Healing Throat Wraps

Again our friend water is here to assist in healing. Today’s blog addresses a common ailment – sore throats. As seasons change, temperatures drop and children go back to school sore throat season begins for many. Sore throats can be caused either by bacteria or a virus. Both are essentially benign and the biggest factor for recovery is how well the immune system is operating. For some children “Strep” throat can be a concern. most of the time however if a child is healthy the immune system will do its job well and in a few days the soreness will be gone.

Adults and children can use this easy healing therapy at home and frequently as needed.  The Healing Throat Wrap has been in use for decades – maybe longer and works so well to resolve the crankiness, soreness and inflammation of an infected throat.

WHAT  IS NEEDED:

2 hand towels or dish towels  (not too thick)

1 long warm winter type scarf (wool or fiber blend)

WHAT TO DO:

Soak one towel  in hot water, wring out and apply around the neck.  Place the scarf around the wet towel to hold in the heat. Leave on for 5 minutes.

Soak the 2nd towel in cold water,  out and apply the cold towel immediately after removing the warm towel.  Apply the scarf over the cold wet towel.  Leave the cold towel  in place for 20 minutes or until you warm the cold towel.

The alternating hot, cold and warm sequence of the towels assists the circulation to the throat area stimulating blood flow and an immune response for healing.

This treatment works and can be repeated every 1-2 hours as needed for relief. An ongoing persistent sore throat needs further medical care. See your health care practitioner.

Water Therapy for Health?

We all know the importance of water therapies in our lives, but did you know water helps us stay healthy? In centuries gone by, there were many medical healers who used water as a primary way to heal disease. Since there were no pharmaceuticals or quick fixes, water cures were popular. People would travel to water cure establishments to rest and recover. The most famous one in this country was in Battle Creek Michigan.  Dr John Harvey Kellogg helped thousands of people use water and nutrition to get well.  Many were cured of their disease.

Today water therapy (aka hydrotherapy) is seeing a resurgence.  So you may ask does it work? In many situations it works very well; however it does not have the quick fix Americans have been drawn to believe is the only way. Instead  hydrotherapy works more gently and slowly in supporting the basic function of moving of blood and stimulating  immune cells.

Really? Yes! by using water in alternating temperatures and applied to parts of the body or the whole body it can affect amazing results.  For a general and simple therapy let me demonstrate the hot/cold shower.

Most  people shower or bathe using warm/hot water.  At the end of this experience, turn off the hot water and rinse in cool to cold water.  This  rinse can be a short 20-30 seconds splash to up to one minute. As one becomes more accustomed to the cool rinse the water temperature can be lower and the time can be lengthened.

BENEFIT: This is a tonic therapy that will enhance immune function and stimulate blood flow. As the fall/ winter season  approaches watch how strong and illness free you become using a tonic shower daily.

Just do it!

More on Water Cure: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Water_cure_(therapy)

Cholesterol Truths

Controversy continues regarding the treatment of high cholesterol with prescription medication. A recent article by Stephen Sinatra MD in the Townsend Letter *clears up some of the confusion on the use of statin drugs. For a person with elevated cholesterol, the complete analysis of cholesterol breakdown is the first step he notes.

Here are some CHOLESTEROL facts important to know.

  • The body makes 85% as it’s needed:
  • Fluctuates through out the day
  • It goes up in winter and down in summer
  • Levels soar after surgery, injury or during infection
  • Essential for making vitamin D, sex hormones, stress hormones

A prescription should never be written for simple high total cholesterol levels without looking deeper. As more is learned about how the body responds to internal injury which can’t be seen, the more important it becomes to use nutrients to heal the inflammation/injury of internal blood vessels. Finding the cause of the elevated cholesterol and assisting the body to repair and heal is essential. Treat the cause not the symptom (tolle causam) .

Aronia berry is a food nutrient that can lower inflammation shown in this research article.

NB: statin drugs (atorvastatin, lovastatin, simvastatin, etc) can have significant side effects:

  • Liver enzyme elevation
  • Muscle weakness
  • Loss of memory and decreased cognitive function (brain function)
  • One study reported 25% cancer rate increase.
  • Statin drugs can cause elevated blood sugar another avenue to diabetes.

*Stephen Sinatra MD, FACC, FACN, Townsend Letter June 2009 www.townsendletter.com

Seek the help of a professional willing to examine the underlying cause of high cholesterol not just a bandaid treatment of drug therapy. Deeper issues of high carbohydrate diets that raise insulin levels are associated with high cholesterol problems. More information on insulin resistance next time.

The Sugar Dragon

Often I get the question: what is the best type of sugar to use? The immediate answer is none! Surprising as that may seem, it is true. Most of the refined or processed sweeteners people consume are not health promoting. When processed foods that contain sugar taste so delicious, we believe it has to be good. Quite the opposite is true. I have created a table of common sweeteners and their values and then compared them to carbohydrates such as bread and potato.

Glycemic Index is a rating of food’s influence on blood sugar and subsequently how insulin levels are elevated. The higher index number means blood sugars rise very fast.  Continuous eating of foods with a high glycemic index means blood sugars stay high as do levels of insulin.  This is the avenue for chronic inflammation and disease in the body.

Sugar similar to caffeine, alcohol and nicotine are habit forming and comumption of the substance just triggers our body to beg for more.

SUGARS

Type of sugar Glycemic index Amount Insulin elevation*
Table sugar (sucrose) 65 1 teaspoon yes
Honey 58 1 Tablespoon yes
High Fructose Corn syrup 89 1 teaspoon yes
Agave (fructose) 11 1 teaspoon no

CARBOHYDRATES

White rice 90 ½ cup yes
White bread 70 1 slice yes
White potato 101 4 oz boiled & peeled yes

* http://www.healingdaily.com/detoxification-diet/insulin.htm

Fructose is also a sugar but unlike its cousin glucose and sucrose, it does not raise blood sugar. So, does that mean it is good? It can actually cause a more serious problem. The liver processes fructose and when we consume a large amount (as often we do) the liver becomes overwhelmed and converts the fructose right into fat (called triglycerides).

http://lowcarbdiets.about.com/od/nutrition/a/fructosedangers.htm

The Caveat

The take home message about sugar is stop consuming so much. Eat no processed foods and find sweet treats in completely fresh fruits (avoid dried fruits). Sweet drinks including fruit juices affect both blood sugar and the liver. Moderation, moderation, moderation is key to optimal health!

Summertime Hydration

Summer time and warmer weather make us thirsty. As the temperature reaches into 90 to 100 degree range, keeping hydrated is essential. A mistake often made is drinking sugar loaded drinks and alcohol to cool down. Big mistake! Consumption of stimulants like caffeine loaded iced coffee or tea and soda pop or a tall glass of beer is a poor choice in the heat. Actually, these types of drinks can cause dehydration – not what you want in extreme temperatures.

To stay well hydrated – simply drink water! Lots of water. If you are sweating it is essential to drink water that contains electrolytes. Electrolytes are salts dissolved in water. For this discussion, I will name the five more essential ions needed in a hot climate: sodium (Na), potassium (K), chlorides (Chl), magnesium (Mg) and calcium (Ca).

There are numerous commercial electrolyte or energy drinks. Beware. Most are loaded with undesirable sugars like high fructose corn syrup. Natural electrolytes can be found in fruit juices especially tomato juice and vegetables like potatoes, avocados and celery. When you drink fruit juices, dilute them by half with water.

Here are some quick hydration tips:

  • Drink water on a regular basis; avoid becoming thirsty.
  • Drink half your body weight in ounces of water daily. (weight 150 pounds – drink 75 ounces of water)
  • If consuming alcohol then drink double of its equivalent in water. (8 oz. of beer – drink 16 ounces of water).
  • If exercising in very hot weather – do take electrolyte replacement.
  • Electrolyte capsules and tablets are available.
  • Avoid sugar laden drinks altogether.
  • Lemon or lime flavored drinks are thirst quenching or add your own wedge of citrus to your water.

Stay healthy in the summer by eating lightly and drinking extra non alcoholic fluids. Happy Summer!

Alcohol is not Brain Food

There is conflicting information about what is healthy regarding alcohol consumption. Some studies say it is good for our cardio vascular system and yet more information is out about its effects on brain size.

Dr. Daniel Amen  (a noted psychiatrist) reports in a newsletter a recent study that confirms that alcohol consumption can actually decrease brain size. In the aging process we naturally loose about 2 percent of brain volume per decade.  The study revealed that greater alcohol consumption leads to brain shrinkage. This seems to be true even for light drinkers (one to seven drinks per week) and women’s brains are affected more than men’s are.

Higher levels of alcohol intake are associated with damage to brain cells, which was recently reported by Roy Morgan Research1 in a study in Australia. One of the problems often associated with drinking alcohol is a compromise in eating wholesome foods. The reduction of natural vitamins, minerals and anti-oxidants may well be a precursor to chronic disease.

Life in moderation is the mantra found in all health modalities. Our bodies are wonderful functional beings and given the right ingredients, we can live long, healthy and happy lives. Enjoy the occasional alcoholic drink. When it becomes a daily demand one must step back and make better health promoting choices.

1http://www.roymorgan.com/company/about-us/about-us_home.cfm

Are You Vital?

Quality of life essentially depends on our own innate force and balance which provides our mind and body with the energetic synergy to perform each day.

Online dictionary (www.dictionary.com) defines vitality as:

1. exuberant physical strength or mental vigor.
2. capacity for survival or for the continuation of a meaningful or purposeful existence
3. vital force.

A person’s vitality is not directly measurable by a laboratory test, however it is thought in the naturopathic arena to be demonstrated by various parameters. I’d like to give an introduction to how the body demonstrates to us about health. The first “measurement” of vitality is noting the level of energy one has to perform each day’s activities.The second way to identify vitality is the observation of healthy-looking clear skin, hair, nails and eyes. Of course this is so subjective that science cannot measure either one but that does not make it invalid. By observing your daily energy levels, skin health and eye clarity along the health of your finger nails and toe nails you can begin to see clues of lowering vitaltiy.

Children are the picture of vitality. They have sparkling eyes, beautiful skin and clear nails on both fingers and toes. Also of course they are energy in motion going non-stop morming to night

As we get older the question to ponder is: How is your vital force?  To live a long and exuberant life begin to assess your vitality now. How well can you run up a flight of stairs? Do you love your hair? And how healthy are your nails? Become proactive with a daily health regime and you will be amazed how well the body responds.

Dr Jeanne is a naturopathic physician who designs wellness programs for people who desire long term health and vitality. Please contact her at drjeanne@comcast.net for additional information.

Aronia Berry – the Life Saver

Heart disease, stroke and diabetes are the big health robbers in our population. In the truest sense of prevention, this information will help you understand Aronia melanocarpa’s (aka choke berry) importance as a nutrient.

A review of research literature reveals studies showing significant health effects and benefits of aronia berry’s phytonutrients (plant based) on the body. One study from Bulgaria showed positive results for diabetics which concluded:  “Accumulated data illustrated the hypoglycemic potential (lowering of blood sugar) of Aronia juice.”1 As a sugar addicted society, aronia can help lower the damage on heart and blood vessels from the ravages of a poor diet.

Another study in Poland assessed the effects of Aronia Berry’s antioxidant power. “The lead, aluminum and copper concentration was decreased while zinc concentration in red blood cells was increased”. 2.  This has a significant impact by repairing damage to cells in the body. These are only two among many studies on the power of this little berry. Research is revealing the truth:  Aronia is POWERFUL-something Native Americans have known for centuries.

I recommend drinking 2-4 ounces of a juice blend of aronia daily. It is a powerful healthful drink that has properties to improve heart function and lower inflammation in the body.

To your health! Don’t wait for disease to happen to start your health program.

1.Effects of Aronia melanocarpa juice as part of the dietary regimen in patients with diabetes mellitus

2.The influence of anthocyanins from Aronia melanocarpa on selected parameters of oxidative stress and microelements contents in men with hypercholesterolemia

Natural Tonic for Cells – Russian Moomiyo

In Russian there an herb named Moomiyo (called mumie) that has extensive research. It is used as a tonic by athletes and folks who want to live a good long life. Studies have reported a decade longer life when the population (where it grows) consumed this anabolic herb. Moomiyo is said to boost the immune system and enhance the metabolism of minerals needed for physical performance. This unique herb contains a rich concentration of mineral and plant alkaloids because of the rich Russian soil where it is found. Moomiyo has been given to the cosmonauts in their training programs as well.

Moomiyo is found in uniquely formulated products only. A daily dose gives continuous support to cells through out the body. Support and nutrition in the aging process is smart. If you want quality of life in the “golden years” make this herb part of your wellness program.

Dr Jeanne is a naturopathic physician who designs wellness programs for people who desire long term health and vitality. Please contact her at drjeanne@comcast.net for additional information.

Growth Hormone Throughout Life

Depicted on the graph, Growth Hormone (GH)* production significantly declines as we age.  What is also not generally  well known is the association of GH with  muscle strength, bone density, skin thickness, healthy nails and hair repair and in fact the action of GH helps rebuild ALL cells in the body throughout life,   GH decline starts in the 40 year old+ adult and significant changes are noted in the 60’s and beyond.  Additional factors that also affect GH by decreasing production even further are some prescription drugs, diseases involving poor blood sugar regulation like Diabetes, and most important are stress related illnesses such as heart disease and chronic GI disturbances.

Remaining pro-active in our own health care is important. Help keep your pituitary gland active and healthy.  There are formulas containing amino acids and botanicals specifically designed to help your body increase its OWN Growth Hormone.

Contact us for details. Dr. Jeanne 503 720-8999

*GH is produced in the brain by the anterior pituitary gland.

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