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How to gain relief from Fibromyalgia

If the princess that Hans Christen Anderson created in The Princess and The Pea, told me she had tossed and turned all night and woke up feeling bruised, black and blue, I would suspect fibromyalgia not a pea under twenty mattresses.

Approximately 15% of the population suffer from the pain of fibromyalgia. Many of these are women who work hard, aim for perfection and sleep poorly. Slowly over a period of weeks and sometimes months, pain creeps up on them.  Their brains become foggy as they are fatigued from poor sleep and living with pain advances. Eventually, they are told they have fibromyalgia.

What causes fibromyalgia?

Like many illnesses, no specific cause has been found for fibromyalgia. It appears to be a series of cascading events which trigger physical and mental challenges. There may be a lingering viral or Candida infection and accompanying nutritional deficiencies. Often the full spectrum of fibromyalgia is brought on by a physical trauma such as a car accident or falling off a bike. The physical trauma is the proverbial straw that breaks the camel’s back.

How to get relief from fibromyalgia

Because the fibromyalgia has several causes and results of different symptoms, a multi-factorial approach brings the most comfort. Such an approach includes dietary changes, exercise, deeper sleep, enhanced mind/body awareness, body therapies and herbal medicine.

Diet

Dietary changes are hard to make. Begin with simple changes. For example, substitute an apple for the sugar fix in the mid-afternoon. Order a salad with chicken instead of hamburger and fries at lunch. Replace flavoured (highly sugared) yoghurt with plain and add fresh fruit.

Exercise

Many with fibromyalgia find it very difficult to exercise, as the pain limits their movement. Like dietary changes, begin slowly and be gentle with limitations. Some recommend short periods of aerobic exercise three times a week. I also recommend yoga, Tai chi and a walk around the block in the evening.

Sleep

There are many ways to improve sleep. The easiest is to take a calcium supplement before bed. Calcium relaxes muscles, helping the body unwind. Melatonin taken with the calcium will calm the mind. Together they enhance sleep.

For those that wake through the night, a bedside herbal remedy for sleep which includes hops (Humulus lupus) and valerian (Valeriana officinalis) will ease one back to sleep.

Good sleep hygiene involves taking the TV and clutter out of the bedroom, sleeping in the dark and going to bed at the same time every night and getting up at the same time every morning.

Mindfulness and meditation

Many have found relief by changing their relationship to the pain. Meditation and creative visualisations can be used to develop distance from the pain. This, in turn, decreases the sense of being overwhelmed by the pain and gives room to breathe a little deeper. Deeper breathing results in a calmer mind/body experience.

In the book, The Full Catastrophe of Life: Using the Wisdom of Your Body and Mind to Face Stress, Pain and Illness, Jon Kabat-Zinn documents his experience of using meditation to help others manage chronic pain at the Massatcheush Medical Centre. I highly recommend this book.

Body therapies

Treatments that involve laying on hands, such as Cranio-sacral can bring relief from the pain as well as release emotional tensions associated with chronic illness. These types of therapies are often important in the initial stages of finding wellness, as they are excellent tools to relax muscles.

Herbal medicine

In herbal medicine, the protocol often has several stages: gentle cleansing, increase relaxation and help with recovery from long term stress. 

Herbs like yellow dock (Rumex Crispus), red clover (Trifolium pretense) and burdock root (Articum lappa) will help move toxins from the body without stressing the body further. 

Herbs that relieve the chronic gnawing of the pain on the mind are used simultaneously; these include skullcap (Scutellaria latrafolia) and green oat seeds (Avena sativa).

Herbs that relax muscles are essential, cramp bark (Viburnum opulus) and valerian (Valeriana officinalis) are two that are frequently used.

Then there are the adaptogens, which I like to say gives life space. These include Rhodiola (Rhodiola rosea) and ashwagandha (Withania somnifera). Adaptogens will build the body’s resistance to stress.

A topical salve of cayenne (Capsicum minimum) is also essential for symptomatic pain relief.

And, finally, patience!

The knots of fibromyalgia take time to tighten, and unravelling them also requires time, but with patience, it can be done.

One morning, I am sure, the princess woke to the sun shining, stretched and felt refresh from a deep nights sleep.

Disclaimer

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

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

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Trauma and Fibromyalgia - Ottawa Holistic Wellness

Emotional, Physical and Sexual Trauma and Fibromyalgia

Many people living with fibromyalgia can trace their symptoms back to a particularly traumatic event such as a car accident or injury. Others have experienced short or long term emotional, sexual or physical trauma as a child or adult.

Understanding the link with trauma may help bring some relief.

Fibromyalgia and trauma

Until more recently the relevance of traumatic experiences and stressors, especially during childhood, have been overlooked as predisposing factors in the development of various chronic pain disorders and psychiatric conditions. These include fibromyalgia, irritable bowel syndrome, insomnia, depression, anxiety, post-traumatic stress disorder and chronic fatigue syndrome.

Physical, emotional and sexual abuse all trigger high levels of cortisol and adrenaline in our bodies. Chronic or long term stimulation of these fight/flight hormones weakens the immune system, and affects the health of the digestive system, energy production, and heightens our pain perception.

According to the National Child Traumatic Stress Network, the most common traumatic stressors affecting children include accidents, physical or sexual trauma or abuse, neglect, and exposure to domestic and community violence. Other impactful stressors include

Other impactful stressors include the death of a family member, divorce, drug or alcohol abuse, and natural disasters.

These traumatic stressors precondition the neurological system and the stress response system to produce exaggerated responses to normal stimuli (hypervigilance), especially when they are experienced during childhood.

Fibromyalgia and the irritable bowel syndrome associated with it are examples of hyper vigilant neurological responses. Normal stimuli such as clothing rubbing against the skin, or even wind on the face, can produce painful sensations in those with fibromyalgia, indicating an exaggerated pain response.

Normal stimuli such as clothing rubbing against the skin, or even wind on the face, can produce painful sensations in those with fibromyalgia, indicating an exaggerated pain response. Also, the muscles of the intestine are inappropriately stimulated by normal stressors, leading to alternating constipation and spastic

In addition, the muscles of the intestine are inappropriately stimulated by normal stressors, leading to alternating constipation and spastic diarrhea, classic signs of irritable bowel syndrome. The heightened pain response will also cause abdominal pain.

The link with PTSD

John D Otis, PhD, associate professor of psychiatry at Boston University, has studied the link between PTSD in veterans and fibromyalgia.

He has found that a large number of them experience fibromyalgia and other chronic pain conditions which are unrelated to any physical injuries.

Physical traumas

There is a great deal of evidence that physical injuries such as those sustained in a car accident or fall will trigger fibromyalgia, often developing some time after the event.

It is believed by some scientists that the physical trauma may actually cause biochemical changes in the brain. For example, accidents, injuries, or sudden trauma to the central nervous system may result in the different symptoms of severe muscle pain, fatigue, sleep problems, depression, and other conditions associated with fibromyalgia.

However, these events also cause emotional trauma, so it is not fully understood whether it is the physical or emotional stress that triggers the response, or a combination of the two.

It is apparent, therefore, that consideration of emotional trauma is essential when assessing and seeking to treat fibromyalgia.

Disclaimer

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

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

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Fibromyalgia and Chronic Fatigue Syndrome - Ottawa Holistic Wellness

Fibromyalgia and Chronic Fatigue Syndrome: A Matter of Boundaries

Fibromyalgia (FM) affects 1.5% (444, 000) of Canadians over 12 years of age (1). Those who are most affected are women, people over 40, smokers, the obese, low-income earners, and the physically inactive (1).
However, it is unclear whether or not low income, educational status, smoking, and physical inactivity are consequences or determinants of the disease.

People who suffer from FM have disturbed sleep due to chronic systemic muscular and skeletal pain. Often FM co-occurs with chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS), a condition characterised by disabling physical and cognitive exhaustion. Unfortunately, 2 out of every three people with CFS and FM have at least three other chronic health conditions (1). As a result, CFS and FM cause significant impairment and stress, both at work and at home.

So how does one develop CFS or FM?

About 50% of CFS patients can recall a viral infection triggering their CFS. Others triggers include motor vehicle accidents, surgery, or an unexpected fall (2). Also, adverse effects of some psychiatric medications may cause overwhelming fatigue.

It is not uncommon for digestive complaints to occur in the presence of CFS and FM (3). Optimizing your digestive function through the use of mindful eating, an elimination diet, and hypoallergenic diet may help to lessen the digestive burden. Your naturopath may also opt for botanicals and supplements to increase digestive function. These interventions may include digestive enzymes and bitters.

Regarding possible vitamin deficiencies in FM and CFS, it is important to know your vitamin B12 status. Deficiency of B12 can lead to anemia, and fatigue (4). Your family doctor and your naturopath can test for serum values of vitamin B12.

Other nutrients are shown to be helpful in improving symptoms of CFS and FM target mitochondria and glutathione; the powerhouse of the cell, and your body’s primary antioxidant, respectively. These nutrients include N-Acetylcysteine, Alpha-Lipoic Acid, L-Carnitine, and CoQ10.

Some environmental triggers to avoid when living with a diagnosis of CFS and FM include changes in sleep schedule, exposure to the cold, physical & mental overexertion, sensory & information overload, excessive stress, prolonged driving & air travel, alcohol and caffeine.

A matter of boundaries

Above all, scheduling “me time” and setting boundaries (both emotional and personal) will help to build energy and reduce the risk of burnout (3).

For more information on what can be done to improve your symptoms of FM & CFS, and to find the specific nutritional protocol best suited for you, contact your local naturopath.

Disclaimer

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

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

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Can Fibromyalgia be caused by food allergies - Ottawa Holistic Wellness

Can Fibromyalgia be caused by food allergies?

The Short Answer Is “Yes, Food Allergies Can Be A Part Of The Picture.”

In fact, allergies, sensitivities and intolerances to foods can trigger a variety of unexpected health conditions including chronic pain and inflammatory conditions such as fibromyalgia.

My Experience

I have been practising as a natural allergist since 2004, and in that time I have found that so many of my clients presenting with fibromyalgia can find relief simply by identifying and eliminating foods to which they are reacting.

Some people find this hard to grasp, especially for those who do not have accompanying digestive issues.So often I hear: ‘What? The food I am eating is causing my pain? But I have no digestive

So often I hear: ‘What? The food I am eating is causing my pain? But I have no digestive issues!”

It is important to remember that foods are ingested and therefore affect us systemically. This means they can cause symptoms in ANY part of our bodies – this includes skin, breathing, hormone balance, mood, energy levels and brain function.

They can trigger inflammation and auto-immune responses in the body and can cause the body to attack its tissues.

If you are diagnosed with fibromyalgia, your doctor will usually recommend medications. However, you may want to consider making some straight forward lifestyle changes such as exercise, sleep strategies, stress reduction and eliminating the foods to which you react. For some, this is enough to be able to reduce or completely alleviate the need to take medication.

Case study

Let’s take a client of mine – we will call her Maggie.

She had been given a diagnosis of fibromyalgia and was complaining of digestive issues, migraines, chronic pain and fatigue. She was living on meds for her pain and inflammation, and it was the only way she could get through the day. When asked if there were alternative approaches, her doctor told her there was no solution, and to take the meds.

During her first visit to me, we determined that she was reacting to specific grains in her diet, in particular, wheat and corn, along with various other allergens including milk products, refined sugar, coffee, night shade vegetables (tomato, bell peppers, white potatoes) and artificial additives and sweeteners, especially aspartame and MSG.

She was very sceptical; however, she was so fed up with having such a poor quality of life that she agreed to try changing her diet. Within a week of removing the identified allergens, she considered her pain to be less than half the level it had been before changing her diet. She had also regained much of her energy.

It took several months, and some careful rethinking of her diet, but she is now almost entirely free from pain, and no longer needs her medication.

For Maggie, the real test was when she tried re-introducing the foods that she had eliminated.

Within a few days all her old symptoms were back, and in her own words, “The treat was not worth it!”

Another client, Paul, while seeking answers to his fibromyalgia had eventually been identified as celiac (intolerant to wheat and gluten), with many of the associated celiac symptoms, including skin rash, bad digestion, constant chesty cough, body pain and fatigue.

On the advice of his doctor he had removed wheat and gluten from his diet; however, the improvement in his symptoms was only moderate.

Paul suspected there might be other foods that affected him and refusing to accept that he would have to live with his condition and poor quality of life, he sought answers.

We identified several other food allergens, which had not shown up on the traditional skin or blood testing.  Removing these from his diet has given him much of his quality of life back.

In summary

As you make changes to your diet, keep in mind that people with fibromyalgia tend to benefit most from taking a variety of approaches to managing their symptoms.

Taking any medications your doctor may prescribe for pain or other symptoms is always an option; however, you may wish to seek a more natural approach.

Disclaimer

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

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

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Fibromyalgia Symptoms and Diagnosis - Ottawa Holistic Wellness

Fibromyalgia Symptoms and Diagnosis

Fibromyalgia symptoms can be ambiguous and varied which makes it a complex condition to diagnose accurately. Most doctors have heard of the disease but have little in depth knowledge of its true nature.

According to Dr David Brady, Functional Medicine Practitioner and author of the Fibro Fix, doctors often use fibromyalgia as a “throwaway diagnosis” for a patient presenting with nonspecific pain and fatigue.

Dr Brady has studied Fibromyalgia for the past 20 years. It is his mission to help educate both doctors and the public about the true nature of the condition.

In this vein, on a podcast, Dr Brady gave an excellent outline on the exact origin and fibromyalgia symptoms. He also gave a fascinating insight into how to diagnose fibromyalgia correctly.

The Origin of Fibromyalgia Symptoms

According to Dr Brady, if you ask any doctor, “What is fibromyalgia?” their answer is, “it’s a muscle problem”. In reality, the origin of the condition is in the central nervous system (CNS). The problem originates in the CNS and is expressed or perceived elsewhere in the body.

The problem originates in the CNS and is expressed or perceived elsewhere in the body.

Fibromyalgia Symptoms

1. Pain

According to Dr Brady, the pain of fibromyalgia has particular characteristics which include;

  1. People with fibromyalgia often comment that they “hurt everywhere”. They have “global pain” rather than hurting in many different areas of the body.
  2. People with fibromyalgia pain feel it in the soft tissues such as the ligaments, muscles and tendons. The pain is not usually of the joints. It is not arthritis. If there is joint pain, then that may suggest a type of inflammatory joint disease such as Rheumatoid arthritis.
  3. The pain is constant and does not come and go.
  4. People with fibromyalgia are hypotensive to touch.
  5. Pain is not the only symptom of fibromyalgia. There are always other associated symptoms such as fatigue.

2. Fatigue

Fibromyalgia fatigue is often persistent, ongoing where the person does not have much energy at all.

3. Insomnia

People with fibromyalgia have specific problems with their sleep. These issues include:

  1. They find it hard to go to sleep because of a “racing mind”.
  2. They sleep for an abnormally long time, up to 14 hours.
  3. On rising, they feel like they have slept.

4. Digestive

Dr Brady associates fibromyalgia with hypersensitive gastrointestinal symptoms such as:

  1. A lot of bloating and gas particularly after eating.
  2. Often there is constipation and occasionally diarrhoea.

After negative finding from testing by gastroenterologist these symptoms are often diagnosed as irritable bowel syndrome (IBS).

Studies show that there is a 100% correlation with fibromyalgia and the person also fitting the criteria for irritable bowel syndrome.

The opposite is not true. So not all people with IBS have fibromyalgia.

5. Mood

Dr Brady characterises fibromyalgia by anxiety and some level of depression.

6. Early Life Trauma

People with Fibromyalgia have often experienced some level of early life trauma. This trauma could be physical, sexual or verbal abuse.

But also it could be from being brought up in an unstable environment due to:

  1. Moving homes often.
  2. Being a child of divorce.
  3. A rancorous relationship between the mother and father.
  4. An authoritative, demanding parent, particularly a father figure to a young girl where she could never feel she would measure up, never be good enough no matter how well she did.

7. Gender

Research shows that fibromyalgia occurs in women more than men.

Diagnosis of Exclusion

Unlike Diabetes or Hypothyroidism, there is no medical test for Fibromyalgia. As such, Fibromyalgia is a diagnosis of exclusion.

This conclusion means that a person should only be diagnosed with Fibromyalgia when all other possible reasons for their symptoms have been ruled out.

According to Dr Brady, three main possible conditions may mimic Fibromyalgia. These conditions include:

  1. Hypothyroidism
  2. Mitochondrial dysfunction
  3. Myofascial pain

A healthcare practitioner should rule out the above conditions before making a diagnosis of Fibromyalgia.

Disclaimer

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

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

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By submitting this form, you are granting: Ottawa Holistic Wellness, 356 MacLaren Street, Ottawa, ON, K2P 0M6, permission to email you. You may unsubscribe via the link found at the bottom of every email. (See our Email Privacy Policy (http://constantcontact.com/legal/privacy-statement) for details.) Emails are serviced by Constant Contact.
Can Acupuncture Help ADD and ADHD - Ottawa Holistic Wellness

Can Acupuncture Help ADD and ADHD?

Can acupuncture help ADD and ADHD? Attention deficit disorder (ADD) and attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) are so prevalent in society these days that an introduction is barely necessary?

These related disorders are categorised by symptoms such as inattention, hyperactivity, impulsiveness and by not completing tasks due to boredom.

Trouble sleeping, planning and regulating emotions are also symptoms that may accompany ADD or ADHD.

What causes ADD and ADHD?

Some researchers have found that pesticides, food allergies and heavy metal toxicity combined with the right genes as contributing factors to the diagnosis of ADD and ADHD.

A deficiency in certain amino acids which are precursors to neurotransmitters that affect these behaviours is also suspected to contribute to the symptoms of ADD and ADHD.

Exposure to toxic chemicals and trauma to the head are other potential causes.

Does Acupuncture Help ADD and ADHD?

Studies on acupuncture’s effectiveness on ADD/ADHD have mixed results. Some are showing more benefit than others.

Acupuncture encourages homoeostasis of the nervous system and endocrine system which means that it can be used to control hyperactivity efficiently. It also helps with circulation, digestion and immune system functioning which further adds to the effectiveness of the treatment.

One study with 155 participants of which 58 took Ritalin, and 97 received acupuncture treatments found that each group experienced the same success rate.

A difference arose, however, in how long the effectiveness of the treatments lasted once they were stopped. The acupuncture group had a success rate of 82% one month after treatments stopped while the Ritalin group was down to 32% one month later. (Becker, S. A., 2001)

Acupuncture can also ease anxiety and trouble sleeping. Acupuncture has been found to increase melatonin production by the body, which is one way it helps the body reach a deeper and more regenerative sleep.

As with just about any disorder or disease quality food and exercise are always helpful in managing symptoms.

How much therapies such as acupuncture can help is unique to each person, but the big news is that, unlike pharmaceuticals, these therapies are not going to come with harmful side effects.

In fact, because alternative therapies encourage the body into homoeostasis, there is often an improvement in overall health of the body,  a welcome side effect that makes these potentially promising therapies worth trying.

Disclaimer

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

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

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ADHD Treatment Options Without Drugs - Ottawa Holistic Wellness

ADHD Treatment Options Without Drugs

ADHD treatment options in conventional medicine are mainly limited to medications. There are some non-pharmacological therapies that may be helpful and have no adverse side effects.

Symptoms of ADHD

The three primary symptoms of ADHD are:

1. Attention deficit

We could describe this as a limited ability to concentrate. The child is usually easily distracted, and it will be difficult to get more than a few minutes of attention.

2, Hyperactivity

Continuous motor restlessness. The child does not have the ability to control his or her movements and needs to move all the time.

3. Impulsiveness

This symptom can be on two different levels: speech and motor. The child may have some difficulties in speaking or in completing a sentence. Speech therapy is beneficial.

Possible causes of ADHD may include allergies or sensitivities to foods or the environment (chemicals, perfumes, moulds, additives, milk, wheat, etc.), a susceptibility to neurodevelopment toxins (pesticides, heavy metals, plastic, etc.) or a traumatic birth.

ADHD Treatment Options

There is a range of ADHD treatment options available, which are very complementary to one another, that can help your child. These include the following:

1. Speech therapy

Training to help people with speech and language problems to speak more articulately.

2. Psychotherapy

Some psychologists specialise in children and youth, working with the specific issues related to ADHD.

3. Cranial Osteopathy and CranioSacral Therapy

Difficulties during gestation (prenatal), problems related to labour and/or delivery, may all compromise the different structures in the head and/or in the spine. They create some trigger points or tensions on the membranes surrounding the brain and spinal cord (the meninges).

These strains cause pressure and stimulation of specific areas of the brain and may cause to behaviour or concentration issues.

Also, a c-section birth means that the child has been born without experiencing the stress of a natural birth and certain reflexes and processes are not stimulated/ turned on.

How is it possible to affect the skull after birth?

The bones of the skull of a new born are not fused. The head needs to be able to distort during passage through the birth canal and then to grow and expand allowing for the brain to grow.

The skull is not completely formed until 9-18months after birth.

Restrictions due to tensions in the meninges and bones of the skull can impact the development of the brain.

When is it best to bring my child to be treated?

The younger your child is, the more efficient this treatment will be; however, the Osteopath and Craniosacral therapist can still bring improvements in toddlers. They will work with the kids as young as a few days old. Early treatment is very beneficial to make sure that no physical stress or strain within the body could cause any restrictions to the growth and development of the brain.

Disclaimer

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

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

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By submitting this form, you are granting: Ottawa Holistic Wellness, 356 MacLaren Street, Ottawa, ON, K2P 0M6, permission to email you. You may unsubscribe via the link found at the bottom of every email. (See our Email Privacy Policy (http://constantcontact.com/legal/privacy-statement) for details.) Emails are serviced by Constant Contact.
ADHD and Rhythmic Movement Training - Ottawa Holistic Wellness

ADHD and Rhythmic Movement Training

Rhythmic Movement Training is a movement based, primitive (infant or neonatal) reflex integration program that may help reduce ADHD symptoms.

Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) is characterised by symptoms including inattention, hyperactivity and impulsive behaviour. These symptoms are associated with learning, behavioural and emotional problems. ADHD affects mostly children and some adults. 

Symptoms of ADHD

1. Inattention 

An individual who: wanders off task, lacks persistence, has difficulty sustaining focus, and is disorganised. These problems are not due to defiance or lack of comprehension.

2. Hyperactivity 

An individual who seems to move about constantly, even in situations where this behaviour is not appropriate. For example excessively fidgets, taps, or talks. In adults, it may be extreme restlessness or need for constant activity.

3. Impulsivity 

An individual who can be reckless and appear impatient, and often disinhibited in social situations. They may find it difficult to wait, intruding on or interrupting others’ activities and blurting out answers to a question before it has been completed.

Primitive reflexes are automatic stereotypic movements directed from the brain stem. They are needed for survival and development in the womb and the early months of life. As a child transitions frequently into adulthood these reflexes disappear due to the development of the frontal lobes.

Rhythmic Movement Training

Rhythmic movement training involves gentle rocking and reflex integration movements that stimulate neural pathways and promote learning, emotional development, balance and ease of movement. A pilot study published in the journal of Complementary Therapies in Nursing and Midwifery showed that rhythmic therapy may be helpful in reducing some symptoms of ADHD.

Osteopathic Approach

Osteopathic treatment is a precise, gentle and restorative manipulative therapy that can incorporate rhythmic movement training and may assist with ADHD.  

For best results, osteopathic treatment should be carried out at as young an age as possible, while the body is still very malleable and ongoing growth can be influenced, and thus symptoms can be significantly improved. The younger the child, the quicker birth stresses may be resolved with treatment.

Disclaimer

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

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

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By submitting this form, you are granting: Ottawa Holistic Wellness, 356 MacLaren Street, Ottawa, ON, K2P 0M6, permission to email you. You may unsubscribe via the link found at the bottom of every email. (See our Email Privacy Policy (http://constantcontact.com/legal/privacy-statement) for details.) Emails are serviced by Constant Contact.
ADHD Drugs, Diet and Naturopathic Medicine - Ottawa Holistic Wellness

ADHD Drugs, Diet and Naturopathic Medicine

I recently watched a stand-up comedy special starring Norm MacDonald. He was commenting on his childhood, and how all he wanted to do while sitting in a classroom was to go outside and play with a big tree branch.

He then wondered about hyperactive kids today and their feelings about being stuck in a classroom with the addition of authority figures yelling, “Now we’re going to drug you.”

While this commentary is an oversimplification of the plight of modern kids, it does raise the question of whether or not medications are the only option when dealing with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD).

Diagnosis

Researchers estimate that 5% of all Canadian children ages 3 to 9 fit the criteria for a diagnosis of ADHD (1). Boys are more commonly affected. Inattention, hyperactivity and impulsivity, in both the classroom and at home, are the main symptoms of ADHD.

The recent changes to the DSM-V (Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders) now include details to help doctors identify ADHD in adults, and changes the previous age cutoff in children from 7 to 12 years old (2).

It is important to not jump to a quick diagnosis of ADHD, as many other disorders mimic it.

Autism and ADD / ADHD

Often, Children who are on the autism spectrum often have ADHD.

Oppositional Defiant Disorder (ODD) is often mistaken for ADHD. In ODD, children display angry and irritable mood, argumentative or defiant behaviour, or vindictiveness for at least six months.

Children and adults with ODD will direct their anger towards at least one person who is not a sibling and will have significant problems at work, in the classroom, or at home (3).

While children with ODD are more likely also to have a learning disability, the important issue here is to receive a thorough workup and diagnosis from a trained psychologist. An accurate diagnosis will ensure that appropriate treatment for you or your child.

ADHD Drugs

The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends that preschool children with ADHD receive behavioural therapy as a first line treatment.

In school children with ADHD, stimulant ADHD drugs like methylphenidate (aka Ritalin) and atomoxetine are considered first line treatment (4).

Common side effects of these ADHD drugs include reduced appetite and weight loss, problems sleeping, and stunted growth. Long-term use of methylphenidate can also lead to depletion of zinc in children with ADHD (5).

When supplemented with zinc + methylphenidate, children with ADHD in a 2004 study improved in teacher and parent rating scales compared to children taking placebo + methylphenidate (6).

Diet and Allergies

In a 2016 a retrospective study of around 4200 children in the Netherlands, researchers found that children with ADHD were more likely to be medicated for asthma, seasonal allergies, and eczema.

Furthermore, ADHD was deemed to be more common in children whose parents were taking medications for asthma and seasonal allergies (7).

In 2015, a systematic review of hypoallergenic diets for children with ADHD found a small but significant improvement in symptom severity (8).

Another 2015 study showed that supplementing fish oil into children’s diets for 16 weeks brought down both inflammatory markers and ADHD symptom severity (9).

Summary

The reality is that some people require ADHD drugs to control their symptoms.

A variety of naturopathic interventions can target the side effects of commonly prescribed ADHD medications, ADHD symptoms, and conditions often found alongside ADD / ADHD like allergies and digestive concerns.

Speak with your Naturopathic Doctor to find out which interventions are best suited for you or your child.

Disclaimer

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

Now I would like to hear from you. Does your child have ADHD? What have you tried to help their symptoms? Let us know in the comments below.

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ADD/ ADHD: 7 Ways you can reduce symptoms - Ottawa Holistic Wellness

ADD/ADHD: 7 Ways you can reduce symptoms

As we all know, there seems to currently be a continuing epidemic of ADD and ADHD, with more and more adults, children and youth being diagnosed with the disorder.

The symptoms of attention deficit, impulsiveness and restlessness can severely impact everyday life, and the ability to focus and to achieve whether at work or school.

The medical profession has few answers beyond medication, so I would like to offer some simple ways in which you can help to reduce or even resolve your symptoms.

1. Increase exercise

It has been shown that incorporating exercise into your everyday routine can significantly reduce symptoms.

I remember reading many years ago about Daly Thompson. He was an Olympic medalist in the decathlon in the 1980s. He was unable to focus at school and was doing badly academically until he was sent to a special school for ‘Troubled Children”.

The school was unique in that it provided several hours of Phys-ed classes every afternoon. His grades improved dramatically, and he commented that it was such a relief to be able to MOVE instead of being tied to a desk all day.

2. Address Food Allergies and Intolerances

As a natural allergist, I see many people, especially children, who’s ADD / ADHD is being triggered, at least in part, by what they are eating.

The common allergens I see are wheat, milk, nightshade vegetables (in particular tomato, bell peppers, potato), food additives/colours. It is possible, however, to react to any food that you are eating.

I had one notable case where the mother complained that her two-year-old was sleeping only a couple of hours a night, was a nightmare to handle during the day, being aggressive and confrontational. She was exhausted. Following removal of milk products and potatoes from his diet, he started sleeping 9 hours per night and became much better behaved during the day.

3. Nutrition and Real Food

“We are what we eat” – nothing could be truer.

Changing the diet to include more fresh vegetables, fewer sugars (processed grains, fruits, potato, candies, etc.) and little-processed foods can have a significant impact on ADD / ADHD symptoms. It also helps to ensure proper nutrition.

Supplementing the diet with Vit D, Vit B12 (fish, poultry, meat, eggs) and B6 (beef, poultry, organ meats), Omega 3 oils (fish / chia/flax / hemp, etc.), and zinc (nuts, beans, red meat, seafood) can also be beneficial.

It has also been shown to be helpful to eat more protein, especially at breakfast and lunch.

Talk to your naturopathic or functional medicine doctor or holistic nutritionist about the right nutrition for you or your child.

4. Mindfulness

This is about being able to be present in the here and now.

Even small children can benefit from mindfulness. It can be as simple as asking them to describe what they hear, smell or see at that moment, or what the food they are eating tastes/feels/smells/looks like, allowing them to connect.

For older youngsters and adults yoga and developing a meditation practice can be helpful.

5. Disconnecting and Unplugging

We all spend far too much time in front of screens, whether for work, school, or gaming and staying in touch with our friends and family.

In addition to the addictive nature of these devices and the fact that it removes us from reality, every electronic device emits its frequency, whether the TV, computer screen, laptop, gaming console, etc. Even after they are turned off, they continue to emit for upwards of an hour. Reducing screen time has been shown to assist with ADD / ADHD symptoms so try to build in other activities and games that do not require screen time.

6. Chemicals and Toxins

When choosing household cleaning products, body products, shampoos, etc. select those which are natural and unscented.

Consider seeking advice from your naturopathic or functional medicine doctor regarding the possibility of heavy metal toxicity such as mercury and lead and the ways that this can be resolved.

And finally.

7. Get out in Nature

Getting regular outdoor time has been shown to be extremely beneficial to those with ADD / ADHD.

I hope these suggestions assist you in controlling your ADD / ADD symptoms.

If you have any questions or simply want to know more, please contact me today.

Disclaimer

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

Now I would like to hear from you. Does your child have ADHD? What have you tried to help 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 granting: Ottawa Holistic Wellness, 356 MacLaren Street, Ottawa, ON, K2P 0M6, permission to email you. You may unsubscribe via the link found at the bottom of every email. (See our Email Privacy Policy (http://constantcontact.com/legal/privacy-statement) for details.) Emails are serviced by Constant Contact.