simple-solutions-for-better-health

Simple Solutions for Complex Health Problems

If a food will not rot or sprout, then don’t buy it or throw it out. Your body cells have similar biochemical needs to a bacteria or yeast cell. Foods that have a shelf life of a millennium are not going to nourish the body. Think about it: if bacteria is not interested in your food, then what makes you think that your body cells are interested? Foods that cannot begin (sprouting) or sustain (bacterial growth) life elsewhere, will have a similar effect in your body.    Dr. Patrick Quillin, PhD,RD,CNS

Here are simple solutions for complex health problems that recognize, support and strengthen your body’s innate ability to heal itself and restore your sense of overall well being. Much of my writing is about nutrition, today I am sharing some everyday simple solutions for better health.

 

Acupuncture: This healing technique of traditional Chinese medicine can be a safe and effective alternative to drugs and medication in relieving chronic pain and other ailments. It is based on the ancient philosophy of two opposing forces working in our body: yin and yang. The constant flow of energy (Qi) through the body keeps these yin and yang forces balanced in a healthy body. Whenever, the flow of energy gets blocked this disruption leads to pain and illness.

Simple Solutions for Complex Health ProblemsIn acupuncture stimulation is given to specific anatomic sites called “acupoints” to release blocked energy and evoke body’s natural self-healing process. Acupuncture causes multiple biological responses through sensory neurons and activation of hypothalamus and pituitary glands. It modifies the way pain signals are felt, releases natural painkillers i.e. endorphin and serotonin in the nervous system and boosts blood flow.

Besides controlling pain, acupuncture has a general beneficial effect on health by stimulating the body’s various systems (nervous, endocrine and immune, cardiovascular, and digestive systems) to improve sleep, digestive function, and overall sense of well-being.

Most common methods to stimulate acupoints are insertion of fine sterile needles into the skin, moxibustion or heat therapy and electrical stimulation. Most people feel no discomfort as the fine needles are gently placed. Manual massage or pressure and cupping of acupoints also have beneficial effects.

Acupuncture can improve back body pain (neck, back, leg, etc), migraine headaches, carpal tunnel, and dental pain. It has also been known to reduce stress and has been found effective in counteracting nausea and vomiting caused by  surgery or chemotherapy. Case-controlled clinical studies have shown that acupuncture has been an effective treatment for many diseases and symptoms. (1)

Acupuncture is not for people with bleeding disorders or who take blood thinners. Electrical stimulation of the needles can cause problems for people with pacemakers or other electrical devices. Pregnant women should talk to their health care provider before taking acupuncture.

 

Simple Solutions for Complex Health ProblemsAromatherapy: This is a holistic healing technique, where essential oils are used to rejuvenate body, mind and spirit.  Aromatherapy uses the essence of essential oils i.e. the concentrated extracts from roots, leaves, seeds, or blossoms of plants, to promote health.

These essential oils are often inhaled or massaged into the skin to manage a wide range of physiological and psychological health issues. Some oils with antibacterial and anti-fungal properties are used for physical ailments such as swelling, fungal infections and arthritis. While some other have more relaxing effects and can be used for relieving anxiety, stress, and pain.

Aromatherapy stimulates the “smell” receptors in the nose, which communicate through the nervous system to the parts of the brain (the amygdala and hippocampus) that control emotions and memories. These receptors have an influence on physical, emotional, and mental health.

Often aromatherapy massage is used for holistic healing, where essential oils are both inhaled and absorbed by the skin with stimulating effects of physical therapy. The oils may reduce pain and improve mood while promoting a sense of relaxation. Essential oils are popular in massage therapy (combined with medications or other therapy) may benefit people with depression. (2)

Lavender is very popular as as stress reliever, and can help with anxiety, pain, and can improve occasional bouts of depression.  The citrus scents such as orange and lemon and also help relieve occasional stress and anxiety. Orange can help with focus, while lemon is popular as a disinfectant and has antibacterial properties. Peppermint oil may help with digestion issues. When using essential oils be careful when applying to your skin. Also, consider blending different oils as they can become more powerful when combined. Read more about flowers used in healing.

 

St. John’s Wort: St. John’s wort (Hypericum perforatum) is a herb and its flowers and leaves are used to for a range of illnesses including mild to moderate depression. It contains several potent chemicals, including hypericin, hyperforin, pseudohypericin and flavonoids which are thought to be the major source of its antidepressant, antibacterial, anti-viral, anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties. Studies suggest that these chemicals in St. John’s wort may keep more antidepressant neurotransmitters available for the body to utilize and could be effective in relieving mild to moderate depression.

St. John’s Wort has been used as an alternative to the popular antidepressant drugs with selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) (i.e. Prozac, Celexa, paroxetine (Paxil), and Zoloft), without causing the common side effects associated with these drugs.

St.John’s Wort has antibacterial properties and can help against bruises, burns, insect bites. Simply apply to the skin to help heal minor wounds and skin irritations.  St.John’s wort together with black cohosh can possible help improve mood and anxiety during menopause. During Premenstural Sysndrom (PMS) it can help relieve physical and emotions symptoms such as cramps and irritability.

 

Ginseng: One of the most popular herbal medicines “Ginseng,” is a species of slow growing perennial plants with gnarled roots. Ginseng name refers to both Asian or Korean ginseng (Panax ginseng) and American ginseng (Panax quinquefolius) varieties that have the active ingredients ginsenosides. Ginseng is used in treatment of a number of ailments, as it boosts energy levels, enhances normal well-being and cognitive function.

Ginseng has antioxidants that can help protect your body from free radicals. It can possibly improve focus and concentration and aids memory and learning ability. As an adaptogen is can help improve your body’s ability to deal with physical or emotional stress.  Asian Ginseng is used to reduce the risk of some types of cancers.

 

Simple Solutions for Complex Health ProblemsMeditation: Meditation has been practiced for thousands of years to heal the mind, body and spirit. It is a technique in which an individual trains the mind to promote relaxation and discover the stillness that is already there. This relaxation response decreases metabolism, lowers blood pressure, and improves heart rate, breathing, and brain waves that benefits your physical, mental and emotional health. Meditation is especially useful in medical conditions that are worsened by stress such as anxiety, asthma, depression, heart disease, hypertension, insomnia, migraine, arthritis and cancer.  The power of the mind can be powerful when facing illness.

Other relaxation techniques like yoga, breathing, or repetitive prayer may also have similar benefits.

Meditation may increase the gray matter in our brain, which could help our brains age at a slower pace by allowing us to have better attention, memory and learning faculties. Regular meditation opens the blood vessels and could help lower blood pressure.  Meditation may ease symptoms of anxiety and depression, and may help people with insomnia. Meditation also may lower the incidence, duration, and severity of acute respiratory illnesses (such as influenza). (3) Meditation can also help reduce hot flashes, lower pain intensity and stress.

 

Exercise: It goes without saying that daily exercise contributes enormously to our health. Depending on your current exercise regime, try and do simple exercise. Maybe start walking around your block and add some light stretching or weights. In fact, The Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) calls for adults between the ages of 18 and 64 to exercise moderately (such as brisk walking or water aerobics) for at least two hours and 30 minutes or vigorously (running, swimming, or  cycling 10 mph or faster) for at least an hour and 15 minutes weekly.(1) Always check with your medical professional before undertaking any exercise program. There are many reasons why exercise is beneficial.

1. cim.ucsd.edu/clinical-care/acupuncture.shtml
2. umm.edu/health/medical/altmed/treatment/aromatherapy
3. nccih.nih.gov/health/meditation/overview.htm
4. health.gov/paguidelines/guidelines/default.aspx

 

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