Imagine walking into a party populated by a large group of relative strangers. As you scan the crowd, you detect certain people who seem to be glaring at you, feigning indifference or whispering disapprovingly. You also notice several friendly folks who nod warmly, smile or wave. After processing this information, feelings begin to form. Those who are prone to anxiety, depression and a host of related psychological conditions tend to magnify the number and/or significance of the negative impressions they perceive. On the other hand, those who have a more upbeat disposition have a “protective bias” against such depressing, distressing thoughts and subsequent feelings. If you happen to fall into the more neurotic camp, Cognitive Bias Modification (CBM) may be invaluable to your sanity and well being. Given enough practice and time, CBM can assist you to see and experience the more positive side of life.
Tags: Anxiety, Depression, Stress
Posted in Alternative Therapies, Mental Health | No Comments;
“Write it on your heart that every day is the best day in the year”, Ralph Waldo Emerson. This is a goal I aspire to, but often fall short of reaching. Sometimes I feel down despite the fact that there is so much for which to be grateful. And, judging by the accounts of many clients, colleagues and friends, I’m not alone. Fortunately, there is a growing body of research indicating that natural practices and remedies can help those of us who are inclined to disproportionately experience darker moods.
Tags: Aromatherapy, Meditation, Yoga
Posted in Alternative Therapies, Exercise, Mental Health | 2 Comments
If you consult with most primary care doctors about arthritis, overweight, poor bone density or post traumatic stress, you’ll likely walk out of their offices with a prescription and/or a referral to a specialist. A similar scenario occurs quite frequently if you visit your local health food store or holistic clinic inquiring about the very same health conditions. But, regardless of which form of treatment you choose, there’s an important asset that you should always bring to your appointments – information. Instead of simply expecting to be informed, be prepared to pose the types of questions that only informed patients can ask.
Tags: Appetite, Arthritis, PTSD
Posted in Alternative Therapies, Bone and Joint Health, Mental Health | 2 Comments
Certain herbs and spices are widely acknowledged as possessing medicinal properties. Common examples include cinnamon extracts, echinacea tea and turmeric formulas standardized for curcuminoids. Others such as basil, coriander, dill, ginger and rosemary are primarily thought of as means of adding complexity to international recipes. And, while that is undeniably the case, it is not a complete representation of their potential.
Tags: Aromatherapy, Arthritis, Ginger
Posted in Alternative Therapies, Food and Drink, Mental Health | No Comments;
Several weeks ago I was in the midst of one of the most stressful periods in my life. My wife and I were preparing for two moves (ours and my mother-in-law’s), while renovating an old townhouse that we all moved into together. Lots of changes, financial concerns and long days with a seemingly never-ending string of problems that needed solutions. In addition to the obvious stress of the circumstances, there were also many environmental insults (infuriated neighbors, earsplitting construction noise, endless dust, dirt, fumes, etc.). And, as a result, my diet wasn’t as “clean” as it normally is. A little more wine, some foods containing gluten and, generally speaking, a higher carbohydrate count were some of the highlights or lowlights of this recent period. Consequently, I began to notice an “angry” rash on my neck. It was inflamed, itchy, red and began to spread to my arms, chest and face. The severity of the rash worsened by the day. The next several weeks were downright miserable.
Tags: Eczema, Skin Care, Tea Tree Oil
Posted in Alternative Therapies, Detoxification, Mental Health | 7 Comments
It’s relatively easy to recognize when you’re not getting enough exercise, nutrition or sleep. In the case of exercise and sleep, deficiency symptoms are usually subjective – fatigue, mood changes, shortness of breath, etc. A lack of nutrients sometimes presents itself physically, but can also be detected and/or verified with the assistance of diagnostic tests. On the other hand, social connectedness, an equally important aspect of wellness, is often overlooked. And, ironically, it may be one of the most common deficiency states affecting mankind in the 21st century.
Tags: Brain, Meditation, Pain
Posted in Alternative Therapies, Heart Health, Mental Health | No Comments;
In a recent interview with AARP (The American Association of Retired Persons), Linda Ronstadt, a 67 year old, multi-platinum singer who’s earned 11 Grammy Awards, revealed that she’s been diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease (PD). Because of her illness, she’s now unable to sing and has effectively retired. In the past, other celebrities including Muhammed Ali, internationally acclaimed activist and boxer, and Michael J. Fox, one of the top grossing actors of all time, have also gone public with their Parkinson’s diagnosis in an effort to raise awareness and money for research to improve the care for those living with this life altering disease.
Tags: Balance, CoQ10, Dance
Posted in Alternative Therapies, Exercise, Mental Health | No Comments;
As a proponent of evidence-based natural medicine, I encourage supplement manufacturers to incorporate the scientific process in their philosophies. More often than not, this falls on deaf ears primarily due to financial considerations. Specifically, the resistance to testing natural products has to do with the cost of conducting trials and the ramifications if the test results prove disappointing. But, every once in a while, a manufacturer will take the necessary steps to establish the relative efficacy and safety of their product. Relora, an herbal supplement used to address stress related symptoms, falls into the latter category.
Tags: Anxiety, Depression, Stress
Posted in Alternative Therapies, Mental Health, Nutritional Supplements | 2 Comments
Just about everyone can relate to this scenario: You’re at a family gathering, a party or work and you experience one form or another of rejection. For many, the first instinct is to retreat from the situation i.e. leave as quickly as possible. But, a recent study published in the journal Psychoneuroendocrinology suggests you’d be better off taking an entirely different tack. Namely, you may be able to improve your mood almost instantaneously if you stick around and force yourself to interact and seek support from those around you. However, doing so, may, in fact, require higher levels of oxytocin, a hormone that plays a pivotal role in breastfeeding, childbirth and many expressions of social connectedness.
Tags: Cortisol, Pets, Yoga
Posted in Alternative Therapies, General Health, Mental Health | 6 Comments
Cheerio! I’m back in jolly old England to share some of the local healing tradition. The inspiration for today’s column comes courtesy of the Royal London Hospital for Integrated Medicine (RLHIM). There, patients are offered the best of both complementary and conventional care in an outpatient setting. The RLHIM administers an impressive array of holistic healing modalities including aromatherapy, homeopathy and reflexology. Also popular at this healing institution is a form of bodywork known as craniosacral therapy or CST.
Tags: Anxiety, asthma, Fibromyalgia
Posted in Alternative Therapies, Mental Health, Women's Health | 7 Comments
The terms “daytime sleepiness” and “mental exhaustion” creep into the lives of many people. In some instances, the cause stems from physical influences such as anemia, inadequate nutrition or sleep and, occasionally, hypothyroidism. Likewise, numerous psychological issues and stressors can drain ones energy. The first step in addressing fatigue of any kind is to try to establish the origin with the assistance of a medical professional. However, if no organic or psychological cause is apparent, natural remedies may help get you “over the hump”.
Tags: Aromatherapy, Fatigue, Peppermint
Posted in Alternative Therapies, General Health, Mental Health | 4 Comments
A primary tenet of my health care philosophy is that almost any action that improves your well being will likely benefit those around you. But, making inspiring, positive changes in your lifestyle goes far beyond obvious strategies such as changing your diet, exercising regularly and getting enough sleep. Your attitude is at least as important. The trouble is that for many, a change in attitude seems even more formidable than giving up junk food, going to the gym or setting a consistent sleep schedule.
Tags: Fatigue, Pain, Sleep
Posted in Alternative Therapies, General Health, Mental Health | 2 Comments
In my final column about Natural Products Expo West 2013, I’m going to focus on three unconventional items that may improve the quality of many lives. But, you might be surprised to learn that the products in question consist of a butter substitute, coffee for those with digestive issues and lavender oil that’s taken orally. On the surface, health conscious consumers understand that many buttery spreads contain unhealthy ingredients such as hydrogenated oils. Coffee is frequently regarded as a “no no” for anyone living with GERD or irritable bowel syndrome. And, while lavender oil is perhaps the most popular aromatherapy ingredient, it’s typically not intended for internal use.
Tags: Anxiety, Coffee, GERD
Posted in Alternative Therapies, Food and Drink, Mental Health | 5 Comments
The clients I work with subscribe to a wide range of views about alternative and complementary medicine. Some are receptive to trying virtually any evidence-based modality I suggest. For them, I’ll sometimes recommend practices as diverse and unconventional as reflexology, Senobi breathing and Tai Chi. Other clients are more comfortable utilizing therapies that are generally accepted in the conventional model of modern health care. Progressive muscle relaxation, structured exercise routines and therapeutic diets fall into this category.
Tags: Anxiety, Depression, Insomnia
Posted in Alternative Therapies, Diet and Weight Loss, Mental Health | No Comments;
The ancient practice of yoga in its many incarnations is more popular than ever before. But, based on my informal assessment, it appears that there is a widespread perception that yoga is primarily useful for issues pertaining to mental health. And, while it’s true that yoga often promotes a more positive psychological outlook and clearer cognitive functioning, there’s much more to it. Lately, a series of well designed, clinical studies have illustrated the emerging role of yoga in addressing physical ailments and complaints as well.
Tags: Arthritis, Fatigue, Sleep
Posted in Alternative Therapies, Bone and Joint Health, Heart Health, Mental Health | No Comments;
Who are the healers of our day and time? In many countries, an image of physicians wearing white lab coats comes to mind. But, I’m here to tell you that if you’re exclusively counting on medical doctors and pharmacists to maintain your good health, you’re at a very big disadvantage. Optimally, healing and the promotion of wellness requires a much broader approach. From my vantage point, the person you see every time you look in the mirror is by far the most important contributor to your health status. But, eating right, exercising and managing stress is far from enough. While important, there’s more that you can and should be doing for yourself and those around you in the healing arena.
Tags: aging, Memory, Pain
Posted in Alternative Therapies, Heart Health, Mental Health | 2 Comments