Surviving Stress

Surviving Stress

Some phases of life are more challenging than others. This could be because of an intensive workload, final exam season, a family crisis, life transition or recovering from an injury. The increased mental, physical or emotional fatigue can leave your body feeling like it needs a little additional support.

What can you do?

Make time to relax. This could be extra sleep, reducing your day-to-day commitments, or even a Netflix binge. Try to set aside at least one hour a day to do whatever feels right for you.

Say no, or ask for support as needed. Do you need alone time? Or some help with groceries? Be honest with your friends and family on how they can best support you.

Meditation. The research is in! Meditation can increase resilience, decrease burnout, improve emotional regulation, and decrease stress.

Exercise.  Exercise has been shown to improve cognition, memory and mental health. This is partially due to its ability to increase dopamine.

Nature time.  Time spent in natural settings has been found to decrease anxiety, anger, depression, and decrease blood pressure.

Eat a healthy diet. Aim for a diet which is 80% whole, unprocessed foods.  Neurogenesis, the formation of new brain cells, is partially regulated by brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF). Early studies show BDNF is increased by eating carenoid-rich fruits and vegetables. Neurogenesis is decreased by diets high in fat and sugar.

 

How can a health professional offer support?

Acupuncture

  • A preliminary study found combining acupuncture with an anti-depressant, may result in better psychological health, compared to the anti-depressant alone.
  • Acupuncture may decrease perceived stress and improve energy.

Myers’ Cocktail IV

  • A blend of B vitamins, vitamin C and minerals such as magnesium, are administered intravenously and are tailored to an individuals specific needs.
  • Taking these nutrients as an IV, allows for a rapid increase in cellular levels. This can reduce fatigue, support immune function and decrease migraines.

Supplements

  • Supplements contain herbs, nutrients, homeopathic extracts or other natural substances.
  • Your naturopathic doctor can chose supplements specific to your health needs.
      • Periods of stress can disrupt digestive function, alter mood or cause hormonal imbalances. Specific nutraceuticals can be prescribed as a part of a treatment plan.

Tailored diet plans

  • Skin concerns? Digestive upset?
    • IgG or IgA food testing may be recommended to assess for foods that are causing inflammation.

Pharmaceuticals

  • Can be prescribed as needed as part of a well-rounded healthcare plan.

Counseling

  • Can provide a space to process and allow for self-reflection.
  • Can promote a healthy relationship with challenging emotions.

Massage therapy

  • Promotes relaxation and may decrease anxiety.
Prostate Health:  A Naturopathic Approach

Prostate Health: A Naturopathic Approach

Benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH) is caused by the gradual enlargement of the prostate gland. By the age of 70 nearly all men will have some prostate enlargement. About half of those over 75 will experience symptoms.

The prostate is a gland located in the pelvis. It wraps around the urethra, which transports urine or semen to the outside of the body. It secretes a portion of semen during ejaculation. The symptoms of BPH are caused by the growing prostate placing pressure on the urethra.

Symptoms can include:

    • Frequent urination
    • Sudden urge to urinate
    • Needing to urinate at night
    • Weak urine flow
    • Incomplete bladder emptying
    • Straining to urinate
    • Urine stream which starts and stops
    • Blood in the urine

Even though BPH is a growth, it is not cancerous, it will not spread, or metastasize to other tissues. Further, it does not increase the risk of prostate cancer. For most men, BPH only causes irritating urinary symptoms. However, in some instances, BPH can lead to kidney problems, bladder enlargement or urinary tract infections.

What causes BPH?

It is thought that increased levels of a hormone, dihydrotestosterone (DHT) may cause the prostate to grow. DHT is created from testosterone by the 5-alpha reductase enzyme. DHT has a much stronger stimulatory effect than testosterone on prostate tissue.

How can naturopathic medicine provide support?

Naturopathic medicine focuses on treating the person, not the diagnosis.  As a result, treatment varies based on the patient’s individual symptoms and illness severity. It can also include addressing other health concerns that may worsen symptoms, such as constipation, stress or poor sleep quality.

General Lifestyle Counseling:

  • Dietary Changes
    • Reducing your consumption of red meat and animal fat may prevent BPH.
    • An increase in organic vegetable consumption supports overall health.
    • Avoid drinking fluids before bed to decrease the urge to urinate at night.
  • Exercise
    • Increasing physical activity can improve blood flow to the prostate gland.

Botanical support:

Serenoa repens

    • Fatty acids extracted from this plant can inhibit 5 alpha-reductase. Research had found this very safe extract can reduce prostate enlargement in some men.

Ganoderma lucidum

    • Early research suggests this mushroom may reduce symptoms of incontinence and urinary urgency.

Allium sativa

    • A recent study found garlic extract taken daily for a month reduced prostate size.

Urtica diocia

    • This nutrient-dense plant can provide symptom relief but has no effect on prostate size.

Ammi visnaga

    • This herb acts as an antispasmodic, which means it promotes smooth muscle relaxation. In some men this can decrease nocturnal urination.

Soy

    • Soy contains a compound called isoflavones that can modulate the effect of estrogen in the body. Studies have shown consuming soy isoflavones can reduce the severity of BPH symptoms. Regular consumption of soy has also been researched as a strategy to prevent BPH.

Cernilton

    • This pollen extract has been shown to significantly decrease urinary symptoms though it’s an anti-inflammatory effect. It is also believed to improve bladder contraction, helping to decrease urinary retention.

Pumpkin seeds

    • Pumpkin seeds are an excellent dietary source of zinc.
      • Zinc is believed to decrease the conversion of testosterone to DHT by reducing the activity of 5 alpha-reductase.
      • According to research zinc may play a role in preventing the onset of BPH.

Cranberry

    • Cranberry extract may be recommended to reduce the likelihood of a urinary tract infection.
Using Chinese Medicine & Acupuncture for improved eye health.

Using Chinese Medicine & Acupuncture for improved eye health.

In Chinese medicine, eye diseases are closely related to a weakness in the liver and kidneys. If the liver and kidneys are weak, then vision will be affected. Of the twelve meridian channels, the stomach, heart, small intestine, urinary bladder, sanjiao, and gall bladder channels work to closely together to regulate eye health. If one or more of the channels are blocked or not functioning properly, people will notice eye disorders such as eye dryness, watery eyes, red eyes, even glaucoma and cataracts.

People with cataracts are often told that there is nothing they can do to prevent the growth of cataracts.  It is common for an individual to wait until the cataract is more progressed and then have it surgically removed. Chinese medicine can be used as a preventative measure and an alternative to surgery. Acupuncture, for example, can increase Qi and blood circulation into the orbit of the eyes and nurture the eye system.

There are a number of acupuncture points around the eyes that are important for eye health.

  • Jingming (UB-1) lies where the inner corner of the eye meets the nose. Bladder 1 and 2 are perhaps the best two points for eye problems of all kinds, from early-stage cataracts or glaucoma to hysteria with vision loss.
  • Zanzhu (UB-2) lies in the depressions at the inner ends of the eyebrows.
  • Yuyao, midpoint of the eyebrow in the hollow. Good for eye problems related to anxiety, excessive study and mental strain.
  • Tongziliao (GB 1) lies in the cavities on the outside corners of the eye sockets. Good for eye problems including conjunctivitis, red sore eyes, photophobia, dry and/or itchy eyes, early-stage cataracts and blurred vision, as well as lateral headaches.
  • Chengqi (St 1) directly blow the pupil on the infraorbital ridge bone. This is a main point for all eye problems.

GENTLY massage each acupuncture point around the orbit of the eye.  This will help your eyes receive oxygen and nutrition that is needed for healing.

Youna Kim R.Ac