Quick Fix for Better Sleep and Tired Eyes | Nightly Castor Oil Beauty Routine

Queen of the Thrones® Castor Oil™ help you improve your Sleep

You know the saying, “there’s plenty of time to sleep when I’m dead”? I used to use this as an excuse to justify my erratic sleeping habits. When I was in naturopathic college I would stay up all hours of the night studying, or working late hours as a waitress to pay the bills. Coffee was literally my lifeline – if I couldn’t have it, I couldn’t make it through the day. Period. Does this sound familiar? 

I would be foggy and groggy in the mornings, trudging around like a zombie until I had my cup of Joe. Then in the evenings, it seemed as soon as the sun went down I had a miraculous bout of energy that wouldn’t allow me to fall asleep. So I’d toss and turn, becoming tangled up in my sheets worse than an old telephone cord! I came to dread those long, desperate hours, feeling so exhausted but unable to drift off into Dreamland.

That’s when I learned about the simplest of sleep practices that totally changed the game for me. Gracias a Dios!

Eye Masks for Better Sleep

I learned that wearing an eye mask to bed helps us get a deeper, more restful sleep. The eye mask blocks out all light and promotes melatonin production1 in the body; our sleep regulating hormone! 

The soft compression of the eye mask over the face also supports hormones that makes us feel all warm and fuzzy and relaxed, like oxytocin2 and dopamine3

Queen of the Thrones® Eye Mask to sleep better

I was absolutely blown away by how much this simple practice helped me sleep. 

Castor Oil for Beauty Sleep 

Around this time was when I began falling in love with castor oil and castor oil packs. Through research, I quickly learned that castor oil was a beauty staple in Egyptian and Greek cultures, and that Cleopatra herself used it to enhance her eyes. I found that castor oil was commonly used as a treatment to help eyelashes and eyebrows grow, and found it in the ingredient list of dozens of lash growth serums.

Queen of the Thrones® Castor Oil™ help eyelashes and eyebrows grow

This makes total sense! Castor oil improves circulation to where it is applied via nitric oxide stimulation4, so when applied to the lashes and brows it ensures that the hair follicle is getting a good blood supply. Castor oil is also anti-inflammatory5 and provides nourishment for the skin and hair follicle like vitamin E, polyphenols and omegas6. It’s antiviral, antibacterial, antifungal and antioxidant.

These properties also make it the perfect anti-wrinkle eye cream. The oil is exceptionally emollient and nourishing for the delicate skin around the eyes and can help with dark circles, puffiness, redness and fine lines.

Watch this video below of my friend Kitty Martone and I talking about our Nightly Castor Oil Routine, including how to do a castor oil face wash!

Is Castor Oil Safe Near the Eyes?

There is a wealth of research supporting the use of castor oil in the eye as a treatment for dry eyes7 8 9  and prevention of cataracts10. In a study done on rat lenses, castor oil was shown to preserve levels of glutathione exceptionally well11 (glutathione is one of our most powerful antioxidants!).

So castor oil is 100% safe and even beneficial to use in/around the eyes. This made me adore it even more because we have to be so careful with the products we use around our eyes – always read ingredients carefully!

Pair It With Your Castor Oil Pack

The most important part of my nightly castor oil sleep routine is putting on my Queen of the Thrones® Castor Oil Pack™ It immediately relaxes the nervous system1213, getting it ready for a deep night’s sleep.

Quality of Castor Oil

I just want to quickly note that not all castor oil is created equally. You want to use the best quality, especially when using it near the eyes. Castor oil should be certified organic, cold-pressed, 100% pure, hexane-free, extra virgin and ALWAYS packaged in a glass bottle. If you have castor oil in a plastic bottle, throw it away! Castor oil can absorb toxins and there are many compounds in plastic such as nonylphenol14 and benzophenones15 that can mess with our hormones, immune and nervous systems. Queen of the Thrones® promises the highest-grade Castor Oil™ for the thousands of ways you can use this healing oil.

Queen of the Thrones® Beauty Sleep Eye Kit™ reduce wrinkles and improve your sleep

Sweet Dreams, Sleeping Beauty!

So this became my bedtime routine. I dab a little bit of castor oil in the palm of my hand and apply it to my lashes and brows with an applicator brush. Then I dab the excess oil around my eyes, put on my organic cotton eye mask and crawl into bed, easily drifting and dancing off into Dreamland.

I’ve never slept better in my life, and I’m always being complimented on my bright, beautiful eyes!

Get your Queen of the Thrones® Castor Oil Pack™ and Beauty Sleep Eye Kit™ together in a bundle that I like to call The Genesis Cleanse™ with special bonuses!

Don’t forget to share this with your friends on social media, through email and to like us on Facebook, Instagram and YouTube to learn more about how to join the movement so that we can all have an improvement!

Disclaimer: Any opinions, advice, statements, services, offers, information or content expressed or made available by third parties, including information providers, are those of the respective authors or distributors. Neither Queen of the Thrones® nor any third-party provider of information guarantees the accuracy, completeness, or usefulness of any content. This communication does not create a doctor-patient relationship. Information provided does not replace the advice of your health care practitioner. If you happen to purchase anything we promote, in this or any of our communications, it’s likely Queen of the Thrones® will receive some kind of affiliate compensation. Still, we only promote content and products that we truly believe in and share with our friends, family and patients. If you ever have a concern with anything we share, please let us know at care@drmarisol.com. We want to make sure we are always serving Our Queendom at the highest level.

References

1  Rong-fang HuXiao-ying JiangYi-ming ZengXiao-yang ChenYou-hua Zhang. Effects of earplugs and eye masks on nocturnal sleep, melatonin and cortisol in a simulated intensive care unit environment. Published online 2010 Apr 18. doi: 10.1186/cc8965

2   Walker SC1, Trotter PD2, Swaney WT2, Marshall A3, Mcglone FP4. C-tactile afferents: Cutaneous mediators of oxytocin release during affiliative tactile interactions? Neuropeptides. 2017 Aug;64:27-38. doi: 10.1016/j.npep.2017.01.001. Epub 2017 Jan 19.

3   Rolls ET et all. Representations of pleasant and painful touch in the human orbitofrontal and cingulate cortices. Cereb Cortex. 2003 Mar;13(3):308-17.

4    Mascolo N1, Izzo AAAutore GBarbato FCapasso F.Nitric oxide and castor oil-induced diarrhea.J Pharmacol Exp Ther. 1994 Jan;268(1):291-5.

5   Vieira C et al. .Effect of ricinoleic acid in acute and subchronic experimental models of inflammation. Mediators Inflamm. 2000;9(5):223-8

6  Marwat SK, Rehman F, Khan EA, Baloch MS, Sadiq M, Ullah I, Javaria S, Shaheen S. Review – Ricinus cmmunis – Ethnomedicinal uses and pharmacological activities.Pak J Pharm Sci. 2017 Sep;30(5):1815-1827.

7  Goto E1, Shimazaki JMonden YTakano YYagi YShimmura STsubota K. Low-concentration homogenized castor oil eye drops for noninflamed obstructive meibomian gland dysfunction. Ophthalmology. 2002 Nov;109(11):2030-5.

8  Maïssa C1, Guillon MSimmons PVehige J. Effect of castor oil emulsion eyedrops on tear film composition and stability. Cont Lens Anterior Eye. 2010 Apr;33(2):76-82. doi: 10.1016/j.clae.2009.10.005. Epub 2009 Dec 6.

9  Jean-Sébastien Garrigue, 1 Mourad Amrane,1 Marie-Odile Faure,2 Juha M. Holopainen,3,† and Louis Tong4 Relevance of Lipid-Based Products in the Management of Dry Eye Disease J Ocul Pharmacol Ther. 2017 Nov 1; 33(9): 647–661. Published online 2017 Nov 1. doi: 10.1089/jop.2017.0052 PMCID: PMC5655476 PMID: 28956698

10  Mary Fu, BA, MA Jennifer Brusewitz, ND Castor Oil & Age-Related Cataract – A Case for the Therapeutic Order NDNR Posted May 1, 2018 in Anti-Aging

11   Holm TBrøgger-Jensen MRJohnson LKessel L.Glutathione preservation during storage of rat lenses in optisol-GS and castor oil. PLoS One. 2013 Nov 19;8(11):e79620. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0079620. eCollection 2013.

12   Walker SC1, Trotter PD2, Swaney WT2, Marshall A3, Mcglone FP4. C-tactile afferents: Cutaneous mediators of oxytocin release during affiliative tactile interactions? Neuropeptides. 2017 Aug;64:27-38. doi: 10.1016/j.npep.2017.01.001. Epub 2017 Jan 19.

13   Rolls ET et all. Representations of pleasant and painful touch in the human orbitofrontal and cingulate cortices. Cereb Cortex. 2003 Mar;13(3):308-17.

14   Kim H1, Oh S1, Gye MC1, Shin I1,2. Comparative toxicological evaluation of nonylphenol and nonylphenol polyethoxylates using human keratinocytes. Drug Chem Toxicol. 2018 Oct;41(4):486-491. doi: 10.1080/01480545.2017.1391829. Epub 2017 Nov 10

15   Amar SK1, Goyal S2, Srivastav AK3, Chopra D3, Ray RS2. Combined effect of Benzophenone-2 and ultraviolet radiation promote photogenotoxicity and photocytotoxicity in human keratinocytes.Regul Toxicol Pharmacol. 2018 Jun;95:298-306. doi: 10.1016/j.yrtph.2018.04.003. Epub 2018 Apr 4.

Castor Oil Packs, Influenza (Flu), & Your Immune System

Dr. Marisol Teijeiro ND, Queen of the Thrones®

In 1918, the Spanish flu pandemic threatened the world population which was at about 1.8 billion people. 500 million people (about 1/3 of the population at the time) were infected. 

Mass graves had to be dug around the world as a result. Since then it seems we have been living in a state of fear and on high alert, for not IF but WHEN the next deadly mutated virus will hit again. 

The fear is even propagated and heightened because of our fixation; as evidenced in all the TV shows and movies about pandemics and zombie holocausts, like Outbreak with Dustin Hoffman, Contagion, and AMC’s The Walking Dead.  

Recent History

There have always been accounts of flu outbreaks. Remember SARS, the plagues of leprosy that stained faces, and those vanishing populations like the legendary Spanish flu of 1918?

The Spanish flu was the perfect example of what happens when a mutated virus meets malnourished, stressed, injured and inflamed soldiers, who jumped on boats at the end of the war to get home, and brought with them more than big hugs for their family – they brought the virus back to their homeland. 

These soldiers lived in less than sanitary conditions. Food options were limited to those that lined an aluminum can or those that were dried, requiring the simple addition of water (if you could find water, that is).

With limited hydration and good quality food the body suffers, plus add insult to injury of the severe mental stress that accompanies war-torn locations and PTSD, that many soldiers suffer from. I’m sure that not much can compare to living through that. Their physical bodies were wounded, inflamed and tossing and turning in their sleep. 

In essence, they were the perfect debilitate jalopy, the very best vehicle to propagate this deadly virus around the world. 

At home, many countries were ravaged by war, and once again, we see malnourished mothers and children who were stressed out and overworked. Trying to make ends meet and manage a household; the perfect receptacle to welcome the gift from their loved ones returning from war.

Likely to Get Sick | Conducive Conditions for Disease 

What conditions are ideal for diseases like influenza to flourish in? Think of it this way; our body is no different than a garden, or an ecosystem.

This is contrary to popular belief where many define the body as a machine. A machine can get pieces taken out of it. An ecosystem cannot; when one aspect is ripped out, it can be devastating to the entire system. 

There is one thing that is notorious for throwing off the beautiful balance in the ecosystem of our body. This one thing is STRESS, and in our bodies, this causes the “dis” in dis-ease. 

Here are a few of the many possible types of stress:

  • Digestive stress
  • Nutrient deficiency stress
  • Inflammatory and immune stress 
  • Mental and emotional stress 
  • Microbial stress

The list goes on and on…

We know that when we are weak and devitalized from repetitive, non-ceasing stress we are more prone to sickness. This is why influenza typically affects elderly populations, children and those with “dis-ease” or immune-compromised conditions more often. 

Notice the spelling of “dis-ease”.

The meaning of the prefix ‘dis’ is a body or system that is not in balance.

This is the same as a garden. One that lacks proper nutrients in the soil, adequate sunlight, water, or love messages won’t grow and is likely to develop infestations and disease. 

It only makes sense that the Spanish flu reached such staggering proportions and infected 1/3 of the world’s population at the time.

The true epidemic, in my opinion, may not have been one of the virus, but rather the overall state of health of the population of the world at the time. 

How about them apples? They should have been eating more!…

It was World War I, after all. Living in that time would mean constantly feeling an inner sensation of imbalance, that the ‘dis’ could come upon us at any time, and stress became programmed into the makeup of our bodies. Stress was the norm, not the exception as it should be.

Why We Focus On The Bug 

You may be familiar with Louis Pasteur, who in the 1800s popularized the idea of The Germ Theory and made it mainstream. The bug (virus, bacteria, yeast, parasite, etc), became the enemy to attack. Kill it and life is good. It was widely accepted as the main tenet that permeates medicine to this day; including in cancer treatments with the bug being our own tissues. 

Achieve a well-balanced body with Queen of the Thrones® products.

But what most aren’t privy to, is that at the same time, Claude Bernard was promoting and proving the terrain theory, or physical vitalism. He postulated that the body is an ecosystem and that an ecosystem in health, has a vital force and can beat all disease1.

The difference, it was said, was that Pasteur had friends in high places that moved his philosophy forward. These have served us well, as we have learned an incredible amount about the bug and how it affects an unhealthy body. On the other hand, vitalism went backstage once Bernard was out of the picture. 

However, there is hearsay that Pasteur, on his deathbed, recanted his theory and said: “Bernard was right, it’s not about the bug, it’s the terrain”.

Why We Should Focus on Terrain, Vital Force, and Physical Vitalism of The Body

The ancient doctors of the past, Hippocrates, Galen, and Traditional Chinese Medicine Doctors always searched for ways to support the system as a whole. They focused on the foundation, the pillars that would create health. 

This is the mechanism of wellbeing, of positioning for success in spite of what is going on around you.

You really can’t control what is happening around you but one thing is for sure, you can control what you do. 

A healthy, well-balanced body with a solid foundation is in the right position to overcome anything that may come its way. This was the work that Bernard was so passionate about. 

If you have ever seen a naturopathic doctor, functional medicine doctor, or any other holistic healer, this is the premise of their work. 

A resilient, strong, balanced foundation in the body prevents all disease. 

The reality is that it’s about both the bug and the terrain, and keeping them in balance. 

Balance means we want a little bit of acute stress, not longterm constant stress as that becomes damaging, but a little goes a long way2, because it is actually protective, especially to the digestive tract and gut. 

As Hippocrates stated:

All disease begins in the gut

How to Prevent the Flu (From a Functional Perspective)

Our goal then is to support the foundation, which begins in the gut. To keep the body and its foundation well supported every day so that it can be healthy. 

Queen of the Thrones® Castor Oil Packs™ to boost your body functions

Here I introduce to you The Original Cleanse™. The formula used by the ancient doctors who knew the vital importance of making sure that a system can:

  • Poop well
  • Sleep well 
  • Cleanse well
  • Bloat less and digest well
  • Stress less and feel well

The simplest of functions and by far the most important is to feel better and be resilient against anything that comes its way.


The Original Cleanse™ is the combination of two ancient, powerful, time-honored practices; the Castor Oil Pack™ and the Beauty Sleep Eye Kit™.

The Doctors of the Past

Doctors of the past lived by this adage:

The doctor dresses the wound and God [nature] heals it.3

As such, they would use the simplest of therapies such as a compress in the areas that needed help, in order to invigorate the vital force within to heal! Just like you do with a bandaid for a boo-boo.

Why do you think it’s so natural to simply put a bandage on it, or wrap it up? It is literally instinctual to us that it will help us heal. This is why they call it The Original Cleanse. It’s part of our origin story. It is that which will help us regain faith in our healing. 

The fact is wearing a compress, such as a castor oil pack, eye mask or bandage, stimulates the receptors of the skin that transfer information to the nervous system to put the body into the relaxed state. 

The skin provides the ‘on’ switch to the relaxed state by promoting the hormone oxytocin4, which reduces cortisol (the stress hormone). 

So the reason soldiers in World War I were so susceptible to the Spanish flu, was simply that wounds (whether an actual wound on the skin, emotional wound, or a misbalance in the immune system), don’t heal under stress5. It’s an impossibility. The system needs a calm, relaxed state that is flooded with oxytocin6 to heal. 

Wounds occur when the “equilibrium between synthesis and degradation has been shifted toward degradation”7.

The Natural Law of Balance 

The body follows a natural law of balance, otherwise, dis-ease predominates. The Original Cleanse works on setting up the foundation so there can be balance and no dis-ease. It is the simple practice of wearing a castor oil pack and eye mask with castor oil to bed every night.

My first experience with the castor oil pack was transformational, and later clinical experience with thousands of patients proved the same result. And it’s why I’m here telling everyone about them. 

For my patients and I, the first thing The Original Cleanse did was bring back FAITH in our ability to heal and feel better. It helped us to believe that balance could be achieved again, despite many failed attempts.

Very appropriately, I use the acronym FAITH to describe the five main foundations of health that Queen of the Thrones® Castor Oil Pack™ support, which help to prepare it for any bug that comes its way. 

Improve your health with Queen of the Thrones® Castor Oil Pack™

F: Function of the digestion, absorption, and elimination

Research demonstrates that castor oil enhances prostaglandins8, nitric oxide9 and stimulates capsaicin-sensitive sensory neurons10 in the presence of acute glucocorticoids (the hormones of stress), which actually has a protective effect on the gastric lining, thus improving its function.

Castor oil can enhance defensive mechanisms such as gastric acid as well as digestive enzymes, that serve as a barrier for bugs entering the body.

Castor oil packs have been shown to improve the frequency of elimination11, and via prostaglandin stimulation of smooth muscle and nitric oxide electrolyte shifting, reduces food sensitivities thus relieving the immune system. 

A: Antioxidant support 

Castor oil is a source of vitamin E, omega 6, omega 9, and the end result of what you get from fish oils12. It has also been shown to preserve levels of one of our most important antioxidants, glutathione13, which is required for detoxification in the liver. Wearing a castor oil pack over the liver supports circulation and flow to this area, allowing it to cleanse more efficiently.

I: Inflammation & Immunity

Inflammation must be reduced in the body to make space for healing. Castor oil is a strong anti-inflammatory14 and wearing a castor oil pack is an excellent way to reduce inflammation in the digestive tract. Castor oil packs have also been shown to support white blood cells of the immune system15 which protect our terrain from the bug. 

T: Tension/Stress

Stress is another key factor that must be reduced in order for healing to take place. Castor oil packs create a gentle compression that helps to move the body into the parasympathetic state16 and that stimulates feel-good hormones like dopamine17 and oxytocin18. Wearing a sleep mask helps to further support the reduction of stress by improving sleep via melatonin production19.

H: Host Microbial Balance

As mentioned earlier, the terrain is just as important as the bug. Part of the terrain of the body is the trillions of bugs (microscopic bacteria), known as the microbiome. A healthy balance of good bugs and bad bugs is a key player in the balance of our digestion, hormones and immune system function. Castor oil packs support the microbiome by helping to breakdown biofilm created by bad bugs20 21 22.

The Original Cleanse for Physical Vitalism

The Original Cleanse is a nightly practice that only takes 2 minutes, and helps to strengthen and balance the terrain of our bodies so that they are prepared for the bug, should it come-a-knockin’.  

Queen of the Thrones® Original Cleanse™ balances your body as you sleep.

Here’s how to do it:

Step 1: Prepare your castor oil pack by applying 1-2 tbsp of oil in the center of the soft cotton side of the pack, then tie it onto the body over the liver.

Step 2: Pour a dollop of castor oil into the palm of your hand. Use an applicator brush to apply castor oil to eyelashes and eyebrows, then dab the remaining oil into the delicate skin around the eyes. Cover with the eye mask and go to sleep. 

That’s it! The Original Cleanse revitalizes, strengthens and balances your body as you sleep.

Don’t forget to share this with your friends on social media, through email and to like us on Facebook, Instagram and YouTube to learn more about how to join the movement so that we can all have an improvement!

Disclaimer: Any opinions, advice, statements, services, offers, information or content expressed or made available by third parties, including information providers, are those of the respective authors or distributors. Neither Queen of the Thrones® nor any third-party provider of information guarantees the accuracy, completeness, or usefulness of any content. This communication does not create a doctor-patient relationship. Information provided does not replace the advice of your health care practitioner. If you happen to purchase anything we promote, in this or any of our communications, it’s likely Queen of the Thrones® will receive some kind of affiliate compensation. Still, we only promote content and products that we truly believe in and share with our friends, family and patients. If you ever have a concern with anything we share, please let us know at care@drmarisol.com. We want to make sure we are always serving Our Queendom at the highest level.


1 Normandin S1. Claude Bernard and an introduction to the study of experimental medicine: “physical vitalism,” dialectic, and epistemology. J Hist Med Allied Sci. 2007 Oct;62(4):495-528. Epub 2007 Jun 18. 

2 Filaretova LP.[Contribution of glucocorticoid hormones to gastroprotection]. Usp Fiziol Nauk. 2014 Jan-Mar;45(1):44-56.[Article in Russian]

3 https://irishwordsofwisdom.com/dr-joseph-murphys-prescription-for-self-healing/

4 Uvnas-Moberg K1, Petersson M.[Oxytocin, a mediator of anti-stress, well-being, social interaction, growth and healing]. Z Psychosom Med Psychother. 2005;51(1):57-80.[Article in German]

5 Vileikyte L1. Stress and wound healing. Clin Dermatol. 2007 Jan-Feb;25(1):49-55.

6 Detillion CE1, Craft TK, Glasper ER, Prendergast BJ, DeVries AC. Social facilitation of wound healing. Psychoneuroendocrinology. 2004 Sep;29(8):1004-11.

7 Menke NB1, Ward KR, Witten TM, Bonchev DG, Diegelmann RF. Impaired wound healing.Clin Dermatol. 2007 Jan-Feb;25(1):19-25.

8   Sorin Tunaru,a Till F. Althoff,a Rolf M. Nüsing,b Martin Diener,c and Stefan Offermannsa,d,1 Castor oil induces laxation and uterus contraction via ricinoleic acid activating prostaglandin EP3 receptors. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2012 Jun 5; 109(23): 9179–9184. Published online 2012 May 21. doi: 10.1073/pnas.1201627109 PMID: 22615395

9   Mascolo N1, Izzo AAAutore GBarbato FCapasso F.Nitric oxide and castor oil-induced diarrhea.J Pharmacol Exp Ther. 1994 Jan;268(1):291-5.

10  Vieira C et al. .Effect of ricinoleic acid in acute and subchronic experimental models of inflammation. Mediators Inflamm. 2000;9(5):223-8

11   Arslan GG, Eşer I. An examination of the effect of castor oil packs on constipation in the elderly. Complement Ther Clin Pract. 2011 Feb;17(1):58-62. doi: 10.1016/j.ctcp.2010.04.004. Epub 2010 May 18.

12  Marwat SK, Rehman F, Khan EA, Baloch MS, Sadiq M, Ullah I, Javaria S, Shaheen S. Review – Ricinus cmmunis – Ethnomedicinal uses and pharmacological activities.Pak J Pharm Sci. 2017 Sep;30(5):1815-1827.

13   Holm TBrøgger-Jensen MRJohnson LKessel L.Glutathione preservation during storage of rat lenses in optisol-GS and castor oil. PLoS One. 2013 Nov 19;8(11):e79620. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0079620. eCollection 2013.

14  Vieira C et al. .Effect of ricinoleic acid in acute and subchronic experimental models of inflammation. Mediators Inflamm. 2000;9(5):223-8

15  Grady H. Immunomodulation through castor oil packs. The Journal of Naturopathic Medicine. Volume 7 Jan 1 1998; 7(1): 84-9

16  Löken LS, Wessberg J, Morrison I, McGlone F, Olausson H. Coding of pleasant touch by unmyelinated afferents in humans. Nat Neurosci. 2009 May;12(5):547-8. Epub 2009 Apr 12

17   Rolls ET et all. Representations of pleasant and painful touch in the human orbitofrontal and cingulate cortices. Cereb Cortex. 2003 Mar;13(3):308-17.

18   Walker SC1, Trotter PD2, Swaney WT2, Marshall A3, Mcglone FP4. C-tactile afferents: Cutaneous mediators of oxytocin release during affiliative tactile interactions? Neuropeptides. 2017 Aug;64:27-38. doi: 10.1016/j.npep.2017.01.001. Epub 2017 Jan 19.

19  Rong-fang HuXiao-ying JiangYi-ming ZengXiao-yang ChenYou-hua Zhang. Effects of earplugs and eye masks on nocturnal sleep, melatonin and cortisol in a simulated intensive care unit environment. Published online 2010 Apr 18. doi: 10.1186/cc8965

20   Andrade IM1, Andrade KM2, Pisani MX1, Silva-Lovato CH1, de Souza RF1, Paranhos Hde F1.Trial of an experimental castor oil solution for cleaning dentures. Braz Dent J. 2014 Jan-Feb;25(1):43-7.

21   Badaró MM, Salles MM, Leite VMF, Arruda CNF, Oliveira VC, Nascimento CD, Souza RF, Paranhos HFO, Silva-Lovato CH. Clinical trial for evaluation of Ricinus communis and sodium hypochlorite as denture cleanser.J Appl Oral Sci. 2017 May-Jun; 25(3):324-334.

22   Salles MM, Badaró MM, Arruda CN, Leite VM, Silva CH, Watanabe E, Oliveira Vde C, Paranhos Hde F. Antimicrobial activity of complete denture cleanser solutions based on sodium hypochlorite and Ricinus communis – a randomized clinical study.J Appl Oral Sci. 2015 Nov-Dec; 23(6):637-42.

Diastasis Recti and Constipation | Two Common Postpartum Body Challenges

Constipation is very common after labor and childbirth.

Guest Blog By Kim Vopni, The Vagina Coach

There are two things that I will never forget about the early hours after giving birth to my first son – Diastasis Recti and Constipation.

I remember how disconnected my upper body felt from my lower body when I got up to go to the bathroom for the first time after my baby entered the world.  I felt like I had to hold myself together.  What was a fairly tight compact part of my body, was now a vacant space with very little tone.  The muscles in my abdominal wall had stretched well beyond their normal, optimal length and the rectus muscles (think 6 pack) had also moved away from their midline position – a condition known as diastasis recti.  

Two images of abdominal muscles, one showing diastasis recti

As I sat down to pee, I had a sudden panic attack knowing that at some point I was also going to have to poop!  

The thought of that first bowel movement after giving birth is almost scarier than the birth itself! This fear coupled with other influences I will elaborate on below, can contribute to postpartum constipation.  

Diastasis Recti and constipation are very common and with the right information, can be very well managed and don’t have to be a big deal in the early postpartum period or beyond.  Let’s look first at constipation.

Castor Oil improve your digestion

POSTPARTUM CONSTIPATION

Once the baby is born, we as parents start to diligently record every feed and every poop our baby makes.  What no one really thinks about is that the new mom would benefit from having someone do the same for her.  Nutrition is a key element of postpartum healing and can play a huge role in healing and nourishing the body as well as managing bowel movements therefore reducing the likelihood of constipation.

Labour typically slows down the digestive system, especially if you had an epidural and it can take a few days to get back on track.  Other things that can influence the digestive system in the early weeks postpartum are pain medications, iron supplementation and fear of pooping!  A lot happens in the pelvis and to the vagina, perineum and anus – things like tearing, stitches, tenderness and hemorrhoids.  The thought of anything else passing through can be a bit stressful to say the least.  Stress activates the ‘fight or flight’ response which reduces blood flow to the digestive system and can contribute to constipation.

From a Chinese medicine perspective the first system that needs to be addressed in postpartum healing is the digestive system.  The digestive system is responsible for transforming food into blood and energy and if digestion is off, then the body will not benefit from the food consumed and therefore not build the blood and energy needed for healing.  

Digestive System Diagram by Queen of the Thrones®

MOTHER ROASTING

It is also believed in Chinese Medicine that the body has ‘opened’ during pregnancy and birth and is therefore susceptible to ‘wind’ or ‘cold’.  New mothers have a 30 day period of “sitting in” where the mother does not go out and is instead served warm soups, stews, and broths that are easy to digest.

Korea has a 100 day period where the mother and child do not leave the home. In Japan, the mother and baby stay at the mother’s parent’s home for some pampering and one-on-one time with the baby. India and African nations include traditions of 10-40 day isolations where additional support is provided including massage, childcare and food preparation. 

Other practices from places like Malaysia include belly binding and hot stones on the abdomen to help cleanse it, close it and heal it. 

These practices not only allow the body time to recover from the trauma of giving birth but provide a period of mental rest that I firmly believe creates a solid foundation for mom and baby from day one.

BELLY BINDING

The belief of the need to ‘close’ the body is justified.  Diastasis Recti has been shown to happen to 100% of women in the third trimester and the gap between the muscles doesn’t always return to its pre-pregnancy state, nor does the connective tissue naturally regain its supportive tensioning role in the core. The muscles in the pelvic floor have also stretched and in some cases have been cut or torn which can contribute to challenges with core control and continence.

Belly wrapping or belly binding aims to provide temporary compression and support to the pelvis and abdominal wall in the early weeks postpartum when the muscles are temporarily hindered in their ability to contribute to core control.   

Belly Wrapping

The muscles and connective tissue in the abdominal wall and pelvis are key with regards to stability and control in our inner core but so are the bones and joints. In the pelvis, the shape of the bones provides what is called ‘form closure’ while the muscles, ligaments and connective tissue contribute to what is called ‘force closure’. During pregnancy biomechanical changes occur in the body which can reduce the effectiveness of both form and force closure such as;

  • Altered posture and load bearing;
  • Altered muscle length in the pelvic floor and abdomen (both longer and shorter) which results in reduced ability for muscle force production;
  • The role of relaxin and progesterone contribute to joint laxity and when the ligaments are lax it affects the force closure.
  • The abdominal muscles are stretched to allow space for the enlarging uterus, which can lead to loss of muscle tone and strength in the abdominal region and a compromised ability to produce tension in the thoracolumbar fascia, resulting in reduced force closure in the pelvis;
  • Diastasis recti is a distortion in the abdominal wall and can impair the function of the muscles including their role in posture and pelvic stability;
  • The transversus abdominis, multifidus, diaphragm and the pelvic floor are all anticipatory muscles of the core and are required for force closure in the pelvis – all are affected by posture and alignment changes in pregnancy
  • Intra-abdominal pressure – altered mechanics and alignment mean management of intra-abdominal pressure will change

INTRA-ABDOMINAL PRESSURE

We can’t talk about postpartum recovery and wrapping without talking about intra-abdominal pressure.

Intra-abdominal pressure is defined as the pressure within the abdominal cavity.  It is part of our core stability system.  We need some, but not too much and we need an ability to manage the varying pressures throughout the day. When we take a breath in, the diaphragm descends and there is a compression action on the abdominal contents which acts to stabilize the pelvis and spine.  We can have too much pressure such as a Valsalva maneuverer which is an inhale, then breath hold while bearing down.  This often results in a distended abdomen and can place pressure on the pelvic organs as well.  

The reverse can also be seen in a technique called “hypopressives” which decreases intra-abdominal pressure and results in a hollowing or concavity of the abdomen.  A reliance on one may result in a compromised ability to manage changes in intra-abdominal pressure such as during lifting or exercise.  

Crunches were given a bad rap because they cause an increase in intra-abdominal pressure but a study found that activities like standing up from a chair or downward dog pose in yoga actually created equal or greater increases in intra-abdominal pressure which suggests that managing intra-abdominal pressure is more about HOW a person performs a movement or exercise rather than the exercise itself.

Wrapping is often considered to be a practice that increases intra-abdominal pressure and it can when done incorrectly.  Wrapping is ideally done to temporarily contribute to force closure in the pelvis with some gentle hugging of the abdominal wall.  Many mistakenly wrap only the waist and wrap very tightly in hopes that it will help heal the gap between the abdominals (diastasis recti).  Instead it increases intra-abdominal pressure, it interferes with digestion and it restricts optimal breathing patterns which can prevent healing of the abdominal wall and pelvic floor and can also contribute to constipation.

My recommendations for postpartum recovery include principles that support rest and belly wrapping in the early weeks postpartum, core retraining with pelvic floor initiated movements, a balance between hyper and hypopressive exercise and nutrition that is based on the traditional practices of mother roasting to support optimal digestion.

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