Integrative Health Blog

What is Your Baby Sleeping On?

Posted on Mon, Mar 23, 2015

Teresa Fuller MD, PhD

A question about baby mattresses was submitted recently to our  Wholesome Mama's Facebook group, and the answer is important to share with new and expectant parents. Babies spend a lot of time sleeping, an estimated 16 to 18 hours per day.  For decades, the AAP (American Academy of Pediatrics) has promoted the “Back to Sleep” campaign, encouraging babies to sleep on their backs, which has been successful in reducing the incidence of SIDS. However, there is evidence that the mattress that your baby sleeps on may also increase a baby’s risk of SIDS. 

Studies show infants exposed to chemical emissions from mattresses

In 2014, a study by the University of Texas was released which found that “infants are exposed to high levels of chemical emissions from crib mattresses.” The researchers examined 20 new mattresses and found that they contained over 30 volatile organic compounds (VOCs).  Moreover, new crib mattresses release about 4 times the amount of VOCs as old mattresses. And even more alarming is that the VOC level is significantly higher in the infant’s breathing space than in the general air.  The researchers estimated that the infant laying in the crib is exposed to twice the VOC levels as someone standing in the room. Therefore, the researchers concluded that a good strategy to reduce this VOC exposure would be to let a new mattress air out for an extended period of time, perhaps in a garage or outdoors.

This research seems to suggest that an old mattress would be protective; however, a used mattress comes with risks as well. Dr. Jim Sprott, a New Zealand scientist, is convinced that a number of chemicals, which includes phosphorous, arsenic and antimony used in fire retardants, are directly responsible for SIDS. His theory is that these chemicals combine with fungi in the mattress and create a toxic gas. He further proposes that used mattresses are more likely to have the fungus in it to mix with these chemicals than new mattresses. His theory is based upon a research study in published in 1994 by Dr. B. Richardson which brought this information to light.  Dr. Sprott strongly recommends that these chemicals be removed from crib mattresses, but industry standards continue to mandate the inclusion of fire retardants.

Protection from chemicals and gases in crib mattresses

Read More

Tags: holistic pediatrician, sleep, children's health

Seasonal Allergies: The Year Round Epidemic

Posted on Mon, Mar 16, 2015

Autumn Frandsen ND    

Allergies are a Common, Chronic Problem

According to the Asthma & Allergy Foundation of America, 1 in 5 people are affected by both allergies and asthma and 1 in 3 people are affected by allergies alone. Allergists and immunologists characterize allergies as an overreaction of the human immune system to a foreign protein substance (“allergen”) that is eaten, breathed into the lungs, injected or touched, and have identified allergy symptoms as coughing, sneezing, itchy eyes, runny nose and scratchy throat. They say severe cases can also result in rashes, hives, lower blood pressure, difficulty breathing, asthma attacks, and even death. I have found that allergies can also present as dizziness, allergic conjunctivitis, gastrointestinal symptoms (including Crohn’s and colitis), anxiety, fatigue, depression, body pain, and insomnia.

Some Suffer Allergy Symptoms Year Round

Contrary to popular belief, allergies do not always limit themselves to “allergy season”. Seasonal allergies are often just the body’s warning sign for a bigger struggle going on in the body. Often, year round allergies will present as something entirely different than the typical sneezing, wheezing, itching, and watery eyes that are commonly associated with seasonal allergies. What happens when someone has these symptoms all year round? Are they still considered seasonal allergies? Sometimes. If a person is affected by different allergens at different times during the year, the seasons still dictate allergen growth, so technically, they are seasonal allergies. However, for some allergy sufferers, there is no relief once the season is over. I have many patients that this applies to, while most patients experience symptoms only in the spring and fall. The mold allergan that is prevalent in the fall (see Fall Alleriges, Look Out for Ragweed and Mold) can cause lingering problems into the winter while newly blossoming flowers, trees, and shrubs can start affecting people at the end of the winter, and into the spring and the summer. One example of this is a patient of mine who had visited several optometrists and ophthalmologists due to pus coming out of her eye in large quantities periodically through the day. She received many different eye drops including steroidal eye drops and allergy eye drops with no relief from any of them. She came to see me and we identified several environmental allergies that were only manifesting as allergic conjunctivitis. She was skeptical about this information because she had used allergy drops in her eyes with no relief and assumed that if the allergies were bothering only her eyes then a direct application of medicine to her eye seemed like it would treat the problem if that was indeed the problem. I explained that allergies can cause a reaction on an immunological level and in attempt to purge the body of harmful substances, it may have attempted to express them out through any means necessary. This indicates that it wasn’t necessarily her eyes that were affected but that there was something more serious going on inside. After doing some lab testing, we found that she had an autoimmune condition underlying her immediate concern. Identifying the allergies and correcting them not only cleared up her eyes, but brought her high antibody complexes in her body down to normal range.

The Problem with Allergy Shots 

Read More

Tags: allergy testing and treatment, allergy symptoms, allergies

Golden Turmeric Milk

Posted on Wed, Mar 11, 2015

Brooke Mader CHC

Turmeric milk is one of my favorite night time drinks, other than hot tea. It is comforting and soothing at night and very nutritious. Nothing compares to the smell of turmeric milk warming up on the stove. Turmeric contains antioxidants and anti-inflammatory compounds.  Warm beverages, both in the evening and in the morning, provide soothing effects to the digestive system.

Turmeric, The Golden Healing Spice

Turmeric has been around for hundreds of years and is known as the “healing” spice to the Eastern cultures. It is known to help with sore throats, colds, flus, stomach aches, wounds, skin problems and abrasions. Just like coconut oil, turmeric provides antibacterial and antimicrobial properties. The combination of turmeric and peppercorn enhances the absorption of curcumin, the main ingredient found in turmeric.

Ingredients

2 Cups milk (whole fat dairy, almond, coconut, hemp, whatever you’d like…but I prefer almond)

1 tbsp local, raw honey (can substitute with stevia for less sugar)

1 tbsp coconut oil

1 tsp ground turmeric

1 tsp ground cinnamon

¼ tsp black pepper and grated ginger

Instructions

Pour all ingredients (except for the honey) into a small saucepan and whisk into a light boil. Reduce the heat to low for 5 minutes. Remove from heat and strain the milk (if you have large pieces of ginger or peppercorn). Then add the honey (you don’t want to cook the honey) and an extra dash of cinnamon and enjoy! It is best served warm.

*Be careful not to cook the honey because raw honey is anti-viral, anti-bacterial, and anti-fungal. It contains significant amounts of: B1, B2, B3, B5, B6, Vitamin C, magnesium, potassium, calcium, sodium chlorine, sulfur, and phosphate. Honey in its proper form, not heated, is one of nature’s most healing substances.

Read More

Tags: antioxidants, holistic nutrition, integrative health, recipe, turmeric

25% of Teenagers are Doing What?!

Posted on Mon, Mar 09, 2015

Teresa Fuller MD, PhD

It’s common knowledge that adolescence is characterized by risk-taking behaviors and experimentation.  As a parent, you try your best to warn your adolescent children about the dangers they may face, especially regarding drug and alcohol abuse.  One type of drug use that is less commonly recognized is prescription drug abuse. In fact, after marijuana, prescription drugs are the most commonly abused drug by teenagers.

A very disturbing trend

Nearly 50% of Americans take at least one prescription medication, and the sale of prescription painkillers quadrupled from 1999 to 2010.  Therefore, prescription medications are readily accessible by children and teens.  It’s estimated that 25% of teenagers has misused or abused a prescription drug at least once in their lifetime.

One disturbing risk taking trend in regard to prescription drug abuse is for teens to gather for what’s called pill parties, or “skittling.”  In these settings, kids are encouraged to bring any pills they can find, and then the pills are dumped into a bowl for them to sample.  The risks are very high, given that the child may be taking a very dangerous medication, and is also mixing medications together.  These types of gathering have resulted in significant illness and even death for some teens.

So what can you, as a parent, do?

1)  Regularly inspect your medicine cabinets and dispose of all medications that you are not using.  Many people hold on to left over medicines “just in case” they need it later.  Please dispose of it to decrease the risk of a child accidentally or intentionally taking the medication. Many communities now offer a "medicine disposal day" in conjunction with the police so that medication can be safely turned in and not disposed by flushing it down the toilet, thereby adding it to the water supply.

2)  Talk to your children about the issue of prescription drug abuse among teenagers and educate them about its dangers.   Don’t be afraid to ask them if they are aware of or have attended  pill parties or other types of social gatherings that encourage drug use.

Read More

Tags: children's health, teenagers, prescription drugs, addiction integrative health

Go Back to the Basics

Posted on Thu, Mar 05, 2015

Coy Roscosky D.C.

As a physical medicine doctor of 15 years I have seen a lot of patients that have presented with  various levels of pain and musculoskeletal problems.  Some as simple as low back pain as the result of shoveling snow, to as complicated as having Lyme disease/low thyroid/ chronic inflammation/ shoulder pain all layered on each other, never knowing what is the real cause of their physical pain.  Somehow, in any of these cases, there needs to be a point where the basics of physical health are incorporated into daily living. Along with proper treatment, this will set the foundation for healing and get a patient back to a better state of health from when they first came in.

In sports, when a team is doing poorly many times the coach will take the team back to  drills they learned as a kid to reinforce the basics of the sport.  This allows the team to return to "the basics" of being successful and winning games.  The same thing has to happen when restoring the physical body to the way it is supposed to move and feel. 

What are basics for health?

1)      Proper motion of Joints

2)      Responsive, stable muscles

3)      Proper nutrition

4)      8 hours of rest

5)      Reduced levels of emotional/mental stress

Why are these the basics? 

If your joints don’t move properly it is difficult to exercise and move.  If your joints don’t move then it is harder to stimulate your muscles through proper ranges of  motion and muscles become weaker and unstable.  In order for muscles to contract correctly and heal, you must have good nutrition to support energy and healing of these and other soft tissues.  Recuperation from exercising your muscles and daily work comes from sleep.  Eight hours of sleep has been shown time after time in research studies as a necessity for health, or the body suffers in numerous ways.  If you don’t get enough sleep, stress increases and your ability to remain calm, relaxed and think clearly throughout the day is limited.

The Basics are a Foundation for Healing

Doesn’t this all sound familiar? Do you remember that song, “the knee bone is connected to the thigh bone?”  Everything in the body has a connection to the other.  If you don’t have a basic foundation then how can your body heal?

The following is a list of action steps (prioritized) to take to get back to the basics:

1)      Chiropractic, Manual Physical Therapy, Exercise, Yoga

2)      Chiropractic, Manual Physical Therapy, Athletic Trainer, Functional Exercise

Read More

Tags: pain, chiropractic, physical health, back to the basics ebook

Try Orthopedic Massage to "Address the Pain You Can't Explain"

Posted on Mon, Mar 02, 2015

Robert White LMT

Some people choose to handle musculoskeletal pain on a managerial level. While frequent visits to the doctor’s office, medications, and sometimes intermittent periods of rest may help, this need to constantly address the pain can easily reduce one's quality of life. We view ourselves as individuals, and believe in some strange way that our physical experiences around pain are exclusive to us. Our pain is a result of how we use our body, and is an indicator that we are out of harmony.

Get the right type of massage

Alternatively, massage and body work can support the reduction of pain, or reduce the propensity of chronic pain which can occur over time. With over 600 modalities of massage and body work available to the public, it is best to know what type of massage will effectively handle those common aches and pains we collectively experience. Orthopedic massage (OM) is a progressive manual therapy that applies a non-impact, low force, soft tissue manipulation that is appropriate to address that pain you can’t explain. Orthopedic massage focuses on the body as one dynamic organism, and the practitioner connects with the source, rather than the cause of the pain.

Where is the pain coming from?

A practitioner who is trained in orthopedic massage will first perform an orthopedic assessment. During the assessment, the skilled practitioner can determine which tissue is effected, and if the pain is localized or referred. This information will better guide the orthopedic massage  practitioner in creating a treatment plan that may focus on specific muscle tissue, and/or surrounding structures.

Some common pain conditions that Orthopedic Massage addresses:

Read More

Tags: pain, massage

Sugar, Carbs and the New Dietary Guidelines

Posted on Mon, Feb 23, 2015

Anita Capizzi RN, CHC

Every 5 years the U.S. government revises our national dietary guidelines. This past week the nutrition advisory panel that helps to formulate those guidelines came out with new recommendations. Among them was their new sugar consumption guideline. They now advocate consuming no more than 12 added teaspoons of sugar/day, or roughly 10% of the diet due to the link between sugar, obesity and chronic disease like heart disease. While this recommendation is certainly a step in the right direction, the American Heart Association has a tighter restriction, and advises no more than 6 teaspoons of sugar/day for women and no more than 9 added teaspoons of sugar/day for men.

Read the full article here:

http://well.blogs.nytimes.com/2015/02/19/nutrition-panel-calls-for-less-sugar-and-eases-cholesterol-and-fat-restrictions/

How Much Sugar Are You Consuming? 

Processed foods generally contain high levels of sugar and it’s estimated that Americans, due to high consumption of processed foods, consume in excess of 22 teaspoons of sugar per day!

Real food is always the winner over processed food when it comes to nutrient value and density. 

Among all the “real” food choices though, there are things to consider when planning your next breakfast, lunch or dinner fare such as:

-   Which foods will give me the most energy?

-   Will I be hungry in an hour if I choose to eat this now?

-   Is this really enough food for lunch? (always the culprit when dieting!)

-   Do I see carbohydrates, protein AND good fats on my plate?

Read More

Tags: carbohydrates, sugar

Sugar, Carbs and the New Dietary Guidelines

Posted on Mon, Feb 23, 2015

Anita Capizzi RN, CHC

Every 5 years the U.S. government revises our national dietary guidelines. This past week the nutrition advisory panel that helps to formulate those guidelines came out with new recommendations. Among them was their new sugar consumption guideline. They now advocate consuming no more than 12 added teaspoons of sugar/day, or roughly 10% of the diet due to the link between sugar, obesity and chronic disease like heart disease. While this recommendation is certainly a step in the right direction, the American Heart Association has a tighter restriction, and advises no more than 6 teaspoons of sugar/day for women and no more than 9 added teaspoons of sugar/day for men.

Read the full article here:

http://well.blogs.nytimes.com/2015/02/19/nutrition-panel-calls-for-less-sugar-and-eases-cholesterol-and-fat-restrictions/

How Much Sugar Are You Consuming? 

Processed foods generally contain high levels of sugar and it’s estimated that Americans, due to high consumption of processed foods, consume in excess of 22 teaspoons of sugar per day!

Real food is always the winner over processed food when it comes to nutrient value and density. 

Among all the “real” food choices though, there are things to consider when planning your next breakfast, lunch or dinner fare such as:

-   Which foods will give me the most energy?

-   Will I be hungry in an hour if I choose to eat this now?

-   Is this really enough food for lunch? (always the culprit when dieting!)

-   Do I see carbohydrates, protein AND good fats on my plate?

Read More

Tags: carbohydrates, sugar

Biofeedback for the Brain

Posted on Tue, Feb 17, 2015

Ana Vargas M.D. (Mex.)             

            

Biofeedback is a collection of different techniques that help develop “conscious physiological -psychosomatic self-regulation”. In other words, it is a method that teaches us to “activate” the relaxation response, by practicing to control heart rate, breath rate, blood pressure, muscle tension or body temperature. 

Developing the Mind/Body Connection

The clinical application of Biofeedback was scientifically relevant because it challenged the old notion that the control of physiological processes by the autonomic nervous system was merely involuntary. We learned that we can develop conscious control over those processes, that we can voluntarily influence our bodily responses. The final goal is to help control stress and its many effects on the body (i.e., high blood pressure, anxiety, migraines, irritable bowel syndrome, and many more). “The premise is that the mind affects the body and the body affects the mind”.

These techniques are quite unique in that they were developed using modern electronic technology. The latest development of biofeedback applications is Brain wave biofeedback or Neurofeedback, which represents the most readily available application of neuroscience and the culprit of self-regulation techniques.

Neurofeedback has shown to improve autonomic regulation (“involuntary” physiological responses), promote brain competencies (i.e., attention and memory), help remediate functional disorders (i.e., anxiety, depression), and enhance optimal performance (i.e., musical and athletic performance). These technological advances are exciting news and are promising drug-free alternatives for many conditions that until now remain a challenge to conventional approaches.

How Neurofeedback Works

Imagine been able to modulate your mental processes by balancing brain wave frequencies so that you are not overcome by anxiety or depression, by training certain frequencies so that your attention and memory improve and you can perform better at work or school. It is all possible! Moreover, now with the addition of brain mapping the training can be more accurate since we can record the electrical activity of the brain and observe which frequencies are imbalanced and in which location.

Read More

Tags: neurofeedback, brain health, biofeedback

Understanding TMJ to Optimize Treatment

Posted on Wed, Feb 11, 2015

Holistic Family Dental Team

Do you suffer from problems with your jaw or have pain when you chew or yawn?

Do you hear a clicking or popping sound when you open or close your mouth?

Do you grind or clench your teeth?

People generally do not understand what TMJ, Temporo Mandibular Joint Dysfunction, is about other than they have pain or poor jaw movement. The cause of TMJ may be difficult to determine. TMJ is comprised of 2 components: Temporo Mandibular Dysfunction (TMD) and Myofascial Pain (MFP).

The concept of TMJ should be understood because the two different components of TMJ must be treated differently.

TMD, Temporo Mandibular Dysfunction, occurs when the jaw joint  (left, right or both) is not functioning well.   The second component, MFP, Myofascial Pain,  exists when the muscles of the jaw are painful or not functioning correctly.

                      TMJ =  TMD  +  MFP

The two components may exist together or exist separately.

It is important to understand how the jaw functions normally to conceptualize how to treat Temporo Mandibular Dysfunction.                    

In a healthy TMJ the lower jaw (mandibular) moves within the bone of the head (temporal bone) to open and close.  The muscles of the jaw provide the force for the mandible to move within the temporal bone.

Read More

Tags: neck pain, pain, holistic dentistry, TMJ, jaw pain, face pain