Posts Tagged ‘Yoga’
Obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) is a relatively common condition which involves cyclical and unreasonable thoughts. Those living with OCD often engage in rituals to calm their exaggerated or unfounded compulsions and fears. The severity of OCD varies among individuals. For some, it manifests in rather innocuous ways such as the avoidance of specific clothing, foods or locations. On the other end of the spectrum, certain people find that OCD can be quite debilitating. A prevalent example is an excessive desire for cleanliness and/or fear of germs. In the most severe cases, the entire course of one’s life can be dictated by an insatiable “need” to follow certain rules in order to create the impression of control and order.
Tags: EMDR, MIndfulness, Yoga
Posted in Alternative Therapies, Exercise, Mental Health | 4 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 | 6 Comments & Updates
The consistent, rhythmic beating of the heart is something most of us take for granted. This is not a criticism or judgement. It makes perfect sense that we expect our hearts to keep pumping blood in much the same way as we predict our lungs will help us breathe day in and day out. Likewise, hair and nails grow without any consideration. Even muscles move without any meaningful cognitive incentive. It’s the body’s job to function in a predictable manner and it usually does. That is, until it doesn’t. Atrial fibrillation is just such an example, where the heart decides to occasionally beat to the rhythm of a different drummer.
Tags: Atrial Fibrillation, CoQ10, Yoga
Posted in Alternative Therapies, Heart Health, Nutrition | 13 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 | 17 Comments & Updates
Recently, a client inquired about the use of DHEA supplements as a means of counteracting male aging. Before I address that specific question, here’s a brief primer on DHEA. Dehydroepidandrosterone (DHEA) is an adrenal hormone which is considered “a reliable endocrine marker of aging because in humans and nonhumnan primates its circulating concentrations are very high during young adulthood, and the concentrations then decline markedly during aging”. This is of consequence because circulating DHEA is documented as having anti-diabetic, anti-obesity, cardioprotective and immune enhancing activity. However, controlled studies evaluating the efficacy and safety of DHEA supplementation have demonstrated inconsistent and mixed results. This begs the question: Is there a good reason to attempt to manipulate the predictable decline in DHEA in aging men?
Tags: Exercise, Meditation, Yoga
Posted in Alternative Therapies, Men's Health, Women's Health | 7 Comments & Updates
Yearly, almost 800,000 adults in the United States will suffer a stroke. Of those, approximately 77% will be first time strokes. The remainder are classified as recurrent attacks. While sobering, there is also some optimistic news to report on the stroke front. Between the years of 1999 and 2009, incidents of stroke have declined by 33%. According to the American Heart Association, this improvement is largely attributable to better management of blood pressure, diabetes and other modifiable risk factors, including smoking cessation and weight management. In addition, dietary changes can also play a valuable role in preventing so-called “brain attacks”. In a previous column, I offered my own dietary prescription for a “Stroke Protection Diet”.
Tags: Acupuncture, Yoga, Zinc
Posted in Alternative Therapies, Heart Health, Nutrition | 11 Comments & Updates
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 | 8 Comments & Updates
In recent years, scientists from esteemed institutes of learning have identified an apparent link between an optimistic mindset and physical wellness. The latest entry into this topic comes from the Harvard School of Public Health. An analysis of nearly 1,000 middle-aged men and women determined that higher levels of self-reported optimism were associated with greater concentrations of serum antioxidants (carotenoids). The reason is likely due to a bidirectional effect in which “optimists are likely to engage in health behaviors associated with more serum antioxidants, and more serum antioxidants are likely associated with better physical health that enhances optimism”. This newly observed antioxidant effect may also, in part, explain why greater optimism has been continually linked to a lower risk of cardiac events and strokes.
Tags: Antioxidants, Heart Health, Yoga
Posted in Alternative Therapies, Exercise, Mental Health | 1 Comment
I’m starting a new holiday tradition this year. Instead of only buying material gifts for family and friends, I’m also going to give myself the gift of better mental (and physical) health. In my case, this will involve more consistent exercise, daily meditation and positive affirmations. The best thing about this gift to myself is that it will likely benefit many of those around me. I’ll be calmer, yet more energetic and mindful in my actions and reactions. I believe that’s the best kind of gift – one that extends beyond oneself.
Tags: Laughter, Meditation, Yoga
Posted in Alternative Therapies, Heart Health, Mental Health | No Comments;
The topic of conventional chemotherapy is quite controversial in the natural health community. And, there’s certainly a time and place for people of goodwill to debate the pros and cons of this prevalent form of cancer treatment. However, once the decision has been made to utilize chemotherapy, the goal should then shift to finding safe ways of improving the efficacy and tolerability of this widely used procedure.
Tags: Cancer, Chemotherapy, Yoga
Posted in Alternative Therapies, Exercise, Mental Health | 8 Comments & Updates
A reader recently asked if there were any natural ways to increase melatonin production without resorting to supplements. I replied that the best way to encourage nighttime melatonin release is to minimize light exposure close to bedtime. I went on to explain that certain foods such as cherries, grapes and walnuts also contain naturally occurring melatonin and may, therefore, make good, late night snacks.
Tags: Meditation, Sleep, Yoga
Posted in Alternative Therapies, General Health, Mental Health | 10 Comments & Updates
One principle of integrative and naturopathic medicine is that every client, patient and student is a unique individual with different desires, needs and points of view. In my line of work, this sometimes presents itself in the form of a client who is seeking a specific result but only willing to approach it in a limited way. I’ve learned that the best way to manage this situation, as challenging as it may be, is to find a way to provide truthful information that falls within the parameters of what they are willing to do. By doing so, they often become more receptive to my suggestions down the line. The recent headlines about Zocor, a popular cholesterol medication, provide a good illustration of what I mean.
Read more »
Tags: Cholesterol, Exercise, Yoga
Posted in Alternative Therapies, Heart Health, Mental Health | 3 Comments & Updates
The concept of connectedness is a guiding principle in the holistic management of dis-ease. On an individual basis this may present itself in how symptoms are viewed. For instance, if you have trouble with indigestion, a holistic physician may consider any number of causes including a bacterial infection, how well you chew, psychological stressors and your food selection. In other words, a symptom is viewed within the context of the whole body and, even, your thought processes. From a more global perspective, connectedness extends to how an individual’s well being impacts those around them. Dysmenorrhea is a prime example of how an imbalance in the body and mind can cause discomfort and pain to those directly and indirectly affected by it. Read more »
Tags: Acupressure, Fish Oil, Yoga
Posted in Alternative Therapies, Nutritional Supplements, Women's Health | 17 Comments & Updates
Throughout history there have been many wise and witty sayings about growing older. Here are a few of my favorites: “Age is an issue of mind over matter. If you don’t mind, it doesn’t matter.” Mark Twain; “Life’s tragedy is that we get old too soon and wise too late.” Benjamin Franklin; “The minute a man ceases to grow, no matter what his years, that minute he begins to be old.” William James. Some of the changes that occur with advancing age cannot be avoided entirely. But I believe there’s such a thing as “quality of aging” as well as “quality of life”. What’s more, we can all affect the manner and pace by which our bodies reflect our biological years. Read more »
Tags: Arthritis, Heart Health, Tai Chi, Yoga
Posted in Alternative Therapies, Bone and Joint Health, Memory | 16 Comments & Updates
Alternative and complementary practitioners differ from most conventional physicians in that they tend to take a more global view of wellness. To them, a symptom is just a sign that the body as a whole is out of balance. Therefore, simply prescribing a medication to address a specific symptom doesn’t quite cut it as far as alt-med providers are concerned. They believe that you must consider the totality of what’s going on with the patient. Is diet playing a direct or indirect role in the current circumstances? Are there certain nutritional supplements that may address an underlying deficiency? Could exercise improve the overall function and structure of the patient’s body? Do mind-body or stress management techniques have any role to play in the recovery process? No stone is left unturned and no treatment option is off the table. Read more »
Tags: Probiotics, Soy, Yoga
Posted in Exercise, Memory, Nutritional Supplements | 2 Comments & Updates
Trust but verify. That’s a key principle in both life and medicine. Use the best information possible to guide your decisions and then make sure that the expected outcome actually occurs. In health care, this can be accomplished by being consistent with any new treatment and then following that up with some sort of objective testing method. If you’re going to go to the expense and the effort of making a real change in your life, it’s important to determine whether it’s really effective in your individual circumstance. As a wise man once said, “I am not a statistic”. Read more »
Tags: Hair, Pomegranate, Yoga
Posted in Alternative Therapies, Diabetes, Exercise | 8 Comments & Updates