Know what I love about HeartMath?
Ok, so that's not very helpful.
Let me explain.
HeartMath really addresses the root of my patients' stress-related issues.
I feel that this particular type of biofeedback, which uses guided intervention in heart rate variability patterning, gets to the bottom of issues which are so prevalent in our society (feeling stressed out, exhausted, nervous wrecks, overwhelmed, constant fatigue, the list goes on and on).
So here's the whirl-wind intro, though you're always welcome to call for a complimentary 15 minute introductory consult... you can meet me and talk further about how I can help you achieve a better state of health.
First, why would someone use HeartMath? Well, one of the most common reasons is a stress-related condition, such as anxiety, depression, insomnia, hypertension, attention disorders and chronic pain.
Take a look at the many ways stress ruins your body and mind
If the image above is a little blurry, here's the original
Yes, in general, stress is bad. A little is ok, but most of us have waaaay more than a little stress in our lives.
So how does HeartMath work? What is it doing?
It's harnessing your innate heart-brain connection, and using that internal power for good (relaxation and restoration) instead of evil (panic attacks and out of control emotions).
It is optimizing the communication between your nervous, cognitive hormone and immune systems to balance out any mis-signaling.
Through this process you will learn to identify and remove all internal signals that, perhaps subconsciously, are working against you instead of for you.
The end result?
Common effects are increased happiness, more positive outlook on life, little or no stress reaction from what was before stress-inducing issues (work, relationships, finances), a full release from prior feelings of overwhelm and burnout and the ability to finally overcome a physical or hormonal issue (like those listed in the graphic above) just to name a few.
This technique is simple, powerful, and transformative. Everyone should give it a try.
How does this whole process work?
You can learn from the decades of research and look up conditions and information important to you on the HeartMath website. They offer biofeedback devices to anyone, though working with a healthcare professional such as myself ensures proper monitoring, assistance and its optimal placement within a comprehensive wellness approach.
I use HeartMath biofeedback during office visits and program check-ins for those who could benefit from its use as well as offer shorter stand-alone sessions.
To best learn and implement the biofeedback techniques in your everyday life above and beyond the few times I guide you through the process.
Most patients benefit from an initial round of 4-6 sessions which will be part of an all-inclusive integrative plan where all your healthcare issues are addressed and attended to.
My current weight loss and stress reduction program, 'slim down & happy up,' includes HeartMath sessions during as many of the bi-monthly check-ins as you'd like.
That means up to 6 HeartMath sessions are automatically included in the program, no extra cost at all!
The next 'slim down & happy up' program will run 3 months, starting September 9th.
Registration begins on our next session Monday, August 19th, check out the full details here.
To your good health,
Do you deal with stress, anxiety and tension in your body day in and day out? Many do. Some are able to not let stressful events, people and situation get to them, but most of us end up feeling emotionally drained at the end of a work day.
Several years ago I was introduced to HeartMath, a type of biofeedback which teaches users to reconnect with their body and emotions through use of heart rate patterns. The effects are usually immediate and profound. Simple techniques are learned and practiced for as little as a minute or two a day. Doing this allows for reintegration of the underlying physiology of the cardiovascular, endocrine and nervous system. It balances you from the ground up. And living from a place of balance is what we could all use a little more of.
Some of the many health and emotional issues which can be addressed at their foundation by HeartMath: hypertension, stress/anxiety, depression, pain management, anger and emotional volatility, fatigue or feeling burned out, assistance in optimal weight management, better immune system response, and moving beyond a sense of overwhelm and inability to time manage.
Look for our announcements later the month as we will soon begin offering HeartMath training sessions, either as part of an office visit with Dr. Angela, or as a stand alone appointment. A short series of training is recommended, with daily practice done between weekly appointments. We are excited to be offering this simple, easy tool which addresses some of the most hidden and hard to treat illnesses.
After seeing the profound effects using HeartMath on patients and myself, I can't wait to being HeartMath sessions here at Rose City Health Clinic.
To your good health,
The Good News About Cancer
Lung cancer and smoking- got it. But did you know cervical cancer is linked to smoking?
Ninety percent (90%!) of cancers have preventable causes.
Here's a quick "What are my chances of getting cancer" quiz. Count up your points for these health factors. Do you:
More than 2 a day=2
Get checked for STIs?
Yes I have=0
No or "What is that?" =1
Eat fast food?
Have exposure to any of these known carcinogens (means cancer-causers).
One point for each: radiation exposure (occupational or many, many X-rays), polluted water, chemical or industrial toxin exposure (such as from your occupation or living nearby a chemical plant) and a history of bad (blistering) sunburns.
Now, if you didn't notice the pattern above, this is not the SATs. More points is not better- it's worse off for your cancer risk. And since 95-98% of all cancers are not genetic (inherited and perhaps inevitable), then that means there's ample time and resources for cancer prevention. Take a look at this engaging infographic from Rock Your Cause and see your nearest preventive medicine doc and cultivate your health for now and decades to come. Contact me for more, or feel free to email me day or night at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Be healthy, well and happy. And remember, "prevention is the best cure."
Step 1: Exercise
Group exercise is great for those seeking accountability.
I was asked to write an article without all the fancy scientific words and research. I welcome a challenge, and here you go.
People frequently want to talk with me about diseases (that maybe they or a family member have), treatment options, herbal information or advice. And it's really understandable- I am required to fit all that information in there. The only problem, because I truly do want to help people, is that "diagnosing or treating" is something that only a doctor can do for a patient. Providing that information without having that relationship gets me into hot water.
So, here's a mini-series (I'm guessing only two, so a "very mini" series) on what I'm seeing as the top things that doctors, public health officials and medical researchers are saying to do for your health.
Step 1: Exercise.
It appears to matter less what type, or how much, or for how long. As long as your moving on a regular basis, those in the know say that may experience such "side effects" as weight loss, mental clarity, more stable mood, better digestive functioning, less fatigue, improved heart health (and pretty much every other organ as well) and decreases the effects of most types of chronic diseases- just to name a few.
So, move your way to health. And watch the below video for some animated inspiration.
When it comes down to it, most people just want to know how to be healthy. And, of course, we all have our unique set of medical concerns- but exercise can help most of those (and has been shown in research). Now, 30 minutes of walking as suggested in the above video will be easy and doable by most readers here, but consult a doctor if you're considering a drastic change to your exercise routine (or beginning one for the first time). I won't be held responsible for anyone's kick boxing-induced injuries.
If all of the above information is still not convincing, then either find what works for you. Some healthcare practitioners are great at helping folks make positive changes to their daily routine (I like to think of myself as one in training).
For yet further information about exercise and research-based recommendations, check out Harvard's School of Public Health article "The Benefits of Physical Activity."
Chronic pain is a wide-spread issue. Addressing pain management issues are complex and often ongoing and many times fraught with continued patient discomfort and dissatisfaction. For example, Vicodin is the #1 most prescribed medication in our country, but this doesn't do anything to treat or help heal the reasons for one's pain. So the more therapies available to treat chronic pain, the better!
Chronic pain is defined as pain experienced three months after the original injury is considered healed. Here are the top therapies for chronic pain (both in terms of amount accessed and evidence-based effectiveness):
* Anodyne pharmaceuticals (painkillers): Vicodin, Oxycontin, muscle relaxers, etc.
* Biofeedback: by observing a bodily rhythm or signaling via computer imaging, the patient impacts their experience. A simple type of this is breathing patterns adjusted by looking at a monitor displaying one's blood pressure.
* Meditation: Mindfulness meditation has in particular been shown to decrease one's perception of pain.
* Hypnosis: Many methods and styles are available to change one's psychological responses.
* Tai chi: Chinese meditative energy movement styles which are often found to help with many chronic disease concerns (such as its effect on patients living with heart failure) .
* Awareness, concentration and expectation: patients perceived less pain if told the pain would end soon, were concentrating on a mental task or while concentrating on a picture of a loved one.
There are many therapies to address the acute pain one feels after a trauma or surgery. And they work quite well to dull your brain's perception of that pain. But when dealing with chronic, debilitating pain lasting months or years and affecting one's quality of life, there just isn't one "magic bullet" for everyone. The best approach will most likely comprise one or more of the above treatment options, while incorporating one or more healthcare practitioners who deal with pain management and find efficacy in dealing with underlying causes (a few examples might be massage therapy, Chiropractic care, acupuncture, Naturopathy, physical therapy or orthopedics).
Thank you for reading, please email me any time!
The End To Deadly Allergic Reactions?
Asthma inhalers may soon be less relied upon.
New research from Northwestern Medicine shows promising benefits for the tens of thousands who experience life-threatening allergic reactions each year. By introducing specifically modified immune system cells, it gives the body a new signal, which turns off the anaphylactic reaction.
Using mice who were designed to have deadly allergic reactions to peanuts, the researchers attached peanut proteins to white blood cells which are normally a part of allergic reactions. Introducing these modified white blood cells prompts the body to create a tolerance, instead of a severe allergic reaction, to peanuts.
This "fooling of the immune system" treatment has also been applied to asthma and autoimmune disease research, such as Type 1 Diabetes and Multiple Sclerosis. All of these medical conditions have been shown to be reduced in severity by this immunological application (more info here).
So what does that mean for us who have experienced or who know they are susceptible to anaphylactic reactions because of severe allergies? Since this research has shown to provide such beneficial applications, it won't be long before human clinical trials are begun.
One day in the near future, this may be a treatment option given to patients suffering from severe allergies (and perhaps moderate or mild allergies). The treatment feel something like a vaccine or allergy shots (which in its current form contains hundreds of shots to provide its benefit). The white blood cells will be taken from a blood sample, allergic proteins will be attached, then reintroduced to the patient. Who knows? A few sticks then perhaps the occasional booster shot may provide permanent relief from severe allergies!
Thanks for reading, please as always feel free to send me a line. Comments and questions are always welso
Understanding the link between certain baby growth benchmarks and childhood obesity
Currently, about 10% of preschool children and 19% of children ages 6-11 are obese. New research from the Archives of Pediatrics & Adolescent Medicine has found a link between specific infant growth benchmarks and a high risk for childhood obesity.
This isn't as straightforward as "fat babies become fat kids." Many thin and average sized adults started out as pudgy babies. And many school-aged children and adults begin struggling with weight gain well after their baby years.
What the researchers found was that the greatest risk for developing obesity was growing across three major percentiles (25%, 50% and 75%) between ages 1 to 6 months old. So those babies who are most likely to become obese by age 11 years are those who start out as relatively small infants ( under 25th percentile or more than 75% are larger than him/her) in the first month of life, but then grows rather fast and tips the tables towards being one of the larger babies (now over the 75th percentile or less than 25% of others are larger than him/her) by the sixth month of life.
So little bitty babies who become big pudgy babies quickly are those most likely to be obese by grade school. The authors have made the connection, but not explained why that trend continues int childhood. This is a multi-factorial issue, with some of the reasons for the relatively fast weight gain outlined by the authors being:
-Less mobility: these babies may be in strollers, car seats or other stationary positions for longer periods of time.
-Over-fed or fed "incorrectly" such as juice in bottles, solid foods introduced early (before 6 months).
Now, nobody's talking about signing these infants up for Jenny Craig for Babies (which I'm thankful isn't even a real thing). But, like the rest of us, some attention to food and activity goes a long way. If the rest of the family eats healthy, wholesome meals and makes time for exercise and activities, these will surely be healthy attributes of even the pudgiest baby.
Another suggestion offered by consultant pediatrician Dr. Joanna Lewis is for the family to all sit down and eat together, as "research has shown that obesity is less common in children raised in families that have frequent meals together at home."
So without thinking that this research defines or limits anyone's potential for health, instead see this as allowing us to understand how influential to our health early eating and activity habits are. Thank you for reading!
Natural sources: sunshine, fish and mushrooms.
In a recent review of 75 scientific research articles, vitamin D is showing itself to be associated with lower rates of cardiovascular disease (high blood pressure, heart attacks and atherosclerosis) as well as better insulin control (essential for prevention of Type 2 Diabetes).
What this shows is a static picture comparing vitamin D levels and the above disease states. What this doesn't show is whether taking vitamin D will prevent these epidemic-level diseases in our communities.
So does taking vitamin D supplements help prevent these chronic disease? This particular research cannot answer this question.
The next step towards answering this, however, is already under way. These researchers started a research project last year comparing development of cardiovascular disease and insulin resistance (seen in diabetes and pre-diabetes) in groups taking either vitamin D, fish oil (high in omega-3 fatty acids) or placebo.
This study will continue for another five years, but these research findings could shed some light on dosage of these supplements and what disease risk factors doctors will confidently be affecting. I look forward to to resulte they may find, and will pass this information along when it becomes available.
A brain scan, such as those which confirm Alzheimer's.
Research just published Sept. 20 in the American Academy of Neurology journal looked at the link between diabetes and the development of Alzheimer's (may be found here).
There was over 1,000 research participants of both sex, all age 60. They were measured for the presence of diabetes or pre-diabetes then followed for 15 years. Those who were diabetic were twice as likely to develop Alzheimer's and more likely (1.75x) to develop dementia of any type (Alzheimer's is a specific type which irreversibly forms plaques in brain tissue).
So what's the proposed link? Well, in diabetes, glucose remains in the bloodstream for a long time, waiting to be taken into cells but in the meantime floating around the bloodstream. Glucose which remains too long in the bloodstream leads to oxidative damage, hardening of the blood vessels (atherosclerosis) and glycosylation (think candied fruit but with blood vessels instead). All of this directly and indirectly compromises the body's ability to break down proteins, such as the amyloid protein which form the plaques found in Alzheimer's.
People with or at risk for diabetes now have one more reason to keep a close eye on their blood sugar levels and do what they can to keep them in healthy ranges. Diabetes is a complex, difficult disease. Bringing about positive change often means significant lifestyle changes and an ever-changing regimen of drugs.
Two positive things have come of this research. One is that those with pre-diabetes did not show as significant a correlation with the development of Alzheimer's, so encourage your friends and family members in this situation to not wait for until pre-diabetes becomes diabetes. The second is that the research authors have already begun follow-up research looking at what Alzheimer's rates they find in diabetics who then control their blood sugar levels and risk factors. I'll keep you posted on the developments.
Glucometer measuring a diabetic level of glucose in the blood.
The International Diabetes Federation met two weeks ago to document current cases of diabetes and what unified proposals they agreed upon to recommend to last week's UN meeting. This federation represents associations from 160 countries, all of whom are finding ever more increasing and concerning numbers of diabetics in their healthcare systems (information from their symposium may be found here).
So what's the current picture? There are now an estimated 366 million people with diabetes (data combines types 1 and 2). Their total estimated yearly financial impact on healthcare systems is $465 billion. Annually. That's a huge number of people and a huge financial impact- both on larger systems and on a personal level.
To put this number into perspective, there are 54 million more diabetics in the world than the entire U.S. population combined. Although this is far from an American problem, many chronic non-communicable diseases rise in countries in proportion to their adoption of industrialized (American) culture and food (diabetes, heart disease and cancer are a few).
Type 2 diabetes has been around for some time but has been rapidly growing from the 174 million diabetics estimated worldwide 30 years ago. What was at one time termed "Adult Onset Diabetes" can now be found affecting grade-school children. Type 1 or "Juvenile Onset Diabetes" was a rare disease to my knowledge as a child, and I knew of no children with Type 2. I'm thinking that this is not the case with today's children.
So where does this all end? Personal choices, government choices and companies' influence impacts all our lives. Whether it's diabetes, cancer, lung disease, an autoimmune disease or some other chronic non-communicable disease, it's a long and difficult path towards continual improvement of one's health. Our modern medical establishment it not set up to optimally serve people in a preventative and health-supporting manner, so check out what the Naturopathic profession can do for you if you have one of these or a similar concern.