Santa Barbara Wellness Network

Holistic & Alternative Health

Tips in Choosing the Right Chiropractor

Chiropractors are not all the same as they vary in their style of practice, principle, and techniques. Some chiropractors only focus on spinal manipulations, and there are some that use other alternative treatments such as ultrasound and electrolysis. Every chiropractor can differ according to an individual"s needs.

Now, you might be itching to try chiropractic care as you would have heard about the incredible benefits it provides in maintaining a healthy lifestyle. It"s thrilling to try a natural treatment without the need for going under the knife or taking a lot of medication. However, there are a lot of chiropractors in every state and how do you choose the right one for your needs? Here are great tips to help you get started.

Get Referrals

Your primary care physician can recommend any chiropractors near me that he or she deems to be reliable and trustworthy. Friends and family are also great sources of referrals that you can trust. But, you also need to make sure you narrow down the list by doing a background check. Unfortunately, some chiropractors are shady and not certified to carry out the practice. It"s better to find out all important information about the prospects such as credentials and any history of malpractice before submitting yourself to be treated.

Take your time as you would be entrusting your health and money to a complete stranger.

Experience Counts

Experience does matter when it comes to healthcare. If your chiropractor is experienced, you"ll be more likely to get satisfactory results. They may have treated other patients with the same condition that you may have. You can ask about how many patients they have treated and what each procedure is all about. Make sure to check the chiropractor"s knowledge about the treatment if he or she does know what they"re doing. You wouldn"t want to place yourself in the hands of an inexperienced and unsure chiropractor.

Feel Comfortable

If you want to work someone harmoniously, it"s necessary to feel comfortable with your prospect chiropractor. Take time to observe his or her bedside manner and if you feel all right with it. Does the chiropractor know how to explain the treatment in easy words you can understand or does the chiropractor respond to any of your concerns? Never feel compelled to choose the first chiropractor you interviewed – it would be best to talk to at least three professionals.

Aside from the doctor, are you comfortable in the clinic or do you feel uneasy about how the staff talks to you? Trust your instincts and never settle for someone who would make you feel uncertain.

Check Reviews

The internet makes it quick for people to write about any positive or negative experiences that they may have about products or services. This is a great opportunity for you to read what past clients can say about your prospect chiropractors. You can also find out about how the chiropractor responds to bad reviews and how he or she interacts with clients.

You can go to online directories such as Yelp or Angie"s List to check reviews and satisfaction rates. Let other people"s experience give some insights on who to choose.

Beware of Treatment Packages

Packages are tempting as they are supposed to give discounted prices but beware of chiropractors who introduce this to you. Never sign up for multiple treatment sessions that you may not need. A good chiropractor would only advise some treatments based on your symptoms and not recommend a lifetime treatment.

Hopefully, with all the information above, you"ll be able to choose the best chiropractic care professional that can treat you well without any worries!

Create Lasting Resolve to Reach Your Goals with Acupuncture

The start of the new year is a time of looking back at what we have achieved in the past year and looking forward to the future. This period of remembrance and resolution may be challenging but it is both productive and rewarding. Acupuncture and Oriental medicine can help achieve the change you seek as it assists in illness prevention, stress relief, minimizes aches and pains, improves energy and nurtures balance. This calm and clarity strengthens your resolve as you take the next step in achieving your goals.

Here are a few ways that Acupuncture can help you achieve your goals:

Lose Weight

Losing weight is the most common New Year"s resolution. Acupuncture and Oriental medicine can help you reach your goal weight and maintain it by promoting better digestion, smoothing emotions, reducing appetite, improving metabolism, and eliminating food cravings–all of which can help energize the body, maximize absorption of nutrients, regulate elimination, control overeating, suppress the appetite and reduce anxiety.

Get in Shape

Renewed enthusiasm to exercise in order to enhance fitness levels, train for a competition, or lose weight can come at a painful price for those who try to do too much too quickly. Recent studies show that acupuncture effectively treats sports injuries such as strains, sprains, musculoskeletal pain, swollen muscles and shin splints.

Eliminate Stress

Stress reduction is always on the top ten list for New Year"s resolutions and for a good reason; it is often the cause of illness and deterioration of health. Numerous studies have demonstrated the substantial benefits of acupuncture in the treatment of stress, anxiety and lowering blood pressure. In addition to acupuncture, Oriental medicine offers a whole range of tools that can be integrated into your life to keep stress in check.

Improved Quality of Life

If pain is keeping you from living life to the fullest, acupuncture can help as it has no side effects and can be helpful for all types of pain, regardless of the cause or where it is located. Increasingly, people are looking for more natural approaches to help relieve painful conditions instead of relying on medication. In addition to reducing pain, acupuncture also hastens the healing process by increasing circulation and attracting white blood cells to an injured area.

Call today to see how Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine can help you keep your resolutions and prepare for the year ahead!

Alleviate Your Stress with Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine

As a normal part of life, stress enables us to get things done. If left unmanaged, stress can lead to emotional, psychological, and even physical problems. Stress causes a disruption in the flow of vital energy, or Qi, through the body. These energetic imbalances can throw off the immune system or cause symptoms of pain, sleep disturbances, abnormal digestion, headaches, menstrual irregularities, aggravation of already troublesome health conditions and, over time, more serious illnesses can develop.

Stressful situations that last over a long period of time can create an ongoing low-level stress that puts continual pressure on the nervous system, increasing activity, and can cause the overproduction of hormones. The extra stress hormones over an extended period of time may wear out the body"s reserves, lead to fatigue, depression, a weakened immune system, and a host of serious physical and psychological ailments.

Some signs of stress overload include:

  • anxiety or panic attacks
  • feelings of constant pressure, hassled and hurried
  • irritability and moodiness
  • physical symptoms such as stomach problems, headaches, or even chest pain
  • allergic reactions, such as eczema or asthma
  • problems sleeping
  • overindulgence in food, alcohol, smoking, or drugs
  • sadness or depression

Stress is often the cause of illness and the deterioration of health. Finding a release valve for your stress can help you stay healthy. According to Oriental medicine, stress, frustration, and unresolved anger can play an important part in throwing the immune system off and allowing pathogens to affect the body. Through acupuncture, these energy blockages can be addressed. Acupuncture points can help energy flow smoothly, and alleviate not only the symptoms of stress and anxiety, but the stress and anxiety itself.

Numerous studies have demonstrated the substantial benefits of acupuncture in the treatment of stress. Acupuncture improves circulation of blood throughout the body, which oxygenates the tissues and cycles out cortisol and other waste chemicals. The calming nature of acupuncture also decreases heart rate, lowers blood pressure and relaxes the muscles.

In addition to acupuncture, Oriental medicine offers a wide range of tools and techniques that can be integrated into your wellness plan to keep stress in check. These tools include Tui Na, Qi Gong exercises, dietary therapy, meditations and acupressure that you can administer at home.

While it isn"t always possible to remove the external forces causing stress, the ability to effectively deal with stress is a choice. Take time for yourself to cultivate the energy you need to handle your stress more skillfully and effectively.

If you or someone you know is experiencing stress or a stress related disorder, contact us for more information about how acupuncture and Oriental medicine can help you regain peace of mind, regulate your immune system and stay healthy and schedule an appointment today!

Coping with Seasonal Stress

The holiday season can be filled with a dizzying array of demands, visitors, travel and frantic shopping trips. For many people, it is also a time filled with sadness, self-reflection, loneliness and anxiety. Compound the usual seasonal pressures with economic strain and you many find this to be one of the most emotionally trying times of the year.

Boost your overall ability to handle seasonal stress by replenishing the nutrients that stress hormones deplete by including the following foods in your meals:

Blackberries – Blackberries are jam packed with vitamin C, calcium and magnesium. Vitamin C has shown to be a powerful stress reducer that can lower blood pressure and return cortisol levels to normal faster when taken during periods of stress.

Cruciferous Vegetables – Cauliflower, broccoli, cabbage, and kale are full of stress-relieving B vitamins. Cauliflower is also one of the very best sources of vitamin B5, or pantothenic acid. Pantothenic acid helps turn carbohydrates and fats into usable energy and improves your ability to respond to stress by supporting your adrenal glands.

Salmon – Salmon is a healthy and delicious way to get your dose of B vitamins and omega-3 fatty acids. Among the many benefits of omega-3 fatty acids, a 2003 study published in Diabetes & Metabolism found that a diet rich in omega-3 fatty acids significantly reduced the stress response and kept the stress hormones cortisol and epinephrine in check.

Tools to Effectively Manage Stress

Increase your ability to effectively manage stress by including these five tools in your wellness plan!

Eat Healthily – More than 1400 chemical changes occur as stress hormones, such as cortisone, deplete important nutrients such as B vitamins, vitamin C and magnesium from the body. A balanced, varied diet provides your body with the nutrients it needs to handle stress.

Exercise – Exercise stimulates the body to release endorphins, which are brain chemicals that improve mood and relieve stress.

Outlook – Your outlook influences the way you see things. Change is a healthy, normal part of life. Think of challenges as opportunities.

Relax – Relaxing is a release valve for stress. Relaxation methods vary by individual and can include meditation, yoga and exercise.

Restorative Sleep – Practicing good sleep hygiene will give your body an opportunity to recover from everyday stress.

Rediscover Joy

Question:

The holidays are here. I just wish there was less tension in my relationship. We have a big house, lots of activity with our kids, high overhead, and little time. Although, we live in a beautiful house, we are hardly home to enjoy it. When we are together we feel stressed out and unappreciated for the burden that we each bare, which fuels quite a bit of fighting. All the pressure is hurting our relationship. How do we get out of this pattern?

Answer:

I understand your concern. No emotional connection during the holidays is like a birthday without cake. Something is obviously missing.

It’s always sad to realize you have so much of everything, but the main thing is not there. Too bad getting genuine connection is not as easy as running to the store, grabbing a pastry off the shelf, and checking out.

Keeping the hearts open requires a real intention, a shared desire, and a decision between partners to prioritize it.

And there is no doubt about it, pressures from a fast pace life with no time and high overhead can kill the romance, close the hearts, and make every day life together feel like drudgery.

In addition, since the holidays are all about relationships, they have the side effect of magnifying the obvious lacking in them. If this is the case for you, take advantage of your “deficit awareness” to reconsider your lifestyle and relationship habits, especially before you get swamped with seasonal activities and spending.

Sometimes our life gets too driven by the societal pressures of how you “should” live, as well as exaggerated desires to have and be more, so much so, that you miss out on the richness of quality interactions.

So this holiday season treat yourself to an emotional upgrade.

Start by having a conversation with your partner and letting them know you would love to give and receive the gift of an improved connection.

Is that something they would like too? If the answer is YES:

Redefine your priorities. Redefine the way you wish to engage with each other. Redefine how you want to live life.

Decide to get your needs for appreciation met by becoming each other’s biggest fan, in thought, actions, and words.

Then follow through by breathing life into the mundane.

Making dinner can be romantic if you chose. For it is simply a loving thought, a romantic gaze, a light touch that transforms a mundane process into something fulfilling and dynamic.

So, if no time or high overhead is poisoning your relationship, take action to eliminate these common romance killers by:

– Re evaluating your lifestyle priorities.

– Make romance a priority.

– Cut back on careless spending and replace it with being frivolous together: Dress up for no reason. Dance in the kitchen.

– Make the most of the time you do have with your loved ones. You never know what tomorrow will bring.

– Up the appreciation levels and compliment each other often.

– Remind yourselves that you’re on the same team, sharing mutual goals and interests.

– Find the opportunities to create rich connection.

Rediscover joy this holiday season. Just remember the next time you pass the salt, it’s a perfect moment to connect with your life partner.

The Stigma of Mental Illness – Will It Ever Go Away?

“Psycho.” “Loco.” “Insane.” These are the words that we all grew up with to describe someone that was—well, perhaps, a little off. Not only that. When we talked about one of these people, we said it with contempt: “He’s totally crazy!”

Tom Wootton heard playground taunts in his head when he was diagnosed with Bipolar Disorder at the age of 45. He flashed on a memory of everyone jeering at one of his classmates. “I thought: If I am bipolar, then I must be crazy. I just couldn’t accept that for a long time.”

Wootton is not alone. “This self-stigmatization, the internalizing of stigma, is one of the most significant barriers keeping people from accessing mental health treatment,” suggests Patrick W. Corrigan, Psy.D., professor, Institute of Psychology, Illinois Institute of Technology, principal investigator of the Chicago Consortium for Stigma Research and executive director of the Joint Research Programs in Psychiatric Rehabilitation. Fifty-four million Americans, nearly one in five, have a mental health disorder and nearly two-thirds of them won’t seek treatment1 because of stigma. That means that the playground stereotypes that affect our attitudes have consequences. Often fatal consequences.

“An indication of how strongly held these beliefs are, is that many people would rather tell employers that they committed a petty crime and served time in jail than admit to being in a psychiatric hospital,” according to Amy Watson, MSW, PhD, previously the program director of the Chicago Consortium for Stigma Research and presently assistant professor at the Jane Addams College of Social Work at the University of Illinois at Chicago.

What is Stigma?

“Stigma involves setting apart a group in society and associating particular characteristics with them, which we think of as stereotypes,” says Beth Angell, MSW, Ph.D., assistant professor of the School of Social Service Administration at the University of Chicago. “In the mind of the public, having a mental illness seems to be associated with some undesirable attribute, for example the belief that people with mental illness are more violent than others or that they lack the competence to be able to negotiate social roles, such as working.

“It is difficult to know exactly how those stereotypes come about; they can be caused by lots of factors. For many years people with mental illness were sequestered in institutions and hidden from society, having minimal contact with the public. During the 1950’s – 1960’s we slowly began a process where we deinstitutionalized people with mental illness and they began living in the community. As a result of that, a much more visible group of people with mental illness who needed help contributed to the public developing negative stereotypes about mental illness, such as violence or bizarre behavior.”

Not In My Backyard

The Santa Barbara, California woman who recently went on a killing spree is the type of image we often have fixed in our minds about people with mental illness. These images don’t just come from the nightly news; they also come from popular dramas on TV. The cameo that opens Law and Order, for example, is often a scene of a violence committed by a person with mental illness.

“We know that people with mental illness are statistically no more likely to be violent than persons without mental illness,” says Jack K. Martin, Ph.D., executive director of the Karl F. Schuessler Institute for Social Research and professor of Sociology at the University of Indiana. “Unfortunately, the overwhelming perception about people with mental illness is that they are very likely to become violent.”

Martin recently completed, along with his colleagues at the Indiana Consortium for Mental Health Services Research, the second of four studies on the impact stigma has on people with mental health problems.

The first study, completed in 1996, evaluated whether American’s attitudes about mental illness had changed, since they were last studied in 1950. “What we found was encouraging and discouraging at the same time,” says Martin. “People used to see the cause of the problem as something about the individual’s character. It used to be that people would say: ‘This was God’s will.’ ‘These are bad people.’ ‘This was their punishment.’ They don’t say that anymore. People now have an ability to explain mental illness accurately, defining it as a chemical imbalance or a genetic predisposition to mental illness, often triggered by stress; they have basically adapted a medical model. A real common point of view used to be that mental health problems weren’t treatable; people no longer believe that.

“At the same time, people unquestionably have high levels of willingness to shun people with mental illness and in particular, they don’t want to work with them and they don’t want someone who is mentally ill to join their family by marriage. So while they have more clarity about where mental illness comes from, they really want to avoid any contact.”
Stigma Sticks

Why are the stigmas associated with mental illness so sticky–especially when people are more educated about mental illness? More understanding should lead to acceptance, but “in fact there is evidence that people know much more about mental illness and that the stigma seems to be worse,” says Corrigan.

“Our work suggests that the biggest factor changing stigma is contact between people with mental illness and the rest of the population,” says Corrigan. He is trying to understand how to get consumers to go public with their mental health problems. The public needs to understand that many people with mental illness are functioning, fully contributing members of society. To better understand how to do this, Corrigan has studied the gay movement, since they have been so successful in coming out. “Just as the gay community had to realize that their power was increased as they came out of the closet, a similar realization needs to occur with people with mental illness. They are reluctant to do it, for understandable reasons, but nonetheless that is what needs to happen.”

Wootton is someone who has come out. He has written a book about his experience living with Bipolar Disorder, The Bipolar Advantage, is the president of his local Bipolar Disorder support group, has established a workshop program for people diagnosed with Bipolar Disorder and talks to groups several times a week about his mental health issues—both the pain and the progress. He says that other people with Bipolar Disorder appreciate what he is doing—so that they don’t have to do it. They feel too vulnerable. They fear the stigma.

The National Alliance of Mental Illness (NAMI) realizes what an impediment stigma is to people in mental health treatment and have launched a “StigmaBusters” campaign. One initiative is to get people with mental illness to speak out and they have provided the support and structure through their In Our Own Voice program. (See Sidebar.)

Just Like Anyone Else

Most people with mental health problems would not wish them on anyone. But more and more we are beginning to recognize that people with mental health problems don’t just have problems—they also have talents that make real contributions to society. Just like anyone else.

Wootton views his Bipolar Disorder as an “advantage.” Before his diagnosis he was a successful software programmer and earned millions by working feverishly at a highly creative pitch—for months on end–thanks to his uncontained Bipolar Disorder. Of course, he couldn’t sustain this and eventually hit a bipolar wall. Now he strikes a balance between controlling his bipolar disorder while still benefiting from his creative talents. This is a result of a combination of medication, therapy groups and what he describes as “ a lot of hard work.” He also works with his doctors to calibrate his medication so that he is still able to tap into his Bipolar capabilities. This means that he is somewhat outside what they consider his ideal range of functioning, but still within acceptable limits for him.

Or think of Monk, the endearing TV detective who is able to discern things beyond the reach of others on his police unit. He makes no bones about the fact that his compulsive cleanliness can be a hindrance, but the good outweighs the bad. He too, works on his issues in therapy, but he rejects medication. With medication he feels good, but he loses his special talents.

John Nash, portrayed in The Beautiful Mind, won the Nobel Prize for the work he did in the field of mathematics all the while struggling with the delusions and paranoia of schizophrenia. He learns to live with and control his delusional friends, which releases the power of his intellect to change the world.

Examples like these are introducing the public to a broader view of the attributes of mental illness; a view that people with mental illness may bring gifts—not just problems. Wootton adds that the message for treatment providers is that recovery is not overcoming mental illness, but harnessing it to preserve positive attributes.

Watson cautions that people with mental illness should be valued for who they are, including those that make everyday contributions like the rest of us. “People with mental illness are mostly like everyone else with similar ranges of intelligence and talents and they should not have to be extraordinary achievers to be appreciated.”

“Many professionals are the bastions of stigma,” says Corrigan. “Part of that might be because they tend to see people only when they are acutely ill. When they are in recovery and acting in a way to challenge a stigma they are not with them.

“People with mental illness can and do recover. It is contrary to what we all learned in graduate school, which is ‘once a schizophrenic always a schizophrenic.’ The long term follow up research suggests that 2/3 of people with intense schizophrenia can live successful lives; perhaps half of them will need job coaches or housing coaches for much of their life, but still people when they receive reasonable accommodation live pretty well with schizophrenia.”

Social Justice Challenge

The social cost of stigma associated with mental illness is high, because it translates into huge numbers of people with treatable mental illness not getting help. In Martin’s research, 45% of people said that if they had a mental illness they would not take medication for it, even though they believe that the medication would work. They are not worried about side effects. “They are worried that if they do take medication that someone is going to find out and then they will have to suffer the consequences, including the disruptions of marital relationships and work productivity,” says Martin.

Is a society without debilitating mental illness out of reach? It turns out it is not. There is a pilot program in Norway, being led by Thomas McGlashan, director of the Yale Psychiatric Institute that reportedly has been so successful that people with schizophrenia are not living on the streets. The key seems to be eliminating stigma. When stigma is reduced and people feel safe coming out they get treated at the early onset of the illness, which greatly improves their outcomes. The destigmatization campaign includes the education of students, primary care physicians and the general public.

So it is possible. The Norway experience shows us that when stigma is substantially eliminated and a supportive health care system is in place, the rights of people with mental illness are protected. When their rights are protected, people with mental illness can experience the full benefit of the progress that has been made in treatment without constraining their potential to contribute to our society.

Will the stereotypes of “psycho” and “loco” ever totally go away? Probably not. But we can reduce the impact of stigma and bring people to life-restoring treatment. Everyone wins when people with mental illness are not just tolerated but appreciated for who they are and can be full participants in society.

1 Surgeon General’s Report on Mental Health, 1999.

The Common Cold and Respiratory Allergies: Natural Methods for Prevention and Treatment

Although colds are more common in the fall and winter, and allergies in the spring and fall, one’s vulnerability to either remains all year long––dependent on the body"s state of health. This article addresses how to prevent, and how to respond to provide quick relief to either a cold or allergies.

Generally, recovery from a cold or allergies is uncomplicated, but occasionally they may linger, and in all instances experiencing them is disruptive and draining. Symptoms that present may indicate a compromised immune system resulting in a vulnerability to pathogenic factors or a hyper sensitivity to environmental factors (allergens) that trigger allergic responses. Building and maintaining a healthy system are core elements for prevention.

Prevention:

Minimizing exposure to pathogens & allergens can be important. Still, keeping your body clean, strong, and free of toxins will strengthen your immune system, deprive pathogens of an environment to live in, and reduce/eliminate inflammation of sinus and respiratory tissue thus enabling you to avoid threats of a potential cold and allergies. Do this by eating pure whole foods that supply nutrients, rest, and exercise regularly. Eliminate offenders from your diet-anything that causes excesses (i.e., phlegm, mucus, or toxic slurries). Regular fasts/cleanses aid in maintaining your body"s balance by removing excesses, keeping your elimination organs clear, facilitating tissue regeneration, and promoting overall rejuvenation.

  • Rest and sleep are crucial to maintaining general health and immunity. When a cold or allergies threaten, rest; allow your body"s energy to focus on healing.
  • Limit your consumption of pathogenic foods. These include sugars, processed foods (pastries, carbohydrates, bottled drinks, etc.). Limit your consumption of dairy, oils, grains, coffee, and alcohol. If your body is congested it may be overburdened and unable to successfully eliminate toxins, exhibiting cold-like symptoms and activating allergic reactions.
  • Drink fresh raw “live” juice. Juicing will rebuild and maintain immunity and health. Live juice (primarily vegetable) is the purest natural source of 100% assimilable nutrients. Live juice requires minimal digestion and deeply nourishes, hydrates, and facilitates detoxification.
  • Eat a variety of fresh vegetables, raw and cooked. These will provide, along with crucial nutrients, fiber/bulk, which is crucial for eliminating waste material. Slightly cooked foods will warm you and are easier to digest. These are beneficial during the cold times of the year––especially for people who are sensitive to cold temperature or who have sluggish digestion.
  • Keep yourself warm. Protect yourself from wind and cold (in Chinese medicine “external wind” designates the invasion of pathogens normally associated with an acute common cold). If you feel chilly, cover up. In the summer over-exposure to sun and heat can also lead to experiencing symptoms.
  • Exercise regularly. Aerobic/cardiovascular exercise 3-5 times a week is essential for a healthy immune system. Exercise balances your mind, body, and spirit. Exercise increases your body’s temperature and metabolic rate, encourages deep breathing, oxygenates and nourishes cells, facilitates cleansing and detoxification through respiration and perspiration, increases peristalsis, stimulates blood and lymph circulation, aids cellular detoxification and regeneration, and contributes to hormonal balance. Stretching exercises (yoga, the five Tibetan rites, and others) are equally valuable to maintaining health and body/mind balance, for healthy skin, toned organs, and emotional balance. Stretching greatly reduces injuries/pain associated with repeated motion activities, work, or bad posture.
  • Practice Qi Gong, an ancient Asian form of movement for energy flow. Qi Gong will strengthen the Wei Qi (protective Qi). This protocol, while difficult to describe in a single paragraph, involves conscious deep breathing to move the Yang and strengthen the Qi of the lungs. Here is an abbreviated form, which you can perform either standing with knees slightly bent, or sitting up straight without back support: Place your tongue on the roof of your mouth, inhale through your nose, count to nine for the entire inhalation while drawing your breath down into your lower abdomen––into the perineal cavity. Hold your breath for the count of nine. Exhale through your mouth with your tongue relaxed, again counting to nine during the exhalation. As you exhale, make a face as though you are about to sneeze, and make a soft “SSSAYY.” This exercise should be done one or more times daily for a minimum of 10 minutes each time to achieve healing results.
  • Practice daily dry brushing your skin. This massage will strengthen your immune system and bring the defensive Qi to the surface to combat pathogens and reduce sensitivity to allergens.
  • End your shower with a cold-water rinse to strengthen immunity and close the pores of the skin.
  • Eliminate or mitigate stress. This is critical. Stress compromises immunity: it locks you into a “sympathetic" response mode, shutting down your regenerative and immune strengthening systems and making you prone to disease. It is scientifically documented that joy and happiness contribute to good health and wellness.
  • Consider regular acupuncture treatment and the use of herbal formulas. These can effectively increase immunity, move stagnant Qi, stimulate antibody production, and revitalize deficiencies.
  • Help balance your PH by drinking 1/4 to 1/2 lemon or lime juice in a glass of warm, filtered water. Do this at least twice daily to maintain internal strength, clear congestion (mucus, phlegm), provide essential alkalinizing vitamins and minerals to your body’s PH, and to aid detoxification of your entire body––especially your liver.  
  • Maintain body/mind/spirit balance. Consider a form of meditation. Be conscious of both physical and mental tensions such as over-exercising, overwork, exposure to extremes of cold or heat, and chronic emotional stress.

Despite your use of preventative methods, you may occasionally experience cold and flu symptoms or allergies. When your body is clean and free of excesses these symptoms will quickly pass, decreasing in frequency and intensity as you progress on your path of health.

If cold or allergy symptoms manifest as body and neck aches, nasal drip or congestion, cough, itchy eyes, etc., the following steps to arrest deeper penetration and congestion, and to facilitate healing, can be very effective.

Treating the Common Cold-Wind Invasion (An Oriental/Natural Medicine Approach):

In Oriental Medicine the common cold is called Wind Invasion––a pernicious evil that penetrates the protective Qi. Exogenous factors characterized as cold, heat, dampness, dryness, phlegm, etc. contribute to Wind Invasion. (The Traditional Chinese Medicine system below examines Cold, Heat, and Damp Wind Invasion patterns.)  The acute phase of allergies is also viewed in Chinese Medicine as a Wind invasion, the symptoms that present being more of a Wind heat and/or combined with damp.

To combat most types of Wind Invasion, sweating is important. When your body’s vital energy elevates its temperature, perspiration expels toxins through your pores. A fever increases metabolism, creates an inhospitable environment for pathogens (pathogens are denatured/killed off due to higher temperatures), and burns off congesting materials in your body. Therefore, specific nutrition, acupuncture, and herbal therapies may be used to encourage sweating, unless you are already sweating profusely with a high fever (Caveat: if your body"s temperature is high and sustained, different therapies are advised––consult with your natural health practitioner as soon as possible).

Depriving pathogens of their energy sources (primarily sugars) while encouraging elimination can effectively halt the progress of a cold and allergies. Reducing your diet to liquids (filtered water, live juice, broth, organic teas, light soups) refocuses the energy normally used for digestion toward the present healing crisis. Eat lightly and/or juice fast until symptoms abate.

Likewise, when you feel a cold coming on, lessen your activities to conserve your body’s energy and to redirect it toward healing. However, unless you are feeling extremely weak, continue gentle exercises such as walking and stretching to maintain circulation and oxygenation.

In all cases, the therapies and strategies mentioned above must be applied as early as possible––preferably at the very onset of symptoms––to avert dis-ease, and to accelerate recovery. If not addressed early, a cold can deplete your energy, magnify symptoms, and make healing more challenging.

Wind Invasion Patterns

Wind Cold:

Wind Cold symptoms generally manifest during cooler weather when exposure to cold temperature is common. A cold wind can penetrates the superficial skin layer, move deep into the body, and activate the body’s defense system. Individuals with weakened immune systems are the most vulnerable to these conditions. Common symptoms of Wind Cold may include: chills, with perhaps a mild fever; head, neck, and body aches; general malaise; sneezing; an aversion to cold and wind; clear nasal discharge.

  • Fresh ginger root is invaluable during a Wind Cold episode. Ginger root relieves digestive disorders, warms the body, eases nausea, and expels pathogens. Slice the root into 1/8-inch-thick slices, 7-10 slices per 1-2 quarts of water, bring to a boil and immediately turn down and simmer for 20 minutes. During the final 5 minutes of simmering, add any, or a combination of no more than 3, of the following ingredients: fresh green onions, cilantro, basil, garlic, cinnamon, licorice root, or parsnip. Drink as much of the tea as possible to warm your body, increase metabolism, and initiate detoxification through sweating. (Image Credit-Google Images)
  • Add ginger and/or garlic to freshly pressed vegetable juice or include in your food. Both are warming and have antimicrobial properties.
  • A hot bath or dry sauna can be beneficial; warming the body will induce sweating. (Drink ample fluids during and after sweating.)
  • Warm-foot therapy before bed can be beneficial. Soak a pair of socks briefly in warm water, wring them out, and put on your feet. Cover the wet socks with a dry pair, lie down, and prepare to sweat.

Chinese herbal formulas can be very effective in arresting the onset of a cold and in accelerating recovery. Each Chinese formula is made specific to the manifesting symptoms.

A Chinese herbal formula for Wind Cold could include Xin Yi San, Ge Gen Gang, Gui Zhi Tang, Ma Huang Tang, or Chuan Xiong Cha Tiao San.

Wind Heat:

Common Wind Heat symptoms include high fever alternating with chills, sweating, sore throat, body aches, red itchy eyes, a productive cough, thick nasal congestion, and an aversion to the elements. When experiencing a fever, take only cooling herbs and food.

  • Drink plenty of fluids: fresh juices, herbal teas, lemon water.
  • Drink herbal tea that includes 1-3 of the following: peppermint or spearmint, cilantro, honeysuckle flowers, chrysanthemum flowers (especially if you have red, itchy eyes), burdock root, licorice root, dandelion greens or root.
  • Drink cabbage broth.
  • If coughing, poach or juice 1 pear or apple.
  • Drink cooling and detoxifying leafy-green juices containing the following: dandelion, parsley, cilantro, cabbage (combine these with any of the herbs listed above).

A Chinese herbal formula for Wind Heat could include Gan Mao Ling, Yin Qiao San, Sang Ju Yin, Cang Er Zi San, Bi Yan Pian.

Wind Damp:

Dampness is a tenacious pathogenic factor that, typically, is a pre-existing condition exacerbated by a moist environment. When cold-like symptoms appear suddenly, accompanied by excessive mucus, this is referred to as Wind Damp.

Two different etiologies create a damp constitution in individuals. The first involves a compromised digestive system; some systems are unable to separate and eliminate turbid fluids from healthy fluids. Turbid fluids (dampness) are pathological and accumulate in tissue. Over time they can manifest as edema, or excessive phlegm and mucus.

The second causative factor of dampness involves overeating. Specifically it involves the consumption of greasy and/or processed foods (carbohydrates, refined sugars, canned foods, etc.). These foods cause elevated glucose levels, impede digestion causing stagnation, and produce dampness. Traditionally this phenomenon manifested in entitled societies. It was exclusive to those who lived the “good life" and ate rich, heavy foods––often to excess. However, in the more affluent western world there is generally no shortage of food. Paradoxically, in this society of plenitude there is often a shortage of time to prepare nutritious foods and, consequently, there is an abundance of nutritional-deficit fast foods. The nutritional challenge, therefore, is to eat natural whole foods in appropriate quantities to avoid Wind Damp.

Excessive dampness or phlegm generally exists in an environment where bacteria, virus, yeast, and fungus can thrive. Dampness sets the stage for pathological conditions: inflammation, digestive disorders, elevated glucose levels, depression and psychological imbalances. If untreated, these conditions can advance to degenerative and possibly fatal diseases such as obstruction of the cardiovascular system, buildup of masses, and the general impediment of normal organ functions. Addressing excessive dampness and phlegm in a timely manner is imperative for a healthy, productive lifestyle.

When the common cold (Wind Invasion) manifests as Wind Damp, it is often combined with other wind pathologies: Wind Heat or Wind Cold. However, Wind Damp can exist separately. Whether combined or separate, dampness symptoms are characterized by heaviness in the head and body causing pain and/or lethargy, sinus type headaches, cough, nasal drip or congestion, and abundant mucus production. Clear mucus indicates Wind Cold, while thick, yellow mucus indicates Wind Heat. (If mucus is green, this is a sign of extreme heat, a serious imbalance, and consulting with a health professional is recommended.)

It is not uncommon to see Wind Damp manifest at the tail end of Wind Cold or Wind Heat symptoms. Wind Damp"s cloying, sticky nature can prolong and exacerbate the common cold. When a health crisis involves dampness, it is important to address it quickly. For Wind Damp use the following:

  • Drink plenty of fluids: peppermint, chamomile, lemon water, and/or ginger tea.
  • Drink raw fresh juices that include dandelion, spinach, romaine lettuce, carrot, ginger, and, importantly, daikon and red radish.
  • Exclude or limit dampening or mucus-forming foods such as dairy, eggs, sugars, meat, oil, and processed foods.
  • Include an abundance of green leafy vegetables, lettuce, celery, turnips, asparagus, and radishes.
  • Eat mung or aduki beans, especially in soup.

A Chinese herbal formula for Wind Damp could include Er Chen Tang, Ren Shen Bai Du San, Xiao Feng San, or Bei Mu Gua Lou San.

 

Herbal Formulas: 

Having cold-prevention herbal formulas on hand––and taking them at the first sign of dis-ease––is very effective in averting the common cold and in facilitating a quick recovery. Seeing an acupuncturist for treatment and herbs can aid recuperation tremendously, allowing you to quickly return to your normal active life. 

You can order Chinese herbal formulas for adults, children, or infants from Alfred Pomerleau, a licensed acupuncturist and Chinese herbalist in private practice in Santa Barbara, California. All formulas are specifically blended to address the various symptoms that manifest as the common cold. With the formula you will receive an instruction guide to use according to your presenting symptoms.

CAUTION: Although the formulas listed in each category can be used, it is only with very specific symptoms presenting and should only be used with appropriate knowledge of their function.

Addressing constitutional imbalances with whole-food nutrition and juicing promotes vitality and prevents or mitigates the common cold. More important, regulated nutrition and juicing promote healthy living and wellness.

The Cookie Diet… Really?

In the last few years, I"ve noticed that more people are beginning to embrace the idea that weight loss involves making healthy food choices and lifestyle changes. This comes as welcome news to myself and all of the other dietitians out there who have been trying to promote that very idea for years. But then, another fad diet emerges which starts to cast doubt, and those who have been trying to escape the dieting mentality once and for all begin to wonder if this new plan may just be the one that finally works…..enter the Cookie Diet!

The Cookie Diet is not a new diet or new concept for that matter, but lately it"s been getting some attention. It was originally created in 1975 by Dr. Sanford S, a Miami physician who made this diet available to his patients for many years.

The diet premise is fairly straightforward and simple: Eat one low calorie meal a day and 6 pre-packaged cookies purchased at the doctors office for a cost of approximately $56 per week. The cookies have added protein and fiber. People on the Cookie Diet are also supposed to take supplemental vitamins and minerals to prevent any nutritional inadequacies.

Several years ago the website, www.CookieDiet.com was launched. The website was a huge success and then the “cookies" started to become available in stores like GNC or Walgreens. Other “cookie diets" with similar products have now emerged. Throw in a few celebrity endorsements and you have another fad diet on the rise.

The popularity of this or any quick fix diet is not surprising. With the promise of minimal effort and great results, who wouldn"t want lose weight by eating cookies? After all, cookies are generally a forbidden food in most weight loss diet plans.

But now for the reality check. The low calorie meal prescribed (fish or skinless chicken with a vegetable) plus the 6 cookies are going to provide 1000 calories or less per day. Can the average person lose weight that way? Of course! Can the average person be healthfully sustained on a diet of 1000 calories or less a day? No. Quick weight loss on very low calorie diets can be unsafe and cause other health problems such as electrolyte imbalances or gallstones.

Weight loss plans that center around a specific food or supplement are hard to stay on for any length of time. Even if the cookies taste really good, most people will quickly tire of eating the same food day after day. When the diet has been abandoned (like its predecessors), what has the dieter learned about making meaningful behavioral change to help them maintain a healthy weight? Probably not very much.

Unfortunately, fad diets do little more than misinform the public and keep the dieting mentality alive. Here are a few pointers to help you spot and avoid the fad diets that are long on promises but short on results:

  • Eating plans that suggest elimination of entire groups of foods or elimination of many foods
  • Eating plans that are too regimented or have too many “rules"
  • Diet plans that emphasize supplements or products that take the place of food
  • Eating plans that restrict calories below basal metabolic needs (usually less that 1200 calories per day)

There are no quick fixes for people who are trying to lose weight. It takes time, it takes diligence, and it requires change in behaviors that eventually emerge into positive eating and lifestyle habits. Eat well, be well and enjoy a variety of healthy foods!

Got Cigarettes? Hypnosis To The Rescue!

Within 24 hours of your last cigarette your chances of a heart attack decreases. Within 72 hours your bronchial tubes relax, making breathing easier and your lung capacity increases. Soon after, in the next two weeks to two months your circulation improves so that walking and exercising becomes easier. You increase your lung function up to 30%!

Your body is an amazing healer. Every day you are cigarette free you become symptom free. Coughing, sinus congestion, fatigue, shortness of breath all decrease and subside. Cilia re-grows in lungs, increasing ability to handle mucous, clean the lungs and reduce infection. Your energy level increases steadily.

Most smokers hate the habit, hate the smell, and are embarrassed by how others react to them. They know the cancer statistics. You would think that is enough to make someone stop. For most smokers it isn"t that easy. This insidious habit actually has many components to it. The approach used to stop smoking with the help of hypnosis varies depending upon the type of smoker you are.

The first type of smoker is the one that started because all their friends were doing it. It became a habit as they associated smoking with all aspects of their daily routine. They smoke purely because it is habit. Quitting is pretty easy for them. Through hypnosis, they release cigarettes from their daily routine and create new rituals. They don’t miss the smoking and any withdrawal symptoms are minor and tolerable.

The second type of smoker is the one who grew up with it. Parents are smokers, as well as friends and siblings. They may have been exposed to smoke all of their life. They smoke because it is a part of what they know and it becomes part of who they are. They have seen family members struggle with smoking and even die from cancer or emphysema. Quitting can be challenging if the people they live with smoke or family members smoke. They risk others trying to sabotage them back into the habit. On the bright side when these smokers are motivated to quit, nothing will stop them. They have to release the ‘friend’ that the cigarette has become. Luckily smoker relatives and friends tend to be very respectful of those that choose to quit. If this smoker believes they will suffer from withdrawal symptoms, they usually will. However, that can be minimized or eliminated with hypnosis.

The third type of smoker is the one who smokes because they think it relaxes them. Often times they are high strung and suffer from some anxiety. The reality is that there is not one chemical in a cigarette that is a relaxant. The chemicals constrict blood vessels and make the heart work harder. What they really need to do is to ‘get away from it all’ which is what they do when they take a smoking break. They also use cigarettes as a reward for completing tasks. The fix is easy. They continue to take their breaks, but use replacement relaxation techniques. They get replacement rewards too for a job well done. Hypnosis reduces stress which helps makes the transition to non smoking smooth.

The fourth type of smoker is the addict who has been involved with drugs as well as smoking. Typically they have a family history of addiction. Usually they beat the drug habit and keep the smoking habit because it “isn’t as bad”. It is the last hold out of their addictive behavior, but eventually they realize they need to quit. This type of smoker does well with hypnosis but needs replacements for the habit. They sip on water to replace the oral habit. They use a finger rub/release for something to do with their hands. They learn how to breathe deeply, as smokers usually tend to have shallow breathing. They expect to withdraw, but are usually pleasantly surprised to find that they tolerate it pretty well. A piece of cake, when they use hypnosis, compared to withdrawal from drugs and rehab.

When my clients come in for a session I ask if they think they will have withdrawal symptoms (anxiety, irritability, urges). I did a study with my clients over a period of a few years. The clients who said yes, did have symptoms. The ones who answered no, didn’t have any symptoms at all! So to solve the problem, I have them experience the symptoms they believe they will suffer from during the hypnosis session. Because the mind does not differentiate between what is real or imagined, they experience the symptoms and then let them go. They know then that the symptoms are manageable and in most cases they are eliminated completely.

The habit of smoking is a subconscious habit attached to the daily routine, attached to socialization, and to emotions like an old friend. It makes sense to go to the subconscious mind to quit the habit. In 85% to 90% of the cases, people can stop in just one hypnosis session. A reinforcement CD makes it even more powerful and many people are delighted with how easy it is to quit!

© 2011, Hypnosis Concepts. Publication rights granted so long as article and byline are reprinted intact, with all links made live.

Depression and Anxiety…Too Costly for Employers to Ignore

Known for his balanced, engaging personality, Jackson seems to handle everything that comes his way without any undue stress. When Jackson started to have difficulty sleeping, a loss of appetite and difficulty concentrating, no one knew what to make of it, but the last thing they suspected was depression. Unfortunately, Jackson was not treated for his depression until he had suffered needlessly and his department lost many of the gains that they had attained under his leadership.

Prevalence of Depression and Anxiety

Jackson’s story is not atypical in today’s workplace. In fact, mental health issues related to anxiety and depression are so prevalent that they should be considered more critical concerns than work-related injuries such as carpal tunnel and back strain or health issues such as asthma and diabetes, which are more commonly on the radar screen of employers, according to Alan M. Langlieb, MD, MPH, MBA. Langlieb who has recently co-authored a study, How Much Does Quality Mental Health Care Profit Employers?[1] has been investigating workforce and mental health issues for the last 30 years. It is Langlieb’s passionate hope that more employers will come to understand that screening their employees for depression and anxiety along with providing high quality treatment is a proactive measure that translates to profits on the bottom line.

Statistical data about the prevalence of depression and anxiety among Americans is alarming. A recent study by the National Institute of Mental Health estimates that 1 in 20 American adults will be depressed in any given year.[2] The World Health Organization predicts that major depression will be the second leading cause of disability by the year 2020.2 Depression has been estimated to affect 18.8 million Americans each year.[3] Anxiety has been estimated to affect 29% of Americans in their lifetime.[4] Depression and anxiety cross all social strata and all organization levels. Employers can safely assume that the experience of the general population with depression and anxiety will apply to their organizations, and therefore is something they shouldn’t ignore.

High Cost to Employers

How much does failing to pay attention to depression and anxiety in the workforce cost employers? A 1998 study of more than 46,000 employees by the Health Enhancement Research Organization (HERO) estimated that each employee with depression generated $3189 annually in health care costs, compared with $1679 annually for nondepressed employees. If the depressed employees also were under high stress, then the costs skyrocketed and 147% more was spent on health care costs for those employees than on those with depression alone.[5] Clearly, the cost associated with treating these illnesses is significant.

So what dollar savings can employers expect to realize if they treat their employees with depression and anxiety beyond having a healthier workforce? Langlieb suggests that “if you look at the savings, in terms of increased time at work, less time out on disability, improved productivity and some of the other indirect measures of job satisfaction, it is quite evident that the savings outweigh the costs. Obviously there is a cost to treat and provide quality care, but the savings more than pay for themselves.”

It has been estimated that United States employers spend $33 billion per year as a result of work and productivity loss from depression.[6] The cost of treating depression is only $1 out of $4—with $3 dollars resulting from lost productivity, earnings and workdays. A recent study compared the cost of lost earnings from employees with depression with the cost of treating employees with depression and concluded that the cost of treatment for depression was fully offset by the savings from the reduction of lost workdays alone. When measured in regained earnings, depression treatment actually provided a net annual profit of $877 per patient.[7] Says Langlieb, “So when you factor in the number of days depressed people stay out of work, and the fact that when they are at work they are not functioning up to speed, there is an enormous cost to the organization.”

Opportunities for Social Workers

These data make a compelling argument that every organization should both screen and identify depressed and anxious employees and provide quality treatment from a professional. By doing so, the organization will be supporting the health of its employees, improving productivity and generating profit that goes to the bottom line.

Understanding the value of treating depressed and anxious employees in the general workforce creates important opportunities for social workers. Social workers have a critical role in getting the word out about the prevalence of depression and anxiety in the workforce as well as the benefits of treatment. Social workers also have a role to play in developing and administering screening tools for employees in the workplace and participating in the treatment of these employees.

Best Practices in Organizations

Langlieb suggests that there are many organizations that are doing a better and better job addressing mental health issues, including depression and anxiety. Activities that these organizations have found helpful, include: holding mental health awareness days; making employee assistance programs available to do some initial evaluations on site; accessing on-line resources to support the organization becoming better educated on these issues; employing screening tools that can be done at an office desk. All of these activities are feasible without excessive effort and with only minimal cost. They help break down barriers resulting from stigma and create a culture where employees feel comfortable coming forward to identify a fellow worker who may be suffering from depression or anxiety.

Depression and anxiety are facts of life for a significant percent of the workforce in America. The good news is that these mental health problems do not need to be devastating for either the individual or the organization. Early identification and quality treatment of depression and anxiety turn out to be a win-win–cost effective for the organization and supportive of the employee’s mental health.

[1] Langlieb A M, Kahn JP. How much does quality mental health care profit employers? Journal of Occupational and Environmental Medicine. 2005; 47: 1099-1109.

[2] Depression can break your heart. NIMH 2001. Available at: www.nimh.nih.gov/publicat/heartbreak.cfrm#5; Internet accessed July 7, 2005.

[3] Depression. NIMH 2004. Available at http://www.nimh.nih.gov.publicat/depression.cfm; Internet; accessed July 7, 2005.

[4] Kessler RC, Berglund P, Demler O, Jin R, Walters EE. Lifetime prevalence and age-of-onset distributions of DSM-IV disorders in the National Comorbidity Survey Replication. Arch Gen Psychiatry. 2005; 62: 593-602.

[5] Goetzel RZ, Ozminkowski RJ, Sederer LI, Mark TL. The business case for quality mental health services: why employers should care about the mental health and well-being of their employees. J Occup Environ Med. 2002;44:320-330.

[6] Greenberg PE, Kessler RC, Nells TL, Finkelstein SN, Berndt ER. Depression in the workplace: an economic perspective. In: Feighner JP, Boyer WF, eds. Selective Serotonin Re-uptake Inhibitors: Advances in Basic Research and Clinical Practice. New York: Wiley & Sons; 1996:327-363.

[7] Zhang M, Rost KM, Fortney JC. Earnings changes for depressed individuals treated by mental health specialists. Am J Psychiatry. 1999; 156:108-114.

Miracles of the Heart

The heart is truly an organ of emotional passion and is influencing your daily life decisions, including the management of family, work, and community life. In today’s times, the economy and environment have shaken the foundation of this trinity. The American dream of peace and freedom comes with a toll in finding a balance between these daily living issues. Most importantly are the children and their sensitivity to home and community. Because of current trends, children are losing a stable home environment and a supportive environment to live out their childhood dreams. The foundation of the American dream starts with children. If they hold no dream due to a lack of stability, America becomes pressured to care for emotionally injured children. Day-to-day life becomes a challenge for these traumatized children, especially as they become adults and are required to participate within worldly standards. Their hearts and minds, out of the passion to belong, will seek answers, not always knowing where to go since the conscious mind is clouded by the uncertainty of the emotion they feel and what their family dynamic is suggesting.

What can you or anyone do today to participate with the trinity of home, family and community? First, it’s important to recognize the nature of consciousness within yourself and how the miracle of the mind plays a role in personal choice compared to what society thinks you should do. In some cases, if you cannot meet societal roles for family, work, and community life it can be viewed as resistant behavior and can leave one feeling ashamed and guilty. If pressure is pushed on this issue, then you or a traumatized adult may feel a sense of entitlement to be cared for since you cannot meet the standards. If pressure increases, then the trigger of fight-or-flight becomes dominant. During these times of emotional outburst, you or the adult child can hurt those who are closest to you. However, not participating with the family dynamic is the most damaging thing you can do for the sake of yourself and the family, for the miracle to explore is the family dynamic and your role in it.

Miracles of the Heart—the Kala Chakra
Emotions can often dominate the mind and what you think is the right thing to do. The key to survival of a family and community is for individuals and parents to take care of their emotional needs first and then the children. The mind is a tool and can calm the weary heart and emotional nature. When the mind links with the nature of consciousness, you begin to recognize how what you think plays a large role in how emotions stay at a peaceful, constructive nature.

Meditation, guided imagery, and bio-energetic living (the relationship between humanity and nature) are wonderful tools for utilizing the mind and energetic states of the body and emotion. The brain is constantly being charged with electrical and magnetic frequencies and sending multiple signals to the emotions based on your thoughts. Thoughts that trigger positive emotion can simply be associated with nature’s basic need to survive. This could include quality of food, a clean water supply, a restful and clean environment, clean clothing, recognizing natural talents and resources, a spiritually supportive environment of no judgment, and a support group willing to listen to your needs and express the joy of living between each other. The subconscious, much like the child in each of us, demands these basic needs. It does not understand negative intention because the subconscious only responds to positive action. Americans today have had the freedom to choose the life they wish to live since the foundations of America have been set down, including our consumer values portrayed in the media. As lifestyle changes begin to take place due to economic and environmental demands, you will resort back to the basics of a sustainable lifestyle. This transition can challenge the ego and can initiate you into a challenge based on your perception of entitlement. Developing a relationship between your conscious mind and nature will lay down the foundation to a miraculous vision of a golden era in America today.

Transition is the Miracle of Life
The key to managing transition times is accomplished by balancing the master glands at the center of the brain. The glands include the pineal, pituitary, and hypothalamus (the emotional seat). The higher glands are sensitive to light, color, smell, sound, touch, and energetic frequencies influencing brain activity. Focusing on the elements of nature to balance the higher glands will in turn balance the heart to harmonize emotion. This is an ancient art form within many cultures and religions. It can be recognized within the golden eras of ancient Egypt, Greece, and India. The higher glands are the keepers of homeostasis. When you receive the proper rest, right eating, and exposure to full spectrum light, practice meditation, prayer, positive thinking and speaking, yoga, acupuncture, and partaking of flower elixirs, the higher glands, as well as the heart, are harmonized. When the heart is harmonized, you begin to experience the miracle of soul awareness recognizing the vital resources you have to develop and share from within. This is the essential essence of giving and receiving to meet your needs.

The higher glands, when harmonized with nature, give clarity to the conscious mind. Never suppress the conscious mind, for it is your inherited right to know your true self. This in itself is a miracle of spiritual knowing and offers great contentment and joy to living. If clarity is lost, there is a natural instinct to restore the conscious mind. In this effort you may become excessive in using alcohol, drugs, food, overworking, and even over-caring those close to you because the consumer market feeds on our lack of consciousness. Excessive behavior may give partial balance, most often not lasting. This trigger may include playing out emotional patterns to justify one’s lack of clarity and inability to make healthy decisions. It’s important to remember that in achieving clarity of consciousness, this is a lost teaching of humanity’s miraculous relationship to nature, and it will need to be learned again.

Throughout time, the knowledge of humanity’s relationship to nature was handed down through communication within the family structure, addressing religion, medicine, stories, and art forms. It’s important not to be judgmental of yourself while establishing this knowledge in your life once again. It does take a conscious effort to reestablish this relationship and it is important to connect with support groups and teachings focused on

New Year"s Resolution—Be Positive
Research has suggested that 80 percent of our thoughts are negative. The balance of keeping a harmonious spirit is to stay within your means while feeling the demands of a consumer culture, especially with children. Shift your mind imagery when feeling guilt or judgment of yourself and others because we feel we haven’t achieved enough for the family. This is a perfect time to explore natural talents and look at various ways to give and receive in an effort to achieve your goal for balanced living. Giving to the family is achieved through day-to-day activities and holds the miracle of love in our hearts in the action of this effort.