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What is irritable bowel syndrome - Ottawa Holistic Wellness

What is Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS)?

Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS) is a commonly diagnosed condition that is classified as a combination of symptoms including constipation, diarrhea, alternating constipation and diarrhea, cramps, gas and bloating. Often issues resolve after a bowel movement. 

This array of symptoms (which do not necessarily need to be in conjunction with each other), to me, present as an undiagnosed food sensitivity.  Especially because IBS  is not a degenerative condition – as we see it in people of all ages, and it is primarily diagnosed earlier in life.

What makes this ailment unique is that it is manifested in patients much younger than typical conditions.

How is it diagnosed?

So what happens when Irritable Bowel Syndrome is suspected? 

Well, first off, one would present with the symptoms listed above and the Doctor would ask a series of questions. These usually relate to symptoms, some issues related to the person’s regular diet can vary considerably depending on the physician.

Next, there would be a series of tests requisitioned. Again, depending on the Doctor, the variety of tests can also vary widely, ranging from stool samples to blood tests and sometimes even MRI’s.

Once the results of each of these tests come back negative, a process that can take a couple of days or weeks of simple testing, or for some a long, harrowing tale of medical procedures, then and only then, will the patient be diagnosed with IBS. 

We call this process a diagnosis of exclusion; it’s a conclusion drawn by process of elimination, meaning we decide that a patient has Irritable Bowel Syndrome when nothing else can be determined.

What comes next?

Once a person has been diagnosed with Irritable Bowel Syndrome the variations of what happens next are astounding and based, primarily, on the patient’s personality;

Will they fill every prescription offered them and continue managing symptoms? 

Will they take matters into their own hands and seek alternative advice, perhaps in the natural health world? 

Will they do their own research and be able to investigate any food sensitivities on their own? 

All of these are options.

The inconsistencies in the way this condition is diagnosed and dealt with tell me the allopathic establishment does not have a firm handle on what is causing IBS. 

In my (very) humble experience the symptoms of Irritable Bowel Syndrome rectify once food sensitivities are identified, removed and the gut is re-balanced. 

This process sounds easier than it is and it requires a personal commitment but if engagement and action exist so does relief.

Book a free meet and greet with me to find out more about food sensitivities and IBS.

Disclaimer

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

Now I would like to hear from you. Do you suffer from Irritable Bowel Syndrome? What have you tried to help your symptoms? Let us know in the comments below.

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Effective means of Controlling Irritable Bowel Syndrome - Ottawa Holistic Wellness

Effective means of Controlling Irritable Bowel Syndrome

Irritable Bowel Syndrome or IBS affects 10-15% of North Americans, affects twice as many females as males, and is considered one of the most common reasons for people to miss school or work.  In fact, the estimated direct and indirect cost of this literal pain in the bump is 41 billion per year!

So what is it?

IBS is a gastrointestinal disorder involving changes in intestinal mobility.  It is also known as spastic colon and symptoms include abdominal discomfort, bloating, constipation or diarrhea or both.  No structural change is seen in the digestive tract, however, and theories as to the cause of IBS include  gut–brain axis problems, small intestinal bacterial overgrowth, genetic factors, food sensitivity, and gut motility problems.1

The TCM take

Traditional Chinese Medicine or TCM takes the allopathic diagnosis into account, but always treats based on a patient’s presenting TCM pattern.  One very common root cause of IBS in TCM theory is Liver overacting on the Spleen.  This can be translated as stress (Liver Qi stagnation) affecting our digestive system (or Spleen-Pancreas function).  It is not surprising then, that commonly those with IBS are experiencing anxiety, depression or chronic fatigue syndrome alongside their digestive issues.

In my experience, a great improvement in digestive functioning often happens after just one acupuncture treatment!  The digestive function has always been of special interest to me as the old saying goes ‘we are what we eat’ and what comes out afterwards is highly indicative of our health and is a key tool we use to diagnose TCM patterns.  Acupuncture is believed to regulate the gastrointestinal tract by stimulating the somatic nervous system and vagus nerve and thus changing visceral sensation and motility.   

What to do

If you or someone you know is living with IBS then a trip to your local holistic health clinic may be your best bet in finding relief from your symptoms and unearthing the root cause.  Looking at food sensitivities (to be distinguished from true allergies), specific diet protocols for SIBO and incorporating acupuncture into your treatment plan are all things you can do to take back your health and improve your day-to-day living. 

Also, do what you can to encourage relaxation of your body and mind.  Yoga or a mindfulness practice is a great way to help your body’s fight-or-flight nervous system settle and promote the rest-and-digest system which too often takes a back seat in society today and is critical in all aspects of healing.

Disclaimer

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

Now I would like to hear from you. Do you suffer from Irritable Bowel Syndrome? What have you tried to help your symptoms? Let us know in the comments below.

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How an osteopath can help constipation - Ottawa Holistic Wellness

How an Osteopath can help constipation

For constipation, a medical treatment typically consists of dietary modification, increased fluid intake and exercise frequency, but many people do not respond to these interventions. Osteopathy may be a solution for you!

Osteopathic treatment is claimed to restore normal function to the digestive system and related somatic structures and may provide an effective treatment for constipation

Instead of just masking the problem, it’s better to find the cause of the problem and work towards correcting it. Two main factors must be mentioned to explain the phenomenon of constipation:

Nutrition

Constipation often happens because of a low-fiber or high-fat diet, lack of exercise, and not drinking enough fluids. Certain medications, not going when you feel the urge, laxative abuse, and pregnancy can also lead to constipation.

Dietary advice to help constipation:

  • Drink regularly;
  • Avoid refined foods (white sugar, alcohol, fries, fats, etc.);
  • Focus on whole foods including: Black bread, Whole cereals such as oat bran and psyllium; Eat fruits such as apple, cherry, prune; Eat, in general, foods containing fibres.

Emotional situation

The emotional factor and stress shouldn’t be forgotten in the treatment of constipation.

Overall, people who have constipation have experienced a significant event; an emotional shock, a stress and there might be a birth defect as a result of a breach.

In any case, it will be important for the patient to talk about the problem. Moreover, by performing a work of osteopathy cranial one can manage to reduce the stress that often plays a role in the phenomenon of constipation.

How Osteopathy can help constipation

Osteopathy can have a significant result in the treatment and management of your constipation. An osteopath will view the patient as a whole rather than just the symptoms to determine the most appropriate course of action.

The key to treatment is to use visceral manipulation (hands-on technique) to:

  • Restore mobility to the small and large intestine;
  • Restart the motility to the small and large intestine;
  • Decongest and remove adhesions;
  • Harmonise the fascia around intestine;
  • Promote good abdominal vasculature.

The osteopath can add Cranial Osteopathy at the end to regulate the innervation of the intestine and ensure its proper functioning, in harmony with the primary respiration.

Most of our patients report an improvement in the overall severity of constipation, symptoms and quality of life.

Disclaimer

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

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

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Bitter herbs for IBS and other digestive complaints

Bitter herbs for IBS and other digestive complaints

The belief that herbal medicine has to taste bad to be beneficial is not always true. The spirited flavour of peppermint (Mentha piperita) or the sweetness of liquorice (Glycyrrhiza glabra) is both tasty and effective medicine. However, in the case of a class of herbs called bitters, it is true.

How do they work?

When the bitter flavour mingles with the taste buds on the tongue, it sets in motion a series of physiological responses that enhance the appetite, improve digestion and aid in the absorption of nutrients from food.

The bitter flavour on the tongue causes the stomach to release gastric juices, stimulates bile flow from the gallbladder and the pancreas to secrete insulin. The bitter taste does this by acting on the part of the nervous system that is responsible for digestion and assimilation of food, the parasympathetic system.

When to use bitters

In old herbal terms, bitters are used when the digestion is sluggish. Or in other words, bitters get things flowing.

Bitter herbs are useful when food sits like a lump in the stomach, causing bloating and constipation. Bitters are useful for those who have no appetite and continue to gain weight. Older folks who have lost their appetite find their hunger with the help of bitter herbs. At the other end of life’s spectrum, when a baby suffers from colic, mild bitters such as catnip (Cataria nepeta) or chamomile (Matricaria recutita) ease griping pain.

For those recovering from a chronic illness that has depleted the body’s resources, bitter herbs improve the absorption of nutrients from food. This, in turn, enhances energy levels and shortens recovery time.

When offering iron-rich herbs to those drained by anaemia, a bitter herb in the formula will help the body absorbed iron.

How much to take

To benefit from all that bitter herbs can do for the digestive system, one does not need to take a significant amount of the herbs. All that is necessary is to taste the bitter flavour. Remember the medicine is in the taste.

To use bitters to improve digestion, whether three months or 90 years old, take a couple of sips of bitter tea 20 minutes before each meal. This primes the digestive system and prepares your body for an incoming meal.

Another way to take advantage of the bitter flavour is to have a salad of bitter greens before each meal. This method is particularly useful for those who suffer from bloating and constipation or have no appetite but continue to gain weight. Romaine lettuce is considered a bitter green, as are dandelion leaves and endive. Try the salad without dressing, or use a little vinegar and olive oil. Don’t mask the bitter flavour with sweet store bought salad dressings.

Additional benefits

Bitter herbs also have a long history of easing depression which accompanies anxiety. This is because the part of the nervous system that primes the digestive tract, the parasympathetic system, also relaxes the mind.

Nature is economical. To digest food well, one needs to be relaxed. The mnemonic for the parasympathetic system is “rest and digest”. Bitters, by activating the parasympathetic nervous system, relax the mind and improve digestion. A two for one deal, all for a little bit of bitter!

How bitter is “bitter”?

The bitter herbs used to relieve depression and anxiety, are very bitter. Herbalists, actually have a scale which measures a herb’s bitter flavour. The two herbs considered the most bitter are gentian (Gentiana lutea) and wormwood (Artemisia absinthium).

Wormwood, although other bitters can be used, is the choice herb to relieve depression with anxiety. It is in my opinion that wormwood is the most unpleasant tasting herb. One of my clients complained bitterly about the taste of his medicine that contained wormwood.

“It tastes so bad; it has to work!”  

Fortunately, wormwood is considered a potent herb, and one only needs a small amount to be effective. Please note, I do not recommend using Wormwood without a herbalist advice, as it has narrow therapeutic range. This means that has the potential of becoming toxic to the body when overused.

A note of caution

Bitters, as useful as they are, are not for everyone.

If you suffer from a peptic ulcer bitters can increase the burning sensation and prolong the healing process. Because bitters are used to relieve constipation, avoid them if the bowels are loose.

In pregnancy, avoid herbs that have a strong, bitter flavour, like wormwood and gentian.

Come and find out more about herbs and their benefits!

Disclaimer

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

Now I would like to hear from you. Do you suffer from Irritable Bowel Syndrome? What have you tried to help your symptoms? Let us know in the comments below.

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Is your Irritable Bowel triggered by Food Allergies - Ottawa Holistic Wellness

Is your Irritable Bowel triggered by Food Allergies?

So, you have been diagnosed with Irritable Bowel or IBS? Or maybe you suspect that you have IBS?

You are experiencing constipation / diarrhoea / bloating / gas and / or cramping. Your doctor has may be prescribed some meds to control the symptoms but otherwise been of little help?

The same thing happened to me at the age of 33. Up until then, I had not had any digestive issues other than cramps if I drank glasses of milk, and suddenly I was in the washroom multiple times, usually at short notice and experiencing terrible diarrhoea, cramps and gas. Everywhere I went the first thing I did was find out where the closest washroom was located.. sound familiar?

When my doctor diagnosed IBS, I asked: “So, what causes this?”

He said vaguely, “Oh, could be anything..” When I asked about allergies, he stated categorically that there was no possible link between allergies and IBS, and prescribed meds to control the cramping and diarrhoea.

On the suggestion of a friend, I had an allergy test. It came up positive for yeast, cow’s milk products including cheese (I was a BIG cheese fan) and wheat. I immediately cut these foods out of my diet and within 48hrs felt almost completely normal. What a relief!

My doctor was very sceptical. However, I knew that just a few mouthfuls of bread or one glass of wine, which contains a lot of yeast, and I would be in the washroom for most of the next morning.

The top food allergens include wheat, corn, soy, yeast, milk and eggs, however, we are all unique individuals, and you can be reacting to any of the foods you are ingesting.

A true allergy causes an immune response and will trigger an almost immediate reaction. Once that food has been eliminated from your system you will likely feel much better.

If you have an intolerance to food the reaction will be slower. There is no immediate immune response, and it is more an issue with digesting, breaking down and absorbing the food. The reaction can take several days to reach a peak. This makes it quite difficult to work out what is triggering your reactions as it may be nothing you ate today or even yesterday.

So, how do you find out whether you have food allergies?

There are many ways to test.

You can try an elimination diet, removing suspected foods and monitoring the result. After a trial period without the foods, you reintroduce them one at a time. It can be difficult to obtain definite answers, particularly when you are reacting to several foods – eliminating one brings little relief as you are still reacting to the others.

Your family doctor or a naturopathic doctor can requisition a blood test which looks for antibodies to certain foods. You have to be eating the allergens in your everyday diet to be tested, so if you have removed say wheat and then want to find out if you are Celiac the doctor will ask that eat it for several weeks or even months before testing.

I have found blood testing to be reasonably accurate for allergies, but that it can provide false negatives for intolerances and emotional reactions to foods where there is no immune response.

Skin testing can also provide answers. Your family doctor will need to refer you to a medical allergist to have this done. In my practice, I have found this method ideal for identifying bigger allergies, but have also seen cases where the skin showed no reaction even though there is a strong reaction when eating that food.

As a Natural Allergist, I prefer to use Muscle Response Testing, also known as Autonomic Response Testing or Applied Kinesiology. This method utilises the body’s response to potential allergens and can assess allergies, intolerances and emotional reactions to foods. It is an effective way of asking the body to tell us what it likes and does not like. It has the added benefit that you do not have to be eating the allergens to be tested.

Whichever method you choose having an allergy test can provide much-needed answers and, as in my case, bring enormous relief from your IBS symptoms.

If you want to find out more about the triggers for IBS, come for a complimentary initial consultation with one of my colleagues at Ottawa Holistic Wellness or me.

Disclaimer

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

Now I would like to hear from you. Do you suffer from Irritable Bowel Syndrome? What have you tried to help your symptoms? Let us know in the comments below.

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Can Reiki and Energy Healing Treat My Headaches

Can Reiki and Energy Healing Treat My Headaches?

Can underlying energetic blockages and imbalances cause headaches and migraines?

The simple answer is ‘yes’ they are one of the possible triggers or causes.

Both an excess of energy in the head or deficiency can lead to pain. This can be the result of an issue within the head itself, or disruption further down the body which obstructs the free flow of energy.

So a blockage in the throat will prevent the flow of energy into and out of the head.

A blockage at the root or 2nd chakra, so in the pelvis or lower abdomen, will affect how much energy can move into the body or be released.

It is not uncommon with our daily lives to become focussed in our head. We are continually busy, using our minds nonstop, and often allow little time to decompress and ground ourselves. This leads to an inability to let go of the stresses of the day, to drain the excess out of our heads and to become grounded.

Almost all of my clients come in needing to open their lower chakras, reconnect to the earth, and to release some of that pent-up energy.

This disruption in energy flow may result in many different headache symptoms including a dull ache, pressure, throbbing or pain spikes.

An energy healer, whether practising Reiki, Chakra balancing, Pranic Healing, Angel Healing, or one of the many other approaches will be able to assist your body to better balance and to bring relief effectively.

During a session, they may work on your head or any other part of the body. If there is an excess or stagnation of energy in the head, there is little benefit to treating the head. What is needed is to open up the channels throughout the body so that the energy can move and the pressure in the head can be released.

They may also bring about longer term healing by addressing the underlying reasons for your energy imbalance. This can be by releasing trapped emotions or by bringing you more into balance, so you are no longer as reactive to daily stresses.

Clients who receive energy healing report that they feel better in many ways emotionally and physically.

Dispelling some energy myths

Energy is not some mystical, magical element. Science shows that it exists all around us; energy and matter are interchangeable and that everything is connected energetically.

Science also shows that the human body has an energetic component. It is possible to produce an image of the body’s aura and to identify acupuncture points scientifically, however, we do not currently have the science to show what these points are or what they do.

There are many healing approaches worldwide that address imbalance or blockages in our energy, many of which are very ancient. These include Traditional Chinese Medicine and Acupuncture, Reiki, Chakra Balancing, Shamanism, Eastern Tantra, Pranic Healing, Angel Healing, the Laying on of Hands and much more. 

Whichever approach is used by the healer the intention is the same; they will seek to bring balance and flow, to release stagnant or congested energy, to channel energy into areas that are deficient and to assist with letting go of any trapped emotions which are interfering with correct balance.

When channelling energy, the healer is tapping into the universal energy that is all around us. Depending on the approach they may consider this energy to be from Mother Earth, from the Father, from God, the Angels, the Source, the One or the Light. Or they may have another name for it.

There have been scientific studies that show the healer is affecting energy when healing is taking place. The book “The energy healing experiments” by Dr Gary Schwartz details some of these studies.

Book a complimentary introductory session with me to find out more about energy healing and how it could help you.

Disclaimer

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

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

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Magnesium, Migraines, and Mitochondria

Magnesium, Migraines, and Mitochondria

An estimated 2.7 million Canadians, more women than men, suffer from migraine headaches. A migraine is often a throbbing, one-sided headache with nausea, vomiting, sensitivity to bright lights, or aura. An aura can be a quick disturbance of visual or neurological function, and usually precedes a migraine attack.

Causes for Migraines

There are a few different causes of migraines, and one or more could be at play in individual cases.

Changes in blood vessel pressure

One theory is that blood vessels increase pressure by constricting, and then reactively dilating. This sudden alteration in blood flow can lead to a migraine headache.

Mitochondria

Another theory suggests that issues with mitochondria–the powerhouses of the cell–affect energy production, and causes a migraine.

Medication and stimulants

Tobacco use, caffeine consumption, and birth control pills can increase the frequency of migraines in certain people. It is also worthwhile to check if the side effects of any medications you are taking may be worsening your headaches.

Salt

Too large of an ingestion of salt can lead to a migraine 6-12 hours later.

Food intolerances

A possible underlying cause of migraine headaches is an intolerance to wheat, citrus, eggs, tea, coffee, chocolate, milk, beef, corn, cane sugar, yeast, mushrooms, and/or peas. Elimination of these offending foods for 8 weeks helped 60 migraine patients reduce their frequency of headaches from 402 to just 6 per month.

Magnesium, B vitamins and CoQ10

Interestingly, magnesium is typically deficient in migraine patients. Supplementation of magnesium can improve mitochondrial energy output, and reduce the frequency and/or severity of migraine headaches (5).

Riboflavin (vitamin B2), and Niacinamide (vitamin B3) can be effective for migraine relief as they play important roles in mitochondrial energy production.

Coenzyme Q10 also benefits mitochondria and, as a result, migraine headaches.

Hormonal links

Estrogen has been linked to menstrual migraine headaches, and postmenopausal women may experience a reduction in migraines and tension-type headaches due to a decline in sex hormones.

Serotonin agonists like 5-HTP may acutely relieve and prevent menstrual headaches.

If you suffer from migraines and also have a history of fibromyalgia or myofascial pain syndrome, you may benefit from mitochondrial support, magnesium, and 5-HTP.

An underlying cause of anxiety and insomnia may perpetuate migraine and tension-type headaches amongst postmenopausal women and the general population.

So what can you do about it..??

There are many migraine treatment alternatives; this was just a small summary of strategies for a big headache.

We are all unique, your Naturopathic Doctor can assess the possible causes for your migraines and suggest ways in which they can be relieved by using diet, nutrition and by removing the triggers.

Book a free introductory meet and greet to find out how naturopathic medicine could help your migraines.

Disclaimer

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

Now I would like to hear from you. Do you suffer from Headaches? What have you tried to help your 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.
Herbal Remedies for Migraine Headaches

Herbal Remedies for Migraine Headaches

Migraines are debilitating. The pain stops life: no engaging with family or friends, no work and no simple pleasures in life. The only refuge once a migraine attacks is a dark, quiet room. Hopefully, sleep brings relief.

There has been a 50% increase in the occurrence of migraines in the last 20 years. This is both alarming and hopeful. Why hopeful? Because if the increase in people suffering with migraines has increased recently, this means with proper care, the number can decrease.

Migraines, like any chronic illness, have a number of triggers. To find relief from migraine headaches, it is essential understand the patterns that trigger the headaches. Once the pattern is understood and the triggers discovered, herbs, dietary and lifestyle changes can be used to reduce the number and the severity of the migraines, quite possibly eliminate them all together.

Understanding the patterns of your migraines

To begin to understand the patterns of the migraine headache ask the following questions:

  • Are the headaches associated with certain foods, stress, lack of sleep, fluorescent lights, alcohol or premenstrual hormonal flux?
  • Do migraines run in the family?
  • Are they associated with weather changes?
  • What is the mood of the person experiencing the headaches?
  • What is their personality?
  • What events lead up to the headache?
  • How is the pain eased?

Try to keep a record of the events surrounding each headache to help you reveal the headaches’ pattern and possible causes.

Making changes to relieve your migraines

Frequently dietary changes are necessary to relieve migraines.

The primary food culprits of migraines are chocolate, aged cheese and red wine, processed meats containing nitrates and foods containing monosodium glutamate (MSG). Many find white sugar will bring on a migraine, even a day or two after it has been consumed.

One person I know wakes with a migraine if she eats a banana before bed.

Other foods associated with migraines are avocadoes, tomatoes, dairy products and canned fish.

Stress, or pushing yourself to accomplish too many things, for a prolonged time (or during a difficult period in your life) contributes to the frequency of migraine headaches.

Often it requires two or more triggers to come together to ignite migraine’s pain. For example: you have been pushing yourself all day to meet a deadline and at the evening you drink some red wine to ease your tension. The two triggers combine produces the migraine.

Exercise to help you avoid migraines

Regular exercise can reduce the numbers and severity of migraines. Current research suggests fluctuating serotonin levels are a contributing factor to migraine pain. Exercise increases and helps the body maintain serotonin levels. Exercise, that is non-competitive and focuses on releasing tension are the most effective, for example gentle yoga or Tai chi.

Herbs to relieve your headaches

If choosing herbs to relieve migraines it is important to keep in mind that there is not a specific herb or group of herbs that will always bring relief. If using herbs holistically, it is important to support the person in achieving balance of body/mind and not just use symptom relief for the migraines. (However, symptom relief is an essential part of a health plan until the body/mind has shifted and balance restored.)

There are a few general guidelines in using herbal medicine to reduce or overcome migraine headaches.

Cleansing

The first step in limiting the number and severity of migraines is gentle cleansing. Herbs like dandelion root and leaf (Taraxacum officinalis) remove toxins from the body via the liver without the headache, nausea and fatigue associated with aggressive cleanses. Dandelion will cool down the heat many experience with migraine heads and ease any nausea or stomach upset.

Stress and tension

If the migraine is associated with excess tension the herbal apothecary has much to offer. Sculcap (Scutellaria laterfolia) quietens an overactive mind. Lobelia (Lobelia inflate) relaxes muscular tension and deepens breathing. Oats (Avena sativa) soothe frayed nerves. Motherwort (Leonurus cardiaca) settles an anxious heart while cooling down an overheated liver. A combination of these herbs can bring on the relaxation necessary to ward off a migraine. Peppermint (Menthe piperita) eases the sensitive stomach often associated with migraines. 

Hormonal headaches

If the migraines are premenstrual, herbs that help balance the sex hormones are essential. The queen of these herbs is vitex (Vitex angus-castus). Vitex, formerly known as chaste berry, was used to depress the libido of monks in the middle ages. Now it is the most commonly used herb to relieve menstrual irregularities, including PMS with migraines. Adding vitex to the above formula along with dietary changes and regular exercise can decrease the frequency and intensity of migraine headaches.

And, a change in focus!

The final key to relieving migraines is an attitude change.

The serenity prayer, is a powerful medicine for those who suffer with migraines. It goes like this:

Grant me the serenity
to accept the things I cannot change;
courage to change the things I can;
and wisdom to know the difference.

Find out more about herbal medicine and how it can help you. Book a complementary introductory session today.

Disclaimer

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

Now I would like to hear from you. Do you suffer from Headaches? What have you tried to help your 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.
Are food allergies causing your headaches?

Are food allergies causing your headaches?

Are you one of the many people who suffer from chronic or severe headaches?

Perhaps you have been through the medical profession and have no answers?

I have had numerous clients who experience headaches and migraines and have been to a whole range of doctors, had multiple tests performed only to receive no answers as to the cause of their pain.

An aspect that is often overlooked is the impact that food allergies and intolerances can have. I speak from personal experience; if I eat any corn products I suffer for several days with what I would describe as a ‘clamping’ headache – my head feels like it is in a vice and I cannot think straight. No corn, no pain!

Some doctors may suggest that you avoid certain common food triggers such as coffee, chocolate, wheat, corn, cow’s milk, eggs, citrus, sugar, alcohol, artificial additives, colourings, sweeteners (especially aspartame) and MSG. However, these are just that, ‘common’ triggers; every one of us is a unique individual, and as such we all react to different things.

If you don’t feel well, get bloated, or tired after a meal it is a good indication that the food that you are eating is not suiting your body and may be a factor in your headaches.

An elimination diet where you remove the common food triggers and any others that you suspect will help you to determine whether they are actually a factor for you. Remember that if your headaches only occur periodically then you may need to remove the foods for several weeks or even a month or so to determine their effect. You will probably notice a range of other improvements too, including your digestion, energy and stamina, muscle function, sleep, memory, concentration and others.

Once you have established that you are better without the foods you can reintroduce them, one at a time. It may take a few days or more for any reaction to become apparent so I recommend that you wait 2 weeks before adding another food back in.

You can also have allergy testing. This can take the form of blood or skin tests, however, I find these to be of limited use when looking for the cause of headaches as they provide a general list of allergens, and do not identify the specific triggers for your headaches.

I usually recommend muscle testing with an experienced practitioner. You will get the results at the time of the test and it is possible to identify specific triggers for your headaches including allergies, intolerances, nutritional deficiencies and any emotional or structural components.

Once you have identified the food triggers it is easy to then avoid them.

Diet, in general, will play a huge role in relief from headaches and migraines and in general wellness. One of the biggest things you can do is try to return to a more natural, ‘real food’ diet. So, cooking from scratch, using organic produce where possible and sticking to grass fed, free range meats and poultry or wild fish. It can actually be cheaper to eat this way, and you will be surprised how good you can feel.

Of course, this has to be balanced with reality, so it is equally important to accept that it is not always possible to eat this way, and not to stress about those occasions when you ‘cheat’!

And, finally, water is an essential part of that natural diet. Dehydration will ALWAYS cause headaches..  so try to get 2 litres a day.

Contact me for more information, or book a complementary introductory session.

Disclaimer

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

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

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Headaches - When to see your doctor

Headaches: When to see your doctor

A headache; pain in the cranium or head.

Who has not had a headache at one time or another? Such is the range and variety of these aches that they need to be qualified and quantified to determine cause and treatment.

  • Are they occasional or chronic?
  • How long do they last?
  • What is their intensity?
  • What seems to initiate them?
  • Where are they located?
  • Are they accompanied by other signs or symptoms?
  • What if anything brings relief?
  • Is there psychological or emotional stress involved?

Structure of the head

The cranium (skull) is composed of bone, muscle, fascia, blood vessels and nerves, as is the rest of the body. It has the added components of the cerebrospinal fluid in which floats the brain, and the special senses of sight, taste, smell and sound.

Do you need to see a doctor?

If a headache is the result of a pathological/medical problem then, undoubtedly a physician needs to be consulted.

Depending on the biochemical imbalance involved, another type of alternative practitioner such as a naturopath or homeopath might be consulted.

An osteopath can of course work in tandem with any of the above practitioners especially if the causes are complicated.

Osteopathy is a complete system of manual therapy medicine which always attempts to get past a symptom, such as a headache, to an underlying cause.

With an assessment, the osteopath will determine if a headache is a biomechanical or biochemical problem or a mixture of both. A structural assessment will help to determine if the cause is mechanical.

An evaluation of the viscera (the organs) will assist in determining if there is a body chemistry problem, and a craniosacral assessment will help in determining if the problem is related to the central nervous system.

Tension headaches

These seem to be most common and result from misalignment of the structure(s) of the body. This then creates stress, tension or pull on any tissue level; bone, muscle, circulation, fascia and nerve either in or outside the central nervous system.

Remember, nerves are always involved – if we didn’t have nerves we wouldn’t feel anything. The question is whether it is the neural tissue itself or an agent acting on it.

Common causes of structural headaches are tension and stress, poor posture, misalignment and, in today’s world, the repeated strain of sitting incorrectly at a computer all day.

Migraines

Migraines are also fairly common and can be quite incapacitating and complicated. With migraines, there is a biochemical component involved in addition to which, neurological and biomechanical factors can be part of the profile. Hormonal contributions are not infrequent.

Head trauma

Then there is just hitting your head and ending up with a painful bump. More serious are concussions and damage to the brain or its circulatory system, all of which must be checked medically.

If you would like to know more about when to seek medical advice for headaches, book a complimentary meet and greet with me.

Disclaimer

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

Now I would like to hear from you. Do you suffer from Headaches? What have you tried to help your 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.