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4 Best Supplements To Alleviate Seasonal Allergy Symptoms - Ottawa Holistic Wellness

4 Best Supplements To Alleviate Seasonal Allergy Symptoms

As a child, I suffered from terrible allergy symptoms. My mother did not know about supplements that may alleviate seasonal allergy symptoms. Instead, she would take me to the doctor who wrote out various prescriptions to mask my multiple symptoms.

Common Seasonal Allergy Symptoms

Common seasonal allergy symptoms include:

  • Congestion.
  • Post-nasal drip.
  • Excess mucus production.
  • Sneezing.
  • A runny nose.
  • Itchy, watery eyes.
  • Scratchy throat.
  • Tickle/irritation in the ears.
  • Wheezing

Supplements To Alleviate Seasonal Allergy Symptoms

Back in the 1970’s, when I was a child with allergies, natural remedies and supplements were available, but a minority of people knew about them, and they received minimal scientific scrutiny. Thankfully, things are beginning to change, and researchers are showing that supplements work. The following is a list of the four best supplements demonstrated through high-level scientific research to alleviate seasonal allergy symptoms.

1. Probiotics

Probiotics are live bacteria and yeasts that are good for your health, especially your digestive system. We usually think of these as germs that cause diseases. But your body is full of bacteria, both good and bad. Probiotics are often called “good” or “helpful” bacteria because they help keep your gut healthy.

A placebo-controlled, double-blinded, and randomised study demonstrated that a probiotic containing a Bifidobacteria longum bacteria was able of significantly improving Allergic Rhinitis symptoms and Quality of Life in children with pollen-induced AR and intermittent asthma.

A randomised, double-blind, placebo-controlled clinical trial results suggest that Lactobacillus acidophilus can alleviate the symptoms of perennial allergic rhinitis

I recommend trying Probiotic Supreme DF™ which contains both Bifidobacteria longum and Lactobacillus acidophilus.

2. Black Cumin (N.sativa)

Nigella sativa (black caraway, also known as black cumin, nigella, and kalonji) is an annual flowering plant in the family Ranunculaceae, native to south and southwest Asia.

A double-blind clinical trial showed that N. sativa could reduce the presence of the nasal mucosal congestion, nasal itching, runny nose, sneezing attacks, turbinate hypertrophy, and mucosal pallor.

I recommend trying Life Extension Black Cumin Seed Oil.

3. Curcumin

Curcumin is a bright yellow chemical produced by some plants. It is the principal curcuminoid of turmeric (Curcuma longa), a member of the ginger family, Zingiberaceae.

A randomised double-blind study showed that curcumin alleviated nasal symptoms (sneezing and rhinorrhea) and nasal congestion through reduction of nasal airflow resistance.

I recommend Curcum-Evail™ by Designs for Health.

4. Tinospora cordifolia

Tinospora cordifolia, which is known by the common names heart-leaved moonseed, Guduchi and giloy, is a herbaceous vine of the family Menispermaceae indigenous to the tropical areas of India,

In a randomised double-blind placebo-controlled study, Tinospora cordifolia significantly decreased all symptoms of allergic rhinitis.

I recommend HistaEze™ by Designs for Health that contains Tinospora cordifolia.

Disclaimer

This article is not intended to provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.

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How to Get Your Children to Eat More Veggies - Ottawa Holistic Wellness

How to Get Your Children to Eat Veggies

Children can be very stubborn about eating vegetables. I don’t have children myself, only cats, but I do see many children in my practice. Parents often ask me for tips to get their kids eating less junk food and more vegetables. In this regard, I have been studying the scientific literature and talking to my clients with kids to reveal the secrets of how to children to eat veggies.

The great news is it is not mission impossible. The bad news is that it is not easy, but if you are willing to be persistent in your efforts, you should succeed in the end.

In this article, you will learn about 10 different strategies that you can try to get your kids to eat veggies.

10 Strategies To Get Your Kids To Eat Veggies

1. Walk the Talk

Studies show by far the best predictor of a child’s eating behaviour is the eating patterns of her parents. If vegetables are not a stable in your diet, then how do you expect your kids to eat them. A child will eat what they know, and will not ask for something else if they do not appreciate it is an option.

2. Make food more appealing

Children like to use their imagination and play make-believe.

Carrots can be unappealing to a child wishing for burgers and fries.

But if they can imagine a rabbit who needs to eat five carrots to outrun a fox, suddenly those carrots are a lot more attractive.

Another interesting idea is to give foods fun names.

In a 2012 study, researchers tested the effect of re-labelling familiar foods.

The researchers found that American elementary school students ate more carrots, broccoli, and green beans when cafeteria menus called these vegetables X-Ray vision carrots,” “Power Punch Broccoli,” and “Silly Dilly Green Beans.”

Associating wholesome food with fun stuff the child already loves and transforming it into a game is an excellent way to get them to eat more veggies.

3. Get kids involved in the kitchen

Engaging kids in the kitchen at home may make them more likely to choose healthy foods, according to one research study.

Taking your children with you to the grocery store and letting them choose one or two veggies to cook for supper can make them far more likely to eat it later.

Better yet, start a vegetable garden in your backyard and show them how to grow and harvest their own.

Studies submit that kids may eat more fruits and vegetables when the produce is home-grown

Getting them to clean parsnips and peel onions will give them a sense of pride and will make mealtime more appealing.

4. Be consistent and persistent

We know that kids are more likely accept foods after regular exposure.

One study found a correlation between the number of different fruits and vegetables that parents bring home and their preschoolers’ willingness to eat fruits and vegetables.

Another study found that kids grow their desire for and consumption of vegetables after they are invited to taste them every day for two weeks.

5. Don’t force them to finish

One of the biggest myths among parents is that pushing their child to eat food they do not like will get her to alter their behaviour.

On the contrary, enforcement will create an unsatisfactory meal experience, and the child will associate food with the negative feelings.

Negative food encounters have the opposite of the aspired effect and increase picky eating tendencies.

For instance, one study found that kids who were made to eat fewer fruits and vegetables and more unhealthful snacks.

6. Rewards

Creating positive food experiences through giving non-food rewards can reduce picky eating bents.

Research has shown that rewarding a child for attempting one bite of a rebuffed food with stickers may make it easier for them to try the food.

7. Understand your child’s values

Kids don’t see the world as adults do. Consequently, they have very different values.

Children do not care about health. Most kids think they’re invincible.

Therefore, explaining that a vegetable is healthy, is unlikely to motivate them.

On the other hand, most kids feel checked by their size and yearn to be bigger and stronger.

Explaining that sprouts “will help you grow big and strong” is hence more compelling than, “sprouts are healthy.”

8. Offer diverse food colours

One thing you have working in your favour is that children like colourful foods.

You can achieve this by putting vegetables of different colours on their plates.

While adults tend to like flavours mixed, kids frequently prefer them separate.

9. Arrange food in fun patterns on the plate

Another motivation to eat veggies that children enjoy is when you place their food into patterns on their plate.

Unlike adults, who favour foods near each other in the centre of their plate, kids like their food separated into piles around the edge.

If you shape food into a smiling face, kids will like it even more.

This strategy is another way to make food fun.

10. Pair new foods with old favourites

If your child resistant to trying new foods, you can try tricking them by pairing new foods with the flavours they love.

Researchers tested this idea by offering kids with a choice of two kinds of chips one familiar and one new.

The kids who eat the familiar dip were more likely to try tasting the new chips.

If you are feeling overwhelmed by your efforts to get your child to eat veggies, I would suggest you find a good health coach to help you. I use a health coach in my practice when clients, both kids and adults, need help in changing their diet and lifestyle habits.

Disclaimer

This article is not intended to provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.

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7 Overlooked Causes of Infertility in Men - Ottawa Holistic Wellness

7 Overlooked Causes of Infertility in Men

Did you know that approximately 16% (or 1 in 6) of couples in Canada experience infertility? This number has doubled since the 1980s.

Some people still think that infertility is purely a female issue; however, you can trace infertility to either the man or woman or a combination of both.

In fact, statistics show that three times out of 10, the cause is in men.

According to the Government of Canada, the 3 out of 4 causes of infertility in men include poor quality, low sperm count, and hormonal imbalances. But what is causing these changes?

Fortunately, scientific researchers have been begun to uncover previously overlooked causes of infertility in men.

Read on to learn about how diet and exposure to environmental toxins may be having a detrimental effect on sperm count, quality and hormonal imbalances.

Overlooked Causes of Infertility in Men

1. Soy

Soy or soya is a common ingredient in processed foods. Researchers have found an association between Soy intake male infertility in one human study.

In the human study published in the journal of human reproduction in 2008, researchers found that an association between higher intake of soy foods and lower sperm concentration.

2. Benzene

Benzene is a common industrial chemical made from crude oil that has been linked to leukaemia and other blood disorders as well as causing infertility in male offspring.

In a study published in 2010, researchers concluded that Benzene appeared to increase the frequencies of aneuploid sperm for chromosomes associated with chromosomal abnormality syndromes in human offspring.

3. Plastics

Human exposure to plastics in widespread Researchers have found an association between BPA, altered hormonal levels and reduced sperm count in two human studies.

In a study published in 2010, researchers concluded that their results suggest that there may be an association between BPA and altered hormone levels in men.

In a later study published in 2015, researchers found a modest but a significant association between serum BPA and sperm count.

3. Pesticides

Pesticides are pervasive in the modern world. You can find pesticides in our food, water and in our homes. Researchers have identified an association between pesticides, reduced sperm count and quality.

In a study published in 2015, the researchers concluded that there might be an association between exposure to pesticides, decreased sperm counts and motility and altered reproductive hormone levels in male partners of couples seeking for infertility treatment.

In a later study published in 2017, the researchers found that exposure to pesticides may result in alterations of sperm structure and function thus contributing towards deteriorating in human semen quality triggering infertility.

4. Lead

Lead can still be found in lead-based paint used in older homes, contaminated soil, household dust, drinking water pumped through leaded pipes, lead crystal, lead-glazed pottery, aeroplane fuel, some toys, and some inexpensive metal jewellery.

In a study published in 2007, the researchers found a link between lead and an increase in the concentration of immature sperm.

5. Triclosan

We use Triclosan widely in personal care, household, veterinary and industrial products.

In a study published in 2016, researchers found that Triclosan may affect human sperm production and normal morphology.

6. Phone and Wifi Radiation

Virtually every man I encounter has a mobile phone and usually carries it in their pants pocket. Radiation is not a good thing so could close exposure to a mobile telephone hurt male fertility.

In a study published in 2014, researchers found a correlation between mobile phone radiation exposure and decreased sperm motility.

When you use a laptop computer, do you rest it your lap? If you do, you may be having a damaging effect on the health of your sperm.

In a study published in 2011, researchers found that exposure of sperm to a wifi connected laptop decreased sperm motility.

What does this mean?

From the studies highlighted above, there does appear to be a definite association between soy, environmental toxins and decreased male fertility. An association does not mean a direct cause, but exposure to these toxins could be considered a definite risk factor. If you are a man experiencing fertility issues such as reduced sperm count and quality then decreasing soy consumption and exposure to the above toxins would be advisable.

Disclaimer

This article is not intended to provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.

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Shovelling Snow Tips - Winter Health - Ottawa Holistic Wellness

Shovelling your way through winter: Tips on how to do it right!

Winter weather has officially arrived! As the snow continues to pile up, shovelling can seem like a full-time job. Most of us have shovelled at some point in our Canadian lifetime, but many are unaware of the tiresome effects it can have on our bodies if done incorrectly.

Incorporating physical fitness into your weekly routine will help keep your body healthy and able to comfortably withstand winter tasks such as shovelling. 

Did you know that the average shovel weights 6 pounds? That may not seem like a lot, but if loaded with snow and lifted over-and-over, the body is put under a lot of stress.

My Shovelling Snow Tips

Before you start Shovelling:

  1. Dress warmly and in layers: once your body warms up, you can quickly shed a layer.
  2. Hydrate: Even though we don’t sweat as readily, we can still get dehydrated in the winter. The cold weather causes a decreased thirst response, so, remember to drink up!
  3. Active Stretching/Warm-Up: It is a good idea to warm up your body before starting. For example, take a 5-minute brisk walk around the block before embarking on your snow mountain.
  4. Don’t let the snow Pileup: The less snow you have to shovel, the better.

Proper Shovelling Techniques:

  1. Use a lightweight shovel: you want a shovel that you can push. Metal shovels are heavy, and snow tends to stick to them.
  2. Push, don’t lift! : Push the snow forward and to the sides. Trying to pick up and throw a hefty pile of snow can be dangerous.

Pushing will minimise the amount of bending and twisting your back has to do. If you must pick up the shovel then here are some more useful shovelling snow tips:

  1. Make sure you flex your knees to take stress off your joints.
  2. Switch Sides: Switching from left to right will help prevent one-sided muscle fatigue.
  3. Take a Break: Regular breaks will prevent your body from getting too tired and avert next day soreness.
  4. Cool Down: do a similar cool down as you did warm up. Another short walk around the block is a great idea.

Happy Shoveling!

Disclaimer

This article is not intended to provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.

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4 Ways Acupuncture Can Help Your New Year’s Resolutions

4 Ways Acupuncture Can Help You Achieve and Stick to Your New Year’s Resolutions

1. Weight Loss

Acupuncture won’t make the pounds magically shed themselves overnight, but what it can do is increase your metabolism by directly affecting hormone regulation and improving your absorption of nutrients.

Acupuncture is extremely good at relaxing the body, so if you are a stress eater acupuncture would be an excellent tool to reduce unnecessary snacking due to stress.

Combining acupuncture, cupping and moxa, a form of heat therapy, is a great way to pack an even more powerful punch into your weight loss efforts.

Cupping can reduce cellulite by 50% by increasing blood flow directly to fat and by helping the body detoxify itself.

Moxa does the same thing, as well as increasing the Yang energy of the body which relates directly to your metabolism.

2. Pain Relief

Is pain holding you back from following up on your New Year’s resolutions such as going to the gym, practising yoga or taking relaxing and therapeutic walks?

If you haven’t already tried acupuncture, then make this year your year to try it out – your body will thank you!

Acupuncture is best known for its ability to relieve pain. Whether it is acute or long-lasting chronic pain, acupuncture is very good for treating pain and encouraging healing, working on many different levels.

Below is an outline of how it works from both a traditional and modern perspective.

From a Traditional Chinese Medicine perspective:

Acupuncture is based on the philosophy that Qi, or vital energy, flows throughout the body.  Qi protects the body from illness, pain and disease.  A person’s health is influenced by the quality, quantity and balance of Qi.

From a TCM point of view, pain is caused by the stagnation of Qi and Blood in the body or by Cold, Damp or Heat trapped in the joints.

Acupuncture works by removing energetic blockages in meridians of the body and dispelling pathogenic factors causing pain.

From a scientific perspective:

There are some theories as to why and how acupuncture relieves pain

Neurotransmitter Theory:

Acupuncture affects higher brain areas, stimulating the secretion of beta-endorphins and enkephalins in the brain and spinal cord.  The release of neurotransmitters influences the immune system and the antinociceptive system, which relates to inflammation, a critical factor in pain.

Autonomic Nervous System Theory:

Acupuncture stimulates the release of norepinephrine, acetylcholine and several types of opioids, affecting changes in their turnover rate, normalising the autonomic nervous system, and reducing pain.

Vascular-interstitial Theory:

Acupuncture affects the electrical system of the body by creating or enhancing closed-circuit transport in tissues.  This facilitates healing by allowing the transfer of material and electrical energy between healthy and injured tissues.

Blood Chemistry Theory:

Acupuncture is known to affect the blood concentrations of triglycerides, cholesterol, and phospholipids, suggesting that acupuncture can both raise and diminish peripheral blood components, thereby regulating the body toward homeostasis.

Gate Control Theory:

Acupuncture activates non-nociceptive receptors that inhibit the transmission of nociceptive (pain) signals in the dorsal horn (part of the spinal cord), ‘gating out’ painful stimuli.

3. Focus and Memory

Many of us feel our memory isn’t what it used to be and to stay focused can also be a challenge.

Many acupuncture points help with both memory and focus.

In TCM theory, the spleen is responsible for short-term memory and focus, and the kidneys for long-term memory.  The points to nourish and support these are found mainly on the legs.

A lack of focus can also be rooted in anxiety and stress.  Someone who has never experienced acupuncture might be surprised at how relaxed one feels after a treatment as it engages the body’s ‘rest and digest’ nervous system.

4. Quitting Bad Habits

Whether it’s cigarettes, caffeine, soda or some other addictive habit, acupuncture is a great tool to help ease withdrawal symptoms.

Cravings, edginess, fatigue and sleep disruption can all be treated with acupuncture.  If you have decided, like so many, that the new year is the time to kick your habit to the curb then consider trying acupuncture to help you through the journey to a better you.

Disclaimer

This article is not intended to provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.

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Eczema Frequently Asked Questions - Ottawa Holistic Wellness

Eczema Frequently Asked Questions

Why do I have Eczema?

  • Partly due to genetics, immune dysregulation causing allergic inflammation, and environmental factors.
  • If you have a family history of eczema you are more likely to develop it. Environmental factors like bacterial (Staphylococcus aureus) colonization of damaged skin, and chronic phthalate exposure (found in textiles, food products, and plastics) contribute to inflammation and immune dysregulation.
  • There is some evidence that the presence of Helicobacter pylori, a bacterium commonly known for causing stomach ulcers, can also contribute to immune dysregulation and inflammation of the skin barrier.
  • Food triggers are also an important contributor to eczema. Increased intestinal permeability contributes to allergen sensitization, so chances are good that your digestive system needs some help. A naturopathic doctor can work with you to establish which foods may be contributing to your eczema.
  • If you have endocrine problems like thyroid disease it is best to take your medication and be well managed, as worsening hypothyroidism may also worsen the severity of your eczema.

What is the best treatment for Eczema?

  • A combination of dietary management, skin care, and stress management will help to control the chronic symptoms of eczema and address the underlying causes.

Can diet affect Eczema?

  • Eggs, wheat, dairy, soy, peanuts, tomatoes, and artificial colours & preservatives have been identified as exacerbators in a large percentage of eczema cases. Elimination of these offending foods has been shown to restore normal intestinal function and reduce the progression of new food allergies. Avoidance of these foods may be continued for up to one year to achieve the best results.
  • There is also a growing body of evidence to support histamine intolerance in the development and severity of eczema. In histamine intolerance, ingestion of histamine-rich foods (think red wine, aged cheeses, cured meats) overwhelms your gut’s ability to break down this inflammatory molecule. Over time, more systemic signs of histamine intolerance (rashes, heart palpitations, irritable bowel syndrome, and allergies) develop.
  • Eating more fatty fish (eg. salmon, herring) in pregnancy, lactation, infancy and childhood has shown protective effects against eczema in epidemiologic studies

What lifestyle behaviours can help with my eczema?

  • First, stop scratching. Scratching will break the skin barrier and allow for bacterial colonization.
  • In terms of keeping clean, baths are more beneficial than showers, as long as you remember to “soak and smear”; bathe, pat yourself dry, and then apply a very generous amount of moisturizer to the skin. For added benefit, soak oatmeal in a clean cloth bag in your bath to soothe your skin.
  • People suffering from the itchiness of eczema tend to have more anxiety and feel more stressed out. Finding an outlet for your stress and keeping your anxiety at a manageable level will help to benefit your outlook and the severity of your eczema. A naturopathic doctor has many tools to address high stress and anxiety.

What are natural topical remedies for Eczema?

  • Sea buckthorn oil, castor oil, olive oil, coconut oil, calendula oil, chickweed cream, and moisturizers containing beeswax can all help to moisturize the skin and maintain its barrier. It is also important to use a mild, pH-neutral soap free of any perfumes or fragrances to avoid any unwanted skin irritation.

What Supplements are good for Eczema?

  • Daily fish oil supplementation and use of the probiotic strains Lactobacillus acidophilus and Bifidobacterium bifidum are two supplements with good evidence for use in eczema. However, you should always consult your doctor before starting any new medication or supplement.

It is not uncommon for people with eczema to also experience anxiety, sleep and digestive issues, allergic rhinitis (seasonal allergies) and asthma.

A naturopathic doctor will take a thorough health history to determine any other health concerns that should be addressed along with your skin health and come up with a comprehensive treatment plan.

Disclaimer

This article is not intended to provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.

Now I would like to hear from you. Do you have Eczema? What have you tried to help their symptoms? Let us know in the comments below.

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References:

Kido M., Tanaka J., Aoki N., et al: Helicobacter pylori promotes the production of thymic stromal lymphopoietin by gastric epithelial cells and induces dendritic cell-mediated inflammatory Th2 responses. Infect Immun 2010 Jan; 78: pp. 108-114

Elias P.M., and Schmuth M.: Abnormal skin barrier in the etiopathogenesis of atopic dermatitis. Curr Opin Allergy Clin Immunol 2009 Oct; 9: pp. 437-446

de Maat-Bleeker F., and Bruijnzeel-Koomen C.: Food allergy in adults with atopic dermatitis. Monogr Allergy 1996; 32: pp. 157-163

Agata H., Kondo N., Fukutomi O., et al: Effect of elimination on food-specific IgE antibodies and lymphocyte proliferative responses to food antigens in atopic dermatitis patients exhibiting sensitivity to food allergens. J Allergy Clin Immunol 1993; 91: pp. 668-679

Kremmyda L.S., Vlachava M., Noakes P.S., et al: Atopy risk in infants and children in relation to early exposure to fish, oily fish, or long-chain omega-3 fatty acids: a systematic review. Clin Rev Allergy Immunol 2011 Aug; 41: pp. 36-66

Barnes B.: Thyroid therapy in dermatology. Cutis 1971; 8: pp. 581-583

Maintz, L., et al. “Evidence for a reduced histamine degradation capacity in a subgroup of patients with atopic eczema.” The Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology. Vol. 117, No. 5 (2006): 1106–1112.

Worm, M., et al. “Exogenous histamine aggravates eczema in a subgroup of patients with atopic dermatitis.” Acta Dermato-Venereologica. Vol. 89, No. 1 (2009): 52–56.

Case History Eczema and herbs to help - Ottawa Holistic Wellness

Case History: Eczema and herbs to help

When I first saw Lucy she had a number of health concerns.

There was an ugly patch of burning, weeping eczema covering most of her lower right leg. It had been there for years. Her bowels were loose. Suffering with surges of adrenaline, she swung from fury to depression in any single day.

Her mood swings made it difficult for her to shop and prepare food. She ate eggs and a few raw vegetables every day. Reading her eyes I saw low stomach acid and a constitutionally weak liver. Her tongue was fiery red.

I recommended Lucy make a poultice of powdered slippery elm bark and St. John’s Wort infused oil and plaster it over the eczema every night. I offered her a tea to calm her mind and tincture to regulate her bowel.

The poultice of slippery elm and St John’s Wort oil cooled and calmed the inflammation while drawing excess fluid from the weeping tissue. St John’s Wort infused oil is a traditional burn remedy.

I also advised Lucy to limit her eggs and add more variety to her diet.

Over a period of two months, the eczema on Lucy’s leg cleared up, her bowels became regular, and her mood improved.

Unfortunately, her anger continued to rage and a new symptom appeared: a dry mouth. Lucy woke up parched several times in the night. She drank litres of water during the day.

I continued to encourage her to curb her temper and try to see the world from other points of view. I offered her cooling, nourishing herbs like marshmallow, plantain and chickweed and adaptogens like American ginseng. None of them relieved the thirst.

One day, complaining of an itch on her back, she lifted her shirt to show me. Thin red welts mark the area where she had been scratching, but what really interested me was a dark patch of skin over her kidneys. The discoloured skin was even the shape of her kidneys.

Looking at the skin discolouration I thought of the plant goldenrod and offered her a tea made with its leaf and flowers. The symptom of thirst cleared up quickly, as did the itching. Over a period of six months, the patch of dark skin on her back faded. Goldenrod is a specific herb for poorly functioning kidneys due to inflammation.

All was well for some time. Lucy’s skin was clear and her bowels were regular. Her skin no longer itched and her mouth was not dry. Her temper continued to flare, but not with same fury. A year went by.

Then a crisis in Lucy’s personal life threatened to take all that she loved: her family and home. The crisis was demanding she stop the victim game that justified her use of anger. When the crisis deepened, a rash appeared on Lucy’s face.

As it spread, it covered the entire lower half of her face, from her cheekbones to her chin. The skin became thick, as red as beets, and hot to the touch. It began to peel and shed.

Again, we used St John’s Wort oil and revived the previous formulas that had helped Lucy before. It did not help. I offered her some energy healing and drew some of the heat from her face. It was a temporary fix. Eventually I simplified the protocol and offered her only burdock tincture and goldenrod tea. The herbs quieted down the skin rash, but did not resolve it.

The challenge was that every time Lucy lost her temper (which was several times a day) the red mask-like rash swelled and thickened. Then one day, desperate for relief, Lucy revealed the shame of her anger. The shame spewed from her mouth carrying the sound of a wild animal’s desperate cry. The shrieking pain of shame came directly from Lucy’s belly. Within ten minutes the mask faded.

A year has passed since Lucy expressed the visceral voice of shame. The mask has not returned. I have never seen Lucy so calm and agreeable. Overall her health is better than it has been for years. Although she occasionally complains of a lack of intensity in her life, she is discovering the health (both physical and mental) advantages to being peaceful with the world. Her skin is soft and glowing…

An except from The Herbal Apprentice: Plant Medicine and the Human Being by Abrah Arneson Cht.

Disclaimer

This article is not intended to provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.

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Can Hives Be Caused By Stress and Trauma - Ottawa Holistic Wellness

Can Hives Be Caused By Stress and Trauma?

I have worked as a Natural Allergist now since 2004, and in that time many people have come to me seeking relief from hives and rashes. Most have been told that their hives are “idiopathic”. In doctor speak that simply means “We have no idea what is causing this problem..”!

I can test these clients for allergens, whether food, environment, heat, cold or electromagnetic frequencies. However, in the case of chronic hives, the answer most often is not allergies, it is stress and trauma that the body is holding on to.

The client may appear to be reacting to something they eat or touch, but when asked they will say that one day it is okay… another it will create a considerable reaction.. this is a clear indication to me that the issue is not with the food or thing they touch, but comes with an internal, emotional response.

One example that comes to mind is a guy who was experiencing hives when he went in the sun. We tracked the reaction down to the day, 16 years previously, when his son drowned in the sea in the Caribbean.. this naturally caused a massive amount of emotional trauma, which the body interpreted as being to do with the heat and the sunshine on his skin.

It is well documented that psychological stress is linked with chronic idiopathic urticaria (hives) and other skin complaints including rashes, psoriasis, rosacea.
https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/22507051

Stress, whether long-term or acute, triggers reactivity in the autonomic nervous system and a state of hyperarousal in the sympathetic nervous system. This may manifest as hives.

In the case of PTSD following injuries, the hives can appear at the site of that injury. E.g. hives were affecting the area of the body where the person had been stabbed years previously.

Put plainly, the body’s immune system has become over-reactive. It detects the stress and mobilises histamine (inflammation) and the immune system to address the perceived threat. Unfortunately, stress cannot be dealt with by our immune system and histamine, there is no invading pathogen to attack, so an autoimmune reaction occurs – the body attacks its tissues, causing the skin reactions.
http://www.aocd.org/?page=Urticaria

Another way to view this is that the body has developed an allergic reaction to the stress and trauma.
http://www.hives.org/stress-hives.php

What can you do about it?

The first step is to acknowledge that emotions, traumas and stress can be a part of actual physical symptoms in any part of the body. I find this can be the most challenging step for many clients.

Lifestyle and relationship stress

Firstly you need to address any lifestyle factors, reduce any current stress in your life. This may mean looking at your job and making plans to change it, or addressing issues in your relationships, and making sure to create work/life balance.

For some the act of planning to change their job, even if not immediately, provides some relief – there is light at the end of the tunnel, and the stress is reduced.

Psychotherapy, counselling and coaching can be helpful to determine where the stress lies and to develop strategies for alleviating that stress.

Old traumas

We all hold emotions in our bodies. To deal with these, we need to work with the conscious mind, as above, but also release the trauma from our physical body. This can be done in many ways, some of which are as follows:

Neuro-linguistic programming (NLP)

NLP works with your unconscious and the memories that your psyche has organised according to your individual “timeline.” It addresses memories from your life and genetic memories – events experienced by your ancestors.

Craniosacral therapy and cranial osteopathy

Craniosacral therapy and cranial osteopathy work with the subtle structures of the body, and with the energy and emotions. A goods therapist will put their hands on and be able to feel the body ‘shaking inside’ with unreleased trauma. They use gentle techniques to assist the release of these traumas from the tissues.

Somatic breath work

This modality is designed to rebalance the body’s systems and to release trauma. It can be practised at home once you have the techniques.

Energy healing

There are many types of energy healing, from Reiki and Chakra Balancing to Pranic healing, Angel healing and the Laying on of Hands practised by some religions.

The whole purpose of any energy work is to facilitate the release of emotions and to bring balance and harmony for the entire person. It has been practised by many cultures for many centuries.

NAET (TM) treatments

NAET TM works to release the body’s association between allergens and emotions. They can also be used to target traumatic events specifically and to release the associated emotions held in the body and to release those emotions.

In conclusion

Take the time to consider whether your hives and rashes may be due to emotional traumas or stress. Try to be honest with yourself. One way that we survive trauma is to bury it deep inside and avoid looking at it. Facing it can be painful, but rewarding, and can be the start of a whole new you.

If you think that stress or trauma may be a part of the cause of your hives, book a free health coach assessment with me to discuss the best approach for you.

Disclaimer

This article is not intended to provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.

Now I would like to hear from you. Do have hives? Were your hives aggravated by stress? Let us know in the comments below.

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How Can You Treat Severe Acne Naturally - Ottawa Holistic Wellness

4 Therapies To Treat Severe Acne Naturally?

From personal experience, I know that having acne can be emotionally traumatic. I developed acne in my early teens and 40 years on you can still the scars on my cheeks. In the late 1970’s treatment options were limited to antibiotics and creams. None of these helped so I was left to cope with going to school and university with enormous zits on the end of my nose. I am also still dealing with after effects of the antibiotics!

Fortunately, there are alternatives to antibiotics (which are still prescribed) to treat severe acne naturally. I actually found a natural cure for my acne by luck. While studying Naturopathy at College one of our practical projects involved removing a food from our diets for two weeks. I chose to avoid all dairy products. After one week I suddenly realised I had no acne. Since that point, scientists have produced evidence that dietary modification and other alternatives to treat severe acne naturally.

4 Ways To Treat Severe Acne Naturally

1. Acupuncture

Acupuncture is a complementary medical practice that entails stimulating certain points on the body, most often with a needle penetrating the skin. Acupuncture has been shown to alleviate pain and to help treat various health conditions including acne.

In double-blind placebo-controlled study researchers in China found that after 12 acupuncture treatment sessions of moderate acne vulgaris was associated with a reduction of inflammatory lesions and improvement of the quality of life.

2. Dietary Modification

Diet has been shown to influence many aspects of your wellbeing including the health of your skin. Acne has been associated with dairy and high glycemic load.

In a 2009 systematic literature review of 21 observational studies and 6 clinical trials, researchers concluded that there exists convincing data supporting the role of dairy products and high-glycemic-index foods in influencing hormonal and inflammatory factors, which can increase acne prevalence and severity.

In 2012 double-blind placebo-controlled study researchers in Korea concluded that a reduction in glycaemic load of the diet for 10 weeks resulted in improvements in acne.

3. Light Therapy

LED light therapy is a painless, relaxing, non-invasive skin-care treatment that has multiple benefits particularly stimulating collagen and treating mild to moderate acne.

In 2009 researchers carried out a prospective, randomized, open and comparative study to evaluate the safety and efficacy of blue light treatment versus a topical benzoyl peroxide 5% formulation in patients with acne grade II and III. They concluded that blue light irradiation was as effective as benzoyl peroxide in acne treatment grades II and III but there were fewer side effects.

4. Moxibustion

Moxibustion is a form of heat therapy in which dried plant materials called “moxa” are burned on or very near the surface of the skin. The intention is to warm and invigorate the flow of Qi in the body and dispel certain pathogenic influences.

Moxibustion has been shown to help many conditions including acne.

In a systemic review of randomised control trials, researchers in China concluded that moxibustion is safe and effective for treatment of acne, and it is possibly better than routine western medicine.

What therapy is right for me?

At this point, you may be thinking which therapy is right for me. When choosing an approach with any of my clients I will always choose the simplest option first. Based on this strategy here is my suggestion for which order to take:

  1. Remove Dairy – the simplest and safest to try on your own.
  2. Try a low glycaemic diet – seek the advice of a registered functional medicine practitioner, naturopathic doctor or nutritionist.
  3. Acupuncture and moxibustion – search for a Traditional Chinese Medicine trained acupuncturist.
  4. Light therapy – LED Light therapy is available in Ottawa at Oxygen Medi Spa.

Disclaimer

This article is not intended to provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.

Now I would like to hear from you. Do have acne? What have you tried to help with their symptoms? Let us know in the comments below.

Like what you’ve read? Sign up for FREE updates delivered to your inbox.


By submitting this form, you are consenting to receive marketing emails from: Ottawa Holistic Wellness, 356 MacLaren Street, Ottawa, ON, K2P 0M6, http://www.ottawaholisticwellness.ca. You can revoke your consent to receive emails at any time by using the SafeUnsubscribe® link, found at the bottom of every email. Emails are serviced by Constant Contact