The liver is our body's storehouse, production factory and detoxification centre, among other things. It's list of duties are as large as the organ itself, weighing up to 4 kg and taking up a large residence in the upper right quadrant of the abdomen.
In a living body the liver contends with many extrinsic and mechanical forces on it. The constant vibrations of a beating heart, the piston like actions of the diaphragm- approximately 20,000 times per day- with the liver riding along with it. Not to mention the challenges we impose on it with our modern diet and medications which can overwork the liver, building up over time leading to congestion. Consider also the little contortions your liver and fellow viscera have to achieve during your everyday movements like bending over to tie a shoelace, reaching around to scratch your back or reaching up to screw in a new light bulb. The liver and its closely packed roommates have to accommodate each other within the space they're given.
Most of the abdominal organs, including the liver, are housed within a sac called the peritoneum. Inside the peritoneum, the organs don't just slosh around willy-nilly, they are held in place by internal pressures and secured to each other and your musculoskeletal system by connective tissue called mesenteries, omenta, and visceral ligaments. These ligaments are basically thickenings of the internal peritoneal layer as it infolds on itself around the organs and allow as well as limit certain movements of the gut organs.
The organs are meant to slide easily against each other even as they are squeezed together, sort of like the front row at a rock concert. Each organ has its own intrinsic motion as it carries out its physiological duties. This functional motion has been termed motility. A slow or uneven motility indicates that the organ isn't working to its utmost capacity. Over time, the constant demands placed on the liver can take their toll, it can become sluggish and less productive, making you feel the same way.
Some warning signs that tell you that your liver might not be feeling its usual self are; fatigue, headaches, light sensitivity, oily hair, dull hypersensitive skin, halitosis, irritated mucous membranes and even dark coloured urine. In addition, via its neurovascular connections, it can be responsible for a number of aches and pains, including that nagging nocturnal back pain and shoulder and elbow problems, especially of the right side. Our visceral organs are said to take on excess emotional baggage that our busy and important brains don't want to handle anymore. The liver becomes a reservoir for those feelings that pertain to our inner sense of self, the past, dependence, pessimism, being a creature of habit (stuck in a rut), and outbursts of anger. Concurrent to the detox programme you're engaged in to get back into the good books with your liver, consider a little nudge in the right direction with Visceral Manipulation Therapy that will help to wake up a congested and sluggish liver, releasing restrictions and encouraging the return of its vital motion so important for its efficient functioning.
Linda McLaren, RMT
Registered Massage Therapist
Call Brio to book an appointment with Linda McLaren. 604.271.9355.
We are just a few weeks away from our holidays and we wanted to notify everyone of our office closure. We wish everyone a very Happy Holidays and Happy Healthy New Years!
Wednesday December 24, 2014: Open 9 am - 1 pm
We will be closed from Thursday December 25, 2014 - Friday January 2, 2015
*We will return to the office on Saturday January 3, 2015. Please note all voice messages and emails will be answered at that time.
We have had many comments from patients requesting that we upload the bone broth recipe from our November newsletter to the website. If you don't receive our month newsletter, ask Kyra to add you. Or you can sign up HERE.
Enjoy the recipe!
BONE BROTH RECIPE
2-3 pounds bones of grass-fed beef or organic/pastured chicken (raw or cooked leftovers)
4 L filtered water
2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
1 large onion, coarsely chopped
2 carrots, peeled and coarsely chopped
3 celery stalks, coarsely chopped
- Place bones in a stock pot or crock pot and fill with water (bones should be mostly submerged)
- Add vinegar and all vegetables except parsley to the water.
- Bring to a boil, and remove any scum that rises to the top.
- Reduce the heat to the lowest setting and let simmer.
- If bones have meat and/or marrow in them, these will start to separate from the bones after a few hours. You can help separate the meat and marrow from the bones every couple hours.
- Simmer for 12-24 hours.
- Remove remaining bones from the broth and strain the rest through a strainer to remove anybone fragments.
Refrigerate or freeze in smaller portions. You can remove some of the fat that solidifies on top if you wish. Much of the stock should gel (that's a good thing). Now you're ready to use the broth as a base for all kinds of soups, stews and sauces - or just drink it straight!
Due to the positive feedback we’ve had from our B vitamin injection promotion this summer, we’ll be making the promotion available again for the month of November!
B Vitamin Injections – Package of 3 for $50
B12 is an essential nutrient for healthy red blood cells and nerve tissue. As B12 (cobalamin) is only available from animal sources, B12 deficiency is well known amongst vegetarians and vegans.
‘I eat animal products. Can I be B12 deficient?’
B12 deficiency is common in omnivores as well. Some studies suggest about 1 in 20 omnivores are B12 deficient. Why? Many conditions can contribute to B12 deficiency. Those with pernicious anemia (an autoimmune condition), low stomach acid and gut inflammation will have reduced capacity to absorb B12. Therefore even those eating meat regularly can be B12 deficient. Medications such as birth control pills, acid reflux medications and metformin also increase risk of B12 deficiency. Lastly, acute and chronic stress also quickly depletes B vitamins.
‘My lab tests didn’t show B12 deficiency…’
Serum B12 levels that are most commonly tested often have a wide ‘normal’ reference range (similar to ferritin). Therefore many B12 deficient patients are told they have “normal” B12 levels. I have also found that even in those with ‘high’ serum B12 levels often improve with B12 supplementation. This is likely due to the face that labs test total B12 levels not active B12 levels.
'What symptoms are related to B12 deficiency?'
Fatigue, lethargy, weakness, low mood and nerve problems are some symptoms of B12 deficiency. Long standing B12 deficiency can lead to anemia, irreversible nerve and brain damage
At Brio, vitamin B12 injections also include B-complex as all B vitamins are often depleted together in stress and long-term medication use. We also use the superior methyl form of B12 which studies support is better absorbed and more effective for neurological issues. B vitamin injections are safe, well-tolerated and the quickest way to replenish levels while determining the cause of deficiency for you.
Depending on the level of B12 deficiency, 2-3 injections may be necessary before noticeable improvements. Most often injections are done 1-2 weeks apart, then less frequently as symptoms improve.
Remember last year? That terrible sore throat? Headache? Fever? That cough that just wouldn’t go away? The cold and flu season is here and based on trends from previous years, it’s just getting started.
At this time of year we spend more time indoors making viruses easier to spread. While frequent hand washing is an important way to reduce the risk of exposure to germs, strengthening our own immune system is the best way to reduce the risk of getting sick.
Here are three essential steps to avoid the cold and flu this season:
1. A Healthy Gut In Cold Weather
With 80% of our immune cells residing in our digestive tract, a healthy gut equals a healthy immune system. In addition, cooler weather requires us to make a few changes to our diet. These cold weather adjustments make a huge difference to strengthening your immune system, increasing energy and reducing digestive symptoms like gas and bloating.
a. choose easy to digest and nutritious foods
i. bone broth – easy to digest, healing to your gut lining, containing calcium, magnesium, glucosamine and more, it’s a home-made multivitamin!
ii. cooked/warm seasonal vegetables
b. avoid excessive
i. dairy and sugar as they build up phlegm and inflammation
ii. raw/cold foods and drinks - In Chinese Medicine, our digestion is thought of as a fire that burns up foods to digest it. Too much raw or cold foods can snuff out this fire and slow digestion resulting in low energy, a heavy sensation in the body and bloating.
2. Cover the back of your neck
As the weather cools down, you’ll often see me wearing a scarf. This is because in Chinese Medicine, colds and flus are a result of “wind” getting into your body and this most often happens through the area at the back of the neck (also called the “wind gate”); keep your neck covered especially when there is a breeze.
3. As soon as you start to feel the initial stages of a cold or flu such as a sore/scratchy throat and fever take ColdQuell right away. This Chinese herbal formula reduces excess heat in the body and quickly reduces symptoms. They are in capsule form so they are easy to take without any unpleasant taste. I keep a bottle handy at home for the first sign of symptoms in myself or my family.
We are full swing into our Earth Day give away at Brio on Facebook! To be entered, follow Brio on Facebook and "like" our Earth Day posts. We will be doing our draw this Friday October 31st. Stay tuned to find out if you are the winner. See below to see who is participating in our Earth Day give-away, we have some great local companies.
Save on Foods
We are excited to announce that we have a surprise gift basket donated from Ironwood Save on Foods! They have a great selection of local produce and natural foods section. Check out their gluten free, non gmo, dairy alternatives food selections.
Check out their website to find the nearest location to you: http://www.saveonfoods.com/
Raintree Wellness Spa & Tea
With so many things competing for our attention, it’s difficult to find the time to care for ourselves. Raintree offers a precious refuge from a frenzied pace. A time and place to relax and disconnect from the world as you recharge your mind, body and spirit.
Check out their services and teas, here!
Heringers Olde Fashioned Quality Meats
A European-style delicatessen will be donating a gift certificate for Earth Day this year! They sell a great variety of organic pork and poultry, as well as Spring Creek beef options, spreads, mustards, sauces, dry pasta and more! Check them out in Steveston village.
Our friends at Cabin+Cub have donated a new product that was a collaboration with the Musuem of Vancouver...Laser cut bamboo wood coasters! Each coaster set comes with 4 bamboo coasters (beaver, stag, goose, salmon) lightly oiled with natural tung oil.
Valerie Thai is the design genius behind Brio's logo! Have a look at her website and online shop. Here's a little blurb about how her company is eco-friendly! Shop Local...support our small businesses and reduce our carbon footprint.
Cabin + Cub Design was founded by Valerie Thai in 2006 and specializes in print design and illustration for socially conscious and sustainable companies. Prior to creating her own company, Valerie was the award-winning head designer and art director of Adbusters Magazine for five years running. She holds a Bachelor of Fine Arts from the University of British Columbia and a Bachelor of Communication Design from Emily Carr University of Art and Design.
In 2012, Cabin + Cub began producing a line of laser cut wood accessories and gift items available online and at various independent retailers across North America.
Enjoy mineralized, alkaline water at home with the Santevia Alkaline Water Pitcher. This convenient, hand-held pitcher fits in the door of your refrigerator, and restores your tap water to its mineral-rich state–just like nature intended. Using the same elements as nature’s filtration system, Santevia adds calcium, magnesium and other beneficial minerals, and has been independently tested to reduce chlorine taste and odour, heavy metals, industrial chemicals and agricultural contaminants. Each filter lasts up to twice as long as most water pitcher filters.
With a Santevia Alkaline Pitcher, you’ll not only help maintain your body’s healthy pH balance, but you’ll also save money you would have spent on expensive mineral water in stores. It’s a great choice for the environment, too, since one pitcher eliminates over 8,300 single-use plastic bottles every year!
We have an Earth Day donation from a local health store, Wellspring Health. They have a store in Tsawwassen and Ladner. They have donated a beautiful salt lamp! There are so many health benefits of salt lamps, including:
*Attracts humidity causing the surface of the salt crystal to become moist
*Creates a buildup of ions and removes moisture from your air
*Binds excessive positive ions with their negative ions
*Helps to neutralize the "electro-smog" in your air and reduces allergens and irritants
*Creates potential soothing effects for you from multi-colored salt crystals
Check out Wellspring, here http://www.yelp.ca/biz/wellspring-health-tsawwassen.
ChocXO uses fine flavor cacao beans from Central and South America, not bulk Forastero beans. Believing in the quality of the bean above all else. They use organic+fair trade chocolate as well as coffee beans. They process them using the latest technology and highest quality raw materials. We had some of their tasty treats last week and they are delicious! They also serve coffees, mochas and more!
They are newly opened, just around the corner from Brio. Next time you are in the area, it is worth taking a peak behind Ironwood, and discovering some sweet treats, and perhaps an organic cup of coffee. Which by the way would be considered a healthy beverage!
For the holiday season, Chocxo would be a welcomed gift!
They are located at:
Richmond, B.C Cafe and Factory
#102-11220 Horseshoe Way
Richmond, B.C. Canada
We are so excited to announce all of the local companies that are participating in our Earth Day give-away this month. For the last several years, we have celebrated Earth day by raffling off doantions from local businesses. This year, we have generously received donations from Save on Foods, Heringers, Raintree Wellness Spa & Tea, ChocXO, Wellspring Health, Ironwood Cleaners, Santevia, Cabin + Cub.
This is a friendly reminder that Brio Integrative Health Centre will be closed this Saturday October 11. We will resume regular office hours on Tuesday October 14th. We hope you all have a great Thanksgiving weekend shared with friends and family.
Happy Healthy Tummy Tips for this Thanksgiving
Dr.Dhiman has some great tips for keeping your tummy happy and healthy for the Thanksgiving meal ahead of us.
1. Apple Cider Vinegar (ACV) - a distressed stomach's best friend. One to two teaspoons in 1/2 a glass of water 15 minutes prior to meals. ACV will aid in digestion, decrease gastric reflux, decrease bloating and abdominal pain. Use as needed
2. Try to avoid Antacids - we have been programmed to think that symptoms of acid reflux is a result of too much stomach acid production, however, in our clinical observation, the problem is usually too little stomach acid production. Stomach acid production can decrease when the body is stressed. Overeating can absolutely be a stressor to the body. Again, ACV will normalize stomach acid levels.
3. Peppermint Tea - Peppermint (Mentha piperita) can calm a distressed tummy almost immediately. This can rid the body of symptoms of dyspepsia. If peppermint tea does not quite do the trick, Peppermint Oil Capsules are an excellent supplement as needed.
4. Fennel Seeds (Foeniculum vulgare) - Have you ever noticed at the end of a delicious Greek meal, you will often get a tiny bowl of fennel seed candy? This is not a random offering as fennel can ease abdominal pain, gas and bloating almost immediately. Simply chew on a small amount and swallow. The seeds can also be boiled in water to drink as a tea.
5. Try to avoid beverages with meals - Have you also noticed at most Asian restaurants you will not receive ice water with your meal unless it is requested? You will however, receive small cups of warm tea. Small amounts of warm tea aid digestion. Ice cold drinks place stress on the digestive system, dilute digestive enzymes and stomach acid levels. For optimal digestion, try to limit beverages to half an hour before or after meals. If you have a dog at home, watch how he/she has meals. Foods and liquids are always separate. This principle follows the laws of nature.