Weaning Off Medications

Q: Currently I am taking 2 presciptions for high blood pressure, 3 over-the-counter medicines for allergies, an anti-anxiety medication, and a pill for cholesterol. I would really like to not take anything at all! What is the best way to get off all these medicines? A: I commend you to wanting to get healthy enough to not have a need for your medications!  That’s my favorite part about my job.  Well, these conditions definitely did not happen overnight and so treating them is also going to be a gradual process that will take some time. In Chinese medicine, we say it takes 1 month to treat a problem you have had for 1 year. Also, some problems can be treated at the same time and are inter-related as far as Oriental medicine theory is concerned — such as anxiety and high cholesterol which are both related to your Gall Bladder. Other problems will require slightly different herbs or treatment strategies. Some other things to consider:  What is the biggest priority?  What is bothering you the most right now?  Usually that is a good place to start.   In general, the easiest medicines to get off of are the allergies medicines and the cholesterol medicine.   My personal opinion on cholesterol medication is somewhat controversial, and please don’t take my opinion as medical advice * but simply as opinion.  (*this is just me saving my butt, legally) Allergy medication is a different animal:  the way that antihistimines and decongestants work in your body are that they will trap the “evil qi” further into your respiratory system and make the actual problem,...

End of the World

The end is near.  The “apocalypse” you kept hearing about is the end of an era, not the actual planet or humankind.  Just as in history there are periods of different prevailing beliefs, problems, and knowledge, we are entering a new epoch of time.   Old ideas are moving out and new ones are taking shape.  It’s very exciting!Here is my end of the year list; what’s in and what’s out for 2013.  Out.                           In. Self-centered.                                Community. Antibiotics.                                     Vitamins. Factory farms.                               Organic. Power struggles.                           Open communication Shame.                                             Beauty. Fixed ideas.                                    New ideas. Consumerism.                                Investing. Medication.                                     Nutrition. Blind faith.                                      Education. Fear.            ...

Wellness Care for Travelers

This time of year many of us are heading out of town. Vacation and travel make great excuses to not exercise and take care of our bodies, but I don’t buy it.  I’m not one for excuses.  It either is or it isn’t.  I don’t want excuses, I want results!  (*pounds desk for emphasis*) Here are some of the ways I like to maintain my wellness while traveling: 1.  Hotel room exercise plan:  you don’t need a fancy gym to get in a good workout.  Let me give you some examples of what I have done in the past inside my hotel room to stay fit: 5 sets of 25 pushups, 25 situps, and 25 squats Yoga for 30 minutes; youtube has a wide variety of video classes to choose from If you have your MP3 handy, have an impromptu dance party 2.  Take herbs just in case:  I always pack a few herbal essentials for, as the French say, “juste au cas:” Suan Zao Ren Tang or Gui Pi Tang for insomnia (some hotel rooms are just not that comfortable!) Herbal ABX in case of infection Mint tea can be used for:  constipation, upset stomach, or for boosting your immune system (you know how hard it is to get good food on the road!) 3.  Don’t use the old “oh, you’re on vacation!” excuse when eating: “Nothing tastes as good as thin feels,” Eat only foods that are nourishing to your body; eat MORE vegetables.  Vegetables have the special designation of being the only food group that eating more of them will actually benefit your health.   Do...

Beating the Flu

  To Stay Healthy This Flu Season – You Don’t Need a Shot   Fall is here and so is the cold and flu season. Or at least, talk of the flu. Health care professionals are beginning their annual push for flu shots before the season is in full swing this November.   But here’s something they won’t tell you – Flu vaccines are not the only or even the best way to protect yourself from getting sick. In many cases flu shots aren’t necessary and they’re often detrimental to your health.     The flu vaccine is not proven to effectively prevent the flu. A flu shot only immunizes you against strains of flu viruses that are active nine months before the flu seasons begin. That’s when scientists collect circulating flu bugs to make the vaccine. But viruses are constantly changing, so a new strain can appear. So even if you get a flu vaccine you may still get the flu! And when you do, the vaccine may have already weakened your immune system.   You can also get the flu from the vaccine itself. Scientists make flu vaccine from actual flu viruses. They grow flu viruses in chicken eggs and then kill them with a chemical. In theory it makes the virus inactive, yet lists of possible side effects from the vaccine include fever, headache, tiredness and sore muscles – yes, that’s the flu. And the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases reports this happens most often in children or in those with weakened immune systems, the very people they recommend receive the vaccine!  Flu vaccine...

The Single Herb to Treat Your Health Problems

It’s finally out of the bag!  It’s available in stores; you can find it online; in fact, you probably receive at least 1 junk email a day from someone trying to sell it to you!  What herb is it? It’s… Echinacea / Ginseng / Ephedra / Horny Goat’s Weed (no, I am not making up that name!) / Raspberry Ketone / Green Coffee Beans / Gingko Biloba / Mushrooms Extract / Tea Tree Oil / etc… Don’t get me wrong here:  I am in favor of all of these herbal supplements.  But what I am opposing is the notion that there is one cure-all herb for _____ (fill in your problem). Here are some concepts regarding herbology that are frequently misunderstood: 1.  Herbs have powerful side-effects:  just like prescription medications, herbs can have side-effects.  A good herbalist will minimize these side-effects by combining your herbs with other herbs that balance the total formula to make it very gentle on your body.  My favorite example is ephedra, or Ma Huang in Chinese.  In Chinese herbology, Ma Huang is used in very small doses, combined with other herbs to treat asthma and allergies.  Someone realized that in large doses, it suppressed the appetite, and sold it as a weight loss supplement.  Of course, so many people started taking it, and then they started having heart problems.  Now it’s illegal and nobody can use it! 2.  Your herbal needs will change at least every 3 months.  Rarely does someone’s body need the same formula for more than 2 – 3 months.  In the case of an acute injury or cold, the herbal formula...

Natural Wellness and Pelvic Health

Looking after your pelvic health is probably not something that has been on the top of your priority list. Most women don’t think about pelvic health until there is a problem. However, prevention is always better than having to be treated for something, and if you have had children, you’re at risk for pelvic health problems.  Pelvic organ prolapse (POP) is a problem that will affect as many as half of all childbearing women. Stress urinary incontinence (SUI) is also very common in women who have given birth. Taking good care of yourself and your pelvic floor muscles can help you avoid these problems, or if you have already been diagnosed with SUI or POP, can help you find relief from troublesome symptoms. Exercise Exercise plays an important role in pelvic health, whether you are focused on preventing problems like stress urinary incontinence and pelvic organ prolapse or treating their symptoms. These common pelvic floor disorders are caused by weakness in the pelvic floor muscles and connective tissues, so building or maintaining strength in the pelvic muscles is essential. Pelvic floor exercise, especially Kegels, are very important, but they must be done correctly to be effective, so seeing a physical therapist or fitness instructor for guidance may be your best bet. Weight Management Extra weight, especially in the abdominal area, increases pressure on pelvic floor muscles, so maintaining a healthy body weight is important in preventing strain and damage to pelvic floor muscles. If you already have a pelvic floor problem, losing weight can reduce your symptoms. Health Issues Taking a holistic approach to pelvic health is a strategy...
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