e.g. bacteria, viruses, dead cells, proteins, toxins/wastes).  It is also about fluid balance and defending the body against infections (the thymus gland, tonsils, spleen and bone marrow are lymphatic tissue).  It also plays a role in fat absorption in the intestine. Without this important system (which is a parallel system to the blood system) we would die in 3 days.

All those toxins need to be drained first from the lymph system before it can exit the body.  Think of it this way:  they are like the drains of your body to eliminate waste (“internal plumbing” – as the first point of elimination to get those toxins out.   (Imagine if your sink or tub was clogged – do you only clean the sink or the drains?).  70% of your Gut Associated Lymph Tissue (GALT) is in your gut working hard to get those toxins out so they can eventually be processed by the liver, colon, kidneys.   This is why doing a liver or colon cleanse is not enough if you have a stagnant lymph system as it is the “drains” (the lymph vessels/nodes) that need to be de-clogged first before the toxins can exit the colon (large intestine).

I have many clients who have done liver and colon cleanses and/or colon hydrotherapy (and eat healthily and have done elimination diets where they have eliminated their food sensitivities) but still have issues with their health (e.g. digestive/elimination/low energy/sinuses, acne, etc) and can’t figure out why.  It is because they have neglected to clean out the “drains” – their internal plumbing.  They only remembered to clean out the sink (liver/colon, etc) and not the drains (lymph vessels).   (See various blogs in my website including “How Liver Toxins Affect your Hormones & Weight” , “Armouring your Immune System with Lymph Massage”, and “Lymph System and your Health”.)  This is not to say that you should not do a cleanse from the health store – in fact, I do recommend it as additional treatment in addition to excellent diet and exercise and lymphatic drainage.

How do you know if you have a stagnant lymph system.    Take a look at this checklist I found on


John Douillard, Certified Ayurvedic Practitioner ( says that “Congestion of the lymph will default the toxins back to the liver, which can easily become overwhelmed and dump toxins back into the bloodstream, where are they are dumped into fat cells and brain cells to be stored. Through lymph vessels, the brain detoxifies 3 pounds of waste each year, which is close to the entire weight of the brain. When the lymph and liver are both congested, these toxins put the body at great risk for unnecessary health concerns and accelerated aging.” From his blog “What Happened to Natural Detox” dated March 15, 2016.

What can you expect to feel from receiving a lymph drainage detox massage from me? Initially (the day after or sometimes a few days after), you may experience some detox symptoms (like fatigue, headache, aches and pains, etc) and that is normal (although not everyone experiences that).  This is from the toxins being brought to the surface.  You can then expect more energy (especially after a number of sessions).  Wouldn’t you like to wake up with way more energy and/or get rid of that afternoon slump so you can accomplish a lot more and feel better? You can also expect  improvement in your digestion/elimination (gas/bloating), toning in your muscles (I have especially noticed it in the abdominal region (client’ s pants feel looser) and the arms to start with), weight loss,  less swelling in legs/ankles/arms if you have fluid retention, reduction in PMS (including issues with swollen breasts, cramps, irritability, hormonal acne), improvement in skin – eczema, rashes, acne, pimples, etc.  This type of massage has an anti-aging effect too – a youthful glow is one of the bonuses!

Clients also say they feel less stressed when they do regular lymph massages – I think it may be due to how the toxins “stress” the body and when we get the toxins out, our bodies feel less stressed.   Toxins lead to inflammation and inflammation is linked to degenerative diseases, according to the experts.  The most important thing is you do get toxins out of your body from this type of massage. I know a lot of people feel skeptical about how this can be.  I tell people this is not a normal relaxation massage (even though 80% of it is massage  which clients find very enjoyable).  It is a specialized type of massage specific to the lymphatic system.  You can google lymph system and lymph drainage massage yourself to see more information.  Skin glows too when you get your toxins out (with no surgery or magical creams!).  Practically everyone says they feel “lighter” at the end of the session.  The session includes work on the lymph system & lymph nodes and includes relaxation massage strokes.  This style is not the style typically done by RMT’s, i.e., this is not the Vodder method.   (You might even forget this is a lymph massage as you are dozing off on the massage table.)  Many people feel extremely relaxed on the table as this type of massage also works on the parasympathetic nervous system.  People typically have a very good sleep the evening (or maybe for a few nights) of their lymph massage.  More details can be found in the FAQ section of my website.  I have also attached below my first time promo.


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Science Shows link between Lymph and Brain & Immune Disorders & Brain Disorders

From: Business Insider, June 3, 2015 by Lauren F. Friedman

This stunning discovery about the brain will have scientists rewriting textbook

Antoine Louveau was looking through his microscope at thin membranes that protect the brain when he saw something that absolutely shouldn’t be there: a lymphatic vessel.

The lymphatic system is part of the circulatory system but, instead of blood, it carries lymph — a clear liquid that ferries immune cells and rids the body of toxins and waste. As a 2009 research review notes, it is “an undisputed anatomical fact” that the brain is the only major organ that lacks a direct connection to the lymphatic system.

Now that claim is disputed. If confirmed, the discovery may have huge implications for studying brain diseases like Alzheimer’s and multiple sclerosis (MS).

“All the textbooks said there were not supposed to be any lymphatic vessels in that area,” said Louveau, a post-doctoral researcher at the University of Virginia. But after he and UVA neuroscientist Jonathan Kipnis ran a battery of tests, they discovered Louveau had been right. “It was exactly what we thought it couldn’t be,” Louveau said.

The elusive lymphatic vessel hid in plain sight, throughout decades of research, because it was very small and tucked behind a major blood vessel.

Scientists used to think that the brain was totally cut off from the immune system and that if immune cells were found there, “something was going wrong,” Kipnis told The Scientist.

Take multiple sclerosis, for example, a mysterious ailment that affects about 2.3 million people worldwide. Many researchers believe whatever triggers its attacks on nerves in the spine, brain, and eye starts in the body and somehow moves to the brain, Bilbo said. “This [discovery] suggests MS might actually start in the brain,” she said. “It reverses our understanding of that pathology.”

Then there are neurodegenerative diseases like Alzheimer’s. The new vessel might be a good place to look for something going wrong. “In Alzheimer’s, there are accumulations of big protein chunks in the brain,” Kipnis said in a statement. “We think they may be accumulating in the brain because they’re not being efficiently removed by these vessels”

That’s just speculation — an intriguing possibility Kipnis, Louveau, and most likely others will explore in future studies. The brain’s newfound lymphatic drainage system, and all the possible ways it can malfunction, may well be critical in these diseases. But there’s also a chance at this early stage of research that it’s a red herring: an interesting anatomical finding that’s exciting for scientists but leads to little for patients.

For now, the researchers are hard at work on two major follow-up questions to try to figure out how the research might be relevant and useful. First, does this system definitely exist in humans? And second, what is the potential role of these vessels in Alzheimer’s, MS, and meningitis?

lymphatic system discovery

The lymphatic vessels are shown in red, almost invisible beside the blood vessels (in green).

Other scientists will scramble to replicate the results and build on the finding. If the discovery holds up, it could open a number of exciting new avenues for research.

Bilbo said, for example, there has hardly been any research on the brain’s “portal areas” — those foggy zones where the brain connects to yet is shielded from the rest of the body. “[These are] really underexplored parts of neuroscience and neurology … [These] pathways are really misunderstood. Not even misunderstood, but ignored.”

The idea that an entire part of the lymphatic system was hiding in plain sight should ensure that these potentially crucial areas are ignored no longer. With any luck, this might help us solve more mysteries behind the brain — and fight some of its greatest foes.


I subscribe to the newsletter of and the author Dr. John Douillard shared an interesting article on the link between lymph and the brain “Science Confirms Ayurvedic Knowledge of Brain-Lymph Connection”.

He writes in an article dated June 20, 2015 and I quote :

The Lymph-Brain Connection

While Western medicine seems to be convinced that every area of the human body has been thoroughly mapped, a surprising new discovery of lymph vessels that were never thought to exist has been made. Researchers at the University of Virginia School of Medicine discovered that the central nervous system is drained by meningeal lymphatic vessels, indicating that there is a strong link between the immune system, which travels via the lymph, and the brain and central nervous system. (1) Ayurveda has been emphasizing the importance of the lymph system throughout the body for thousands of years, and modern science now confirms this ancient wisdom!

Practically, this implies that what Ayurveda has been saying for years – that lymphatic congestion can cause or predispose someone to an immune-related or nervous system disorder – is true. While the understanding that an immune attack could weaken a patient with a neurological condition like multiple sclerosis has been observed by Western medicine, the fact that these “hidden lymph vessels” are the mechanism connecting the immune system and the brain and nervous system is a new phenomenon. (1)

These findings indicate that as we age, these meningeal lymph vessels become less efficient and thus allow toxic proteins and plaques to build up in the brain and nervous system. The brain and nervous system are linked to memory and cognitive functions, along with a laundry list of potentially associated neurological issues that may also be lymph-related.

These very small lymph vessels were hidden alongside blood vessels, and were basically invisible until now. This research has opened up the idea that there are possibly many other locations of lymph vessels that are responsible for the degeneration and weak immune processes of the body. (1) According to Ayurveda, it is the innumerable and subtle lymph drains that must be maintained first.

For example, if a drain becomes clogged in your house, you do not fix the faucets first, you go straight to the drain. Similarly, if someone has high cholesterol, joint or circulation concerns, or skin issues (to name a few), it is better to evaluate and treat the drains or the lymph vessels of the body first, as the concern may only be a symptom of lymphatic congestion.

Ayurveda for Lymph Drainage

To address the lymph, strategies such as yoga and nose breathing exercise, along with staying hydrated and eating seasonally, all support healthy lymph flow. Herbs derived from the pith or white part of oranges, pomegranates and grapefruits have long been used as lymph-moving agents and have only recently been found to have constituents like diosmin that decongest the lymph.

Ayurvedic herbs like Manjistha (Rubia cordifolia) (3-5) and Brahmi (Centella asiatica) (6-8) now have modern science to support their long-touted benefits for healthy lymph.

While this is pointing Western medicine in a new direction towards a deeper understanding of how our stress can shut down the lymph and compromise immunity, (9-12) perhaps much can be gleaned from the Ayurvedic perspective that has long suggested that the lymph is the key to our health and longevity.

For more articles on the Lymphatic system from the Ayurvedic perspective,  click on this link (or go to

Science Confirms Ayurvedic Knowledge of Brain-Lymph Connection


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How Liver Toxins Can Affect your Hormones & Weight

We all know that the liver is the major detox organ of the body.   According to ” the liver takes everything we put into our bodies—whether it is swallowed, inhaled or absorbed through the skin (including medication, drugs and alcohol)—and filters it. The liver’s filtration process separates the nutrients that the body needs for energy and all of its other functions and prepares to dispose of that which the body does not need, such as metabolic waste, toxins and excess substances.”

Did you know that the liver also metabolizes hormones?  It breaks down and removes excess hormones from the body.  (e.g. estrogen, testosterone, insulin, aldosterone, cortisol, adrenaline, thyroxin).    What this means is that if the liver is full of toxins then it can’t function as well as it should, and estrogen, as an example,  will not be removed at its normal rate.  If it is not metabolized properly it can be reabsorbed back into the bloodstream.  This build up of estrogen results in an undesirable state of estrogen dominance where estrogen becomes dominant in the body, especially in relation to progesterone.   Hormone health coach, writer and speaker, Nicole Jardin, says that (

estrogen dominance can lead to PMS, fibrocystic breasts, migraines, especially right before your period, irregular periods and heavy bleeding, endometriosis, fibroids and infertility.

What contributes to estrogen dominance?

According to Nicole Jardin, they are :

1) Stress – chronic stress produces high levels of the stress hormone, cortisol.  (I have talked elsewhere in my website about how stress creates toxins!).

2) Xenoestrogens – These are synthetic chemicals that mimic estrogen.  Xenoestrogens act like estrogen so it makes it appear like you have more than you do.  BPA and phthalates are examples of bad offenders.  BPA is used in making certain plastics and resins (watch your water bottle). Phthalates are used in perfume, hair spray, deodorant, nail polish, almost anything fragranced including air fresheners, shampoo, laundry detergent, insect repellent, shower curtains, plastic toys, etc.  (See separate blog I wrote on chemical toxins)

3.  Alcohol.  Nicole Jardin adds that alcohol consumption can increase estrogen levels and slows down fat burning.  Apparently, just 2 servings a day for four weeks has been shown to raise estrogen levels by 22%!

Men too are affected by hormones.  It is not just women.   In an article “Men Have Hormones Too” from Men’s Health, May 14, 2010,

author Heather Hurlock says that “Off-kilter hormone distribution can make you store too much fat, hamper your ability to fight stress, and cause you to eat when you’re full. It can lead to metabolic syndrome and diabetes and can adversely affect your sleep and sex life.”  (note similarity with women when their hormones are off)

Elevated estrogen levels (in men) can eclipse your testosterone, zapping sex drive. Yes, men have estrogen too. According to Dr. McLachlan, Ph.D., director of the Center for Bioenvironmental Research at Tulane University, the most widely spread hormone receptor in the body is the estrogen receptor. When a man is exposed to estrogenic chemicals — such as bisphenol A (BPA), the endocrine disruptor found in plastics and food-can linings — he can experience erectile dysfunction and weight gain. (This is the xenoestrogen that I talked about earlier).

“According to Dr. McLachlan,your best defense against an estrogen invasion (in men)  is to lose weight and build muscle. “Fat converts your testosterone to estrogen,” says Jack Mydlo, M.D., Chairman of the Department of Urology at Temple University School of Medicine. Dropping pounds will improve your testosterone-to-estrogen ratio, which improves your sex drive . And when you’re actively building muscle, you become more sensitive to insulin, which means you can push more glucose into the muscle, says Dr. Fonseca, M.D., Chief of Endocrinology at Tulane University’s Health Sciences Center. This produces more fat-burning, libido-boosting energy.”
What can you do?

1.  Get more fiber. Women eating more fiber have lower levels of circulating estrogen.

2. Cut back alcohol.  (Even men who have too much alcohol can get a condition called gynocomastia, which is characterized by enlarged breasts in men!)

3. Reduce exposure to xenoestrogens.

4. Eat liver cleansing foods like dandelion greens and tumeric and avocados.

(As a side note, according to to Dr. David Williams, medical researcher, biochemist & chiropractor, he writes in his website “What Causes a Bad Gallbladder”

if the liver is overloaded with too many toxins from health conditions like constipation; persistent drug, alcohol, or hormone use; or contaminated or highly processed foods, the bile it releases to the gallbladder can become extremely concentrated. The gallbladder can then become clogged with the thickened bile or the gallstones that can form due to the extra thick bile.

Once clogged, the gallbladder will likely begin to malfunction and you may experience extremely uncomfortable bloating from 5 to 20 minutes after eating, along with other symptoms of a bad gallbladder. (the gallbladder is a small sac situated under the liver and it stores bile, a fluid made in the liver for the digestion of fat).

Here’s the link to his complete article if you wish to read it in its entirety.

According to Dr.  Sandra Cabot, M.D. of in her article “The Liver Can Affect Your Hormones and Weight”,  the liver also breaks down the hormone, aldosterone,  which controls the balance of the minerals sodium and potassium and water in the body. This can lead to fluid retention.  I had earlier already talked about estrogen and what happens if it is not broken down properly.  This doctor adds that it can also lead to weight gain around hips, buttocks and thighs (pear shaped).  If the male hormone testosterone is not broken down efficiently, this can lead to an excess of testosterone in the body, which can result in weight gain in the upper part of the body on the trunk and abdomen (apple shape).  She adds: “Excess male hormones can also lead to excess facial and body hair, greasy skin, acne and loss of hair from the scalp. Many women with polycystic ovarian syndrome have excess male hormone levels associated with a dysfunctional liver; their hormonal imbalance can be reduced by improving liver function. Natural progesterone cream can also help women with polycystic ovarian syndrome whereas the oral contraceptive pill may overload their liver and lead to more weight gain.”

Dr. Cabot also adds “The liver also has a relationship with the hormone insulin, which is very important when it comes to your metabolism and tendency to gain weight. Insulin is made in the pancreas gland and regulates the metabolism of fats and carbohydrate. Most people with a weight problem have an imbalance in their insulin levels and this makes it very hard for them to lose weight. In overweight people insulin does not work properly and this results in the body trying to compensate by making high levels of insulin. This condition is known as Syndrome X and also as the metabolic syndrome. Insulin is a fat storing hormone so that the high levels of insulin promote the storage of fat especially in the abdominal area. The high levels of insulin also send a message to the liver to store more fat, so many people with a high insulin level develop a fatty liver. A fatty liver is very sluggish and will not break down hormones efficiently and this causes further weight gain and fluid retention. The combination of fatty liver and Syndrome X often eventually leads to diabetes type 2.

According to Dr. Ritamarie Loscalzo,  MS, DC, CCN, DACBN, in her article “The Critical Role of Liver Detoxification in Hormonal Imbalance”,  (, says that if the liver is not removing the toxins, then belly fat may occur as the body is trying to save you from these toxins so stores it away as belly fat!  So weight gain occurs,  no surprise.

She adds that hormonal imbalance also leads to diminished sex drive, fatigue, brain fog, etc.

According to  Lorna Vanderhaeghe (, author and Canada’s leading women’s natural health expert with degrees in nutritiion and biochemistry, there are supplements that can help with hormone balancing.  E.g.,  with maintaining healthy estrogen to progesterone balance, treating fibrocystics breasts, detoxifying toxic estrogens from plastics pesticides, cosmetics and more (especially since it is hard to completely avoid them), eliminate PMS and make periods effortless, helps menopause, perimenopause, acne, weight problems, etc

1. Calcium D-glucarate – powerful detoxifier of excess and toxic estrogens (this nutrient also found in fruits and vegetables)

2. Indole-3-carbinol (I3C) – anti cancer plant nutrient found in cruciferous vegetables (broccoli, cauliflower, kale, brussel sprouts, bok choy, cabbage) (I recommend my clients eat more of these vegetables)

3. Green tea extract

4. Curcumin – I have talked about this before – this is the yellow pigment of tumeric. Very anti-inflammatory and inhibits all stages of cancer formation.  (Very good for digestion and joint issues too).

5. Diindolymethane (DIM) – Helps to break down the cancer causing estrogens into non-toxic forms

6.Rosemary extract

7. Sulforaphane -broccoli sprout extract – stimulates body’s production of detox enzymes that eliminate environmental estrogens.

Lorna Vanderhaeghe has a product in her supplement line called Estrosmart that contains the above.  She also has one called Estrosmart Plus (which also contains Vitex and Zinc for more support on PMS, mood swings and hormonal acne and improves fertility. Here’s the link on the product

 What else can you do ?

I found this article online called “Clean out your Toxins” from Vancouver Naturopathic Clinic and they talk about the importance of far infrared saunas to detox and the importance of rebounders and of lymph drainage massage to further aid your detoxing!  (I mention this in other posts in my website)

“The solution to pollution is dilution.

The idea that toxicity within our body aids in the development of disease has been around for centuries. In the pursuit of health and longevity, detoxification programs utilising diets, fasting, sweating, and herbal remedies continue to be used successfully by many cultures world-wide.

Bioaccumulation of chemical compounds found in our food, air, water can lead directly to a variety of immune, metabolic, and disease states. For instance, allergy, asthma, depression, neurological illness and even cancer are examples of chemical toxin related illnesses. Research continues to confirm that in order for our bodies to maintain good health, toxin exposure must be reduced while the detoxification pathways of the body optimised.

The first step to any detoxification program is to reduce the toxic load on our tissues and immune system. Start by practicing basis principles of good health, nutritious eating and exercise, stress management and environmental health.

Avoid sugar, white flour, colas, tobacco, coffee, alcohol and foods that contain additives and preservatives. These foods create a toxic and acidic environment on our tissues and stress key organs such as the liver, kidney, bowel and lymph system. Consequently, this blocks normal cellular metabolism and alters our healthy body chemistry in a manner suitable for disease development.

Our bodies consist of 70% water. Water is the medium that dilutes, diverts, and removes toxins from our body so drink plenty of pure filtered chlorine free water. Water contained in juices, colas, coffee, and tea does not count, as it is obviously different and may stimulate undesirable reactions in our body.

Acidity in our body favours disease development, so drink slightly alkaline water if possible. Most tap water is acidic. Alkaline energetic water can be produced by certain filtration systems.

After you have increased your water intake to approximately two litres per day it is essential to sweat.

Exercise creates sweat and detoxifies our body by manually pumping lymph fluid. Lymphatic fluid bathes each cell and is most important for maintaining proper cellular activity. Capillaries bring nutritious fluid to each organ cell, and the lymphatic system removes waste products from them. A breakdown in this process by toxins or lack of lymphatic movement initiates cellular dysfunction, inflammation, and possible cellular death or cancer.

Examples of toxins that alter this environment include mercury, pesticides, food colorants, industrial gases and formaldehyde from furniture outgassing.

Specific medical treatments can aid in the detoxification process. One great method is sauna detoxification. Infrared sauna detoxification works best because it penetrates the skin more than 2-1/2 centimetres stimulating detoxification in tissues deeper than can be achieved by normal steam saunas. Increased blood and lymphatic fluid flow through cells detoxifies tissues.

Many experience odorous or dark elimination of sweat. Massage, specifically lymphatic massage, a rebounder, usage of homeopathic, botanical, and appropriate vitamin and mineral supplements aid this process.

Very toxic people often require a comprehensive treatment plan. Often this includes adding appropriate intravenous supplements and natural medicines followed by sauna to achieve intensive detoxification. ”


There are various nutrients that are needed in the process of metabolizing the estrogen hormone.  I won’t get into all the details (you can check this link:

to read more.  I will just summarize some other nutritients that they recommend we need for this process: Vitamin B6, B12, folic acid, a supplement called SAMe (s-adenylmethionine), foods containing sulphur such as egg yolks, garlic, onions and brussel sprouts).  Of special note is the supplement glutathione.  This is another sulfur-containing molecule which is added to estrogen for easy excretion. Foods such as avocado, walnuts and asparagus are rich in glutathione, and vitamin C stimulates the body to produce more of it. Glutathione depletion can be due to a lack of the essential nutrients and amino acids (found in fresh fruits, vegetables, fish and meats) that are needed to synthesize it. Glutathione detoxifies and is also an antioxidant and is needed to detoxify alcohol.  (Dr. Loscalzo says that one can take glutathione precursors from the health store such as NAC (N-acetyl-cysteine).)  As I previously mentioned,  studies have shown that even a small amount of alcohol intake can increase estrogen levels in the blood because alcohol competes for the available glutathione, preventing estrogen excretion.

Dr. Loscalzo also mentions other necessary nutrients: amino acids like cysteine and methionine, magnesium, B vitamins, antioxidants vitamin A, C,E and superoxide dismutase.  She says that you can get amino acids from protein in your diet and  powder powder.  She also says to eliminate caffeine.

Smoking is also known to deplete glutathione levels, as do chronically stressful conditions such as infections or inflammatory disorders.

Obvious things we need to do to also keep our liver healthy include eliminating or reducing processed foods, sugar, high fat (bad fats like hydrogenated, trans fats, deep fried) foods, foods full of preservatives and additives, drink lots of water and eat fresh healthy food, e.g. fresh vegetables, fruit, nuts and seeds, healthy fats, etc). One also needs to reduce the toxic load in our environment (get rid of chemical air fresheners, as an e.g.), get an air filter especially if you live in a really polluted area.  Try to eat organic to avoid the pesticides, antibiotics, etc in your fruits and vegetables and meat/fish.  Avoid chemical cleaning products. Read labels of your cosmetics, get educated on the toxins in your food and products and environment.

Other things you can do to help your liver according to Alberta naturopath Karen Jensen in “A Little Help for the Liver” in Alive Magazine are:

Start your morning with fresh lemon juice in water; this helps flush and decongest the liver

Eat beets or drink beet and vegetable juice regularly. Beets are an excellent liver cleanser.

High quality protein foods are necessary to restore and sustain the liver. Free-range eggs, fish, raw nuts and seeds and whole grains are beneficia

Nutritional antioxidants such as vitamin E, zinc and selenium are essential for protecting the liver from free radical damage.

Liver restoration also requires lots of fresh air, exercise, adequate rest, natural foods and a minimum of 2L (approx. 2 quarts) of pure water daily. Other liquids do not count toward the required water intake.

It is also a good idea to do a liver detox to really get the toxins out of the body.   Dr. Jensen recommends that during a cleanse or detoxification program ”  dandelion or burdock be taken two to three times daily for the length of the program. To keep the liver healthy in our toxic and stressful world, a liver-supportive herb such as milk thistle should be taken periodically, for example two to three times daily for one week every month.

Burdock root has traditionally been used as a blood cleanser to support the liver and hormonal health. Studies show that it is also effective as an immune system enhancer, in the stabilization of blood sugar and as an antibiotic, antifungal and anti-tumor agent.

Dandelion root is considered the ideal liver remedy because it is completely non-toxic and gently restores liver function. It enhances the flow of bile and supports the kidneys during cleansing and detoxification of the liver and bowels.

Milk thistle contains some of the most potent liver-protective substances known, including silymarin, which inhibits the action of free radials that damage liver cells. It also stimulates protein synthesis, which results in the production of new liver cells to replace the damaged ones.

Turmeric has long been considered a powerful healing plant. Curcumin, the principal active ingredient, has demonstrated potent liver protective, detoxifying, anti-carcinogenic, anti-inflammatory and antioxidant activity. Other effects of turmeric include lowering of cholesterol, improvement of fat metabolism and improvement of digestion.

Globe artichoke head, leaves and root have traditionally been used to improve digestion as well as liver, gallbladder and kidney function. The cynarin found in artichoke has been found to stimulate bile secretion as well as lower triglyceride and cholesterol levels. Artichoke also has some antioxidant activity.

You can find these herbs both on their own or in combination at your local health food store.

She adds that “The liver energy system governs the peripheral and central nervous system, the eyes and tendons and provides energy and vitality to the sexual organs. When the liver is stressed, emotions such as anger, depression, moodiness, aggression, resentment and irritability are more likely to arise. Physical symptoms such as allergies, fatigue, indigestion and distended abdomen, eye problems (spots, red, watery), headaches, hot flushes, insomnia, hormonal imbalances such as PMS, muscular pain and neck tension can occur.

She says that everyone could benefit from a cleanse involving the bowel, liver and blood at least once yearly.

If you are wanting extra support with a natural food based liver cleanse, I am happy to recommend the liver reset program from Refresh Natural Health.  A client had recommended them to me for colon hydrotherapy and I am happy to refer them for both the colonics and their nutritional support/liver cleanse.

Next I want to present a different point of view from Dr. John Douillard of  He says in his article “Menopause and Menstrual Cycle Symptoms – It May not be Hormonal at All.”

Dr Douillard presents an Ayurvedic point of view.  As I have mentioned in other blogs, the lymph system is like the drains of the body – it drains out all the wastes and toxins from all parts  of the body – you would die within 14 hrs without this system.

He says that “When these drains become congested, it’s as though a traffic jam occurs in your body and it takes a toll on all of the organ systems.”  During menstruation, lymph drainage increases – reproductive waste is removed at that time according to Ayurveda.  If the lymph is congested, menstruation may be painful, irregular, heavy or missing.  The congestion may bring on PMS – breast tenderness, swelling, bloating, skin breakouts especially around mouth and chin.  I have mentioned in another blog about breast health on how the breast is composed of a high amount of lymph tissue and fluid and if the lymph is congested, breast swelling and tenderness may result.

He adds: “Just like the skin on the outside of our bodies, the epithelium “the skin that lines the intestinal tract” is drained by a massive concentration of lymph called the gut-associated-lymphatic-tissue, or GALT. This is the highest concentration of lymph in the body. Experts say that 80% of the body’s immunity is found here.  When long-standing constipation, diarrhea, or other digestive issues occur, this will typically compromise the flow of this very important lymph fluid. During menstruation, clogged GALT can create a list of issues such as bloating, Candida, belly fat, allergies, joint issues, fatigue, headaches, skin issues, edema and reproductive issues.

The respiratory tract is also lined with a type of skin that is drained by mucus-associated-lymph-tissue, or MALT. If the lymph is not moving properly during menstruation, this can result in an irritation of the respiratory mucus membranes, thus predisposing one to colds, post nasal drip, chronic sinus issues or allergies.”

Dr. Douillard adds:

Further Signs of Lymph Congestion

  • ovarian cysts, uterine fibroids, and polycystic ovarian syndrome
  • fibromyalgia
  • fibrocystic breasts
  • cellulite
  • rashes or acne
  • edema
  • joint pain typically worse in the morning
  • weight gain and extra belly fat
  • swollen glands
  • frequent colds
  • fatigue
  • headaches
  • allergies
  • constipation, diarrhea and/or mucus in the stools

He recommends  a list of  things you can do at home every day to improve lymphatic flow and function:

  1. Alkalize your diet.
    1. Eat more fruits and veggies and lessen the amount of meats, breads, grains, dairy, processed or junk food. Try to shoot for a diet that is 60-70% alkaline and 30-40% acid.
  2. Herbal Support
    1. Manjistha (rubia cordifolia) is the herb that is most effective in helping de-stagnate the lymph.  He says he has used this herb successfully for years in support of lymph-related reproductive issues.
  3. Re-Hydrate
    1. Sip plain, hot water every 10-15 minutes throughout the day for two weeks.
    2. Drink 1/2 your ideal body weight in ounces of room temperature water a day.
  4. Skin Brush and Massage
    1. In Ayurveda, skin brushing is called Garshana. Raw silk gloves are used to exfoliate the skin. With vigorous brushing, the silk gloves also create static electricity, which is known to alkalize the blood and help move the lymph.
    2. Daily massage in Ayurveda is called Abyhanga. A blend of herbs cooked into sesame oil is traditionally used to massage the body daily to enhance lymphatic flow.

Last but not least, consider  lymphatic drainage massage to get the lymph moving and to get toxins out of the body.  See pages in my website on this.  I am hearing more and more from my clients about how their PMS and hormonal symptoms like swollen breasts, bloating, crankiness, cramps, hormonal acne, etc are disappearing from doing lymph drainage massage with me! (along with improvements in other areas of their health).


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Bad Breath: Blame Colon, Not Mouth

Breath mints, mouthwash and chewing gum not solving your bad breath problem?

According to Dr. Lynn Carmichael, chief of the family medicine division at the University of Miami School of Medicine, most bad breath (halitosis) does not come from the mouth or lungs. It comes from the colon (large intestine).

Obviously, one should brush and floss one’s teeth to get rid of the bacteria that could lead to halitosis. (See a dentist to ensure you don’t have gum disease or your doctor to make sure you don’t have sinus infection in your mouth).  While mouthwashes will provide temporary relief, they do not deal with what could be the bigger problem – your digestive system.  Dr. Richard Sherman of Florida`s East Coast District Dental Society says that ”
Mouthwashes do kill bacteria. However, you have to be careful, because some bacteria belong in the mouth. If you kill all the bacteria, you might make your mouth an environment for overgrowth of fungus.”

Bad breath is also a sign of toxin overload.  It would be a good idea to clean up your diet.  Are you eating too much sugar, processed/junk foods, too much meat?  Are you exposed to a lot of toxins in your food and  your environment including cleaning chemicals.  It might also be a good time to do lymphatic drainage detox massage to rid the body of toxin overload.  Do you notice your diet gets worse when you eat too much sugar?  You might have candida or parasites which contribute to bad breath.  Various practitioners can help – see your naturopath/doctor/live blood analysis practitioner/colon hydrotherapist.  Candida loves sugar!  It would also be a good time to do a cleanse, take supplements including anti-candida or parasite supplements (if you have those conditions).  In Traditional Chinese Medicine, a thickly coated tongue is a sign of digestive issues. Your TCM doctor/acupuncturist can help you too in the digestive department.

Digestive enzymes might also be a good idea – the health store can advise you on this (or ask your naturopath).  There are enzymes to digest carbohydrates, protein and fats and I have  even seen in health store colon enzymes or enzymes that assist to prevent yeast overgrowth.  Those protein enzymes can help you digest meat if you are having problems with that (check your stools for undigested matter – it could indicate that you are not digesting protein well and may also benefit from taking apple cider vinegar  in water or hydrochloric acid (in health store the capsule is called betaine hydrochloride) . Not enough hydrochloric acid in the stomach means undigested food will go into the intestines, putrefy and emit foul gas which rises up and causes bad breath.

You can also help your gut  by consuming more probiotics and fermented foods (eg, yogurt, kimchi, kefir, sauerkraut, kombucha, tempeh, miso,  injera (Ethiopian spongy bread), etc.  Consume more fiber – chia and flax seeds are great for the colon.  Also high in fiber are psyllium, oat bran, apples, etc.

Using a tongue scraper in the morning is a good idea too.  I got one from a local yoga instructor (Tomas Hicks) who taught a myofacial release class (he believes everyone should scrape their tongue).

Are you dehydrated?  Stressed?  Taking certain medications that cause dry mouth? Alcohol and caffeine can also do that. Dry mouth can lead to bad breath (that is why you might notice it more in the morning when you wake up). Drink more water.  Drinking enough water helps on so many levels.  Did you know that if the body is dehydrated, your body draws water from your blood?

According to “You likely have constipation (if you have bad breath).  Your food has slow transit time, your bowels don’t move adequately and you are congested.  The toxins that should be exiting your body are staying around for days, and your body is reabsorbing the garbage into your blood stream.  You are likely feeling more tired than usual, lethargic, have acne breakouts, your brain feels fuzzy and your breath stinks really bad.  Your stomach could even be distended and bloated with excess pounds of fecal matter!!  Have you got the picture?  Cut out meat and cheese from your diet for a period of time.  They contain no fiber, promote constipation, and tend to putrefy (make a foul smell) if your bowels are not moving.”

Incidentally, body odor is often also the smell of a toxic colon, an odor that leaks out through the porous skin.

You may also have liver toxins.

If you are doing a cleanse you may experience temporary symptoms of bad breath as your body detoxifies.  This will go away if due to that issue.  I have noticed that in kundalini yoga classes when I have done the lymph detox kriya that it does cause a bit of a metallic taste in mouth from the toxins releasing – I was told that was normal and to drink more water to flush out the toxins.

Sulfur containing foods such as onions, garlic, broccoli  produce a certain odor too.  Other foods rich in sulfur, such as dairy and meat can also contribute to bad breath. Sugar contributes to halitosis.

Eat more green vegetables especially the chlorophyll laden ones.  E.g. kale, parsley, cilantro.  Supplements such as chlorella and spirulina are also high in chlorophyll.  I have also seen liquid chlorella in the health store. Eat a healthy diet.

It might also be a good idea to do a colon cleanse and/or colon hydrotherapy (colonic).  In Vancouver, I have been to Refresh Natural Health after a client recommended them and I am happy to pass on their name.  Here is their link


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Symptoms of Lymphatic Congestion


Email me if you want to get a lymph drainage massage to help you break up the lymphatic congestion.


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