Category: Holistic

5 Group Activities Offered at Holistic Drug Rehabs

Different rehab centers can vary greatly in what types of therapies, counseling, or modalities that they offer.  There can be everything from very individualized types of treatment, to group-based therapies and activities.  Group activities can be extremely effective forms of treatment for those struggling with addiction.  There is a multitude of different types of group treatments depending upon the person’s interests and needs.

Group activities can help individuals to build trust and relationships with their fellow recovery peers.  It can bring about fellowship and cooperation between them, which can be very helpful in recovery.  Types of group therapies can include such things as:

  1. Wilderness Therapy – Wilderness therapy can be very helpful for developing team skills. The group will have to overcome different boundaries and challenges in nature which build up their confidence as well. Wilderness therapy can include such things as camping, starting fires, or putting up shelter.  These are all monitored by a trained professional.
  2. Adventure Therapy – Adventure therapy can be an extremely effective way to help an individual sort through difficulties. It helps a person to build confidence, problem-solving skills, interpersonal relations, and can improve their persistence.  Adventure therapy can include things such as zip lines, rope courses, or nature activities like kayaking.
  3. Group Art Therapy – Art therapy has shown to be very beneficial in the treatment of addiction. A common difficulty in addiction treatment is the person being unable to properly communicate about their addiction or struggles.  They can’t seem to find the words to express themselves, making it difficult to get ideas across, which can hinder the person making any real progress in treatment.  Art gives the person a way to express and communicate these things through a different medium.
  4. Group Music Therapy – Music therapy can be a phenomenal method used to assist addiction recovery. Music therapy within a treatment center, such as Best Drug Rehabilitation, will focus on listening and playing music.  Music has shown to have several beneficial effects, including assisting concentration, affecting moods, and releasing stress and anxiety.  Learning how to play an instrument can not only provide a person with a creative outlet to express themselves but can also give them a hobby to occupy the time that was previously used for substance abuse.
  5. Martial Arts – Martial arts include a wide range of benefits in general, and can provide several that benefit addiction as well. For instance, there is a multitude of physical benefits from martial arts, including improved flexibility and muscle strength, reduced stress, and better balance.  There is also the factor that martial arts teach self-discipline, which can help an individual to take control of their addiction.  It can help a person to begin to clear the mind of stress, cravings, and other difficulties that can hinder them in life.

Receive Addiction Treatment at Best Drug Rehabilitation

Finding quality addiction treatment can be difficult sometimes, as there are so many different types of treatment centers out there, but there is no need to look any further.  Here at Best Drug Rehabilitation, we offer a multitude of modalities all under one roof.  Our comprehensive assessment of each person’s case, as well as our large array of treatment options, allows us to craft tailored treatment programs that can address the person’s addiction as a whole.  Our staff is here to answer any questions that you may have in regard to our program.  Do not wait, give us a call today.

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6 Ways to Beat Addiction Without Medication

Posted by Myra Davis to Holistic

Medications can be an effective tool in fighting addiction and triggers like anxiety and depression. However, you don’t need medications to be successful at recovery. I’ve seen many addicts use effective alternatives that help them overcome addiction and stay clean for life. You can, too.

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Exercise

From basketball and swimming to weightlifting and biking, exercise combats depression, stress, and anxiety in a natural way. That’s because exercise releases feel-good hormones, including serotonin, dopamine, and endorphins. Before starting an exercise routine to help you stay clean, talk with your physician. They will assess your physical health and offer tips and guidance to ensure that you stay safe as you exercise.

Meditation

Focusing your thoughts away from your addiction might be one of the hardest parts of recovery. After all, you lived, breathed, and dreamed about your substance of choice for a long time. I encourage you to retrain your thoughts through meditation. It can be done any time you feel like using or when you experience a trigger. In the car, behind your desk, or in your bedroom, slow your breathing, think about something that makes you happy, and center your thoughts. If you’re new to meditation, I encourage you to ask your therapist to show you how to meditate, and check out all of the online meditation tools, too, as you learn this valuable skill.

Therapy

Talking with a trusted and professional substance abuse therapist helps you release your pent-up emotions and see things from a new perspective. Plus, therapists can recommend adventure, pet, or drum therapy that can increase your ability to resist addiction’s pull. Make an appointment today and gain the immense benefits of talking with a professional.

Support Groups

You need friends and supporters who understand you and the battles you face. That’s one reason I recommend support groups. They’re filled with caring people who get how difficult breaking an addiction can be. They also have amazing tips for how to handle stress at work, relationship challenges, and other triggers. Trust me: You want to get involved with a support group or two as you overcome your addiction without medication.

Journaling

Don’t let that blank notebook on your nightstand intimidate you. It’s not there to scare you. Instead, it’s there to help you find your voice. Write about how you feel when you want to use, describe what happens when you resist temptation, and express your emotions. You can also use your journal to draw pictures that depict your feelings or mandalas that help you relax. Whether you write in a paper journal or type on an online blog, use this tool to assist you in recovery.

Hobbies

What passions excite you, wake you up, and help you relax? Those are the activities you need to engage in every day. So set an easel up in your living room, cultivate a garden, or buy rock-climbing gear. You can even take a class or join a club that focuses on your favorite hobbies. When you fill your free time with activities you enjoy and when you focus on hobbies that fulfill you, you don’t have time to think or act upon your addiction, and you’ll begin to feel better about yourself.

I know you want to beat your addiction, and you can do that without medication when you implement these six tactics. Which one will you start first?

Holistic Treatment

Holistic Ways of Dealing with Diabetes, Hyperglycemia, and Hypoglycemia

Holistic Treatment of Diabetes

[one_half] Diabetes affects nearly 26 million people in the US, of all ages, about 8 percent of the population. Estimates indicate that nearly 19 million people have been diagnosed with diabetes, while 7 million remain undiagnosed.

Diabetes is broken down into two main types: type 1 diabetes and type 2 diabetes. A vital component of metabolism is glucose. Glucose is a sugar that comes from food, and is also formed and stored inside the body. It is carried to our cells through the bloodstream, and is the main source of energy for our cells and tissue.

We process glucose with insulin, a hormone produced in the pancreas. There are two main types of diabetes: Type 1 and Type 2.
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Type 1 and Type 2 Diabetes

In type 1 diabetes, the pancreas is unable to produce insulin. In type 2 diabetes, the body cannot process insulin properly. The causes of type 1 diabetes are generally thought to be hereditary and genetic. Type 2 diabetes, on the other hand, is largely associated with being overweight, a high-fat or high-carbohydrate diet, a lack of physical activity, and other factors. According to the Center for Disease Control (CDC), type 2 diabetes accounts for nearly 95% of diabetes cases in the United States.

When the blood doesn’t get sufficient insulin, glucose levels build up. This is called hyperglycemia, or high blood sugar. It is important to know that hyperglycemia may not have any initial symptoms.

Early signs include frequent urination, intense thirst, weight loss, and exhaustion. When unmanaged or protracted, hyperglycemia turns severe and deadly, with symptoms that include vision problems, nerve damage, blood-vessel damage, recurrent infections (which in serious cases have necessitated limb amputation), kidney disease, stroke, heart disease, and other circulatory disorders.

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Managing Diabetes

A person with type 1 diabetes must take insulin injections or use an insulin pump. For type 2, medication may be prescribed to assist the body in the metabolic process. Some type 2 scenarios may require insulin as well. Each case is unique.

Blood sugar level can also go low, called hypoglycemia. This can occur when the insulin or medication intake is overcompensated. Hypoglycemia has a long list of symptoms. Early signs include sweating, headaches, dizziness, and tremors. Untreated, it can produce numbness, seizure, and loss of consciousness.

To deal with the immediate effects of low blood sugar, diabetics will carry around sweets or a kit with a glucose shot.

Individuals with diabetes have become accustomed to a series of regimens to keep their glucose in the target range. This will include insulin or medication, strict diet, exercise, and several routine tests.

They may also wear a bracelet or necklace (or even a tattoo) featuring a symbol indicating he/she is diabetic and who to contact in emergency. In addition to regular doctor’s visits and testing – particularly for a youth who may not be accustomed to the discipline necessary – a diabetic may have a health care team assigned to help administer their unique program.

Holistic Diabetes Remedies

Anyone with diabetes must continue all medical advice and insulin regimen, and if you or anyone suspects they may be diabetic, the standard medical tests should be done at once.

But beyond that, there are some basic steps that have been found to help with diabetes:
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  • Reduce or eliminate sugar, saturated fats, and trans fat from your diet.
  • Proper nutrition, eating plenty of fresh vegetables, nuts, seeds, and legumes.
  • Do not skip meals.
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  • Vitamin D has been found to help with diabetes.
  • Choose fish or plant-based proteins over poultry or red meat.
  • Get regular exercise.
  • Reduce stress.
  • Get proper sleep.
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Non-Diabetic Hyperglycemia and Hypoglycemia

Is it possible to have high blood sugar (hyperglycemia) or low blood sugar (hypoglycemia) without being diabetic? The answer is yes. Causes of both conditions can vary, but include certain medications, antidepressant and antipsychotic drugs (Zyprexa, Cymbalta), alcohol, and street drugs. Other factors that can affect blood glucose levels are disorders of the cardiovascular system, liver, pancreas, and kidneys. Natural or holistic methods to address high or low blood sugar would include the same points listed above.

Further study and Solutions

The subjects of diabetes and blood sugar are extensive and could not possibly be covered in one short article. To help you further study the subject, we have provided a list of references featuring a cross-section of views:

4 Holistic Ways to Improve Memory Function

Improving the Memory Naturally

[one_half] The mind is a formidable database. The information stored in that database is one of our most valuable assets. Improving our memory, then, is one of the most important ways to make the most of the human mind.

Holistic approaches might have the answer to improving memory function. Because the holistic philosophy seeks to treat a person as a whole — rather than as a collection of symptoms, such as plain forgetfulness — it is particularly well suited to enhance the faculty of memory. By addressing the various dimensions of memory, from the physiological to the behavioral, these key holistic techniques can dramatically improve your memory.
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These key holistic techniques can dramatically improve your memory.
[/one_third] [two_third last=”yes”] [accordian] [toggle title=”1. Maintain a healthy and focused diet.” open=”yes”] Food is one of the most powerful influences on memory.

A diet high in antioxidants, for example, can help protect brain cells involved in memory from age-related damage. Omega-3 fatty acids found in fish, nuts, and flaxseed can help slow cognitive decline in adults.[1] Similarly, olive oil is known to improve memory with its omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids, while raw honey calms nerves and relieves anxiety to promote relaxation and rest, which is essential for effective memory.

Foods that are rich in polyphenol compounds are also associated with increased brain signals and enhanced memory. These foods include chocolate and most fruits and vegetables. Fruits with the highest polyphenol levels include blueberries, strawberries, walnuts, and Concord grapes.[2] At the same time, patients with a deficiency in B vitamins and folate demonstrated forgetfulness, memory loss, confusion, dementia, and depression. Stocking up on fish, poultry, whole grains, and leafy vegetables will help you get the B vitamins you need.
[/toggle] [toggle title=”2. Supplement with the right herbs.”] [one_half] Herbs have long been cited as a powerful memory aid, though scientific research has demonstrated mixed results. Still, signs point to some key benefits.

One study revealed that a combination of ginseng and ginkgo biloba was the most effective formula for increasing brainpower. A preparation of 60% ginseng and 40% ginkgo was the most effective formula when it came to improving the memory of the study volunteers.[3]
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Rosemary is another herb famous for its effects on memory. Several studies have explored the effect of the herb’s scent in particular. One study in particular concluded that participants exposed to the scent of rosemary essential oil demonstrated a significant improvement in performance on memory-related tasks.[4]

The use of herbs in a targeted and responsible way can help multiply the effects of other memory-enhancing techniques.
[/toggle] [toggle title=”3. Actively interact with your memories.”]Effective memory is also a matter of approaching our information in the right way.

Several techniques can immediately improve memory. Grouping similar concepts together and relating new information to old memories are two powerful ways to improve retention and recall. By establishing relationships between new ideas and existing memories, the mind can better retain and apply its data. At the same time, teaching new ideas to other people — which requires recall and focus, and helps refine and reinforce your existing information — is another powerful way to improve memory.[5] Actively seeking out new information, rather than just passively absorbing it as it comes, also helps in the coding of new information.

These techniques focus on the behavioral and mental processes associated with memory, another powerful way to improve this dynamic faculty.

[/toggle] [toggle title=”4. Manage your stress.”] 436233Stress is one of the greatest barriers to a strong memory.

Stress hormones are known to influence the prefrontal cortex, a region of the brain that governs high-level “executive” functions such as working memory and decision-making. One recent study discovered that repeated stress causes a significant loss of glutamate receptors, which reduce cognitive processes carried out by the prefrontal cortex. The researchers in the study also found that if they blocked the mechanism causing this reduction, they could prevent the stress-induced decrease in memory.[6]

Countless other studies arrive at similar conclusions. They all point to the basic fact that stress is a chief enemy of an effective memory. What is more, both chronic stress (stress experienced over a prolonged period of time) and acute stress (high, short-lived stress experienced in the fight-or-flight response) both significantly impair memory. Reducing stress by relaxing, meditating, taking structured breaks from work, and exercising can go a long way in improving retention and recall.
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Keep Your Mind Healthy

Together, these techniques can have a profound effect on the overall quality of our memory. The right foods and herbs address the biological basis of memory, while a proactive approach to processing information address its mental and behavioral aspects. Lifestyle changes, meanwhile, can help manage stress and boost memory capability, creating stronger and more accessible information. Memory is a multi-dimensional faculty, and these holistic techniques can help address it from all angles. Further, healthy habits like these will help lower cholesterol and increase energy levels along with improving memory function.

Resources

[2]Herbs and Foods for Memory,” Jennifer King

[4]Herbs and Foods for Memory,” Jennifer King

[5]Top 10 Memory Improvement Tips,” Kendra Cherry

7 Holistic Ways to Increase Sex Drive

Increasing Sex Drive Naturally

adgdasgHolistic medicine seeks to treat the body as whole, rather than just the symptoms of a condition, making it a unique and powerful way to improve sex drive. The magical and complex phenomenon of arousal has physical, mental, and emotional dimensions that shape how and why we experience sexuality. Addressing these dimensions with these key holistic techniques can dramatically transform one’s sex drive.

1. Drink in moderation

Alcohol is a common social lubricant that helps people shed inhibitions and become more comfortable in sexual situations. But alcohol is a depressant — it slows the functioning of the central nervous system.

Many studies have shown that alcohol consumption inhibits testosterone production in men, reducing libido and arousal.[1] In women, alcohol actually increases sexual arousal by enhancing the production of testosterone reducing inhibition, though it lowers the physiological signs of arousal.

For both sexes, alcohol also affects balance, judgment, and coordination — three important capabilities for a healthy sex life. Reducing overall alcohol intake can significantly help increase sex drive.

2. Maintain a healthy and deliberate diet

Food is central to sex drive. Eating nutrient- and mineral-rich foods can help boost sex drive significantly.

Foods that boost hormone production are important. Green leafy vegetables, for example, help correct anemia, improve neurotransmitter Increasing sex drive naturallyfunctioning, and provide the nutrients needed for your body to rebuild the adrenal glands, which are responsible for releasing hormones in the body. Sea vegetables also support the thyroid gland, which is another key regulator of overall hormone function.[2]

Foods known for their aphrodisiac qualities can in fact be useful. Chocolate, for instance, contains phenethylamine, the chemical we produce when we fall in love. Pumpkin seeds are also effective because they contain high levels of zinc, an important mineral in testosterone production, and omega-3 fats, which help balance hormones.[3]

At the same time, it’s important to cut out certain foods that negatively impact sex drive. Avoid processed foods, which often add to the body’s stress and can contribute to hormone imbalances. Caffeine too can heighten stress and anxiety, which is counterproductive to sexual desire. Instead, replace caffeine with licorice or ginseng, which are excellent alternatives that also support the adrenal glands.[4] A healthy diet also lowers cholesterol and blood pressure, for further health benefit.

3. Consider key supplements and herbs

A number of vitamins and minerals are known to have a positive effect on sex drive.

Vitamin B5 (pantothenic acid) helps in the manufacturing of sex hormones in the adrenal glands. Choline is known to help enhance levels of acetylcholine, a chemical that transmits sexual impulses from the brain to the sex organs.[5] Ginkgo biloba, meanwhile, has been known to treat sexual dysfunction, though controlled studies have not conclusively shown its benefits in this area.

Herbs are also reported to have an immensely powerful influence on sex drive. Maca root improves both male and female hormone balance, supports the adrenals, increases stamina, and helps with erectile dysfunction. Basil, a common herb in many households, increases circulation, stimulates sex drive, and boosts fertility. Saw palmetto, meanwhile, can be used to treat low libido in both men and women by causing the production of the right hormones to boost sex drive.

These herbs can also be used in conjunction with adaptogens, which are specific herbs that boost energy and help the body recover from stress. Holy basil (also known as tulsi) promotes stamina and energy and promotes clarity of thought and calmness. Ashwaganda, another herbal supplement, can energize the body and minimize the negative effects of stress, which is one of the greatest inhibitors to a healthy sex drive.[6]

4. Get adventurous

Sex drive is not just about physiology. It’s also about developing the right mental and emotional states, which are often created in new and exciting situations.

Portrait of young coupleRecent research shows, for example, that pursuing unfamiliar and challenging experiences with your partner – and not just in the bedroom – can boost the creation of dopamine, which fuels sex drive.[7] The novelty of these experiences also stimulates other hormones and neurotransmitters that bond partners, increase their creativity, and bring them closer together. The emotional experience of these adventures often carries over into the bedroom, improving sex drive above and beyond its physical dimension.
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5. Stop smoking.

Smoking causes blood vessels to narrow and diminishes stamina. This carries over into sexual function: Poor circulation constricts blood flow to the genitals, and healthy sex never benefits from low stamina. The smells associated with smoking are also known to diminish attraction over time. Stopping smoking has numerous other health benefits, as well.
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6. Exercise

Regular exercise is a critical component of a healthy sex drive. Physical fitness improves blood flow to the sexual organs, boosts dopamine, elevates mood, and increases self-confidence. The weight loss associated with exercise (and healthy eating habits) also helps with sex drive by increasing circulation and stamina. Together, these benefits can transform your sex drive on its physical and emotional levels.
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7. Relax, recover, and connect

Stress is a chief enemy of sex drive. It causes the creation of cortisol, a hormone that causes testosterone to plummet, and creates mental and emotional blocks to healthy sex. Recovering from stressful situations — through meditation, relaxation, or other healing activities — is a powerful way to boost sex drive. Sleep is one of the most powerful ways to boost sex drive. It helps the adrenal glands function properly, along with the rest of your body, and contributes to proper relaxation and recovery.[8]


Resources

[2] “5 Ways To Boost Your Sex Drive Naturally,” Dr. Ritamarie Loscalzo, MS, DC, CCN, DACBN

[4] “5 Ways To Boost Your Sex Drive Naturally,” Dr. Ritamarie Loscalzo, MS, DC, CCN, DACBN

[6] “5 Ways To Boost Your Sex Drive Naturally,” Dr. Ritamarie Loscalzo, MS, DC, CCN, DACBN

[8] “5 Ways To Boost Your Sex Drive Naturally,” Dr. Ritamarie Loscalzo, MS, DC, CCN, DACBN

Tips for Curbing Memory Loss Holistically

Fighting Memory Loss Naturally

memoryWe have all experienced some degree of memory loss. The mildest form would be something on the order of forgetting why you walked into a room, what you were going to say, or where you put the car keys. A more pronounced situation might be chronic forgetfulness wherein a person has difficulty with daily tasks at home or on the job. At the severe end of the spectrum would be neurological disorders, such as dementia, wherein an individual may not recognize a friend or family member. Even mild memory lapses can be daunting. What are some of the causes of memory loss?

Common Causes of Memory Loss

  • Prescription medications

    Certain medications can contribute to loss of memory and other mental side-effects. For example, antidepressants – Prozac, Paxil, Zoloft, Effexor, etc. – have been linked to a number of severe neurological problems, including memory loss, amnesia, delusion, and hallucination. Other medications, prescribed for wholly physiological reasons – high blood pressure, cholesterol, pain relief – can also be a culprit. But simply dropping a prescription due to its side-effects can be dangerous or catastrophic, so consult with your prescribing physician if you suspect a medication may be contributing to memory loss. In the case of psychotropic medications (antidepressants, etc.), a person can be prescribed several drugs simultaneously – wherein one drug is prescribed in an attempt to offset the effects of another. Getting off these drugs requires a precise, gradual withdrawal process.

  • Alcohol and tobacco

    Alcohol affects the brain and central nervous system, with “black patches” commonly associated with excessive consumption. If drinking is a steady part of your routine, and you have been experiencing memory loss, it’s time to cut way down or quit entirely. Cigarette smoke, in addition to containing nicotine and dozens of other chemicals, reduces oxygen to the brain and has been linked to memory loss.

  • Drug abuse

    Narcotic use – marijuana, amphetamines, cocaine, crack, opiates, etc. – can all be at the root of memory loss, whether used “recreationally” or in fueling long-term addiction. Marijuana (cannabis), despite medical or legal status in some states, contains the active ingredient tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), a Schedule I controlled substance, classified as a hallucinogenic or psychedelic – with dulled thinking and memory loss being known consequences. Abuse of prescription drugs is now an all-too-common, even pandemic, reality. Conquering addiction – and its attendant pain and disaster – can be the task of a lifetime for an individual. Holistic recovery, such as that offered at Best Drug Rehabilitation, with an individualized program, can be the solution for a drug-free life.

  • Sleep deprivation

    Failure to get sufficient sleep can play havoc on your thinking and memory, as well as cause fatigue and other problems. Scheduling 7-8 hours of sleep per night will go a long way towards increasing mental focus.

  • Head injury, stroke, disease, dementia

    Memory loss can be brought on by brain trauma, stroke, diseases like Alzheimer’s, as well as dementia attributed to old age. Testing, such as CAT scan and MRI, can be done to zero in on the problem. While cures may not yet exist for extreme causes of memory loss, therapies and exercises can be done to help people with these conditions.

Ways to Fight Memory Loss

 

  • Nutrition and exercise

    A poor diet, consisting of processed, fried, or fatty foods with little nutritional value, will cause general fatigue, weariness, and a depressed mental outlook. Proper, balanced nutrition – proteins, fruits, vegetables – means providing vital nutrients to the body and the brain. This, combined with regular exercise, can greatly help mental faculties and improve one’s overall enthusiasm for life.

 

  • Superfoods

    Superfoods are plant-based, organic nutrients that include kale, spinach, chlorella, spirulina, wheatgrass, and barley grass. They also include fruits and nuts high in antioxidants, such as goji berries, acai, and blueberries. A superfood blast in the morning can mean an energized body and alert mind – and also provide a myriad of other health benefits like increased energy.

 

  • Vitamins, minerals, herbs

    Simply taking a daily multi-vitamin, with the addition of a B-Complex supplement, will add to your memory boost formula. The herb Ginkgo Biloba, originating in China, is often cited as assisting memory, apparently by increasing blood circulation to the brain.

 

  • Get organized

    Ever find yourself going off in all directions at once? Do you forget where you put something 60 seconds ago? Time to take care of your area and get organized! Start with your living space and move into your working environment. If everything had a place and you put things back where they belonged once you were done with them, and if you maintained this as a habit, you’d see a sharpening of your mental prowess. Composing a plan for the day, where you mark off each completed task, will also contribute to your newly focused mind.

 

  • Understanding

    When you don’t understand something – particularly when you need that piece of knowledge for your activities or profession – you feel dull and confused. Methods do exist for proper learning. When you truly understand and can use information, feeling dimwitted and forgetful can be a thing of the past – replaced by insightfulness and acuity.

 

Those are a few practical suggestions for improving your memory and living a better, more rewarding life!

 

 

 

Holistic Methods for Headaches

  1. headache

It is an understatement to say that no one enjoys a headache. An otherwise great day can be ruined entirely by a headache. Many people resort to NSAIDs (nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs) – aspirin, ibuprofen, Advil, Motrin, etc. – to combat their headache. A migraine is another beast entirely. Typically affecting one side of the head, and often accompanied by nausea and disturbed vision, a migraine can lay someone up for a day or two, depending on the severity. The word “migraine” comes from the Greek hemi- meaning “half” and kranion meaning “skull,” affecting, as it often does, half of a person’s head. Any weapon against a migraine would be extremely valuable indeed – particularly when it spells prevention. Some factors have been isolated that can cause headaches, including migraines:

  • Food additives – Pesticides, preservatives, and chemical additives, such as monosodium glutamate (MSG), can all play a role in migraines. The body is not built to assimilate such compounds. Additionally, GMOs (genetically modified organisms) are increasingly suspect, to put it mildly. Using foods labeled “organic” and “GMO-free,” and checking the ingredients will help you make the right decisions.
  • Alcohol – Many people are hypersensitive to alcohol. It is essentially fermented organic material and poisonous to the body.
  • Sugar and artificial sweeteners – Processed sugar has long proven an enemy of good health, as well as being addictive and detrimental to your teeth. Be on the lookout for artificial sweeteners such as aspartame, saccharine, and Splenda. Aspartame is widely known as containing poisonous properties. Studies have linked aspartame to headaches, migraines, dizziness, tumors and even cancer. The FDA has admitted to 92 symptoms attributed to aspartame from submitted complaints. It took decades to put warning labels on cigarettes. Check the ingredients of products labeled “sugar free” as these could contain aspartame.Nature has provided plenty of items to satisfy your sweet tooth, such as stevia, honey, and fruit.
  • Allergies and irritants – Many people are sensitive to airborne particulates such as mold, pollen, harsh paint, and even heavy perfume. Have you ever gone to a shopping mall, and as soon as you opened the door, been hit with a concentrated barrage of headache-inducing cheap perfume odor? A good argument for outdoor malls. Allergies can also be at the root of headaches. Professional testing can be done for airborne mold spores. A full battery of specialized allergy testing may be needful if you suspect allergies are a factor.
  • Lack of sleep – Failure to get a good night’s sleep, or getting insufficient overall rest, can cause headaches. Calcium and magnesium – which can be taken as a hot drink – and the essential amino acid tryptophan, are known to help relax muscles and joints so you can sleep.
  • Lack of exercise – Rigorous exercise releases endorphins, neurotransmitters that are your body’s natural analgesics (pain relievers). Your body is not made to sit immobile at a desk, day after day. You’ve got to get out and get some exercise, preferably with fresh air and sunshine.

Certain supplements – vitamins, minerals, herbs – are known to ease and even prevent headaches:

  • Vitamins and minerals – B Vitamins: in particular, B1 (Thiamin) and B3 (Niacin) have known pain-reducing characteristics. Calcium and magnesium, and tryptophan – in addition to helping with sleep – are also good for easing pain. When you lose bodily fluids, such as through sweating or exercise, you can get cramps, headaches, dizziness, and even nausea, so it is vital to replenish lost electrolytes, potassium, and sodium. Consumption of sodium (salt) may need to be regulated if you are at risk of high blood pressure, as directed by a medical practitioner.
  • Herbs – Lavender, ginger, peppermint, and cayenne, to name a few, are in the herbal playbook for pain relief. You can get supplements, make herbal tea, or use herbal hot packs on the head, neck, shoulders, and back.
  • Water – You’ve got to keep yourself hydrated. Many aches and pains are simply due to lack of water.
  • Other remedies – Massage, acupuncture, homeopathic remedies, and other techniques exist as alternatives to painkillers.

Heavy painkillers can lead to abuse and addiction. If you suffer from headaches, the above information could help you lead a drug-free and pain-free life!

 

Sources:

Holistic Methods to Reduce Stress

Millions complain of stress, pressure, worry, things of this nature. Some will advise you to take pharmaceuticals to “manage” stress – pills that alter brain chemistry, pills that require long lists of warnings and side effects, including agitation, hostility, suicidal and violent thoughts or actions. These are the psychoactive variety of drugs: antidepressants, amphetamine-like compounds, etc. Do we really want to go that route? Are there ways to alleviate stress that make us healthier and stronger – instead of numb, disassociated or cut off from reality? Fortunately, there are.

There are several ways people deal with stress. The first is an attempt to numb or medicate it through alcohol or other chemicals as mentioned above. The next method is to reduce one’s sphere of influence, to cut oneself off from reaching further into life or society: the would-be entrepreneur who settles for a dull desk job because it is more “secure”; the potential artist who gives into the “constructive criticism” of others and “keeps his day job,” never to pursue his art again. These first two don’t offer much forward momentum in the game we call life. Is there a third alternative? Again, fortunately for us, the answer is yes:

  • Set your goals. Don’t hesitate to aim high. What do you want out of life for you, your family, your group, mankind in general? Work that out.
  • Do you have a plan? Draw up your plan to get from point A to point B. Is it detailed? Does it really contain the steps to take you where you want to go? This could take some work, but it is a vital action.
  • Remove distractions. You can be your own worst enemy by procrastinating, not following through on what you know is right, dishonesty with yourself and others. All these things can get in your road. Take steps to clear the path. No one is perfect, but you can get yourself going in the right direction.
  • Who’s on your team? Assuming you have a constructive goal, you’ll want to keep your eyes out for people that thrive only when you fail. These are the people that advise you “don’t quit your day job.” If they are not on your side, often the best idea is to simply avoid them. Conversely, others will be supportive and want to see you achieve you dreams. Help these people and they’ll help you.
  • Organize. Nothing can disperse your attention like disorganization. From your house to your office, is it set up for industrious activity? Do things have a place and when you’re done with something, do you put it back where you got it? Set up your area so it calms your nerves instead of rattles them.
  • Nutrition. Nothing depresses one quite like insufficient nutrition. Too many of us pick up our meals on the fly with little to no thought as to actual nutritional value. The result is a body that is agitated and essentially starving. Putting a little more work into it – eating whole or organic foods that contain real nutrients – adds up to more energy and confidence.
  • Supplement. Certain vitamins, minerals, and other supplements are known for their stress-reducing characteristics. Examples of these:
    • Calcium and magnesium
    • B Vitamins
    • Vitamins A, C, and E
    • Herbal teas
    • Superfoods
  • Exercise. Millions of us sit at a desk all day looking at a computer screen that is about two feet from our eyes. You’ve got get out every day – or at least every other day – and get your body moving. Failure to do so results in depressed mood and lack of verve for tackling life’s problems, not to mention countless health issues.
  • Expand your interests. There’s nothing wrong with being good at one thing and specializing in that, but once you’ve got the above steps reasonably under control, why not try branching out? You could take that night class you’ve been putting off the last few years; learn to play the guitar (or banjo, or harmonica, or…); take up a martial art. All manner of avenues are open to you to elevate your confidence and competence. If your schedule is all booked up but you’re having a good time, this is the kind of “stress” you want. Don’t forget to have fun!

 

Those are a few suggestions for those seeking to reduce stress. It may be a slightly different view, but it’s one that doesn’t underestimate the power of the individual.

Sources:

http://www.thewaytohappiness.org/#/precepts

http://www.antidepressantsfacts.com/index.html

http://www.foodmatters.tv/content/superfoods

Holistic Methods to Quit Smoking

NIDA Information

Quitting smoking can be a daunting task. Nicotine is an addictive drug, and according to NIDA (National Institute on Drug Abuse), nicotine addiction is the leading cause of preventable disease, disability, and death in the US, with cigarettes behind 90% of cases of lung cancer. Cigarettes contain close to 600 additives and release over 4,000 chemical compounds when burned – 69 of which are known carcinogens. So, if you’ve been looking at quitting, you have the right idea. Many have quit multiple times, only to find themselves with another lit cigarette in their hand. There are different types of smokers: from the one or two cigarettes per day “social” smoker, to the two-pack-a-day 30-year veteran.

Some feel that a psychoactive drug is their only recourse in their attempt to quit. One such pharmaceutical is varenicline (trade name Chantix). Nicotine causes the release of the neurotransmitter (brain chemical) dopamine. The drug is believed to block the brain’s “nicotine receptors” while allowing some dopamine release – all of which apparently reduces cravings. After Chantix was put on the market, reports were received of “serious events,” including depression, agitation, hostility, suicidal ideation, and completed suicide. For this reason, the drug now requires the same BLACK BOX WARNING as antidepressants – the FDA’s most severe warning label.

Other Methods

Others who attempt to quit use the nicotine patch, nicotine gum, electronic (vapor) cigarettes, or resort to other means of keeping their hands busy such as “squeeze balls” or endless fiddling with pencils and paper clips. Any way you cut it, it’s not always an easy proposition. Chief among complaints are the headaches, nervousness, and the effects of psychological addiction – smoking can be part of someone’s way of life. Do natural remedies exist that would ease withdrawal from nicotine and make quitting more manageable? The answer would indeed be holistic – meaning you’d want to address physical, mental, and even spiritual factors. Remedies include:

  • Set your goals: Why do you want to quit? Is it for your health? To remove the smell from your breath and your clothing? To set an example for your children? Is it financial? How much money will you save? Perhaps it is all of the above. Also set the positive goals. What will you gain?
  • Acupuncture: The ancient Chinese technique can release endorphins – your body’s natural pain relievers.
  • Exercise: Through physical exercise, you are engaging yourself in an action other than smoking – also releases endorphins.
  • Herbal remedies: These include Ginseng, Butterbur, Lavender, Cayenne, and St. John’s Wort (NOTE: St. John’s Wort is not to be consumed by pregnant or nursing women or children. Always consult the label on herbs and supplements and use as directed.) Such herbs – often taken as a tea – can act as natural analgesics (pain relievers) while also producing a calming effect.
  • Tryptophan. Another natural calmer of nerves.
  • Calcium and magnesium. Vital for ease of joints and muscles.
  • Lifestyle changes. Are there activities that routinely lead you to smoke, such as drinking, going to cocktail parties where you’re standing around for hours, coffee breaks with other smokers? You may need to evaluate these factors and change your routine, at least while you’re withdrawing from nicotine. When it gets tough, refer back to your goals.

 

 

Holistic Methods to Lower Blood Pressure

You Are Not Alone

Blood pressure (hypertension) indicates the pressure of the blood on the walls of your blood vessels, similar to the pressure of the water in the pipes within the walls of your house. A person with the early stages of high blood pressure may not experience any symptoms, but at some point may experience such things as dizziness, headaches, or nose bleed. Due to the “silent” nature of high blood pressure, you should get your blood pressure taken on a routine basis. Some of the factors associated with high blood pressure:

  • Age. As we get older we must be alert to an increase in blood pressure.
  • Weight. A body that is overweight means that the heart must work commensurately harder to get the blood and oxygen circulated.
  • Exercise. When we are inactive, our cardiovascular system is not getting the workout it needs.
  • Cholesterol level. Cholesterol is a fatty substance produced by your liver and is an essential building block of your cells and tissue, but it can go high and be a risk. High cholesterol level indicates fatty or wax-like buildup in the blood vessels – often referred to as “bad” cholesterol.
  • Diet. Just as with cholesterol level, diet has been found to affect blood pressure. Avoid fatty and fried foods. Go with lean meats, fruits, and green leafy vegetables.
  • Tobacco. Cigarettes contain close to 600 chemicals, and produce over 4,000 chemicals when burned. One result (among many) can be damage to artery walls.
  • Alcohol. Excessive alcohol consumption is a known factor.
  • Sodium. Too much sodium (contained in salt) can increase blood pressure.
  • Low potassium intake. Potassium acts to balance sodium.

The above list gives you a guideline of do’s and don’ts to work into your routine. In addition, some supplements believed to help lower blood pressure:

  • Coenzyme Q10: Also known as ubiquinone, is a vitamin-like substance present in all human cells and responsible for cell protection and energy production.
  • Garlic: For high blood pressure, only use garlic under supervision of a qualified medical practitioner due to its blood-thinning effect.
  • Hawthorn: The berries of the hawthorn shrub have been found to help the circulatory system.
  • Fish oil: Omega-3 fatty acids have many health benefits.
  • Folic Acid (Vitamin Bc): B vitamins in general are a vital component to your overall health.

Other Factors

It is interesting to note that when researching a long list of ailments: from cholesterol and blood pressure, to insomnia and energy levels – even such things as anxiety and depression – we find that certain diet and lifestyle changes have a uniformly positive effect. Delete the processed, additive-laden, high fat foods from your diet; switch to whole and organic foods, plant nutrients, natural vitamin and mineral supplements; drink lots of water; get regular exercise and fresh air. Do all these and keep them up on a routine basis, and you’re likely to see marked changes the next time you visit the doctor.

Of course, for such things as blood pressure, you do need to see a qualified medical professional. You may be prescribed blood pressure medication to get it down, but feel free to go over the above points and work out a program tailored to your needs. Over to you!

 

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