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Tanning beds, vitamin D and Quebec

English: Woman uses a tanning bed.

English: Woman uses a tanning bed. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

About a year ago, I was driving in Montreal and I heard an ad on the radio. It was someone from a tanning salon, enumerating the virtues of using a tanning bed. They said something to the effect of, “Look great! Feel great! Help up your vitamin D during the winter months!” I couldn’t believe it! They were actually touting the ‘health’ benefits of using tanning beds.

The reason that I bring this up today is because I heard on the radio this morning that Quebec has legislated an age limit on the use of tanning beds within the province. I think that is fantastic. If I were less informed about the risks of using tanning beds in regards to cancer risks, I would have thought it was a great idea to get some extra vitamin D. While there is evidence that specific types of tanning beds can help us Canadians up our vitamin D levels, it is my opinion that the risks far outweigh the benefits. If you do decide to use tanning beds to get some vitamin D, make sure you do your research.

Make sure the tanning salon bed puts out UVB. That’s done with medium-pressure lamps. High-pressure lamps only put out UVA, which will not make any vitamin D. With UVB rays, you won’t get a burn, you won’t even get much of a tan, but you’ll get lots of vitamin D.” – Dr. Holick, (cbc.ca)

Considering that the tanning salon that was advertising on the radio was also talking about the wonderous glow you would have after the sessions, I doubt they were using UVB rays in their beds. It’s a tough time to be a consumer out there, reading between the lines when the lines are so skewed.

Quebec is putting a ban on use of the beds for anyone under the age of eighteen. This follows suit with many other provinces and countries who have already initiated similar age bans. Ontario (yay us!) and British Columbia are planning to do so as well. Studies have shown that the risk of getting skin cancer is significantly increased when people below the age of 25 use tanning beds, so we may be able to decrease the risks in many teens.

“…people who used tanning beds were 67% more likely to develop squamous cell carcinoma and 29% more likely to develop basal cell carcinoma than people who never used them. This risk was highest among people who started to tan before their 25th birthday.” (Webmd.com)

The good ole Nova Scotians are doing even better, their age ban starts at 19 years of age. Unfortunately, there is still the fact that most people have no idea that tanning beds can be bad for them, so many people will flock to the salons as soon as they are of age.

It is unfortunate for us Canadians, and many residents in the United States, that we suffer from a big loss of vitamin D in the winter time. Some people might think that going outside in the winter time with their faces exposed will help them produce some vitamin D. The amount of D your face produces is minute and a recent study shows that even if you were completely uncovered, it wouldn’t matter.

Above Atlanta Georgia [in latitude], you can’t make vitamin D in your skin in the winter time. We did a study involving Edmonton residents. For six months of the year, they were unable to make vitamin D in their skin. Stand naked outside from the time the sun rises until it sets, freeze every appendage on your body and you will not make vitamin D.” – Dr. Holick, (Cbc.ca)

Thank goodness we’ve disproved another health reason for winter nudists! Hee hee. My vitamin d source of choice is just to use a good supplement. For more information about how much you should be taking in oral form, see my Vitamin D blog entry.

Do you use tanning beds? Have you ever asked about UVA versus UVB bulbs on one of your visits?

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Top 5 Reasons to Dry Brush

Typical body brushes

One of the things I’ve been doing for my detox month on being ‘skin kind’ is dry brushing. This is not something I ever did before, although I’d heard plenty about it. As I do it more and learn more about it, I realize that I should have been dry brushing throughout my entire journey! Crickey! Dry brushing would have been especially helpful to my lymphatic system, one of the major bodily functions that help in detoxification.

For those of you who aren’t sure exactly what dry brushing (also known as skin brushing) is, let me describe it. Basically, you use a dense but supple brush like the ones in the picture to brush your skin when it is dry. You should always be brushing towards your heart to help your lymph flow in the right direction. I’ve attached a chart with the directions to help you out in case you need clarification. It is important to honour the directional travel of your lymph as the vessels can be sensitive. You want to work with your body, not against it.

When you first start to use the body brush, it can be a little painful if you have sensitive skin. Start with light, short strokes. Eventually you can work your way up to longer strokes, with more pressure behind them. If you are in pain, you are doing it too hard. You want to make this a habit, and doing things that don’t feel good is not the place to start if you can avoid it. In my research I’ve noted that there are some people who say they prefer circular motions when they dry brush. I’m not sure this would be as effective as long sweeping motions if you are dry brushing in order to help your lymph move back to your heart, but helpful as an exfoliation process alone.

Make sure that after you’ve used your brush a few times that you clean it. Rinse it with some warm water and soap. Even though you are just brushing your body with it, it can still get unhygienic after more than a few uses. Some might suggest to clean it after every use, but in my completely uneducated opinion, that seems like overkill. Unless of course you  have some sort of rash or skin condition. In that case, you will definitely want to clean it after each use. You don’t want it to spread.

 

So, I’ve explained how to do it and touched briefly on some of the benefits, but here are your top 5 reasons to dry brush your skin:

1. Using a dry brush helps to slough off the dead skin on your body

This has a couple benefits to you. Firstly, it helps to keep your skin looking more radiant and young. Many people actually choose dry brushing over moisturizing. It is certainly a great way to cut down on the chemicals we are rubbing all over our bodies. Secondly, by removing the dead skin barrier, your body is more able to detoxify through your skin as you sweat.

2. Dry brushing helps your lymph to move through your system

Your lymphatic system is a highly valued member of your detoxification team. If you dry brush in a manner directionally compatible with your lymphatic system, it makes its job easier. Your lymph system will be able to transport toxins out of your body more quickly. The faster the better as far as toxic escape is concerned. Remember, your lymphatic system does not have its own pump. YOU are the pump, through exercise and activities like dry brushing, you move that lymph along allowing to collect and bring the toxins to the places in your body that will filter and expel them.

3. Dry brushing can boost your immunity

Your lymph system also transports some nutrients to where they are needed in your system and helps your immune systems to locate foreign or threatening particles. By helping your lymph system deliver the nutrients needed to the areas they are needed in, your body is better fed. Also, because your lymphatic system is so integral to the detection of foreign bodies, these threats will be found and dealt with much more quickly. There is even some suggestion that stimulating your lymph may help to clear cancerous cells.

4. Dry brushing stimulates hormone producing glands

Glands that produce hormones including your thyroid, parathyroid, ovaries, testes and adrenals are all positively stimulated by dry brushing. This can help you maintain or promote metabolic balance.

5. Dry brushing may help to reduce the appearance of cellulite

Some people agree on this one, some don’t. Basically, the dry brushing stimulates the muscles and tightens them to reduce the appearance of cellulite. I have read some articles that suggest it ‘disperses’ cellulite, but none that I would be willing to trust fully. I say if it can help reduce the appearance of it at all, that is great just in itself!

I’ve been dry brushing on a semi-regular basis since I started this month of my detox. I haven’t really noticed a huge difference yet, visually. However, I really feel like things start flowing after I’ve dry brushed. The feeling is nice and tingly!

Have you ever dry brushed? What did you like or dislike about it?

Enzymes and Disease

Without getting into it again, I am trying to improve the condition of my health. I’m not sure what is wrong, it seems to be a bit of a medical mystery right now. However, all the water I’m drinking, the movements I’m doing and now the enzymes I’m ingesting should improve my overall health. According to the research I’ve been reading all these enzymes should also help my body in preventing diseases. Of course, there is evidence that the most significant precursors for disease are genetics and environmental conditions, some of that potentiality can be curbed by the consumption of enzymes. Not only that, enzymes can help in curing you of the afflictions you already have.

I didn’t really understand how enzymes and disease interacted until I read about cancer, chemotherapy and the enzyme, as explained by Hiromi Shinya, MD.  When a cancer patient receives chemotherapy, chemicals are released into the system that kill off cells. Now, the cells are killed off indiscriminately, the good with the bad. The hope is that the body will produce new cells that are healthy and the cancer cells will just die off. While receiving this chemotherapy, your enzymes are on overdrive. Enzymes from all areas of the body decrease in production as your body tries to produce enzymes to create new cells. Other functions that are not necessary, such as hair growth, are put on hold. That is why people who receive chemotherapy lose their hair. It just goes to show you how important it is to keep your body steeped with enzymes.

I happen to know someone who had cancer twice in his life and both times, he eradicated it with a combination of healthy habits, especially of the dietary nature. One of the treatments he used was the Gerson Therapy. I’ve heard lots of bad press about this therapy, but having known someone who went on the therapy and beat cancer, I have to say my skepticism is no longer present. Also, all the research I’ve been doing on enzymes makes a strong case for it. I don’t want to get into it too much here, but I’ll embed this video with a brief descriptor and some examples of successes achieved through the therapy. Do some more personal research yourself and decide what your opinion is.

This is not just the case with cancer, but with many other diseases

“…diseases of ‘unknown cause’ can sometimes be traced back to dietary history.” – Hiromi Shinya, MD says in his book, “The Enzyme Factor”

It is so strange to me that in the past when I’ve visited my doctor, more dietary questions were not asked. In his research, Dr. Shinya found that people who developed cancer had a long history of a diet filled to the brim with dairy, eggs and animal protein. He also found that the earlier these foods were introduced into a person’s diet, the more likely they were develop cancer. (This is something his research can show more easily because he practices not only the United States, but in Japan where the dietary habits are becoming more and more North Americanized.)

So why aren’t doctors prescribing more healthy foods instead, like broccoli? Well, I think it may have to do with two reasons.

1. It seems to me that the focus in medical school is more on pills and surgery.

2. Vegetables do not have ‘veggie reps’ that visit the doctor’s offices with the latest and greatest new veggie that has shown to help people in trials…though you ‘run the risk of severe headache, nausea, heartburn, seeing dead people, sudden fits of laughter and walking on water.’

Pills and surgery have their place, no doubt, but they are not always the solution. Sometimes, they mask the cause by dealing only with the symptom. As far as I know, enzyme based treatments for cancer are more popular in Europe than here in North America. It may be awhile until it receives the press it deserves. Until then, I think I’m going to go eat some baby carrots.

What do you think? Have you, or someone you’ve known, used enzymes to fight disease?