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Suffering with Fibromyalgia? by Daniela Jesin, Naturopathic Physician

Are you or someone you love suffering with Fibromyalgia?

You are not alone. 

Fibromyalgia is a condition that affects approximately 900,000 Canadians, or 3% of the population. This condition is often misdiagnosed and under-represented, and thus this number is likely much larger. While research initiatives and treatment options are improving there are still major gaps in providing people with the support and tools they need to optimally improve their health and recover.  

Widespread chronic pain, low energy, feeling of overwhelm, foggy thinking and poor sleep are characteristic symptoms you may be experiencing. While this condition may be leaving you feeling frustrated and misunderstood, the encouraging news is that Fibromyalgia can be managed with a holistic and personalized approach.  

The cause of Fibromyalgia is multifactorial with a combination of environmental and genetic factors contributing to your symptoms. Just as your symptoms may be multifactorial, so should your treatment approach. Getting on the right medication, botanical and herbal medicines, nutrition plan, physical medicine treatment, and lifestyle coaching can make a huge difference in helping you to manage this complex condition. As a Naturopathic Doctor I have a special focus in treating Fibromyalgia and providing you with the personalized support you need. 

My approach: 

 1)   Proper assessment:

Receiving a proper assessment is almost as important as receiving the right treatment. Together we will thoroughly go through your health history to ensure you have received a correct diagnosis, which will guide our treatment plan.  

2)   Setting the foundations of health 

I am passionate about helping my patients lay the SEEDS of health. The seeds of health program was developed by Dr. Lynn Marshall and focuses on:

S-sleep, E-energy and exercise, E-environment, D-diet, S-support. 

Setting these foundations can have massive positive impact on the symptoms you experience on a daily basis. 

3)   Getting to the root cause of your symptoms

Together will work on addressing the underlying factors that are contributing to your symptoms and getting to the root cause of your pain, and fatigue. 

4)   Individualized and results oriented care 

Every individual has a unique set of needs and biochemistry. I believe your treatment plan should reflect this.  

If you or a loved one is looking for support in managing their pain, poor energy, sleep dysfunction, or cognition I would love to work together. If you are also looking for support in a group setting, I am offering a Fibromyalgia support group at Vita Care Natural Health starting in January. This support group is somewhere you can come and share your experiences, meet other people who may be experiencing similar difficulties, learn, and have interactive and informative discussions. Please call Vita Care Natural Health at 250-585-2150 to book an appointment together, and/or learn more about the support group. 

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Chronic VS Acute Pain: Understanding Your Pain

 The type of pain you experience can be effected by trauma, treatment or even stress levels.

The type of pain you experience can be effected by trauma, treatment or even stress levels.

Megan and Jane were best friends going through university. Life drew them far apart and after ten years, they decided it was time to get together over a meal and catch up. They talked about old friends, family, careers, places they had visited, and finally they settled on talking about their health. Both ladies are in their 40’s and they were both dealing with pain. 

Since childhood, Megan has been involved in a number of different sports. Currently she plays tennis with a ladies group twice a week. Recently, she felt a sharp twinge in her right shoulder after delivering a hard serve. The pain was bad enough to cause her to stop her game and call her physio. The diagnosis was a strain of one of the rotator cuff muscles. After resting the shoulder from tennis, a few treatments, doing her home exercises, using a combination of ice and heat, the injury was almost 100% better.

Megan has what is known as acute pain. The pain response begins when your body experiences an injury like a cut, burn, or trauma. It is a protective response that keeps us from further injury; it is part of the healing process, is short lasting, and resolves.

On the other hand, Jane has chronic pain. She first starting experiencing muscle pains in university. Her doctor at the time, put it down to the high stress. After university, Jane joined a prestigious law firm and was determined to be one of the youngest to make partner. In time, pain spread to more of Jane’s muscles and would not go away. A rheumatologist finally diagnosed her with fibromyalgia and advised her to seriously curtail her stress level, gather a team that included a physio, massage therapist, yoga instructor, and naturopathic doctor to help with determining pro inflammatory foods and replacing them with an anti inflammatory lifestyle. It would take a team effort to get her well. Jane took these instructions to heart and after suffering for so many years, she finally began getting relief. 

Chronic pain differs from acute pain in a number of important ways.

  • First, the body can become more sensitive to threat, sending threat signals to the brain even when the threat is minor or nonexistent. 
     
  • Second, the brain can become more likely to interpret situations as threatening and sensations as painful, producing pain responses that are out of proportion to any real danger to the body. It reflects a protective process that has become overprotective. Because of its chronic nature the mind and body have learned too well to detect the slightest hint of a threat and mount a full protective response with pain and suffering.
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The nervous system can become sensitized....

The result is that the nervous system becomes more vigilant or sensitized. Nerve endings can react to any sign of increased pressure, tension, or inflammation in the body. In some cases even light touch can be interpreted as pain. Also, nerves become faster at carrying messages of pain from the body up to the brain.

Chronic pain can also make one more sensitive to any kind of physical, emotional, or social stress. Repeated pain experience leads to increased sensitivity in the areas of the brain that detect not only pain, but all kinds of conflict and threat. The nervous system can start to treat all threats - physical, emotional, financial, social, and so on - like physical pain.

In order to deal with chronic pain it is vital to engage the built-in healing responses found in the mind and body such as pain-suppressing systems, the relaxation response, and focusing on positive emotions. The mind and body must be retrained to be less protective. 

Jane is convinced that the multi-faceted approach she employed and especially the relaxation response that yoga provided, finally allowed her chronic pain to begin healing. That in combination with a new dietary, lifestyle, and nutritional support had her mentally and physically able to make the changes consistent and sustainable. Although she has a way to go before she is 100%, she has hope and she is optimistic that she will get better.

Summary of Jane's Program

  • Removing obstacles to cure
  • Anti-inflammatory diet
  • Nutrient Therapy 
  • Meditation/Breathwork
  • Yoga
  • Detoxification

Removing obstacles to cure means identifying factors that stand in the way of a patient getting well. This could include removing allergic or sensitive foods, eliminating unfriendly organisms in the gut, reducing as many sources of stress as possible, and so on.

Anti-inflammatory diet involves eliminating as many pro-inflammatory foods from the diet and focusing on foods that fight inflammation since pain is one of the symptoms that accompany inflammation.

Nutrient therapy involves using vitamins, minerals, herbs, amino acids, or other nutraceuticals to improve deficiencies, to strengthen the adrenals, heal the gut, improve mood regulation, increase sleep quality, fight inflammation, etc. This can be delivered by a combination of oral supplementation and intravenous therapy.

Meditation/Breathwork can help calm the fight or flight side of the nervous system and increase the parasympathetic nervous system which is responsible for healing and regeneration. This can destress the mind and body and according to ancient systems of healing, can increase the vital energy of the body.

Yoga besides being a fantastic exercise system, also increases the vital energy of the body. It can help to integrate the mind and body. Best of all it can actually help rewire the brain and nervous system to decrease chronic pain.     

Detoxification in today's world is absolutely necessary to maintain or regain health. When toxins build up in the body they can have a deleterious affect on the nervous, immune, endocrine, and gastrointestinal systems. Detoxification assists the body in clearing residual toxins from the body. This can have a positive affect on pain, inflammation and also if poor immunity, allergies, or autoimmunity are a concern.

 

 

 

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Whole Body Healing: Getting to the Root

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By Dr. John Yim

When patients see Dr. John Yim, he often says, “My goal is not to suppress your symptoms, it is to maximize your health. We do that by treating the whole body.”

Western medicine is fantastic at treating infections and traumatic injuries. However, it has challenges dealing with chronic conditions like fibromyalgia and chronic fatigue syndrome because in many cases, multiple areas of the body are working at a suboptimal level.

Although it is important to make note of all the patient’s symptoms, it is usually not necessary to treat each individual symptom. Dr. Yim tells his patients, “symptoms are your body’s way of getting your attention, to tell you that things are out of balance. By treating the whole body, the symptoms will take care of themselves.”

A good example is in the case of fibromyalgia, a patient may experience a list of symptoms that includes: fatigue, muscle weakness and pain, insomnia, depression, food allergies, diarrhea, bloating, headaches, recurrent infections, easy weight gain, hypoglycemia, sugar and starch cravings, and many others.

 “The organs and systems work synergistically with each other so when we look at a condition or symptom, we have to look at how the body arrived at that level of health and what the body is trying to tell us,” says Dr. Yim.

To help move patients to wellness and to maximize their health, Dr. Yim begins by suggesting the patient remove obstacles to health such as bad food choices and microbes in the body like candida yeast, parasites, unfriendly bacteria, and viruses. He then adds repairing the lining of the gut to the treatment plan so nutrients are more efficiently absorbed. In addition, the adrenals, thyroid, and liver may need to be supported and strengthened, as well as the immune system balanced. It may also be indicated that detoxification of toxins needs to be considered, and the nervous system calmed down

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Helping the nervous system calm down is one aspect of Whole Body Healing and Healthy Aging.

Problems in any of the above organs or systems can bring a multitude of symptoms so when treating the whole body, to maximize the function of each and every one of these areas, patients can experience profound improvements in their health.

Whole Body Healing considers all the factors that impact the body and then treats the whole body. This results in: superior energy, a stronger immunity, faster recovery, balanced moods, less pain, better digestive health, and better overall health and longevity. 

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Our Favourite Meditation Practices

John sits still much easier than I do. I like moving and sitting in one spot too long is a little boring for me. My favourite meditation technique involves walking in nature. 

A Walking Meditation stills the mind and soothes frazzled nerves like nothing else can. I learned this particular method from a Qi Gong master many years ago and I still practice it for its ease and convenience! By coordinating breathing with your steps, similar to panting when you climb a hill, your subconscious stays vigilante to your surroundings, while your mind focuses on the rhythm of breathing and stepping. It can be quite transformative.

Here's How I Do a Walking Meditation

With each step I take, I breathe in two quick Qi breaths (inhalations) and then release the breath in one slow exhalation while I take the next step (timing it to the step). It took me a while to coordinate the movement but once you get the beat you can feel the Qi flow and the peace settle. John demonstrates the technique in the workshop Everybody's Guide to Meditation and Self Healing, so if you are interested check out the upcoming dates for the workshop.

As John trained in Transcendental Meditation he prefers this technique or mindfulness meditation and practices regularly in the sauna at his gym. 

"My day starts out well when I take the time to meditate," he said, adding that focusing on his breath or listening to meditation music helps him tune out outside noise and helps him stay focused on his breathing.

"I use mantras as well as specific sound when focusing on different areas of my body that need attention or healing. It's very grounding and allows me to tap into the inner healing power of my body. I've had many patients over the years, learn these meditation techniques and see dramatic improvement in their health. It's a very important tool for getting and staying healthy."

Here are some of our Top Ten Meditation Techniques. Pick the one that suits you best and practice regularly!! 

If you work better in a group, please join us for the two-part workshop Dr. Yim will be offering starting the third week in June of 2018.

 

 

 

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New Combination Therapy Relieves Pain

The other day I was at the gym and one of my acquaintances asked me, “what’s new in your practice?” I was excited to tell him about the successes in treating a variety of conditions by combining two therapies, mesotherapy and low intensity laser therapy.

Greg is in his early 60’s and he had been suffering from knee pain for years. He told me that he had not been kind to his knees over the years. Greg had sustained a number of knee injuries from playing football in college. On top of that running and skiing for over 30 years have also added to the wear and tear on his knees.


Using a three prong approach to his condition, Greg no longer has daily knee pain!

On his first visit Greg told me he experienced daily pain. It severely limited his enjoyment of running and skiing, but lately even hiking with his wife, gardening, and going up and down stairs were things that he had begun to avoid. His medical doctor had referred him to an orthopaedic surgeon and his only suggestion other than anti-inflammatories (oral and injection) was eventual knee replacements. Greg was not ready for surgery; he wanted to put that off as long as possible.

I am please to report that using a 3 prong approach to his condition, Greg no longer has daily knee pain and he was able to go on a skiiing holiday without any significant aggravation in pain. The 3 components of his program were an anti-inflammatory diet, a number of nutritional supplements, and the combination of mesotherapy and low intensity laser. The reason I know the latter was so important in Greg’s recovery was the speed in which he improved compared to patients just using the diet and supplements.

Many readers may have heard of using low intensity laser for treating conditions related to muscles, tendons, ligaments, joints, bones, wounds, and even nerves. This therapy uses specific wavelengths of light to stimulate healing, and decrease pain and inflammation. We have been using our Bioflex laser at our clinic since 2006; what’s new is combining it with mesotherapy during the same visit.


“The term Mesotherapy was coined in 1959 by French medical doctor, Michel Pistor.”

The term mesotherapy was coined in 1958 by French medical doctor, Michel Pistor. He defined it as treatment of the mesoderm (the embryonic germ layer that develops into connective tissue, muscle, and circulatory system), referring to the effects of local procaine injections on the wide number of tissues that derive from the mesoderm. He went on to promote its use in medical, veterinary, and cosmetic conditions.

With Greg, his treatments included a number of small, subcutaneous injections using 2% procaine, and 3 homeopathic products for inflammation, pain relief, and cartilage regeneration. The injections were given just under the skin, around the knee cap and along the sides of the knee joint and then a 30 minute laser treatment was performed. This not only gave the benefits of each individual therapy, the laser light helped drive the solutions into the tissues and cells making the synergy of the two therapies even more powerful. After the first treatment, Greg could already tell the pain had lessened. After his fourth treatment, he was able to go on his family ski trip.

I have now started using this combination therapy for arthritis, nerve pain, rotator cuff injuries, tendinitis, trigger point pain, and even fibromyalgia. 

If you are a new patient experiencing a painful condition or an old patient who has tried a number of things in the past with little benefit, please call our clinic to set up an appointment with me to discuss if this combination treatment is right for you.

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Tired? Low Energy?

Why Test Adrenal Function?

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We can't get away from stress and in fact, some stress can be good, after all, exercise, getting a new job, or moving to a new home can cause stress.  However, bad stress, the kind that is ongoing can have a dramatically deleterious effect on your health. This is why stress management is so important to maintaining good health and why our naturopathic doctors have an adrenal function test in their playbook.

 

What does Cortisol have to do with my Adrenals?

Chronic, ongoing stress, whether it is from being wired all the time with work deadlines or from chronic pain can cause a depletion of cortisol, the hormone that helps us find the physical and mental strength to deal with our stressors. This vital hormone is produced by the adrenal glands. Unfortunately, the adrenals can become fatigued, which affects cortisol production and this can lead to a multitude of symptoms.

A Few Symptoms of Low Cortisol include:

  • fatigue (even after 8 hours of sleep)
  • picking up bugs easily
  • slow recovery from exercise
  • depression or anxiety
  • low sex drive
  • gastrointestinal disorders
  • blood sugar imbalances
  • sore muscles and joints

Cortisol is a major stress hormone and can be measured to determine how your body is responding to stress. 

Testing is easy. Just visit your naturopathic doctor, he or she will determine if the Saliva Cortisol test is right for you. If the test is right for you, it's as easy as 1,2,3,4!

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Arthritis Relief

Stay in the Game! Don't let Arthritis Pain Bench You!

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Forty three million people in the United States alone, suffer from arthritis.  This degenerative disease can be debilitating and can lead to other serious conditions like heart disease, diabetes and hip fractures.   

     For those dealing with the pain, it is a constant struggle.  Arthritis and back pain are the second most common reason for visiting a doctor, after colds and flus.  It impairs daily activity, sometimes to the extent that the individual becomes depressed and can negatively impact relationships. 

     Many people believe that once they have it there's no turning back, it's part of the aging process and a down hill slide.  They may also believe that the best way to relieve the pain is through rest.  Both of these ideas are far from the truth and myths that need to be busted!

     New research is finding that arthritis can be reversed and that pain does not have to be a part of your daily life.  Through a combination of nutrition, complementary therapies and exercise you can live well in spite of arthritis.  


Nutrition Therapy

    The most important part of controlling or reversing arthritis is through nutritional therapy.  This will have the most profound affect on joint health and is the easiest to implement.  It involves not just the food you eat but also the specific nutrients that nourish your joints. 

     There's a bonus to this therapy too!  Not only will you reverse arthritis but you will also lower your risk of developing dementia, heart disease, diabetes and some cancers.  You can't beat that!   So where do you begin? 

  • Water makes up 75 percent of muscle and more than 20 percent of bone.  Our entire body is 2/3 water.  Not only does water help carry nutrients and oxygen to your joints it also moisturizes and give support as well.   If you don't get enough water on a daily basis, you can eat all the right foods, take all the right medication and supplements, but you'll be wasting your money because your joints can be stiff and sore if you are dehydrated.  Start your anti-arthritis life plan by making a commitment to drink at least 8 glasses of water a day.

 

  • Fruits and vegetables contain substantial amounts of vitamin C, carotenes, folate, and a number of different minerals.  These are the nutrients that people with arthritis need.  People with certain types of arthritis seem to use up vitamin C faster than other people so it is important to ensure an adequate intake of fruit.  Beta-carotene seems to help reduce the risk of disease progression with osteoarthritis. Not getting enough from your diet or not absorbing nutrients from the foods you eat can lead to deficiencies of nutrients important for joint health. Keeps fruits to a minimum as they are high in fructose any kind of sweets can promote inflammation.

 

  • The protein requirements for those dealing with rheumatoid arthritis are higher because they experience an increase in protein breakdown, which leads to loss of muscle.  The right kind of protein is essential for building collagen, an important structural component of cartilage. Cold water fish are rich sources of EPA and DHA, two very effective omega-3 fatty acids that fight the inflammatory process of arthritis.  Grass fed meats also contain fair amounts of these necessary nutrients.  Vegetable proteins from tofu, beans, nuts and seeds are plant sources of protein but are not good sources of omega-3 fatty acids. 

 

  • Grains should be consumed with caution. The quality and type of grain is paramount.  Whole grains provide the body with key nutrients like B vitamins, vitamin E, zinc, iron, selenium and magnesium.  However, if you are sensitive to certain grains (such as the ones with gluten) you could be doing more harm than good.  Find out if you have a sensitivity through  Electrodermal testing.

Complementary Therapies

     Many complementary therapies promise relief from the pain of arthritis.  Unfortunately, just as our bodies are unique so must your treatment protocol be unique.  A cookie cutter protocol may work for 80% of the people 80% of the time but it can be frustrating for that 20%.  It can be discouraging trying a therapy and finding it doesn't work for you.  Don't give up!  There are several different modalities and one will work for your body type.  Here is a breakdown of a few:

  • Acupuncture-a recognized treatment that stimulates the flow of Chi.  In Chinese medicine it is believed that energy flows along meridians.  Along these meridians are points that when stimulated can either increase or decrease the flow of energy to that part of the body.  Arthritis, in Chinese medicine, is an obstructive condition.  To correct this imbalance acupunture points are stimulated by inserting small needles and vibrating them.  This form of treatment has been shown to lessen inflammation and pain.
  • Glucosamine and Chondroitin-Both of these compounds are part of the cartilage found in joints.  In a normal, healthy joint the production of the components of cartilage are in balance.  In the arthritic joint this balance is off, causing more destruction than production.  By taking glucosamine and chondroitin the metabolism in the joint is affected positively, increasing the building of cartilage and decreasing the destruction.  They may also have some anti-inflammatory benefits as well.
  • Infrared Sauna-I swear by mine!
  • BioFlex Low Intensity Laser-This technology uses specific wavelengths of light that allow photon energy to penetrate the tissues.  This energy interacts at the cellular level to restore normal cell function as well as enhancing the natural healing process.  This non-invasive, non-toxic and easily applied therapy has no known side effects, yet can produce dramatic results.  Some of the conditions it helps are: fibromyalgia, headaches and migraines, bulging and herniated discs, osteoarthritis, spinal stenosis, rheumatoid arthritis, plantar fasciitis, burns, etc.
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Exercise Therapy

     When you are in pain and find it difficult to move, exercise may seem a bit daunting.  It can be a challenge to get your body moving, especially if you have little energy as well as pain.  However, exercise is not just for those who are already fit, nor does it have to be overly strenuous.  Exercise can be a gradual progression you guage by how you feel.  It can be mild, incremental and done in the comfort and privacy of your own home. Or you can get out playing a sport, like Pickleball, and get some great social interaction as well!

     Here are just a few of the benefits of regular exercise:

  • Builds muscle which helps with weight loss and blood sugar balancing.
  • Improves mood and helps relieve depression.
  • Improves balance so can help prevent falls.
  • Improves flexibility so can help prevent falls and injury.
  • Reduces the risk of osteoporosis.
  • Reduces the risk of many types of cancer.
  • Reduces the risk of diabetes and cardiovascular disease.

     Exercise can also help improve energy, vitality, sexual function and libido.  That's a lot of benefits!  All it takes is a 30 minute walk every day.  If you aren't walking at all then start with 5 minutes every other day, build up slowly as your tolerance and fitness improves.  Add weight training with soup cans or dumb bells three times a week and resistance training with Therabands twice a week.  Remember, slow and steady is best, not diving in feet first!  If you don't want to do it alone, ask a friend to join you and hire a Personal Trainer to set you both up with a program.   As your fitness improves you will find yourself able and willing to do more.

     Arthritis does not have to change your life.  You don't have to expect gradual decline and degeneration.  You can make the choice to embark on a program that will change your life.  You have the power.  Just think, you can have pain free days, restful sleep, more mobility and the knowledge that you took control of your health.  Can you beat that?

        

copyright @ 2007 Meza Health Systems, Inc.

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Childhood Anxiety

Childhood Anxiety: Treating it Naturally!

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Many more children struggle with mood disorders than ever before. With anxiety, depression, ADHD and suicidal thoughts on the rise, it behooves us all to reflect upon our current cultural setting, and to inquire about lifestyle changes that have occurred in the past 50 years. Children are most sensitive to the changes of the industrialized age and demonstrate anxiety as a response. 

Children have a unique experience with anxiety due in part to a limited ability to communicate complex emotions. Children often somatisize anxiety in the body as abdominal pain, irregular bowel habits, incontinence, bed wetting, grinding teeth, restlessness, nightmares, nail biting and skin picking. 

When addressing complex childhood emotions, a starting point involves establishing rhythm and routine. Children thrive on routine and consistency. Regular times of the day for waking, meals, snacks, exercise, fresh air, and time for hobbies set chemical and hormonal patterns and promote nervous system stability.  

Fresh air, exercise and unstructured free play time allow for emotional integration and release. Regular, informal meditation exercises improve children's ability to emotionally regulate, focus attention on specific tasks (like homework) and increase feelings of empathy towards others. Enhanced empathy translates as a decrease in bullying behaviours. 

It is imperative to address dietary triggers, such as: sugar, artificial sweeteners, colouring and flavouring agents, food allergies and intolerances, msg, nitrates, pesticides.

Frequently, children are deficient in key nutrients required for optimal brain function. Some examples include: DHA, iron, vitamin D, zinc and magnesium.

The digestive tract is heralded by naturopathic doctors as the second brain. This is because of the network of nerves supplying the gut and the high concentration of serotonin production that occurs here. Serotonin is a mood balancing neurotransmitter involved in the etiology of anxiety. Serotonin is targeted by the drug class SSRI's  like Prozac. A healthful diet coupled with SPECIFIC pediatric strains of probiotics is needed to strengthen our gut health and immunity.

Environmental allergies are a notable immune trigger that exacerbates anxiety. Examples of environmental allergens include: cat dander, dust mites, pollens and mould. These allergens trigger reactions in reactive children and may present as: hives, eczema, itchy skin, itchy eyes, allergic sinus infections and seasonal nasal congestion. The chemical produced during these reactions is called histamine, which stimulates the nervous system causing anxiety and impaired sleep. Remember the last time you took an antihistamine medication (like Benadry)? You probably fell asleep. So imagine, what the opposite effect would be with histamine levels gone wild!


Take Home Message


Routine fresh air, exercise, meditation, optimal diet, uncovering environmental allergies and food sensitivities, resolving nutrient deficiencies and promoting gut health are key to addressing some of the underlying causes of anxiety in your child.
 

The causes of anxiety are complex and multifaceted. There are serious causes of anxiety in children including abuse, neglect and mistreatment; these topics are outside of the scope of this article and may require immediate attention by a health care professional.


Naturopathic Medical Care Options:


-Testing for nutrient deficiencies

-Skin scratch testing for environmental allergens

-Blood testing for food intolerances

-Coaching and lifestyle strategies for long term success

-Education on optimal gut health solutions

To book an appointment with Dr. Luterbach please call 250-585-2150

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Where do You Start for Feeling Better in 2018?

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Where do you start for feeling better in 2018?

Three Things You Can Do Right Now For Your Health in 2018

We’ve hit 2018, made it through 2017 and are feeling like we want to make this year the best ever. But, your body is feeling a bit draggy, you wonder if it’s handling stress well and those aches and pains, blemishes and digestive upsets aren’t going away fast enough for your liking.

Here are three things you can do right now to get yourself back on track. You have to start somewhere, right? 

1.     Drink water

     Your body is mostly water. It uses water in every cell, organ and tissue for regulating temperature and for bodily functions. We must have water to survive. As your body is constantly losing water through metabolic processes, breathing and sweating it needs to be replenished on an ongoing basis. But there is also the right water to be drinking. Alkalinized water is best, but you don’t need expensive machines to make your water healthier. Just add a pinch of baking soda! To make sure you get enough water. Fill a pitcher in the morning, add your pinch of baking soda and then use it to drink from throughout the day. If you don’t finish it by the end of the day, don’t guzzle the stuff, just make note for the next day, that you need to be more consistent with your timing.

2.     Meditation

     Start your day in peace and quiet in contemplation and deep meditation. You don’t need hours of time, just some special techniques to access an alpha state of brain waves. How? Click here and receive a free Top Ten Meditation Techniques report. A gift to you from us to get you going on a path to vital mental and physical health.

3.     Boost Your Nutrient Intake

     Let’s face it, the ideal would be to get all your nutrients from good healthy food. Unfortunately, food today just isn’t as nutrient dense as it used to be. Add to that the environmental toxins our body’s are exposed to each day and you realize that to achieve optimum vitality you need to supplement your diet with specific, concentrated nutrients. Dr. Yim’s suggested maintenance formula for adding that extra nutritional boost is fish oil, Dr. Yim’s Multivitamin and Mineral, and Green’s First (Green drink).

These are simple inexpensive things you can do right now to improve your health, build better habits and fuel your body for a great new year.

Want to know more about Meditation? Dr. Yim will be presenting Everybody’s Guide to Meditation and Self Healing Jan 20 and 27 from 10-12 am. Cost is $ 69.00. Call to reserve your spot 250-585-2150. Handouts, coupons and door prizes!

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Fighting Fatigue

Fighting Fatigue

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There is an epidemic plaguing our society. Every one of us are susceptible since no one has immunity against this condition. Although it is not a killer, it can be debilitating and affect our quality of life. Even healthy individuals with no other symptoms can be affected. This condition is fatigue.

In my patient population, fatigue is generally caused by a number of factors. These can include: nutrient deficiencies from poor diet or gastrointestinal problems, poor sleep, stress induced adrenal dysfunction, thyroid dysfunction, liver dysfunction, low hormone levels, chronic illness from infections, toxicity, mood disorders, and many others.

As a naturopathic physician, my goal is to determine and treat the cause of the fatigue. Often this takes time if the patient has been ill for a prolonged period and multiple systems of the body are performing sub-optimally. Patients want relief from their fatigue as quickly as possible.

Now I have a therapy that gets results fast and that is intravenous nutrient therapy (IVNT). I choose to administer nutrients intravenously when more energy is needed quickly and especially for patients who have been chronically ill.

Chronically ill patients almost always have issues with their digestive system making absorption of nutrients a real challenge. So many things can affect the health of the lining of the small intestines. This is where the vast majority of nutrient absorption takes place.

Supplying key nutrients intravenously bypasses the gut so high levels of nutrients can be administered and cellular and tissue levels of these nutrients vital for energy production increase quickly. Some nutrients such as B’s, magnesium and vitamin C can cause nausea, intestinal discomfort, or even diarrhea if given by mouth in very large doses. Given intravenously, these same nutrients do not cause the same symptoms.

Some of the nutrients that are given intravenously to boost energy and fight fatigue are B vitamins, vitamin C, zinc, calcium, magnesium, potassium, L-carnitine, glutathione, and coenzyme Q 10.

You don’t have to put up with fatigue any longer.  If one of your intentions is to improve your health and have more energy, we at VitaCare Natural Health Clinic can help. Contact us to set up an appointment with Dr. Yim. He will design a program to guide you back to wellness and IVNT will speed you along that path.
 

Quick Recap

Fatigue can be caused by:

  • Poor diet
  • GI problems
  • Poor sleep
  • Adrenal dysfunction
  • Thyroid dysfunction
  • Liver dysfunction
  • Low hormone levels
  • Chronic illness from infections
  • Toxicity
  • Mood disorders

How IV Nutrient Therapy Can Increase Energy

  • IV Nutrient Therapy bypasses digestion to increase energy production quickly
  • Specific nutrients support faster recovery time
  • Increase energy means more motivation to get and stay healthy

How Can You Get Started Towards Feeling More Energy?

  • If you are an existing patient of Dr. Yim's call the office and book a 15 minute consult. In that visit Dr. Yim will determine what nutrients are best suited for your needs and health profile.
  • IV Drips take up to 60 minutes to administer
  • IV Pushs take approximately 10-15 minutes

Have extended health benefits? This is a great way to finish off your year of benefits and a fantastic way of boosting energy and immunity going into the winter!

 

VitaCare Natural Health Clinic

250-585-2150

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Immune Warriors

Immunity

by Dr. Carmen Luterbach

Photo shoot seated R head tilt copy.png

 How can we best protect our families during the cold and flu season? As a busy mother of two, I know that keeping my family healthy is a top priority!  What are the lessons I have learned since having little ones in the home? How does a naturopathic doctor-mom keep her family strong?  I will be exploring a few treatment options below that I use seasonally with my family.

         The ideal time of year to begin your immune prevention plan is early October.  The foundational immune support program would include daily vitamin D, vitamin C and probiotics for gut mediated immune protection. Please remember to wash your hands frequently – after all public outings too! Ensure your body is hydrated to flush out infections before they take hold. Aim for approximately half your body weight in fluid ounces per day (e.g. 140 lb patient should drink 70 fluid oz.), with an additional 8 oz cup with every 30 minutes of aerobic exercise.          

         Medicinal mushrooms are incredibly effective at increasing our body’s resilience to stress and protecting against infection. At home, we like to have our slow cooker always going filled with water and pieces of Chaga mushroom and chai spices like cardamom, cinnamon, cloves and ginger.  We like to sweeten our Chaga Chai with local honey which has anti-microbial benefits while soothing and coating a sore throat. 

         Immune herbal formulas containing Astragalus are considered immune tonics and will increase our immune defenses by elevating our white blood cells. Astragalus is immune protective and is used throughout the entire Fall-Winter season. Astragalus is a child-friendly herb when used in a glycerite, slightly sweetened, form.

         To increase the innate defenses of your body, ensure you eat 4-5 cups of rainbow coloured vegetables daily, organic where possible. Avoid fruit juices and refined sweeteners during the cold flu season.  Determine your food intolerences and find healthful alternatives. Consuming intolerant foods distracts your immune system, increases inflammation and amps up mucus production which traps viruses and increases incidence of the cold/flu. For example, children intolerant to dairy products, tend to have more frequent ear infections and asthma exacerbations if they consume dairy regularly and tend to require more frequent use of antibiotics. 

         In the office, we offer immune prevention protocols tailored to your individual needs and lifestyle. Twice yearly, I recommend the entire family receive immune stimulating injections (oral drops are available for children). I suggest patients have their vitamin D tested in the Fall in preparation for the winter months, the vitamin D dosage is often temporarily increased. Further, in the office we have a nebulizer to administer specific nutrients like glutathione directly into the lung.  Glutathione is used to treat chronic cough, acute bronchitis, COPD and allergic cough by reducing inflammation in the lungs and thinning mucus to allow air passage through smaller airways. 

Recap: Points to Ponder for Bolstering Immunity

  • Wash hands regularly
  • Drink 1/2 body weight in water
  • Avoid sweeteners and fruit juice
  • Drink Chaga Chai daily
  • Immune Boosting combination formula including astragalus
  • Four to five servings of rainbow coloured organic veggies
  • Avoid allergic foods
  • Immune Stimulating Injections for the whole family
  • For chronic coughs nebulizer treatment with glutathione

         Dr. Luterbach is a mother of two lovely girls and clinically has a special focus on women’s health, pediatrics, hormone balancing and hypothyroidism. Questions? Email: drluterbachnd@gmail.com

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Tummy Troubles

Could Tummy Troubles Lead to Brain Blow Ups?

tummytroubles

The gut-brain connection is a two-way street. When you are mentally or emotionally upset, often that will have a negative impact on the health of your gut. But it works the other way too, with your gut and its state of health affecting how your brain responds and how you feel.

Bacteria, fungi, viruses and other microorganisms that make up your body’s microflora outnumber your body’s cells by a staggering 10 to one. This microflora, an ecosystem of its own, has a dramatic impact on your brain function with studies showing that specific healthy bacteria (probiotics) help in decreasing issues like anxiety and depression.

 

Gut Microbes Impact Your Health

 Research has shown that gut bacteria can impact mental health and behavior. It can also have an impact by:

  • Training your immune system to distinguish between foreign and potentially dangerous microbes and those your own body produces.
  • Altering gene expression. The absence or presence of gut microorganisms during infancy has been shown to alter genes and signaling pathways involved in learning, memory and motor control.
  • Controlling glucose tolerance. Research showed that the gut flora of diabetics differed from that of non-diabetics and that type 2 diabetes is associated with changes in the composition of intestinal micro ecosystem.
  • Normalizing levels of neurotransmitters responsible for regulating certain brain regions and lowering the stress hormone cortisol. Serotonin, the feel good neurotransmitter, is found in highest concentration in the intestines. And a specific probiotic known as Lactobacillus rhamnosus affects GABA, an inhibitory neurotransmitter that has a calming effect on the brain and nervous system, significantly impacts many physiological and psychological processes.

       "Ensuring gut flora is optimized and in the best balance possible, is one of the most important steps anyone can take towards vital living."

The Battle of the Gut Flora

Unfortunately, gut bacteria and its balance of good and bad are vulnerable to choices in diet and lifestyle. Antibiotics, chlorinated water, poor diet, processed dead foods and sugar all compromise your guts ability to do it job properly.

Optimizing Your Gut Health

Whatever a patient’s health concern, ensuring their gut flora is optimized and in the best balance possible, is one of the most important steps in their treatment. Fermented foods are the best path to optimizing gut health, but if a patient is dealing with specific health issues, it may not be enough and taking a high-quality probiotic supplement may be indicated.

Finding the Right Probiotics

Although getting beneficial bacterial from fermented food should be a primary strategy, also consider supplementing it with a product that has a wide spectrum of probiotics, especially if you do not like the taste and texture of fermented foods. Keep these points in mind when looking for the right supplement:

  • The strain should be able to survive stomach acid and bile to reach the intestines in the right numbers or with the use of probiotic implants during a colon hydrotherapy session can bypass stomach completely and get to where they are needed fast.
  • The strains must be specific, with definite health-promoting features.
  • A healthy gut equals a healthy mind (and vice versa). When you take care of that vital microbial system you benefit the whole body, mind and perhaps even the soul. 

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A Conversation with Chantal David

A Conversation with Chantal David

Chantal David is VitaCare’s new Colon Hydrotherapist. With research mounting on the benefits of probiotics for overall health, she has implemented the new technology of probiotic implants. We asked her a few questions about this remarkable new treatment modality.

Chantal David

Q: What is a probiotic implant?

A: A Probiotic implant is the delivery of probiotics directly into the colon for the purpose of cultivating a healthy bacterial balance in the gut. An implant is often administered at the end of a colon hydrotherapy session for optimal results, but can also be done on its own (without colonic). The advantage of a probiotic implant is that instead of being taken by mouth and having to survive stomach acid, the implanted probiotic is administered directly into the colon which is the final destination and potentially more effective in rebalancing the flora. 

Q: How does it work?

A: The probiotic implant is a specially designed combination of healthy and beneficial intestinal bacteria.

The high concentration of probiotics introduced will strengthen and reinforce the gut flora population and restore balance of beneficial bacteria of the gut flora, bringing it to a normal and healthy state.

Balanced gut flora (healthy microbiota) is vital for healthy digestion and absorption of nutrients, neutralization of toxins and pathogens, and they also play a vital role iin our immune system.

There are 'good' and 'bad' types of gut bacteria. Eating the wrong types of food, and bad lifestyle choices can lead to a dominance of the 'bad' types of gut bacteria. There are estimated to be around 100 trillion microorganisms in over 500 different species in a normal, healthy colon. Most of these are the beneficial type. An imbalance in the population, in favour of the undesirable type, leads to a condition known as dysbiosis which can cause undesirable symptoms and impaired nutrient absorption.

Recent studies have also shown that specific good bacteria in the gut can impact weight and weight loss.

Q: What are the benefits?

A: Research has suggested that probiotic bacteria can enhance immune function, help with side- effects from antibiotics and improve digestive function. It has also been shown to impact metabolism and moods

Q: What kind of symptoms does it help?

4) Bloating, flatulence, food allergies/sensitivities, chronic constipation, diarrhea, skin conditions (eczema), Depression, anxiety, chronic stress, yeast infections, UTIs, bacterial vaginosis, IBS, SIBO, people who don't absorb nutrients, helps with absorption of B12, thiamine and riboflavin , Crohn's disease and ulcerative colitis (when in remission) are just a few of the symptoms that can benefit from probiotic therapy.

Q: How many treatments should I have?

Colonic implants can be safely used after each colonic session. The number of sessions will depend on your current health status combined with your health goals.

 

 

 

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Blood Pressure Woes

Beth and best stress relievers
In February, my medical doctor decided I should have a complete physical. Everything came out normal or above average but the blood pressure reading.
— Beth Hendry-Yim

Step Back and Reassess: Blood Pressure Woes

In February, my doctor decided I should have a complete physical. I hadn’t had one…ever, so she thought it would be a great idea to start now with a baseline. She ran a few blood tests, FIT test, PAP, ECG and blood pressure. Everything came out normal or above average but the blood pressure reading. 165/100.

“That’s high,” she said. “At that level organs can be damaged and joint health affected.”

With my father, grandfather and grandmother all passing, eventually, from the result of multiple strokes, having elevated blood pressure was not what I wanted, nor was I willing to allow those genes to be expressed! Thankfully, I have a husband with a wealth of knowledge on cardiovascular health!

First things first, I should lose at least five pounds. Now, truth be told, he didn’t tell me that, he’s a little more sensitive than that, he avoided that subject completely. But I know that a five-pound loss can correlate with a couple points in the right direction for my blood pressure. Enough said.

“Potassium and sodium ratios are something you might want to look at,” he suggested. “But I’d also like to see you taking L-arginine, magnesium and being more consistent with your healthy oils and bone building formulas.”

“What do you mean by the ratio?” I asked. My curiosity was piqued, I don’t add salt to my cooking so was unsure what he meant. Was I consuming too much or too little and what did potassium have to do with blood pressure?

“Every heartbeat is triggered by potassium to squeeze blood through your body. It can lower diastolic (lower number) blood pressure by more than 10 points in people with high blood pressure. It can also help lower cholesterol.”

“What about magnesium?” I asked. “How does it work with potassium to lower high blood pressure?”

“Magnesium works with potassium and calcium in lowering blood pressure,” he said. “It regulates the movement of calcium into the smooth muscle cells within the arterial wall. Too much calcium causes the cells to contract, magnesium acts as a calcium channel blocker. It also acts as a muscle relaxant and in conjunction with potassium decreases the potential for dangerous arrhythmias or irregular heartbeats.”

He went on to add that this wonderful mineral also helps lower aldosterone. It is part of a system that can cause kidneys to retain sodium and water. Lower levels of aldosterone can help drop blood pressure. It also acts as an anti-inflammatory, which is a good thing for inflamed and dysfunctional arteries. Reduce inflammation, reduce risk of high blood pressure and cardiovascular disease.

“For you there aren’t any contraindications for upping magnesium intake. You aren’t diabetic, you don’t take diuretics and you don’t drink alcohol. But you do have to be aware of balance between potassium, magnesium and calcium as well as Vitamin K and D.”

Throughout our conversation, he emphasized the importance of balance. I can take medicines and remedies, they’ll definitely help, but it’s also important to be aware of what I’m eating and focusing on foods that are high in blood pressure lowering nutrients.

He narrowed it down to eight daily steps I could take to get my blood pressure down.

1.     Eat potassium rich foods like kiwi, bananas, spinach and pistachios.

2.    Avoid adding extra salt to your food, and avoid processed foods and condiments that are high in sodium.

3.     I walk every morning with the dogs and swim twice a week, so he suggested that I add in a walk in the evening as well.

4.     Eat dark chocolate (that’s why I love him!).

5.     Consume a medicine specifically balanced for supporting a healthy blood pressure. He has me taking vitamin E and combination of minerals and an amino acid.

6.     Develop a Qi Gong routine (Seven Precious Gestures that I modified to included stretching in the water after my swim)

7.     Meditate.

8.     Remove any extra stressors that you can. (We now have the trailer parked up Island for a quick getaway by the ocean)

9.     Most importantly, I discovered the fizzy water I was consuming had sodium bicarbonate in it. Now I just have alkalinized water in the evening with a lemon wedge instead of the fizzy stuff.

Everyone is different however, and there are extra steps individuals could take that are different from mine based on body type, health status and ability. Make sure you visit Dr. Yim before changing your diet or adding more or any other herbal or medicinal supplements to your regime.

John checked my blood pressure one and a half months after the doctor gave me a good scare. He was happy to say that it was 134/80. Just where I want it.

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Colon Hydrotherapy-The Experience and History

Most patients report feeling lighter along with an over-all heightened sense of well-being as they walk out of the clinic.
— Chantal David
colonwordspic

The Experience

What happens during a Colon Hydrotherapy session?  ...... The question we are all dying to know !

As a client lies comfortably on the treatment table in our spa-like treatment room, warm filtered water is slowly introduced into the colon. The temperature and pressure of this water is maintained and altered by the colon hydrotherapist. As the water volume increases in the colon it will stimulate an action called peristalsis, the rhythmic movement of the digestive tract. Your therapist may use pressure points or gentle massage on the abdomen to aid in dislodging waste from the walls of the colon. The waste and water is then carried out of the body through a small out flow hose attached to the speculum. The process takes about 30-45 minutes and the environment is both professional and tranquil. At the end of the treatment the therapist will step out of the room so that the client can use the toilet to empty any remaining water from their colon.  After the session is complete the therapist may suggest specific supplements or dietary guidelines to follow before your next session.  Most clients report feeling lighter along with an over-all heightened sense of well-being as they walk out of the clinic.  Clients may return to their normal daily activities or work much like they would after a dentist appointment. 

Because the colon is roughly 5-7 feet in length and needs to be properly hydrated in order to thoroughly cleanse, a minimum of 3 treatments is generally required. The treatments are designed to be completed in succession usually no more than a week apart as each treatment builds on the one prior. With each session the colon becomes both more hydrated and responsive to the treatment due to cellular memory.  Those with more chronic issues may require a larger series of treatments, your therapist will discuss your goals with you.

History of Colon Hydrotherapy:

Colon Hydrotherapy was used initially to treat fever and remove mucous. In fact, it was not uncommon for many European cultures to have an enema bag hanging on the back of the bathroom door which would be the first thing to get put to use if any member of the house hold made mention of feeling the slightest bit sick or had a runny nose. 

The practice of various forms of "colon hydrotherapy" (water therapy of the colon) began as early as 1500 B.C. in Egypt and was documented as “Eber Papyrus” Ancient Greeks also used colonic irrigation for digestive disorders. Elie Mechinkoff, a Russian in 1908 received the Nobel Prize for research on immunity and the influence of bowel toxins on immunity. 

In modern days, Dr. John H. Kellogg (inventor of Kellogg’s Corn Flakes and Rice Crispies) was a big proponent of colon hydrotherapy and eating lots of fiber especially contained in fruits and vegetables. He used colon therapy in his practice on thousands of patients in the place of gastrointestinal surgery.

Colon hydrotherapy reached the United States in the 1920s and ‘30s. During that time colonic irrigation machines were used in hospitals and doctors’ offices. Unfortunately as the pharmaceutical industry grew, natural treatments such as this one, became less utilized in the hospital setting, but now, once again doctors are turning to natural treatments as an adjunct to their protocols instead of prescription drugs. 

Contraindications for Colon Hydrotherapy include:

  • Cancer of the colon, rectum or gastro-intestinal tract,
  • acute abdominal pain needing medical attention,
  • recent gastrointestinal or rectal bleeding,
  • congestive heart failure,
  • uncontrolled high blood pressure,
  • epilepsy or seizures,
  • recent abdominal or rectal surgery,
  • intestinal perforation,
  • abdominal hernia,
  • diverticulitis,
  • recent heart attack,
  • aneurism,
  • kidney insufficiency,
  • severe hemorrhoids,
  • cirrhosis of the liver,
  • anal fistula,
  • pregnancy,
  • ulcerative colitis,
  • acute Crohn’s disease,
  • rectal or abdominal tumours.

 

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