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Treatment

Supplements

We all know how important a varied diet is to our overall health but sometimes even good eating habits can use a little boost. Fortunately that’s where supplements come in.

Supplements exist in a variety of shapes and sizes from pills and powders to beverages and bars. Contents run the gamut from vitamins and minerals to herbs and enzymes to fish oils, probiotics and more.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, use of dietary supplements increased by over ten percent from 42 percent in the late 1980s to mid 1990s to 53 percent by 2003-2006.

How It Works

Different supplements provide different benefits. Folic acid, for example, is important for pregnant women to take as it can lessen the chance of birth defects while calcium and vitamin D can help encourage bone health. Multivitamins which contain at least three vitamins are the most commonly taken supplement though many vitamins and minerals can also be purchased individually.

Supplements are not strictly limited to vitamins and minerals, however. Echinacea is an herb many swear by to help lessen cold symptoms and duration of illness. Fish oil can usually be found in a softgel tablet and may help with heart health. Probiotics may assist in improving digestive issues.

Benefits

Benefits of supplements vary depending on the type and its designated purpose. It is important to note that the best way to meet daily nutritional needs is through a healthy diet featuring a variety of foods. When eating habits fall short, however, supplements can provide a useful nutritional edge.

Precautions

Just because supplements can be purchased over the counter doesn’t mean buyers shouldn’t do their homework. Some can interfere with medications or increase the chance of bleeding.

Many are water soluble with extra amounts simply being excreted but a few exist that are not and can build up in the body to dangerously high levels. In addition, some foods like cereals and breads are fortified with extra vitamins and minerals so beware how much is being ingested through the daily diet before beginning supplementation.

Also, it’s important to keep in mind supplements are not regulated by the Food and Drug Administration in the same way over-the-counter medications are and are not intended to actually prevent or treat diseases. To ensure the supplement contains what it says it contains (and not harmful contaminants), look for the seals of approval from U.S. Pharmacopeia, NSF International or ConsumerLab.com.

If in doubt be sure to discuss use of supplements with a medical professional.

Summary

While there is no substitute for a healthy diet, supplements can be useful for a variety of purposes including providing a nutritional benefit and addressing a specific issue like building stronger bones or fighting a cold.

References

  • Dietary Supplements: What you Need to Know from the National Institutes of Health Office of Dietary Supplements
    ods.od.nih.gov/HealthInformation/DS_WhatYouNeedToKnow.aspx
  • Dietary Supplements: What You Need to Know from the FDA
    fda.gov/Food/ResourcesForYou/Consumers/ucm109760.htm
Categories
Treatment

Guided Imagery

Guided imagery is a highly right brained activity that is similar to meditation, but can incorporate the use of all the senses to create a wonderful healing experience that improves with each session. The body can and usually will accept as true what is being held in the mind, and through guided imagery we can use this to our benefit.

How it Works

It is the use of words, visualization and music to create some images in one’s mind for the benefit of relaxation and healing. Unlike meditation, the person using guided imagery is being guided into a creative experience usually through a recording or an instructor. This modality gives the mind a break, and instead tunes into the more creative right brain.

Benefits

Guided imagery has the wonderful ability to restore peace and calm and with some dedication to this practice one can have wonderful results with healing as well.

Precautions

There are no precautions to consider for this modality.

Summary

Guided imagery is a non-invasive technique that is highly beneficial for providing relaxation and healing from a variety of conditions. It has been found to be helpful for reducing stress and easing emotional tension. Our minds are powerful and we can augment this energy by utilizing guided imagery to modify our belief programs and install new, healthy creative ones instead!

References

  • Guided Imagery for Self Healing: by Dr. Martin Rossman
  • Staying Well With Guided Imagery by Belleruth Naparstek
  • Your Sixth Sense Unlocking the Power of Intuition by Bellruth Naparstek
Categories
Treatment

Biofeedback

Imagine being able to lower blood pressure or improve any number of health conditions ranging from urinary incontinence to migraines and even chronic pain simply by controlling the body with the mind? Biofeedback has been shown to help a variety of physical and mental challenges.

How It Works

Experts theorize that biofeedback's success is related to stress. Many of the ailments it has proven effective for are triggered or worsened by stress so learning to control it is key.

Biofeedback can focus on one or more techniques depending on the issue in question. Electromyography (EMG) biofeedback revolves around muscle tension, temperature or thermal biofeedback measures skin temperature, neurofeedback or electroencephalography records brain wave activity, galvanic skin response training uses the amount of sweat on the skin and heart rate variability biofeedback involves controlling the heart rate.

Often people work with a therapist in a healthcare setting. Sensors are placed on various parts of the body depending on the problem and type of biofeedback. These sensors then give responses from a monitor box in the form of a changing sound, varying brightness or line on a computer screen. The person undergoes a series of mental exercises that affect the feedback.

Individual sessions can vary from 30 to 60 minutes while the number is determined by how quickly a person masters control of his or her responses. People with headaches and incontinence often need at least 10 weekly sessions with follow up appointments while someone looking to control his or her blood pressure may need at least 20 before seeing improvement.

Another alternative is to use biofeedback at home. A variety of biofeedback options are available with many containing monitors along with audio and/or visual programs.

Benefits

One of the main benefits of biofeedback is the ability to become more attuned with the body. Many people prefer treatment without using medications while others have found drugs haven’t successfully addressed their problem. Biofeedback can be a viable alternative to explore in these situations.

It has shown success in helping a variety of physical ailments ranging from asthma, constipation, high blood pressure and heart issues to headaches, irritable bowel syndrome, incontinence, Raynaud’s disease, and pain among others. It has also been useful in emotional issues such as anxiety, stress and depression.

Precautions

Medically speaking biofeedback has been shown to be safe with no negative side effects.

However, as with any medical treatment, it’s important to seek a doctor’s advice and to find a qualified provider. Biofeedback practitioners can include doctors and nurses as well as psychiatrists and psychologists. To learn more and find a therapist near you, visit the website for the Association for Applied Psychology and Biofeedback at www.aapb.org

Summary

By learning to mentally control aspects of the physical body, people can use biofeedback to help treat a variety of physical and emotional ailments.

References

  • The Association for Applied Psychophysiology and Biofeedback
    aapb.org
  • National Institutes of Health—Biofeedback
    nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/ency/news-articles/002241.htm
Categories
Treatment

Chiropractic

Chiropractic care is a therapy that addresses the muscular-skeletal system and nervous system.  It is a combination of spinal manipulation and muscle relaxation used to restore joint mobility.   With a hands-on approach, Chiropractors manipulate the spine to align vertabrae properly thus reducing pressure on the nerves within the spinal cord.  This reduction of pressure allows the signals from the spinal cord to travel properly through the brain and reduces the brain's chemical reaction of pain.

How It Works

During a Chiropractic session, a chiropractor will use massage to loosen  the muscles in the affected  area to loosen some of the tension around the bone or joint.  With either an actuator gun (a gun that uses small pulses of pressure) or with their hands and body strength, Chiropractors will adjust or manipulate the spine and joints to a position that will relieve pressure to the area.

Benefits

Chiropractic care does not just benefit those with injury or chronic pain conditions.  It can be utilized to help maintain proper joint health and spinal cord wellness.  It can also be used to help increase flexibility and fluidity of joints for athletes or the health-minded.   

Chiropractic therapy has been used to treat many disorders and diseases including Osteoarthritis, migraines, Fibromyalgia, Rheumatiod arthritis, indigestion, pain during pregnancy, and of course bone and joint injury.

It is natural therapy that does not require medication but instead proper alignment of the spine.  This ensures that the correct messages travel to brain, helping to create perfect chemical balance.  

There are rarely any instances of pain associated with chiropractic therapy other than some mild muscle soreness that may result from an adjustment, therefore it is a non-invasive physical therapy for proper joint and spine health.

Precautions

Any manipulation of the spine, specifically the neck area, needs to be completed by a licensed Chiropractor.  Any overextention of the joints could result in damage to the bones and nerves.

The spine should never be manipulated if there is any sign of neurological disorder such as leg tingling, lightheadedness, black-outs or seizures.

Treatment of Scoliosis should only be performed under the supervision of a physician and should not consider chiropractic therapy as the only treatment solution.

Summary

Chiropractic care can be used to treat many different types of discomforts and pain.  It can also be used in combination with an athletic or fitness routine to maintain proper joint and spinal health.  With some minor adjustments to the spine a person can achieve pain management, better joint mobility, and more flexibilty as well.

References

The American Chiropractic Association
acatoday.org/level2_css.cfm?T1ID=13&T2ID=61

How Chiropractic
Works sciencebase.com/science-blog/how-does-chiropractic-work

Benefits
thejoint.com/health-benefits.aspx

Precautions
holistic-online.com/Chiropractic/chiro_safety.htm