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
Cheerio! I’m back in jolly old England to share some of the local healing tradition. The inspiration for today’s column comes courtesy of the Royal London Hospital for Integrated Medicine (RLHIM). There, patients are offered the best of both complementary and conventional care in an outpatient setting. The RLHIM administers an impressive array of holistic healing modalities including aromatherapy, homeopathy and reflexology. Also popular at this healing institution is a form of bodywork known as craniosacral therapy or CST.
Tags: Anxiety, asthma, Fibromyalgia
Posted in Alternative Therapies, Mental Health, Women's Health | 10 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
In my final column about Natural Products Expo West 2013, I’m going to focus on three unconventional items that may improve the quality of many lives. But, you might be surprised to learn that the products in question consist of a butter substitute, coffee for those with digestive issues and lavender oil that’s taken orally. On the surface, health conscious consumers understand that many buttery spreads contain unhealthy ingredients such as hydrogenated oils. Coffee is frequently regarded as a “no no” for anyone living with GERD or irritable bowel syndrome. And, while lavender oil is perhaps the most popular aromatherapy ingredient, it’s typically not intended for internal use.
Tags: Anxiety, Coffee, GERD
Posted in Alternative Therapies, Food and Drink, Mental Health | 6 Comments & Updates
The clients I work with subscribe to a wide range of views about alternative and complementary medicine. Some are receptive to trying virtually any evidence-based modality I suggest. For them, I’ll sometimes recommend practices as diverse and unconventional as reflexology, Senobi breathing and Tai Chi. Other clients are more comfortable utilizing therapies that are generally accepted in the conventional model of modern health care. Progressive muscle relaxation, structured exercise routines and therapeutic diets fall into this category.
Tags: Anxiety, Depression, Insomnia
Posted in Alternative Therapies, Diet and Weight Loss, Mental Health | 5 Comments & Updates
The ancient practice of yoga in its many incarnations is more popular than ever before. But, based on my informal assessment, it appears that there is a widespread perception that yoga is primarily useful for issues pertaining to mental health. And, while it’s true that yoga often promotes a more positive psychological outlook and clearer cognitive functioning, there’s much more to it. Lately, a series of well designed, clinical studies have illustrated the emerging role of yoga in addressing physical ailments and complaints as well.
Tags: Arthritis, Fatigue, Sleep
Posted in Alternative Therapies, Bone and Joint Health, Heart Health, Mental Health | 5 Comments & Updates
Who are the healers of our day and time? In many countries, an image of physicians wearing white lab coats comes to mind. But, I’m here to tell you that if you’re exclusively counting on medical doctors and pharmacists to maintain your good health, you’re at a very big disadvantage. Optimally, healing and the promotion of wellness requires a much broader approach. From my vantage point, the person you see every time you look in the mirror is by far the most important contributor to your health status. But, eating right, exercising and managing stress is far from enough. While important, there’s more that you can and should be doing for yourself and those around you in the healing arena.
Tags: aging, Memory, Pain
Posted in Alternative Therapies, Heart Health, Mental Health | 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
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
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
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;
Thought Field Therapy (TFT) is an inexpensive and rapid treatment used to address psychological challenges such as anxiety, phobias and post traumatic stress. The practice of TFT involves tapping oneself with your fingers, on select acupuncture points, while recalling traumatic experiences. According to TFT proponents, doing so releases negative emotions or perturbations in the bioenergic or thought field, thereby decreasing or resolving psychological symptoms.
Tags: Anxiety, Phobia, PTSD
Posted in Alternative Therapies, Detoxification, Mental Health | 15 Comments & Updates