Retox-Detox Guide for the Holidays

by Kai Herman, ND

With the holidays nearing, the celebration season is already upon us. Although a wonderful time
of year to get together with loved ones and express gratitude for wonderful friends and family in
our lives, the indulgent excesses can take a toll on our bodies. Many of us find ourselves
dragging through our days, recovering from hangovers; struggling with low energy and brain
fog; feeling sleep deprived and often falling ill as a result of the cumulative effect of late nights
and higher stress. These symptoms are “side-effects” of toxin overload and oxidative stress
caused by over-indulging and burning the candle at both ends. To avoid feeling crummy when
you’re supposed to be celebrating, its best to have a strategic plan to try to ease your body of
the toxic burden. Below I have outlined a guide to help master the Retox- Detox this holiday

Back to the Basics

Ok… this goes with out saying, but fundamental health practices are so important to staying
healthy during the holidays. Use this guide as a reminder to emphasize hydration, good quality
sleep and exercise. Throughout the day, drink at least half your body weight in ounces to
prevent dehydration. Dehydration will almost guarantee you to have a hangover if you’re going
to engage in holiday drinking. Add some fresh squeezed lemon juice for an added detox effect.
Any night you’re not at a holiday party, aim for 8-9 hours of sleep per night and avoid
screens at least 30 min before sleep, as they can disrupt your sleep cycle. Lastly, maintaining a
regular exercise regimen- moving for 30-60 min at least 4 times/week – will promote good
circulation, help prevent lethargy (and extra pounds) caused by over-eating and drinking and
support detoxification through sweat!

Supportive Supplements

There are many nutrients and anti-oxidants which support detoxification processes and protect
our body’s from damage from free radical and toxins.

Milk thistle, when taken preventively, can prevent liver damage following the ingestion of toxins
(eg poisons from substances such as alcohol). Another bonus, Milk thistle has been shown to
reduce acne breakouts, which can be another unfortunate effect of holiday partying. You can
take Milk Thistle capsules daily to protect your liver and skin during the holidays.

Chlorophyll: Chlorophyll is an amazing nutrient found in abundance in green plants. It helps
neutralize toxins and free radicals and supports elimination of harmful substances through the
digestive tract and liver. Add liquid drops of chlorophyllin to water and drink throughout the day
to proactively fight against the deleterious effects of toxins.

How we can help

At Elixia, we offer a variety of services which help you to be more resilient to the effects of over-
indulging. Naturopathic medicine, Chiropractic care, Acupuncture and Massage can all help
provide your body with a very timely tune-up. In addition, we provide services specifically
designed to help with holiday detoxification and hangover recovery.

IV Therapy and Glutathione Push: IV hydration with key nutrients, such as B vitamins, Vitamin
C and magnesium, can provide immediate relief to many of the symptoms experienced during
hangovers. If you’re fatigue extends beyond just a hangover, adding Glutathione, one of the
body’s most potent antioxidants, is one of the best ways to remedy holiday malaise. Glutathione
provides the backbone to the liver’s detoxification defenses. So if you’re putting your liver to task, re-fuel with glutathione preventively and regularly. IV therapy is typically performed weekly
to bi-weekly. Treatment times vary between 30-60 min.

Infrared Sauna: Infrared saunas provide deep heat safely to the body to stimulate sweating and
detoxification. Known benefits of infrared saunas include improving fatigue, reducing body
aches, improving mental clarity and sense of wellness. Infrared saunas work within 15 minutes,
with most sessions lasting between 30-60 min.

Call Elixia now to maintain your wellness and get ahead of the holiday season! 503.232.5653.

Deactivating the Stress Response

Article written by Tamra Holder, LMT

Chronic activation of the Stress Response impairs health,” according to an article by Harvard Health Publishing first published in March, 2011 and updated in March 2016. We’ve all almost certainly experienced the stress response also known as the “fight or flight response.” It is an important survival mechanism that allows us to react instantaneously to life-threatening situations like being able to jump out of the way of an oncoming car. The problem arises when not life-threatening stressors, such as getting all worked up in a traffic jam, feeling anxious about infertility, persistently worrying about a relationship or a work deadline repeatedly activate the stress response.

Real or Perceived, No Difference
Whether life-threatening or not, the stress response is the same cascade of stress hormones that produce well-orchestrated almost instantaneous physiological changes, including heart pounding, breath quickening, muscles tensing and sweating. As long as the brain continues to perceive danger, the sympathetic nervous system triggers hormones to be released and the body remains revved up, activated, on high alert. It isn’t until the perception of threat dissolves and the parasympathetic nervous system puts on the brakes that a relaxed feeling in the body is restored.

Your “Normal” or Signs of Imbalance?
Long-term repeated release of stress hormones or a chronic low-level stress state contributes to a host of maladies including raising the risk of heart attack or stroke. Toxins can build up and symptoms of less than optimal health may appear. What we may have come to accept as “normal” are actually signs of imbalance: digestive issues (gas, bloating, constipation, diarrhea), acne, mood swings, headaches, menstrual cycle issues (heavy or scanty bleeding, painful cramping, irregular periods, pain at ovulation, or bleeding between cycles), sleep issues (difficulty getting to sleep, staying asleep or not getting enough sleep or not feeling rested upon waking) just to name a few. The stress response depletes the body’s energy stores, throws hormones out of balance and contributes to increased appetite and weight gain.

Deactivating the Stress Response
The sympathetic nervous system activity triggered by stress response may be countered using a combination of approaches that elicit the relaxation response. Active methods include deep breathing, yoga, tai chi and qi gong. Passive methods include massage, taking a sauna or hot bath. Just as stress reactions can become a life negating habit, shifting gears, slowing down and initiating the relaxation response can become a life affirming pattern that supports health, harmony and hormone balance.

Shifting the Balance Toward Health
Both aspects of our nervous system exist: the stress response and the relaxation response are elegantly designed to keep us out of harms way and give us the opportunity to recover from such events and live in a relaxed and calm way. You can consciously choose to direct your system toward a more relaxed state of being and recover your health by giving yourself the regular and frequent experience of a deeply relaxed state. Your body can then clean up toxins created by repeated stress reactions and you can experience the rest and recovery aspect of your nervous system with deep relaxation. This is important because even visiting this state of deep relaxation on a somewhat regular basis, begins to shift the balance toward health.

To read the Harvard Health Publishing article visit:

Feeling Damp? 5 simple steps to decrease and prevent damp accumulation in your body

Written by Hillary Constant, LAc.

When you hear or read the word damp, you may automatically think of the typical Portland climate – as I’m writing this the sun has gone back into hiding and we have taken out our rain jackets once again. But the dampness I want to address in this article is a type of physiological imbalance in Chinese medical theory that can cause heavy, phlegmy, and/or foggy symptoms in your body. As an acupuncturist, I can’t control the weather, but I can help you take control of the internal dampness that may be accumulating and preventing you from achieving your ideal metabolic functioning.

Dampness results from an inability of the body to properly metabolize fluids. The major player here is the Spleen- the organ that in Chinese medical theory is credited with transforming and transporting the food and drink that we take in. While moisture and fluids are essential to the functioning of the body, dampness is congealed fluid that tends to stagnate rather than lubricate. Symptoms of dampness that are very visible include:

A runny nose or post nasal drip
Sinus congestion or phlegm that is coughed up,
Suppurating sores or weeping eczema,
Loose, sticky stools,
Excessive vaginal discharge and/or yeast infections,
Cloudy urination and/or UTIs,
A thick coating on the tongue

But there are many other manifestations of dampness that are not visible to the untrained eye. These include:

Joint soreness and pain
Low energy and weight gain or an inability to lose weight
A heavy, foggy sensation in the head or body
Slow digestion, bloating and distention in the abdomen, and poor appetite
Urinary difficulty

Some diseases that might have dampness as one of the root causes are chronic pain, fibromyalgia, chronic fatigue, high cholesterol, metabolic disorders, and cancer. Dampness left to congeal even further can transform into phlegm, which may cause fibroids, ovarian cysts, lipomas and other masses in the body.

As you can see, dampness is no joke. So how do we avoid letting the dampness sap our energy and weigh us down (literally and figuratively), and wreak havoc on the delicate balance of our physiology? The answer is simple, but as is the case with most natural remedies, it takes some education, dedication, and patience to get there. The process revolves around taking care of your Spleen, which as I mentioned above is a major player in digestion, and therefore our healing process starts with Hippocrates’ wise saying, “Let food be thy medicine..”.

5 steps to preventing damp accumulation in your body:

1. Avoid foods that are hard on your Spleen. The Spleen likes things that are energetically warm and dry. Therefore, an excess of moist, greasy, and cold foods prevents the Spleen from doing its very important job of turning food and drink into nourishment for your whole body. This is not a list of foods to avoid completely for the rest of your life, but more of a guideline to create awareness – take a look and think about which of these foods you might tend to go overboard on.

Milk and dairy products
Processed sugar, sweets, and fruit juices
Refined white flour wheat products such as breads, pastries, biscuits
Fried Foods

2. Incorporate more foods that will assist your Spleen in transforming and draining dampness.

Warming and drying spices such as caraway, cardamon, coriander, and clove,
Fresh herbs such as basil, oregano, parsley, marjoram
Turnips, radishes, daikon, kohlrabi, horseradish, mustard leaf
Garlic, onions, scallions
Whole grains such as barley, rye, and buckwheat
Asparagus, button mushroom, pumpkin, corn and celery

3. Take care of your Spleen

Avoid ice water and other iced drinks (these are too cold and prevent the Spleen from doing its duties)
Eat at regular times every day (the Spleen loves routine!)
Take steps to decrease worry and stress, which also have a negative effect on the Spleen (Chinese Medicine theory takes into account how emotional factors affect our body function as well- amazing!)

4. Move your body. Exercise will help boost your metabolism and move the stagnation that can aggravate damp accumulation. The Spleen rules the muscles, so weak and flaccid muscles are a sure sign that the Spleen is not functioning optimally. Exercise also helps manage stress, which can be another contributing factor in many dampness patterns.

5. Consult with a qualified Acupuncturist or Chinese herbal medicine practitioner. We can determine if your symptoms are being caused by dampness, and whether there are other factors such as heat or blood stagnation complicating the pattern. Acupuncture points and Chinese herbs will help tonify deficiencies in your Spleen, Lungs, or Kidneys and move stagnation that has started to accumulate in your upper, middle and or lower body, as well as help you calm the stresses and worries of daily life that may be affecting your digestion, energy, and overall physical and mental health.