A Naturopathic Approach to Mental Health

Naturopathy for Mental Health The same naturopathic model applies to optimizing mental health as it does to hormones, digestion, and immune health. Ultimately a holistic paradigm must underly any healing plan. We integrate the four steps of the naturopathic model; 1. Remove the offenders- toxins, brain allergies, hormonal imbalance, stress, sleep issues, gut issue (candida) 2. Repair damage-a healing diet, the nutritional cleanse, also consider nutrient depletions 3. Replace missing nutrients-nutrients which support brain/mood health include antioxidants, amino acids, omega 3 fatty acids, herbal nervines and many others. Take only what your body needs. 4. Reestablish flora-this includes both prebiotics and probiotics. The digestive system is the “second brain”. A customized plan must be developed based on you specific needs. Often there are underlying imbalances such as nutrient deficiencies, food sensitivities, toxic overload, and hormonal imbalances which contribute to cognitive and mood issues. The belief is nourishing the brain back to balance will improve mental health. Lifestyle factors such as stress and sleep are important too. Upcoming seminar September 27th Main Line School Night. All clients and seminar attendees can receive my support guide for naturopathic approaches for emotional health.

Why Naturopathic Detoxification is Benefecial

Nutritional Detoxification is a core principle of naturopathy. Early naturopaths recognized strengthening digestion as the basis for optimal health. Additionally, clean and healthy blood is also an essential principle for optimal health. The way that both digestion can be strengthened and the blood can be cleansed is through naturopathic detoxification. Early Naturopaths believed the cause of disease comes from violating natures laws which lowers vitality, creates abnormal composition of blood, and accumulation of waste. Furthermore, healing would include optimal digestion and elimination, stronger vital force and healthy blood and every disease arrises from internal causes and is accompanied by a deficiency of blood, tissues, and mineral elements. And disease is also caused by accumulation of waster. Nature cure philosophy suggests bacteria will only occur under these morbid pathogenic conditions. Learning the basic principles of Nutritional Cleansing can offer you a foundation to build your personal optimal food plan. It is beneficial for allergies digestive health, immunity, hormonal balance and emotional well-being. Many clients loose weight. Options are available for 14, 21 and 30 day programs.

A Naturopathic Approach to Thyroid Health

Healing the Thyroid
Both women and men can struggle with hypothyroid and hyperthyroid, meaning the thyroid is functioning too low or too high. The thyroid is an important gland for optimal hormonal balance.The thyroid regulates metabolism, body temperature, fertility, reproductive cycles, weight, and can affect skin and hair too. It is one gland which can frequently become in balanced. The adrenal stress hormone cortisol interferes with thyroid stimulating hormone. And often if one hormone is imbalanced it causes other imbalances. There is also the issue of Hashimoto’s disease and Graves disease, which are auto-immune diseases. These can compound confusion during hormonal transitions. The old endocrinology standards consider a TSH below 5 normal. Newer guidelines suggest below 3. Too low isn’t good either. The thyroid benefits from specific nutrients such as antioxidants, iodine, selenium, inositol, and vitamin D, and of course an anti-inflammatory diet. It is also important to find a practitioner willing to explore treatment options. Some patients report success with synthroid while others feel better with Armour thyroid, as with any hormonal imbalance it is important to re-nourish the thyroid gland.

A Naturopathic Approach to Weight Loss

10 Principles for Maintaining Optimal Weight
I actually believe most of my clients struggling to maintain an ideal weight are not eating enough nutrient dense food. Another big issue is being “on a diet”. Or following advice of an app by counting calories, carbs etc. A huge theme in my work with my clients is helping clients maintain an optimal weight. Although many clients achieve success with my Nutritional Cleanse program I believe the key is finding an personal optimal diet which is sustainable. I believe if you are eating a plant based diet with lots of fiber, good sources of fat and you exercise it is unnecessary to count calories and carbohydrates.
Here are my top 10 Principles for maintaining an ideal weight:
1. Eat at least 3x a day. Include a good fat at each meal.
2. Eat mostly plant foods.10 servings a day.
3. Minimize grains.
4. Minimize alcohol.
5. Eat until 3/4 full. Not stuffed.
6. Engage in periods of digestive rest. The reason they call it “breakfast” is you are fasting all night. Do not eat after sundown or before sunrise. Take days to reset by doing a “cleanse” day.
7. Indulge occasionally.
8. Eat good sources of fiber such as beans, and flax and dark greens.
9. Eat seasonal foods. Eat warm in colder months and more raw foods in warmer months.
10. Include Superfoods such as garlic, onion, green tea, dark greens, flax, nuts, seeds, turmeric in your daily diet.

Navigating Your Health Care: Western Medicine and Traditional Naturopathy

I see great value in both West Medical Practices and Traditional Naturopathy. There are benefits and negative aspects to each. My area of expertise is Naturopathy so I will speak to that first. Naturopathy has the advantage of seeking to strengthen one’s health naturally through food, nutrients, herbs, homeopathy, and mind/body practices. This can have a lasting impact upon one’s overall vitality, not just benefit a  particular health challenge. Thus if you are seeking my services to balance hormones and decrease stress, it may have an additive effect towards digestion and immunity. The downside I see with Naturopathic practices is that often it takes time. While gentle it does not always work in a health crises. For example you have a sinus infection and you want to utilize Naturopathy. You may perhaps be able to turn the infection around but sometimes antibiotics will work quicker, though this is not a guarantee either! A Naturopathic plan may be able to help you prevent other infections and understand the cause, and even strengthen your immune system. Additionally your Naturopathic Practitioner often will spend an hour with you.

Western medicine on the other hand has made incredible strides over the years. There is no replacement for a skilled surgeon as well as a seasoned internist. I always say I will outrun the bus however if I get run over I must have a doctor put me back together again. And I can use homeopathy to facilitate the healing process, I see the value of a seasoned internist in diagnostic abilities. One must fully understand their health issue in order to assess what would be the best treatment. Unfortunately, I think we much too heavily rely on medication to fix everything, and perhaps we do not take enough responsibility for traveling a preventive path. Ultimately it is key to find a doctor who will support you seeking a more natural approach, and one that supports prevention of disease. Unfortunately not all doctors understand what Naturopathy is, or have even taken a nutrition class, so they have little idea how these approaches might improve our health. But sometimes they do have knowledge regarding contra-indications. And I do believe doctors are becoming more and more knowledgeable about these complementary approaches. It is essential to seek a physician who respects your desire to improve your health. And has the time available to engage in a discussion regarding a variety of approaches to support your health.

Sleep : A Naturopathic Approach

Naturopathy specifically, the focus of my practice, is based on living in accordance with the laws of nature. The most important principles include the healing power of nature, identifying and treating the cause, first do no harm, the physician is teacher, and prevention. Early naturopaths utilized cleansing and alkalizing diets and natural elements to support the organs and systems of the body. The more modern naturopath has access to many more prepared nutrients, herbs, and homeopathic products. One of the nature laws that the early naturopaths utilized included something known as the “rest cure”. Often, when a person was challenged by a health issue or a period of stress the cure was to rest until the illness passed. Today, given as more than 70 million people have sleep disorders, this cure is not easily employable.

Many of my clients experience sleep issues related to stress, hormonal imbalance, chronic fatigue, toxic overload, compromised immunity, or even digestive issues. In this blog, I will include a natural tool kit for sleep support. While all of my suggestions below employ the naturopathic model, most important is to remove the issue which causes you to have sleep issues. This is different for everyone. Here is my naturopathic tool-kit.

  1. Engage in healthy sleep hygiene; exercise regularly, avoid caffeine, alcohol, nicotine, green tea/green tea supplements. Studies show that 7- 8 hours ideal, others range from 6-9 hours. The key is getting to bed without sleep aides and waking without an alarm, dream recall and feeling restored when you awake. Understanding your own circadian rhythm or biological clock is important, so you know ideal times for your body to sleep and awake. (Light therapy such as full spectrum lighting can help regulate the circadian rhythm) As can melatonin(see below)
  2. Understand causes of sleep disturbance; hormonal imbalances, anxiety, traveling, partner snoring, lack of sleep, etc. This is essential.
  3. Understand Sleep Cycles; There are 3-6 sleep cycles, each lasting 1-2 hours, the first few are light , the next few deeper, and the last is the stage we dream and R.E.M (rapid eye movements), the brain picks up energy and dreams, and restores the mind and body. This deepest phase of sleep is essential for health and healing. R.E.M sleep is most important for preventive health. Sleep medications can prevent achieving deep restorative cycles.
  4. NutritiveApproaches
  5. Minerals such as calcium, magnesium and vitamin C can have a relaxing and calming effect on the body. Generally these supplements are taken throughout the day. Each person’s requirements can be different depending upon age, medical conditions, and health issues.
  6. Melatonin naturally occurs in the body, produced by pineal gland and can be referred to as a ”hormone of darkness”, more occurs during darkness. Melatonin helps induce and regulate sleep, numerous studies suggest its benefits and safety, even for children, and lack of side effects. Melatonin helps re-set biological clock, and helpful for irregular sleep-wake patterns.

7. B vitamins- can be used, especially B3, B6, B12 to help improve dream recall and wake rhythm cycle. Especially useful with depression anxiety.

d. herbs-chamomile, passion flower, valerian, milky oat seed, and skullcap-very tolerable nice combination for nourishing the nervous system-or passion valerian and skullcap You can buy herbal tinctures or homeopathic products with these ingredients. These herbs can also be found in tea form and are considered nervines. And can gently nourish the body back to balance. (Nervous system support).

8. Mind-Body Practices- Invoking the relaxation response

  1. Breathing techniques-specially the complete yogic breath, and alternate nostril breathing.
  2. Guided and Progressive Relaxation- practicing sleep and rests poses, napping is good!
  3. Sleep Positions and Practicing restful poses (shavasana)
  4. Yin/Restorative Yoga-especially the kidney meridian poses
  5. Meditation
  6. Lavender essential oil can be calming and relaxing. Oil can be out on pillow or in a bath

Join me for a personal naturopathic plan to restore sleep!

Mastering Weight Issues

As a society we have not overcome the the challenge of maintaining a healthy weight. In fact, this issue is getting worse. Obesity is as high as 35% in some areas of the country, with mid-life obesity rates being as high as 46%. In all, more than 20% of people are overweight. Clearly obesity is a factor that contributes to disease, and as a society, we continue to battle this bulge. 45 million people diet every year, and we spend 33 million dollars on weight loss products. Many of us are repeating this unsuccessful process of losing weight year in and year out.

I believe, as I do with any other health challenge, that the only way to beat this challenge is traveling a path of prevention. This means finding a program and way of living that we can sustain, and that can also sustain our health and well-being. This can happen beginning with some type of nutritional cleanse, eating real foods grown from the earth (especially plant foods), not trying to trick our metabolism with foolish fads, and offering our body extra nutrients. But most importantly, NOT being on some type of diet or deprivation program. Being on a program that is based on nourishment and healthy plant foods is what is going to help solve our issues with weight. In addition to things that we must change and add into our diets, there must also be things that are removed or minimized, such as alcohol, sugar, sugar substitutes, and grains. Stress is also a factor in maintaining a healthy weight. Stress contributes to our sleeping habits, and if we are not sleeping, our metabolism won’t be able to be regulated normally. A healthy mind plays a huge role in a healthy body.

A great way to reset your metabolism and get to your own healthy weight is my Nutritional Cleanse Program. Hundreds have successfully completed this program and reset the tone for healthy, sustainable living. My cleanse program comes with a nutritional cleanse guide and healthy living cookbook. Contact me today to hit the reset button and focus on health and healing.

MY TOP 10 WEIGHT LOSS TIPS

1. Eat mindfully. Eat when your hungry, stop when your full.

2. Know the right balance to eat of fats, protein, carbohydrates (it’s in the my cookbook).

3. Eat mostly plant foods.

4. Eat super foods (nuts, seeds, ginger, garlic, herbs, spices, super greens, fiber).

5. Include some vitamins based on your current needs

6. Optimize digestion and metabolism (part of my nutritional cleanse, remove allergic inflammatory foods).

7. Offer your body days to rest digestion, fast or cleanse

8. Stay optimistic, take 1 day at a time. Know some days will be better than others.

9. Make sure you are sleeping well.

10. Exercise as much as possible. Engage is some form of mind body practices to keep the stress response at a minimum.

Naturopathic Principle of Healing

The fundamental belief is in the healing power of nature – (Vis Medicatrix Naturae).The body has the inherent ability to establish, maintain, and restore health. The healing process is ordered and intelligent; nature heals through the response of the life force. The physician’s role is to facilitate and augment this process, to identify and remove obstacles to health and recovery, and to support the creation of a healthy internal and external environment.

THE HEALING CYCLE (also known as healing crisis, curative crisis or Nature Cure house cleaning.)
Under normal conditions, minor repair is done without any special effort. A healing cycle is a special effort of the body to repair and excrete toxic waste material to restore normality. This may happen after injury or poisoning but can also be produced due to relaxation, an improved lifestyle or living conditions that enables the body to increase elimination. During a healing cycle old health problems may reoccur. Common symptoms are headache, fatigue, irritability, diarrhea, skin eruptions etc. If the conditions are good the result of the healing cycle may be improved health. During a healing cycle it is important to support and restore nerve energy. This is equal to rest. Already Hippocrates had a good idea about what happens during a healing cycle. He stated: ”Diseases are crises of purification of toxic elimination. Symptoms are the natural defenses of the body”. When acute conditions are suppressed they become chronic.

Does Everyone Need Vitamins?

Does everyone need vitamins or herbals as a supplement to their diet? My answer is, “How is your health?” If you wish to improve your health while facing immune, digestive, emotional, hormonal, then it is my belief that you can supplements mindfully as part of your healing path.
There are millions of supplements on the market today. There are millions of dollars spent on marketing to sell you vitamins. How do you know what you need? How do you know which company to buy?
  First, if you have health challenges or are over 40 I believe a nutrient test is a good place to begin. A local lab I refer to offers such tests, as well as hormone tests and food sensitivity testing. I personally did this a few years ago and found it very beneficial.
Second, choose vitamins carefully. Look for a few stamps or certifications on the label such as good manufacturing practices, nutritional council membership, third party testing, accreditation for in-house labatories, and certification to produce organic products. Usually,  quality supplements are sold by health-care practitioners. Also know that most vitamins are water soluble, so they are not stored in the body. But the fat soluble vitamins such as A, E, Zinc, Selenium, D are stored in the body so you can take too much. Vitamins should be a part of an overall naturopathic plan which includes nourishing food, mind/body practices, exercise, sleep, meaningful work, or community involvement, spirituality, and other factors which contribute to longevity and prevention. I believe prevention and recovery involve walking the same path.

6 Principles of Naturopathic Health

  1. First do no harm – (Princum Non Nocere))The process of healing includes the generation of symptoms, which are, in fact, expressions of the life force attempting to heal itself. Therapeutic actions should be complementary to and synergistic with this healing process. The physician’s actions can support or antagonize the actions of vis medicatrix naturae; therefore, methods designed to suppress symptoms without removing underlying causes are considered harmful and are avoided or minimized.!
  2. The healing power of nature – (Vis Medicatrix Naturae).The body has the inherent ability to establish, maintain, and restore health. The healing process is ordered and intelligent; nature heals through the response of the life force. The physician’s role is to facilitate and augment this process, to identify and remove obstacles to health and recovery, and to support the creation of a healthy internal and external environment.
  3. Identify and treat the cause – (Tolle Causam)Illness does not occur without cause. Underlying causes of disease must be discovered and removed or treated before a person can recover completely from illness. Symptoms are expressions of the body’s attempt to heal, but are not the cause of disease; therefore, naturopathic medicine addresses itself primarily to the underlying causes of disease, rather than to the symptoms. Causes may occur on many levels, including physical, mental-emotional, and spiritual. The physician must evaluate fundamental underlying causes on all levels, directing treatment at root causes as well as seeking relief of symptoms

4. Treat the whole person – (Tolle Totum)Health and disease are conditions of the whole organism, involving a complex interaction of physical, spiritual, mental, emotional, genetic, environmental, and social factors. The physician must treat the whole person by taking all of these factors into account. The harmonious functioning of all aspects of the individual is essential to recovery from and prevention of disease, and requires a personalized and comprehensive approach to diagnosis and treatment.

  1. The physician as teacher –(Docere) Beyond an accurate diagnosis and appropriate prescription, the physician must work to create a healthy, sensitive interpersonal relationship with the patient. A cooperative doctor–patient relationship has inherent therapeutic value. The physician’s major role is to educate and encourage the patient to take responsibility for his or her own health. The physician is a catalyst for healthful change, empowering and motivating the patient to assume responsibility. It is the patient, not the doctor, who ultimately creates or accomplishes healing. The physician must strive to inspire hope as well as understanding. The physician must also make a commitment to her/his personal and spiritual development.
  2. Prevent disease- (Praevenire)

The ultimate goal of naturopathic medicine is prevention. This is accomplished through education and promotion of lifestyle habits that foster good health. The physician assesses risk factors and hereditary susceptibility to disease and makes appropriate interventions to avoid further harm and risk to the patient. The emphasis is on building health rather than on fighting disease. Because it is difficult to be healthy in an unhealthy world, it is the responsibility of both physician and patient to create a healthier environment in which to live.