Categories
Treatment

Acupuncture

When most people hear the word acupuncture they immediately think of the insertion of needles in various parts of the body. While this is the most common type of treatment, acupuncture can refer to a variety of different stimulation techniques.

It has had a long history as part of traditional Chinese and Asian medicine before growing in popularity in the United States in the early 1970s. Frequently used for pain relief, the Chinese philosophy believes by putting needles in certain locations the body’s energy flow or qi can be rebalanced and provide relief. Many Westerners think the stimulation of certain nerves, muscles and connective tissues increases the body’s blood flow and release of endorphins which can lessen discomfort.

How It Works

An initial evaluation can take about an hour. Exact details depend on the practitioner and his or her approach but it may include examinations of the area in pain along with the tongue, face color and wrist pulse. Discussion of general health, lifestyle and behavior factors may also occur. After the first meeting, treatments generally last about 30 minutes. Depending on the problem 6 to 12 appointments over several months is often typical. Between 5 and 20 very thin needles are inserted in various locations of the body (sometimes some are nowhere near the area in pain). Discomfort should be very minimal or nonexistent. Once the needles are in the practitioner has a variety of options from twirling them to heating them to applying light electrical pulses to them. After 10 to 20 minutes the needles are removed.

Benefits

Acupuncture can by tried for a number of painful ailments ranging from headaches, back pain and dental pain to fibromyalgia, osteoarthritis and even labor pain.

Accupuncture is beginning to emerge as a combination therapy across western medicine that has been shown to show relief for patients after surgery.

When approaching menopause, accupuncture has been shown to significantly reduce the duration and intensity of hot flashes and other symptoms associated with that phase of life.

Precautions

Acupuncture is generally considered pretty safe but there are a few things to keep in mind. First and foremost, practitioners should always use sterile, disposable needles to prevent infections and exposure to serious diseases. A little bit of soreness or even small amounts of bleeding or bruising where the needles were inserted is possible. In rare cases needles can puncture organs if they are pushed in too far. Individuals with bleeding disorders or who take a blood thinner may not be good candidates for acupuncture. Similarly anyone with a pacemaker should likely avoid this treatment as the electrical impulses to the needle could affect the pacemaker. Finally, acupuncture in some forms may trigger labor so pregnant women may need to avoid it.

Summary

Acupuncture is an ancient Asian treatment that involves very thin needles inserted in certain locations to help relieve pain.

References

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

Mayo Clinic mayoclinic.com/health/acupuncture/MY00946

Categories
Condition

Migraine Natural Treatments

Written by Sandy Cho, MD and reviewed by Julie A. Cerrato, PhD

A migraine headache, often described as an intense throbbing or pulsing on one side of the head, is commonly accompanied by nausea, vomiting, and extreme sensitivity to light and sound.

Migraine attacks can be especially debilitating and cause significant pain for hours to days. They can be so severe that they interfere with activities of daily living.

Find migraine natural treatments such as herbal medicine, supplements, acupuncture, massage, and biofeedback for treating migraines below.

Overview

What are the signs/symptoms of a migraine?

Migraines may progress through four stages, consisting of prodrome, aura, attack and postdrome. However, you may not experience all four stages.

Prodrome

One or two days before a migraine, you may notice subtle changes which may indicate the onset of a migraine, including:

  • Constipation
  • Diarrhea
  • Depression
  • Euphoria
  • Food cravings
  • Fatigue
  • Irritability
  • Sensitivity to smells or noise
  • Neck stiffness

Aura

Most people experience migraine headaches without aura. Auras are usually visual but can also be sensory, motor or verbal disturbances. Each of these symptoms typically begins gradually over several minutes, then commonly lasts for 10 to 30 minutes. Examples of aura include:

  • Visual phenomena, such as seeing various shapes, bright spots or flashes of light
  • Vision loss
  • Pins-and-needles sensations or numbness in arm or leg
  • Speech or language disturbances
  • Less commonly, an aura may be associated with aphasia or limb weakness (hemiplegic migraine)

Attack

When untreated, a migraine typically lasts from four to 72 hours, but the frequency with which headaches occur varies between individuals. You may have migraines several times a month or much less frequently. During a migraine, you may experience some of the following symptoms:

  • Pain on one side of your head
  • Pain that has a pulsating, throbbing quality
  • Sensitivity to light, sound and sometimes smells
  • Blurred vision
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Diarrhea, lightheadedness, sometimes followed by fainting

Postdrome

The final phase, known as postdrome, occurs after a migraine attack, when you may feel weak and fatigued, though some people report feeling mildly euphoric.

What causes a migraine?

  • Hormonal alteration (menstruation): Changes in estrogen can trigger headaches in many women. Women with a history of migraines often report headaches either immediately before or during their periods, when they experience a decline in estrogen. Others have a greater likelihood of developing migraines during pregnancy or menopause. Hormonal medications, such as oral contraceptives and hormone replacement therapy, can also worsen migraines.
  • Stress/anxiety: Stress and/or anxiety atworkor home can cause migraines.
  • Sleep disturbances: Changes in wake-sleep pattern, such as jet lag, is a main culprit. Getting too much or too little sleep can cause migraines.
  • Certain drugs/foods: Common foods that cause migraines include alcohol, especially beer and red wine; aged cheeses; chocolate; aspartame; overuse of caffeine; monosodium glutamate; salty foods; and processed foods. Skipping meals or fasting also can trigger migraine attacks. Certain medications can aggravate migraines, especially oral contraceptives and vasodilators, such as nitroglycerin.
  • Weather and/or environmental changes and factors: Changes inweatheror in atmospheric pressure can trigger a migraine.

What are conventional treatments for migraine?

If migraines are mild, analgesics such as NSAIDs or acetaminophen are often taken. If not, a dihydroergotamine (DHE)or a triptan may be prescribed by a physician.

  • Dihydroergotamine is used for moderate to severe attacks whenvasculardiseaseand hypertension are absent. It should not be used during pregnancy or within 24 hours of triptans due torisk of heart attack.
  • Triptans (sumatriptan, rizatriptan, almotriptan, zolmitriptan) are serotonin receptor agonists and are for moderate to severe migraine when vascular diseaseand uncontrolled hypertension are absent. Triptans inhibit vasoactive peptide release, cause vasoconstriction, and block pain pathways in the brainstem. They should be avoided in pregnancy and in hemiplegic or basilar migraine.

Nutrition

Nutritional approaches to migraine are often effective. They can be particularly useful for pregnant women.

  • Elimination Diet: Avoid foods that are known to trigger migraine headaches and eliminate them from your diet. Foods commonly identified as migraine triggers include dairy products (eg, cheese), chocolate, eggs, citrus fruits, meat, wheat, nuts and peanuts. Tyramine- and phenylalanine-containing foods, such as aged cheese, beer, and red wine, are also migraine triggers. Eliminating food additives, including MSG (monosodium glutamate), aspartame, and sodium nitrate, is vital in reducing the intensity and frequency of migraine headaches. You need to read food labels and be aware of the ingredients of the food you are consuming.

Herbs
Feverfew

Herbs are commonly used to provide relief from migraines. Feverfew and butterbur are remedies for a migraine in either preventing them or reducing their severity. Riboflavin also may prevent migraines. Seek the advice of a health professional to see if these treatments are right for you.

  • Feverfew: an herb with anti-inflammatory properties. A study shows that feverfew extract of 6.25 mg three times a day decreased migraine attacks by nearly half.The primary active ingredient in feverfew can be found in some other plants such as artichoke, sunflower, lettuce, spinach, and ginkgo biloba.Feverfew action appears to affect a wide variety of physiologic pathways. Some of these mechanisms include inhibition of prostaglandin synthesis, decrease of vascular smooth muscle spasm, and blockage of platelet granule secretion.Feverfew supplements are available fresh, freeze-dried, or dried and can be purchased in capsule, tablet, or liquid extract forms. Feverfew supplements with clinical studies contain a standardized dose of parthenolide. Feverfew supplements should be standardized to contain at least 0.2% parthenolide. Parthenolide is central to the biological effects of feverfew.
  • Butterbur (Petasites hybridus root): an ancient plant which has been used for medical and edible purposes. 50-75 mg twice a day have demonstratedsignificant reduction in migraine frequency.The mechanism by which butterbur may reduce migraine includes inhibiting the inflammatory effect of chemicals like leukotrienes and prostaglandin E2 in the pain pathway. Another mechanism of butterbur may be its ability to function as a natural beta blocker whose action results in the normal flow of blood to the brain. This helps control blood pressure and spasmodic capillary action, which can also contribute to the onset of migraine headaches.When purchasing butterbur products, be sure to choose a brand labeled PA-Free. This means the product was processed to remove potentially harmful, toxic chemicals found in the butterbur plant known as pyrrolizidine alkaloids (PA). The special butterbur extract is prepared by having all liver-toxic alkaloids removed.

Supplements

  • Riboflavin (Vitamin B2): a water-soluble vitamin, which means it is not stored in the body. Therefore, it needs to be replenished in the body every day. Riboflavin is important for body growth and red blood cell production. It is also required for energy metabolism, such as the metabolism of carbohydrates.

Studies show a deficit of mitochondrial energy metabolism may play a role in migraine pathogenesis. Therefore, riboflavin has been investigated as a treatment and/or prevention for migraine.

Studies have found significant reductions in headache frequency with daily pharmacologic doses (400 mg) of riboflavin.  Furthermore, riboflavin was demonstrated to be a safe and well-tolerated alternative in migraine prevention and treatment. It even reduced the number of abortive anti-migraine tablets (ie. Ergotamines, triptans) used in migraine sufferers.

  • Magnesium is another important mineral to add to your treatment plan. Magnesium deficiency is a major contributing factor to the development of migraine headaches and many of us are deficient in magnesium.The recommended amount of magnesium is 600-800 mg a day in in divided doses throughout the day. Taking it in this manner maximizes its absorption.While there are many different oral forms of Magnesium, one form that be extremely beneficial for migraine sufferers is Magnesium Threonate. This is because it is able to penetrate the brain unlike other forms of Magnesium.
  • Ginkgolide B is an herbal extract derived from Ginkgo biloba. It is used not only for the acute attack of migraine headaches but is also extremely beneficial for the prevention of migraine headaches.In one study, patients with a history of migraine with auras when given  the combination of Gingkolide B, Coenzyme Q 10 and Vitamin B2 (riboflavin) demonstrated not only a decrease in the frequency of migraines with aura but also their duration.
  • Coenzyme Q10 (Ubiquinone): Supplementation with Coq10 has demonstrated to decrease the frequency of migraines headaches.Because ubiquinone can have a blood pressure-lowering effect, it is recommended to begin at low doses. Begin at 50 mg twice a day and increase slowly over the next few weeks.
  • Omega 3 Fish Oil: Adding Omega 3 fish oil can help  in the prevention of migraines, especially in adolescents and young adults. In one study, Omega 3 supplementation decreased the recurrence of migraines in adolescents.Begin at a dose of 1000-2000 mg a day. This can  be slowly increased to 3-4 grams a day.As Omega 3 fish oil can thin the blood, talk with your healthcare practitioner if you are taking blood thinning medications such as Coumadin.

Bodywork

Acupuncture

Acupuncture involves the insertion of fine needles through your skin at strategic points on your body followed by gentle manipulation of the needles. Clinical trials have found that acupuncture may be helpful for headache pain. Because the pain of a migraine may be associated with the dilation of blood vessels in the head, increasing circulation in this area can worsen symptoms. Thus, a unique approach to the treatment of migraine attacks is used. By avoiding points in the head, neck and upper body, and instead using points exclusively in the lower body, dilation of the blood vessels of the head is limited.

Massage
Biofeedback

Biofeedback appears to be especially effective in relieving migraine pain. This relaxation technique uses special equipment to teach you how to monitor and control certain physical responses related to stress, such as muscle tension.

Manual therapy

Massage and chiropractic treatments may help reduce the frequency of migraines. They can also improve the quality of your sleep, which can, in turn, help prevent migraine attacks.

Prevention

  • Nutrition/Diet: refer to immediate above section
  • Exercise: Regular aerobic exercise reduces tension and can help prevent migraines. Progressive muscle relaxation, meditationand yoga don’t require any equipment.
  • Rest and relax: Spend at least a half-hour each day doing something you find relaxing — listening to music, gardening, taking a hot bath or reading. If possible, rest in a dark, quiet room when you feel the onset of a headache. Place an ice pack wrapped in a cloth on the back of your neck and apply gentle pressure to painful areas on your scalp.

Updated: August 2019

  • Agosti R, Duke RK, Chrubasik JE, Chrubasik S. Effectiveness of Petasites hybridus preparations in the prophylaxis of migraine: a systematic review. Phytomedicine 2006;13(9-10):743-6.
  • Dall’Acqua S, Viola G, Giorgetti M, Loi MC, Innocenti G. Two new sesquiterpene lactones from the leaves of Laurus nobilis. Chemical & pharmaceutical bulletin 2006;54 (8): 1187–1189.
  • Gilmore B, et al. Treatment of acute migraine headache. American Family Physician. 2011;83:271-280.
  • Hildreth C, Lynm C, Glass R. Migraine Headache. Journal of the American Medical Association. 2009;301(24):2608.
  • NINDS Migraine information page. National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke
  • Schoenen J, Jacquy J, Lenaerts M. Effectiveness of high-dose riboflavin in migraine prophylaxis. A randomized controlled trial. Neurology. 1998 Feb;50(2):466-70.
  • Vaughan T. The role of food in the pathogenesis ofmigraine headache. Clin Rev Allergy. 1994;12:167-180.
Categories
Treatment

Herbal Medicine

An herb is a plant or plant part used for its scent, flavor or therapeutic properties.

Plants have the ability to synthesize a wide variety of chemical compounds that are used to perform important biological functions, and to defend against attack from predators such as insects, fungi and herbivorous mammals.

Many of these phytochemicals have beneficial effects on long-term health when consumed by people, and can be used to effectively treat diseases. At least 12,000 such compounds have been isolated; a number estimated to be less than 10% of the total.

How it Works

Chemical compounds in plants mediate their effects on the human body through processes identical to those already well understood for the chemical compounds in conventional drugs; thus herbal medicines do not differ greatly from conventional drugs in terms of how they work. This enables herbal medicines to be as effective as conventional medicines, but also gives them the same potential to cause harmful side effects.

Benefits

The use of herbs to treat disease is almost universal among non-industrialized societies, and is often more affordable than purchasing expensive modern pharmaceuticals. The World Health Organization (WHO) estimates that 80 percent of the population of some Asian and African countries presently use herbal medicine for some aspect of primary health care.

Studies in the United States and Europe have shown that their use is less common in clinical settings, but has become increasingly more in recent years as scientific evidence about the effectiveness of herbal medicine has become more widely available.

Precautions

Chemical compounds in plants mediate their effects on the human body through processes identical to those already well understood for the chemical compounds in conventional drugs; thus herbal medicines do not differ greatly from conventional drugs in terms of how they work. This enables herbal medicines to be as effective as conventional medicines, but also gives them the same potential to cause harmful side effects.

To use an herbal product as safely as possible:

  • Consult your doctor first
  • Do not take a bigger dose than the label recommends
  • Take it under the guidance of a trained medical professional
  • Be especially cautious if you are pregnant or nursing

Summary

Herbal medicine products are dietary supplements taken to improve one's health. Many herbs have been used for a long time for claimed health benefits. They are sold as tablets, capsules, powders, teas, extracts and fresh or dried plants.

Source:

  • Wikipedia contributors. Herbalism. Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia. November 26, 2012, 22:12 UTC.
    en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Herbalism&oldid=525028532. Accessed November 27, 2012.
  • NIH: National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine
    nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/herbalmedicine.html
Categories
Image Natural Health News and Articles

Massage Therapy Benefits

The benefits of massage therapy are powerful when it comes to stress reduction, relaxation, easing pain, managing migraines, insomnia, and muscle recovery.

Fix.com’s massage therapy infographic found here will help you find the most appropriate type of massage to meet your needs and lifestyle.

Massage Therapy Benefits

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Natural Health News and Articles

How Natural Hormone Replacement Therapy Builds Better Health

Before 2002 hormone replacement therapy, or HRT, was often used to treat menopausal symptoms such as hot flashes and to protect aging women from long-term health conditions like heart disease and osteoporosis.

In 2002 a large clinical trial uncovered several health risks of the treatment, like heart attack, stroke and cancer, which outweighed the treatment’s benefits, according to the Mayo Clinic and WebMD. As a result, doctors prescribed the therapy less and many women taking the medication discontinued it.

Today, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration recommends that HRT be used only in women who have severe menopausal symptoms, according to WebMD. It does not recommend HRT for disease prevention.

That appears to leave women who need better balance in their bodies with only a highly risky option, right?

No. There is a much safer option out there. It’s called natural hormone replacement therapy, or NHRT.

Natural hormones can provide the intended benefits of synthetic hormones such as Premarin and Prempro, without the side effects, says Eric Sauer, owner of The Natural Pharmacy in Ocean, N.J.

Wild Yams

Natural hormones are derived from wild yams and are converted to hormones that are identical, also called bio-identical, to the hormones made by the human body, according to The Natural Pharmacy’s website. These hormones match exactly what the human body produces at the molecular level. They are used by compounding pharmacists like Eric, who custom prepare each prescription dosage to meet each patient’s individual needs.

Patented, synthetic hormones have an altered chemical structure that may resemble what the body naturally produces but that do not match what the body produces.

Synthetic hormones follow a different, slower metabolic pathway than bio-identical hormones, which means synthetic hormones can stay in the body and accumulate, acting stronger, possibly inducing cancers and leading to many other potential side effects like bloating and weight gain.

Yam-based bio-identical hormones follow a cancer-free pathway and are nearly risk-free. Eric, who’s been a pharmacist for nearly 30 years, says only about 1% of patients are unable to take these natural hormones.

Plus, bio-identical plant-derived hormone products have been safely prescribed by European physicians for more than 50 years.

Market Dominance

Patented, synthetic hormones dominate the medical market compared to bio-identical hormones because natural products like bio-identical hormones are not patentable, just like rain or a flower isn’t patentable.

Patented, unique products like synthetic hormones are a top source of profit for drug companies.

Natural hormone replacement therapy can be used for more than just menopausal symptoms. It also may help protect against heart disease and endometrial and breast cancers, promote stronger bones and protect against osteoporosis, improve concentration and memory, reduce symptoms of depression, promote fat burning for energy, alleviate sleeping issues, and help with infertility.

Why are female hormone levels imbalanced? Eric cites stress as a top reason, as well as poor diet and genetics.

The Calming Hormone

The hormone progesterone plays a crucial role in helping maintain balance, particularly for stress-related issues.

“It’s the only calming hormone in your body,” Eric says, adding that other hormones like testosterone and cortisol excite the body.

Stress depletes progesterone, which leads to symptoms like depression, anxiety and mood swings as well as other common symptoms that a patient might regard as normal, such as trouble sleeping, headaches and migraines, memory loss and weight gain.

“Women are not depressed. They are depleted,” Eric says. “When you replenish the progesterone, the depression goes away.” He teaches patients how to “slide the scale” as stress levels increase and decrease. As stress rises and progesterone levels fall, patients can take more bio-identical progesterone to replace what’s depleted.

Patients can start to feel the effects of natural hormone replacement therapy in a few days. For some women it can take up to 60 days, Eric says.

The Cause of PMS

Low progesterone also leads to those unpleasant symptoms of premenstrual syndrome, or PMS, like migraines, mood swings and cramping. Females as young as 13 who are menstruating can be evaluated to see whether they should begin taking a natural progesterone replacement. Instead of taking a pain reliever like ibuprofen to mask the symptoms of PMS, they can begin NHRT to bring the body back to its balanced state, which naturally eliminates the symptoms. Eric says it usually takes about 10 months to a year to get the body back to a balanced state in this case.

With NHRT, progesterone acts as a nutrient, not a drug, Eric says. There is little to no risk factor and the patient can take it on a schedule, such as two weeks on, two weeks off, for any length of time.

In addition to bringing the body back to hormone balance, progesterone raises the HDL “good” cholesterol, helps prevent hair loss and helps promote stronger bones, among other benefits.

Saliva Test

Eric suggests a saliva test to measure hormone levels. Saliva tests are more accurate than blood tests because they measure the amount of hormones to which the body tissues are truly being exposed. Blood tests are less accurate because they pick up those hormones that are bound to red blood cells and inactive.

Saliva tests also are less expensive than blood tests. Multiple saliva tests can easily be taken over a period of time to measure fluctuating hormone levels.

Eric usually uses lozenges to administer the hormones, which are out of the body in 12 hours. Each dosage is compounded according to the patient’s unique needs.

NHRT also may be appropriate for men. As men age their estrogen levels rise and their testosterone levels decline. Progesterone may help balance their hormones, although the dosage is less than for women, Eric says.

Eric, who has been working with bio-identical hormones for about 15 years, includes both the patient and the doctor in each case to identify the patient’s needs. “You always have to keep a doctor in the loop,” he says.

Natural hormone replacement therapy is available only by prescription.

How It Works

If a patient is currently on medication such as the antidepressant Prozac, Eric keeps her on the medication, evaluates her diet and adds progesterone to bring hormonal balance back and eliminate the depressive symptoms. Slowly, he weans the patient off the medication. Many patients stop taking the medication altogether during this process, while others continue it at a lower dosage for added support.

“It’s wonderful when they get balanced and are no longer on medication,” Eric says.

For more information about Eric Sauer and his pharmacy, visit the pharmacy’s website at http://www.ericsnaturalpharmacy.com/. Eric, who also provides enzyme therapy, will be featured on the AMC Network’s “Enzymes/Baby Boomers” show on Dec. 19.

– By Jessica Braun

Jessica Braun is an associate editor at WholesomeOne. She can be reached at jessica.braun[at]wholesomeone[dot]com.

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Natural Health News and Articles Video

3 Techniques to Naturally Get Rid of Migraines [video]

Tammy Lawrence-Cymbalisty of ReikiAndYoga.com in this video exhibits 3 techniques to naturally get relief from a migraine headache – a herb, hydrotherapy and acupressure.

[themedy_media type=”youtube” url=”https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2JiGsRbG6as”]

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Natural Health News and Articles

Hellerwork Is Transformational Experience for Practitioner

Anne-Marie Duchêne represents all that Hellerwork stands for. She explored several paths before discovering that Hellerwork was her passion. The modality not only inspired her, it gave her the will to give it a try.

Through Hellerwork, “I began to see that I could do what I wanted to do with my life and have the courage to do it.” Today Anne-Marie is a Hellerwork practitioner and owner of Art of Alignment Structural Integration in New York City.

Hellerwork is a type of structural integration founded by Joseph Heller. It is comprised primarily of three parts: realignment of the connective tissue through bodywork, movement education that aims to maintain the bodywork, and dialogue that encourages the exploration of thoughts and how those thoughts affect the body.

The goal of the modality is to restore balance and fluidity in the body, which can result in a physical and mental realignment of the person.

Hellerwork can help relieve physical pain like migraines and backaches. It also can help in coping with emotional issues like weight loss, depression, financial woes, relationship problems and stress.

The modality typically occurs over an 11-session period, each of which focuses on a theme based on the dialogue.

Inspiration is the theme for session one. During each session unexpected conversations start, leading to an increased awareness.

The session might begin with little to say because the person might not have much at the forefront of his mind because of stress, pain, anxiety or other reasons. He might talk about a lack of inspiration initially.

Whatever the response, the practitioner is listening and observing how the person's dialogue relates to his body.

Dialogue continues as the person moves under the guidance of the practitioner. Through breathing and slow, subtle movements, the person is able to release adhesions of tissue.

By the end of the session, the person might have named several things that inspire him as he connects with the deeper parts of himself through this movement and dialogue.

“It’s a conversation of liberation,” Anne-Marie said. People connect to their body both physically and emotionally.

Such a connection helped give Anne-Marie the perspective to identify what she really wanted to do with her life.

Anne-Marie moved to New York from Montreal in 1986 to pursue a career in dancing. After 10 years, though, she grew restless of the city and needed a change. She moved to San Francisco to attend the Universityof California, Berkeley, and study Cultural Anthropology. While there, she landed a job as a business leadership coach for companies like Oracle and Microsoft.

After completing her degree and spending five years as a corporate coach, she made plans to set up her own coaching company. At the same time a friend encouraged her to apply for a scouting job at Cirque du Soleil. She got the job, so she returned to her dance roots. She moved back to Montreal, where she was a scout and dancing specialist for Cirque.

When the company moved most of their scouting online, Anne-Marie knew she needed to find something new.

“I’m not a good desk person,” she said.

She moved back to New Yorkwhere she scouted for Cirque on the East Coast and danced. At this point she was thinking more and more about how she wanted to spend the rest of her life.

“I kept asking, ‘What’s my purpose and how can I serve?’”

After Anne-Marie spent two years of scouting on the East Coast, Cirque offered her a job as artistic director in 2006. At the same time she received a gift certificate for her birthday for a Hellerwork session.

She was skeptical about Hellerwork and she was busy, so it took her eight months and three cancellations before she attended the session. Anne-Marie, who had been battling 10 years of back pain, finally made the time to go in hopes of easing that pain. Her plan was to go to only one session, though, not all 11.

After the first session she felt invigorated. Not only did her back pain ease, but her body and mind had eased as well. She made another appointment the following week.

“I immediately felt the power of this work,” she said.

Her body felt more aligned with every session. She had more mobility and flexibility not just throughout her body but in her mind, which resulted in more energy. Plus, her back pain had vanished.

By the sixth session, she had a Eureka moment.

“I was overwhelmed with joy and thought to myself, ‘I’m going to learn this modality.’ I wasn’t sure what my plan was going to look like, but I just jumped.”

She enrolled in the Hellerwork Structural Integration program in 2007 and, because she enrolled late, she received training from Joseph Heller himself out of his home in California.

“It was hard to give up salary and benefits, but I knew there was something more significant deep inside myself. I said, ‘I’m going to trust this.’”

She is now the owner of Art of Alignment Structural Integration and has plans to expand the studio to include coaching. She also plans to rename her business to her last name, Duchêne, which means “of the oak” in French.

“I feel like I am a model for what I speak for,” Anne-Marie said.

“Jump off the edge and then let your wings appear.”

Read more about Anne-Marie Duchêne, Hellerwork and Art of Alignment at www.artofalignment.com.

 

– By Jessica Braun

Jessica Braun is a writer and an editor at WholesomeOne. She can be reached at jessica.braun[at]wholesomeone[dot]com.

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Naturopathic Doctor’s ‘Nourish Me’ Business Promotes Healthy Eating for Kids

Erika Siegel of Portland, Oregon had plans to become a doctor. She wasn’t completely comfortable with what conventional medicine had to offer though, so she was confused about her career path. Her confusion turned to curiosity when she received a postcard in the mail from a Naturopathic school. That postcard ultimately changed her life.

Today she is a Naturopathic doctor focused on family medicine. “It’s the perfect fit for me,” she said of Naturopathic medicine. “A philosophy rooted in healing with a focus on prevention and wellness makes more sense to me than waiting for illness to arrive and then treating it,” she said. “Many roads can lead to wellness, not just pharmaceuticals and surgery.”

Dr. Siegel, who studied both Western and Eastern Medicine at the National College of Naturopathic Medicine, gave the example of 10 patients who have a migraine. If those 10 patients go to a conventional doctor, they all likely would receive the same prescription for the same medication. If those same 10 patients went to a Naturopathic doctor, they might leave with 10 different therapies, each based on the individual.

A Naturopathic doctor would take the time to understand all possible causes, such as food, allergies, hormone levels, muscular or skeletal imbalances, chemicals, sensitivities and more to get to the root of the problem, instead of focusing only on getting rid of the symptom. Dr. Siegel, who’s been practicing for about seven and a half years, said she does use medication when it’s necessary, such as for temporary relief while she’s searching for the cause of a symptom.

Nutrition is a big passion of Dr. Siegel’s. That passion, combined with continuous requests from patients and friends to provide nutritional advice and healthy recipes, led her to develop the Nourish Me ™ superfood supplement and write a book.

Nourish Me Superfood Supplement
Nourish Me is a nutrient-dense powder made from eight organic superfoods. Parents can mix the powder into creamy foods like yogurt, oatmeal and smoothies so that their kids get the essential nutrients they need for a strong immune system, a balanced digestive system, a strong brain and more. (Adults can use this dietary supplement, too!) Dr. Siegel said people can consume the supplement as often as they like. While some people eat it once a week, others eat it once a day. “If kids are getting enough veggies and variety in their diet, then they need less. If not, they need more,” Dr. Siegel said. “The best thing is that it’s all from food,” she said. “There’s nothing synthetic in there.”

Nourish Me Book
Dr. Siegel also is writing a book that will include tips on nutrition and kids’ health, home remedies, healing through food, and plenty of nutrient-dense, family-friendly recipes. Chapters include “The Dairy Dilemma,” which details why standard milk from the grocery store is not the healthy food many people think it is, and “Food as Medicine,” which explains how to use what’s in the refrigerator to achieve a medical benefit. She expects to complete the book by the end of 2012. Interested readers can sign up on the Nourish Me website to receive an alert when the book is available.

10 Healthy Eating Tips
Here are 10 tips from Dr. Siegel on how to get children to develop and maintain healthy eating habits.

1. Be a model of good eating habits. Parents can’t eat poorly and then expect their kids to eat well.

2. Before putting a meal on the table, put out chopped vegetables with a healthy dip or hummus so that kids can get some veggies down before the meal starts.

3. Eat dinner with other families to encourage a variety of foods. A child might notice that his good friend eats broccoli, for example. Plus, eating with company often takes the focus off what a child is or isn’t eating. Children get into the social space of eating together and often try new things.

4. Use the blender. Mash some cauliflower. Puree veggies into foods. You can easily add spinach into a smoothie without it being noticed – Try it!

5. Let kids put whatever condiment they want on their food. If mayonnaise, mustard or even dried fruit sells the dish, let them do it.

6. Don’t let a child’s blood sugar drop. Eating foods high in protein and healthy fats helps stabilize blood sugar. Once a child’s blood sugar drops the child is often too emotional to even talk about healthy food choices.

7. Chop veggies very small and put them into everything – put them in the Mac ’n Cheese, put them in the pasta, put them in everything. Make vegetables a part of every meal and don’t draw attention to it. Vegetables are just what everyone eats.

8. Remember that parents are in charge. “We’re often afraid to upset our kids,” Dr. Siegel said. “We put our foot down with other things, like making sure they put on a coat before they go outside, but often not with food. And remember, at the end of the day, it’s the parents who buy the food, right?”

9. Do not feed kids the food that is marketed to kids. Kids can and should eat adult food. Food marketed to kids is often loaded with sugar, artificial dyes and excess packaging. It’s actually easier to feed kids what the grown-ups eat once you get into the routine.

10. Relax. Try to look at the child’s nutrition for the whole day. If breakfast wasn’t a winner, there is always snack time, lunch and dinner. “When you teach good eating habits at home, you will feel ok with the times when your child is eating birthday cake and goldfish for dinner,” Dr. Siegel said. “Do what you can to make your best effort and then relax and enjoy your food. Teach kids to enjoy their food, too.”

For more information on healthy eating habits and the Nourish Me supplement and book, visit Dr. Siegel’s website at www.nourishme.com.

– By Jessica Braun
Jessica Braun is an editor and a writer at WholesomeOne. She can be reached at jessica.braun[at]wholesomeone[dot]com.

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Guided Meditation for Migraines

Migraine headaches can be debilitating and cause significant pain for hours and up to days. They are often brought on from stress.

Meditation is one of the best forms of relaxation and stress management that is easily approached and reliable.

The following video from Mind Space offers an 8-minute guided meditation to help relieve the pain a migraine causes.

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Does Having a History of Migraines Increase the Risk of Stroke?

Migraine headaches and strokes have always been viewed by the medical profession as being two separate medical conditions. Until now, no direct association between the two had been established. Migraine headaches, specifically a history of migraine with auras, are now thought of as being a risk factor for the development of stroke along with diabetes, hypertension, and cigarette smoking.

The research which was spearheaded by Dr Tobias Kurth, an epidemiologist at the Harvard School of Public Health, followed the results of over 27,000 women who participated in the Women’s Health Study. These women had no documented history of heart disease. At the start of the study, approximately one-fifth of these women had reported a history of migraine headaches. Of these, one-third had a history of migraine with aura.

The study participants were followed over a fifteen-year period. Based on the data, the authors concluded that a history of migraines with aura doubled the chance of developing a stroke compared with those that did not have a history of migraine. Having this history confers a similar stroke risk to that of hypertension, and diabetes, which is approximately four out of every thousand individuals with a history of a migraine with aura. While this study’s focus was on women, it is likely that these results can be extrapolated to men as well.

What is the take home message from this study? Migraines, especially migraine with auras have a much greater significance than just “having a bad headache.” It means utilizing a holistic approach with the goal of stopping any further migraines and thereby decreasing your risk of stroke. Note that there is a significant overlap between the holistic approach to migraines and that of diabetes and hypertension. Consider including any or all of the following to your treatment regimen:

  • Magnesium: Not only can magnesium supplementation decrease the frequency and intensity of migraine headaches, it can also lower blood pressure and improve the health of the blood vessels. Magnesium can also decrease insulin resistance, which is the hallmark of Type 2 Diabetes.
  • Coenzyme Q10 (Ubiquinone): This can help in the treatment not only in the treatment of migraines, but also high blood pressure and diabetes. Those with diabetes can have low ubiquinone levels.
  • Alpha lipoic acid (ALA): Some research has demonstrated the efficacy of ALA in migraine prophylaxis. It has been well studied in diabetes not only in the treatment of the neuropathy associated with diabetes, but also in decreasing insulin resistance. It also has a blood pressure lowering effect.
  • Omega 3 fish oil: There are studies that treatment with Omega 3 fatty acids can decrease the recurrence of migraines in adolescents. It can also help in the treatment of oxidative stress associated with high blood pressure and diabetes.
  • Gingkolide B: Several studies have shown the efficacy of Gingkolide B, an herbal extract derived from Ginkgo biloba not only for migraine prophylaxis but also for the acute attack of migraines. In fact, the combination of Gingkolide B, Coenzyme Q 10 and Vitamin B2 (riboflavin) was shown to not only decrease the frequency of migraines with aura but also their duration.
  • Yoga: Not only has this activity been shown to decrease the intensity and frequency of migraine headaches, it has positive effects on blood pressure and can help in the treatment of diabetes as well.

By: Dr. Rich Snyder, DO

REFERENCES

  • AndersonP.http://www.medscape.com/viewarticle/806983?nlid=31891_681&src=wnl_edit_medn_imed&uac=76526DV&spon=18
  • D’Andrea G, Bussone G et al. “Efficacy of Ginkgolide B in the prophylaxis of migraine with aura.” Neurological Sciences. 2009 May;30 Suppl 1:S121-4..
  • Gever, J. www.medpagetoday.com/MeetingCoveraeIHC/40188 3) Hagins M, States R et al. “Effectiveness of yoga for hypertension: systematic review and meta-analysis.” Evidence Based Complementary and Alternative Medicine. Published Electronically Ahead of Print on May 2013.
  • Harel Z, Gascon G et al. “Supplementation with omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids in the management of recurrent migraines in adolescents.” Journal of Adolescent Health. 2002 Aug; 31(2):154-61.
  • Hata A, Doi Y et al. “Magnesium intake decreases Type 2 diabetes risk through the improvement of insulin resistance and inflammation: the Hisayama Study.” Diabetic Medicine. 2013 Jun 12 (Published in Electronic Form Before Print Publication).
  • John PJ, Sharma N et al. “Effectiveness of yoga therapy in the treatment of migraine without aura: a randomized controlled trial.” Headache. 2007 May;47(5):654-61.
  • Magis D, Ambrosini A et al. “A randomized double-blind placebo-controlled trial of thioctic acid in migraine prophylaxis.” Headache. 2007 Jan;47(1):52-7.
  • Maholtra V, Singh S et al. “The beneficial effect of yoga in diabetes.” Nepal Medical College Journal. 2005 Dec;7(2):145-7.
  • Song Y, Manson JE et al. “Dietary magnesium intake in relation to plasma insulin levels and risk of type 2 diabetes in women.” Diabetes Care. 2004 Jan;27(1):59-65.
  • Usai S, Grazzi L et al. “An innovative approach for migraine prevention in young age: a preliminary study.” Neurological Sciences. 2010 Jun;31 Suppl 1:S181-3.

Photo Credit: flickr.com/photos/queenroly/322613892

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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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Butterbur in the Treatment of Migraines

Butterbur (Petasites) is an ancient plant that has been and continues to be used for medical and edible purposes. The mechanism by which butterbur may reduce migraine includes inhibiting the inflammatory effect of chemicals like leukotrienes and prostaglandin E2 in the pain pathway. Another mechanism of butterbur may be its ability to function as a natural beta blocker which results in the normal flow of blood to the brain. This helps control blood pressure and spasmodic capillary action, which can also contribute to the onset of migraine headaches.

One study of 245 patients over 4 months of treatment demonstrated that petasites extract 75 mg twice daily is more effective than placebo and is well tolerated as a preventive therapy for migraine.

From a pooling of data, the recommended adult dosage is 50-100 mg twice daily to reduce migraine headache symptoms and to prevent future migraine headaches. Three months is considered an adequate amount of time to observe the efficacy of butterbur.

When purchasing butterbur products, be sure to choose a brand labeled PA-Free. This means the product was processed to remove potentially harmful or toxic chemicals found in the butterbur plant known as pyrrolizidine alkaloids (PA). The special butterbur extract is prepared by having all liver-toxic alkaloids removed.

Please consult your healthcare practitioner to avoid interactions between other medications you may be taking. Avoid using butterbur if you are pregnant or breast-feeding or allergic to ragweed, daisies, chrysanthemums or marigolds. Adverse reactions can include mild stomach upset and commonly, belching.

By: Dr. Sandy Cho, MD

References

  • Agosti R, Duke RK, Chrubasik JE, Chrubasik S. Effectiveness of Petasites hybridus preparations in the prophylaxis of migraine: a systematic review. Phytomedicine 2006;13(9-10):743-6.
  • Aydın AA, Zerbes V, Parlar H, Letzel T. The medical plant butterbur (Petasites): analytical and physiological (re)view. J Pharm Biomed Anal 2013;75:220-9.
  • Diener HC, Rahlfs VW, Danesch U. The first placebo-controlled trial of a special butterbur root extract for the prevention of migraine: reanalysis of efficacy criteria. Eur Neurol 2004;51(2):89-97.
  • Lipton RB, Göbel H, Einhäupl KM, Wilks K, Mauskop A. Petasites hybridus root (butterbur) is an effective preventive treatment for migraine. Neurology 2004;63(12):2240-4.