Integrative Health Blog

The Art of Staying Sane in a World in Upheaval

Posted by on Mon, Mar 30, 2020

"The Art of Staying Sane in a World in Upheaval"

Using a Time of Crisis as a Chance for Mind-Body Healing and Personal Transformation

Webinar Date: April 2, 2020

Time: 8:00-9:00 PM

Presenter: Kuno Bachbauer, LMF

This webinar has ended. A recording can be found HERE.

A little more than two weeks ago we all felt safe! (More or less).

Suddenly, and seemingly, out of nowhere, “unseen forces” have threatened not only our physical health but also our economic foundation. Almost from one day to the next, our world got taken hostage by an invisible enemy.  People sequestered, jobs lost, stocks crashed.

Unfortunately, this enemy has two sides.

“Public Enemy #1”: THE VIRUS

We all were forced to discover quickly how incredibly difficult and complex it is to protect yourselves and our community from this deadly virus! We have learned that “it takes a village” of concerted and coordinated effort to stay safe and to protect each other.

Besides mostly mechanical means such as using alcohol sprays, Clorox wipes, gloves, and “social distancing” we must use very specific medical support when necessary. I am certain that my physician-colleagues at NIHA with their many tools from Integrative and Functional medicine have the COVID-19 medical and preventive aspects covered beautifully. They are the experts! Therefore, I will move on to a specific topic that I am an expert in: How to handle the emotional side of illness.  

Because there is a lot of evidence that mind and body are totally inter-connected, I will show you how we can balance our mind and our emotions in very practical ways so that our immune system can work optimally and without extra stress.


As a “holistic” psychotherapist, I see this other aspect of our novel public enemy as much more dangerous and intrinsic. It concerns the part in our psyche that deals with handling stress coming from difficult and overwhelming situations.

In this article I will attempt to give you helpful hints for mastering the “emotional brain.”  I want to offer guidance on how to MASTER THE EMOTIONAL FALLOUT and SPIRITUAL CONSEQUENCES of this collective battle against the unseen enemy of the state: COVID-19. For  more in-depth information please consider attending the webinar on April 2. 

My hope is that this information will help you be as strong and resilient in the face of this “unseen enemy” as possible! I hope it will help strengthen your immune system by learning to face fear properly, and by teaching you to be more able to handle the “tsunami” of overwhelming feelings and conflicting situations that we may have to face in the next few weeks!

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Tags: integrative medicine, emotional wellbeing

Improving Our Indoor Environment: The Power of Plants

Posted by on Wed, Mar 25, 2020

During this time of social distancing, most of us are spending much longer periods of time indoors, inside our homes.  As a pediatric physician, I always recommend spending as much time as possible in nature, but not every family has the benefit of a backyard that’s easily accessible. 

So, what can we do to improve our living space in the weeks ahead? 

One of my favorite studies exploring the relationship of indoor plants and air quality was conducted by NASA back in 1989.  I came across this study years ago, and often use it to validate to my husband any spontaneous purchases of Peace Lilies or English Ivy that I just had to have.

Anyway, this 2-year study entitled “Interior Landscape Plants for Indoor Air Pollution Abatement” was a joint effort with the Associated Landscape Contractors of America to see if houseplants could serve as a tool to combat indoor air pollution.  You see, at that time, something called “Sick Building Syndrome” was becoming apparent in American workers confined in newly constructed/renovated office buildings.  It was acknowledged during this study that various health problems (ranging from itchy eyes to headaches and fatigue) were due to the entrapment of toxic chemicals emitted from synthetic building materials, office equipment and office furnishings. 

This is heavy stuff, right? These findings were attributed to 2 things: super-insulation and reduced fresh air exchange.

The Power of Plants

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Tags: holistic health, integrative medicine, healthy living

Pediatrician Addresses Prevention and Wellness During COVID-19

Posted by on Wed, Mar 18, 2020

I have spent the last week and a half feeling overwhelmed at the unfolding of events concerning COVID-19.  There are no words to describe my full range of emotion- shock, denial, anger, sadness, helplessness.  This framework of emotion, I realize, is quite similar to the 5 stages of grief we experience when learning to cope with the loss of a loved one.  Do any of you feel the same? 

Amid the scramble I’m experiencing in my own home (as a pediatrician and a mom of 3) to figure out a new normal, I’ve been thinking of what more we can do to strengthen our personal and community response to COVID-19.

I firmly believe we all have the capability of being our most healthy selves.  And I think there is no better time than now to make that our collective goal.

How do we stay healthy?

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Tags: children's health, pediatrics

7 Ways to Help Your Child Sleep Better

Posted by on Mon, Mar 02, 2020

As a holistic pediatrician, one of the most common questions I’m asked during an office visit is “How do I help my child sleep better?” 

I’m not sure now is the time to delve into the complexities of sleep patterns, but I assure you, sleep is complex and key to good health.  Sleep patterns and requirements are also made more challenging to understand in children because they change based on age.  Newborn sleep habits are certainly different compared to a baby who is 6 months and older.

The interesting thing is that I don’t think many of us appreciate sleep until it’s gone.  While pregnant, many women (I was one of them) start to wake up more frequently at night.  I once heard this was because our bodies were slowly conditioning to becoming sleep deprived.  I’m smiling as I write this, because I see the truth in that.  And of course, after baby arrives, there’s nothing better than the first 3-4 hours stretch of uninterrupted sleep.    

Sleep Issues Can Persist 

In any case, we all know about the lack of sleep in early babyhood. However, what I’ve found is that these issues with sleep can extend past the baby and even toddler stage. Hence the reason this is a topic of concern for most parents.

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Tags: pediatrics, holistic pediatrician

A Child's First Dental Visit to Holistic Family Dentistry

Posted by on Mon, Feb 03, 2020

February is Children's Dental Health Month!

Starting your child out with good habits and dental care will help to ensure that they have the best chance for a healthy mouth that will last a lifetime. 

When Should My Child First See the Dentist?

Baby teeth have an important role and beginning to care for your child’s teeth before they erupt should not be overlooked.  The first tooth may appear at around 6 months and as soon as it starts to erupt it is at risk for decay.  This is why the American Dental Association (ADA) recommends that your child have their first visit to the dentist within 6 months of the first tooth coming in (erupting), or by about 12 months of age. By the time your child reaches his third birthday they will have all 20 of their primary teeth.

The First Dental Happy Visit

At Holistic Family Dentistry we recommend you schedule a pediatric dentistry  “Happy Visit” to acquaint your child with our staff.  They will meet our dentist,  take a ride in the chair, meet "Mr. Thirsty,"  get their teeth checked and begin to establish a level of comfort with the dentist's office. 

The first dental visit  is for young children and is a brief visit. Some children may be anxious, and it may take more than one “Happy Visit” before they are comfortable. In order to prepare for this visit there are a few things to consider:


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Tags: holistic dentistry, children's health, pediatrics

Authentic Healing- What it Means for Our Brain and Others

Posted by on Wed, Jan 29, 2020

If I suggested that you invest in the stock market, and no matter how hard you worked and applied your creative abilities, that you would always fail- how interested would you be in investing? 

The business of healing can be like that, because everyone eventually gets old, gets sick and dies.  In fact, my Buddhist friends call old age, infirmity and death the Three Heavenly Messengers!  I googled this term and got over 2 million hits, suggesting that it is a very popular term in certain circles.

As a “healer,” a functional medicine physician,  I know how easy it is to get my ego wrapped up with my powers to end infirmity (for a while), extend life (for a while) and put death off (for a while).  Inevitably though, no matter how good I am at this trade, I too will always fail.  Therefore, I am constantly questioning my motives and asking my colleagues to engage in a little introspection and ask questions like, “Why am I in this business of healing, when the Three Heavenly Messengers, old age, infirmity and death, will always prevail?” 

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Tags: brain health, spiritual health

Rachel Cohen, D.O., Holistic Pediatrician, Joins National Integrated Health Associates

Posted by on Wed, Jan 08, 2020

National Integrated Health Associates, NIHA, is pleased to announce that Rachel Cohen, D.O., holistic pediatrician, has joined the integrative medical team.

Dr. Rachel Cohen is Board Certified in Pediatrics and a Doctor of Osteopathy, dedicated to helping children reach their fullest potential by focusing on holistic care and disease prevention.  

Her journey to becoming a medical doctor started with a desire to be a healer- focusing on the interconnectedness of body and mind.  Dr. Cohen places particular importance on understanding a child’s medical history, development, emotional wellbeing, environment, stressors and nutrition.  She takes great pride in being an advocate for all families that come to her for medical care. 


Dr. Rachel Cohen completed her undergraduate and graduate work at Tulane University in New Orleans, obtaining a Master’s Degree in Neuroscience.  From there, she moved to New York City to attend medical school at Touro College of Osteopathic Medicine.  As a fully licensed physician, her additional training in osteopathy emphasizes a whole-person approach to treatment and care. Dr. Cohen completed 3 years of pediatric residency training at Harlem Hospital Center in New York City, an affiliate of Columbia University Medical Center.   Her time there was focused on delivering medical care to underserved populations.  Upon completion of residency, her family moved to the local area, where she has spent the last 2 years as a general pediatrician in Washington, D.C. 

Caring for the Whole Child

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Tags: children's health, pediatrics, holistic pediatrician

Limiting the Power of Sugar and Carbohydrate Addiction

Posted by on Mon, Dec 23, 2019

Just about everyone knows that sugar is bad for our health, but during the holidays, it appears with more frequency and is difficult to avoid. 

In case there are readers who have missed out on this fact, I will provide you with the crash course to start off this article.  The Atkins website   sums up 10 reasons why sugar is bad (listed below) and other websites go on to list 146 reasons why sugar is not a sweet thing for our health. 

10 Reasons Why Sugar Is Bad for Your Health

  1. Sugar causes glucose levels to spike and plummet, which cause mood swings, fatigue, cravings and headaches.

  2. Sugar increases the risk of obesity, diabetes, and heart disease.

  3. Your immune function can be affected by sugar. As if being sick wasn’t bad enough, studies have shown that sugar can interfere with the way your body fights disease. Bacteria and yeast feed on sugar, so excess glucose in the body causes these organisms to build up and cause infections.

  4. A high-sugar diet can lead to chromium deficiency. Chromium, a trace mineral, helps regulate blood sugar in the body. While it can be found in meats, seafood, and plant foods, 90% of Americans still don’t get enough chromium because of refined starches.

  5. Sugar accelerates aging. After sugar hits your bloodstream, it attaches to proteins. The mix of these proteins with sugar causes the skin to lose elasticity and leads to premature aging.

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Tags: addiction, sugar

Surviving the Holidays Unscathed! Maintaining Inner Peace by Letting Go of Expectations

Posted by on Wed, Dec 11, 2019

The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again, but expecting different results.

~Albert Einstein

Expectations can cause emotional disturbances, especially when, as Einstein suggests, nothing is done to change them.  The old saying, “Expect the worst and hope for the best” is also a famous bit of good advice, because it scales down expectations, perhaps a bit too pessimistically, to counter our demands that life must happen in a way that we expect it to.  In my recent released book, Awaken Your Godly Brain, I devote a whole chapter (Chapter 9) to dealing with expectations.  Everyone, that I have ever known, wants inner peace and no one wakes up in the morning and says to themselves, “I wonder how many nutty expectations I can impose on the world today so that I can suffer from emotional turmoil!”  However, that is precisely what we do to ourselves when we generate emotional disturbances.

Avoiding the “Hot Spots” of the Holidays

As Einstein suggests, we can do something different to avoid upsets.  If a certain person or situation is likely to push your buttons, move your body to a different location so that you have no contact with that person or that situation. 

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Tags: emotional wellbeing

Detoxing from the Salon

Posted by on Tue, Dec 03, 2019

Looking our best sometimes means a little extra makeup and a monthly trip to the hair salon for a touch up of our “new growth”. But with all of the talk about chemicals found in our personal care products, how can we continue to look fabulous and at the same time, make sure we are not being harmed by our choices?

Beginning in the 1940’s, the US has introduced a few thousand new chemical products into the market each year. This equates to about 85,000 chemicals that our great grandparents were never exposed to and that our bodies now have to process. Such chemicals can be found in the foods we eat, the inside and outside environment in which we live, and the personal care products that we place on our bodies.

When we were young and invincible, our outward appearance often mattered most. We didn’t think about the long term consequences of our shampoo or lipstick - just as long as it did the job that it was marketed to do. As our bodies begin to age, however, could these same products be causing us harm? As it turns out, our increasing waist size, minor unexplained aches and pains, gastrointestinal problems and progressively aging skin changes can, in fact, be related to the same chemicals that once made us look gorgeous.

Over time, if we do not regularly and safely remove them from our body, these cumulative toxin exposures can impact the development of many chronic diseases.

So let’s be smart and learn to detoxify.

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Tags: detoxification, toxins