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Entries in health (6)

Monday
Jan072019

Moving lymph

Lymph circulation is the waste management system of our bodies. It transports waste materials (toxins, dead bacteria and cells, cancer cells, dietary fats from our digestive system, interstitial fluid, etc.) out of our bodies. Lymph travels just under the skin through vessels. It is cleaned in the nodes and eventually returns to the whole blood in the circulatory system. Unlike blood, which has the heart to pump it, the lymph has no pump to keep it flowing. It is entirely dependent on external factors in order to operate optimally. Here are some ways to keep it moving:

  • pumping action of your gastrocs through walking or running
  • massage, particularly the light, directional, rhythmic lymph drainage massage
  • jumping, particulary on a rebounder or trampoline
  • skin brushing
  • hydrate
  • deep breathing
  • hot & cold treatment
  • stillingia tincture
  • Qi machine
It's terribly important not to restrict lymph flow with tight clothing, especially bras. If you wear a bra make sure it's well fitted and doesn't leave long-lasting grooves in your skin when you take it off.
Saturday
Nov242018

Placebo research by Ted Kaptchuk

Very exciting research this past year by Harvard's Ted Kaptchuk, author of a primer on Traditional Chinese Medicine called The Web That Has No Weaver. He has identified the Placebo Spot in the brain--a region of the frontal lobe--and mapped genetic variations in neurotransmitter pathways that affect individuals' responsiveness to placebos--a system referred to as the placebome. Placebo is a complex neuro response by an individual, involving one's dopamine and/or opioid reward centers, to a caretaker's loving attention. It seems that some people are genetically predisposed to be responsive to loving attention, causing a healing cascade due to changes in neurotransmitters, particularly dopamine and opioids. This calls into question decades of research that pulled small sample sizes, perhaps flawed by genetic bias as it is unknown what percentage of the population is prone to placebo effect. While we have always known that placebo works (much to the disappointment of the western medical establishment), its mechanisms have been shrouded in mystery.

Here's a TED Talk that Kaptchuk did on Placebo in 2014.

Saturday
Mar292014

Ionic Foot Bath

I've been getting questions from patients on the validity of ionic foot baths again. They are a scam and I'm embarrassed by practitioners charging money for these sessions. It amounts to a very expensive foot soak.

In 2011 they were all the craze, some of my colleagues purchased them and started offering them as a treatment and I was on the fence about their validity. So....I asked my chemistry professor at the University of Minnesota what he thought. He was unfamiliar with the device but he said it didn't make sense to him because molecules just don't travel through the body like that--they have to go through a transport system such as the lymph, blood, or into the urine. You simply don't get molecules travelling through your body to your feet and out your skin. Even sweat has to follow prescribed metabolic pathways.

I tried one out when a colleague offered me a session. There is a peice of metal in the water and one adds salt and an electric current. Of course the water changes color--it's called rust! That's what happens when you oxidize metal. That will happen regardless of anything else placed in the water. We did a similar experiment in chemistry lab (no feet involved).

The death knell on the subject was when I watched this series of videos on YouTube. A highlight is when an organic carrot produces a color change that indicates it is releasing liver toxins.

There are places where faith, belief and the concept of energy as a miasm are appropriate; the field of chemistry is not one of them.

Sunday
Feb092014

The Importance of Vitamin C

In my "Bladder & Pelvic Floor Health" class I always expound the importance of vitamin C because it is involved in so many metabolic processes, making appropriate levels essential to optimal health. How much is appropriate is debated but I generally recommend at least several thousand mg per day. In the past several years studies have shown that vitamin C intake is also important in preventing diseases of aging such as Alzheimer's, Parkinson's and atherosclerosis.

Much of the research has focused on the role of increased dietary nonheme (not derived from hemoglobin) iron intake and disturbed iron metabolism due to mutated genes. [1]  Excess iron catalyzes the production of free radicals, plays a role in lipid peroxidation and can lead to deposition and neurodegeneration. Normally excesses pass through the digestive system. A leaky gut or a disruption in absorption may occur due to another pathogensis and allow the excess iron to pass into the bloodstream. This risk is much higher for people who have low vitamin C intake. Most of the excess dietary nonheme iron came from fortified cereals. [2] [3]

This begs the question of what levels of vitamin C these studies consider to be low. Various organizations recommend anywhere from 40mg/day to 100mg/day. [4] Most practitioners agree that these levels are enough maintain life, but not sufficient to maintain optimal functional health. It also highlights the importance of combining iron intake with that of vitamin C; vitamin C aids in the absorption of iron. Those foods high in nonheme iron (leafy greens and cruciferous veggies) are typically also high in vitamin C.  Mother Nature knows. Cereal manufacturers, on the other hand, don't fortify with vitamin C.

Excess dietary copper has also been implicated in Alzheimer's. [5] 

The pathogenesis of these diseases of aging is still unknown but one can conclude that taking mineral supplements is unnecessary (for well-fed Westerners) and possibly risky. Taking measures to keep your gut healthy (eating fermented foods, taking probiotics, following a gluten-free diet if you're diagnosed as celiac) may prevent a leaky gut from allowing over-absorption of minerals. A healthy lifestyle will protect against pathological genetic expression. And finally, the antioxidant vitamin C has been shown, many times over, to be protective against these diseases. Take much vitamin C.

 

Tuesday
Jan292013

Pathways to cancer treatment

A patient at Pathways provided me with some great resources for cancer patients:

Mistletoe extract injections, already approved for use in Europe and shown in an extensive study in Australia to be more effective in treating colon cancer than chemotherapy, can be prescibed by Naturopathic Doctors (NDs) in some states and can be bought on-line from Canada. It has no side effects.

Nash Winters, ND, L.Ac. is a naturopath in Colorado who cured herself of cancer and practices holistic oncology, often using mistletoe extract injections. Colorado state law requires in-person visits, so in order to accomodate out-of-state patients (and a scheduling nightmare, currently scheduling out one year) she holds retreats.

I'm sure that as I spend more time at Pathways I will have many more resources to report. Since the Gerson Institute is so far away (Mexico) and so expensive, it's great to know that there are other holistic treatment centers that will provide meaningful treatment without requiring one to move residence.