Hand Washing

One of the most important things you can do to stay healthy and help stop the spread of infection is wash your hands. 

That said, most folks don’t really know HOW to wash their hands – here’s a step-by-step guide.  It doesn’t take any longer than the way you’re doing it now, it just gets you better results.  Also, for LA residents, what with the drought and all, some modifications can be made as long as you really scrub your hands and rinse them thoroughly

  1. Wet hands with warm running water
  2. Apply soap
  3. Rub hands together for at least 20 seconds, including between your fingers and under fingernails (if you’re at home have a nail brush handy, if not do the best you can)
  4. Rinse hands thoroughly under warm running water
  5. Dry hands, dispose of towel

When should you wash your hands?

  1. Before preparing food, eating or drinking
  2. Before and after touching your body (including rubbing your eyes, scratching that mosquito bite or blowing your nose)
  3. Before and after changing bandages
  4. After using the restroom (before too if your job or hobbies get your hands dodgy)
  5. If you don’t wear rubber gloves while doing them, after you do your household chores, especially cleaning the bathroom, changing the bedding and doing laundry
  6. After coughing or sneezing

What about hand sanitizers?  Yes, good idea to have around as long as they’re a high quality, alcohol based product.  Personally, since I’m using them all day, I prefer EO brand with their organic alcohol and jojoba.  But any quality product will do the trick.

Wash with hand sanitizers the same way you do with soap and water.  Put enough in your hands that you can coat all surfaces of your hands with product, then rub your hands briskly for 20 seconds, including between the fingers and under nails.  If you end up with too much, wipe your hands with a clean paper towel.

So what’s all the fuss about?  The fuss is that most people have no idea how long 20 seconds is, and most germs are pretty tough.  The friction and the soap or hand sanitizer are used to break the cell wall of the germ.  It’s not enough for your hands to look clean, you need them to really BE clean or you won’t be protecting yourself.

Be your own best advocate.  Anytime you go to a health professional or body care professional make sure the people working on you wash their hands before they touch you.  And, of course, if someone is giving you a manicure or pedicure, make sure they’re using clean instruments.

Catching Up on My Reading

This month’s (March 2009) UC Berkeley Wellness Letter has some wonderful common sense comments on constipation and colon health, including the surprising results of the study published in the 2005 American Journal of Gastroenterology which shows that “stimulants did not harm the colon”.  You can read the whole article in my office if you’re interested. 

The Wellness Letter also suggests, in their Wellness made easy column, “If you get headaches, consider acupuncture”.  More and more research, it seems, is showing that acupuncture can help with headaches – something practitioners and patients of acupuncture and Traditional Oriental Medicine have know for centuries.  If you get headaches, come on in and give it a try.

From the other side of the  aisle, as it were, come these suggestions and articles from this month’s (March 2009) Environmental Nutrition newsletter:

  • If you’re tired of only bad news about food and diet, EN suggests you check out www.biteofthebest.com, a site by food critic and nutritionist Bonnie Tandy Leblang and her two sons.
  • Gum chewing may help with focus, stress, weight loss and dental health.
  • An eye-opening look at coffee, which EN suggest may have many health perks
  • A revisit of the benefits of spinach with a spinach frittata recipe

If you don’t subscribe, you may review EN in my office.


Over the course of the next few weeks (and I suppose months and years) I will be adding random thoughts, information and articles that relate to acupuncture, healthcare and life in general.  I don’t promise to be a prolific “blogger” but I do promise to share some of the things I have found interesting, alarming or amusing as I’ve journeyed along.