Tips for a Happy Thanksgiving

This seems like the right week for all of us at Exhale Sinus, TMJ, Headache & Sleep to tell you  how grateful we are for your support and the trust you’ve shown us as we work through your medical issues. We love our patients and hope it shows with the care we offer.

As a thank you, we want to offer a bit of “kitchen table wisdom” to help you get through this holiday season. This will not be an article about how to manage the ongoing COVID crisis and tips for gathering safely with family. Instead we want to help you negotiate some of the issues that come from too much food and too much fun!

Tip #1…This is a great time to start working with ginger tea. Ginger is a go to remedy for anything that has to do with your tummy. Whether it is moving too fast, is way too full, or just feeling sluggish, ginger tea helps. At almost any grocery store you can find ginger tea in the tea section. It is made from dried ginger and is a just add hot water remedy. Sometimes dried ginger can be a little hot in its nature. If your tummy grumbles from the dried ginger, try instead, adding a few slices of fresh ginger, from a ginger root found in the grocery store produce section, to your hot water. Fresh ginger tea still promotes digestive harmony but isn’t quite as hot and spicy. Ginger is also a go to remedy if you get a stuffy nose after eating. Consider pouring yourself a mug full of tea. Deeply inhale the aroma through your nose, let your throat fill, then exhale through your mouth. This way the essence of the ginger fills your nose, and throat. Follow this breath with a big drink of tea to treat the lower part of your throat. You get two for one relief as your nose opens and your stomach is soothed.

Tip #2…Add some herbs to your meal. Herbs not only add awesome flavour to meals and take your recipes to the next level, they are also medicinal and supporting of your health. Try fresh Parsley when you have eaten too much and are experiencing stomach pain. It can also be used as an after dinner “mint” to cleanse your palate and freshen your breath. Rosemary has a particular quality that helps with the mind. It helps with memory and it will also help if your meal has given you a headache. Thyme and Oregano are great germ busting herbs so if you find someone at the dinner table sniffling, consider adding a pinch more of these to your meal.

Tip #3…Try some diaphragmatic breathing. Stress, overeating, the particular allergens present in the fall and early winter, all can contribute to respiratory issues. It was a common occurrence when I was growing up, for our Thanksgiving meal to end with a family member or two excusing themselves to use a rescue inhaler. Thanksgiving, turkey, pumpkin pie and asthma attacks!!! Something about this holiday season seems to catch our breath! Learning and remembering to breathe from our diaphragms is a mighty tool offering a couple of benefits. The diaphragm is a membrane that separates our chest from our bellies. It is the primary muscle for breathing but many of us have forgotten about it. It should pull down into the belly as we inhale and press up into the chest as we exhale. Many people use cues from “belly breathing” to find their diaphragm. Inhale, big tummy. Exhale, squeeze your belly in and draw it up towards your chest. Breathing this way helps you breathe and oxygenate your body more effectively because the breath goes deeper into your lungs. Breathing from your diaphragm instead of your chest allows the neck and shoulder muscles to relax, bringing about a great relief from feelings of stress. And, using your diaphragm to breathe, letting breath push all the way into your belly, allows a massaging of your stomach and intestines, improving your digestion and intestinal movement.

We hope these tips help and we wish you the happiest of holidays!!

Lisa C. Decatorsmith, L.Ac., MSOM
Practitioner of Eastern Medicine at Exhale Sinus, TMJ, Headache & Sleep