Q: Do I Need CBD Oil?

In the field of natural healthcare, I could mark time by the latest trending superfood, super-nutrient, magic-bullet herb or diet.  Like, remember back in the Master-cleanse Era of 2003?

The late 2010s marks the beginning of CBD oil fascination.  We all want to know – is this something that would help me?

For all of these herbs, foods, and nutrients, sorry, but there’s never a clear answer.  Because it depends on your own unique chemistry and your body’s needs – which may vary from day to day.

What I can do is tell you a little more about your body’s cannabinoid system and how CBD (and THC) react with it.   

Your body contains – naturally – cannabinoid receptor sites.  Your body regulates these receptor sites naturally – with or without taking hemp or marijuana.  The chemicals in your body that react with these receptor sites are called endogenous ligands.

The main receptors in your body for cannabinoids and endogenous ligands are called “CB1” and “CB2.” 

CB1 activation mostly happens in your brain and can include increased appetite, pain reduction, and reduced psychological stress. 

CB1 activation areas

CB2 activation happens in a broader part of your body:  brain, immune cells, GI tract, and peripheral nerves.

CB2 activation areas

Depending on your diet, stress levels, and some genetic tendencies, CB1 and CB2 receptors can stay in balance all by themselves or not.  Some people may have more of one receptor than the other.  Or your body can favor activation of one system over the other.

Hemp and marijuana plants both contain cannabinoids, which are the some of the components that attach to the receptor sites and activate them. 

THC is a psychoactive component (meaning that it gets you “high”).  CBD is not by itself psychoactive.  Hemp is <.3% THC and 15% CBD whereas most recreational marijuana is around 20% THC and 2% CBD. 

Smoking marijuana – or ingesting in some way THC – activates mostly CB1.  For different people, this will affect you in different ways.  Some people eat too much (the “munchies”) and sit on the couch (the calming effect).  For some people with PTSD, anxiety, or depression, it may help.  Since there is currently no way of testing what kind of receptor sites your body has and in what condition they are, if *you decide to use THC medicinally, start with a very low dose and go from there.  *If it’s legal where you live, of course.

CBD supplements focus more on CB2 activation.  So for people with nerve system problems, epilepsy or pain, or people who get drug-tested at work, this may be a better choice.

The effect of diet on cannabinoid receptor expression is interesting as well.

The Standard American Diet, or SAD ( 😆 ) is heavily loaded in omega 6 oils.  This includes almost all prepackaged foods.  Try this:  the next time you buy a bag of chips, cereal, bread, or pretty much anything that comes wrapped in a box or in plastic, read the label.  If it contains:  soybean oil, canola oil, corn oil, sunflower oil, safflower oil, or cottonseed oil, it’s an omega 6 oil.  Also:  this is what most restaurants are cooking your food in. 

We do need some omega 6 oils in our diet, but to effectively reduce the likelihood of obesity and overall body pain and inflammation, we need to optimize and favor omega 3s in our diets.  Omega 3s are our body’s sources of DHA and EPA. 

Omega 3 oils actually preserve your endogenous (meaning naturally inside your body) cannabinoids.  In a laboratory study, CB1 and CB2 cells light up in the presence of certain oils.  More CB1 and CB2 activity happens in the presence of CBD oil and with omega 3 oils.  The most activity happens in the presence of both oils.  In the presence of omega 6 oils, not much happens to the CB1 and CB2 receptors.  Slavko Komanytsky, PhD lab
Also:  fun fact:  omega 3 oils have been shown to increase the overall number of CB1 and CB2 receptor sites.  The omega 3 oils seem to make your body a more habitable environment for endocannabinoids.  Brown I, Cascio MG, Wahle KWJ, Smoum R, Mechoulam R, et al. (2010) Cannabinoid receptor… Carcinogenesis 31:1584-1591
So, in short, CBD oil can be a balanced part of your supplement schedule.  Especially when it’s combined with a healthy diet. But, even just having a healthy diet (low on processed foods, and high in omega 3-rich foods and always a variety of vegetables) can preserve your body’s natural “high” by itself!  

The Insurance Game

 

Several years ago I conscientiously opted out of health insurance.  

For most people that’s just not an option because of chronic or genetic dis-ease and the cost of medications and doctor’s visits, so I know I’m lucky that I can make this decision.  It’s not for everyone.  And I’m not necessarily recommending it either.  I just want to make a point that

  1. Our healthcare system is deeply flawed.
  2. I don’t want to participate in it.  I choose not to.  

MY HEALTHCARE EXPENSES FOR 2018

I pay out of pocket for the expense of staying healthy.  That being said, I spend most of my money (just a little less than my mortgage LOL) on healthy food. 

  • I pay cash for massages (luckily I can trade for most of my massages),
  • Chiropractic care (around $500 total for 2018),
  • Around $400 total for out of pocket dentist expenses (for myself and 2 kids – just cleanings this year.). 
  • One eye exam for $125.  Glasses cost $12.50 (Zenni.com is fabulous for prescription glasses; you should check it out) and contacts $120. 
  • We had 4 therapy sessions @$65 = $260. 
  • Other out-of-pocket expenses, that insurance wouldn’t even cover anyway:  herbal medicines and nutritional supplements $400 (wholesale :). 
  • I would probably also throw a consultation I had with my psychic in there too.  Talking to her does more good than therapy for me.  Cost:  $80. 
  • Acupuncture I can do for free; but, if I had insurance there’s a 50/50 chance they’d actually cover it, and I would end up paying the $800 or so out of pocket or towards deductible anyway.

Total for myself and 2 kids = $1897.50

Total that insurance would have covered if I had it = $0 (pretty sure, based on deductibles, coverage limitations, etc.)

Total saved every month NOT having insurance = $6000 (x 5 years) = $30,000

I WOULD GET INSURANCE IF

  • If I worked for a company that provided good coverage at a decent price or if – like most other countries in the world – it was included as part of our citizenship
  • If the cost of health insurance didn’t far exceed what you get in return

I’ve had insurance before, and when it came time that I actually needed it, they denied all my claims.  The claim was an emergency trip to the hospital.  They should have covered that.  Even if they had, I still would have had a $7500 deductible.  The hospital bill was $13,000, so I just negotiated the bill with the hospital and ended up paying it with cash over a few months.  A pain in the butt, for sure, but at least I was able to do it.  After that is when I canceled my policy.  “What’s the use?” 

At the very least, they need to be covering emergency trips to the hospital.  If that’s not what insurance is for then I don’t know what.  But a lot of people don’t realize is that you can negotiate with the hospital if you’re paying out of pocket.  Just tell them what you can afford and they’ll work with you.  Don’t be afraid to make demands.  Hospitals routinely bill 10-20x more than what the services actually cost and what insurance would actually pay them.  Insurance companies make deals with hospitals to reduce their cost, and so can you.

THE CONCEPT OF RISK

Buying insurance is buying into a risk pot.  I don’t want to be put into a pot – so to speak – with people that eat McDonald’s for dinner every night and call looking for the remote control exercise.  It’s not fair.  I’m basically paying for their healthcare costs.  

Another healthcare option that is working for some people are healthshare groups like Liberty Healthshare which is still pricey, but not as much, and what they cover is more clear. 

BUT WHAT IF SOMETHING HAPPENS?!?!

Of course.  Yes, my family and I have been lucky so far.  Yes, we could have a terrible accident or – goddess forbid – cancer. 

But here’s probably where I differ from most people.  And I AM NOT NECESSARILY RECOMMENDING THIS AS AN APPROACH TO HEALTHCARE FOR YOU – it’s just what works for me.  If I did come down with a terrible dis-ease, I would not opt to treat it with Western medicine.  That’s just me.  I pass no judgement down on anyone who chooses differently. 

If I or my child need surgery or an in-patient treatment of some kind, I will just pay out of pocket and negotiate with the hospital.  The bottom line of rising healthcare costs is that the big players:  the pharmaceutical companies, the big hospitals, and the big insurance companies keep raising the rates.  Rates that no normal person can afford!

So, what do you think about this?  Do you think I’m overlooking anything?  Just curious.    Health insurance is one of the most controversial topics out there now.  Mostly in the US, though.  Other countries seemed to have figured this out.

Quick Neck Stretches

If you sit at a desk all day, or if you are bending down looking at small children all day, or if you just have a cranky, stiff neck, this is for you.

Take a handful of your hair from the lower, back part of your head.  (Sorry, my beautiful, bald ones, you do kind of need at least some hair to do this, although if you have a good imagination you can still probably do it.  Below I’ll list another stretch that you don’t need hair for.)

We want to align the base of the skull with the very top of the head (align the stars!).

Stars are aligned!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

When you have a handful of hair, pull your hair slightly back and up.  As you do this you should feel a nice stretch through the vertebrae (spinal bones) of your neck.  Ideal neck posture is a straight spine all the way up to the top.  A J-shaped spine is the idea, not the S-shaped spine that we were taught years ago.  

A few times throughout the day, do this exercise to remind yourself of proper neck posture.

Another quick neck traction exercise you can do with a broom.  Lay down on the ground and place the broomstick perpendicular to your body and under your neck.  Place your hands on either side of the stick – on either side of your neck and pull the stick toward the top of your head.  When it reaches the occiput – the place where your skull meets your neck bones, you should feel a good stretch through your neck.  Hold it for a few seconds and repeat.  

When Is It Your Last Treatment?

My reaction when people say to me, “So today’s my last treatment, right?”

It’s like saying, “So today’s the last day I need to exercise, right?”  Or, “This is my last haircut, right?” Or, “This is the last time I need to eat broccoli, right?”  

Your needs for acupuncture change over time.  Some problems go away, and your needed frequency and intensity of treatment reduces, but there’s always new stuff happening.  There’s always stress.  There’s always aches, pains, and head colds.  

Acupuncture at its best is actually a preventative medicine.  You can prevent problems from happening by doing acupuncture.  Unfortunately, it’s hard to show people how that works because… you feel fine!  I can’t say, “Wow!  You see how you didn’t get sick for the last year?  If you hadn’t come in, you surely would have been sick at least 3 times.”

There’s no way to prove that acupuncture can keep you well, so a lot of people choose to stop coming in when they feel better or when their treatment plan ends.  

But if you think of acupuncture as a health maintenance tool, kind of like an oil change and tire rotation maintains your car’s well-being, I do think you can prevent many types of dis-eases from occurring in the first place with regularly scheduled acupuncture.  

 

The Value of Mindfulness in Healing

A health condition not getting better – not to be confused with getting better slowly – is the primary reason people try acupuncture in the first place.  

When a health condition doesn’t get better with acupuncture and herbs, there’s something that is continually aggravating the condition either in the body or in the environment of the patient.  We need to ask ourselves, “Why is this happening?”  

The problem with that, and probably the reason we seek healthcare providers in the first place, is that it’s hard to figure out what we’re doing or what’s going on that’s causing something.  We get used to living a certain way, and it’s hard to recognize that it’s causing harm.  

Is there some kind of continual emotional stress I’m under (like a bad relationship or a stressful work environment)?

Continual, even low-grade stress is the primary reason for all hormone imbalances, including thyroid dis-ease and adrenal fatigue.  

We are accustomed to thinking that relationship tension is inevitable and normal, but it’s not.  These types of negative interactions do have an adverse impact on your health.  It can start to shut down natural body processes.  Sometimes quite literally, we get a “pain in the neck” or “pain in the a**.”  If we’re “walking on eggshells” around someone, our feet may hurt.  If we’re biting back our words, our throat chakras close off, which can lead to thyroid dis-ease.  If we’re doing all the work, we feel the weight of the world on our shoulders.  You’re constantly trying to please someone, and end up with knee pain (through your unconscious genuflecting).  And so on and so forth.  

Am I eating as healthfully as possible?

Healthy eating varies from person to person, but some things that go across the board are:

  • A variety of fresh vegetables.  Vegetables should be 50% of your diet.  Aim for a wide variety.
  • Avoid 99.9% of the time:  sugary drinks; foods and drinks with artificial colors and additives; hydrogenated oils (fried foods like french fries and doughnuts), fast food and pre-packaged foods like “weight watchers” meals and “diet” drinks and shakes.
  • Limit caffeine and alcohol to 1 or fewer servings of each per day, or avoid it completely if that works better for you.  
  • Be mindful of how you feel after you eat things like refined grains (white bread products and cereals), processed dairy products (most dairy from the grocery store), and caffeine and alcohol.  Try going 3 weeks without processed foods and see if you feel different.  
  • Some animal protein:  bone broth, eggs (if you’re not allergic), organ meats, and some skeletal meat (including fish) if you feel better when you eat it.  If you’re not currently eating it, try to include some type of animal protein to see if you feel a difference after one or two weeks of adding it in.  
  •  A good amount of healthy fats:  1 – 2 tablespoons of butter, ghee, olive oil daily.  Full-fat dairy products (preferably raw and unpasteurized dairy); eggs; cold-water fish and grass-fed beef are all good sources of Omega 3 and 6 oils which we need for proper nerve conduction, brain health, immune system health and hormone health.

How is my posture?  

Do you notice you hurt more when you sleep or at your desk at work or driving?  Pay attention to how you’re holding your body.  Heavy bags can lead to neck and shoulder pain; an awkward desk set up can lead to carpal tunnel syndrome or headaches; certain exercises may be causing you more harm to your joints than helping.  

Even chronic pain anywhere on the spine can interfere with nerves that regulate many other body functions.  For example, lower back pain nerves can impact your digestion.  Cervical nerves can regulate the thyroid and eye function.  Be honest with yourself and willing to make changes.  

Is something going on that I’m not aware of?  

If a problem doesn’t improve, it’s always a good idea to seek outside help until you find answers.  Get blood work and tests.  Try new things.  Don’t get stuck in the idea that, “I don’t see (this type of doctor).”  We don’t need to automatically jump to “worst case scenario” every time we get sick, but it’s good to cover all potential bases.  The earlier you find something, the quicker it heals.  

Things that could be going on may include:

  • covert pathogens like a virus or fungal infection (common with chronic allergies)
  • torn ligaments or bulging discs (common with neck and back pain)
  • tumors or cancer (it’s always better to know than to not)

Health is a journey, not a destination.  

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Testimonials

Pain in the Neck – GONE

I’ve had chronic neck pain for over 20 years.  Conventional doctors masked the pain with muscle relaxers and pain killers.  Chiropractors aggravated it with their treatments.  Just a few visits to Natural Health Center has it feeling better than it has in years.  Thanks so much!

Kevin M.

Stomach Soothed

I started coming to the Health Center for issues I was having with my stomach.  Even while making the initial appointment I felt like the person I was speaking with was empathetic about my situation.  I had gone to two medical doctors before trying NAET and acupuncture, but had not seen results.  After my treatments at the Health Center, my stomach feels better than it has in years and continues to get better every day with the help and support of the staff.  I am thankful for all they do for me and our community.

Kristina U.

Baby is Better

My son came here for treatment for eczema when he was 3 years old.  He is 4 now and completely cured of it.  My youngest son has the same issue at age 1, so we’re back!

Jane D.

Stress Less!

Stress!  Stress!  & More Stress!  Coming to this office gives me one hour to decompress and slow down.  I look forward to my visits.  They are the highlight of the day and week for me.  Positive energy. 🙂  This has given me another (or better) avenue to release tension and bad mojo.  Thank you.  The doctors really connect with you and truly care about your well-being.

Kerri T.

Shoulder Pain and More

I originally came in for a tweak in my shoulder which soon disappeared with regular treatments.  Since I’ve had the pleasure of treatments from Nicole and her outstanding staff, my inner calm and overall attitude toward the stresses of life have vastly improved.  I’ve come in crying, anxious, distressed, in pain and leave – every time – well-cared for and successfully treated.  I wholeheartedly believe that acupuncture can be so much more than a go-to for emergency pains.  I intend to incorporate it into my regular lifelong health regime.

Molly C.

Back is Stronger

My back has been feeling significantly better.  I no longer have the daily aches and pains that I had before.  My back feels stronger and my posture feels better.  Before acupuncture, I tried stretching to relieve my pain, but the results were unsatisfactory.  Stretching is great, but does nothing if it is not done in conjunction with acupuncture.

Carrie

Chron’s Relief

I’ve been going to the NHC for acupuncture and NAET for my Chron’s disease.  To say that the treatments helped me would be an understatement.  I have been hospitalized multiple times for my condition and was in constant, severe pain before I decided to go to the NHC.  I can’t remember the last time I felt this good.  The staff are all friendly, care for their patients and are truly there to make you better.  I can’t say enough great things about these ladies.

Anon.

Fibromyalgia Support

A few months ago at my wits end with extreme pain, I attended a Fibromyalgia support meeting and met Nicole Lentfer.  From that night on, I am a different person.  Like many others I tried all the conventional Western medicines with no relief.  After having a mini-trial of acupressure that night, I put 100% trust in Nicole and her staff and the Natural Health Center.  After starting the acupuncture and NAET treatments, I am much calmer, and I have less pain and more energy.

Becky Goad

Allergy-Free Family

My son and I had both food and environmental allergies.  We tried over the counter medications and different supplements over the past 2 years or so. We were both suffering with skin rashes, runny noses, and itchy eyes.  We started coming to the NHCA for treatment after a recommendation from a friend.  My son and I saw a big improvement of our symptoms.  We are happy to be allergy-free at the end of our treatments!

Sandra Ojong

Mental Relaxation

I started acupuncture for numerous reasons but primarily anxiety.  The process has helped me feel calmer, more relaxed, and less like I am living in a mental box.  It has helped me feel free.

Sherity

Inhaler is Out

I came to acupuncture due to constant short breaths which made working out difficult.  I also had tension in my neck and shoulders that felt like I had been holding a shrug for 10+ years.  Now I’m more comfortable since my neck and shoulders have relaxed.  I can work out harder and for longer periods of time since I don’t need to use my inhaler anymore.

Anon.

PTSD and Pain Managed

I found the NHCA after 10 years of pain and discomfort.  I was a mixed martial artist, high school football player, and infantryman in the Marine Corps.  I had put my body through entirely too much torture, and I was suffering for it.  When I left the Marine Corps in 2009, I had ankle, knee, hip, back, shoulder and neck pain.  I suffered from insomnia, restless legs syndrome, and post traumatic stress disorder.  I would take close to 20 painkillers a day, and I was still in pain.  I was hurting far from happy.  With acupuncture, I felt instant improvement and I’ve been coming to the office ever since.  I do acupuncture and NAET treatments and I have never felt better in my life.  I’m able to live again.  Thank you.

Miles

Fibro Improving

I have fibromyalgia and have had severe body pain for the past 5 years.  Every day, hands were numb, feet throbbed, sternum hurt, shoulders and hips were sore, calves and thighs hurt, arms were heavy.  Doctors really don’t know what to do for me since I didn’t want pharmaceuticals.  I can’t believe acupuncture has helped me so much.  I noticed it right away.  Things aren’t perfect yet, but they’re improving with each treatment.  I am so thankful.

Happy Patient!

Healing From the Inside Out

I came to the NHCA for food sensitivities, poor sleep, moodiness, and lack of energy.  Now I sleep better so I am more awake and in a much better mood during the day.  I was surprised by how well I felt after treatments and feeling my body heal from the inside out.  Unlike Western doctors, this office runs on time, all the time.  Nicole explains everything, answers all your questions and doesn’t talk down to you.

Kim

Less Medication

My chronic pain and fatigue are much better.  I’ve been able to come off some medications completely and reduce the dosage of others.  I had never tried acupuncture before but decided to try it.  Nicole and her staff are very informative and I was surprised that the needles don’t hurt.  The services are affordable, relaxing, and it works!

Sharon

Sports Injury Healed

I was surprised how the treatment was able to heal my sports injury when regular doctors could not.  Sometimes a pill won’t cure everything!

Kimberly

Health Answers

Western medicine has left me with no answers to help me manage a long-standing condition of inflammation that comes and goes in various body parts and for various lengths of time.  I am not fond of taking pills and found the Natural health Center at a point when I was feeling tired, flamed and with no solutions in sight.  The herbal tonics, weekly visits, acupuncture and encouragement to lose weight eventually led to a healthier, happier, pain-free existence!  My energy is back; I do not hurt.  I repeat; I do not hurt.  Such a joy!

Cathy C.

Quality of Life Improved

I came in due to pain from fibromyalgia.  Constant pain from the neck down to my toes and could never sleep more than a couple of hours at a time.  I tried antidepressants, muscle relaxers, sleeping pills and several types of pain pills.  Nothing would work.  I used to sit, sleep and eat in a recliner.  After coming here, my quality of life is so much better.  I can actually plan outings and enjoy myself.  I don’t have as much pain and I can actually sleep at night in my bed!

Mary

From Anxious Exhaustion to Calm Energy

I started acupuncture treatments for extreme adrenal fatigue and body pains that I had for over 3 years.  I didn’t sleep and had panic attacks.  I had been to numerous doctors and they’d spend 5 minutes with me and prescribe something; I was on a lot of different medication.  I’ve had absolutely incredible results!  I was at my wits end trying to get help from doctors but no one could figure out what to do other than give me pills.  Nicole listens to what you have to say and then designs a plan to get you back to optimal health.  She completely turned my life around and I don’t say that lightly.  I had given up hope that I’d be the same person I was 4 years ago.  Even my family is amazed at the change and I will recommend her services to everyone I know!

Anon.

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