“How can I get rid of lice… it is so annoying!” I bet my bottom dollar that as a parent or a health professional you have asked or been asked this question… many times. It’s the same question asked by parents in different countries around the world – Australia, NZ, Africa, UK, Europe, Asia, USA and so forth. Do these critters “jump” their way to other countries, do we transport them with international travel or is there something else to these unique critters that could actually take the guess work out of understanding why they show up to your child’s head and not someone else’s?
To help illustrate the point let me paint a picture…
Let’s imagine a nightclub on the corner of a street and a lane way down the side of it where the rubbish bins (trash) are kept. Each night a staff member takes the rubbish out and places it in the bins provided. However on this particular night the rubbish bins were full before the nightclub closed because the venue had been hired out which meant there were more people than usual and of course more rubbish than usual. The staff put the rubbish out despite the bins being full; they simply made a rubbish pile beside the bins. As the night passed and more rubbish got placed on the rubbish pile an aroma started to waft throughout the laneway and adjoining streets. Rats got wind of the aroma and were immediately attracted to the rubbish pile. Upon arrival at the pile of rubbish they began having a feast and within a short time the number of rats had multiplied!
There are two ways in which this story can be handled;
1) The rubbish pile remains and you purchase special sprays, gels, bait etc to put on and around the rubbish pile in the hope that the rats will die and not return or
2) You clean up the rubbish pile!
Question…are the rats the problem or is the rubbish pile the problem?
In other words are lice the problem or is the host environment where the lice are attracted the problem?
Of course when we see this logical picture it’s clear that the problem is the rubbish pile (host environment), NOT the rats. The rats simply seized an OPPORTUNITY to eat. The rats sensed, via their nerve system that the aroma, the smell coming from the laneway was different, and grabbed the opportunity to feast!
So what does this picture have to do with lice and your child’s hair? Well, let’s look at our body for a moment as the “rubbish pile”.
We sense our world via our nerve system (just like the rats sensed via their smell the rubbish pile). How we interact with our world is filtered through our nerve system – the master communicating system of the body. Any type of stimulus that upsets the normal functioning of the body and/or disturbs one’s mood, can be considered unhealthy. Poor diet, anxiety, self-esteem, deadlines, school work, sport, exams, bullies, anger, fear, physical exhaustion can all contribute to a system that is stretched and challenged in how it functions – neurologically. When an unhealthy stress becomes prolonged or at worst chronic, it creates chemical imbalances in the body that can compromise immune function and metabolism – the oils and chemical smell we emit from our body undergoes a drastic change. The bio-chemicals your child emits when under stress are different to the chemicals emitted when in a healthy response to a stress.
Just like the rats were attracted to the rubbish pile because of the aroma they could smell, so too are the lice attracted to the aroma of the person when under stress. The smell and the chemicals emitted although not offensive to us as humans is like beautiful smelling organic essential oils to the lice. The lice are indeed opportunistic just like the rats! That’s why one child in a family can have lice in their hair and the other child or children do not.
It’s about the rubbish pile… not the rats!
Here are “3T’s” of unhealthy stress which in turn, changes the bio-chemicals we release through our skin, altering the oils on our hair, forming an odour and thus creating a wonderful opportunity for lice to feed!
Thoughts (Emotional) Stress: Attitude, relationship challenges with family members and/or kids at school, bullies, self-esteem, belief in self, anger, “bottling emotions”, fear, grief, anxiety, lack of sleep, perfectionism, worry, jealous, challenges with learning, etc.
Trauma (Physical) Stress: Birth process, class environment and seating arrangement, choice of sport, excessive or lack of exercise, growth changes, falls and injuries, electromagnetic radiation (electronic devices), computers, noise, playground conversations, ergonomics of the child’s environment, etc.
Toxins (Chemical) Stress: Shampoos, cleaning materials, sunscreens, moisturizers, second hand smoke, dehydration, medications, pollution, plastics – containers and toys, nutritional deficiencies, food choices, junk in-junk out, e.g. processed foods vs. organic whole foods. A lack of good whole food contributes to decreased immunity, changes in the constitution of the saliva and results in dental problems, etc.
Your lifestyle choices play a big role in how much or how little stress you are stimulated by each day. Here are 7 tips to keep your nerve system functioning well, your immune system at optimum and your daily routine more stress-free:
1) Find a great chiropractor and receive regular adjustments: It is important, as you identify different ways to approach your health, that you first acknowledge that your nerve system is what you use to sense your world; your nerve system in turn influences your physiology which, in turn, affects how you function. Your level of function is directly related to how you express your health. Having a well functioning and connected nerve system can result in an optimum expression of health. Chiropractors are specifically trained to work directly with your nerve system.
2) Understand your child’s world: Children depending on the age do not always have the words to explain what might be happening in their world nor may they have the confidence to share what’s going on with you. Take the time to find out what’s impacting your child’s immune system by asking questions around at the 3T’s – Thoughts (emotional), Trauma (physical) and Toxins (chemical). Give them the opportunity to identify how they can approach their world differently by understanding where the stress is coming from. Empower them through your conversation to change it. Be open to what your child tells you.
3) Eat organic and whole food: Creating the opportunity to nourish the body with organic and whole food everyday enables the body to be “topped” up with the essential vitamins and minerals that are important in immune function. Always chose organic real food over packaged and processed food. Here’s where we get some of our organic food.
4) Rest: When the body is under stress rest can be one of the best ways in which to recharge and allow healing to take place from the inside-out. Give your child’s body the time to heal and thus the necessary rest.
5) Get moving: Exercise is important for body function and neurological stimulus. Get your kids moving in a fun way either on their own via a team sport or with the family at a beach or a park!
6) Laugh: Make a conscious effort to find the humour in things and laugh, laugh and laugh some more with your kids!
7) Be loving: When we love more we emit different chemicals. These chemicals have an impact on our immune system and our ability to express health. Be kind to yourself and those around you and teach by example your children.
Remember lice are opportunistic; it’s not the rats but the rubbish pile so work to change the rubbish pile for an optimum expression of health!
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