When I was about 14 years old I developed a red, bumpy rash on my chin. Sometimes the skin would flake or little pustules would develop. Eventually I complained enough that my mother took me to visit my first dermatologist, who diagnosed the condition as the result of overly enthusiastic exfoliation.
“But I haven’t been exfoliating at all,” I said.
“Too much exfoliation.”
“TOO MUCH EXFOLIATION!” he insisted grimly.
Why does visiting a doctor so often seem to be an antagonistic experience for me? (That’s a rhetorical question. Private message me with helpful responses at your own risk.)
It was a test of wills. About 18 months after burying his body, the rash disappeared as mysteriously as it had arrived. Not before really enhancing my painful, self-conscious adolescence, though.
Adolescence was fun, wasn’t it?
About 5 years ago the dread crud returned. But THIS time I had Dr. Google at my disposal.
Perioral Dermititis. That’s what the sucker is. When I look at some of those photos, I consider myself fortunate that mine is a very minor case but I am nonetheless–how shall I describe–NOT INTO IT.
My toilette is fairly low maintenance. In fact, all too often it doesn’t even stretch itself to include hair-brushing, but those photos put the fear of god into me so I hightailed it to a dermatologist. She confirmed Dr. Google’s diagnosis, and sent me home with some prescription foaming gel to put on the rash.
It worked for a while. Sorta. Kinda.
Then I did a couple of cycles of tetracycline. This was back before I got compulsively interested in nutrition and in building a better biome. Those antibiotics actually worked but I didn’t want to stay on them long term, and when I went off the dread Perioral Dermititis (POD) returned. At risk of complaining about First World Problems, it’s really been a drag to have this crud on my face. On good days it’s just a minor nuisance but on bleak days it feels kind of like this:
Thus ushered in what I like to refer to as the Age of Trying Everything Under the Sun:
I changed my facial wash
I bought every kind of lotion and moisturizer on the market
I made masks
I tried cortisone cream (very bad plan if you have POD)
I used vitamin E oil
I stopped using the steam room at the gym (even though steam is good for your skin, right? Yup–unless you have the dread POD)
I took supplements
I washed my face with frigging BORAX cuz I saw some reference to it online (desperation times and measures, etc.)
I changed to a fluoride-free toothpaste
I made my own toothpaste
I changed shampoo brands
I spent a humiliating amount of money on less toxic, high end products
There were a good number of people in the forum who’d had success using a combination of apple cider vinegar and coconut oil–either internally, externally or both. I liked that both apple cider vinegar and coconut oil are natural and not loaded with pernicious chemicals, and that both have strong antimicrobial and antifungal properties.
AHA! I was finally getting somewhere.
Without dilly dallying further, I decided to try a candida elimination or reducing program. I even had most of what I’d need in my panty or herbal pharmacy already! By now, my quest had become more than–pardon the pun–skin deep. I didn’t just want to look purdy. I wanted to heal my gut.
The Candida ReductionPlan I Followed:
I eliminated grains and refined carbohydrates (the Paleo transition I’ve been making already had this covered)
I eliminated alcohol (I’ve had this one covered for a while now too)
I eliminated dairy (kicking and screaming)
I kept my intake of carby foods down to 1/2-1 cup per day (I had some berries some days, and a half a sweet potato on others if I felt inclined)
3 times per day, I added 2 Tablespoons of ACV to a big glass of filtered water and drank it down
In the morning I drank a cup of Neem Tea, which is a strong antibacterial and antifungal agent (I purchased the leaves here, made a half gallon at a time and kept it in the fridge. Do not drink Neem Tea if you’re pregnant or trying to become pregnant!)
Every morning I also made a big ass vat of green juice with plenty of fresh ginger, and red radishes with their leaves, as both are antibacterial and antifungal
Most afternoons I made fresh juice with a beet, some beet greens, more radishes
Every evening after dinner I drank a glass of Pau D’arco Tea, which is another strong antibacterial and antifungal agent (I purchased it here, made a half gallon at a time and kept it in the fridge)
3 days into the protocol, I was awakened in the middle of the night when my nose started running down my face. Sexy, right? I’d gone to bed feeling fine, and then it was like someone turned on a faucet. A NOSE FAUCET.
My nose continued to run for 6 straight days, and I sneezed my head off. I was either experiencing those flu-like die off symptoms–or I had the flu. No way of knowing for sure, of course, but I’m choosing to believe this was one of ‘dem healing crises, and taking it as a positive sign. There was just one day, really, that I felt too shitty to function, and it just happened to coincide with a day off.
If I ever do this again, I’ll definitely try to plan it at a time when I don’t have too much going on so I can take it easy.
The Dread Rash From Hell is looking better than it has in ages. In fact, not to count my pustules before they hatch or anything, it’s looking like it’s going to clear up completely. In The Great Scheme of Things, it’s probably a good thing that I’ve had this visible, exterior sign that internally All Was Not As it Should Be.
If you decide to give reducing or eliminating Candida a shot, then by all means leave a comment and let us know how it goes. Or, if you have successfully defeated the vile Death Rash From Hell in some other fashion, then please take a moment to let us know how you did it.
Disclaimer: I’m not a doctor and don’t pretend to be. Consult your physician before beginning any kind of healthcare protocol, including this one. Do not operate heavy machinery while using coconut oil and apple cider vinegar.
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We practice yoga because we think it’s good for our bodies. And it is. Or—it can be. As I like to say, “Yoga is a powerful practice. Powerful practices can have powerful benefits—or be powerfully injurious.”
Having an understanding of which actions can be injurious to which specific parts of the body, why that is so, and what to do about it is important. This knowledge will help you maximize yoga’s benefits while minimizing risks. The list of actions in this series is not comprehensive but it’s an excellent resource to help you begin to make educated choices.
Risk #4 - Weight-bearing on overly extended wrists. Under optimal circumstances the average human wrist can safely bear weight upon about 90º of extension. Give or take. Note that I wrote, “underoptimal circumstances”. So that means–when the wrist’s ROM (Range of Motion) is unrestricted. When the bones and soft tissue are strong enough. When the soft tissue has enough flexibility. When the carpal tunnel is not congested or inflamed. When the wrists are injury free.
If the wrists are tight, the shoulders are tight, or any of the above conditions are compromised then 90º of extension may be overly ambitious and injurious.
Plank with wrists extended to 90º:
Plank with wrists (incorrectly) extended beyond 90º. Note the acute angle between the wrist and forearm. (I actually often see this demonstrated far more dramatically in class but didn’t want to ask my goodnatured model to compromise her wrists too much):
Plank modified so that the student’s feet have been walked further back away from her hands in order to decrease wrist extension. Note the obtuse angle between the wrist and forearm:
Inner edges of the hands poorly rooted:
Hands (incorrectly) turned in:
What this means for yogis:
Teach students how to root down the inner edges of their hands. When the hands peel up in this fashion the wrists are even more vulnerable. (See photo above.)
Teach students to set their wrist creases parallel with the front of their mat. They can even turn their hand a bit wider than that if their shoulders are tight. Do not allow students to turn their hands in. (See photo.)
Poses like Plank, Chaturanga Dandasana, Cobra, Bakasana, Vashistasana, Handstand, Arm Balances and even Downward Facing Dog may be too much on the wrists.
Teach students how to work their hands for optimal support. (Look for a future post on the subject.)
Modify Plank, Cobra, Updog and Vashistasana by having students walk their feet further back away from their hands in order to decrease wrist extension and take pressure off the wrists. When wrist extension is decreased the angle between the hand and the forearm will increase to become an obtuse angle. See photo above.
Further modify Plank, Cobra, Updog and Vashistasana by decreasing the weight-bearing load. Instruct students to drop their knees to the floor if necessary.
Further modify Plank, Cobra, Updog and Vashistasana and all poses in which the hands bear weight on the floor by using a wedge beneath the student’s hands. The widest part of the wedge should be placed beneath the heels of the hands. The narrowest part of the wedge should be closest to the fingertips. I frequently see this prop used incorrectly. When that happens pressure on the wrist is actually increased rather than decreased!
Modify arm balances by revolving them in space so that students can safely practice them while lying on their backs.
Swap out Down Dog for Dolphin Dog–which is just like Down Dog except the forearms are on the floor–or instruct students to practice with their hands on a wall for Wall Dog.
Modify by eliminating vinyasas, reducing vinyasas, and/or taking supported vinyasas with the knees dropped to the floor for greater support.
If the above modifications do not eradicate wrist pain then eliminate the pose that is causing the pain.
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