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: 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.

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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Blog # 76 Benefit From the Summer Solstice Energy

                               Blog#76: Benefit from Summer Solstice Energy 

 Summer, particularly the two weeks before and after the summer solstice (June 21st) is an extremely energizing time.  In the northern hemisphere, we get the most light from the sun during this time.  Additionally warmth from the sun strongly penetrates the ground and water.  Plants and animals are energized by this solar energy, and so are we.  

 Spring is regarded as the best time for detoxification for good reason:  summer’s gift of vitality will be most helpful in repairing and optimizing health after a good spring detox.  Because virtually everyone has been exposed to various toxic substances, side effects while the body detoxifies and repairs itself are common. 

 Possible side effects from a strong detoxification program may include headache, nasal discharge, abdominal cramps, joint pain, fatigue, skin rash, diarrhea, constipation, nausea, poor mental focus, depression, poor appetite, toxic food cravings, fluid retention, and more.  These side effects are usually mild and brief. 

 Generally, these signs arise because some of the toxic chemicals that have been stored in the body  (in skin, fat, muscle, or even internal organs) are now being released, and the body has to work extra hard in order to process, neutralize, and these substances.  This work takes energy. The highest energy time in the year is summer, especially around the solstice.  

 Some lifestyle choices that can help conserve energy and optimize healing and vitality are 1.eating a balanced, organic, grass-fed, diet, 2. getting plenty of sleep and rest,  3. refraining from overly-demanding physical exercise, 4. instead taking walks, doing yoga, tai chi or chi gong, 5. staying hydrated with organic vegetable and fruit juices and/or pure distilled, filtered or good quality spring water, 6. eating vegetarian or vegan for several weeks or months, 7.  consuming at least 50% of the diet raw, 8. breathing from the diaphragm (belly breathing),  9. spending some time out in the sun every day (avoid sunburn), 10. daily earthing by going barefoot at least for short periods of time, especially on a beach, and 11.  spending as much time as possible away from the city or other sources of pollution and stress, and instead staying among trees (forest bathing).  

 This month’s offer: contact me for help discovering what kind of detoxification program or process would be best for you.  Also, acupuncture treatment is most powerful and effective during the months of June and July, since this is when the most energy is available with which to work.  



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Blog#75 May is Good Posture Month

                                   Blog#75: May is Good Posture Month

                Here’s an exercise to develop and reinforce strong posture

                                                          and balance

The Stork (standing on one leg) must be done with aligned posture in order to improve balance.   Aligned posture means that the neck is retracted and positioned centrally over the torso. The head faces straight ahead, not bent back or forward. Shoulders are gently pulled back, relaxed, and level. The torso is positioned directly over the hips not flexed forward or extended back. Knees are locked but not hyperextended or bent, and the toes point forward. (In reverse stork, the toes of the raised leg point downward.)

 This exercise involves standing on one leg, with the other leg raised so that the thigh is parallel with the floor and the knee is bent 90 degrees. If this exercise is new for you, it would be wise to stand near a wall and steady yourself until it feels comfortable to let go and stand on one leg without assistance. It is best to practice in front of a full-length mirror in order to evaluate and correct posture.

 Also vital for correct practice and optimal balance is diaphragmatic (abdominal) breathing. If you tend to chest breathe, and find it difficult to break out of this pattern, then you might consider lying supine and practicing diaphragmatic breathing that way, since almost everyone finds that relatively easy. Breathe slowly and consciously while supine, and your body can gradually learn to breathe abdominally while sitting and then when standing and walking.

 If you find the need to bend your standing knee, wave your arms, sway from side to side or drop your raised leg in order to stay upright when attempting the stork, work on correcting your posture and do the reverse stork for a while. Reverse stork is a “peel-back” of the stork. Here, the lifted thigh is at right angles to the floor and the leg extends behind the body, with the knee bent 90 degrees.

 Difficulty levels of The Stork can be increased almost endlessly. Stork can be held for increasingly long periods of time – for one minute, two minutes, or more on each leg. Arms can be raised above the head, extended out at the sides or behind the body, or even crossed in front of the torso. More challenges can include closing the eyes, standing on a pillow or other soft, slightly uneven surface, and even standing on a half foam roll or half exercise ball.

 It is best to practice stork at least three times per day on each leg. This can be done in all sorts of situations, such as waiting for the bus, standing in line at the grocers, or waiting at the doctor’s office. If a mirror is available, that is always best. Even if you have problems initially holding this position, as long as you practice daily you will be almost certain to hold the stork for increasingly longer periods of time and improve your sense of balance.

 This blog’s offer: contact me with questions about this exercise. You also might consider purchasing the book Stand Taller – Live Longer, by Dr. Steven P. Weiniger.

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Blog#74: It’s Still Spring – Here’s More About Detoxification

  One health problem that is becoming increasingly common is “leaky gut”.   This is a condition of the large and small intestines in which the walls of these internal organ becomes increasingly inflamed and swollen until the intestinal walls become hyper-permeable, allowing larger-than-usual particles to pass into the outer layers of the gut and even out of the intestines entirely.  The particles that pass through the hyper-permeable intestinal walls include microorganisms, partially digested food, and toxins, such as those found in some chemical drugs, preservatives, tobacco, alcohol, and more.  Although many allopathic physicians have not heard of leaky gut, even physicians at Johns Hopkins University write about it, are unsure about how to treat it, since there have not been many scientific studies of this condition.

 Symptoms of this condition include abdominal bloating, chronic constipation or diarrhea, gas, abdominal pain, fatigue, body aches, food sensitivities or allergies, headaches, sinus congestion, seasonal allergies, asthma, PMS, and more.  Some holistic pharmacists and physicians link leaky gut to autoimmune illnesses, such as lupus, Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis, Rheumatoid Arthritis, Crohn’s disease and Celiac disease (a severe allergy to gluten).

 Causes of leaky gut most likely include the standard American diet, which is full of processed foods, high in sugar and inflammatory fats and low in fiber, vitamins and minerals. Also causative are poor lifestyle habits, such as insufficient sleep, little or no exercise, sitting for long hours before blue screens, and insufficient water consumption.  Other causes may include tobacco and alcohol consumption, some prescription medications, including antibiotics, environmental pollution, and intestinal infections due to yeast, bacteria and other microorganisms.  The strongest factor of all often appears to be mental and emotional stress. 

 Leaky gut is a complex problem.  Several different approaches are usually needed to resolve this issue.  Probiotic foods, such as raw sauerkraut, kimchi, miso, yoghurt, kefir, apple cider vinegar and high quality probiotic supplements all can be helpful in normalizing the body’s microbiome – the balance of micro-organisms living in the body, especially in the intestines.  Prebiotics, such as asparagus, jicama, beets, okra, leafy greens, and sources of fiber such as psyllium seed husks and sprouted seeds and legumes can all help provide an environment in which “friendly bacteria” can thrive. Healthy lifestyle changes, such as getting enough sleep, stopping alcohol consumption, and learning to relax in stressful situations also are often necessary for a resolution of this problem.  Many people find foods such as high quality home made bone broth and baked organic apples helpful.  Processed foods must be eliminated from the diet until the problem is resolved. Since the gut is inflamed and compromised, it is also vital to remove all foods to which the person is sensitive or allergic.  In most cases, all dairy, gluten and GMO foods must be eliminated from the diet for an extended period of time.  Sometimes soy and corn will need to go, as well as fried foods and any natural or artificial sweeteners. 

 Fortunately, after several months or years of this treatment, people are usually able to include some of these foods into their diets again, but not always.  Depending on how long the condition has persisted and how much damage has been done to the body, a person may need to permanently eliminate some of these foods from their diet in order to remain healthy. Often acupuncture helps leaky gut resolve more quickly, as long as people also observe appropriate dietary and lifestyle changes. 

 This week’s offer: contact me for some great recipes for bone broth and green smoothies.  I also can give you suggestions about a detoxification program and for fiber supplements. 

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