Holiday Stress Relivers

Holiday Stress Relivers Stress is neither good nor bad, it just is.   The stress we put on our bones allows them to remain strong. Emotional stress allows us to learn adaptive strategies.  Often it is our attitudes and ability to “let go” that mitigate any resulting harmful effects. When we are stressed it causes our cortisol or adrenaline to rise.  This in turns causes vasoconstriction of the peripheral blood system so that all the blood on the “outside” of our bodies goes to the deep places such as the survival part of the brain, the heart and lungs, and the quads and gluts so we can run from danger.  In turn, the reduced blood flow to the periphery causes a myriad of symptoms including short term memory loss, alopecia or loss of hair, headaches, blurred vision, temperature regulation problems, and digestive problems; just to name a few. Stress also causes insomnia as we are not supposed to sleep through danger.  Eventually we wear out and end up with depression, hypoglycemia, and lack of motivation.  So, how to minimize the effects of stress? Here are some “simple” things you can do: Physically you must keep your sugar levels stable.  This means eat protein every 3-4 hours and have plenty of vegetables.   Stay hydrated so your blood vessels are relaxed. Walk it off whenever you start to feel overwhelmed; step away from the stress and go outside.   There are therapists that have couples wear pulse meters and when their heart rate gets over 100 beats per minute (bpm) in some upsetting situation they terminate the session and have people “walk it off.”  The reason for this is that when your heart rate is over 100...

Getting Sick: A Step In The Right Direction

Getting Sick: A Step In The Right Direction Why You Don’t Want To Suppress Your Next Cold or Flu? It’s likely that you’ll get a cold or flu this year at some point. How you choose to deal with it may actually be more important for your long-term health than you realize. As a Naturopathic Doctor, I think about these acute illnesses a little differently than you’re used to and I find it’s helpful for my patients to understand my thought process. Hopefully this will help you take a new perspective on this year’s cold or flu. The body is smart. This is the principle from which I operate. When we get acutely ill, often this is the body’s attempt to get rid of something harmful. The mucous produced in a respiratory infection helps to clear out infectious organisms (if we let it). When we have food poisoning, diarrhea helps to clear out the organism. When we sweat during a fever, we decrease our inflammation. Getting an occasional acute illness and then clearing it in a short period of time tells us that the immune system is capable of responding and is doing its job. When I have patients who do not get acutely ill at all for several years, I begin to be concerned that they may not be releasing things from their body and may be building up inflammatory toxins, which can lead to more chronic illness. I also wonder if the immune system is working effectively in these patients, which you need it to do in order to prevent long term issues like cancer. Don’t get...

Naturopathic Doctors 101

Naturopathic Doctors 101 “You’re a Na-tur-ro…what?”  This is not an uncommon phase to be heard by a Naturopathic Doctor, even here in New Hampshire where there is a good concentration of Naturopathic Doctors (NDs). Even patients of NDs are often unaware of the plethora of therapies and services NDs are trained in.  Naturopathic Doctors attend one of 5 accredited universities in the United States.  These doctorate level programs are a minimum of 4 years long with a competitive option for another 1-3 years of residency. Naturopathic medical school curriculum contains the same basic sciences of conventional medical school (anatomy, physiology, biochemistry, pathology, pharmacology, etc…) as well as additional classes in naturopathic-specific therapies.  Examples of these Naturopathic-specific therapies include: nutritional therapies, counseling, botanical medicine, homeopathy, and physical medicine.  This education prepares graduates of accredited programs to enter the medical profession as primary care physicians after passing the Naturopathic licensing board exams (NPLEX). There are 17 states (and counting) that provide licensure for NDs currently in the United States.  Each of those states governs a different scope of practice for NDs practicing within their state lines.  For example, the state of New Hampshire has a rather comprehensive scope of practice. NDs in NH are licensed medical providers with prescribing rights for the majority of common pharmaceuticals and have coverage by most insurances in the state. So how does a Naturopathic Doctor practice? Naturopathic doctors follow the same general model as Medical doctors, with extra assessments and therapies incorporated.  The process looks something like this: Obtain a detailed history of the patient’s current and past medical issues. Perform appropriate physical exam to aid in diagnosis Order any necessary labs or...
GRATEFULNESS: GIVING THANKS FOR THE SMALL THINGS

GRATEFULNESS: GIVING THANKS FOR THE SMALL THINGS

Stress: At the Heart of Health Issues Stress leads to changes in cortisol and adrenaline levels. We often hear how cortisol goes high, but it could also go too low. Same with adrenaline. When that happens a ripple effect occurs, disrupting hormones throughout your body (such as thyroid, insulin, estrogen, progesterone, leptin, and more), disrupting your digestion, immune system, and nervous system. By the time stress hits all of these areas it can be like a tsunami, spinning you into a blur of fatigue, pain, and turmoil. By then, your heart hurts both emotionally and physically, because the inflammation, oxidative stress, and nutrient deficiencies that have resulted from that stress prevent it from functioning well. How Gratefulness Counteracts Stress Gratefulness – or giving thanks for the positive aspects of life – on the other hand, has been shown to improve all of the stress symptoms I mentioned at the start of this article: Mood, sleep, energy, focus, digestion, and immunity. A 2015 STUDY AT THE UNIVERSITY OF CALIFORNIA found that women and men with heart failure who kept a gratitude journal for eight weeks had improved heart rate variability (a good thing) and a reduced risk of heart attacks and heart failure. Other studies have found that the stress hormone cortisol is 23% lower in people who practice gratitude, and the calming part of their nervous system (the parasympathetic) is stronger. Within two weeks of daily gratitude, levels of oxytocin – the bonding hormone – were higher (also a good thing), blood pressure shifted to healthier levels, and both mood and sleep improved. Mental clarity increased while inflammation decreased....