Christina Carreau, BA, ND

As a naturopathic doctor my goal is to practice individualized medicine. I avoid generic treatment programs and formulas for dealing with high blood pressure, headaches, stomach issues, etc. and instead try and determine the root cause of illness, which varies from one person to the next. The root cause of illness is often different (ie what causes your headache is different than what causes mine) so treatment needs to be tailored to the needs of each individual in order to successfully address and alleviate the presenting symptoms.

With that being said, I do have a ‘formula’ for building a healthy foundation that I give to every single person that I see. I refer to the formula as “Basic Treatment Guidelines”.

Regardless of your health concern (be it high blood pressure or headaches) I always emphasize the importance of living healthy and reducing the body’s toxic burden by maximizing function of organs of elimination (ie. lungs, kidneys, skin, liver, colon).

The formula consists of 8 basic treatment guidelines:

1)   Drink Water – Water transports oxygen to your cells, removes waste, protects your joints and organs, helps regulate body temperature and provides the means for nutrients to travel throughout your body.

2)   Eat a Balanced Diet –A balanced diet is essential to maintaining a healthy weight, ensuring adequate energy throughout the day and preventing disease.

3)   Warm Lemon – Add the juice of a half squeezed lemon to a glass of warm or hot water in the morning when you wake up. This stimulates the gallbladder to start releasing bile, which aids digestion and also helps nourish the liver.

4)   Deep Breathing – Deep breathing provides us with extra oxygen, which is not only energizing but helps promote relaxation, assists the body with detoxification and helps reduce stress, which also enhances immune function.

5)   Movement/Exercise – Regular physical activity is an important prescription for helping relieve depression, anxiety, heartburn and constipation; it decreases stress; increases happiness; and prevents diabetes, heart disease, weight gain, osteoporosis and cancer.

6)   Sleep – Ensure that you are getting between 7 and 8 hours of sleep each night. Sleep is an essential time of restoration for both our body and our mind. During sleep the body has a chance to replace chemicals and repair muscles, other tissues and aging or dead cells.

7)   Dry Skin Brushing – Practice dry skin brushing to help boost your immune system, increase circulation and enhance detoxification. Dry skin brushing helps clear toxins from the lymphatic system and improves the health of the liver and kidneys.

8)   Castor Oil Packs – Castor oil has been shown to increase circulation and promote elimination and healing of tissues and organs underneath the skin.  It is particularly effective in being absorbed into lymphatic circulation, which can improve digestion, immune function, and reduce swelling in injured joints and extremities.

Sometimes we get ahead of ourselves and focus only on the easy answers to our health problems (a pill to help us sleep more soundly, a vitamin to give us more energy, a herb to stimulate bowel movements, etc.) While all of these are viable options to improve health, it makes the most sense to ‘lay the foundation first’ and build your health upon this.