Blog#83 Frostbite Prevention and Treatment

       Blog# 83 Frostbite – What to Do in Addition to Seeking Medical Care

 Recently, an acquaintance emailed me about treatment of what he called frostbite.  He related the following:  after standing outside in very cold weather at night for at least 20 – 30 minutes, his feet began to hurt and feel numb.  He had eaten a large dinner and was not paying attention to his feet because of an interesting conversation with a friend.  He hobbled to his car and then soaked his feet in warm water at home.  Pain still prevented sleep and he prepared what he called a “healing tonic” drink, consisting of the following: 

 Fresh Ginger root

Fresh whole Lemon 

Cayenne pepper powder

Sage powder

Chamomile tea bag 

Peppermint tea bag

Rosehip and hibiscus tea bag

He also scooped out fresh aloe vera gel from leaves, mixed it with the inner part of banana peels, placed that paste between his toes, and even ate some food that he hoped might accelerate the healing process.  This included oranges, kiwi, fresh spinach, and banana. 

 He sent me photographs of his toes, which appeared to be of a normal color, and asked me for further treatment suggestions as well as about how much longer he would have to suffer with the pain and disturbed sleep. 

 Of course, I did not respond to this type of request with a diagnosis or prescription. There is no way I could tell if this was frostbite for sure, and I also could not predict how long the pain would continue in his case.  A patient has to come to my office for an examination.  What I did tell him was to go to a hospital Emergency Room, or at least urgent care and see his primary care physician, since moderate or severe frost bite can result in permanent damage to skin, muscles, blood vessels, nerves, and even bones.

 Fortunately, this man recovered fully in about 24 hours.  He later informed me that since he did not have health insurance, he did not want to go to the hospital or urgent care. 

 There is much to discuss and learn regarding frostbite.  First, in cold weather, like what we are currently facing, it is best to stay inside as much as possible.  When that is not an option, it is essential to dress warmly, with layers of relatively loose-fitting clothing, especially on the extremities.  Tight gloves, socks or boots can cut off circulation and make frostbite more likely.  Secondly, when outside, it is best to move rather than to be stationary, since that way, the blood circulates better and injury from cold is less likely. Third, daily, during cold weather, it may be helpful to eat foods, teas, etc that will help prevent or delay frostbite.  Some examples are rosehips tea, sage tea, fresh ginger tea, and cayenne pepper added to food or drink. These all will tend to warm the body, improve circulation and possibly prevent infection if frostbite occurs.  Fourth, take care of your health in order to prevent diabetes, arthritis, and poor circulation, among other problems, all of which can lead more quickly than usual to frostbite.  I realize that some people already have these illnesses.  In that case, it is best to take extra good care of your health.  Fifth, do not smoke cigarettes, drink alcohol or use recreational drugs within several hours of being outside in the cold, since they will tend to slow blood circulation.  And the list can extend indefinitely…

 This month’s offer:  Feel free to contact me with any questions about preventing frostbite.  But, of course, if you are suffering from an injury from the cold, I would suggest you visit your primary care physician or even the ER, if the symptoms are very severe, such as hard, stiff fingers or toes, or blisters after some thawing has taken place.

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Blog#82 Caring for Ourselves During the Holiday Season and Beyond

Blog #82 Taking Good Care of Ourselves During the Holiday Season and Beyond

Sometimes, overwhelmed with visiting friends and relatives, shopping for presents, and overstimulated by the commercial messages all around us to buy, buy, buy, we forget to take care of ourselves during the holidays.  This leaves us with problems like a few extra pounds (possibly from over-indulging in rich, sugar laden foods), abdominal cramping (possibly from an over-burdened gall bladder or food sensitivities), headaches, anxiety and depression (possibly from interpersonal stress and inner turmoil), and low back pain (possibly from sitting long hours in a car or plane or bus on our trips to vacation and visit family and friends). 

I have a few things to share in this blog.  The equinoxes and the solstices are particularly special and powerful times, heralding major seasonal changes as well as marking the Sun’s relationship to the Earth. The Winter Solstice, which occurs on December 21st coincides with many major holidays, including Hanukah, Christmas, Kwanza and New Year’s.  It is a time that puts a little extra stress on the body and mind.  This extra stress makes the toxins and challenges we encounter over the winter holidays a little more powerful and problematic for our physical and  mental health and stability. 

In the Northern hemisphere, people acknowledge the returning sun/lights with decorations or candles or celebratory fires around the Winter Solstice, when there is more darkness than at any other time.  Knowing that the sun’s influence starts to increase after the solstice may help us tolerate cold weather a little better than we would otherwise.  Gathering with loved ones may sometimes also be helpful, if it allows us to feel more supported at this potentially hazardous time of year. 

During the winter holidays, it is important to take care of ourselves while traveling, by stretching and preferably standing up and walking around at least once per hour, if possible.  It is also important to eat as healthfully and to get sufficient sleep.  Taking time for mental clarity and inspiration, through such activities as reading, meditation, walking in nature, or listening to upbeat or uplifting music, can support and strengthen us.  Celebration is great, but overindulging in alcohol or in rich, greasy foods may make us feel ill later on. 

According to TCM (Traditional Chinese Medicine) when the body receives an insult or stress, the resultant damage will show up during the following season, in this case, the spring.  Usually, springtime is considered the best time to detoxify.  To jumpstart your health, you might want to begin thinking of a spring cleaning, starting in late winter to early spring.  Even just eating strictly vegan, organic, and sugar and gluten-free for a week or so can be helpful.  Make sure to consume many dark leafy green vegetables and drink lots of water.  A short water or vegetable juice fast may also be helpful, depending on your age, state of health, lifestyle, and degree of commitment to the fast.  Another option is the fasting mimicking diet, developed by Dr. Valter Longo, from the University of Southern California.  This five- day program provides pre-selected and prepared meals designed to affect the body in a way that mimics water fasting.  It is appropriate for those who are unable to or choose not to do a more stringent fast or detoxification.  Check out the Valter Longo Foundation to learn more. 

This blog’s offer:  I will be trying out Dr. Longo’s fasting mimicking five day program in mid-January 2019, and would be glad to share my experiences and suggestions.  Feel free to contact me with questions about this and about detoxification in general.  And have a happy, healthy New Year. 

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Blog #81: Thankfulness as a Healing Perspective

                      Blog #81 Thankfulness as a Healing Perspective

 Thanksgiving, one of my favorite holidays, reminds us to be thankful for the many things that we may sometimes take for granted.  Especially around Thanksgiving, I make an effort to look for all the ways in which I am fortunate: I am reasonably healthy and of sound mind, live in a country that is reasonably prosperous, have a lot of freedom to pursue experiences, make choices, live with integrity and much more. 

 Gratitude can benefit us in many ways. For one thing, a thankful attitude can improve our physical health. According to a 2012 study published in Personality and Individual Differences, grateful people experience fewer aches and pains and report feeling healthier than less grateful people. They are also more likely to take care of their health by exercising regularly and having regular check ups with their chosen health care provider.  Also, according to a study in the journal, Applied Psychology: Health and Well-being, grateful people tend to sleep better. Making a list of ten or more things for which you are thankful right before falling asleep may result in sounder and longer sleep.   

When we feel appreciative, we tend to be more relaxed, and this helps our internal organs function more efficiently.  It also helps improve blood circulation, lymphatic drainage, digestion, absorption, elimination, and much more. A grateful attitude can affect blood pressure.  If you dare, think of something in a complaining, resentful way and take your blood pressure.  Then, wait a few minutes and think of the same thing from a perspective of gratitude. Take your blood pressure again. Often, you will note that your blood pressure elevates with the resentful attitude and goes down with a grateful attitude.  It is important, however, to not just think thankful words – the thanks must also be felt from the heart, on an emotional level. 

 Consider feeling/expressing more gratitude all through the holiday season and into the New Year.  You might make one of your resolutions to view every event and situation from a grateful perspective.  Being more calm and centered because of a more grateful attitude can be helpful in improving difficult situations. Just because we see something positive in a situation doesn’t mean that we should put our heads in the sand and not work to address an unfortunate event or change a situation for the better.

 This blog’s offer:  feel free to contact me with further questions about this material. You also might consider hypnosis or self-hypnosis as tools to support the cultivation of a more grateful perspective on life.

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Blog#80 Sleep Apnea: Some Holistic Answers

                   Blog# 80 Sleep Apnea: Some Holistic Answers

 Sleep apnea, a common problem, occurs when the sleeper stops breathing.  Often, people experiencing sleep apnea snore.  They may wake up due to low oxygen when they stop breathing.  Sleep apnea often leaves people feeling tired upon awakening, and fatigued or drowsy throughout the day.  Efficiency, focus and safety can be compromised, as well as physical health.  

Some possible causes of this problem include experiencing overwhelming stress during the day or at night, being overweight or obese, consuming foods to which one is allergic or sensitive, over-eating or eating too late at night, smoking tobacco, and drinking alcohol, especially at night.  Often the air passages are blocked by the tongue, inflamed throat tissue or enlarged tonsils.  Sometimes, the cause originates from the central nervous system, for example, due to a prolonged period of excessive stress, the brain may become conditioned to stop a person’s breathing after they fall asleep.  Nightmares or emotionally charged dreams may also cause the sleeper to stop breathing. 

Some well-known, conventional solutions to sleep apnea are sleeping on either side or face down rather than on the back, using a C-Pap machine, and losing weight.  Other, less known strategies include eliminating allergens from the diet and environment and improving stress management.  I personally learned to control my sleep apnea by doing two things: avoiding foods to which I was allergic or sensitive and using self-hypnosis suggestions for breathing and relaxation.

Some foods that often can disturb sleep by causing inflammation in the body or making the mind overly active contain gluten (wheat, barley and rye).  Other problem foods include processed sugars, such as white and brown sugar, evaporated cane juice, beet sugar, corn syrup, rice syrup, pasteurized honey, and agave nectar, to name a few.  Caffeine, alcohol, highly spicy foods, dairy foods, such as milk, whipped cream and cheese, fried foods, such as deep-fried chicken and fish, and French fries, and cold foods, such as ice cream or ice water can also disturb sleep.   

Testing for food allergies or intolerances by checking for antibodies to particular substances, such as casein or whey in dairy can help pinpoint problems. There are several different antibodies to test for, including IgA, IgG and IgE.  If you ask your physician to test for these and possibly other antibodies, he or she will often comply, especially if your physician has a holistic perspective.  Observing a strict elimination diet is another way of determining food allergies and sensitivities.  Elimination diets often work best with the support of a safe detoxification program.  People using these diets cut out possible food allergens and then, after a few weeks, phase them back in one by one,  watching for any reactions.

Listening to relaxing music, reading calming or inspirational literature, using high quality organic essential oils in a diffuser, or giving thanks for things in one’s life each night before bedtime all may set the scene for less sleep disturbance. 

I am particularly impressed with what self-hypnosis can do for people with sleep apnea. I have observed the results in my patients and also in myself. Many years ago, I developed a sentence that I then connected with a smooth breathing pattern (hypnotists refer to this connection as grounding). Upon awakening at night, I would repeat that sentence with the chosen breathing pattern for a few minutes and would then easily fall asleep again.  Doing this several times a night for a few nights in a row would allow me to sleep much more soundly for several weeks to several months before I would need to repeat these suggestions and patterns. 

This month’s offer:  contact me about self-hypnosis for sleep apnea.  I will assess your situation and let you know if I think this approach will be helpful. 

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Blog #79 Move Well to Age Well – an Exercise Ball Can Help

                 Blog #79 Move Well to Age Well – An Exercise Ball Can Help

 Because of life habits of slouching, leaning over laptops and cell phones, reading in bed, sitting in soft, poorly supportive chairs, hyperextending our knees, and more, many people have asymmetrical, uneven posture.  Most of the time, people are not even aware of their flawed posture, even if it involves holding one shoulder several inches higher than the other, holding the head and neck significantly forward of the torso, or bending slightly forward at the waist when standing and walking.  In each of these cases, the weight of part of the body is not being managed optimally and therefore, is exerting more strain on other parts of the body, eventually likely resulting in problems like rapid and/or uneven joint wear and tear, early muscle fatigue, and a greater likelihood of falls. 

 In addition to standing on one leg (The Stork) see Blog #75, using an exercise ball is an effective, inexpensive, and low-tech tool to help us learn where their body really is as opposed to where we think it is.  Balance is essential when using an exercise ball.  Without balance, we fall down.  When we start to fall off the ball, this gives us feedback about our faulty balance, which we must correct in order to remain on the ball and off the floor. 

 Anti-burst or slow deflate balls are best.  You should be able to sit on the exercise ball so that the thighs are level while sitting on the front half of the ball.  Even just sitting on the ball for several minutes can teach a lot about posture and balance.  Strong posture involves sitting with feet flat on the floor, knees over ankles, shoulders over hips, and head over shoulders.  Retract the shoulders slightly to lift the chest, then pull the shoulders back and down.  To keep shoulders over hips, avoid leaning forward or back.  The neck should also be retracted slightly, in order to pull the head over the shoulders. Ideally, hands should be palms up and out to the sides, not touching the ball or body, unless you need to change this initially for balance.  Breathing should be deep, diaphragmatic, and even. When core muscles are engaged in deep abdominal breathing, the body is more balanced and stable than it would be with more shallow chest breathing.

 A proper ball sit precedes moving on the ball with good balance.  It is best to first simply move forward and back on the ball, then side-to-side, all the while maintaining strong posture and keeping the knees evenly spaced.  If necessary, hold a pillow or cushion between your knees to make sure they stay locked and stable.  When you move, be sure to activate your core, including the gluteals, pelvic and the abdominal muscles. 

 This blog’s offer: currently, I am teaching a seven-part strong posture course free of charge to my patients.  Starting next year, there will be a charge for this course. Also, feel free to contact me with questions about ball sit and beginning motion.

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Blog#78 Rash: Some Causes and Treatments

Blog #78 Rash – Some Causes and Treatments

 Recently, I have observed and treated rashes in several patients.  The presentation and causes have varied, as have the treatments. The most dramatic-appearing rashes are red, raised, and wide-spread.  They usually itch.  They may be transient, leaving within a few hours or days, but some may last for months or even years.  Usually, a person develops a skin rash because of an allergic reaction to something, possibly an environmental toxin (toxic for them, but not necessarily for everyone), certain foods or an insect bite.  Rashes, sometimes called urticaria (you can search and find photos easily if you want a clear visual) also can arise in connection with new detergents, emotional stress, dry skin and even sometimes nutritional deficiency.  I will share information about two patients.  Details have been changed to protect privacy.

 One person tended to have allergic reactions to various substances and also had been exposed to more toxic substances than the average person.  Insect sprays, radiation, harsh chemical cleaners, and foods raised with chemical fertilizers and pesticide sprays all qualify as toxic substances, and he had been exposed to all of these.  For three days, he had a raised red rash over most of his body, and was unable to stop himself from scratching.  He experiences rashes periodically, after some sort of toxic exposure, the most recent being a move to a new office, with new, out-gassing carpets, and toxic paints. Fortunately, a chiropractic adjustment and acupuncture treatment, along with recommended for two daily quarts of water and an organic vegan diet for several days resulted in complete resolution in less than 48 hours. 

 A second patient had a much more complex presentation.  She had been struggling with a blood-red, severely itchy rash for over three years.  The rash now covered almost all her body, though it had begun in her groin.  She had reached the point where it was severely impacting her quality of life and was leading to anxiety and depression. Other symptoms, such as vertigo, gastro-esophageal reflux (GERD) and increasingly severe back, wrist and ankle pain also plagued her.  After several treatments, she began slowly responding.  Chiropractic, acupuncture, positive suggestions using self-hypnosis, and herbal nutritional supplements MediHerb to support the adrenals, thyroid, and skin were also used, as was a skin cream prescribed by her allopathic doctor. After a dozen treatments at my office, the rash and itching had almost completely subsided, as had the back and extremity pain, GERD, vertigo, and the depression and anxiety. She has recovered her normal quality of life.  At this time, she still needs to use the three supplements periodically for support since then.  Eventually, based on further discussions, we concluded that her rash likely began as a reaction to bedbug infestation and bites that she suffered at a past residence. Although not common, some people respond to bedbug bites in this way, especially when their immune systems are compromised by stress, poor nutrition, insufficient sleep or other factors. 

 The skin may develop rashes when the body is so overwhelmed with toxins that elimination through bowels, urine, sweat, menses and respiration is inadequate.  Eating a healthful diet, cultivating healthy gut bacteria, engaging in regular exercise, using non-toxic substances in the home, learning to handle stressful situations with more calm or minimizing them, and using regular detoxification programs at least once per year (see Blog #73 on my webpage:  www.ewagnerholistichealth.org) will help reduce the toxic load and make skin rashes much less likely.

 This blog’s offer: Make an appointment for help in developing a detoxification program specifically for you. 

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Blog#77: Three Favorite Recipes

  Blog#77:  Three Favorite Recipes – Appetizer, Smoothie, and Main

                                     Guacamole burritos wrapped in nori sheets

All ingredients preferably are organic.

Ripe avocados

Chopped ripe tomatoes

Chopped onion

Chopped garlic

Mix all the above together, then add:

Tamari to taste

Fresh squeezed lemon juice for taste and to preserve freshness

Mix together then place three heaping tablespoons full in the center of a nori sheet.  Wrap and enjoy.  The rest should keep fresh in the refrigerator for up to three days.

                       Young coconut, blueberry, dark leafy greens smoothie

All ingredients except possibly the young coconut preferably are organic.

Take one young coconut – cut with a cleaver, drain the water and place in blender, then scoop out coconut flesh and add to the coconut water in the blender.  Here is a good link with further instructions about opening a young coconut.

https://www.ibreatheimhungry.com/how-to-open-young-coconut-why-you/

Add either ½ tsp Turmeric powder, a good chunk of fresh turmeric root, two of The Synergy Company’s SuperPure Turmeric capsules or two of Medi Herb’s Turmeric Forte tablets.

Add one cup of fresh or frozen blueberries.

Add approximately a total of ½ tsp of high quality oil, such as flax seed, sesame seed, or black current seed.

Add two to three cups several different kinds of leafy greens, such as kale, Swiss chard, romaine lettuce, watercress, collard greens, cilantro, spinach, or arugula.

Blend until you can drink it.  Will keep in the refrigerator for several hours, but is best consumed right after blending

                                                  Cabbage Vegetable Soup

All ingredients are preferably organic.  This would be best prepared in a crockpot but can also be prepared on the stovetop.

Fresh chopped onion, ginger root and garlic to taste.

Turmeric powder or a chunk of chopped turmeric root.

Two carrots, chopped

Two stalks of celery and leaves, chopped

One half a head of green cabbage, coarsely chopped

One quart of tomato puree or pureed/blended fresh tomatoes

One to three cups of vegetable stock or filtered/distilled water

Sea salt, black pepper, cumin, and coriander to taste

Cook at high temperature in the crockpot for two hours, then on low for six hours.  Or simmer in a large, stainless steel pot on the stovetop for three to four hours. Stir occasionally. Add water, if needed. Keep covered. 

In last half hour of preparation, add one cup chopped cilantro or other leafy greens.

Will keep three to four days in the refrigerator. Freezes well.  Enjoy!  Happy summer.

This blog’s offer:  Feel free to contact me with any questions about these recipes. Also, I’d enjoy hearing about any variations you have used.

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