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Archive for Body Systems

Multi-Level Healing

healing, multi-level healing, naturopathic doctorUsually, when we get sick our aim is to alleviate the symptoms.  We simply want to quit hurting and suffering and feel better. So, we look to those who can offer us relief and not really healing. Relief may lessen the symptoms that cause us discomfort and stress, but may not do anything to actually alleviate the root causes of that discomfort, causing us to feel better temporarily, but the symptoms return as soon as the medication (whatever it is) wears off.

We need healing on multiple levels – alleviate the symptomatic discomfort, find the root cause of the discomfort, and then promote true health in the affected area of the body.

Causes of stress may include any or all of the following: simple fatigue, known or unknown tissue wear or injury, nutrient deficiency, or our response to external pathogens.

Tissue Wear

Tissue wear is a part of the aging process, and while regular exercise is an essential pillar of good health, it should be commensurate with our age and our normal activity levels. Even the staunchest of athletes get occasional tissue damage, so it is important to start slow when starting to exercise. It’s easy to injure tissues that are not regularly manipulated if we jump into something new. If an injury does occur, look for creams and lotions containing arnica, camphor, menthol, capsicum, boswellia, and turmeric for short-term healing and don’t forget to seek medical care for more serious injuries.

Nutrition

As for nutrition, Dr. Joel Wallach (1991 Nobel Prize nominee for his work in nutritional supplements) states that we need 60 minerals, 16 vitamins, 12 essential amino acids, and three essential fatty acids in our diet every day to really stay healthy for life.  And that doesn’t count the addition of other herbal supplements that may be needed to help combat “family histories” of disease.  For example, you may need additional supplements if your family has a genetic history of cancer, heart disease, arthritis, etc.  And there’s a real sense of truth in the old adage “you are what you eat”.  Your body isn’t going to function well on a daily diet of junk foods, fats, and sugars.

Immune System

Our immune system should be kept at optimum to address the bombardment of a host of environmental pathogens – viruses, bacteria, yeasts, fungi, etc. These may reoccur and many have a variety of symptoms. Most people have a susceptibility to common pathogens that they have come to know and have treatments for. But finding the right match of a supplement for a specific pathogen may require the help of a health care professional.  If you’re continually fighting the same symptoms of recurring varieties of symptoms, get help!

stress free, low stressStress and Fatigue

Stress and fatigue are known contributors to all kinds of ailments.  If your life is in chaos or you’re going through a particularly stressful time, try to set aside time to just rest or find pleasant things to occupy your time – take even a mini vacation or “stay-cation.” You’ll reap super rewarding health from it. Enjoy a full life and always seek out healing on multiple-levels.

– Randy Lee, ND, Owner, The Health Patch, 1024 S. Douglas Blvd, MWC 73130, phone/fax: 736-1030, e-mail: pawpaw@thehealthpatch.com. See our blog at www.TheHealthPatch.com. Our full staff is now offering affordable private consultations – call to schedule yours!

Taking Care of Your Feet

naturopathic care for feet, foot massageThey’re there; they aren’t particularly attractive; they only serve to get us around.  Most of us don’t give much thought to our feet.  That is until they start to give us problems.  Americans spend tens of millions of dollars each year on foot care products.  But there are many items you may have around the house that will help to take good care of your feet.

Essentials for Feet

There are some rudimentary essentials for keeping our feet healthy.  A good diet is important – one low in junk foods and rich in nutrients.  Consider a diet balanced in carbohydrates, proteins and fats.  Stay away from processed foods and “junk” foods.  And maintaining a proper weight for your frame will put less stress on the bottom of you skeleton too.

Proper Footwear

Proper footwear is a necessity.  This is not the place to “cut back” on your clothing budget.  Good shoes are needed for protection as well as support for your feet.  Add these to plenty of water, regular exposure to fresh air, proper exercise, and safe amounts of sunlight and you can have the healthiest feet around.

Helps for Hurting Feet

There are some “helps” though for those of us whose feet need some tender, loving care.  For example, if your feet are “burning” (and you’re not standing on hot asphalt!) you may have contracted the ever-present “athlete’s foot”.  Herbals that help this condition are Una De Gato (Cat’s Claw), tea tree oil applied externally, or grapefruit seed extract as a wash (ensure it is diluted!).   Internally, ensuring that you have a healthy colony of friendly bacteria (bifodophilus), sufficient vitamins A and C, and the mineral zinc will also be helpful.

Another cause of “burning” feet is chemical toxicity.  Did you step in a chemical spill at work, or spill toxic materials on your feet?  If so, herbs like juniper, parsley, uva ursi, dandelion, and chamomile will help flush the kidneys, capsicum will improve circulation to move the toxins, and milk thistle combinations will help detoxify the liver (our body’s main filter!).

For sore, achy feet try this foot relaxer.  Soak your feet in a basin of warm water to which you’ve added some shower gel and six drops of tea tree oil.  After 15 minutes or so dry your feet and massage them with two tablespoons of olive oil mixed with a tablespoon of sugar.  The sugar will act as an exfoliant.  Then re-soak the feet, dry them well and elevate them for a few minutes.  What a wonderful way to pamper yourself!

Another soak that I have found very relaxing when my feet were particularly tired or overworked is to bring a pan of water to a boil.  Then place two tablespoons of dried yarrow in a tea infuser or cheesecloth and steep it for five to ten minutes.  Add five drops of tea tree oil, five drops of eucalyptus oil and five drops of lavender oil.  Allow this to cool until it is comfortable to the touch, pour it in a basin with glass marbles in the bottom, and soak your feet in it for 15 to 20 minutes.  While you soak them, roll the marbles under your feet slowly.  It’s almost as good as a massage done with your fingertips.

Daily Foot Care

Most of us simply neglect our feet.  Simple things go a long way toward keeping them healthy.  Wash them thoroughly when you bathe.  Ensure they are completely dry.  Massage them vigorously and often with a nice oil and let them breathe a bit.  Use dry socks and change them whenever they get damp.  Alternate your shoes daily so that they get a chance to dry completely.  And take advantage of opportunities to get off your feet and, when feasible, elevate them.  They’ll say thanks in a most comfortable way.  Enjoy good health and God’s richest blessings.  Gen.1:29.

–  Randy Lee, ND, Owner, The Health Patch, 1024 S. Douglas Blvd, MWC 73130, phone/fax: 736-1030, e-mail: pawpaw@thehealthpatch.com.

 

Deliver Your Liver

Consider your liver.  You can’t live without it.  While it normally weighs only three to four pounds it is a very complex organ.

What Does it Do?

It has a double circulation system.  That means it receives blood from both the veins and the arteries.  The main artery carries in plenty of oxygen from the lungs and the main vein comes directly from the small intestine full of nutrients.  The liver performs over 500 functions.  It serves as a digestive aid, it detoxifies food impurities, and it inspects nutrients before allowing them into the bloodstream.  Further, it has the ability to be its own metabolic chemical plant to make new compounds you must have to live.

The liver also manufactures cholesterol.  About two-thirds of the cholesterol in our bodies is manufactured by the liver; the other third comes from our diet.  And while we must have some cholesterol for our bodies to function, the liver will usually produce enough and we compound problems if we add too much by allowing ourselves a high-fat diet.

The liver also stores glucose fuel in the form of glycogen.  The body has a feedback system that between meals tells the liver to release more sugar to maintain the body’s energy level.  The liver then converts either fat or glycogen into the simple sugar glucose.

Herbs for a Healthy Liver

There are a number of herbs that help to ensure a healthy liver.  Alfalfa is an excellent source of vitamin K and a deficiency of this vitamin can lead to bleeding.  The silymarin in milk thistle has been shown in scientific studies to repair and rejuvenate the liver.  Fermented red rice extract is beneficial for those with high cholesterol as it inhibits the liver’s production of cholesterol.  Other herbs that can be beneficial include barberry, black radish, burdock, dandelion, fennel, horsetail, Irish moss, red clover, rose hips, suma, thyme, and wild Oregon grape.

Vitamins for a Healthy Liver

Choline and inositol are B-vitamins that prevent scarring and help prevent cirrhosis and high cholesterol.  And liver-healthy foods include red beets, almonds, bananas, blackstrap molasses, prunes, raisins, wheat and rice bran, kelp, beans, and seeds.  Poor food choices include processed foods, junk food, refined white flour and white sugar foods.  Keep the colon clean, regularly use an herbal detoxifying blend if you work in an environment that contains known toxins, and limit alcohol intake.

What Can Harm Your Liver?

Cirrhosis of the liver is a disease with which we’re all familiar.  We associate it with heavy drinkers (and this is one real cause).  It is a degenerative inflammatory disease that results in hardening and scarring of liver cells.  What many of us don’t consider is that malnutrition and chronic inflammation can also lead to liver malfunction.  All of its processes require vitamins, minerals, proteins (preferably from vegetable sources), amino acids and enzymes.

Overeating is probably the most common cause of liver malfunction.  It creates excess work for the liver, resulting in liver fatigue.  Since the liver must detoxify all of the various chemicals present in our food supply today, it is easily overworked and may not be able to keep up, leaving harmful substances in the body.

Stress is also a major contributor to a fatigued liver.  Deliver your liver from stress by ensuring it has the proper nutrients and is sparred undue excesses of known toxins.

You only get one.  Keep it healthy.  Enjoy good health and God’s richest blessings.  Gen.1:29.

– Randy Lee, ND, Owner, The Health Patch, 1024 S. Douglas Blvd, MWC 73130, phone/fax: 736-1030, e-mail: pawpaw@thehealthpatch.com

Hair, Skin and Nails

One of the most often asked questions at our shop is “Do you have anything that will help me to have stronger,

healthier hair?”  Hair, along with your skin and your nails, are made up primarily of proteins.  These three body components also reflect how the rest of your body is doing.  Because they are, by nature, eliminative, they contain much of the toxic material that your body rejects. A skin rash may be caused by toxic material being pushed to the surface by your lymphatic system.  Forensic investigation often uses your hair to determine what drugs or poisons may have been recently in your body.

Biggest Factor

So how do we keep our hair, skin, and nails healthy and strong?  The first item that comes to mind is that we need to drink plenty of pure water.  Water flushes our system and allows the rest of the body to move the toxins along. And there are a number of herbs that help with the strengthening.

Nails

Pitting on the surface of the nails may be an indication of unwanted parasites in the body.  Black walnut hulls, mugwort, wormwood, pumpkin seeds, clove, garlic, and castor oil are all good for killing parasites in our bodies.  Brittle nails are often a vitamin A or calcium deficiency. Splitting or vertical ridges may indicate a lack of enough hydrochloric acid in the stomach to digest our foods.  White spots usually indicate a zinc deficiency.  Anemia shows itself through horizontal ridges of “spoon” nails. And a nail fungus can indicate candida or a lack of friendly bacteria in the bowel.  Usually, tea tree oil applications will alleviate this condition.  Adding herbs high in silicon like dulse and horsetail to the diet will usually help to strengthen the nails, too.

Skin

Plenty of pure water is a definite requirement for healthy skin.  The advice to drink at least eight glasses a day is an excellent guideline.  That is the equivalent of about a two-liter bottle a day.  Soda, coffee, tea or other drinks do not count toward that total.  In fact, the caffeine in most of these drinks can actually cause the body to lose water.  Certainly, we should stay away from as many toxins as possible – use proper safety gear when handling paints, gasoline, oils, etc., as they will seep through the skin to poison the body.  And seek to avoid breathing pollutants.  Some common problems are worthy of note.  Using wild yam in either a capsule or creme form may help to alleviate liver spots.  If you seem to itch unusually, a lotion of pau d’arco may help.  Or take a supplement of vitamin A, trace minerals, flax oil, morinda or yellow dock.  Little bumps on the back of your arm may indicate a vitamin A deficiency. And sticky skin may indicate a sodium deficiency, and you may benefit from celery, dandelion or liquid minerals.  Dry skin is usually caused by a lack of unsaturated fatty acids found in such foods as nuts, avocados, and soybeans.  Or consider a supplement of linolenic acid.

Hair

Hair loss can be caused by a number of conditions.  If it is due to a low thyroid output, herbs to stimulate the thyroid (kelp, Irish moss, parsley, and hops along with the minerals zinc and manganese) may prove helpful.  There are a number of supplements to enhance the production of male and female hormones if the hair loss is hormonal. One major contributor to hair loss is stress (the B vitamins help here) – there may be more than we care to admit to the old saying “you’re going to make me pull my hair out!”  And, sorry, but there are no herbs to help you if your hair loss is due to heredity.  Horsetail will help to strengthen your hair though, and a daily scalp massage with jojoba oil is also beneficial.  Finally, many believe that taking trace mineral supplements, using herbs like fo-ti (also called ho shou wu), and using rinses containing rosemary and sage may help ward off the gray.

Today more than ever we can forestall some of the effects of aging on our hair, skin, and nails.  Drink plenty of water, take supplements and lessen the stress in your life.  You can look younger for much longer…and feel younger, too.  Enjoy good health and God’s richest blessings.  Gen.1:29.

– Randy Lee, ND, Owner, The Health Patch, 1024 S. Douglas Blvd, MWC 73130, phone/fax: 736-1030, e-mail: pawpaw@thehealthpatch.com

Herbs During Pregnancy

Pregnant outdoors

There are many herbs that may be used during every stage of pregnancy – from planning to post-delivery.  They can make the pregnancy and delivery easier and help to ensure a healthy baby as well.

If you are planning to become pregnant then ensure you are on a good prenatal vitamin with ample vitamin E, folic acid, calcium and magnesium, and trace minerals.  This will enhance your health and the health of your baby as well.  Incorporate a regular exercise regimen to your daily activities. And keep ginger on hand to address morning sickness and magnesium for anticipated constipation.

If you are having trouble becoming pregnant, consider supplements containing several of the “female” herbs, like red raspberry leaves, false unicorn, blessed thistle, squawvine, ginger and uva ursi.  These help prepare your body to conceive and start the pregnancy well.  You might also consider having the father take some damiana as it will help to increase his sperm count.

Tea pot and cupDuring the last five weeks of the pregnancy, there are herbs that will begin to condition your body for an easier delivery. They should only be used during this last five weeks! Common supplements for this use include more squawvine and red raspberry leaf together with black cohosh, butcher’s broom, and dong quai.  Users have reported to me that they had less painful and shorter duration contractions, easier delivery with less tearing, and deliveries that were less stressful.

There are several herbs that should not be used during pregnancy as they may complicate this special time. Among them are herbs we routinely use for deep constipation (cascara sagrada and senna), wormwood, juniper berries and the anti-parasitic artemisia. Aromatherapy should be used sparingly and very carefully if at all.

Childbirth should be a time of great joy for a new mother.  These herbs should also help make it easier and more pleasant.

–  Randy Lee, ND, Owner, The Health Patch, 1024 S. Douglas Blvd, MWC, 736-1030, e-mail: pawpaw@promoteyourhealth.com.