Although the title of today’s blog includes the word “survival”, I prefer to think of it as a short-list of resources that can help you thrive this holiday season and beyond. It may be a seemingly minor distinction, however I think it speaks to the underlying narrative that many people clutch on to around this time of year. “I can’t stand all the consumerism. That’s not the ‘reason for the season’!”. “I’m so tired of having to go to parties I don’t want to go to. Shopping, wrapping and sending cards…!”. The list of complaints and grievances go on and on. I believe much of the irritation and negativity is strongly influenced by actual and perceived stress and a general sense of overwhelm. It’s understandable. But, more importantly, it’s modifiable.
Tags: Aromatherapy, Breathing, Lavender, Stress
Posted in Alternative Therapies, General Health, Mental Health | 3 Comments & Updates
This marks my fifth and final column about Natural Products Expo West 2015. Today, the products highlighted don’t fall into the expected categories of foods, ingredients or supplements. The way we cook and what we apply to our skin are often neglected aspects of a comprehensive wellness program. These under appreciated factors have a very really impact on our well being whether we consider them or not. Fortunately, some manufacturers recognize the importance of providing simple, yet effective culinary and skin care products that won’t endanger your health. Below, you’ll find some of the best examples of this welcomed trend.
Tags: Coconut, Sinus, Skin Care
Posted in Alternative Therapies, General Health, Product Reviews | 3 Comments & Updates
One of the ongoing controversies in the field of integrative medicine is the role of patented nutraceuticals. Conventional minerals and vitamins are sold by many different companies. Often times, there are distinctions in the dosages and forms of the nutrients, but apart from that, they are consistent from brand to brand. However, certain manufacturers develop products that are conceived and tested independently. They’re subsequently patented in order to protect the proprietary end result. The beneficial aspect of this process is that many of these nutraceuticals have been subjected to controlled studies that assess their efficacy and safety. The downside of patented supplements is the price tag, which is almost always significantly costlier than generic counterparts.
Tags: Cold, Flu, Immune
Posted in Alternative Therapies, General Health, Nutritional Supplements | 10 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
The terms “daytime sleepiness” and “mental exhaustion” creep into the lives of many people. In some instances, the cause stems from physical influences such as anemia, inadequate nutrition or sleep and, occasionally, hypothyroidism. Likewise, numerous psychological issues and stressors can drain ones energy. The first step in addressing fatigue of any kind is to try to establish the origin with the assistance of a medical professional. However, if no organic or psychological cause is apparent, natural remedies may help get you “over the hump”.
Tags: Aromatherapy, Fatigue, Peppermint
Posted in Alternative Therapies, General Health, Mental Health | 9 Comments & Updates
A primary tenet of my health care philosophy is that almost any action that improves your well being will likely benefit those around you. But, making inspiring, positive changes in your lifestyle goes far beyond obvious strategies such as changing your diet, exercising regularly and getting enough sleep. Your attitude is at least as important. The trouble is that for many, a change in attitude seems even more formidable than giving up junk food, going to the gym or setting a consistent sleep schedule.
Tags: Fatigue, Pain, Sleep
Posted in Alternative Therapies, General Health, Mental Health | 14 Comments & Updates
If you’ve been following the news this past week, you probably came across the latest warning issued by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Apparently, there’s a new strain of the norovirus (or Norwalk virus) that has recently been causing digestive havoc in Australia, Japan and Western Europe. And, now, this so-called GII 4 Sydney strain of the norovirus is making a new home in the United States. Given this, you might be wondering if there’s anything in the natural health sector that can help protect you and yours from this highly contagious viral offender.
Tags: Cranberries, Grapes, Pomegranate
Posted in Alternative Therapies, Food and Drink, General Health | 2 Comments & Updates
Flu season is in full swing once again. This past week, the nightly news has been inundated with stories warning of a particularly troublesome flu pattern that’s currently in effect and expected to continue in the days, weeks and months to come. The advice from many conventional doctors is to get vaccinated immediately and to seek medical assistance at the first sign of the flu. The latter suggestion typically involves the use of antiviral medications such as Relenza and Tamiflu. Alternative and complementary physicians often take a more holistic approach advocating such practices as supplementing with immune boosting herbs, mushrooms and nutrients. Dietary changes, including a reduction in refined carbohydrates and daily consumption of green tea, are frequently recommended by alt-med practitioners as well.
Tags: Flu, Meditation, Vaccination
Posted in Alternative Therapies, General Health, Mental Health | 5 Comments & Updates
On a daily basis, headlines appear on your computer screen, radio and television that may lead you to question almost everything you think you know about how to stay well. The latest and most provocative example is a news item that puts into question the value of consuming organic foods. Conventional media outlets, including Reuters, have posted pieces with definitive sounding titles such as, “Organic Food No More Nutritious Than Non-Organic”. However, a closer look at the source data and current studies appearing in the scientific literature suggest that there’s more to the story than just this sort of headline.
Tags: Antibiotics, Antioxidants, Organic
Posted in Food and Drink, General Health, Nutrition | 4 Comments & Updates
The last thing you want to contend with while on a business trip or vacation is TD or traveler’s diarrhea. And, while many people assume TD only affects those visiting exotic or remote locales, I can assure you this isn’t always the case. In fact, I was quite surprised to find that my digestive system was in a bad way for about a week following a recent trip to New York. There, we stayed at a pretty high end hotel and ate mostly at top-notch restaurants. Nevertheless, some troublemaking bacteria, protozoa or virus temporarily camped out in my body and made me quite miserable in the process.
Tags: Antibiotics, Probiotics, Thyme
Posted in Alternative Therapies, General Health, Nutritional Supplements | 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 | 13 Comments & Updates
Nothing says ‘summer’ quite like lounging around the pool in a swimsuit and flip flops. But, if you’re one of the millions of people with toenail fungus, wearing sandals may be something you dread. Fungal infections of the toenail (onychomycosis) affect an estimated 6 to 8% of the adult population. And, although they rarely present a serious health risk, it’s still an unsightly reminder that an infection has taken hold. Worse still, conventional treatments for this largely cosmetic condition often carry the risk of serious side effects including liver damage. Thankfully, both allopathic and alternative healers have some non-pharamacological options worth considering.
Tags: Grapefruit, Propolis, Tea Tree Oil
Posted in Alternative Therapies, Detoxification, General Health | 4 Comments & Updates
The Internet has opened up a world of scientific information previously inaccessible to most people. I frequently pour through dozens upon dozens of medical journals that I couldn’t possibly subscribe to, and would otherwise have to access through an academic library. Quite simply, the Internet makes the consulting and written work I do much, much easier and efficient. However, the vast stores of information currently available on the ‘net’ isn’t always reputable. The combination of easy, free access and sometimes sensational information is often the basis for the modern myths that are widely spread today. One of the more popular urban tales has to do with the implications of cooking using a microwave oven.
Tags: Broccoli, Salmon, Vitamin C
Posted in Food and Drink, General Health, Nutrition | 6 Comments & Updates