The prevalence of toxic chemicals in our daily lives is no longer in question. From the way our food is produced and manufactured to the beauty and cleaning products we use each day, it seems we have to be wary of everything. So it’s no wonder that by the time evening rolls around and we’re lying safe and secure in bed with our significant other, chemicals are the last things on our mind.
Recent studies have shown that the vagina is highly absorbent. One study found that vaginal application of estradiol, a synthetic estrogen, resulted in blood serum levels 10 times higher than those following oral dosing. Because the vagina is a mucous membrane — as are some of the external parts of the vulva, including the clitoris, clitoral hood, labia minora, and urethra — it can both secrete and absorb fluids at a higher rate than skin,.
“Most of the vagina is covered with multiple layers of dead and dying cells that do a lot to protect it against infection, but [this] is nowhere near the thick leathery surface of our skin,” says Richard Cone, a Johns Hopkins biophysics professor. “The vaginal epithelium … is highly water permeable in a way our skin is not.”
This physical reality makes it essential for women to be mindful of what they are putting in and on their vaginas, because it really can affect their overall health.
The problem with lube…
Charlene S. Dezzutti, a professor in the Department of Obstetrics, Gynecology, and Reproductive Sciences at the University of Pittsburgh, found that hyperosmolar lubricants and spermicidal gels killed microbes commonly found in the vagina. For example, K-Y Jelly killed all three species of Lactobacillus it was applied to. “The bacterial kill off is likely caused by the ingredient chlorhexidine, an antibacterial agent,” says Dezzutti. She also adds that personal lubricants can disrupt natural flora in the vagina, potentially leading to infections such as bacterial vaginosis.
However, since these studies are done in a lab, it’s difficult to conclude how harmful these lubricants are in the real world, “This is just a model in a test tube, and it’s hard to equate that with real-life activity,” says Dezzutti.
But studies are continually being done to ensure our safety in the bedroom. Richard A. Cone, a biophysicist at Johns Hopkins University, observed cell toxicity from hyperosmolar lubricants in his mouse model with the same glycerol monolaurate/K-Y formulation. His team saw a 10-fold increase in susceptibility to herpes with the gel.
Dezzutti explains that adding hyperosmolar lubricants — those products containing concentrations of components higher than the body’s cells — to the vagina or rectum causes the cells there to shrivel up and come off, which risks weakening the body’s defenses in these areas.
In 2007, Craig W. Hendrix, a clinical pharmacologist at Johns Hopkins, led a research team to demonstrate that ID Glide, a hyperosmolar lubricant similar to Astroglide and K-Y Jelly, can cause significant damage to the rectal tissue of human study participants. The scientists observed major shedding of cells from tissue samples biopsied 60 to 90 minutes after lubricant application.
The Relation With STIs & Other STDs
Other experiments have shown that personal lubricants can damage cells lining both the vagina and rectum, potentially making the body more vulnerable to sexually transmitted infections (STIs). In one epidemiological investigation, participants who consistently used personal lubricants for rectal intercourse had a higher prevalence of STIs, such as chlamydia, than inconsistent users.
The Food & Drug Administration normally doesn’t test personal lubricants in humans. The FDA classifies lubricants as ‘medical devices,’ which means they are only tested on animals such as rabbits and guinea pigs. When it comes to rectal use? The FDA views it as “off-label” application, so basically — use at your own risk.
Despite the growing pile of evidence indicting the safety of lube, Jim Pickett, chair of the International Rectal Microbicide Advocates (IRMA) group, a global network pushing for safe and effective STI-preventing products, says, “We have signals that are concerning, but we don’t know what they mean yet. Just because a lubricant causes cell damage in the lab, we don’t know whether that has anything to do with disease transmission in humans in the real world.”
Nonoxynol-9 & HIV
Microbicide developers were testing whether or not Nonoxynol-9 could block HIV transmission because it can punch holes in the cell membranes of sperm. Nonoxynol-9 is a detergent found in many household cleaners and cosmetics that manufacturers had been incorporating into spermicidal lubricants for years.
According to a report by the World Health Organization, “spermicides containing nonoxynol-9 do not protect against HIV infection and may even increase the risk of HIV infection in women using these products frequently”
In a 2002 Phase II/III clinical trial conducted on sex workers living in countries such as South Africa and Thailand who used the detergent three or four times per day, doctors found that the detergent actually increased the risk of HIV infection.
Because Nonoxynol-9 is so good at punching holes in cell membranes, it not only bores into sperm but also into the cells lining the vagina and rectum. “The mucosal lining of the vagina is a good barrier to infection all by itself,” says Cone, “but if that barrier gets compromised, all bets are off.”
Osmality & Herpes
Osmolality is a parameter describing the overall concentration of molecular ingredients in a product. In 2010, Cone and his team at Johns Hopkins published work showing that the damaging effects of over-the-counter lubricants depend on a factor called osmolality. What they discovered after examining mouse vaginal cells is that, when mice were exposed to high-osmolality lubricants followed by herpes simplex virus, the rodents were more susceptible to infection.
Even more shocking, the common lubricant K-Y Warming Jelly, which has an osmolality more than 30 times the body’s own fluid, increased herpes transmission 9 times more than compared with rodents not administered lubricant.
Dr. Maggie Ney, co-director of the Women’s Clinic at the Akasha Center in Santa Monica, in a recent interview on Goop, recommends these alternatives:
- organic coconut oil
- olive oil
- aloe vera gel
- almond oil
There are plenty of brands on the market today that are conscious of the health risks conventional lubricants put on the body. Love Lotion, Sliquid, and YES are a few that come to mind which are organic.
It’s important to be vigilant with your health and consider the risks of all aspects of your life, especially when it comes to the bedroom. Sex is meant to be fun and safe, so it’s worth going the extra mile to ensure you’re doing things right.
Simple Exercises To Help Reverse Damage Caused From Excessive Sitting
- The Facts:
In our modern lifestyle, we are sitting too much and for too long periods of time. This level of sedentary lifestyle is not natural for our bodies and could lead to very serious health issues if we do not address this issue.
- Reflect On:
How could you be more active throughout your regular day to reduce the impacts of sitting too much? Can you make some of these simple excises a daily habit to help limit the damages of sitting?
If you are here and reading this, chances are you have a job that involves long periods of sitting, and most likely staring at a screen. This has become the norm in our modern society and because our bodies are designed to move, to stretch and well, basically to be used, sitting for extended periods of time is causing us some serious damage. Some people are going as far as to say that sitting is the new smoking.
Have you experienced those moments when you finally get up from a sitting position and your butt is completely numb? Excessive sitting causes your legs and hips to become tight and leaves your glutes completely inactive, which does nothing to strengthen these areas. Then there is the dreaded slouch over the desk and computer that could be ruining your posture as well.
Think about how our society was before the industrial revolution, stock market and even recently with the invention of the computer. Us humans were tending our own gardens, washing and hanging our own clothes, we didn’t have cars and were, by default, much more active than we are today. We didn’t even have couches to sit on at the end of the day or more screens, in various shapes and sizes to stare at whilst sitting. It is straight up unnatural for our bodies to spend so much time being inactive and we are starting to see the consequences.
However, having awareness is the first step towards change, and there are some simple ways that you can begin to undo the damage that is caused by sitting. So without further a due, here are 7 simple exercises you can do now to reduce the damage caused by sitting.
Sit Less & Move More
Prevention is the best remedy. By simply being aware of how much you are sitting, you can begin to negate its effects. Whenever possible stand up, go for a little walk around the office, perhaps a little stretch or plank while you’re at it. To remind yourself to do this you can set a timer to go off every 30-60 minutes.
Consider using a standing desk perhaps to keep you on your feet and activating your muscles for longer, although you will still want to ensure you are incorporating some movement, as standing for hours on end is not necessarily good for you and your body either. A friend suggested a great idea to me once, which was to drink plenty of water. This will force you to get up often, not only to get more water but to also relive your bladder, this sounds silly, but it totally works. Plus, there’s nothing wrong with staying hydrated!
Stretch Out Those Hips
If you are really tight, the following exercises may be difficult at first, don’t push it only go to your level of comfort. With time you will gain the flexibility to go deeper as it will get easier after a while.
Nothing like some good old-fashioned squats to engage your glutes and your legs. Stand up tall, have the feet about hip width apart and facing a little bit outwards, bend down so your knees are at about a 45-degree angle, come up and flex your glutes when you do. Repeat 10 times to start, increasing every time you do this.
This is a classic move that you may already know if you’ve ever taken a yoga class. If you haven’t — no sweat, it’s a fairly simple exercise. Stand up straight and bend over, place your hands in front of you on the ground and slowly walk them out. If you are on your tiptoes for this, that’s totally fine, you want your body to be in a “V” shape. Hold this pose for 10 – 15 seconds at first, then increase the duration as you get comfortable. To come out of this position, walk your hands slowly back to your feet than stand up tall. You may be able to eventually have your feet flat on the ground as you do this, but it may take some time to achieve this.
The plank position is great for whole body strength. Simply get into a standard push up position, or rest your elbows on the floor, ensure your back is flat, like a plank and hold for 20 seconds to start. Over time, you can increase the duration of this exercise. It is an excellent way to strengthen the core and gets your legs and glutes involved as well.
Lay on your back on the ground, bring your legs up so your feet are about 1 foot away from your butt, place your hands flat on the floor and begin to raise your pelvis off the ground. Repeat 20 times, ensuring to flex those glutes every time you lift up. As this becomes easier, increase the number of repetitions.
Sit on the floor with your legs out in front of you. To start, bring in your right knee and cross your foot across your left leg, hug your right leg into your body while sitting up straight. Hold this pose for 10 seconds then switch legs. As this becomes easier you can move on the
Start this exercise by finding something to hold onto for balance. Start by swinging your right leg backward and forwards as high and as far back as feels comfortable to you. Repeat 20 times then switch legs.
Next up is side to side leg swings. Keep holding onto something for balance and swing your right leg out to the side as high as is comfortable and then in front of you towards your left as far as you can. Again, do 20 swings then switch legs. You may repeat if you are feeling especially tight.
Family Constellation Therapy & It’s Role In Healing Autism
- The Facts:
Trans-generational traumas add to our toxic burden and predispose us to illness. Misfortune or unresolved conflict in our ancestry can create disturbances which filter down into the psyche, nervous system and metabolic functioning.
- Reflect On:
What conflict exists in your ancestry? Could it be impacting your family's health?
Family Constellation Therapy, sometimes known as Systemic Constellations, was created by Bert Hellinger, a German psychotherapist. This amazing method is used to uncover the source of chronic conditions, illnesses and emotional difficulties that may have roots in the inter-generational family systems, rather than the individual, and may be connected to a key stress event.
Could resolving past family trauma help unlock the symptoms known as autism? Sadly, some form of autism is now observed in 1 in 55 children and is growing at a rate of more than 1,100 percent. Western medicine focuses on medication to suppress symptoms and alternative approaches focus on treating the underlying biomedical, physical, psychological and environmental causes of autism.
However, illness not only originates in our physical body, but can also originate in our energetic and spiritual body as well. So, it becomes imperative that we treat the entire person for a fuller recovery.
“Autism spectrum disorders can only be fully healed by restoring the self-regulation of the system and making it fully functional.” – Dr. Dietrich Klinghardt
This moving and powerful work in the family’s energetic field is also referred to as “the knowing field.” And, is used to examine the emotional factors connected to conditions such as illness, allergies, alcoholism, ADHD and autism. Some parents of children on the autism spectrum have experienced profound transformations as a result of this work for themselves, as well as for their families.
These children are often the recipients of unhealed trans-generational family issues because of their extraordinary energetic sensitivities. This perpetuates their illness.
Family constellation therapy work, focuses deeper on the ancestral family blueprint – the family soul. Our souls carry information from one lifetime to the next and from one generation to the next.
Children often hold the energetic field of their ancestors. This appears especially true with children with autism, because they are super-sensitive and spiritual souls. Who, often become unconsciously entangled with others in their family in the name of belonging or wanting to help restore balance in their family system. The purpose of a Family Constellation therapy session is to reveal that hidden dynamic and point the way toward resolution. And, there are often magical improvements in these children when we resolve issues in the family history.
The Forgotten One
One of the participants in a group “Michelle,” has a brother with severe autism who couldn’t speak and was very self-destructive. She was afraid that he could never live a more “normal” life because he refused all biomedical treatment and other therapies offered to him. In the initial set-up, the facilitator had Michelle, her brother, and both parents of her family represented in “the field.”
The participant representing her brother was hiding under a nearby chair and was rocking back and forth. Both parents were standing in the field, seemingly disinterested in what was going on. The sister (Michelle) kept looking down at the floor. Later in the set-up, it was revealed that the sister was looking down at a baby—a baby who had died of birth defects three generations ago. This baby hadn’t been properly acknowledged or mourned.
In essence, the brother with autism had taken the place of the “forgotten” baby. Representatives for the great-grandparents (the forgotten baby’s parents) were brought into “the field.” Then, the baby was embraced by the parents and a short dialogue was exchanged. The baby reported that he felt more at ease, relaxed and became more comfortable. A healing took place that was so profound. A year later, “Michelle” reported that her brother was starting to take a more active role in his recovery and was beginning to accept treatment.
War and Mental Illness
“Andrew,” a man in his twenties who was diagnosed with Asperger’s, participated in my group. He claimed that mental illness and psychosis ran in his family. He cried as he explained that he was taking multiple medications for bi-polar disorder. He claimed it was difficult for him to hold down a job. He often felt very alone. He stated that he did not have a good relationship with his parents. He said that his mom was “crazy.” The parents divorced when he was very small and he blames himself and his issues for why they split.
In the initial set-up of “his field,” Andrew was represented along with mental illness and his parents. As it unfolded, it became more obvious that something profound had happened in the past. Mental illness began taking on characteristics of a war and hidden dynamics were revealing themselves.
Later in the set-up, Andrew’s representative started choking, like he was trying to catch his breath. He was mumbling, “I deserve death because I have killed others.”
It was uncovered that his great-great grandfather was in World War I and was killed during a mustard gas attack. Andrew was doing service to the family out of deep love. He took on the feelings of the victim and the perpetrator, which caused him deep inner conflict. Hence, he was carrying the burden of mental illness and autism. In doing this soul work, Andrew was able to find resolution for himself as well as all the members of his family.
In conclusion, trans-generational traumas add to our toxic burden and predispose us to illness. Misfortune or unresolved conflict in our ancestry can create disturbances in the family field, which filter down into the psyche, nervous system and metabolic functioning. Children with health issues are particularly sensitive to such disturbances.
Therapy and biomedical interventions may even succeed better after a healing Family Constellation session with an experienced facilitator. Fortunately, it is never too late to heal wounds from the past. Constellation work is unique in that any living family member can do this intervention for the benefit of all.
Learn more about my family’s healing journey (including everything that has worked for me and many of my clients) in my book Healing Without Hurting. And to receive more info on how you and your family can overcome ADHD, apraxia, anxiety and more without medication SIGN UP HERE.
What If Everything We Know About Depression Was Wrong? [Video]
- The Facts:
There is a lot more to depression than currently meets the eye. If it is a chemical imbalance in the brain, then there is still something that is causing it. It's time to dig deeper and shed some light on this issue that affects millions worldwide.
- Reflect On:
Why are we more depressed now more than ever? Our current society isn't set up for us all to have a fair chance of living the best possible life imaginable.
It is no secret, the amount of people who are suffering from mild to severe depression is astronomical, at an all-time high. In fact, the World Health Organization estimates that over 300 Million people around the world have some form of depression. Not to mention many sufferers go undiagnosed. What is going on here? Science tells us that depression is caused by a chemical imbalance in the brain, but why are we seeing the rise illness at such alarming rates? Perhaps, it’s time to rethink what we think we know about depression.
Is it possible that it is not our brains that are causing us to be depressed, but rather our society? We do not have our basic needs met, we have to work hard to afford to live, often doing jobs in which we have no passion for. We have debt that keeps us completely enslaved to this whole never-ending cycle, and through all this, we are expected to be feel good?
Whether we are working a job with a 6-figure salary or a minimum wage job, many of us are still depressed. Money won’t make us happy, although this is what we are often led to believe. Even those pulling in large salaries find it difficult to find the time to spend with their families, or do something that they are passionate about or brings them joy.
Why are we the only species on the planet that has to pay for our food, water, and shelter? This is such a simple question that is rarely asked.
Now this isn’t to say we blame our society for how we feel, because ultimately WE have control over how we feel. It’s simply that our environment makes it no easier. True peace, is found within, yet our society is pushed to be so distracted that we find little time to go within and find that peace. Instead we’re in constant survival mode.
Opening Up The Dialogue
The video below is a brilliant explanation by author, Johann Hari. He describes an alternate view of what is really causing us to be so depressed in the first place. He has suffered from depression as well and was convinced that this issue was all in his head — the chemical imbalance we hear so much about. He felt it was a sign of weakness and was ashamed of his condition.
After being prescribed anti-depressant medication and being on the highest dose possible, Hari was still suffering. This is what led him to realize that there had to be more to this issue than a chemical imbalance. After all, what kept causing these feelings to reemerge?
Check out the video below to hear the insight he’s gained after years of studying the true causes of depression.
Where Do We Go From Here?
By talking about this issue, in-depth, and opening up this dialogue, perhaps we can gain new insight in regards to what we can actually do to begin to try and solve this problem. We don’t have to live a life of despair and hopelessness, there are solutions to this issue and at the very least it’s worth a shot, especially when it seems as though all else has failed.
If there is a chemical imbalance within the brain, something has caused that, and as said in the video, there are a number of different things that may be contributing to that. Lack of nature, connection, purpose, holding on to grief, shame, and trauma. As mentioned, we also spend little time turning within and truly reflecting on self. This is probably the greatest relief found in moving beyond depression.
Can we find out what is truly ailing us in order to let it go so we can move on with our lives and thrive as we were meant to?
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