Posts Tagged ‘Anxiety’

Relora Product Review

August 9, 2013 Written by JP

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.

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Posted in Alternative Therapies, Mental Health, Nutritional Supplements | 2 Comments

Craniosacral Therapy Research

June 2, 2013 Written by JP

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.

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Posted in Alternative Therapies, Mental Health, Women's Health | 7 Comments

Natural Products Expo West Part Three

April 5, 2013 Written by JP

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.

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Posted in Alternative Therapies, Food and Drink, Mental Health | 5 Comments

Cognitive Behavioral Therapy

March 12, 2013 Written by JP

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.

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Posted in Alternative Therapies, Diet and Weight Loss, Mental Health | No Comments;

Kava for Anxiety

February 6, 2013 Written by JP

In the healthcare field, there is a myth known as the “magic bullet”. Essentially, it is the holy grail of all therapies, one that heals a disease or relieves symptoms without producing any adverse reactions. Both alternative and conventional therapies have been assigned this designation throughout the years. In the mid-1990′s, an extract from the root of the kava plant (Piper methysticum) was widely considered a magic bullet for mild-to-moderate anxiety. However, as the popularity of kava increased, so did the occasional reports of serious, liver related side effects. And, while these incidents appeared to be very rare, and were often disputed, the perceived threat was great enough for certain countries (Canada, England, Germany, etc.) to call for the removal dietary supplements containing kava from the market. Interestingly enough, the United States did not require that kava be removed from store shelves. However, the FDA demanded that all kava extracts sold in the US carry a warning about the possible liver risk associated with regular kava use. To this day, these very same warnings are carried on the labels of kava products currently available in the United States.

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Posted in Alternative Therapies, Mental Health, Nutritional Supplements | 2 Comments

Thought Field Therapy

December 5, 2012 Written by JP

Thought Field Therapy (TFT) is an inexpensive and rapid treatment used to address psychological challenges such as anxiety, phobias and post traumatic stress. The practice of TFT involves tapping oneself with your fingers, on select acupuncture points, while recalling traumatic experiences. According to TFT proponents, doing so releases negative emotions or perturbations in the bioenergic or thought field, thereby decreasing or resolving psychological symptoms.

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Posted in Alternative Therapies, Detoxification, Mental Health | No Comments;

Classical Music Brain

November 14, 2012 Written by JP

Dr. Abraham Maslow, the famous and influential psychologist, once quipped: “If you only have a hammer, you tend to see every problem as a nail”. If you go to see a doctor or health coach that has a particular specialty, they’ll usually make recommendations based on their personal training. And, if their “prescriptions”, whether allopathic or holistic, aren’t effective, the client or patient is left without a solution unless he sees another expert who offers a different perspective. Some of the people who don’t find solutions to their health concerns end up seeking out alternatives from consultants like me. Recently, a client in his late 70′s contacted me about natural methods of improving cognition and nervousness. But, as is often the case, this gentleman was already taking many positive steps to address his concerns – a reasonably healthy diet, adequate sleep, exercise, supplements, etc. Also, I was made aware that he wasn’t keen on the idea of daily meditation. He had tried it many times before and simply couldn’t or wouldn’t stick with it.

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Posted in Alternative Therapies, Memory, Mental Health | 2 Comments

Orange Oil Relaxation

August 13, 2012 Written by JP

Today I’d like to tell a tale of two oranges. Citrus sinensis, the more popular of the two, is known as “sweet orange”. The lesser known Citrus aurantium is referred to as bergamot or “bitter orange”. Although bitterness and sweetness are typically thought of as polar opposites, both of these citrus fruits have found common ground in the field of natural medicine. Over the past several years, C. aurantium and C. sinensis have been analyzed as potentially beneficial aromatherapeutic agents. In particular, scientists are investigating whether the inhalation of bitter and sweet orange oil aroma may curb anxious feelings.

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Posted in Alternative Therapies, Dental Health, Mental Health | No Comments;

Lavender Science

July 13, 2012 Written by JP

For many scientists, it’s hard to imagine that something as inexpensive, pleasing and simple to use as lavender oil can have a profound influence on emotional states, sleep quality and well being. On the other hand, consumers from around the world have made lavender oil a top selling aromatherapeutic aid. Anecdotal accounts of success and recommendations from family and friends are the primary reasons why lavender remains a strong seller among those in need of a calmer state of mind and relief from insomnia. In recent months, several studies have been published which help bridge the gap between lavender-believers and lavender-skeptics.

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Posted in Alternative Therapies, Bone and Joint Health, Mental Health | No Comments;

Natural Sleep Solutions

March 5, 2012 Written by JP

According to a recent review in the journal The Lancet, disturbed sleep and insomnia affect upwards of 25% of the adult population. Not only does this impact quality of life, but it also predisposes those with sleep disorders to a much higher risk of numerous diseases including depression, diabetes and heart failure. In addition, insomnia contributes to “substantial economic and societal burden through poor productivity, absence from work, and high health-care costs”. The problem is increasingly evident. However, the solution is much more nebulous if you judge by the difficulty that many people find when searching for an effective and safe solution.

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Posted in Alternative Therapies, Mental Health, Nutritional Supplements | 5 Comments

Relax Naturally

January 9, 2012 Written by JP

It’s ironic, but the concept of holistic wellness isn’t always popular with some of my clients. Not everyone is interested in learning the root causes of their conditions or “dis-eases” and/or taking the necessary steps to address them through meaningful lifestyle changes. Recently, a client wanted to know what simple steps he could take to help him through a particularly stressful time at work. Options such as aerobic exercise, dietary adjustments and yoga were summarily dismissed by this “Type-A” personality due to time constraints. What to do?

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Posted in Alternative Therapies, Mental Health, Nutritional Supplements | 5 Comments

SAM-e for Depression

November 23, 2011 Written by JP

S-adenosylmethionine or SAM-e, a natural antidepressant, has been in the news lately thanks to Dr. Andrew Weil. In Dr. Weil’s new book, Spontaneous Happiness, he recommends SAM-e for prompt relief of low mood states that don’t respond to other dietary and lifestyle modifications. A review in the June 2011 issue of the journal Canadian Family Physician also presents a largely optimistic view of this nutritional supplement. In the summary, the primary criticism of SAM-e is how much it costs. In order to reach a therapeutic dosage, the author of the piece estimates a monthly expense of $80 – an amount that likely won’t be covered by most insurance plans. In reality, savvy online shoppers can find even lower prices in the $60/month neighborhood.

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Posted in Alternative Therapies, Mental Health, Nutritional Supplements | 7 Comments

Holy Basil Research

October 21, 2011 Written by JP

A review in the December 2009 edition of the Indian Journal of Physiology and Pharmacology describes Tulsi or holy basil as a traditional herbal remedy with a promising track record in animal and in-vitro studies. The authors of the analysis report numerous medicinal properties including anti-inflammatory, immunomodulatory and neuro-protective effects as exhibited in preliminary experiments. The one criticism laid out in the paper is the paucity of data stemming from trials involving human subjects. In the months and years since the review, several human studies have quietly been published in the medical literature.

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Posted in Diabetes, Mental Health, Nutritional Supplements | 4 Comments

Lemon Balm Tea

July 27, 2011 Written by JP

We’re all familiar with medical first aid kits. But, have you ever considered putting together a mental health first aid kit? It might contain a reminder to breathe deeply, a small bottle of lavender essential oil and, perhaps, even an inspirational quotation or two. Herbal teas could also be included. A few that immediately come to mind are chamomile, kava and passion flower teas. Lemon balm (Melissa officinalis), a citrus scented member of the mint family, is rarely included in the top tier of calming natural remedies. This is a shame because modern science and traditional use indicate that it can be a valuable resource for a variety of mental woes. Read more »


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Posted in Food and Drink, Mental Health, Nutritional Supplements | No Comments;

Breast Cancer Decisions

June 10, 2011 Written by JP

Being informed can minimize the understandable fear associated with a diagnosis of breast cancer. The right information takes you from a place of perceived powerlessness and the unknown to a state where you can make conscious decisions and actively participate in your own healing. This process can be facilitated in a profound way by doctors and nurses who embrace this philosophy and remain open-minded to the use of alternative and complementary approaches. Read more »


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Posted in Alternative Therapies, Mental Health, Women's Health | 2 Comments

Post Traumatic Stress Disorder Alternatives

March 7, 2011 Written by JP

Most people have endured one or more serious traumas in their lives. However, the extent of suffering and the exact definition placed on the word “trauma” vary greatly. What’s more, for reasons that aren’t entirely clear, certain individuals are more susceptible to the serious, long term consequences of trauma than others. Some survivors of abuse, assault, natural disasters and war develop a form of anxiety known as PTSD or post traumatic stress disorder. Symptoms of PTSD include emotional detachment, flashback episodes, memory loss, physical pain, recurrent nightmares, sleep disturbance and social withdrawal. Fortunately, some scientists are examining and finding success by utilizing select natural therapies in those living with traumatic memories.
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Posted in Alternative Therapies, Mental Health, Nutritional Supplements | 5 Comments