Himalayan Salt Lamps

himalayan_salt_lamp

By: Dr. Alyssa Musgrove

himalayan_salt_lampHimalayan salt lamps are becoming more common these days. But what exactly are these large chunks of glowing pink rock?

Salt lamps, also known as rock salt lamps, are made from large chunks of Himalayan salt that have been hollowed out.  A light bulb is then placed inside the salt to emit light and heat. Deep mines in the western edge of the Himalayan Mountains are the only source of true pink Himalayan salt. Oftentimes, these lamps are purchased for the pleasant glow they emit, but they actually provide numerous health benefits, as well.

First and foremost, salt lamps can help remove contaminants and allergens from the air, which is helpful for those with seasonal allergies and asthma. While salt lamps may not completely “cure” these conditions, they can help to significantly reduce symptoms. The lamp also acts as a deodorizer, leaving you with fresher air to breathe inside.

How exactly does a salt lamp remove air contaminants? Water vapor in the air carries indoor air pollutants like mold, dust, pollen, cigarette smoke, pet dander and other allergens. Salt is hygroscopic, meaning it attracts water molecules to itself. Once the water vapor comes in contact with the salt lamp, pollutants remain trapped in the salt. Since the salt lamp is heated, the salt dries out and is able to continue the cycle of attracting water vapor and pollutants and releasing clean water vapor back into the air.

Salt lamps can also help reduce electromagnetic field radiation (EMF).  These days, many things around us release EMFs in the form of unhealthy positive ions, such as cell phones, computers and televisions. EMFs may be invisible to the naked eye but constant exposure is believed to increase stress and inflammation in the body, while causing side effects like fatigue and a weakened immune system. There have been numerous studies on the toxic effects of EMFs, and scientists have concluded: “chronic exposure to low-level radiation [from cell phones, for example] can cause dementia, Alzheimer’s, heart disease and a variety of cancers.”

Himalayan_Salt_LampOne way to neutralize electromagnetic field radiation is to increase your exposure to negative ions. Salt lamps are natural negative ionizers. When the gentle heat from the lamp warms the salt crystal, the salt emits a negative electrical charge, helping to counter the harmful positive ions from EMF radiation.

Himalayan salt lamps have been shown to help reduce anxiety symptoms. The warm, pinkish glow of salt lamps is calming and brings a happy presence into a room. The negative ions released by salt lamps are also believed to increase serotonin levels in the brain, boosting mood, increasing energy, and helping to relieve stress and depression. Many people find having a salt lamp in their bedroom produces a calming atmosphere that encourages sleep and focus.

Salt lamps can often be found at health food stores, and stores like Homegoods; Bed, Bath & Beyond; Whole Foods and Amazon. When purchasing a salt lamp, be sure to take into consideration the size of the room you are planning to use the lamp in. To effectively cleanse the air of a space, you need one pound of salt rock for every 16 square feet. You may need to use multiple salt lamps in larger, open rooms.

Keep salt lamps away from household moisture like showers, dishwashers, washing machines or window seals, because prolonged exposure to high humidity will cause the salt to melt. Always practice proper safety as well, keeping your lamp in a place where a child cannot pull or knock it down — salt lamps tend to be heavy! Make sure your light bulb is not too strong, which will cause the salt lamp to overheat. A night light sized bulb works just fine. You can check the heat of your lamp by touching the salt. The lamp should only be turned on while you are in the room or the house.IMG_9718

So, choose a room where you spend the most time, whether that is your bedroom, living room, kitchen, or home office, and try using a salt lamp.  Getting started is as easy as just plugging it in. Not only do salt lamps make a beautiful addition to your home or office, but your health may also enjoy a boost, as well.

Dr. Alyssa Musgrove

Pathways to Healing specializes in holistic chiropractic care. Dr. Alyssa Musgrove draws on a variety of techniques, including chiropractic, kinesiology, nutrition, food allergy testing and lifestyle counseling to assist clients in achieving optimal health and wellness in one setting. Pathways to Healing is located at 1022 Founders Row, Lake Oconee Village, Greensboro. The office can be reached at 706-454-2040.

Magnesium, The Mighty Mineral

Magnesium Periodic Table

By Dr. Alyssa Musgrove

Magnesium is one of the most critical minerals in the body, and up to half of Americans are deficient without knowing it. In fact, The Journal of Intensive Care Medicine published a study finding those deficient in magnesium were twice as likely to die an earlier death compared to those who had sufficient magnesium levels. 

Processed FoodsThe root of magnesium deficiency is the poor diet of processed and refined foods most Americans consume.  These foods have been stripped of nutrients and contain high amounts of salt. Unfortunately, it is possible to have magnesium deficiency even with a healthy diet. Soil depletion plays a large role in this issue, as minerals are removed, stripped away or no longer available in the soil, the percentage of magnesium present in food has decreased. Additionally, coffee, sodas and excess alcohol further deplete the body’s stores of magnesium (and other minerals).  Lifestyle factors, including high levels of stress, chronic diarrhea, the use of high blood pressure medications, antibiotics, diuretics and other drugs, can also contribute to low magnesium levels. Not to mention as we age our mineral absorption capability tends to decrease so the probability of having a magnesium deficiency increases.

Magnesium is not a drug, but can actually be more powerful than drugs when it comes to resolving many conditions.  Not only does magnesium help regulate calcium, potassium and sodium, but it’s essential for cellular health and a critical component of over 300 biochemical functions in the body. It is especially beneficial for a healthy cardiovascular system, and is helpful for lowering high blood pressure and reducing risk of stroke.  Magnesium also helps support learning and memory performance in aging adults.

Recently in the journal, Medical Hypothesis, a scientific review of magnesium concluded, “It is highly regrettable that the deficiency of such an inexpensive, low-toxicity nutrient results in diseases that cause incalculable suffering and expense throughout the world.”

Some of the symptoms associated with magnesium deficiency include:

Leg cramps

High blood pressure

Heart palpitations

Angina

Muscle cramps, muscle twitches and muscle pain

Anxiety

ADD

Insomnia

Migraines

Fibromyalgia

Chronic fatigue

PMS

Constipation

Irritable Bowel Syndrome

Reflux

Trouble swallowing

Kidney stones

Obesity

Swiss Chard The minimum daily recommended amount of magnesium is 300 mg, although studies show most people do better with anywhere from 400mg up to 1000mg a day. If you get too much magnesium, you will often experience diarrhea. The best way to get magnesium is through your diet, since many of the other nutrients necessary for absorption will be found in the same foods. Foods high in magnesium, listed in order from highest magnesium content, include spinach, swiss chard, dark chocolate, pumpkin seeds, almonds and almond milk, black beans, avocado, figs (dried), yogurt or kefir unflavored, garlic, shrimp and bananas. 

If you take magnesium supplements you should avoid those containing magnesium carbonate, sulfate, gluconate, and oxide. These are the most common forms found since they are the cheapest to produce, but they are poorly absorbed. The best-absorbed forms are magnesium lactate, citrate, glycinate or aspartate.

You can also use magnesium oil topically in a spray or lotion. Magnesium chloride oil can pass through the skin and into the body. If you suffer from digestive issues like malabsorption, this may be the best form of magnesium to take. There are many forms of oil available online. Locally, Harvest Moon and Garden & Orchard makes a great body butter and spray for aches and pains. To use, spraying magnesium oil directly on the skin, rub it in and leave to absorb for about 30 minutes. Wintergreen essential oil can be added to the magnesium to further help relieve muscle pain. Magnesium spray may result in some tingling on the skin the first few times it is applied.

Soaking TubAnother way to increase your cellular magnesium is by soaking in Epsom salts or magnesium chloride. Adding 1-2 cups of Epsom salts in a bath and soaking for 20 minutes is a great alternative to taking a supplement. You can also soak feet in warm water with magnesium chloride or Epsom salts in order to provide relief to the specific area.

 

Here is an easy recipe that will provide your daily requirement of magnesium. By focusing on this one mineral, you will experience many benefits to your health.

Garlic Swiss Chard and Chickpeas

  • 1 tablespoon olive oil divided
  • 2 bunches Swiss chard, center stems cut out and discarded, and leaves coarsely chopped
  • 2 cups chicken broth, vegetable broth or bone broth
  • 2 medium shallots, finely chopped
  • 6 medium garlic cloves, minced
  • 15.5 ounce can garbanzo beans, rinsed and drained
  • 2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
  • 1/2 cup crumbled feta cheese (optional)

Instructions
1. In a large skillet, heat 1 tablespoon of olive oil over medium-high heat. Add half of the chard and cook, 1 to 2 minutes. When the first half has wilted, add the remaining chard. When all of the chard is wilted, add the broth. Cover the skillet and cook the chard until tender, about 10 minutes. Drain the chard through a fine strainer and set aside.

2. Wipe out the skillet and heat the remaining 1 tablespoon olive oil over medium-high heat. Add the shallots and garlic and cook, stirring, until they are softened, about 2 minutes. Add the chard and garbanzo beans and cook until heated through, 3 to 4 minutes. Drizzle with lemon juice, and season with salt and pepper to taste. Sprinkle feta cheese on top just before serving, if desired.

Dr. Alyssa MusgroveDr. Alyssa Musgrove draws on a variety of techniques, including chiropractic, kinesiology, nutrition, food allergy testing and lifestyle counseling to assist clients in achieving optimal health and wellness in one setting. Pathways to Healing specializes in holistic chiropractic care, we are located at 1022 Founders Row, Greensboro, Ga.

The office can be reached at 706-454-2040.

Daily Habits for Natural Anti-Aging

By: Dr. Alyssa Musgrove

Taking good care of your skin is crucial if you want it to remain healthy and youthful. When looking for ways to help reduce the signs of aging, you do not necessarily need to invest in expensive creams or lengthy procedures. There are many simple, inexpensive steps you can take to help your skin age gracefully. Here are four anti-aging habits you can begin today to ensure your skin stays looking it’s very best.

Glass of Water1. Drink more water, rehydrate your skin
Dehydration can affect your skin just as much as your body. You may have noticed your skin starts getting blotchy, your acne worsens and your skin becomes looser and thinner on days when you do not have a lot of water. Many people are chronically dehydrated, not realizing these types of physical effects are simply because they are not getting enough water on a daily basis.
The amount of water you need each day to stay properly hydrated is somewhat subjective, since it depends on lifestyle factors. If you are in the sun a lot and sweating, or you participate in heavy fitness, you should be drinking more water in order to make up for the loss of hydration. You may also need more water if your diet consists of a lot of sodium, salt, caffeine or alcohol. While the rule of thumb is 64 ounces a day, your body might need a little more. A good indication you are well hydrated is looking at the color of your urine. It should be clear, or almost clear, when you are drinking enough water.
If drinking a lot of water is a struggle for you, try reducing your consumption of other beverages, like soda and juice, and reach for water instead. You can also try flavoring your water by adding the juice of fresh lemons or limes, or adding sliced cucumbers or berries. Choose a water bottle you enjoy using, keep water in your car and at home, and track how much you are drinking to hold yourself accountable.

Fruits and Veggies2. Get your vitamins from food sources
Vitamins and minerals are also essential to maintaining a youthful appearance and reducing signs of aging. But instead of just taking supplements, you should first try to get important nutrients through whole, fresh food sources. Just by switching to a healthy diet of fruits, veggies, nuts and seeds, you will be well on your way to getting all of the important vitamins. Wild-caught fish provides anti-inflammatory omega-3 fats that slow down the aging process. Teas like green tea, white tea, oolong tea, and rooibos tea contain antioxidants that protect your cells from free radical damage and aging.

SunScreen3. Wear sunscreen every day
No matter your age, skin type, color of your skin, or current signs of aging, you need to protect your skin with sunscreen. You should wear sunscreen every day, applying it at least 10-15 minutes before heading outside. To make this habit easier, there are many moisturizers on the market that have sunblock in them already, allowing you to both hydrate your skin and protect it at the same time. Keep your sunscreen in the bathroom so it becomes an automatic part of your morning routine.

skincare4. Take good care of your skin
Wash your face twice a day with warm water, exfoliate once a week to remove dead skin, and avoid makeup with additives or harsh chemicals. Talk to your dermatologist about which products to use or any skin conditions you may have. Dermatologists can often recommend products to help treat a variety of skin conditions, while also providing anti-aging benefits at the same time.

Essential oils like frankincense, lavender, myrrh and sandalwood can provide additional anti-aging benefits. Frankincense oil has been known to protect skin cells, improve skin tone, reduce the appearance of wrinkles, scars and sunspots. Lavender oil brings rapid healing to dry skin, minor cuts, scrapes and burns. Be sure to mix your essential oils with an unscented carrier oil (coconut oil, jojoba oil, or pomegranate seed oil) and test a small area of your skin first to test for possible allergic reactions.

By taking the time to develop a few simple daily habits now, you can help protect your skin from premature aging and keep it looking healthy for years to come.

Pathways to Healing specializes in holistic chiropractic care. Dr. Alyssa Musgrove draws on a variety of techniques, including chiropractic, kinesiology, nutrition, food allergy testing and lifestyle counseling to assist clients in achieving optimal health and wellness in one setting. In addition, the practice is committed to being a valuable source of information so that people can learn how to live a healthy lifestyle and prevent future illness. Pathways to Healing is located at 1022 Founders Row, Lake Oconee Village, Greensboro. The office can be reached at 706-454-2040.

Nutritional benefits of sweet potatoes

By: Dr. Alyssa Musgrove

They might make an annual appearance on your Thanksgiving table in the form of sweet casseroles and pies, but sweet potatoes are also a surprisingly nutritious vegetable that can be incorporated into your diet year-round.

Sweet_Potatoes_YamsSweet potatoes are high in fiber – just one medium sweet potato fulfills up to 15 percent of your fiber needs for the day. Fiber slows down the absorption of sugar to prevent crashes and spikes in blood sugar levels. This makes sweet potatoes an excellent dietary addition for those with diabetes. (Compared to white potatoes, sweet potatoes have a lower score on the glycemic index.) The fiber in sweet potatoes can also aid in weight loss. Fiber helps promote satiety and cuts cravings as it moves slowly through the digestive tract. Since sweet potato is slowly digested, it is also great to incorporate on gym session days, providing you with long-lasting energy and fuel.

Vitamin A and C play a role in many aspects of health but are especially important in boosting immunity. One medium sweet potato contains 438% daily vitamin A requirements and 37% vitamin C daily value. Vitamin A and C help stimulate the production of immune cells that fight infection and disease. In addition to boosting immunity, vitamin A plays a large role in maintaining healthy vision. If you suffer from night blindness or dry eyes, this could be a symptom of vitamin A deficiency.

There are many different varieties of sweet potatoes, and they come in a rainbow of colors. The outer skin can be white, yellow, red, purple or brown, and the flesh can be white, yellow, orange or purple. Sweet potatoes that have orange flesh are high in beta-carotene, a powerful antioxidant. Antioxidants help fight free radicals that are harmful to the body and may protect you from things like diabetes and heart disease. Beta-carotene can protect your skin, promote healthy vision and has been shown to slow the progression of age-related macular degeneration. Studies show colored sweet potatoes contain more potent antioxidants than white sweet potatoes. Purple sweet potatoes contain the highest amount of antioxidants.

Some people refer to sweet potatoes as yams and use these terms interchangeably, however, there are some major differences. To begin, yams and sweet potatoes are two entirely different plants. Yams are related to lilies and grasses, while sweet potatoes belong to the morning glory family. Yams are native to Africa and Asia, while sweet potatoes originate in South and Central America. Sweet potatoes have tapered ends with smoother skin and vary in color. Yams tend to have rough skin with white flesh and are more cylindrical in shape. They also tend to be drier and starchier than sweet potatoes. While yams contain a large amount of potassium, manganese, vitamin C and B6, they are higher in calories and carbohydrates, and lower in protein. Both sweet potatoes and yams can be healthy additions to your diet when used in moderation and proper portion control.

The preparation method is crucial in order to preserve the nutritional content of these roots. Sweet potatoes are often deep-fried, salted and served in larger portions then necessary, thereby lowering their overall nutritional profile. Instead of fried, try them baked: Preheat oven to 425 degrees, cut potatoes into fries, toss in coconut oil, sea salt and pepper and bake for 20 minutes. Then flip and bake until crisp, about 10 more minutes depending on thickness and desired crisp.

Sweet potato nachos are another personal favorite: Preheat oven to 425 degrees, slice sweet potatoes into ¼ inch rounds and toss with coconut oil, garlic powder, paprika, salt and pepper. Bake for 40 minutes, turning them over halfway through to ensure they do not burn. Remove from oven and add toppings like black beans, chicken or beef and cheese. Return to the oven for an additional 5 minutes or until cheese is melted. Finish by sprinkling with your favorite nacho toppings, such as chopped green onion, avocado or guacamole, salsa, greek yogurt, olives, jalapeños and salsa.

Other healthy recipe ideas include sweet potato hash, maple cinnamon sweet potato pancakes, turkey stuffed twice-baked sweet potato, sweet potato enchiladas or tacos, and sweet potato brownies.

As with anything in life, there are precautions. If you have a history of calcium-oxalate kidney stones, you may want to limit your intake. Sweet potatoes are high in oxalates that can combine with calcium and lead to the development of unwanted kidney stones. If you have diabetes be aware that, although sweet potatoes have many health benefits, they do contain carbohydrates that can raise blood sugar levels if eaten in excess. So, be sure to pair your sweet potato with a good source of lean protein and a non-starchy vegetable to make a well-rounded, nutritious meal that stabilizes blood sugar.

Pathways to Healing specializes in holistic chiropractic care. Dr. Alyssa Musgrove draws on a variety of techniques, including chiropractic, kinesiology, nutrition, food allergy testing and lifestyle counseling to assist clients in achieving optimal health and wellness in one setting. Pathways to Healing is located at 1022 Founders Row, Lake Oconee Village, Greensboro. The office can be reached at 706-454-2040.