Category Archives: Health Tips & Tricks

Psorasis…Immune System Malfunction

Psorasis seems to be a growing epidemic as we are seeing more clients in our clinic with symptoms of this skin disorder.  Some say that psorasis is hereditary, however; a study was done that showed more often than heredity, an immune system malfunction was the culprit.

A huge misconception about psorasis is that it is contagious…it is NOT contagious.  You can’t get psorasis from touching another person that has it.

If you notice that you are experiencing some signs and symptoms like an excessive amount of skin sloughing (old skin coming off) or scaly rashes on your scalp, knees, elbows, hands, or feet, you will definitely want to take action to resolve the issue right away.

When the immune system is out of balance and not functioning correctly, there is even more stress on the body.  CalmZyme is a great natural way to help reduce stress.

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And, we always recommend meditating to get relaxed and connect to your higher source, God.  We have some great meditations to get you started.

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In addition, to relieving stress in the body, there are other things you can also do to minimize the itching and inflammation as well as to repair the skin:

  • tea tree oil will help with itching
  • jojoba oil with peppermint essential oil drops it great for the scalp
  • minerals play a vital role in repairing the skin tissues – buy here
  • Gotu kola has anti-inflammatory properties and will help to normalize nerve tissue

If you’ve had some success with other natural therapies, please feel free to post them below.

Migraine Management

Nobody enjoys having headaches, but migraines are just down right unbearable. What most people don’t understand (well, those that have never suffered from a migraine) is that a migraine doesn’t just affect the head…it affects the whole body.

Migraines affect over 10% of the American population…that’s 1 in 4 households that has someone that suffers from migraines. That’s crazy! And, what I found absolutely shocking is that children 12 years and younger are experiencing migraines!

It is evident that migraine management and prevention is necessary. Here are some things you can do:

  • Pay attention to the foods that trigger a migraine…food allergies are the biggest migraine triggers.  If you get migraines often, keep a food diary and make note when a migraine starts.  Then after the migraine passes, look and see you can find patterns between the foods you eat and drink and the migraines.  You may be surprised at what you find.
  • When the first signs of migraine start, immediately start taking action…do not wait until it is so bad that you can’t function.  One of the things you can do is to put your feet into a hot tub of water and place a bag of frozen peas at the base of your neck.  This will dilate the blood vessels in the feet, pulling the blood from the head, thus reducing throbbing and pain.
  • Making sure to keep your bowels cleansed will also help to prevent migraines.  You can even manage a migraine by taking a coffee enema at onset of the migraine.  This will clear the bowels, stimulate the liver, normalize bile activity, and relieve vomiting.
  • Feverfew extract caps and magnesium are known to help reduce pain.
  • CalmZyme and Vitamin B Stress caps are great for relaxing the body and keeping you calm during the crisis of a migraine.

If you suffer from migraines, post below how you personally manage them.  Since everybody is different and has different experiences, I think this is a great place to share as much information as possible.  If something works for you, it may just work for someone else that is suffering.

Salves for Sunburns

It’s Summertime and with it comes fun in the sun.  While you may take many precautions to not get sunburned, it is inevitable that at some point you will find yourself in a situation and get a little more sun than you anticipated.  Of course, there are those of you that go out purposefully and bake, I mean tan (I’m guilty of doing that, too).  As much as I love to sunbathe, I realize that it isn’t good for my skin or my health.

Anyway, prevention is the key.  However, should you find yourself sunburned and needing relief, here are some salves that will give you some relief:

Grate apples and apply them to burned eyelids to get fast relief.
Apply a compress of either yogurt, black tea, oatmeal or apple cider vinegar to the sunburned areas.
Speed healing of sunburned skin with Jason’s Witch Vera Gel. Apply to sunburned area(s).

You’ll want to be sure to avoid alcohol while sunburned as it dehydrates the body even more.  In fact, drink a supplemental drink with electrolytes to help replace fluids in the skin and the body.

Here are a couple of tips for protecting your skin from the inside out:

  • Take alpha lipoic acid daily to protect against oxidative damage.
  • Be sure you have plenty of carotene A, vitamin C, E and B complex stored in the tissues as it protects the skin and reduces the risk of it being damaged by the sun.
  • Take zinc daily and apply zinc oxide cream to your face and skin.

Pay attention to your body and to the time of day that you are spending in the sun.  Try to make your outdoor activities early in the morning or late in the afternoon to avoid the most intense heat of the sun.

Have a great summer! =)

Diet and Lifestyle Support for Diabetics

There are two types of diabetes, which are brought on by different circumstances and health situations.  Whether a person is a Type 1 Diabetic or a Type 2 Diabetic, diet and lifestyle changes for the better can improve quality of life for the sufferer.

When talking about diet and diabetes the most obvious thing is eliminate sugar, and anything that turns to sugar (like alcohol and carbs), from the diet.  But, another big factor, that is frequently overlooked, is that to keep blood sugar level all day, a diabetic should eat 6 small meals per day.  This is especially true if the diabetic is taking insulin.  Do not skip meals!  Here are a few other diet tips that may be beneficial:

  • Avoid caffeine, cow’s milk, fried foods, fatty foods, sodas, and food coloring.
  • Sugar substitute recommended is stevia…NO phenylalanine, NO Nutra-Sweet, NO Aspartame.  Check diet beverages and diet foods to be sure it doesn’t contain these sweeteners.
  • High fiber is key in improving glucose metabolism.  Check out The Top Fiber-Rich Foods.
  • Chromium-rich foods are also key in controlling how insulin helps the body regulate blood sugar.  Check out The World’s Healthiest Foods for a list of high chromium foods.
  • EFA’s (Essential Fatty Acids) reduce inflammation in the body and can help to lower blood sugar levels.  Eat a green salad with flax oil dressing and eat salmon twice a week.

Lifestyle changes include exercising, of course.  What I didn’t know and found soooo interesting is that for every 200 calories that you burn via exercise insulin resistance drops by 2%!  And…by walking every day at a pace of 3mph it reduces your risk of getting diabetes by 50%!  That’s a lot!!!  Here are a few other things you can do:

  • Get 8 hours of sleep every night…sleep deprivation increases diabetes complications.
  • Hot / Cold showers stimulate the immune system and increases circulation.  Stand in a hot shower (be mindful not to burn yourself…use common sense) for 5 minutes, then turn the water to cold and stand in the cold shower for 5 minutes, and then go back to the hot shower for 5 minutes.  Do this several times a week.
  • Soak in a hot tub of water for 30 minutes every day for 3 weeks…a study showed that doing this lowers blood sugar levels by 13%!
  • Don’t smoke or use nicotine products.

With everything, you have to participate in your own health and well-being.  You have to make a choice to do things differently and live a healthier and happier life. =)

Relax in Your Own Home Spa

You don’t have to go out to an expensive spa to relax and unwind…you can make your own spa at home.  Don’t get me wrong, I love going to a spa and having someone else give me a massage, a facial, a body wrap, and other relaxing treatments, but I don’t always enjoy paying the price.

Think about what it is that you love about the spa…other than somebody else giving you treatments.  Do you love the sounds (music, running water, etc.)?  Do you love the smells (herbs, oils, lotions, tonics, etc.)?  Do you love the lighting?  Do you love the artwork?  Do you love the mood (relaxing, calm, quaint, quiet)?  Do you love the food (teas, light sandwiches, salads, etc.)?  Do you love the feel (soft robe, warmth, comfort, etc.)?  Make a list of these things…most, if not all, of these things can be recreated in your own home to give you the feeling of being in a spa.

Here are some things you will need to get setup:Background

  • a space to give treatments – usually your bathroom is the perfect place…even small bathrooms can be transformed into a soothing space
  • time to yourself – get a babysitter, send your loved one out for the evening with the guys/girls, turn off your cell phone, turn off your house phone, turn off the TV, turn off the computer/laptop/iPad, etc.
  • relaxing music – either get a CD with music you find relaxing or play your favorite playlist from your iPod or even spend time meditating during the treatment phase
  • a small cooler (Igloo lunch box or the like) – this will be what you use to keep hot towels hot  ~~OR~~  an alternative is to put damp towels in a crock pot (this is what we use in our clinic)…NOTE that you would only use the crock pot for spa treatment towels – do not cook in the crock pot that you use for therapy treatments.
  • plastic bowl – a quart-sized plastic bowl is great to hold water, body baths, salts, and other spa ingredients
  • high-quality sheet (natural muslin or pure unbleached cotton) – you’ll use the sheet to wrap your body in when applying herbs, emollient creams and essential oils to your skin…it’s important that you use something that won’t interfere with the absorption of these products into your pores
  • insulating sheet/blanket – the perfect thing to use to keep warm during a body wrap is a thermal foil sheet or space blanket…you can usually find them at Walmart or Academy
  • skin brush / loofah – brushing your skin has many benefits and increases the effects of the spa treatments
  • towels – these are essential to spa treatments to wrap your face or body and wipe up messes…dark green towels are recommended to help hide the stains of muds, clays, seaweed products, and oils OR use some older towels you don’t mind if they get stained
  • robe – spend some money here…you’ll want a very plush, soft, comfortable robe to wear around the house and relax in on your spa days
  • massage oil – if you plan on doing treatments often get a medium sized bottle of oil, otherwise; stick to a smaller bottle as oil will go rancid over time…best oils for treatments are grapeseed, jojoba, and sesame
  • body scrubs – lighter scrubs for faces, medium scrubs for body, and heavier scrubs for feet…you can purchase at a local bath and body store or make your own from salt or sugar (check out our recipe blogs to see what we’ve posted)
  • herbs – these can be in the form of dried, powered, or essential oils
  • seaweeds / muds / clays – choose an organic variety…usually found at health food stores or at cosmetic counters or order online
  • thermometer – to manage your water temperatures for spa treatments
  • cotton pads / swabs – used to apply and remove products to and from the body…get some in different sizes (large and small)

While the list looks a little long…it really isn’t that bad as you probably have some of these items on hand already.  And, none of the items listed above are expensive items.  You should be able to get everything you need (minus your robe) for under $100…and then you’ll be using those items over and over again.

The thing to remember is that the ambiance is really important and sets the stage for your spa day.  Take a little time to clean up and set up your bathroom in advance so that you can truly relax and enjoy the time you are spending with yourself, pampering yourself, loving yourself.

For specifics on how to use the items listed above, check out our Spa Treatment blog.

Motion Sickness Mojo

23491423_sIf you are traveling this summer via air, land, or sea and you get motion sickness, you may not be having as much fun as your family and friends that are traveling with you.  Motion sickness has got to be one of the worst things to experience because once you get it, it is very difficult to get rid of it unless you stop doing whatever it is that caused it (flying, driving, or boating)…and, sometimes it just isn’t that easy.  I know all about this as I, too, suffer from motion sickness.

The main cause of motion sickness is an inner ear imbalance.  However, what I find interesting is that if I’m just riding in a car, looking out the window, I don’t get motion sickness…but, if I try to read or play a game on my iPad, I do get motion sickness.  So, I believe that motion sickness is a combination of inner ear imbalance and vision.  In fact, both the inner ear and the eyes are part of the same system that control balance.

Some signs that you may be suffering from motion sickness are:

  • nausea / vomiting while driving, flying, or boating
  • mood changes from happy to grumpy without cause
  • dizziness
  • heart rate picks up speed
  • loss of appetite while traveling
  • super tired and lethargic 
  • feeling really thirsty / dehydrated

Some things you can do to reduce or eliminate these symptoms are:

  • suck on a lemon or lime
  • smell an orange
  • drink a cup of miso soup with 2 pinches of ginger
  • eat crackers to absorb acids

Some things you can take to prepare your body before a trip:

  • Ginger 4 caps before a trip and 2-4 caps during the trip
  • Ginkgo Biloba extract before and during for inner ear balance
  • Siberian Eleuthero (Siberian Ginseng) extract before and as needed during the trip
  • Vitamin B1 (Thiamine) 500 mg before the trip – acts like Dramamine
  • Vitamin B-complex 100 mg for several weeks before the trip

Because I suffer so badly with motion sickness (particularly car sickness), I keep a box of Bonine in my car.  If at all possible, do the natural remedies first and use Bonine or any other over the counter medication as a last resort.  You’ll most likely get the absolute most sympathy from me on this topic. 😉

Post below what has worked for you…other people who suffer would love to hear any recommendations that they could try.

5 Herbal Compresses to Relieve Back Pain

Did you know that 8 out of 10 people suffer from low back pain at some point during their life?  That’s crazy!  What is even crazier is that $96 million are spent on directly on health care for back pain!!

Back pain can be caused by so many different things including stress, posture, weight, dehydration, blocked arteries, strains when lifting, arthritis or osteoporosis, financial problems, and low levels of calcium.  There are, of course, other causes but these are the main ones that create back problems.

Before you run out and spend a ton of money on doctors, try one (or more) of these 5 herbal compresses to relieve your back pain.  Obviously, if you’ve had an injury that caused the back pain, don’t mess around…consult with your doctor right away to be sure it isn’t something serious.

  1. Castor Oil Pack – Castor Oil has been a well known natural remedy for generations.  Simply apply castor oil directly to area that is bothering you.  Place a clean soft cloth on top of the oil.  Cover the cloth with a piece of plastic wrap.  Apply some type of heat source (i.e. hot water bottle or heating pad) over the pack of oil, cloth, and plastic wrap.  Allow heat to penetrate for 30 minutes to an hour.  Do this for 3 days in a row. 
  2. Tiger Balm Patch – Tiger Balm is a blend of herbal ingredients that are safe and effective for reducing muscle soreness and minor aches and pains.  Apply the patch as directed on the manufacturer’s package.
  3. DMSO with Aloe Gel – DMSO is a powerful antioxidant that fights against free radicals that are found at the site of injury.  Apply as directed on the manufacturer’s package.
  4. B&T Triflora Gel – Commonly used to ease the aches and pains associated with arthritis.  This homeopathic gel is to be used topically to relieve minor aches, pains, and stiffness.  Apply as directed on the manufacturer’s package.
  5. Cayenne-Ginger Heat Pack – Make a compress by soaking a washcloth in a strong herbal tea (click here for the Cayenne-Ginger recipe) and apply it directly to the area that is bothering you.  You’ll want the application to be as hot as possible, without burning.  Allow to soak in until the heat is gone.  Then apply a washcloth (with no herbs) that has been dipped in ice water to the same affected area until it warms up to body temperature.  Repeat several times, ending with the hot compress.

According to Linda Page in her book Healthy Healing, “heat wraps are up to 50% MORE effective than over-the-counter pills at relieving back pain.”  So, give it a try…what have you got to lose?


Preventing High Blood Pressure Naturally

This entry is part 1 of 3 in the series High Blood Pressure

Do you suffer from high blood pressure?  If so, ask yourself these questions:

    • Is my diet high in fat?
    • Is my diet high in salt?
    • Am I overweight?
    • Do I smoke?
    • Do I drink alcohol?
    • Do I consume a lot of caffeine?

11254026_sIf you answer yes to any of these questions, it may be the cause of the high blood pressure that you suffer from.  Obviously there are other factors as well, such as stress and dietary deficiencies.  Dietary deficiencies include potassium, calcium, magnesium, and fiber.

What is your blood pressure?”  I’m finding that some people are thinking that they are suffering from high blood pressure, when in fact they are not.  Too many times if your blood pressure is slightly elevated the medical community instantly diagnoses you with high blood pressure and prescribes you medication.  Of course, there are cases when medication is needed.  But, ultimately, changing your diet and lifestyle will get you the more permanent results of lower blood pressure.

A normal blood pressure reading is 120/80.  Typically, you are considered to have high blood pressure if your blood pressure reading is 140/90.  Do you know your blood pressure?  If not, shame on you…go have it checked whether it be at a doctor’s office, at the local drug store (they usually have the machines near the prescription counter), or buy you a small/inexpensive cuff to test it yourself at home.

The best way to manage your blood pressure is through diet, exercise, and meditation.  Yes, I said meditation.  There is scientific evidence that people who meditate twice a day for 30 minutes have lower blood pressure than those who don’t.  As for your diet,  eat smaller, more frequent, and low fat meals.  Avoid alcohol, caffeine, salt, sugar, Nutra-Sweet, fat, smoked meats, and sodas.  What does that leave?  It leaves things like broccoli, bananas, oranges, ried fuits, potatoes, seafood, bell peppers, avocados, celery, brown rice, and leafy greens.

What you should know…eating low fat means cutting out all the saturated and unhealthy fats not eliminating all fats.  Be sure to eat foods, like avocados and nuts, that have healthy fats.  Or, take an essential fatty acid supplement.

A few lifestyle and dietary keys to help manage blood pressure:

  • Take a brisk walk for 30 minutes every day
  • Vitamin E therapy to help regulate blood pressure – consult with a natural health practitioner for guidance
  • Drink Hibiscus tea to lower blood pressure
  • Take a B-complex to reduce swelling caused by high blood pressure

Probably the most important thing is to be aware of what your blood pressure is on a regular basis.  And, consult a physician if you find your blood pressure consistently above 150/90.


7 Diet & Lifestyle Tips for Reducing Pain Associated with Arthritis

14363578_sThere is a huge misconception that arthritis only occurs in the elderly.  That is just not true.  In our clinic, we’ve seen several young people that have been diagnosed with arthritis.  So, whether you are young or old, you’ll benefit from reading this article.

Arthritis is joint inflammation and the pain can be debilitating.  But, there are some things you can do to reduce pain, reduce inflammation, and rebuild joints.  And, better yet, none of the things require prescription drugs.  In fact, the high doses of asprin, NSAIDS, and cortisone that is typically suggested to reduce pain can decrease the integrity and strength of the bones in your body.

Here are 7 natural ways to combat arthritis:

  1. Change your diet – avoid foods that trigger arthritis like sugar, flour, corn, wheat, rye, bacon and pork, beef, eggs, coffee, oranges, milk, colas, peppers, tomatoes, potatoes, mustard, and chocolate. Include foods like cherries, cabbage, brown rice, cold water fish, fresh fruits, vegetables, garlic, flax seed oil, ginger, parsley, sweet potatoes, and squashes.
  2. Exercise regularly – while it may be painful in the beginning to move, it is important for the health of your joints to have strong muscles.  Those muscles will actually act as shock absorbers and reduce pain.  Start out slow and easy for only 5-10 minutes each day until you build up enough strength to do more.
  3. Increase your Vitamin D – your body needs the Vitamin D so get outside and let the sun rays soak into your skin for 15 minutes each day.
  4. Reduce pain – rub Arnica gel on sore spots; soak hands in oatmeal for 15 minutes; take Epsom salt baths
  5. Reduce inflammation – take a supplement like Transformation’s Protease IFC that is designed to support healthy muscular system.
  6. Stimulate natural cortisone – drink Aloe Life Aloe Gold as directed on bottle
  7. Repair joints – take Omega-3 flax or fish oil, SAMe, or CoQ10

Indigestion and Heartburn

This entry is part 1 of 3 in the series Indigestion & Heartburn

Have you ever woken up in the middle of the night feeling like a 5 Alarm Fire was happening in your throat and chest?  I know I have…and I didn’t like it one bit!

Indigestion and heartburn don’t just stop with the throat and chest burning…you’ll usually feel bloated and gassy, too.

And, if you suffer from this ailment/discomfort…you are not alone.  40% of Americans are victims of heartburn!  Woah!  That’s a lot of people!!  Here’s the good news…you can totally prevent heartburn with a few dietary and lifestyle changes:

  • Take ENZYMES – Most of the food we eat these days are so processed that they no longer have the necessary enzymes in them for proper digestion.  Enzymes are destroyed when food is cooked, microwaved, or processed above 118 degrees F.  You can either obtain enzymes by eating fresh foods and raw foods or by taking a supplemental digestive enzyme.  The highest quality digestive enzyme is Transformation’s Digest.  You can order it in the Bartann Store.
  • Eat more FIBER – Fiber is one of those things that we have heard about for ages…and, there is a good reason for that as it regulates our digestive system and keeps it running smoothly.  The daily fiber recommendation is 30-35 grams.  To accomplish this with food, you’d have to eat 6 half-cup servings of whole grains, cereal, or legumes and 4 servings of fresh fruits and veggies.
  • Eat more ALKALINE FOODS – It is pretty obvious that the more acidic foods you eat the more acidic your body becomes.  Foods that are more alkaline forming in the body are mineral water, land/sea vegetables, sea salt, herbal teas, miso, brown rice, honey, fruits, and fruit juices.  Avoid foods that are acid forming like refined sugar, white flour, alcohol, soft drinks, coffee and caffeine containing foods, red meat, and fried, fatty foods.  I’ll be posting a more comprehensive Acid/Alkaline Food List later in the week so be sure to look for that.

A quick word on antacids…don’t take them.  While it may seem that they help in the moment, in the long run they actually cause the problem to be worse because they neutralize the stomach acid, which makes it produce even more acid.  And, if you use these pills that contain aluminum over a long period of time, it can cause bone loss.

I’m also not a fan of prescription or OTC medications for heartburn and indigestion.  There are too many side affects with taking these drugs but most importantly, this problem is PREVENTABLE…you just have to do your part and eat responsibly.

If you insist on taking a pill to relieve the burn while you are working on clearing up your diet, check out my blog post later in the week on my recommendation.

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