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Tai Chi

Sometimes described as “moving meditation,” tai chi began long ago in China as a type of martial art. Today it is an exercise-with-meditation combination used to improve health and decrease stress. Tai chi employs the idea of yin and yang along with qi or life force. Some of the movement names are nature-centric and often groups of people gather in parks to practice.

How It Works

A number of styles of tai chi exist but generally the focus is on a series of flowing movements accompanied with deep breathing. One pose runs into the next gently and gracefully which allows for exercise and increased flexibility. Tai chi is considered a kind of complementary and alternative medicine (CAM) and boasted approximately 2.3 million practitioners in a 2007 survey according to the National Institutes of Health.

Benefits

Tai chi offers a number of benefits. It is weight-bearing which can help bone health while still being low impact and easy on the joints. Muscle strength and flexibility can also increase from regular practice. The focused, meditative aspect can promote decreased stress and anxiety. It may also aid existing problems. Balance and coordination can improve which may lessen the risk of falls while the gentle stretching movements can ease stiffness and pain. More research needs to be done but initial reports indicate tai chi may also boost the immune system, reduce blood pressure and increase overall well-being in the elderly.

Precautions

Tai chi is generally considered quite safe though it is important to make sure moves are being done correctly. (While it can be done at home with a DVD, experts recommend beginning with a live instructor to provide feedback and lessen risk of injury.) Individuals who are pregnant, have a hernia or suffer from any joint or back issues should check with their doctor before beginning tai chi to ensure which movements are safe for them.

Summary

Tai chi is a gentle flowing form of physical exercise coupled with mental focus and meditation. It is generally safe for most people and can offer benefits from reduced stress to increased strength, flexibility and balance.

References

National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine nccam.nih.gov/health/taichi/introduction.htm

Mayo Clinic mayoclinic.com/health/tai-chi/SA00087

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Treatment

Meditation

There are many different types of meditation, from mindfulness meditation to walking meditation but the goal is usually the same: to cultivate a quietness of mind enough so as to hear the still small voice of the soul.

It helps one to bring focus to the present moment, to let go of all attachments, to push the pause button on fear and worry and learn to trust that life will provide for you. With regular practice of meditation, one will cultivate an inner peace that will remain in moments of any stress.

How it Works

It works by stilling the thoughts in the mind through the practice of several techniques such as focusing on the breath, chanting, and practicing detachment from all outside influences with non-resistance, while sitting in a relaxed comfortable position for a period of time that one feels is sufficient.

Benefits

The benefits of meditation are reduced stress, more present moment awareness, feelings of calm, and a greater flow of energy.

In a study that was initiated by Jon Kabatt-Zin it was found that the group of meditators that were studied had an increase in the frontal lobe areas associated with greater happiness and calmness than before they began to meditate.

Summary

Meditation is a wonderful healing modality that can be done at home for free, or you can choose to join a group meditation as found at some yoga centers.

It is highly known to reduce stress and enhance more mindfulness of the importance of present moment awareness. Regular practice of meditation is wonderful for healing.

References

  • Real Happiness by Sharon Salzburg
  • Awakening to Joy 10 Steps that Will Put you on the Road to Happiness by James Baraz and Shoshanna Alexander
  • Quiet Mind a Beginner’s Mind to Meditation by Sharon Salzburg
  • Getting into the Vortex by Esther Hicks

 


Categories
Treatment

Juicing

Juicing is the process that includes extracting juices and vital nutrients from vegetable, fruit, and plant sources.  The process results in a nutrient-rich drink that is easily consumed and digested for optimum use of vitamins and food performance.

How It Works

Juicing requires the use of a quality juicer that is designed to extract only the juice from its source.  It is generally a mechanical operation that will result in a complete separation of juice from pulp, skin, flesh, and seed.  Different combinations of vegetable, fruit, and plant juice are combined to create high-energy health drinks that are free of preservatives, colors, and additives.

Benefits

One of the many benefits of juicing is the ease of digestion into the system.  While the body can utilize vegetables, fruits, and plants efficiently in their whole form, eliminating the extra bulk from the source ensures that the body can use the nutrient rich juice to its highest capacity.

It also has a convenience factor when produced in advance for busy schedules.   Preparing juice mixes is easy and can provide quick on-the-go nutrition and energy for busy lifestyles.

Juicing can make getting nutrition more palatable for those that are prone to food sensitivities by eliminating the texture, flesh, and skin components of the source.  These are often the components responsible for digestion issues or distaste.  Juice mixes can be combined with nutritional powerhouses such spinach and kale while being made more palatable by adding flavorful components such as apple, banana, and strawberry.

Precautions

While juicing can provide quick delivery of nutrients and vitamins, it can also provide large quantities of natural sugar.  It is important that those with diabetes or other sugar-based conditions use discretion when introducing juicing into a diet.

Juicing can give a quick natural energy boost to aid in workouts and daily routines, however as with any quick delivery method of energy there can be a “crash” associated with it as well.  Without the pulp and body of the juice source, the body can digest the energy source much quicker resulting in a natural depletion of energy.

Juicing can treat an array of illnesses, diseases, and common ailments.

Summary

Juicing can be a healthy alternative to sports drinks, nutrition supplements, and artificial energy sources.  Juicing combinations can treat an array of illnesses, diseases, and common ailments.  It can also be used to increase the nutritional value of diet and provide supplementation for those who may otherwise forgo eating healthy fruits, vegetables, and plants.

 

 

 

 

References

  • How it Works
    thegonzolution.com/2012/07/what-is-juicing/
  • Precaution
    wiki.answers.com/What_are_the_precaution_associated_with_juicing
Categories
Natural Health News and Articles Video

Yoga Poses for People with Fibromyalgia

Chaz, a certified yoga instructor and creator of YOGAmazing, has created a series of yoga poses for people suffering from fibromyalgia.  The 20-minute video will take you through a sequence of gentle poses.

Comments on the video’s YouTube page include statements like, “Wow. Excellent workout. I have fibro and this really helped with my aches and pains, even after the first time I did it.

Chronic muscle pain and tightness are typical symptoms of fibromyalgia. Yoga can increase flexibility and endurance, and help reduce the symptoms of fibromyalgia.

[themedy_media type=”youtube” url=”https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VYpKxvPC0Go”]

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Natural Health News and Articles

Benefits to Using Reflexology for Fibromyalgia

Reflexology can have many medicinal values for numerous illnesses and conditions. With its chronic symptoms, overall pain factor, and relentless fatigue, fibromyalgia is one condition that can greatly benefit from reflexology. Here are a few benefits to using reflexology to treat Fibromyalgia.

  • Improved Circulation – Reflexology has a proven history of improving circulation. With improved circulation, the overall pain that many fibromyalgia sufferers may decrease in intensity.
  • Release of toxins from the system – Using reflexology can help the body to eliminate toxins from body tissues. Toxins can sometimes be the cause of chronic inflammation in muscles, joints, and tissues. Using reflexology to detox the system will naturally decrease inflammation.
  • Release of muscle tension – One of the main effects of reflexology is a release of muscle tension. Using pressure points in muscles releases tension and subsequently eliminate pain that muscle tiredness that is often associated with fibromyalgia.
  • Energy flow and balance – Reflexology is often used to stimulate energy and balance throughout the body. One of the biggest complaints of fibromyalgia sufferers is fatigue and overwhelming tiredness. Utilizing reflexology can bring natural energy to the body and help re-establish balance to an otherwise unbalanced body system.

Fibromyalgia is a chronic and debilitating disorder that can have long-term physical and mental repercussions. However, incorporating reflexology into a treatment care plan may help to lower pain, improve circulation, detox, release tension, and increase energy. Together with proper nutrition and fitness planning, fibromyalgia symptoms could be eliminated altogether.

  • altmd.com/Articles/Reflexology-for-Fibromyalgia

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Natural Health News and Articles

Sleep Deficit and Chronic Conditions in Children

Children require more sleep than any adult. It is when they grow, when they decompress, and when fuel up for another day of development. However, for some children sleep isn’t just vital for proper growth and function – it’s necessary to keep chronic childhood conditions from flaring up.

Many common conditions have multiple care plans to try to combat their symptoms. With children, however, it is always best to try to find the most organic form of therapy. An average child requires anywhere from 8 to 12 hours of sleep a night to function properly. For children with chronic conditions such as migraines or Fibromyalgia, they would most likely benefit with more sleep.

Sleep produces serotonin. Serotonin is a vital neurotransmitter for the brain. When there is a significant drop in serotonin, the blood vessels in the brain and other parts of the body swell as a reaction to the lack of hormone. As a result, migraine symptoms increase dramatically. Basically, the serotonin levels stop the brain from transmitting the signal to feel pain and subsequently the blood vessels do not respond by swelling.

Another issue with sleep deficit and chronic conditions is that it can create symptoms that are similar to other conditions. Many children are diagnosed with ADHD or ADD because of symptoms that are similar to Fibromyalgia. More specifically, Fibromyalgia has a common symptom known as brain fog. It is described as a lack of focus, inattentiveness, irritability, and overall fatigue. These are symptoms that are remarkably similar to those of ADHD and ADD. Having a sleep deficit can greatly aggravate Fibromyalgia brain fog and can be misdiagnosed as a psycho-neurological disorder. What this leads to is an inappropriate treatment plan and often times an unsuccessful treatment result. Imagine what treating a child with a Ritalin derivative would do when the accurate approach would have been to treat chronic fatigue syndrome that often presents itself with Fibromyalgia.

It may be difficult to incorporate a strong sleep pattern in some children, especially those that struggle with certain chronic disorders; however there are some natural approaches that can render success. Melatonin in small doses has shown to be very effective to help children fall asleep and sleep more soundly. Other children benefit from a strong bedtime routine that includes meditation and low stimulation. The bottom line is that all children need adequate sleep. Children that have underlying chronic conditions not only need more sleep to thrive, they need it to remain successful in their treatment plan for migraines and Fibromyalgia.

REFERENCES

  • uwconsult.netreturns.biz/LocalStories/Story.aspx?StoryID=d2460dee-150b-4fd7-9346-a10a0553d5d7#.UdGWR_nlbQg

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4 Alternative Treatments for Fibromyalgia

Fibromyalgia has a reputation for causing major pain and discomfort in the musculoskeletal system. It is often accompanied with fatigue, mood, and memory symptoms. Common treatments include an arsenal of medications such as pain medication, anti-depressants, and even anti-seizure medication. These medications can carry heavy risks and strong side effects that can often times be as bad if not worse than the fibromyalgia symptoms. To challenge medicinal treatment here are 4 alternative treatments for Fibromyalgia.

Acupuncture – This ancient Chinese therapy gains its success by providing balance and energy to the body by means of fine needles inserted into the skin. The idea is that the puncture will change the flow of blood and neurotransmitters to the brain, thus alleviating pain.

Tai Chi & Yoga – Combining meditation, breathing, stretching, and balance, Tai Chi and Yoga help treat Fibromyalgia both mentally and physically. Elongating the muscles and strengthening the core of the body helps give more strength and balance, while mediation can help to diffuse the emotional effect of pain.

Chiropractic Therapy – Aligning the spine and the balancing the chemicals in the brain helps to reduce the amount of pain that the brain perceives. Proper alignment also reduces tension and pressure on the musculoskeletal system which will reduce fatigue and reduce discomfort.

Massage Therapy – Massage has a long history dating back thousands of years. Incorporating muscle relaxation with pressure points promotes slower heart rate, calmer demure, and muscle healing. It also encourages overall relaxation to give energy to combat fatigue.

Trying any one of these methods can increase pain management and discomfort caused by Fibromyalgia. However, your best results will be achieved when you incorporate your own treatment plan using all of these practices in one capacity or another.

Natural Treatments for Fibromyalgia

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Using Detox to Treat Fibromyalgia

Fibromyalgia can literally stop a person in their tracks when symptoms flare. With chronic pain, muscle stiffness, and fatigue, trying to function day to day can be compromised when dealing with this debilitating disease. While diet and exercise can help, there are certain detoxifying measures that can have a profound impact on the symptoms that flare up with Fibromyalgia.

The idea behind detox for Fibromyalgia is relatively simple – Be aware of what to put into your body and be aware of what to avoid. The most important thing to encourage a Fibromyalgia detox begins with a combination of herbs brewed into a tea to remove toxins from your body. These herbs include Echinacea, fenugreek, and ginger. Brewed together into a tea, these herbs with honey as a sweetener will begin a natural detox when consumed daily.

While the tea is a good starting point to a Fibromyalgia detox, incorporating certain vegetables is important to help continued toxin removal and encourage the body to react to the new diet. These vegetables include broccoli, cauliflower, beets, onions, artichokes, garlic, sprouts, and any red or green vegetable. Utilize the nutritional value of your vegetables by keeping at least one serving of vegetables a day in their raw state. When a serving of any or all of these vegetables is consumed 3 times or more a day, symptoms for Fibromyalgia will decrease mainly because of the lack of toxins and the beneficial vitamins and nutrients that are customized for the disease.

A good detox diet for Fibromyalgia is only going to work if certain things are avoided to help reduce toxins from the start. Things to avoid are processed sugars, white flour, saturated fats, and preservatives. It is also important to cut down on dairy and egg products and eat more white meats in place of red. It’s important to incorporate more whole wheat as you cut down on meat, dairy, and egg products to fill in nutritional gaps.

Like with any diet, it will take time to make a lifestyle change with this detox and it may be a few weeks before your feel yourself combatting your Fibromyalgia symptoms. However, with commitment to the detox, your body will begin to rebuild and function with less pain and fatigue from the disease.

REFERENCES

  • Photo Credit: flickr.com/photos/stone-soup/4195076305/
  • diet.lovetoknow.com/wiki/Detox_Diet_to_Cure_Fibromyalgia

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Exercise for Fibromyalgia

Exercising regularly is one of the best ways to manage Fibromyalgia. Exercise can help reduce stress, improve serotonin levels, soothe muscles, and increase strength.

Careful attention, however, should be paid when creating an exercise routine if you’re suffering from FMS. Strenuous activity and high intensity exercise can actually be counterproductive and create more pain and inflammation. But, beginning slowly, finding your own personal limits and working with a fitness professional can dramatically reduce FMS symptoms and is highly recommended.

[themedy_media type=”youtube” url=”https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JLZD2c_yooY”]

Meditative-based exercises like Yoga and Tai-chi have proven quite effective in reducing FMS associated pain.

Yoga is an excellent way to increase muscle endurance, flexibility and deliver much needed oxygen to sore muscles. Gentle yoga and restorative practices also offer myofacial release and relieve FMS pain.

The gentle Chinese energy practice of Tai-chi is another great way to remove blockages and unwanted toxins in muscles and blood. Studies show that patients who practiced just 12 weeks of tai-chi slept better, felt better, had less pain, more energy, and better physical and mental health.
Lastly, Muscle Resistance Training can be beneficial to FMS patients. Using low weight and low repetitions, begin exploring your limits by exercising to the initial point of mild fatigue and then stop. Be sure to consult your physician and a fitness professional for an optimal and safe exercise routine.

In addition to these meditative-based exercises, working with a holistically trained professional may help you regain muscle mobility and flexibility. This includes seeing a structural integration specialist, chiropractor or a specialist in osteopathic manipulation.

For more information on Exercise and Fibromyalgia, visit Natural Holistic Therapies for Fibromyalgia.

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Elevate Your Mood and Energy Level with Eleuthero

Do you have fibromyalgia and suffer from profound fatigue or depression? Are you exhausted all of the time? If so, consider adding the herb Eleuthero to your treatment program. Eleuthero (Eleutherococcus senticosus), often referred to as Siberian ginseng, is used by many people, not only to restore energy, but also help to stabilize mood.

It is one of the most commonly prescribed herbs in the world due to its ability to help combat fatigue. It is also a tremendous stress buster. Eleuthero has also been demonstrated in a few research studies to improve mental performance and concentration.

In addition, it hasimmune system boosting effects and can help fight off infections. Fibromyalgia is associated with stressed out adrenal glands. Eleuthero functions as an adrenal gland booster that can boost adrenal function and improve physical stamina. In one clinical study, nine males used this herb at a dose of 800 mg a day for approximately two months. Compared to the placebo group, those taking Eleuthero demonstrated improved endurance and heart function.

This herb can be taken in many forms, such as a tincture, extract, or capsule. An easy way to take Eleuthero is in capsule form. You can begin at a starting dose of 500 mg a day. Increase the dose to twice a day over a few weeks. You should begin to notice how much better you feel as well as an improvement in your ability to cope with daily stresses.

Be aware that Eleuthero can thin the blood. If you are taking any prescription blood thinning medication such as Coumadin, be sure to speak with your doctor or pharmacist before using this herb. To ensure safety and avoid drug interactions, consult a professional before using any herbs.

By Rich Snyder, DO

References

  • Kuo J, Chen KW et al. “The effect of eight weeks of supplementation with Eleutherococcus senticosus on endurance capacity and metabolism in human.” The Chinese Journal of Physiology. 2010 Apr 30;53(2):105-11.
  • Panossian A, Wikman G. “Evidence-based efficacy of adaptogens in fatigue, and molecular mechanisms related to their stress-protective activity.” Current Clinical Pharmacology. 2009 Sep;4(3):198-219.

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Fibromyalgia and D-ribose

Studies tout the energy boost D-ribose provides people suffering from fibromyalgia.

D-ribose, also called ribose or Beta-D-ribofuranose, is a type of sugar that your body produces naturally.

  • D-ribose increases the energy to all of the cells of the body, especially the muscle cells. Supplementing with D-ribose can provide your heart with the energy boost that it needs.
  • D-ribose commonly comes in capsule or powdered form. The powdered form is preferred as you can add it to your morning drink.
  • The recommended starting dose is 2500 mg. Increase by 2500 mg every few weeks to reach a maximum dose of 10,000 mg.
  • Even though ribose is a “sugar” it will not raise blood glucose levels. Higher doses than 10,000 mg can cause diarrheal symptoms in some people.
Written by Rich Snyder, DO
REFERENCES
  • Teitelbaum J, Johnson C et al. “The use of D-ribose in chronic fatigue syndrome and fibromyalgia: a pilot study.” Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine. 2006 Nov;12(9):857-62.
  • Lucas HJ, Brauch CM et al. “Fibromyalgia–new concepts of pathogenesis and treatment.” International Journal of Immunopathology and Pharmacology. 2006 Jan-Mar;19(1):5-10.
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Fibromyalgia and Pregnancy: 6 Things to Help You Survive and Thrive

What woman isn’t tired and achy during pregnancy? Whether suffering through morning sickness in the early months or slowly waddling around in the third trimester women may often feel pregnancy is closer to an extreme physical sport than the hearts-and-flowers ads depicted on TV. Add fibromyalgia to the mix and the pain and fatigue can leap to a whole new level.

With its symptoms of musculoskeletal pain and fatigue along with issues related to sleep, mood and memory fibromyalgia can take a lot out of a person even under the best of circumstances. A number of medications can help keep problems in check but many may not be fully safe to take when pregnant.

The good news is some women can experience a lessening of symptoms during pregnancy with the increase of serotonin and cortisol. This does not happen for everyone, however, so a woman should be prepared for any outcome.

Fortunately there are some things women can do both in advance of becoming pregnant and while carrying the baby that may help.

  1. Do any experimenting with treatments before pregnancy. Take the time to explore different treatments that would be safe to use during pregnancy and find one that works before actually getting pregnant.
  2. Evaluate your life situation and look for areas to cut back on to save as much energy as possible. Consider working part time or not at all depending on fatigue levels and other symptoms. Accept help when it’s offered. Everything from meals being dropped off to errands run by someone else can translate into extra time to rest. Delegate when possible. Ordering groceries online and/or hiring a cleaning service can be a godsend.
  3. Stay active as much as you can. Exercises like stretching and swimming in a warm (but not hot) swimming pool can be helpful in keeping muscles loose and symptoms at bay. Yoga and meditation may also offer some relief.
  4. Try non-medication options. A warm bath may soothe soreness though try to limit the temperature to 100 degrees or less and time to 15-20 minutes to avoid becoming too hot. Massage from a therapist who knows both fibromyalgia and pregnancy can also be something to try.
  5. Keep in touch with your fibromyalgia specialist as well as your obstetrician. Problems ranging from pain to postpartum depression (which can strike during pregnancy or after the baby’s birth) should be discussed and addressed.
  6. Keep your eye on the prize. As challenging as a pregnancy with fibromyalgia may be, remember it’s only nine months…and has a terrific reward at the end.

Written by Kristen Stewart
Kristen is a freelance writer specializing in health, nutrition, parenting and lifestyle topics. To learn more, visit her website at www.kristenestewart.com.

REFERENCES

  • www.fmaware.org/News2dffb.html?page=NewsArticle&id=5923
  • www.fmaware.org/News2e602.html?page=NewsArticle&id=5343
  • www.webmd.com/fibromyalgia/guide/fibromyalgia-and-pregnancy

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