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      Hand Washing and Health Anxiety

      Hand Washing and Health Anxiety

      Are we doing more harm than good obsessively washing and sanitizing our hands?
      What is in those sanitizers and wipes?
      Are we creating habits that may be harmful in the longterm?

      Before these behaviors become a part of our future habits, it will be important to take a step back and learn what effect these sanitizers are having on our skin and what would be a better option.

      According to the CDC website, the likelihood of the Covid-19 virus being transmitted from touching a surface and then causing infection after touching your eyes and mouth is actually very low if at all possible when compared with a person to person contact (aerosol droplets from breathing, sneezing coughing).

      Hand sanitizers can be classified as one of two types: alcohol-based or alcohol-free.  

      Alcohol-based products typically contain between 60 and 95 percent alcohol, usually in the form of ethanol, isopropanol, or n-propanol and hopefully not toxic methanol as found in some sanitizers on the market. Health Canada has recently recalled these nine products for using industrial-grade ethanol stating the side effects of dry skin irritation and cracking. In the USA there are approximately 75 brands of sanitizers being recalled stating toxic levels of wood alcohol being used that can lead to serious injury or death.

      The alcohols in these sanitizers are responsible for drying out your skin. They strip away the natural oils of the skin causing irritation and inflammation. The use of hand sanitizers may also lead to premature signs of aging of the hand’s skin. Dry skin and dehydration can cause callus formation, flaky skin, wrinkles, and cracks. Increased dehydration and continually compromising the natural protective lipid layer/barrier of the skin can set one up for compromised immune function and ongoing infections. Longer-term use leads to a reduced ability of the skin to protect itself against the environment and harmful pathogens. 

      Alcohol-free products are generally based on disinfectants, such as quaternary ammonium compounds like benzalkonium chloride (BAC), or antimicrobial agents, such as triclosan (known as an endocrine disruptor and a suspected carcinogen). Alcohol-free sanitizers from know brands such as Purell and GermX are not recommended because it's not as effective as alcohol at killing germs and may merely reduce the growth of new germs.

      It would seem like the current germaphobia overlooks the importance that viruses (and bacteria) play in helping maintain our health. The viral aspect of our microbiome called the virome (although not considered part of the microbiome) includes beneficial viruses that can be found throughout our entire body most notably taking up residence inside of the nose and mouth and the lining of the gut. Some viruses, including many bacteriophages, possess life-saving health properties that we need to understand and respect as an essential part related to keeping a self-regulating balance within our bodies.

      The Covid-19 viral strain outside of the body is weak and easily broken down with simple soap and water. Due to media scare tactics, many have acquired health anxiety and with that are excessively washing and sanitizing their hands to the detriment of their skin and overall health. Harsh synthetic surfactants (bubbles that scrub away dirt and fats) in the soap can remove the protective lipid layer of the skin compromising the skin microbiome and leaving skin susceptible to irritation, inflammation, and infection. 

      If you find you or a family member is washing their hands to the point of compromising their skin, make sure to look for more mild gentle soaps. 

      Thera Wise Body Wash and Shampoo is used by many of our customers as a hand soap that was specially designed for troubled, sensitive, and delicate skin

      • With nutritive Canadian North Atlantic Seaweed Extracts and Canadian Willowherb to gently remove impurities and protect the skin's natural eco flora.
      • The negative ions from the Glacial Oceanic Mineral water protect against environmental pollution.
      • Enjoy a new sensory experience with carefully crafted unique North American grown and harvested ingredients.
      • Suitable for all ages and skin types.  
      • The extremely mild surfactant along with glyceryl oleate (from olive fruit) gives a soft, natural protective coating as it cleanses without compromising the skin.  
      • After wash, we recommend following with our Thera Wise Moisturizing Lotion. 
      The wash was also designed for those recovering from skin issues to be used in conjunction with our Skin Healing Ointment. Here are a few most recent reviews: ..........

      "So soft and gentle I started using this wash about a month ago and I love how gentle it is on my skin. I enjoy the soft and refreshing smell which is not overpowering. This wash is also perfect for my children’s tender skin. I definitely recommend this lovely body wash."

      "I love this as a body wash, but more recently I've moved this bottle out of the shower and into the kitchen to use as a handwash. It's incredibly gentle on the skin, plus the scent (and that of its matching lotion) is one of my all-time favorites -- a sweet fruity and tropical blend made up of yuzu peel and mimosa flower essential oils."   

      Thoughts, Strategies and Planning for Viral Illness

      Thoughts, Strategies and Planning for Viral Illness

      The word crisis  (危機)  in Japanese uses the same character as used in the words danger and opportunity. Japanese people are pretty good at finding ways to find opportunities when things turn bad.  I am thinking about opportunities as in our ability to make major positive changes in the way we live, the way we approach life in material and spiritual ways.

      It may certainly feel like we are fighting an invisible deadly enemy, told to stay home and be afraid for our health and of others who may have already contracted this influenza virus. Some are struggling to put food on the table, experiencing layoffs from work, student loan debt, navigating the prospect of homeschooling on top of an already busy life up to now.  We need to acknowledge these feelings and recognize we have much in common together.

      My intention with this article is to give some thoughts around what we can do now and in the future, a competing perspective, one that could hopefully benefit you and your family and give back some power to you over the feelings of fear, worry, and despair.

      Virology is a really complicated topic of which I am convinced no-one truly understands. A science (like all sciences) that is always changing, especially as we learn about new advances in the human microbiome.  Like health, medicine and diet there is no one size fits all solution for anything.

      This Covid-19 influenza virus seems particularly virulent and quite contagious however less contagious than SARS, mumps, and measles (in that order).  It has some unusual characteristics not seen before in other SARS or Corona virus related influenza-like way Covid-19 attacks the lung cells and how it can quietly infect people with little to no symptoms for days or weeks. The other concerning issue with Covid-19 is the number of cases of cardiomyopathy (hardening of the heart muscle) that is showing up in some of the related deaths. Older people and some with underlying health conditions may not be able to regenerate lung cells fast enough as the disease continues to inflame and damage the lungs and heart cells tissue. Still much is unknown about this virus and researchers are working hard to learn more.

      Corona (crown-shaped) type viruses (Covid-19 and SARS) are numerous, I understand they have identified around one hundred coronaviruses and that there are many more still unsequenced.

      There is some speculation on whether Covid-19 was born of zoonosis (bacteria, viruses, or parasites that spread from animals to humans) or if it was an intentional accident.

      Either way, I believe we may see more of this type of virus and it may be time to develop some strategies that can help us overcome this and the next outbreak.

      While I understand physical distancing is a possible yet unproven strategy, I question why others just as important measures are not being openly discussed.

      On the topic of physical distancing, authorities are asking people not to leave their homes, some individuals are begging the government to impose medical martial law which I would highly discourage against. I am concerned that a well-published fact that Vitamin D deficiency will create an immunodeficiency that leads to a greater susceptibility to influenza. 

      If you are not getting full-spectrum sunlight at least supplement with Vitamin D. Please continue to get fresh air and sunlight when safe to do so.

      The request for individuals to stay inside can be also a further concern with the use of toxic industrial petrochemical-based cleaners, it is estimated that many toxic cleaners are equivalent to smoking a pack of cigarettes based on the VOC (Volatile Organic Chemicals) measured in the air. Be mindful of powerful disinfectants and cleaners in your home.

      Be sure to learn from my new friend Emma Rohman with Green at Home - check out her article on this topic. https://greenathome.ca/how-to-prevent-covid-19-naturally/

      With the mention of Vitamin D, There is certainly a nutritional piece to the preparedness that I have not heard being discussed much. Eat as healthy as possible, keep moving - exercise, get good sleep and try your best to reduce stress. 

      It comes down to a mindset of finding positive in every situation. Cherish each moment and try to live in the moment fully, try to avoid repetitive or looping thoughts or worry about future perceived happenings (learning from Eckhart Tolle can really pay off now).

      Vitamin C is huge in fighting off influenza infection and has been used in China very successfully via high dose intravenous for critically ill coronavirus patients. Even showing a remarkable recovery in a few hours.  Generally consume more foods that contain Vit C - food that you enjoy, oranges, kiwi fruit, green tea etc. Where we live I can see rhubarb starting to come up, what else can you find locally that is full of Vitamin C? Some recommend liposomal vitamin C supplementation as you can take higher dosages without having bowel issues. For my family, we usually just stick with the vitamin powders from EnerC they contain 1g of Vitamin C per pack.

      Quercetin is a natural health product, a flavonoid antioxidant found in deeply colored, nutrient-packed fruits and vegetables like broccoli, elderberry.

      The potential for Quercetin to be effective against influenza strains was brought to my attention by Dr. Andrew Tait @taitlab a Ph.D. Chemist with an extensive virus-related studies background.

      Quercetin is used for seasonal allergies, inflammatory health conditions, skin problems, heart health, prostatitis, pain reduction and it may also improve energy and endurance.

      Quercetin being a broad-spectrum anti-viral medicine has already proven successful at treating Ebola and Zika viruses. Studies on quercetin's antiviral activity show it is successful because it can Inhibit the virus’ ability to infect cells and to Inhibit replication of already infected cells.  More research is underway by some amazing Canadian scientists in Monreal - https://www.macleans.ca/news/canada/a-made-in-canada-solution-to-the-coronavirus-outbreak/

      Other nutritional considerations - try to get as a food source where possible.

      Green Tea or particularly matcha (contains the highest quantity antioxidant EGCG, potent antiviral catechin).

      Black tea - pu'-er (inhibits SARS-CoV 3C like Protease Activity with Theaflvin 3,3-digallate (TF3) 

      Curcumin is an active component of turmeric root, that can inhibit several viruses such as human immunodeficiency virus (HIV), influenza A virus, noroviruses, herpesviruses and hepatitis viruses [1]. Although curcumin has not been directly tested on COVID-19 curcumin could prevent COVID-19 and alleviate its symptoms, including "cytokine storm". The major target of curcumin is an enzyme called glycogen synthase kinase-3 (GSK-3).  

      Elderberry extract — Known to shorten influenza duration by two to four days and reduce the severity of the flu.

      Spirulina — Reduces the severity of influenza infection severity and lowers influenza mortality in animal studies. In a human trial, spirulina significantly lowered the viral load in patients with HIV infection

      Beta-glucan (found in mushrooms, oats, and barley) — Reduces the severity of influenza infection severity and lowers influenza mortality in animal studies

      Selenium (one of the best sources is Brazil nuts) - deficiency increases the rate at which viruses can mutate.

      Zinc — (nuts and seed, dark chocolate, mushrooms, legumes)Zinc has been shown to inhibit coronavirus in vitro and block coronavirus replication in cell culture.  

      N-acetylcysteine (NAC) — Encourages glutathione production, thins mucus, lowers your chances of influenza infection and reduces your risk of developing severe bronchitis

      Traditional Chinese Medicine - not often mentioned here in the West, TCM herbal medicine has been part of a complementary strategy for the treatment of coronavirus (and other infectious outbreaks) in China.  85% of all coronavirus patients in China (about 60,000 people)  had received herbal remedies alongside mainstream antiviral drugs, according to the Ministry of Science and Technology.  

      The main formulas are listed below and are based on patient symptoms.
      The first two were used successfully during the SARS epidemic in 2004
      - Jade Windscreen Formula (Astragalus, White Atratylotus Rhizome and Ledebouriella Root) 
      - Honeysuckle and Forsythia formula 
      - Mulberry leaf and Chrysanthemum Flower formula 
      - Minor Bupleurum Formula 
      - Bupleurum and Cinnamon Formula 
      - Astragalus and Ligustrum Formula

      Avoid the flu shot - This topic is especially worrisome as many health care workers are mandated to get the flu shot every year.  The flu shot increases coronavirus risk by 36%.  https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/31607599

      This is apparently due to something I had no idea about called original antigenic sin https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Original_antigenic_sin

      It also seems like any discussion about Covid-19 would be incomplete without the mention of toilet paper. If you have money to burn, buy one of the fancy bidets from Japan that will wash and dry your best bits while heating the seat.

      If you are like me, a small business owner, consider one of these, no electricity needed - usually, they are $40-$60 CAD - seems to have jumped up in price or unavailable at the moment.  You will need some toilet paper with these but a fraction of what you have used before.  A bidet is much cleaner and hygienic. I would highly recommend putting this item on your list.

      Disclaimer: I am not a Western Doctor and not an Institutional Researcher. Please question everything and form your own opinions.

      In health -Warren 

      A Better Body Lotion

      A Better Body Lotion

      Many of our customers who use our Thera Wise Natural Skin Healing/Wound Care Ointment to help manage inflammatory skin conditions would often ask us what kind of moisturizer we would recommend. 

      Although there are many choices on the market, we wanted to offer a complimentary body lotion that would embody the philosophy and treatment principle of the Thera Wise Therapeutic Ointments. For those with sensitive skin, we developed a body lotion that addressed the below main functions;

      + Protection and maintenance of the skins natural microbiome
      + Retaining and balancing skin hydration
      + Improving skin barrier function
      + Rejuvenating skin cellular functions
      + Improving skin elasticity and surface smoothness

      It is my belief that if you are going to make a new product it should be something that will be better than what is currently available, with this comes one of the biggest challenges in keeping our price to the consumer within an affordable margin. I have heard the saying 'good health decisions are rarely good business decisions', and with this comes the reason our Thera Wise products are always cost a bit more.  Although our lotion may cost a bit more than the other brands, your skin will thank you for making a truly healthy and functional choice.

      Some key initiative to our Body Lotion was a desire to source science-backed bioactive plant extracts grown closer to home (in North America).  I believe the nature that surrounds us has a better bio-affinity with our bodies. What we are more recently learning is that these Northern plants contain previously unknown unique and rare properties that enable them to survive and thrive, can also protect, rejuvenate and benefit sensitive and delicate skin. 

      Another important consideration was to source raw material that reduces the impact on the earth's resources. Many of our plant extracts are grown without agricultural inputs such as our Meadowfoam Seed Oil and Daikon Radish Seed Oil, grown in Oregon under a local farming cooperative without water (apart from natural rainfall) soil additives, herbicides or pesticides.  

      Our Canadian Willowherb is another botanical extract that is ethically wild-harvested and supports a rural Northern economy extracted without petrochemicals. Our Algae Extract is grown in a remote area of the Canadian Northern Atlantic Ocean and is extracted and preserved using a biotechnological cold water fractionation process.  On the other side of the continent in the Canadian Pacific ocean, we use Glacial Ocean mineral water rich in over 60 beneficial minerals that help cleanse and nourish the skin. 

      At Thera Wise we have always recognized the importance of the skin's natural microbiome in the pursuit of better dermatological health, We add prebiotics that promotes the proliferation of beneficial bacteria (and reduce the bad bacteria), thus strengthening the skin barrier function and helping protect and rejuvenate delicate skin.

      Although not grown in North America our lovely combination of Mimosa Flower and Yuzu Citrus Peel Essential Oils add a subtle, gentle touch of elegance, tenderness and warm healing energy to complete an experience of a body lotion you cannot live without.

      Since the introduction of our new Body Lotion, we have been received rave reviews . We hope you can experience this luxurious body lotion as well, you deserve it. 


      Senior Oral Care - Medications and Dry Mouth

      Senior Oral Care - Medications and Dry Mouth

      Many seniors citizens suffer from dry mouth and the negative effects of having reduced saliva in the mouth such as less effective digestive processes, increased tooth decay, and oral infections. The primary cause of dry mouth with seniors is pointing at prescription medication. Other culprits include diabetes, Sjogren’s syndrome, chemotherapy, radiation, and nerve damage.

      As we head into our mid-sixties,  our saliva production overall is reduced, however we now understand that around 400 prescribed medications (some sources suggest an estimated 60% of all prescriptions) and to a lesser extent over the counter drugs cause a large majority of the problems associated with dry mouth syndrome (also called xerostomia).

      The senior population is often, unfortunately, the recipients of chronic over medicating, while doctors with the best of intentions chase an ever-increasing list of health symptoms.  A patient would come in with a common complaint of edema (fluid retention) in the legs, next they have a prescription for a diuretic (a drug/substance that increases the excretion of water) then they are battling an unfortunate series of oral health challenges living with the uncomfortable feeling of dry mouth.  A diuretic prescription is a good example of all the drug types listed above, the class known as diuretics is the most commonly linked to xerostomia. Medications that are the most common cause of dry mouth include painkillers, diuretics, blood pressure medicine,  antidepressants, antihistamines, asthma drugs, and muscle relaxants.  In my practice (Acupuncture &Herbology) I was somewhat surprised by the list of medications that seniors were taking. Many of these were not reviewed often enough and in my opinion, many were completely unnecessary or useless. I remember treating several patients who were taking Vioxx at the time and thinking to myself something just does not seems right. Vioxx was the arthritis drug that caused approximately 140,000 heart attacks resulting in an estimated 60,000 deaths.

      Saliva helps remove unhealthy bacteria from the gums, and therefore without enough saliva, the mouth becomes dry, and can over time weaken teeth.  By salivating, your mouth helps you taste and digest what you eat and drink. Food particles get flushed from your teeth and acid is washed away as well, which helps prevent tooth decay (cavities).  Continual decay interferes with the production of saliva in the mouth, causing a chronic condition that becomes a cycle: decay reduces saliva, the lack of which allows bacteria to remain in the mouth, exacerbating decay.

      So why do medications cause dry mouth? 
      There does not seem to be a clear understanding of why this happens, especially as each drug would have a different metabolic pathway leading to differing hypotheses.  Possibly we can get an idea if we look at the cannabis ‘cotton mouth’ sensation. THC, the active ingredient in marijuana, binds to receptors in the salivary glands causing them to be less active. The Thera Wise Adult toothbrush is the first toothbrush that can offer assistance to help improve dry mouth symptoms due to medical treatments and medications due to a compromised oral microbiome. By selectively being able to reduce the number of ‘bad’ bacteria in the mouth (like Staphylococcus aureus, Escherichia coli (E-coli), Pseudomonas aeruginosa) through it’s naturally antibacterial properties, the Thera Wise Adult brush can be an effective tool in assisting those struggling with the negative effects of reduced saliva in the mouth. Our Adult customers of all ages love the feeling this brush leaves in the mouth and its ability to reduce bacteria that cause bad breath.

      Thera Wise Adult Antibacterial Toothbrush
      Due to Thera Wise Adult Toothbrush not needing toothpaste for efficacy, this brush can also be very helpful for adults with cognitive impairments where brushing with toothpaste and properly rinsing may be challenging. Within this group, toothpaste texture and ability to rinse toothpaste from the mouth is often problematic.

      One of our other important considerations when designing this brush was the egonomics capabilities of all adult ages.  Much thought went into the brush handle and neck design. Thera Wise Adult Brush is easily suited for adults with less manual dexterity with the easy hold rubber grip and balance that allows more fluid fine movements. The flexible neck provides an additional safety feature as does the ultra-soft bristles ensuring comfort and functionality for those dealing with sensitive teeth and gums.

      What About Fluoride?

      What About Fluoride?

      Offering functionally advanced toothbrushes for children that do not need toothpaste, we often get asked the question "what about fluoride?"  

      Some parents are concerned that kids not using toothpaste with fluoride will develop unnecessary cavities.

      Our Thera Wise Childrens toothbrushes are designed for young children who may not be able to properly rinse toothpaste or are potentially eating toothpaste, this can be a problem especially depending on the brand of toothpaste used. As you may know, there’s some debate over the safety of sodium fluoride and sodium monofluorophospate, added to water and dental products. The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) does not recommend using fluoride toothpaste until at least the age of two or before a child is able to effectively spit toothpaste along with proper swallowing reflexes (which is usually closer to the age of three). It also discourages the use of fluoride rinses in children due to the associated risks. 

      For some time now we have knowns that fluoridation of water and through dental use during pregnancy can be a concern.  Studies have shown that fluoride crosses the placenta and that it accumulates in brain regions involved in learning and memory by altering proteins and neurotransmitters in the central nervous system. Lab studies suggest that this fluoride accumulation results in lasting memory impairment.

      More recently one of the  Journals of Medicine JAMA Pediatrics published results from a larger study group taking optimally fluoridated water.

      Funded by the Canadian government and the U.S. National Institute of Environmental Health Science, the new study titled "Association Between Maternal Fluoride Exposure During Pregnancy and IQ Scores in Offspring in Canada" examined the association between fluoride exposure during pregnancy and the IQ scores of the children at ages 3 and 4 years of age. https://jamanetwork.com/journals/jamapediatrics/fullarticle/2748634 

      The study's authors concluded:
      "…maternal exposure to higher levels of fluoride during pregnancy was associated with lower IQ scores in children aged 3 to 4 years. These findings indicate the possible need to reduce fluoride intake during pregnancy."

      Armed with the above information, it is likely best to be cautious of fluoride intake during pregnancy and with infants and young children. 

      All said we are big believers in health freedom and respect the decisions of parents. We always let parents know that it is fine to use toothpaste with our no toothpaste needed toothbrushes, you will still get the same benefits.