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Archive for Natural Health Regimens

Aromatherapy Intro

Do you remember entering your grandmother’s kitchen and being greeted by the aroma of fresh bread in the oven? How about the smell of a hot apple pie, the spicy pungency of your dad’s aftershave, or the scent of the earth right after a spring rain? I have a friend who has, with age, lost her sense of smell and she often tells me how much real joy has been lost in her life as a result.

I teach a ten-week course on herbs for the various body systems and every time we get to the digestive system I ask, “Where does the digestive process begin?” Obvious answers are “on the tongue” or “in the mouth.” But the real answer is “in the nose.” That’s right. As soon as we smell our food, in anticipation, our bodies begin to secrete digestive juices in both the mouth and the stomach. That’s one reason it is so important to “prepare” to eat our meals. Smell the aromas. Savor the smells. Take time to chew and enjoy the food.

Well, there’s certainly more to aromatherapy than eating and smelling our food. Aromatherapy is all tied up in using aromas and the essences of materials to heal. The most common method of doing this is to use the essential oils that are extracted from plants. These essential oils are the very “essence” of the plants. And the oils will contain all the healing properties of the plant material in a very concentrated form. They are the vital energies from the plants and they help to heal us on all our levels – physical, mental, emotional, spiritual. Quoting from Common Scents by internationally renowned aroma therapist Lorrie Hargis, “Essential oils are therapeutic because they have antiviral, antibacterial, anti-fungal, analgesic, calming, soothing and revitalizing chemical constituents.”

It is extremely easy to extract the essential oils from some materials. For example, take a piece of orange peel and bend it double while holding it up to a window. See the “spray” from the peel? That’s the oil. And it’s so easy to extract that the cost of essential oils from most citrus products is very inexpensive. But it make take up to three or four tons of some rose petals to extract a single pound of its oil. So, pure, undiluted rose oil is very expensive. Not to worry! Most of the essential oils are used by the drop, diluted in carrier oils. Carrier oils are more common and inexpensive oils which contain very little (and easily overpowered) aroma of their own. A simple list of common carrier oils includes sweet almond, apricot kernel, grapeseed, avocado, macadamia nut, hazelnut, and jojoba. Even common vegetable oils – olive, canola, and sunflower – may be used as carriers. Carrier oils dilute the more expensive oils (needed due to the potency of the essential oils), extend the uses of the essential oils, and “carry” all the benefits to our betterment.

Each essential oil can be placed into a chemical family such as phenols, ketones, etc. Each family has a number of chemical constituents, and each oil may contain a number of these constituents. Therefore, each oil is unique and has a number of healing properties. For example, lavender is commonly known to be relaxing and restful. But not so commonly known is that it is also antiviral, antibacterial, calming, soothing and refreshing. An exhaustive study of the healing properties of all the oils is a life’s work. But anyone (yes, you) can gain an understanding of common uses of many of the more common oils. And such knowledge can make your life more healthful AND enjoyable.

Here are a few of the essential oils with which you may be familiar. Eucalyptus, which is purifying and invigorating, is often found in your sauna and is used in cough drops. Citronella is vitalizing and is the scent you’ll recognize in most of your bug sprays. Grapefruit is refreshing, but did you know that many use it to shrink fat? Jasmine is sensual and is found in many costly perfumes. Myrrh is meditative and has been used for thousands of years to treat gum disease. Nutmeg is rejuvenating and is a major component of many spicy men’s fragrances.

The uses of essential oils are myriad. They made be added to baths or saunas, included as ingredients in lotions and cremes, used as delightful enhancements to massage oils, crafted into soaps, diffused in light rings and potpourris, or misted in vaporizers. Only your imagination and creativity limit their utility.

A boon to the soul and the spirit, a strengthener of all the body’s systems, and an exciter of the mind, a study of aromatherapy on any level can enhance you and your life. Talk to a knowledgeable friend or acquaintance, read a book on the subject, or attend a course offered by a practitioner. You and your senses will be delighted! Good health and God bless.

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

Detox Options

Many of the things we eat routinely can not only be “not good for us,” they can often be toxic. Add these effects on our bodies to the others we encounter every day (smog, air pollution, industrial pollutants, household cleansers, food preservatives and dyes, chemical fumes, car exhaust, normal metabolism, poor elimination of food, waste products in the blood from illness or disease…), and we can see that we can really have our bodies bombarded with toxins. The inevitable consequences are further disease or debility. Cleansing (detoxification) should be a recurring part of our normal routine. I personally follow a routine that includes a monthly detoxification – perhaps an organ or a body system or a whole-body cleanse.

Periodic cleansing has been included in recorded history for millennia. Traditional health practices of many nations – Chinese, Europeans, Ayurveda, Native American, and Asiatic Indians – practiced and still continue some form of detoxification. In early American history, the Pennsylvania Dutch ate wild greens like lettuce and dandelions and other herbs in the spring to cleanse their bodies after a long winter of heavy foods. Native Americans used black teas made from yaupon hollies to produce sweating and bowel evacuation. One writer even suggests “nature herself seems to suggest the importance of detoxification … many of the plants that burst forth in early spring are cleansing in nature.”

There are many ways to cleanse. The program you choose may last only a day or two or a week or two. It may even take the form of a recurring dietary change. Most of us know of foods that seem to “go right through us … a hint that they may be added to our personal cleansing program. And some foods seem to work for most everyone – e.g., fresh cherries, available in early spring, have a definite cleansing effect on the bowels and help eliminate the uric acid buildup linked to heavy meat consumption and diseases like joint problems or gout. Fasting often accompanies detoxification regimens as well, but we’ll make that the subject of a future article.

I personally enjoy using herbs and herbal combinations to cleanse. The phytonutrients in many of the herbs encourage the body to detoxify naturally. And as a rule, we should be sure to cleanse the eliminative organs (kidneys and liver) and the blood and lymphatic systems, as well as the intestinal system.

Combinations for the organs should include herbs such as milk thistle, burdock root, barberry root bark, and dandelion root. Adding lecithin and amino acids to your diet are also helpful especially for the liver. The blood and lymph glands also benefit from the dandelion and burdock, and combinations for them should include red clover, Oregon grape root, butcher’s broom, garlic, pau d’arco bark, and yellow dock. Cleansers for the intestine include natural laxatives like cascara sagrada and senna leaves, high-fiber “scrubbers” like psyllium hulls, and parasite killers like artemisia, black walnut hulls, and elecampane.

Regular cleansing and detoxifying (at least two to four times per year) along with good nutrition, exercise, and proper supplements will add quality to your life and ward off many of the diseases that rob us of real joy. Our improved distribution systems make most foods available to us year-round, so we tend to forget the cycles of nature. Start your own cleaning program and see how much better you feel.

– For more information, contact Naturopathic Doctor Randy Lee, owner of The Health Patch at 1024 S. Douglas Blvd, Midwest City, at 405-736-1030 or e-mail pawpaw@TheHealthPatch.com or visit TheHeathPatch.com.

Cleansing

I’ve always made it a practice to really enjoy the holiday season.  So from Thanksgiving until the New Year, I eat pretty much whatever I want.  I enjoy all the festive foods, and I always know that many of them really aren’t that good for me and that I’ll probably pick up a few extra pounds.  So after the new year begins, I make cleansing a top priority.

Many of the things we eat routinely can not only be “not good for us,” they can often be toxic.  Add these effects on our bodies to the others we encounter every day (smog, air pollution, industrial pollutants, household cleansers, food preservatives and dyes, chemical fumes, car exhaust, normal metabolism, poor elimination of food, waste products in the blood from illness or disease, …) and we can see that our bodies are bombarded with toxins.  The consequences are inevitably further disease or debility.  Cleansing (detoxification) should be a recurring part of our normal routine.

Periodic cleansing has been included in recorded history for millennia.  Traditional health practices of many nations – Chinese, Europeans, Ayurveda, Native American, Asiatic Indians – still continue some form of detoxification.  In early American history the Pennsylvania Dutch ate wild greens like lettuce and dandelions and other herbs in the spring to cleanse their bodies after a long winter of heavy foods.  Native Americans used black teas made from yaupon hollies to produce sweating and bowel evacuation.  One writer even suggests “nature herself seems to suggest the importance of detoxification … many of the plants that burst forth in early spring are cleansing in nature.”

There are many ways to cleanse.  The program you choose may last only a day or two or a week or two.  It may even take the form of a recurring dietary change.  Most of us know of foods that seem to “go right through us … a hint that they may be added to our personal cleansing program.  And some foods seem to work for most everyone – e.g., fresh cherries, available in early spring, have a definite cleansing effect on the bowels and help eliminate the uric acid buildup linked to heavy meat consumption and diseases like joint problems or gout.  Fasting often accompanies detoxification regimens as well, but we’ll make that the subject of a future article.

I personally enjoy using herbs and herbal combination to cleanse.  The phytonutrients in many of the herbs encourage the body to detoxify naturally.  And as a rule, we should be sure to cleanse the eliminative organs (kidneys and liver) and the blood and lymphatic systems, as well as the intestinal system.

The combination for cleansing the organs should include herbs such as milk thistle, burdock root, barberry root bark, and dandelion root.  Adding lecithin and amino acids to your diet is  also helpful especially for the liver.  The blood and lymph glands benefit from dandelion and burdock, and combinations for them should include red clover, oregon grape root, butcher’s broom, garlic, pau d’arco bark and yellow dock.  Cleansers for the intestine include natural laxatives like cascara sagrada and senna leaves,  high-fiber “scrubbers” like psyllium hulls, and parasite killers like artemisia, black walnut hulls, and elecampane.

Regular cleansing and detoxifying (at least two to four times per year) along with good nutrition, exercise and proper supplements will add quality to your life and ward off many of the diseases that rob us of real joy.  Our improved distribution systems make most foods available to us year-round, so we tend to forget the cycles of nature.  But this year, start your “spring cleaning” early and start with your body.  Good health and God’s blessings!

– 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.

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Detox Options

Many of the things we eat routinely can not only be “not good for us,” they can often be toxic.  Add these effects on our bodies to the others we encounter every day (smog, air pollution, industrial pollutants, household cleansers, food preservatives and dyes, chemical fumes, car exhaust, normal metabolism, poor elimination of food, waste products in the blood from illness or disease…), and we can see that we can really have our bodies bombarded with toxins.  The inevitable consequences are further disease or debility.  Cleansing (detoxification) should be a recurring part of our normal routine. I personally follow a routine that includes a monthly detoxification – perhaps an organ or a body system or a whole-body cleanse.

Periodic cleansing has been included in recorded history for millennia.  Traditional health practices of many nations – Chinese, Europeans, Ayurveda, Native American, and Asiatic Indians – practiced and still continue some form of detoxification.  In early American history, the Pennsylvania Dutch ate wild greens like lettuce and dandelions and other herbs in the spring to cleanse their bodies after a long winter of heavy foods.  Native Americans used black teas made from yaupon hollies to produce sweating and bowel evacuation.  One writer even suggests “nature herself seems to suggest the importance of detoxification … many of the plants that burst forth in early spring are cleansing in nature.”

There are many ways to cleanse.  The program you choose may last only a day or two or a week or two.  It may even take the form of a recurring dietary change.  Most of us know of foods that seem to “go right through us … a hint that they may be added to our personal cleansing program.  And some foods seem to work for most everyone – e.g., fresh cherries, available in early spring, have a definite cleansing effect on the bowels and help eliminate the uric acid buildup linked to heavy meat consumption and diseases like joint problems or gout.  Fasting often accompanies detoxification regimens as well, but we’ll make that the subject of a future article.

I personally enjoy using herbs and herbal combinations to cleanse.  The phytonutrients in many of the herbs encourage the body to detoxify naturally.  And as a rule, we should be sure to cleanse the eliminative organs (kidneys and liver) and the blood and lymphatic systems, as well as the intestinal system.

Combinations for the organs should include herbs such as milk thistle, burdock root, barberry root bark, and dandelion root.  Adding lecithin and amino acids to your diet are also helpful especially for the liver.  The blood and lymph glands also benefit from the dandelion and burdock, and combinations for them should include red clover, Oregon grape root, butcher’s broom, garlic, pau d’arco bark and yellow dock.  Cleansers for the intestine include natural laxatives like cascara sagrada and senna leaves, high-fiber “scrubbers” like psyllium hulls, and parasite killers like artemisia, black walnut hulls, and elecampane.

Regular cleansing and detoxifying (at least two to four times per year) along with good nutrition, exercise, and proper supplements will add quality to your life and ward off many of the diseases that rob us of real joy.  Our improved distribution systems make most foods available to us year-round, so we tend to forget the cycles of nature. Start your own cleaning program and see how much better you feel.

–  For more information, contact Naturopathic Doctor Randy Lee, owner of The Health Patch at 1024 S. Douglas Blvd, Midwest City, at 405-736-1030 or e-mail pawpaw@TheHealthPatch.com or visit TheHeathPatch.com.

Reflexology

Years ago I heard an illustration regarding the importance of each of us doing our part to make the world a better place.  It used the Biblical picture of us all being a part of the body, and noted that most of us think of the foot as being relatively unimportant – until we stub a toe!  At that moment all the energies of the rest of the body are concentrated toward that hurting member.  Thus it is with our feet.

If I were to take a survey (as I often do in some of our classes), I’d find that most of us spend quite a bit of time applying cosmetics to our faces, washing and fixing our hair, bathing our bodies, and perhaps even getting massages and spa treatments.  But little attention is paid to our feet until they begin to give us trouble.  If we are in a career that requires us to be on our feet for extended periods of time, then we are more apt to pay attention to them.  Or if we hurt them in some way, then they get some attention.  But they need that attention regularly in a preventive role as well.  We need to realize their importance to our overall well-being.

How much do you know about your feet?  On average, each foot contains 26 small bones, 114 ligaments, and some 20 muscles.  These are held together by connective tissue, blood vessels, and nerves and covered with layers of skin. Your feet contain about a quarter of all the bones in your body and they are the foundation of your whole skeletal structure.  They support your whole upright body weight throughout your life.

Over a century ago, the feet were “charted”.  It was noted that the feet were particularly sensitive in spots that directly related to areas of distress in the body.  So a chart was created that linked areas of the feet to specific portions of the body.  Thus “reflexology” was born.

In her book on Reflexology, Inge Dougans states, “Reflexology is a gentle art, a fascinating science and an extremely effective form of therapeutic foot massage that has carved an impressive niche in the field of complementary medicine.  It is a science because it is based on physiological and neurological study and an art because much depends on how skillfully the practitioner applies his or her knowledge, and the dynamics which occur between practitioner and recipient.”

She later continues, “Reflexologists do not isolate a disease and treat it symptomatically, nor do they work specifically on a problem organ or system, but on the whole person with the object of inducing a state of balance and harmony.  The art of reflex foot massage must not be confused with basic foot massage or body massage in general.  It is a specific pressure technique which works on precise reflex points on the feet, based on the premise that reflex areas on the feet correspond with all body parts.  As the feet represent a microcosm of the body, all organs, glands and other body parts are laid out in a similar arrangement on the feet.”

And since the nerves of the feet are “linked” to various parts of the body, it stands to reason that the use of essential oils and aromatherapy may also enhance that feeling of completeness.

So what does all this mean to you and me?  Well, we all enjoy a good foot massage, don’t we?  But there may be times when we are particularly stressed in some portion of our lives or some part our bodies and we may want to seek out the advice and counsel of a competent reflexologist.  Knowing just how much pressure to place on just the right spot on our feet may be “just what the doctor ordered” to bring us a renewed sense of well-being.  Good health and God bless.

–  For more information, contact Naturopathic Doctor Randy Lee, owner of The Health Patch at 1024 S. Douglas Blvd, Midwest City, at 405-736-1030 or e-mail pawpaw@TheHealthPatch.com or visit TheHeathPatch.com.