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
As a consumer, it’s not always clear how to best utilize a supplement for a specific objective. The challenges are many. For starters, you have to determine whether there’s reliable research available to guide you. If that exists, you’ll next need to determine whether the published evidence applies to your circumstance. Is it applicable to your age, gender, health-related status and weight? Then, there’s the question of determining the appropriate dosage. In many instances, even the manufacturers don’t know whether a higher or lower dose is more or less effective and safe than the doses used in the clinical studies. This leaves both the consumer and health care providers in a difficult spot that often requires educated guessing. However, in some instances there’s enough data in the scientific literature to provide a more accurate picture.
Tags: Curcumin, Dementia, Inflammation
Posted in Alternative Therapies, Mental Health, Nutritional Supplements | 5 Comments & Updates
The idea of wearing tinted glasses at night may seem counterintuitive. In previous generations, there would be very few reasons to do so. But, in many ways, we live in a very different world today. The natural rhythm of the sleep-wake cycle was set up for mankind to slumber as day turns to night and awaken as night returns to day. However, this all changed with the advent of computers, digital displays, mobile phones, street lights and numerous other sources of nighttime illumination. And, I think it’s fair to say that the light genie is well out of the bottle and is unlikely to go back in any time soon.
Tags: Eye Health, Melatonin, Sleep
Posted in Alternative Therapies, Mental Health, Product Reviews | 6 Comments & Updates
In recent years, western medicine has begun to embrace a wide array of traditional healing practices from other cultures. Acupuncture, curcumin supplementation, tai chi and yoga are but a few of many “alternative and complementary” therapies now being studied and utilized worldwide. The success of this burgeoning integration is also opening the door to historically revered treatments from other parts of the globe.
Tags: Dance, Kava, Probiotics
Posted in Alternative Therapies, Exercise, Mental Health | 4 Comments & Updates
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 | 7 Comments & Updates
In July 2015, the US Food and Drug Administration warned of increased risk of heart attacks and strokes associated with the use of non steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs or NSAIDs. Earlier this month, a different class of pain relievers, collectively known as opioids, was also linked to higher rates of early death primarily due to cardiovascular complications. As disturbing as this is, there is still a large segment of the population that will continue to use these medications in the short term and, sometimes, chronically.
Tags: Colic, Lavender, Rose Oil
Posted in Alternative Therapies, Mental Health, Women's Health | 12 Comments & Updates
In the most general sense, amino acids are building blocks or components of protein. Whenever you eat chicken, eggs, fish, nuts, seeds, steak, tofu, etc. you’re getting a large amount of a blend of essential amino acids. Without enough amino acids/protein, your body simply can’t function and repair itself as needed. Amino acids may also be used as supplements in individual or specific combinations. In this application, the amino acid(s) are usually taken in a purified form and apart from food in order to induce a therapeutic effect. A popular example is the use of L-arginine and/or L-citrulline to enhance blood flow via increased nitric oxide production – a vasodilator.
Tags: Anxiety, Mood, Sleep
Posted in Alternative Therapies, Mental Health, Nutritional Supplements | 3 Comments & Updates
These days there are more exercise alternatives than ever before. At community pools you can do aquatic aerobics and balance training. Athletic clubs and gyms offer a wide array of classes from Crossfit to Pilates, in addition to mind-body exercises such as Qigong, Tai Chi and various styles of yoga. Even traditional martial arts and boxing are now commonly practiced as novel ways of getting into better shape. From my perspective, this is a very positive trend. Keeping exercise interesting and varied helps a lot people stick to a regular fitness routine.
Tags: Depression, Fibromyalgia, Pain
Posted in Exercise, Heart Health, Mental Health | 12 Comments & Updates
Strong emotions have an upside and a downside. Even love can be harmful if it’s directed in an inappropriate way. This truism is particularly apt in the case of anger. Under ideal circumstances, anger can be a tool that changes circumstances of all kinds. The ire of a populace can alter unjust laws and regulations. A fiery exchange between friends or a couple can spur important conversations that can positively alter relationships. But, too much anger or anger that is held on to for prolonged periods of time, can literally damage your health.
Posted in Alternative Therapies, Mental Health, Nutritional Supplements | 11 Comments & Updates
Miguel de Cervantes Saavedra, the famed Spanish author of “Don Quixote”, once proclaimed, “He who sings scares away his woes!”. However, there is a mistaken or, at least, incomplete perception of singing in the modern era. It’s true that many associate singing with happiness and health. But, it is often assumed that those who are happy and feel good sing as a consequence of their positive lot in life. What science is beginning to discover is that singing itself can actually promote a more positive mental state and well-being in general – even in those who lack one or both of these attributes.
Tags: Anxiety, Depression, Music
Posted in Alternative Therapies, Memory, Mental Health | 11 Comments & Updates
The importance of gut bacteria has become a red hot topic over the last several years. Best-selling books by the likes of Drs. David Perlmutter (“Brain Maker” ), Gerard Mullin (“The Gut Balance Revolution”) and Raphael Kellman (“The Microbiome Diet”) have ushered in a new era of “probiotic-medicine”. In previous decades, research on gut microbiota primarily focused on bacterial imbalance (aka dysbiosis) and its role in digestive disorders, such as Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis. These days, specialists in the field are closely examining diversity and quantities of gut bacteria in relation to diseases ranging from depression to obesity. However, along with these exciting new findings comes many questions about how to practically manipulate gut microbiota.
Tags: Berries, Prebiotics, Probiotics
Posted in Food and Drink, Mental Health, Nutrition | 39 Comments & Updates
The finest natural therapies combine several important elements. Ideally, they’re free or low in cost and don’t require specialized equipment. They should be evidence-based and easy to perform. And, whenever possible, it helps if a remedy produces results consistently and quickly. A daily hand massage provides all of these attributes and many others.
Tags: Aromatherapy, Massage, Reflexology
Posted in Alternative Therapies, Bone and Joint Health, Mental Health | 14 Comments & Updates
Alcohol abuse is a major health care and societal issue in the United States and around the world. Fortunately, there is greater awareness about alcoholism than ever before. And, consequently, there are now many treatment options available for those who are ready to seek help. But, even willing alcoholics sometimes find that conventional therapies aren’t sufficient to keep them “dry”. That’s where evidence-based, alternative and complementary options can make a big difference.
Tags: Addiction, Alcohol, Kudzu
Posted in Alternative Therapies, Mental Health, Nutritional Supplements | 5 Comments & Updates