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 | 2 Comments & Updates
Clinical hypnosis is quickly making inroads into the mainstream of medicine. Thankfully, it’s no longer being viewed as the exclusive domain of esoteric healers or second rate magicians. This is due, in large part, to a growing body of scientific trials that have been conducted at prestigious centers of learning throughout the world. The findings of these recent inquiries are beginning to reveal the true potential of this mind-body modality.
Tags: Headache, Hypnosis, IBS
Posted in Alternative Therapies, General Health, Mental Health | 8 Comments & Updates
I recently had the pleasure of visiting a senior community center in Santa Monica, California. While touring the facility, I was impressed by the emphasis placed on volunteering opportunities – from peer counseling to reading programs and even free lunch service. Doing good may be the first thing that comes to mind when you think of giving back to the community. But, the administrators of this senior center are also keenly aware of another benefit of volunteerism: it improves mental and physical health in more ways than one.
Posted in Alternative Therapies, General Health, Mental Health | 2 Comments & Updates
Echinacea is widely known as an immune boosting herb that is used at the onset of cold and influenza infections. But, if you’re only using it when your nose starts to “run” and throat gets scratchy, you’re missing out. According to a new publication in the Journal of Biomedicine and Biotechnology, in addition to Echinacea’s immune-modulating activity, this traditional Native American treasure also possesses antioxidant and antimicrobial properties which may address conditions ranging from fungal and parasitic infections to poor wound healing.
Tags: Echinacea, Immune, Skin Care
Posted in Alternative Therapies, General Health, Nutritional Supplements | 3 Comments & Updates
Whether you know it or not, you’ve probably consumed astaxanthin at one point or another in your life. Arctic shrimp and wild salmon are among the most common dietary sources of this crimson colored carotenoid. But, these days you’re also likely to find astaxanthin in everything from multivitamins to sports drinks. In many instances, it’s included as a way of increasing the antioxidant content of functional foods and nutritional supplements. Other times, its primary purpose is to act as natural preservative for delicate fatty acids such as those contained in fish or krill oil.
Tags: Astaxanthin, Immune, Inflammation
Posted in General Health, Heart Health, Nutritional Supplements | 9 Comments & Updates
The exact number of supplements you take should be predicated upon a variety of personal issues. Finances, diet and lifestyle and the ability to swallow pills are important considerations. In addition, genetic factors, pre-existing health conditions and the potential for drug-supplement interactions ought to be evaluated as well. The following list of supplements is what I consider valuable “add-ons” to my core list of recommendations. These are not essential for everyone. However, the health benefits they impart appeal to a broad cross-section of the population at large. They also adhere to my personal standards with regard to efficacy and safety.
Tags: Blueberries, CoQ10, Probiotics
Posted in Alternative Therapies, General Health, Nutritional Supplements | 14 Comments & Updates
“Is there a short-list of supplements that everyone should take?”. This may seem like a simple enough question, but it might surprise you to know that if I had to answer strictly ‘yes’ or ‘no’, my reply would be ‘no’. There are simply too many individual considerations and requirements that make blanket recommendations inappropriate and unreliable. Having said that, there is a select group of supplements that tend to fill important nutrient gaps in many diets. These very same nutritional aids also safely promote greater well being.
Tags: Fish Oil, Magnesium, Vitamins
Posted in Alternative Therapies, General Health, Nutritional Supplements | 18 Comments & Updates
The old adage goes, “If something seems too good to be true, it probably is”. The field of alternative medicine is replete with examples of this truism. Countless ancient and innovative remedies, often carrying hefty price tags and inadequate and/or unreliable evidence, are promoted as virtual panaceas both online and in health food stores worldwide. However, as another saying goes, “There are exceptions to every rule”. It’s all the better when these exceptions happen to be economical and safe.
Tags: Cold, Flu, Green Tea, Tea
Posted in Alternative Therapies, Food and Drink, General Health | 9 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
Eating fresh fruits and vegetables is a commendable thing to do. Getting sick because you do seems just plain wrong. But it does happen on rare occasions and it should serve as a reminder that we’re not the only organisms running the show. A microscopic bacterium known as Escherichia coli is naturally present in our intestines and in some of the food we eat. In most cases, it doesn’t cause a problem. It’s kind of like background noise that is below a level of detection. However, every once in a while a particularly virulent strain of E. coli drops by to wreak havoc. Read more »
Tags: Cranberries, Fiber, Probiotics
Posted in Alternative Therapies, Children's Health, General Health | 10 Comments & Updates
No matter where in the world you’re reading this, you’re almost certainly aware of the crisis that’s unfolding in Japan. Among other things, the tragic events of this past week have drawn much attention to two otherwise obscure substances that are used to protect against radioactive fall out. Potassium iodide is the better known of the two. Prussian blue isn’t making much news yet, but that may change as the level of concern about radiation exposure continues to spread.
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Tags: Iodine, Radiation, Thyroid
Posted in Alternative Therapies, Detoxification, General Health | 9 Comments & Updates
This Thursday marks a very special occasion in the U.S. – Thanksgiving. It’s a day devoted to gratitude, humility and reflection. I’ll be taking the day off from my usual writing duties, but will spend the early part of the day preparing a few nutrient dense side dishes (“creamed” spinach and roasted cauliflower) and a sugar free dessert (pumpkin cheesecake) to bring to our family gathering in the evening. This year’s celebration is particularly blessed because of the addition of two new members to our family. My brother-in-law and his wife are the proud parents of twin baby boys. For this reason and others, this will also be the largest family gathering for us in quite some time. My sincerest wishes go out to all of you in the hopes that you’ll have a similarly joyful holiday that is filled with love. When I reflect on the many things that I’m thankful for today, I’ll hold a special thought in mind for all of you. I’d like you to know that I truly appreciate all the support you’ve so graciously shown to me over the past few years on this site and elsewhere. Your generosity, interest and willingness to share never goes unnoticed or unappreciated. Thank you so very much and please be well! JP
Tags: Holiday, Thanksgiving
Posted in General Health | 4 Comments & Updates
Expressive writing is a stress management technique that encourages individuals to face emotional and/or traumatic events from their past. This sometimes cathartic experience generally takes place over the course of 3 to 5 sessions which last about 15 to 30 minutes each. In the process, some patients find that they gain greater control over their emotions and develop more confidence in dealing with stress which can result in positive outcomes in a variety of health conditions. Three recent examinations of expressive writing document favorable results in diverse patient populations: men and women with IBS (irritable bowel syndrome); students with eating disorders; and test subjects living with psoriasis.
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Tags: Eating Disorders, IBS, Psoriasis
Posted in Alternative Therapies, General Health, Mental Health | 13 Comments & Updates