Dr. Craig Reese, DC. PC.
3000 Center Green Dr., Suite 230
Boulder, CO 80301
303-447-1300


WINTER WOES

Winter brings with it some specific challenges that we must overcome to stay healthy. The cold weather (I'm sure it will arrive sometime soon) increases our demand for a warm body. Heat in the body is generated by muscle tissue. The more muscle you have, the more heat you produce. Circulation and blood flow control heat in your extremities. A weak cardiovascular system, hormone imbalances or an overactive nervous system can restrict blood flow to your extremities. Exercise that gets your heart rate in the aerobic range (185 minus your age) for 20-30 minutes 3-4 times per week will strengthen your cardiovascular system. The heart also needs good nutrition to work properly. Minerals, coenzyme Q10, B vitamins, vitamin E and protein are important to your heart.

Cayenne pepper taken as a tincture or a powder will increase circulation to your brain and extremities. Start slow and you will get used to the hot taste. You can put the powdered cayenne (capsicum) in your boots and gloves to keep you warm. Dr. Shultz recommends cayenne for nearly every ailment you can think of, including stomach ulcers and open wounds.

As the daylight gets scarcer, our Pineal and Pituitary glands get weaker and that affects our hormones and sleep cycles. A weak Pituitary gland can cause the thyroid to get weaker which reduces our metabolism and circulation. A weak Pineal gland causes insomnia and Seasonal Affected Disorder (S.A.D.) It also disrupts the normal menstrual cycles. Getting one hour of sunlight daily, without contacts, glasses or sunglasses, will help strengthen these glands and chase away those winter blues. Take your goggles off while you're on the chairlift and put them on while you ski down.

Taking your multivitamin or a good B complex vitamin will help calm an overactive nervous system. Niacin (B3) specifically will increase your circulation throughout your body and cause a red flush for a few minutes. Niacin should be taken with a Multivitamin or B complex but not alone. Start with 100 mg. per day and increase it to 200mg when you no longer get a flush. Continue increasing it in this manner until you reach 500 mg per day. This can also help lower cholesterol.

Dry skin and chapped lips are not curses of the cold but are mostly caused by dehydration and essential fatty acid deficiency. We tend to drink less water when it is cold or when we are playing on the mountain. Try to re-hydrate yourself as soon as you get inside. Good fats like Olive or Flaxseed Oil, avocados, roasted nuts and seeds; fish, etc. are essential for our bodies. They nourish the skin and balance the hormones as well as act like natural anti-inflammatories and painkillers.

Cold weather doesn't really make you sick, but living in a closed up house with recycled air will eventually incubate some nasty germs. It is a good idea to leave a window slightly open all year long to get a constant supply of fresh air in your house. Air purifiers, like ozonators and ion generators, also help keep the air clean.

Shoveling snow can make you sick, even kill you with a heart attack. You need to go slow and not over-exert yourself when you're shoveling. I recommend getting an ergonomically designed shovel that has a bend in the handle. These shovels are much easier to use and put less strain on your back than the straight handled type. Personally, I'm a big fan of the Colorado solar snow removal system (let the sun melt it), but I know that usually isn't fast enough to comply with clean sidewalk ordinances. So, use your legs to lift, use a properly designed shovel, go slow and take smaller bites of snow as you go. If your back still gives out, take a handful of minerals, drink lots of water, lay down flat and let the spasms subside. If the pain doesn't go away quickly then get in and we'll fix it. Don't let it linger for days hoping it will go away. The same goes for all you skiers and boarders who take a wicked fall on the slopes. The faster you get in the faster you will feel better!

Return to Info Letters page
Home