The importance of gut bacteria has become a red hot topic over the last several years. Best-selling books by the likes of Drs. David Perlmutter (“Brain Maker” ), Gerard Mullin (“The Gut Balance Revolution”) and Raphael Kellman (“The Microbiome Diet”) have ushered in a new era of “probiotic-medicine”. In previous decades, research on gut microbiota primarily focused on bacterial imbalance (aka dysbiosis) and its role in digestive disorders, such as Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis. These days, specialists in the field are closely examining diversity and quantities of gut bacteria in relation to diseases ranging from depression to obesity. However, along with these exciting new findings comes many questions about how to practically manipulate gut microbiota.
Tags: Berries, Prebiotics, Probiotics
Posted in Food and Drink, Mental Health, Nutrition | 8 Comments & Updates
The finest natural therapies combine several important elements. Ideally, they’re free or low in cost and don’t require specialized equipment. They should be evidence-based and easy to perform. And, whenever possible, it helps if a remedy produces results consistently and quickly. A daily hand massage provides all of these attributes and many others.
Tags: Aromatherapy, Massage, Reflexology
Posted in Alternative Therapies, Bone and Joint Health, Mental Health | 4 Comments & Updates
Alcohol abuse is a major health care and societal issue in the United States and around the world. Fortunately, there is greater awareness about alcoholism than ever before. And, consequently, there are now many treatment options available for those who are ready to seek help. But, even willing alcoholics sometimes find that conventional therapies aren’t sufficient to keep them “dry”. That’s where evidence-based, alternative and complementary options can make a big difference.
Tags: Addiction, Alcohol, Kudzu
Posted in Alternative Therapies, Mental Health, Nutritional Supplements | 5 Comments & Updates
Parkinson’s disease (PD) is in the news on a weekly basis. According to the National Parkinson’s Foundation, there are approximately 50,000 to 60,00 new cases of PD diagnosed each year in the US alone. And, currently, it is estimated that up to 6,000,000 adults are living with PD worldwide. Thankfully, a significant amount of research is being directed at finding a cause and successful treatment for Parkinson’s. Still, it’s widely acknowledged that there’s a long way to go before a cure can be claimed.
Tags: Acupuncture, Coffee, Parkinson's Disease
Posted in Alternative Therapies, Exercise, Mental Health | 10 Comments & Updates
Men with erectile dysfunction (ED) have access to several medical options to improve sexual function. Popular medications, including Cialis, Viagra and testosterone replacement top the list of medically-approved, male performance aids. What isn’t discussed as much is that many women also deal with a related condition known as hypoactive sexual desire disorder (HSDD). Obviously, the mechanism involved is somewhat different. Nevertheless, the end result is similar: compromised sexual desire and enjoyment. This may soon change. Flibanserin, a medication intended to treat premenopausal HSDD, is on the brink of FDA approval. If approved, it is likely to become as big a blockbuster as its male counterparts.
Tags: Pilates, Sex, Yoga
Posted in Alternative Therapies, Mental Health, Women's Health | 5 Comments & Updates
I’ve been a long standing admirer of rosemary. Rosmarinus officinalis, an admittedly cool sounding name, is a hardy plant. It thrives in all but the most extreme climates and doesn’t require a lot babysitting. An occasional hosing down or rain shower usually does the trick. That’s why it grows so well in the wild. The scent is pleasant too, but not in an overly floral or cloyingly sweet way. This is more of a rustic, savory member of the herbal community. It’s no accident that it pairs so well with the boldest chicken and meat recipes. But, since this isn’t a culinary or gardening site, I guess I should probably mention that, in addition to all of this, the essential oil of rosemary possesses a multitude of medicinal properties as well!
Tags: Anxiety, Aromatherapy, Rosemary
Posted in Alternative Therapies, Memory, Mental Health | 6 Comments & Updates
The majority of past events, even very painful ones, do not have to cause psychological distress in the present. On a rational level most of us understand this reality. However, sad and/or traumatic memories, whether fresh in history or dating back to childhood, still hold a great deal of power over many people. These hurtful, life-altering experiences often shape personalities and result in long term attempts at exorcising these mental images from the present mind. But, recent findings suggest that an unconventional form of treatment known as eye movement desensitization and reprocessing or EMDR may offer a brief, new alternative for shooing away hurtful recollections.
Tags: EMDR, OCD, PTSD
Posted in Alternative Therapies, Memory, Mental Health | 7 Comments & Updates
One of the joys of my work is being able to share information about little known healing options. My exuberance only increases when the remedies I write about are inexpensive, non-toxic and widely accessible. So today is a very happy day for me! The following is positive research on a humble, traditional remedy that could help me, you and many people we know.
Tags: Cancer, Chemotherapy, Pain
Posted in Alternative Therapies, Heart Health, Mental Health | 5 Comments & Updates
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 | 5 Comments & Updates
“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 | 11 Comments & Updates
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 | 5 Comments & Updates
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 | 1 Comment
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 | 12 Comments & Updates
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 | 5 Comments & Updates
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 | 12 Comments & Updates
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 & Updates