Posts Tagged ‘Stress’
The union of science and traditional medicine is a tricky business. The scientific method of identifying and objectively testing elements in food, medicinal plants and the environment is relatively new to the human experience. In generations past, observation and trial-and-error sufficed, and it still does for some populations and the majority of animals. Experiences are handed down from elders to the young and from non-scholastic healers to their communities. In some cases, advocates choose one of these philosophies over the other. But, increasingly, a middle ground is something both camps acknowledge may be the best of both worlds.
Tags: Ashwagandha, Cortisol, Stress
Posted in Diabetes, Diet and Weight Loss, Nutritional Supplements | 4 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 | 8 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
Chicken broth has long been considered a healing and nurturing food in many cultures throughout the world. But, as with many traditionally revered foods, scientists rarely devote much time investigating the medicinal or therapeutic potential of such “old wives’ remedies”. Thankfully, an exception to this rule can be found in China, Japan and Malaysia. There, a variation of chicken broth known as chicken essence has been subjected to numerous animal, human and test tube studies.
Tags: Chicken, Fatigue, Stress
Posted in Alternative Therapies, Food and Drink, Nutrition | 5 Comments & Updates
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.
Tags: Anxiety, Liver, Stress
Posted in Alternative Therapies, Mental Health, Nutritional Supplements | 4 Comments & Updates
Happiness seems like it has little to do with the modern health care system. But, in medicine, as in life, appearances can be deceiving. Statistics reveal that people who have a positive outlook are more likely to be in better physical health. Now, some theorize that happy people are healthier because they take better care of themselves. Simply put, they have more of a reason to want to live longer. There’s certainly some truth to that assertion. However, recent developments in the field of psychology explain that the link between contentment and wellness may very well be a two way street.
Tags: Heart Health, Kidney Health, Stress
Posted in Alternative Therapies, General Health, Mental Health | 1 Comment
It’s a little known fact that Korea is at the forefront of research pertaining to laughter therapy and health promotion. In the first half of 2011 alone, three Korean studies were published which evaluated the impact of structured laughter programs on parameters of mental and physical wellness. All of the trials lasted between 2 to 4 weeks and employed twice-weekly, 60 minute laughter therapy sessions. The participants of the various studies included breast cancer survivors, postpartum mothers and seniors living in retirement homes. The results indicate positive outcomes in each of the disparate populations. The cancer survivors reported an improvement in quality of life and resilience. The postpartum mothers demonstrated a decline in fatigue and stress hormone levels. Finally, the “community-dwelling elderly” volunteers exhibited “positive effects on depression, insomnia, and sleep quality”.
Tags: Fatigue, Laughter, Stress
Posted in Alternative Therapies, Mental Health, Women's Health | 13 Comments & Updates
One of the more appealing aspects of holistic medicine is that it affords many choices for health care consumers. For example, if you’re consistently stressed out, you can opt for natural treatments ranging from aromatherapy to visualization. If chronic pain is your issue, acupuncture or nutritional supplements may alleviate some or all of your discomfort. This is reassuring to know because it allows you to apply your own personal preferences when deciding upon a therapeutic protocol. That alone tips the balance of healing in your favor because it empowers you. Read more »
Tags: Fatigue, Massage, Stress
Posted in Alternative Therapies, Mental Health, Women's Health | 19 Comments & Updates
Vacations are a time to relax, take a much needed break from work and spend some quality time with family, friends and ourselves. But they’re more than just that to medical researchers. Scientists consider vacations fertile ground for documenting the relative merits of being away from the workplace. A new study in the journal Psychology & Health explains that there are certain key elements which help increase the likelihood that a vacation will improve physical (fatigue, “health status”, tension) and psychological (mood, “satisfaction”, tension) parameters. In this current investigation, about 60% of a sample population reported vacation related improvements in health and well being. A more specific assessment of those who didn’t have a positive experience revealed that there were three primary contributors to their reported dissatisfaction: 1) too much time spent on “passive activities”, 2) not enough time engaging in pleasurable activities, 3) the occurrence of negative incidents while on vacation. Since many people are taking time off around this time of year, myself included, I thought this might be something to consider. (1) Read more »
Tags: Fatigue, Stress, Vacation
Posted in Alternative Therapies, General Health, Mental Health | 3 Comments & Updates
Some natural health practices are more difficult for allopathic physicians to accept than others. Take, for instance, herbal extracts. Herbs and prescriptive medications are essentially comprised of one or many chemicals which are responsible for their therapeutic activity. Western medicine is largely based upon this model and quite comfortable with it. So called “energy” therapies such acupuncture, Qi Gong and Reiki are another story. The concept of accessing the power of healing energy simply doesn’t jive with the modern, Western view of medicine.
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Tags: High Blood Pressure, Reiki, Stress
Posted in Alternative Therapies, Heart Health, Mental Health | 8 Comments & Updates
The world is currently suffering from an energy crisis. I’m not talking about the lack of oil reserves or alternative energy sources, but rather the number of coffee shops that have sprouted up everywhere. Don’t get me wrong, I have nothing against a good cup of coffee. In fact, drinking coffee is often a healthful practice. But utilizing a natural stimulant, such as caffeine, isn’t always appropriate or advisable. So what can you do if you frequently find yourself feeling “wiped out”? One option is to consider using an adaptogen.
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Tags: Adaptogen, Fatigue, Stress
Posted in Exercise, Mental Health, Nutritional Supplements | 5 Comments & Updates
There was a time when stress was largely considered a nuisance and little more than that. You just coped with it by blowing off some steam in one way or another. That could mean having a “drink” or five at the end of a hard day. Or maybe your crutch was cigarettes. Judging by the current obesity epidemic, it now seems that junk food has claimed top spot in the comfort providing department. But what’s changed in recent times is the awareness of how stress hormones affect our physiology. It’s not just “all in your head” any longer.
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Tags: Heart Health, Osteoporosis, Stress
Posted in Dental Health, Diabetes, Mental Health | 25 Comments & Updates
This past weekend I was discussing meditation with my dad. For years I’ve been trying to get him to meditate without much success. The thing about my father is that he’s great about taking supplements and pretty on-the-ball about diet and exercise. But when it comes to mind-body practices, I’ve yet to successfully convert him. I hope that today’s column will be the incentive he needs to finally take the leap and begin some form of stress relieving therapy. My wish for today is that you’ll all be able to take something of value from what I write here and apply it to your life. That could mean adopting a meditative practice, eating grass-fed instead of conventional meat or spending a little more time in the kitchen preparing simple recipes that support your health care goals. Read more »
Tags: Grassfed, Spinach, Stress
Posted in Memory, Mental Health, Recipes | 2 Comments & Updates
One of the most valuable tools we all have at our disposal is perspective. But this vision needs to fine tuned in order to support our efforts rather than sabotage them. We’ve all heard variations of the maxim – “Obtaining anything of value requires some effort”. That’s great as far as it goes. However, there’s more to the following equation: good values + hard work = a rewarding life. Read more »
Tags: Meditation, Memory, Stress
Posted in Alternative Therapies, Memory, Mental Health | 24 Comments & Updates
A reader recently inquired about an holistic practice commonly referred to as “earthing” or “grounding”. The question was a like a portal to my past. I was first exposed to the concepts behind this therapy when I studied holistic medicine in Arizona many years ago. In essence, grounding is, supposedly, a therapeutic process by which you connect with the earth. A popular theory behind its reputed healing power is that electrons present in the earth’s surface can be passed on to physical bodies when a person walks barefoot or sleeps on the natural ground. An expert in the field of earthing, Dr. James L. Oschman, describes the exchange in this way, “The most reasonable hypothesis to explain the beneficial effects of earthing is that a direct earth connection enables both diurnal (daily) electrical rhythms and free electrons to flow from the earth to the body”. Hypothesis and proposed mechanisms are helpful as far as they go. But the real question in my mind is whether there’s any serious science that supports these assertions and the many claims made by purveyors of grounding products. Read more »
Tags: Inflammation, Sleep, Stress
Posted in Alternative Therapies, Heart Health, Mental Health | 34 Comments & Updates
The connection between mental health and the condition of the physical body is often neglected in modern medicine. One example is the way conventional doctors generally treat bone loss, otherwise known as osteopenia (minor loss of bone density) and osteoporosis (significant loss of bone mineralization). The typical advice given is to take the “recommended daily allowance (RDA)” of supplemental calcium and Vitamin D, hormone replacement therapy and a select group of medications that attempt to “harden” the bones. But one suggestion that I’ve never heard from an allopathic physician is to practice stress management as a way of protecting the skeletal system. Read more »
Tags: Calcium, Osteoporosis, Stress
Posted in Alternative Therapies, Bone and Joint Health, Mental Health | 8 Comments & Updates