COVID-19 Update We're back and we've missed you!!! Online booking is now available so schedule by clicking the link below or call (312) 321-0004 to book your appointment.

  • Simple Strategies for Optimal Hormone Health

    by Beth Heller, MS

    Every other day a new food achieves “stardom” for its ability to clear toxins from the body. While there’s an element of hype to the detoxification craze, science supports the assertion that lifestyle, nutrition and environmental factors impact our body’s ability to manage the chemical load of daily life. In fact, much of what is understood about our body’s detoxification processes comes from pharmacology, the study of drugs. With the expanding understanding that food contains bioactive compounds with real physiological functions, it’s time to view food as more than just calories.

    Fertility patients know that their food supply, personal care products and material environment are filled with chemicals that enter the body and can wreak havoc. In particular the common steroid compounds present in pesticides, plastics and agricultural products, not to mention medications create added stress on reproductive function. Making targeted diet- and lifestyle-changes to support detoxification processes certainly cannot hurt, and in fact may benefit hormone-dependent, fertility related conditions such as fibroids, endometriosis and Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome (PCOS).

    But it’s hard to know where to start. At Pulling Down the Moon, we feel the most important take-home message is that your body, when properly tended and cared for, can absolutely manage the toxins in your environment. Implementing this three-part strategy of exercise, good nutrition choices and environmental “clean up” will reduce your exposure to toxicity and bolster your body’s ability to operate.

    Exercise : Blood is pumped through vessels to the liver for cleaning, but the fluids that bathe the rest of our body’s tissues simply slosh about until they finda a way into the lymphatic system. The lymphatic system, in turn, relies on the mechanical action of muscles to circulate. It’s not the most efficient system, especially if an individual lives a sedantary life. Exercise supports detoxification through the mechanical action of muscles and the compression of tissues. Yoga, in particular, offers a diversity of movements—folding, twisting, extending, inverting – that create a comprehensive mechanical stimulus that encourages fluid movement. Yoga also improves digestion and elimination with poses such as “wind relieving pose” that massage and stimulate the digestive system.

    Nutrition : Certain compounds in the foods we eat help stimulate production of enzymes necessary for the detoxification processes that take place in the liver. Other foods provide the vitamins, minerals and other molecules necessary for these biochemical processes. Foods higher in soluble and insoluble fiber promote optimal elimination. Other foods, like factory-raised meats, milk with added hormones, alcohol and processed foods with added colors, stabilizers and preservatives, create an excess chemical load. Understanding how your body processes chemicals and toxins can help you make dietary choices that support rather than suppress your body’s ability to maintain optimal health and hormone balance.

    Environmental : Limiting the use of personal care products, and choosing minimally processed, minimally packaged foods will lower your body’s chemical load. Not only are processed foods devoid of nutrients, they often come wrapped in plastic or stored in BPA containing cans. Watching what you breathe, too, is important. Skip the cigarettes, obviously, but also air-fresheners and scented candles that use chemicals instead of essential oils.

    Looking for more information about optimal health, fertility and hormone balance? Contact us for a phone or in-person nutrition consultation today!

  • Stress and Infertility: The Chicken or The Egg?

    by Meredith Nathan, Pulling Down the Moon Massage Director

    ‘Just relax and you’ll get pregnant…’

    Well-meaning friends and family offer advice like this with the best of intentions, but these words can be some of the least welcomed by a woman or couple going through fertility challenges. How do you ‘just relax’? Especially when every failed attempt and month that passes can bring disappointment, questions about your body, and anxieties about what the future holds? The truth is, infertility causes stress. But does stress cause infertility?

    Not to oversimplify, but in some cases, the answer is actually yes. Though the connection between stress and fertility may seem vague and intangible, stress causes a very real physiological response in your body. Stress stimulates your sympathetic nervous system, the same nervous system that helped our ancestors run away from lions and tigers and bears! During this state, the body releases excessive adrenaline and cortisol, stress hormones that flood the body and compete with reproductive hormones for receptor sites. This can affect the hypothalamus, the pituitary glands, and create hormone imbalance in the body.

    This sympathetic response may have helped our ancestors survive as a species, but it often gets over-taxed with today’ss constant deadlines, financial worries, and even rush hour traffic. Chronic stress depletes the body’s resources, and in its innate wisdom, it may start to shut down functions that don’t involve immediate survival (including our reproductive systems).

    Starting to get stressed out reading this? Don’t! There are ways to proactively create relaxation in your life, and despite your circumstances you are in control! Building in time for long walks, warm baths, gentle exercise like yoga, belly breathing, aromatherapy, prayer, or meditation can go a long way. And if you are on this journey with a partner, engage him/her in the process. Give each other a massage, try a new activity, or enjoy a long, romantic evening together (remember, sex isn’t just for making babies – it’s a phenomenal way to relieve stress!). Though ‘just relax’ may not be the cure-all for every situation, creating relaxation in your life certainly can’t hurt! Not only does relaxation encourage a healthier body, it’s may just make this journey a lot more enjoyable!