Posts Tagged ‘Depression’

Prescription 2014: Cognitive Bias Modification

June 23, 2014 Written by JP

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.

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Posted in Alternative Therapies, Mental Health | No Comments;

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

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;

Integrative Acupuncture

June 22, 2012 Written by JP

Acupuncture is a healing modality that has the potential to further the cause of integrative medicine, a form of care that combines alternative/complementary practices with allopathic or conventional treatment. For one thing, there’s an enormous amount of scientific research that has been and is being conducted on acupuncture. In addition, acupuncture is widely accepted as very safe and unlikely to conflict with allopathic treatment when applied by a knowledgeable practitioner. Finally, acupuncture is rarely advocated as a sole therapeutic option. Medications, physical therapy and even surgery can be used as adjuncts. All of these points tend to facilitate a greatly likelihood of acceptance and/or cooperation among physicians who aren’t generally holistically minded.

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Posted in Alternative Therapies, Heart Health, Mental Health | 5 Comments

Caffeine Brain

April 18, 2012 Written by JP

For the next few moments, I’d like you to conjure up an image of what you think caffeine does to the brain. Did you come up with negative or positive imagery? When I think of caffeinated beverages such as coffee, hot cocoa or tea, I associate them with the promotion of brain health. I know this goes against the common stereotype of caffeine as overly stimulating. However, modern science is starting to show a consistently positive trend in trials investigating the role of caffeine consumption and neuroprotection.

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Posted in Food and Drink, Memory, Mental Health | 12 Comments

Senobi Breathing Exercise

December 14, 2011 Written by JP

Changes in breathing patterns and muscle tension are two of the more obvious physical responses to stress. Therefore, it should come as no surprise that mindful breathing and stretching are two of the best ways of counteracting the impact of anxious feelings. Several recent studies confirm this truism. But, the breadth of health benefits imparted by breathing exercises and stretching go much further than you might imagine.

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Posted in Alternative Therapies, Exercise, Mental Health | 12 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

Feel Better Now!

October 31, 2011 Written by JP

Effective and safe solutions to chronic health conditions are frequently sought after, but hard to come by. On a recent fact finding mission, I uncovered five natural options that fit this description. If you or anyone you know is living with lower back pain, depression, menopausal symptoms, post-traumatic stress disorder or work related “burnout”, take special notice of the following research.

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Posted in Alternative Therapies, Mental Health, Women's Health | 4 Comments

Chewing Gum News You Can Use

October 26, 2011 Written by JP

Television commercials advertising chewing gum tend to focus on superficial reasons to use their products. Often times, flavor is the central selling point. Fresher breath is frequently cited as part of the sales pitch as well. Lately, other novel marketing strategies such as multiple flavors per pack and unexpected flavors such as apple pie, mint-chip and piƱa colada have re-energized this rapidly growing segment of the candy marketplace. However, what is rarely mentioned in discussions about chewing gum is its potential to promote improved dental and mental health. That is, if you select natural, sugar-free gums that contain therapeutic ingredients.

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Posted in Alternative Therapies, Dental Health, Mental Health | 4 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

Depression Inflammation Link

September 30, 2011 Written by JP

There are a great many diseases and disorders that come mind when pondering the topic of inflammation. Typically, depression isn’t included in that rather lengthy list. A new review compiled by researchers from the Emory University School of Medicine postulates that there’s reasonable cause to do so. The authors of the paper note that “individuals with major depressive disorder (MDD) demonstrate increased levels of a variety of peripheral inflammatory biomarkers”. If this emerging theory is justified, how can patients and physicians use this information to help alleviate poor mood states? One of the most promising, natural candidates is fish oil. The omega-3 fatty acids in fish, namely DHA and EPA, are known to decrease pro-inflammatory cytokines present in a variety of diseases, including arthritis. What’s more, reducing inflammation via fish oil supplementation has recently been shown to blunt stress-induced anxiety. But, supplementing with just any fish oil may not be the optimal approach. A recent meta-analysis in the Journal of Clinical Psychiatry recommends looking for omega-3 supplements that contain a minimum of 60% EPA (eicosapentaenoic acid). A daily dosage of up to 2,200 mg of EPA daily is also singled out as important. A separate review from August 2011 revealed similar findings with respect to fish oil therapy in those with bipolar disorder or manic depression. This is not to say that DHA or docosahexaenoic acid is not significant or valuable in it’s own right. For instance, a current study appearing in the British Journal of Nutrition cites that while EPA-rich fish oil was more effective at reducing depressive symptoms, DHA-rich fish oil alone improved cognitive performance (verbal fluency) and “self-reported physical health” in a group of seniors. Even with all of this encouraging scientific data, it still may be too soon for many conventional psychiatrists to recommend EPA to depressed patients. However, because of fish oil’s other health benefits and relative safety, I would argue that it’s worth considering prior to any future mainstream consensus.

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Posted in Alternative Therapies, Mental Health, Nutritional Supplements | 3 Comments

Best of NAC for Mental Health

February 17, 2011 Written by JP

A common theme found in naturopathic medicine is that a substance used for one purpose often ends up benefiting other seemingly unrelated conditions. When this occurs, scientists generally scramble to determine how in the world such a turn of events is even possible. There’s certainly a great deal of value in identifying the underlying mechanisms by which a “medicine” works. But if the body is viewed as a whole, rather than in isolated parts, then the concept of broad spectrum healing tends to make more sense. One example is a rather obscure supplement that reduces the ill effects of oxidants in the body while also promoting a healthier environment in the brain.
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Posted in Alternative Therapies, Mental Health, Nutritional Supplements | 2 Comments

Best of Music Therapy

February 10, 2011 Written by JP

Just because something seems simple doesn’t necessarily make it so. This is a stumbling block that I often see conventional scientists run into when discussing alternative or complementary therapies. How can everyday food possibly be as effective as a medication that’s taken millions of dollars and countless MDs and PhDs to create? Laughter is an enjoyable activity, but it can’t possibly improve cardiovascular health or survival in cancer patients. The very notion that supposedly un-serious activities such as artistic expression, listening to music or practicing generosity and kindness can alter one’s physiology is a difficult pill to swallow for many allopathically minded researchers.
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Posted in Alternative Therapies, Mental Health, Women's Health | 7 Comments

Best of Fishy Medicine

February 9, 2011 Written by JP

The way you perceive things can dramatically influence the results you find. I think many people accept this concept as true to some extent. But how many of us actually keep this philosophy in mind when applying it in practical terms? For example – when psychiatrists throughout the world prescribe a medication for ADHD (Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder) or clinical depression, most patients are inclined to believe that it will relieve their symptoms. However, would the same mindset hold true if a physician “prescribed” eating more fish or supplementing with fish oil for the same conditions? Setting aside the relative efficacy of the respective treatments, it’s important to understand that the way you think about any given therapy is likely to affect the outcome – for better or for worse.
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Posted in Children's Health, Detoxification, Mental Health | 3 Comments

Vitamin B12 News

January 26, 2011 Written by JP

In years past, nutritionally oriented physicians would often administer Vitamin B12 injections to patients with fatigue of unknown origin. There were spoken and unspoken justifications for doing so. The official use of intramuscular B12 was to address an underlying deficiency which could manifest itself as a number of symptoms associated with poor vitality: cognitive impairment, lack of energy, mood changes and sensory disturbances. The unofficial reason for providing B12 during office visits is that it serves as an excellent placebo. For one thing, it’s a rather dramatic procedure. Having a bright red liquid pumped into your bloodstream by a doctor or nurse gets your attention! In addition, it’s well established that B12 is relatively non-toxic even when given in therapeutic dosages. (1,2,3,4,5)
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Posted in Alternative Therapies, Mental Health, Nutritional Supplements | 7 Comments

Positive Interactions: St. John’s Wort

January 7, 2011 Written by JP

Interactions between medications and nutritional supplements is a frequently cited concern by many health authorities and rightfully so. Part of the earnest trepidation has to do with the unknown effects that may occur when combining various foods, herbs, over-the-counter drugs and the like. The bottom line is that there are so many variables that it’s nearly impossible to predict exactly what will happen in such circumstances. Furthermore, the same holds true for patients who are taking multiple medications at the same time. There simply isn’t a viable way to conduct clinical trials to study every conceivable combination given to patients. But something that’s often lost in the mix is that interactions can also produce positive effects as well. Read more »


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Posted in Alternative Therapies, Mental Health, Nutritional Supplements | 8 Comments