Contact Us

Use the form on the right to contact us.

You can edit the text in this area, and change where the contact form on the right submits to, by entering edit mode using the modes on the bottom right. 

2116 Sunset Ave
Ocean Township, NJ, 07712

732.774.7808

What do you dream of achieving?

Imagine working with your very own champion to achieve your life plans of health, wellness and professional goals; the power of two minds collaborating toward your balanced path. I will work with you to inspire your life on your terms while creating more joy and balance in every daily aspect of who you are.

 

Blog

Filtering by Category: sleep

The Lymphatic System

Vanessa Siravo

What is it? Why is it important to health? What are ways to promote healthy lymph flow?

The lymphatic system is the silent transport vehicle that facilitates waste removal at a cellular level, moving it from the tissues to the blood, where it can be filtered by the liver and kidneys. The waste that is carried through the body consists of proteins, plasma, cell waste, debris, airborne pollutants, environmental toxins, and bi-products of bodily processes. 

The lymphatic system is a system that is made up of lymph nodes and lymph vessels. It incorporates the spleen, thymus and adenoids as well as the circulatory and urinary systems. The lymphatic system also plays a role in bringing nutrients and oxygen to cells.

Lymph is a clear-to-white fluid made of white blood cells, especially lymphocytes which are the cells that attack bacteria in the blood and fluid from the intestines, which contains proteins and fats.

There are between 600-700 lymph nodes in the body that filter lymph before it returns to the circulatory system. When bacteria or other foreign invaders are recognized in the lymph fluid, the lymph nodes make more infection fighting white blood cells, which can cause swelling. The swollen nodes can often be detected in the neck, underarms and groin.

Lymph only flows in one direction-upwards towards the neck. It flows into the venous blood system through the subclavian veins which are located on either side of the neck near the collarbone.

If our lymph is not flowing through the body as it should, the immune system and ultimately the whole body suffers.

Signs of Stagnant Lymph:

  • Chronic fatigue

  • Brain fog

  • Swelling in lymph nodes (like throat, armpits or groin)

  • Muscle aches and pains

  • Joint pains

  • Excess weight and cellulite

  • low immunity

  • Headaches

  • Frequent infections or viruses

  • Fibromyalgia symptoms

  • Arthritis

  • Skin conditions

  • Cold hands and feet

  • Digestive disorders

  • Sinus congestion

What causes stagnant lymph?

Stress, Stress, Stress. Stress has been identified as the cause of about 80% of all disease. The chemistry of stress is degenerative and lymph congesting as cited by Dr. John Douillard.

Chronic digestive imbalances like constipation and diarrhea due to irritated intestinal villi are classic causes of lymph congestion. As the majority of the lymph in the body surrounds the gut (Gut Associated Lymphatic Tissues GALT), the quality of the villi is critical for proper lymph flow, detoxification, assimilation and immunity.

Iodine deficiency is also a common cause of lymphatic congestion. Iodine protects us from a toxic environment and supports the lymph at the cellular level.

Why do we want to support proper lymph drainage?

  • To move fluid out of the tissues into lymph nodes where bacteria, viruses and other microorganisms are destroyed

  • To reduce swelling and pain in the body

  • To stimulate immune system

  • To increase circulation of white blood cells

  • To support healthy circulation and skin tone

Ways to Encourage Healthy Lymph Flow

Breathe. Deep breathing in and out of the nose. Do this as much as possible!

Hydrate. Drink plenty of purified or filtered water throughout the day.
The lymphatic system depends on a constant supply of fluid. 

Add a sprinkle of Himalayan salt or fresh squeeze lemon juice to your water to support kidney health.

Move & Groove. When your muscles move, they massage the lymphatic system and promote the flow of fluid through your lymph vessels. Regular exercise like running, walking, yoga, and strength training keep the lymph juices flowing.

Jump! Jumping on a rebounder stimulates internal organs, supports intestinal health and assist in flushing toxins out of the body. It can also help support heart health, reduce body fat, firm legs, thighs, and abdomen; and strengthens muscles throughout the body.

jump

Sweat. Sit in an infrared sauna or steam room to raise the body temperature to release excess fluids and toxins. This will also support the healing of tissue repair.

sweat

Massage. Manual lymphatic massage stimulates the lymph nodes and helps promote fluid movement in lymph vessels. It can also relieve sinus pressure, and reduce fluid retention in the face

Dry Skin Brushing. Use a dry body brush every day to increase circulation and boost a sluggish lymph system. Spend 3-5 minutes of brushing before you jump in the shower in the morning. Start at with your arms and legs and use long strokes to move the brush towards your heart.

Herbs including (but not limited to):

herbs
  • Red Clover: which is one of the best blood purifiers, aides in detoxification and reduces inflammation in: the body.

  • Calendula: can improve lymph congestion and swelling

  • Cleavers: supports the flow of lymph, bringing white blood cells to the areas where they are most needed.

  • Echinicea: can be used as an anti-inflammatory and has powerful immune-enhancing effects

  • Licorice Root: supports in filtering debris from the lymphatic system and reduce swelling of lymph nodes

  • Red Root: supports the spleen in filtering impurities from the blood, and helps move nutrients from the digestive system to the liver for breakdown before entering the bloodstream.

September Self-Care

katie strakosch

How does this month find you so far?

The lazy dog days of summer are sunny memories as we flow closer towards Autumn.

For many, this month brings about a new wave of change in schedules and routines.

This can be a challenge with integrating the aspect of time management and trying to ‘fit everything in’ during the day; yet trying not to lose the essence and lightness of summer energy.

One thing that should not be forgotten or pushed to the backburner during this time is ‘Self-Care’.

Self-Care IS NOT Selfish.

Self-Care IS NOT a guilty investment of time or energy.

Self-Care can be a TWO-minute investment of time that leads to a LIFE-CHANGING experience.

I like to call self-care rituals: ‘Bookend Rituals

These are non-negotiable aspects of self-care.

A non-negotiable means that it is a part of your routine that will not be compromised. The way I view a non-negotiable is that it is just as essential as food, water and sleep. We know we need these foundational pillars to keep us ticking. We can’t go without food, hydration or sleep for too long (we try to push the limit, sometimes too long)

With the bookend rituals, we look at what can recharge and jumpstart our day in the morning and we look at what can help us unwind and ground down in the evening.

What type of morning and evening bookend rituals

can you integrate into your days?


Here are few tools to explore on your SELF-CARE JOURNEY:

Don’t hop right onto social media or email first thing in the morning.

Early morning is a sacred time to ease into waking hours. Take at least 30 minutes to ease into the ‘external connection’ with the world.


Start your day with a cup of warm water with a slice of lemon.

You can also add a kick with a capful of apple cider vinegar and a dash of cayenne pepper for an extra zing of energy! This is a natural way to jumpstart your digestive enzymes for the day & to naturally detox your liver.


Shake it up!

Movement mobilizes toxins! Exercise regularly to gently release toxins through skin via sweat and jumpstarts the Lymphatic System.

Turn on your favorite song and let loose. It doesn’t need to be graceful, just MOVE that goddess body! My favorite daily remedy is jumping on a REBOUNDER! I keep one in my office, take a pause every few hours, turn on an upbeat song and JUMP! It revitalizes my body and mind.


Castor Oil Packs

Castor oil packs offer many benefits to the body including gastrointestinal remedy, supports lowering cholesterol levels in the body, antimicrobial (antibacterial, antiviral, and antifungal), anti-inflammatory and can support inflamed joints due to arthritis or overuse, immune system and lymphatic stimulant


Add plenty of color to your plate.

Foods rich in color (natural color, that is) means it is rich in chlorophyll from the leaves feed the blood, and help your body flush out toxins from summer fun. They are also rich in antioxidants to flush out free radicals, boost immunity and reduce inflammation.


SWEAT with an infrared sauna session.

Sweating is the body’s safe and natural way to heal & stay healthy. Far infrared heats the body directly causing a rise in core temperature resulting in a deep, detoxifying sweat at the cellular level, where toxins reside. Read more about the benefits of an infrared sauna here!


Soak in a hot bath.

To boost the cleansing effects, just add a cup of Epsom salt, Himalayan salt or baking soda.  These alkalize the water to help neutralize acidic toxins.  Epsom salt help your body to absorb magnesium which neutralizes acidic toxins, relaxes muscles and is required by hundreds of functions. Relax and breathe while you soak.


Write it Out.

Take time to reflect on the day, emotions, feelings, worries, fears, dreams, visions…Let it flow! Write with no judgement. This is a beautiful exercise to practice in the morning and evening (just upon rising and just before going to bed).


What are some of your favorite self-care rituals?

My Favorite Ways to Beat the Winter Blues

katie strakosch

Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) is a medically recognized form of clinical depression that typically occurs during the darker winter months.  It is most likely caused by shorter daylight hours which cause shifts in the body’s biological clock and hypothalamus.

The winter blues are most severe during November, December, January and February.

Some symptoms include:

  • Anxiety
  • Depression
  • Lethargy
  • Loss of sex drive
  • Mood changes
  • Over-eating
  • Increased alcohol consumption
  • Sleep problems
  • Weakened immune system
  • Restlessness

A little background on brain health: During the hours of darkness, the pineal gland produces a chemical called melatonin which makes us feel drowsy and signals the time for sleep. Exposure to sunlight prevents the production of melatonin whilst increasing the production of a neuro-transmitter called serotonin.

When the seasons change, the circadian rhythm (biological clock) in your body shifts due to the changes in daylight, and this can affect the body’s production of serotonin and hormones. It has been discovered that disruption to the body’s circadian rhythms together with a decreased production of serotonin can trigger depression.

Hence the need for natural daylight!!


Move & Groove Every Day

IMG_1462.JPG

Exercise pumps up your endorphins, your brain's feel-good neurotransmitters.
Movement supports a sense of well-being, while flushing away any residue from the holidays and BOOSTS the immune system!
Experiment with what type of exercise works for you and GET MOVING!

I keep a rebounder in my office and find myself taking short breaks to JUMP. Five minutes of rebounding generates such a boost of energy and gets the blood pumping!

Support your Vitamin D levels

Vitamin D plays major roles in:

  • immune function
  • heart health
  • joint health
  • manages blood pressure
  • oral health
  • mental health (as low levels are linked to depression and anxiety)
  • supports weight management

Ways to increase your Vitamin D levels:

  • eat fatty, cold-water fish like salmon and sardines
  • consider supplementation 
  • take a vacation someplace warm and sunny ( I know it isn’t always practical to step away from life and resources can be limited, but if you really struggle with the winter blues, taking a short trip to soak up vitamin D does wonders for the spirit).

Eat

I hear it over and over again around this time of year 'I'm on a detox cleanse'. 
Yes, it is a wonderful time to move away from the overindulgence of the holiday season. But please remember this beauty, DON'T STARVE YOURSELF!
During the winter, your body needs and craves heartier foods rich in high quality protein and essential fatty acids. You need food to maintain immune function, hormonal balance and energy. 
Take the time to nourish your body through warming soups and stews.

Start your day with a boost of protein through eggs or a superfood smoothie.
Feed your body healthy fats such as avocados, nuts and seeds, nut butters, guacamole. Lean proteins and essential fatty acids can boost levels of serotonin (which can be deficient with SAD). An increase of starchy carbs and sugars can leave the body feeling bloated and the mind foggy.


Sleep

  • Don't skimp on this essential foundation for life!
  • Emails, projects and everything can wait until the morning. 
  • Give yourself permission to rest and restore for at least 7-8 hours!
  • Create a sleep sanctuary for yourself. Remove all electronics, including your cell phone from your nightstand.
  • Buy yourself a good ‘ol battery operated alarm block.
  • The lighting in your bedroom should support a peaceful environment.
  • This room should be used for sleep and sex only.
  • Not for falling asleep with the light of the television shining on your pretty face all night.
  • Without proper sleep, your body cannot regulate its natural detox pathways. What does this mean the next morning?
  • We wake up looking puffy and have an increase in cortisol production in the body, leading to excess weight.

Explore my recent blog on Sleep Essentials called 'Sleep Superfoods'


Light Therapy

Have you ever heard of the ‘Happy Lights’?  I had not until I spent my first winter in Seattle during college. I found myself calling it a day by 4pm, with pj’s on and feeling very blah… These ‘Happy Lights’ provide Natural Spectrum light comparable to daylight. Natural spectrum light cues the body and boosts energy while reducing sluggishness. This lovely light was a game changer for my whole body!

Another form of light therapy is using the Infrared Sauna.

The light found in a far infrared sauna is far infrared light, a type of invisible light located below the optical color red in the electromagnetic spectrum.

Far infrared light is used to purify polluted air, keep newborn babies warm in hospitals, promote growth in plants and more.

The infrared saunas we have are equipped with Chromotherapy Lights. Chromotherapy is the science of using colors to adjust body vibrations to frequencies that result in health and harmony. Each color possesses frequencies of a specific vibration, and each vibration is related to different physical symptoms.

Our bodies need the sun’s light to live. Color therapy works on various energy points to help balance your body via the full spectrum of visible light, each color addressing a distinct need.

Enter in the many benefits far infrared light offers in sauna sessions:

  •  increased blood circulation
  • improved cardiovascular functioning
  • strengthened immunity
  • relief of headaches, muscle pain and joint stiffness
  • deep cellular detoxification
  • improved sleep quality
  • decreased stress levels in the body

Ready to stop reading all about the infrared sauna and come experience it for yourself?  Book your experience here: http://www.sunshinekates.com/infraredsauna/


Aromatherapy

Essential oils influence the limbic system, which is the area of the brain responsible for controlling our moods and the body’s circadian rhythm.

Using uplifting and energizing essential oils can be used as room diffusers, pillow sprays, body mist, bath soaks and body oils can boost the spirit and support the emotional body.

These oils can include (but not limited to):

  • Lemon
  • Orange
  • Bergamot
  • Grapefruit

We’ve created a supportive ‘Beat the Winter Blues Kit’ to support you not only surviving but THRIVING during the winter months! Explore all of its magic here: http://www.sunshinekates.com/shop-sunshinekates/winter-blues-kit

I would love to hear some of your favorite ways to beat the winter blues!

Time Change

katie strakosch

We’ve just turned back the clocks and continue on the journey towards the shortest day of the year next month…

How does your body adjust to this change?  

For many, this time of the year can be a challenge. We gain a bit of daylight in the morning, but then find the nights becoming longer and longer as well as the temperatures becoming colder and colder.. With this shift, our routines change a bit.

I’ve prepared a guide for you that will support your physical, mental and emotional health during this time of year.


How to Thrive while Adjusting to the Time Change

Secure a Solid Sleep Routine. 

Go to bed and rise at the same time every day. This will support your natural circadian rhythm.

Get as much natural light that you can during the day.  

Natural light boosts serotonin levels in the brain and can have a similar effect to antidepressants.  Start the day by spending a few moments outside in the early light.

Explore ‘Chromotherapy’.  

What’s this you may ask?  It’s a form of light therapy to adjust the body’s vibrations to frequencies that result in boosting health and harmony. Each color is related to different systems. Read more about chromotherapy on my blog here: http://www.sunshinekates.com/blog/chromotherapy-sauna-benefits-color-therapy-explained?rq=chromotherapy

Buy a light box..aka a ‘Happy Lamp’.  

I spent many years in Seattle,  and only wished I learned about them earlier during my time there. You can find them here: https://www.amazon.com/s/ref=nb_sb_ss_i_4_16?url=search-alias%3Daps&field-keywords=light+box+for+sad+therapy&sprefix=light+box+for+sa%2Caps%2C152&crid=PO765XMA98QQ&rh=i%3Aaps%2Ck%3Alight+box+for+sad+therapy

Love up your digestive system.

Your gut is your second brain and 90-95% of serotonin is released from the gut. Support a healthy and happy gut biome with naturally fermented foods like sauerkraut, kimchee, miso, kefir and fermented coconut water. These foods help keep the good bugs happy. In the market for a quality probiotic?  I am a fan of Garden of Life Raw Probiotics and Jarrow Formulas. You can find some great options here: http://www.pharmaca.com/catalogsearch/result/?q=Probiotic%2C.

Don’t overdo it with caffeine and stimulants like sugar.

The body needs time to adjust and acclimate to this change without being overstimulated. Adaptogen herbs like Holy Basil and Cordyceps mushrooms like Reishi and Maitake helps soothe and support the adrenals. Host Defense is a great choice. Here are some great picks: http://www.pharmaca.com/catalogsearch/result/?q=mushrooms

Create a sleep sanctuary.

This means no electronics in the bedroom. Use a good ol’ battery operated alarm clock. Set the mood for a peaceful and restorative environment with candles and low lighting. Clear out the clutter. Your mind is busy enough. This room should be dedicated to simplicity and invoke a sense of peace.