Blooming Wellness https://www.bloomingwellness.com Health & Wellness Blog by Dr. Eeks Tue, 19 Feb 2019 16:03:08 +0000 en-US hourly 1 https://wordpress.org/?v=4.9.9 Four Incredible Ways to Improve Your Health https://www.bloomingwellness.com/2019/02/four-incredible-ways-to-improve-your-health/ https://www.bloomingwellness.com/2019/02/four-incredible-ways-to-improve-your-health/#respond Tue, 19 Feb 2019 16:03:08 +0000 https://www.bloomingwellness.com/?p=13752 If you’re looking to improve your health but don’t know where to start, then you’ve definitely come to the right place. Whether you’ve had a health scare and you want to help move things in the right direction, or you’re just looking to make some healthy changes – starting to live a healthier lifestyle is […]

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If you’re looking to improve your health but don’t know where to start, then you’ve definitely come to the right place. Whether you’ve had a health scare and you want to help move things in the right direction, or you’re just looking to make some healthy changes – starting to live a healthier lifestyle is an incredibly important change that everyone should make.

With that in mind, here are 4 incredible ways you can improve your health:

 

  • Try To Get At Least 20 Minutes Of Exercise Each Day

 

One of the best ways to improve your health is to ensure you’re getting at least 20 minutes of exercise each day. Not only will it help improve your fitness levels and physical health, but exercise is known to release endorphins that are great for mental health. If you’re struggling to get started with exercise and can’t find the motivation, consider joining a group or programme that will have people in a similar position starting alongside you. That way, you’ll know that you’re not alone when it comes to exercise.

 

  • Eat A Healthy And Wholesome Diet and Drink 2 L Of Water A Day (Minimum)

 

Having a healthy diet is incredibly important when it comes to health. Whilst it doesn’t mean you have to be on a strict diet, it does mean you should be mindful of what you’re eating and when. Treats are okay every once in a while, especially if you’re eating nutritious meals in between.

It’s also important that you’re drinking a minimum of 2 L of water a day. Not only does this help your metabolism, but it stops you from becoming dehydrated and exhausted. If you struggle to drink water on a regular basis, using a bottle that tells you how much you need to have had by a specific time is a great way to improve. For more information on where to purchase a bottle like this, you can visit this site here.

 

  • Practise Self-Care On A Daily Basis

 

If you are always on the go and find it hard to find time to yourself, you’ll probably find it hard to fit in any self-care. Whilst it’s important to do the things you need to do, you should make sure that you’re practising self-care on a daily basis, no matter how busy you are. Whether it’s a hot bath after a long day at work or curling up with a good book, self-care can make the world of difference to your mental health.

 

  • Consider Taking Supplements To Improve Health

 

If you’re worried that you’re not getting the vitamins and minerals you need in order to live a healthy life, you may want to consider taking supplements to help. Whether you’re looking to boost your metabolism, become a little more Age Immune or help improve your focus, there will be a supplement that suits your needs.

Are you looking for ways to improve your health? What could you change? Let me know in the comments section below.

 

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Migraine Prevention: The Lowdown and Tips https://www.bloomingwellness.com/2019/02/migraine-prevention-the-lowdown-and-tips/ https://www.bloomingwellness.com/2019/02/migraine-prevention-the-lowdown-and-tips/#respond Sat, 16 Feb 2019 00:10:05 +0000 https://www.bloomingwellness.com/?p=13601                 Migraines can be mysterious. One summer, while taking courses for my Masters of Public Health degree, I had a bizarre experience with migraines. It started after a trip to Germany. I came home and was hit with random attacks of severe pain on the left side of […]

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Migraines can be mysterious. One summer, while taking courses for my Masters of Public Health degree, I had a bizarre experience with migraines. It started after a trip to Germany. I came home and was hit with random attacks of severe pain on the left side of my head. The pain was debilitating to the point that all I could do was lie down on the ground and wait for it to go away. I kept a journal of potential triggers, including food, locations, sleep patterns, cardio, weight lifting, timing, hydration status, stress level…but couldn’t identify a clear pattern. One time, the headache occurred while I was calmly sitting in class. It became so excruciating, I had to leave. I couldn’t see, focus or do anything. Over the counter pain medication didn’t help, and when it was really bad, I took prescribed opioids. They helped, but I feared becoming dependent on such strong medication. This went on for about three months, and then the headaches went away. Poof! Gone! It was the strangest thing. I still have no idea what caused or cured the headaches. I often wonder if it was a reaction to some sort of  tick or mosquito bite. Truth is, I’ll never know.

A journal is a good first start when it comes to migraines or chronic headaches. If you faithfully keep a journal, patterns may emerge and help you identify triggers. While a journal didn’t help me identify my triggers, it helped eliminate some. Pay special attention to foods, like dairy, alcohol and coffee and your hydration status. Also, if you’re a woman, be mindful of where you’re at on your menstrual cycle when you have a headache. Migraines are often associated with PMS. If you exercise a lot, do yoga or lift weights, be mindful of any neck or shoulder pain that may radiate to your head and cause a headache. Fatigue is a known trigger for mid-day headaches. Pay attention to how you’re sleeping at night and if you’re getting enough sleep. Of course, if you’re really worried and want a professional checkup, visit your doctor and run some tests.

A lot of people look to supplements or natural ways to prevent migraines, but what does the research say?  Below is a run-down of  what I’ve learned. As always, pay attention to doses, timing and what is supported by a randomized, placebo-controlled trial and what isn’t.

1. COenzyme Q 

CoQ10 is found in the mitochondria of every cell and plays a key role in energy metabolism. One theory for migraines is a problem with mitochondrial energy metabolism, the specifics of which are beyond the scope of this blog. Outside of the mitochondria, CoQ10 is  a potent antioxidant. A lot of research has shown that supplementing with CoQ10 can improve cases of congestive heart failure and high blood pressure, and it may also help with migraines. One double-blind, randomized, placebo-controlled trial shows that CoQ10 supplements are helpful for migraines. Forty-two adults with migraines took 300 mgs of CoQ10 per day ( or 3 pills at 100mg/day) for 3 months. Compared to placebo, the CoQ10 group had significantly less migraines and significantly less nausea associated with the migraines. CoQ10 was also well tolerated. I like  Nature’s Made brand on Amazon here .

2. Magnesium

High-dose magnesium may be helpful for migraine prevention. A multi-centered, randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial included 81 adults with diagnosed migraines. Some folks received 600 mg of Magnesium/day for 3 months and  others received a placebo. At the end of 3 months, the group taking Magnesium showed a 41% decrease in headache frequency, compared to a 15% decrease in the placebo group. The Magnesium group also showed a significant decrease in the number of days with headaches and a significant decrease in OTC pain medication use. Side effects were minimal, with GI distress being the most common complaint.

At least one randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial shows that magnesium supplements may also work for kids with migraines. The study included 86 kids ( ages 3-17), divided into two groups. One group took 9 mg/kg of body weight/day of Magnesium 3 times a day, and the other took a placebo. After 4 months, the Magnesium group showed a significant reduction in migraine frequency and severity compared to placebo. You can get Magnesium from your diet, but all of these studies use a high dose to yield a significant effect. For supplements, I like Nature’s Made high potency brand.

3. Riboflavin

Another name for Riboflavin is Vitamin B2, which, like CoQ10, plays a role in mitochondria energy metabolism. A randomized trial involving 55 people with migraines showed that 400 mg of riboflavin/day for 3 months significantly reduced attack frequency and days with headache. The only adverse side effects reported were diarrhea and heavy urination. A lot of reputable brands only offer riboflavin as 100mg/pill, so keep that in mind.  Here’s a link to a brand I trust.

4. FeverFew:

I’ve written about Feverfew (Tanacetum parthenium)  a lot in the past, because I grow it in my garden and use it to make skin cream. Feverfew has a lot of health benefits, but it’s most studied for its ability to prevent migraines. The Lancet published a great randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled crossover study on Feverfew and migraines. 72 volunteers were divided into two groups: One group took 1 capsule of Feverfew leaves/day and one group took a placebo pill for a duration of 2 months. At the end of 2 months, the groups switched and took their respective treatment for a subsequent 2 months. ( Switching groups in a crossover study  helps rule out placebo effect). In both the first 2 months and the second 2 months, the Feverfew group was associated with a significant reduction in number and severity of attacks, as well as a significant reduction in associated vomiting. No serious side effects were reported.

No one knows the exact mechanism for how Feverfew prevents migraines. The plant has 3 active components: 1) Parthenolide, 2) Canin and 3) Artecanin. These components are anti-inflammatory and may inhibit prostaglandins, histamine or blood vessel spasms that trigger migraines. I grow my own,  and eat the leaves whole, but I trust Nature’s Way Feverfew Leaves.  

5. Butterbur

In the wild, Butterbur ( Petasites hybridus) produces gorgeous purple flowers. It may also be helpful for migraines. A three-arm, randomized, placebo-controlled trial, that included 245 adult patients with diagnosed migraines, compared two doses of Butterbur to placebo. The doses were 75 mg twice a day; 50 mg twice a day and 50 mg of a placebo twice a day. The study lasted for 4 months. At the end of the study, results showed that the group taking 75 mg of Butterbur twice a day showed a significant reduction in number of migraines. Even better news is that the results were  significant at  the 1, 2 and 3 month-mark, which means you don’t have to take it for 4 months to experience a significant improvement. 50 mg of Butterbur twice a day did not show a significant benefit over placebo.

Another study (not randomized nor placebo controlled) showed that Butterbur may help reduce migraines in kids and adolescents. 108 kids (6-17) with diagnosed migraines took between 50-150 mg/ Butterbur/day for 4 months. 77% reported a decrease in number of migraines and 91% said they felt better after 4 months of treatment.  The brand I recommend is a little more expensive, but they have an additional study to support them. It’s Petadolex and it’s already dosed at 75 mg, which is most effective based on the literature.

 

Below are other things I’ve come across that you can try. They aren’t tested in randomized, placebo-controlled trials, but they are supported by anecdotes and used by both herbalists and natural practitioners.

1. A Migraine Prevention Compress: 

Try this when you START to feel the onset of a migraine. Fill a large bowl with ice cold water. Add 2 drops of Peppermint Essential Oil; 2 drops of Ginger Essential Oil and 1 drop Marjoram Essential Oil.  Submerge three cloths. Apply to forehead,  back of head and back of neck.  Make sure it’s super cold!

2. If Stress Triggers Your Migraine:

When you start to feel the onset of a migraine,  rub Lavender Essential Oil in your temples and try listening to our Pain Relief ZENTones, which include low frequency delta and sub-delta waves and isochronic tones that may help reduce pain. ( There is at least one study showing that sub-delta waves help alleviate pain.)  ( I have a lot of female customers who listen to it when they are premenstrual.)

3. If Migraines related to PMS or Hormone changes:

In addition to some of the preventive tips mentioned above, you can try Sepia, which is from the skin of the cuttlefish.  It may help with other symptoms associated with PMS, like severe bloating, chills and mood swings.  For dosing, I would try 1 pill of 30cc of Sepia per day. ( I use this a week before my period, because I severely bloat and become mega irritated.)  Here’s a Sepia brand I trust.

 

Hope this helps!  Don’t forget to follow Blooming Wellness on Instagram for tips, funny tidbits and cute pictures of my pup, Barnaby FluffPuff!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Therapy for Complicated Grief https://www.bloomingwellness.com/2019/02/therapy-for-complicated-grief/ https://www.bloomingwellness.com/2019/02/therapy-for-complicated-grief/#respond Thu, 07 Feb 2019 21:07:31 +0000 https://www.bloomingwellness.com/?p=13613   By Cindy Trillo Protecting Your Health During A Time Of Grief Losing a loved one is officially the most stressful life event, according to the renowned Holmes-Rahe Stress Inventory. When we are called upon to face a big loss, especially when it is unexpected, it can suddenly make us feel vulnerable and seriously affect […]

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By Cindy Trillo

Protecting Your Health During A Time Of Grief

Losing a loved one is officially the most stressful life event, according to the renowned Holmes-Rahe Stress Inventory. When we are called upon to face a big loss, especially when it is unexpected, it can suddenly make us feel vulnerable and seriously affect our sense of purpose. In addition to facing the pain of loss, we are often called upon to make big changes – sometimes, the change of a job, residence, or even hometown. If you have just lost a partner, family member or close friend, be aware of the effect it can have on your health, and make sure to take proactive steps to keep your body and mind strong, despite the sadness.

 

What Risks Can Grief Pose For Your Health?

Grieving has a plethora of physiological effects, including changes in blood pressure, stress hormone levels, and even blood clotting. In one study published in the journal Dialogues in Clinical Neuroscience, scientists note that bereavement can also cause altered sleep, immune imbalance, inflammation, and many other alterations, especially in the months after death. If you have lost your partner or a close friend or family member, grief specialists recommend therapy, especially if sleep disturbance becomes the norm for you. This is because poor sleep itself is associated with everything from heart disease to an increased risk of accidents.

 

Finding Strength In Others

2017 University of Oxford study made a finding that human beings can perhaps learn from. When birds lose a flockmate, they come closer together and strengthen the intensity of their relationships. Other studies show that baboons do the same. Studies on humans who have lost loved ones have found that people find solace by gathering together. If you’re sad and need someone to talk to, ask your friends or family members to come over, and don’t be shy to ask for help if you need it – especially if you have children and need to rest or simply enjoy a bit of ‘alone’ time to sort your thoughts.

 

Natural Stress Relief Methods

Because it’s important to keep stress hormone levels down, consider adopting methods which have been proven in various studies to successfully battle stress. These include mindfulness practices (such as meditation, yoga, and pranayamic or controlled breathing), spending time in nature, and journaling. Embracing the practice of self-compassion is also important: this involves being as kind to oneself as you are others, and avoiding self-judgement at a time when you need all the strength you can muster.

 

Therapy For Complicated Grief

If you find that your grief is not subsiding or is getting worse as the months go by, see a grief therapist to help you progress and find meaning once again from life. Therapy for complicated grief is similar to cognitive behavioral therapy, but it centers on loss, and has specific aims – including helping you understand what complicated grief is, helping you reduce emotions like guilt, and enlightening you about the vital link between how you think and feel about grief and the behaviors you display. The therapist will often give you little goals to fulfil. They may suggest that you make small behavioral changes in an attempt to positively change the way you think and feel about your loss.

 

If you have just lost someone you love, be aware that it can impact your health. Take steps to stay heart-healthy, by consuming healthy food, trying to stay active, and availing of the support of friends and loved ones. Finally, if you find that grief is overwhelming, seek professional help from a qualified grief therapist, who can help you find a vital sense of purpose.

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Simple Skin Care Products You Should Replace for Better Well-Being https://www.bloomingwellness.com/2019/01/simple-skin-care-products-you-should-replace-for-better-well-being/ https://www.bloomingwellness.com/2019/01/simple-skin-care-products-you-should-replace-for-better-well-being/#respond Fri, 25 Jan 2019 16:01:02 +0000 https://www.bloomingwellness.com/?p=13397 By: Cindy Trillo The natural, organic beauty market is booming, with brands featuring a natural-derived clinical orientation now representing the largest combined share of skin care sales. Whereas toxic ingredients used to be a staple of skin care products around the world, consumers and companies alike are wising up to the harmful effects and avoiding them […]

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By: Cindy Trillo
The natural, organic beauty market is booming, with brands featuring a natural-derived clinical orientation now representing the largest combined share of skin care sales. Whereas toxic ingredients used to be a staple of skin care products around the world, consumers and companies alike are wising up to the harmful effects and avoiding them in favor of safer alternatives. Despite the worldwide efforts to make a positive shift towards chemical-free well-being, there are still hidden dangers in certain products that you’ll want to avoid if you care about the health of your skin.

Scented Deodorants

Most mainstream deodorants include phthalates, which Congress has actually banned due to the harmful effects the ingredient can have on the endocrine system. Seeing as we absorb up to 60% of what we put on our skin, using deodorants that include phthalates can be extremely harmful. Even though they can be found in other products and even the foods we eat, deodorants pose the biggest risk due to the way we apply it on our skin and where.While it’s fair to want to smell great and receive the benefits of an antiperspirant, there are other safer alternatives that you can use instead that will provide the same benefits without the health risks. Roll-on deodorants are generally healthier than sprays, and all-natural, odor-free ones can sometimes be combined with essential oils for an added health boost and gentle scent.

Anything with a Fragrance

Everybody loves to smell great, and it’s likely why the deodorants mentioned above are so popular. Fragrances that typically come in skin care products, however, are made up of chemicals that lead to hormone imbalances, infertility and allergies. Fragrances are especially strong in body lotions, creams and hair products, which are more dangerous as they’re products that people tend to use on a daily basis. The Environmental Working Group reported that even though most major cosmetics companies will include natural essences as part of their ingredients list, they’re often overpowered by a long list of chemicals that simply aren’t good for you, your skin or your body in general. Instead, opt for essential oils or even naturally-occurring pheromones that will help you smell great.

BHA in Exfoliants

Exfoliants are actually a great way to give your skin a natural glow, but only if you’re exfoliating with natural ingredients. Most popular exfoliants on the market contain BHA, which The National Toxicology Program currently classifies as “reasonably anticipated to be a human carcinogen.” Know to cause stomach cancer and lead to thyroid issues, BHA can also lead to skin depigmentation. Instead of purchasing chemical-filled exfoliants, you can easily make your own with coconut oil, brown sugar and lavender essential oil.

Caring for your skin is one of many things you can do to engage in personal well-being practices. While healthy skin is a factor in general health, caring for it should be done in an all-natural way that doesn’t include chemicals or dangerous toxins that can do more harm than good.

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How to Support A Loved One Who Suffers From Chronic Pain https://www.bloomingwellness.com/2019/01/how-to-support-a-loved-one-who-suffers-from-chronic-pain/ https://www.bloomingwellness.com/2019/01/how-to-support-a-loved-one-who-suffers-from-chronic-pain/#respond Fri, 25 Jan 2019 15:40:01 +0000 https://www.bloomingwellness.com/?p=13395 By: Trevor McDonald If you love someone who is suffering from chronic pain, there’s one thing you need to understand. You will never fully know their struggle. Everyone’s situation and pain tolerance is different, and there’s no way for you to understand without living a day in that person’s body. But that doesn’t mean you’re […]

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By: Trevor McDonald

If you love someone who is suffering from chronic pain, there’s one thing you need to understand. You will never fully know their struggle. Everyone’s situation and pain tolerance is different, and there’s no way for you to understand without living a day in that person’s body. But that doesn’t mean you’re helpless. There are plenty of ways you can support your loved one who suffers from chronic pain.

Practice patience

As someone who struggles with chronic pain daily, I can tell you that it can be difficult to make plans in advance. Something as simple as a party invitation can be extremely stressful for someone who suffers from chronic pain. I usually want to say yes and follow through, but there are times when I have to cancel at the last minute. You won’t want me at your party if I’m doubled over in pain anyway. Please understand that your loved one probably isn’t making excuses. They are simply trying to get through their day.

Steer clear of simple fixes

When you love someone, you want nothing more than to solve their problems. The last thing you want is to see your loved one hurting, so you may want to offer your suggestions. Although you’re coming from a good place, you want to be careful about implying that there’s a quick fix to the problem. It’s true that you can pop a pill to help make the pain go away, but that comes with a great number of risks. Unfortunately, there are no quick fixes for chronic pain.

Research treatments

With the understanding that there aren’t any quick fixes, you may want to research alternative therapies to what your loved one is currently doing. If your loved one is willing, you may find a treatment that works. Even something that seems simple can have a profound impact on pain. Meditation is a great example of such a thing. At least one study has found that meditation can change the way we perceive pain. It may not fix the problem, but it can help alleviate some of the painful sensations. As you research, you may find that there are plenty of alternative therapies your loved one can try.

Help where you can

Your loved one may have tasks that are difficult or impossible to accomplish due to pain. Ask what you can do to help. And if you can think of something specific, ask about that thing directly. Maybe you can offer to clean the house or mow the lawn once a week. Nothing shows love more than your actions, so this is a great way to let someone know you truly care.

Encourage social activity

When you’re in constant pain, it’s easy to isolate yourself from the outside world. But this type of isolation can quickly lead to depression. So if you notice your loved one hiding away instead of living life, encourage him or her to come out and play. Even if it’s just a weekly coffee date between the two of you, it’s important that your loved one get out and experience the world.

Understand what is going on physically

Being informed about what is happening on a physical level may help you to understand what your loved one is going through. Learn about the general symptoms of disease and chronic pain conditions and specifically the one that they suffer from. You will discover that these are often more far reaching than just generalised pain and include a variety of accompanying health issues to deal with. Next try to imagine feeling and facing these on a daily basis. Doing so will help you to be mindful of what they are experiencing, and increase your empathy levels.

Try to understand the emotional impact

It’s true that you may never really know what it’s like to live with chronic pain, but you can still be empathetic to your loved one’s plight. Someone who is often in pain may show often signs of anger, frustration and/or irritability. When you’re on the receiving end of this type of outburst, it can be difficult not to take it personally. But it’s important to remember that your loved one is in pain. They don’t mean to be irritable, but they may be at their wits end or dealing with a flare up. Try to understand where they’re coming from before you respond in anger.

At times, it may seem difficult to love someone with chronic pain, but remember that this is the same person you’ve always loved. And if you can get involved in researching alternative treatments, there may be an end in sight. At the very least, your loved one will know that you’re on his or her side. You want nothing more than to improve their quality of life – and get your friend back in the process.

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Hospital Rooms: Helping Those with Mental Illness Through Art https://www.bloomingwellness.com/2019/01/hospital-rooms-helping-those-with-mental-illness-through-art/ https://www.bloomingwellness.com/2019/01/hospital-rooms-helping-those-with-mental-illness-through-art/#respond Thu, 24 Jan 2019 12:50:20 +0000 https://www.bloomingwellness.com/?p=13351 Greetings, everyone! Recently I had the pleasure of doing an interview with artist Tim Shaw and curator Niamh White, the founders of Hospital Rooms. The mission of Hospital Rooms is to “bring world class art to mental health hospitals.”  I randomly stumbled across their Instagram account and was blown away by some of their art […]

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Greetings, everyone! Recently I had the pleasure of doing an interview with artist Tim Shaw and curator Niamh White, the founders of Hospital Rooms.

The mission of Hospital Rooms is to “bring world class art to mental health hospitals.”  I randomly stumbled across their Instagram account and was blown away by some of their art projects. If you follow my blog or read my book Manic Kingdom, I write a lot about how the holistic approach to health  includes optimizing one’s environment because we are sensual beings intimately connected to our surroundings. My mind mimics my surroundings and vice versa. In Manic Kingdom, I write about the drab psychiatric units devoid of color and nature, and question how folks can heal in such an environment. This isn’t a new issue. In the early 1800s, the Quakers recognized it was a problem and under their “moral treatment” approach to mental illness, created small facilities in the country with an emphasis on art, nature and aesthetics. They created flowerbeds, vegetable gardens and focused on the buildings’ interior colors and design. Moral treatment included other holistic approaches to healing, like dance and art therapy, and the Quakers had remarkably high recovery rates. Unfortunately, it didn’t last long. In the mid 1800s, the medical establishment and states took back control of asylums, and due to an increase in patient volume and a desire to cut costs, the aesthetics of asylums was no longer a a priority.

Tell me how you got started and what inspired you to start Hospital Rooms?

I’m an artist and she’s a curator. Going into one of these units for the first time was quite shocking for us. That happened because a very close friend was sectioned, and we went to visit her. We got to see that space quite a few times, and we found it really unpleasant. Then we just sort of had an idea: Let’s see if we can do a project. Let’s see if we can use our expertise and contacts to put together an exciting project in these mental health units. And it went from there. It did take us a year for anyone to give us an opportunity to do a project in their hospital. There was one medical director who said she had a unit for schizophrenic patients and asked if we could do a project. That was the start of the charity really.

When was that?

In 2016. We first visited the unit, and then the project took 26 days.

When you go into a unit, you have a vision. Do you get any patient feedback ?

Yes absolutely, that is integral to the production process. The artists we work with should be integrated with the  community before they choose anything. The idea is that the artists see the space, meet the staff,  meet the patients and get a sense of the space. Then they go away and have a think about what they’d like to do. Then they come up with an idea  for a practical arts workshop that they can lead within the unit. That’s another way to spend more time telling the patients about their art and inviting them to offer their ideas. What would be useful , functional, helpful, appropriate…and then once that happens, the artists go in again and think about what they’d  like to do. So it’s not like a patient says “We want a tree” and they get a tree, it’s more that they’re trying to be informed by people’s experiences as well as clinical expertise.

So when the artists are in there, are the patients just going about their day?

The patients are involved with the arts workshop but not with the instillation of the artwork that is permanently installed in the units. The main reason is that they should be really high quality, durable, and meet all the compliance issues around being in a clinical space.

I looked at your website and the artwork is really great. Your projects aren’t just paintings, are they?

No, it’s a mixture. We try to use a big range of artists for each project, which is why we have 6-10 artists for each project. We get a good variety that everyone will like.  But we do have quite a lot of painters, partly because the painters work really well. Painters usually work on site, so they can be there for a few days or weeks. We’ve had quite a few artists who’ve been there for 3 weeks straight, every day, working on a painting. We have a lot of photographers and we have very conceptual artists who create pieces that make you think. We have to work with them to make sure the materials they’re using are safe and not going to cause any harm.

Bluebell Lodge, Locked Rehab Center for Men copyright: Hospital-rooms.com

Garnet Ward for Dementia Patients Copyright: Hospital-Rooms.com

Dining Room in Garnet Ward Copyright: Hospital-Rooms.com

Communal sitting area, Maudsley Hospital Copyright Hospital-Rooms.com

Recovery College for Students with Mental Health Issues Copyright: Hospital-Rooms.com

Do you only work with psychiatric hospitals and clinics ?

Yes, only in mental health. We are specifically a mental health charity, and we always work in locked down psychiatric units, so most of the patients that we work with are under section according to the Mental Health Act, meaning they can’t really leave. We think it’s all the more important that that their environment has some sort of quality to it, especially since they can’t choose to be there.

Can you share any feedback from patients or healthcare workers that stands out?

We’ve had lovely feedback. Patient wise, people have said things like, “This is remarkable, I feel like I’m sitting in a park.”  We once created a massive landscape scene with a scent of pine, and a patient said, “It doesn’t feel like a hospital, it feels like Buckingham Palace.

Wow. 

I think that’s a bit steep…

😉

We had a very difficult week installing a project. An artist was painting in a communal space and people were particularly agitated that week, but once we installed the painting in the room, patients stood around and burst into applause. While that was happening, there was a really caring moment where one patient says to another patient, who was in a lot of distress,  “Sit with your pain and watch the artist work.” The artwork can be great for starting conversations like that. There’s one amazing doctor who we work with, and she has told us that the smells, color and texture of one of the spaces are very calming for the patients.

You mentioned Pine. I’m a huge fan of aromatherapy for mood. You are able to add smells too?

She basically put together scents and oils. It’s just a spritz, so you have a pine scent in that particular space. It’s not in the walls.

How many spaces have you worked on since you started?

We are on our sixth project, and we are just starting a seventh, forty individual rooms. A project is a whole unit, so each one has different rooms.

Do you have any ideas to branch out internationally?

Yes, definitely. We are based in East London, but we want to do projects in places like Turkey, the US and South America. It takes us a little while to realize a project. It’s a big undertaking, but it’s something we want to do.

To learn more about Hospital Rooms and donate towards their efforts, please visit them here.  

 

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Cell Phones are the Melting Pots of the Microbial World https://www.bloomingwellness.com/2019/01/your-phone-has-many-enemies-that-can-kill-you/ https://www.bloomingwellness.com/2019/01/your-phone-has-many-enemies-that-can-kill-you/#respond Mon, 14 Jan 2019 22:11:31 +0000 https://www.bloomingwellness.com/?p=13107 Let’s talk bacteria on cell phones, but first, a story: A young woman was walking slowly down the busy New York City sidewalk.  Her head was down and her eyes were glued to her phone as she typed something on the keyboard. I was walking in the other direction. I could have moved, but I […]

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Let’s talk bacteria on cell phones, but first, a story: A young woman was walking slowly down the busy New York City sidewalk.  Her head was down and her eyes were glued to her phone as she typed something on the keyboard. I was walking in the other direction. I could have moved, but I didn’t. She walked right into me and was startled, as if she realized she was on a sidewalk and not at home on her couch. She then apologized. I walked by, wondering, “Should I have apologized to?” The answer is No. No, I shouldn’t have apologized, because she should be glad I wasn’t a bus. Folks, for a lot of reasons, we need to put away the phones and look up more.

The encounter got me thinking. How many ways can our cell phones kill us? I’ve already posted a few links and interviews that touch on my skepticism surrounding the notion that EMFs are completely safe. While there isn’t one identifiable mechanism of action for how they might harm us, I find the theory of disturbances of the microbiome and normal flora most interesting. In the near future, I’ll write about cases involving “cell phone neck” and “selfie wrist” and of course there is the ceaseless debate on how cell phones affect our mental health and ability to connect with one another in person. Perhaps because it’s flu season, I started wondering about the germs on our phones. Even our headphones. Phones and headphones are fomites ( the official word for an object that carries germs) and since we touch them constantly, bring them everywhere, share them with each other and hold them up to our ears and mouths, I wanted to research the potential for germ growth and transmission.

Forty cell phones in a healthcare setting were analyzed for microbiological contamination. The healthcare setting is interesting because there are a lot of germs, a lot of sick people to spread germs, and a lot of sick people with low immunity who are more prone to being infected. Phones of  both healthcare workers and patients were analyzed. Results showed that ALL of the phones were contaminated. The most prevalent bacteria were Methicillin-Resistant S. aureus ( 52.5% of phones) ; Coagulase-Negative Staphylococci (50%) and Non-Anthracis Bacillus spp ( 42.5%).  Coagulase-Negative Staph was found most on doctors’ phones;  Methicillin-Resistant S. aureus  (MRSA) was found most on nurses’ and patients’ phones.

Methicillin-Resistant S. aureus mostly causes skin infections, but in more severe cases, pneumonia and sepsis. It’s more challenging to treat, because it’s resistant to several antibiotics. Coagulase-Negative Staph lack coagulase, an enzyme that causes fibrin in the blood to clot. Bacteria that have coagulase can create a protective barrier of clots, making it harder for the immune system to kill them. For this reason, Coagulase-Negative Staph are generally considered less dangerous than Coagulase-Positive Staph. Coagulase-Negative Staph are commonly found on the skin, and infections normally aren’t a problem. However,  infections from Coagulase-Negative Staph become a problem for individuals with poor immune systems; individuals with central lines; catheters; or prosthetic joints- you know, folks often in hospitals.  Bacillus spp ( the ones that don’t cause Anthrax poisoning) , are usually harmless unless, again, someone has a weak immune system, is an IV drug user, or has an indwelling device. Bacillus cereus is known for causing nasty bouts of food poisoning. Surgical patients with open wounds and premature babies are also at a heightened risk of Bacillus infection. In severe cases, it can cause pneumonia, endocarditis, meningitis, septicemia and death, especially in premature babies.

Another study analyzed 100 cell phones from 100 college students. All phones were contaminated with a wide-range of bacteria, proving that cell phones are the melting pots of the microbial world. Pathogenic bacteria made up 81% of all isolated bacteria, and antibiotic-resistant bacteria was present. Bacillus cereus was found the most, followed by Coagulase Negative Staph, Klebsiella pneumonia, Streptococcus pneumonia,  E coli, Salmonella spp and Shigella spp.  Also, the presence of E coli means that we have feces (poop) on our phones. That might make you cringe, but think about all the people who are probably scrolling on Instagram while on the throne.

What about surgeons who deal with the most intimate of the most intimate? Researchers analyzed 53 cell phones that belonged to 53 orthopedic surgeons. Phones were swabbed in the operating room, since phones are now commonplace in the OR. Results showed that 83% of phones had pathogenic bacteria, and one week out from disinfection, 75% of the phones had pathogenic bacteria. Like all of us, doctors, nurses and patients are addicted to their phones. It makes me wonder if we should rethink standard operating procedures for cell phone use in the hospital setting.

The good news is that we can clean and disinfect our phones without damaging them in the process. Microfiber cloths and alcohol-based lens wipes are shown to significantly decrease bacteria on phones. The surgeon study shows us that bacteria can rapidly recolonize on phones, so frequent cleaning is key. Also, live bacteria can thrive on phones from days to months. Generally, the greater the colonization of a bacteria, the longer it survives. This is different than the flu or cold viruses, which are shown to remain infectious on phones for only about 2 days. Other precautionary measures include not sharing phones, washing your hands frequently and not bringing your phone into places that have a lot of germs, like clinics and hospitals. Consider disconnecting for a bit, reducing the universal addiction to the phone and living a little bit of life without your phone. It’s possible, I promise. It’s actually quite freeing. You and your phone will both be okay. In fact, you can even get a beautiful relaxing bed for your phone, designed by Ariana Huffington. (It’s actually a killer self-care gift. ;))

Phones have a lot of germs, so what about their cousins, headphones and earbuds? They do, too, and even worse, they sometimes go right in the ear, making them clever vectors for pathogens. Bacteria that get into the ears can cause Otitis Externa, a painful infection of the outer ear and ear canal. Symptoms include pain, swelling, hearing loss, dizziness, vertigo, pus drainage, and ringing in the ears. One study showed that frequent use of earphones and frequent sharing of earphones leads to increased bacterial growth in the ears.  So, clean your head/earphones regularly and don’t share them. Or, buy a ZENBand instead. The pillow speakers are inside the band, don’t go in your ears, and the cloth of the band is porous, which is less likely to have viruses and bacteria than hard, solid surfaces.  ( Shameless plug, but not wrong.  😉 )

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Thanks for reading, gang. Stay tuned for more stuff. If you haven’t followed me ( Dr. Eeks) on Instagram yet, now’s your chance! ( Dare to dream, I know…)  But we have a lot of giveaways, pictures of my dogs and funny videos that all relate to health and wellness.

If you haven’t read Manic Kingdom yet, why not? C’mon, it’s a short read. I need more reviews, too. But if you’re looking for “answers,” don’t read it. The book is the antithesis of answers. It’s all about embracing ambiguity and uncertainty and showing how both breakdowns AND breakthroughs may be hard to understand; may seem illogical; but to cherry-pick answers, labels and reasons would be dishonest. Uncertainty is honest.

And if you missed some of my other blogs, here’s a few good links:

Natural, Evidence-based Tips for Fighting the Flu and Cold

Sleep like a Caveperson

Cell Phones, Wireless and Fetal Health: An Interview with Dr. Hugh Taylor, Chief of OB/GYN at Yale University 

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Twelve Natural Tips for Fighting the Flu https://www.bloomingwellness.com/2019/01/twelve-natural-tips-for-fighting-the-flu-respiratory-and-sinus-infections/ https://www.bloomingwellness.com/2019/01/twelve-natural-tips-for-fighting-the-flu-respiratory-and-sinus-infections/#comments Wed, 02 Jan 2019 16:07:23 +0000 https://www.bloomingwellness.com/?p=12967 I read an article a few days ago that flu cases were increasing along the East coast. I also talked to my sister, an internist in Pennsylvania, who agreed with that report. In the last week, she has seen a number of patients who tested positive for the flu. It’s safe to say that the […]

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I read an article a few days ago that flu cases were increasing along the East coast. I also talked to my sister, an internist in Pennsylvania, who agreed with that report. In the last week, she has seen a number of patients who tested positive for the flu. It’s safe to say that the flu has officially arrived. Whether you got the flu vaccine or didn’t get the flu vaccine, below is a list of things you can try to help boost immunity, lessen the severity of flu and cold symptoms and help prevent viral or bacterial illnesses. These are all things I do.

 

1) Carry around a natural hand sanitizer in your pocket or purse.

When I did my internal medicine rotation at a hospital in Brooklyn, my Attending physician told me, “We get sick because we have holes, and things get in our holes that make us sick. And people use their hands and things get on their hands, and then they stick their hands with those things on them in their holes.”  It was both crude and brilliant, and most importantly, he’s right. The “holes” he was speaking about were your nostrils, mouth, ears and, of course, the ones down south. Since then, I’ve always carried a small, portable bottle of natural hand sanitizer, and I use it consistently. Every day I’m out and about with my pup Barnaby in New York City, a place with lots of people and lots of germs. Whether I’m at the dog park, mailing something at the post office, using an ATM machine, or paying for something at the store, I use my hand sanitizer. I’m also mindful to never touch my mouth, ears, nose or eyes until I thoroughly wash my hands or use the hand sanitizer. That said, the good news is that influenza does NOT survive very long on hands or fomites ( objects and hard surfaces.) The virus most often spreads through tiny droplets in the air when someone sneezes, spits or coughs. This means that in most cases, close contact with infected folks is the biggest risk factor for becoming infected with the flu.

What Hand Sanitizer do I use?  Everyone Coconut and Lemon.

2) For close contact situations, get a face mask.

In most cases, close contact with infected folks is the biggest risk factor for getting the flu or any respiratory illness.  If I’m going to be stuck with a bunch of people for a period of time, I put on a face mask. For example, I’m taking the bus from Port Authority this week to visit my family. I’ll be sitting close to multiple strangers, and one or all of them could be infected. It’s an ideal time to dawn the face mask. Wearing a face mask in public might make you feel self conscious and might make people treat you like you have smallpox, but a brief moment of social awkwardness is worth not catching a bug. Also, I promise you will have a 99% increased chance of getting you own seat AND having room to stretch. 😉

Me on a a recent bus trip. Got my own   seat!

 

3) Use Elderberry ( Sambucus nigra )

Many wellness proponents use Elderberry to ward off the flu and other viruses (like the common cold) and while most evidence is anecdotal, there are a few randomized controlled trials to support its use. One RCT involving 60 adults with flu-like symptoms showed that taking 15 ml of Elderberry syrup four times a day for 5 days showed a significant reduction of symptoms and significantly less use of rescue medication. Another double-blind RCT showed that air travelers who supplemented with Elderberry had a shorter duration of  cold/flu symptoms ( 2 days less) than air travelers taking a placebo. They also had a significantly less symptom severity score ( 247) than the placebo group ( 583).  The dose used in this study was 1 capsule of 300 mg Elderberry extract twice a day for 10 days prior to scheduled trip, followed by 1 capsule of 300 mg Elderberry extract three times a day for day of trip up until 4 days after trip. Essentially, you’re talking about 600-900 mg of Elderberry extract/day.

( What do I use? I use Elderberry Queen’s Organic Elderberry Syrup. )

4) I wasn’t impressed with Echinacea

I know Echinacea is very popular during cold and flu season, but there are several published randomized controlled trials on its effectiveness, and after reading those, I’m not impressed. I’m not saying don’t use Echinacea. Perhaps the dosing was subpar in the studies or the study populations weren’t optimal. I’m only saying that I wasn’t impressed and wouldn’t rely on it doing much.

5) Raw Honey Garlic ( Allium sativum) Cloves

I’m obsessed with garlic and eat it every morning during flu/cold season. While I don’t like to label any food as “super,” if I had to choose one, it would be garlic. It is well studied for its anticancer, antihypertensive and immune system boosting effects. In relation to flu/cold symptoms, one randomized controlled trial showed that garlic significantly reduced common cold occurrences. In the trial involving 146 volunteers, one group took a daily supplement of 180 mg of garlic ( Allium sativum)/ day for 12 weeks and the other group took a placebo. The garlic group had significantly less colds ( 24) compared to the placebo group ( 65).

I mentioned that I eat garlic in the morning, and I realize that sounds unappealing to most. To make it go down easier, I coat raw garlic cloves with raw, unpasteurized honey. I’ve written a ton about honey and how I use it as a significant part of my skincare routine. Honey has a lot of antiviral and antimicrobial properties, but only when it’s unpasteurized. Pasteurized honey destroys the enzymes ( proteins) that are responsible for most of its antimicrobial effects. Here is a video of me on Instagram eating some.  I practice what I preach. 😉

6) Add these essential oils to steam or shower:

If you read my last post on the Neti pot, you’ll already know that I’m a fan of steam inhalation. Ever since I was diagnosed with asthma in my early twenties, I’ve done steam treatments. I’m not talking anything fancy. It’s a boiling pot of water, a towel over my head, and I inhale. 15 minutes in the morning and 15 minutes before I go to bed at night. Respiratory symptoms often get worse when we sleep, so I highly recommend steam treatments before bedtime. I often add essential oils to the boiling water. Around flu/cold time I add thymus scented lemon ( Thymus sipyleus)  and Wormwood ( Artemisia capillaris ). Thymus is shown to have antimicrobial activity against bacterial strains that cause sinus infections and symptoms. Wormwood is shown to have antimicrobial activity against strains that cause upper respiratory infections.

What do I use?  Healing Solutions Thyme  and  Silky Scent Wormwood.

7) Take 46 mg of Zinc followed by 23 mg of Zinc/ 2 hours when cold symptoms start

A double blind, randomized controlled trial showed that swallowing 46 mg of Zinc supplements ( lozenges) when cold symptoms initially start ( a loading dose) followed by 23 mg Zinc supplements every 2 hours for up to 7 days significantly reduces cold symptoms and duration by almost 50% when compared to placebo. Zinc is vital for a myriad of health conditions. If you don’t like supplements, meat and shell fish contain high levels of Zinc. If you are like me and don’t eat meat, eating nuts, hemp seeds and chickpeas will boost your Zinc level.

8) For the love of God, wash your paws.

9) If feverish, try Boneset ( Eupatorium perfoliatum)

Let me make it clear that there aren’t any decent trials on the effectiveness of Boneset for fever. That said, it’s been used for years and years by Native Americans and was used by the early North American settlers to break fevers. The reason Eupatorium perfoliatum is called Bonset is because it seemed to ease joint pain associated with fevers known as “break-bone-fevers.” Some speculate the sesquiterpen lactones ( ethanolic extracts) in Boneset are responsible for its anti-inflammatory effects ( reduced fever and reduced joint pain.) If you want to try it, drink as a hot tea when you start to feel sick or feverish.

I like this brand of Boneset Tea.

If you want to try Bonset extract, I’ve used this brand before.

10) Avoid all Caffeine and Sleep

This is the optimal way. I know we live in a crazy world where folks don’t sleep, even when sick, and use a ton of caffeine-infused-over-the-counter flu/cold medicine to stay awake, go to work and do whatever it is we have to do. The problem is that caffeine, in the cold/flu sense, is a false prophet. It’s a temporary fix, but it ultimately slows down recovery. Caffeine has a very long half life and can keep you awake well after ingesting it. Our immune system is most active when we sleep, so we are better off drinking a lot of caffeine-free hot liquids, turning off all phones and computers, calling in sick,  and sleeping as much as possible. I know some people are rolling their eyes right now, and that’s why I called it the optimal way. 😉

11) If you have a lot of mucus, stuffiness and/or sinus issues, cut out dairy and wheat & try this:

Take it from a FroYo lover:  In my experience, foods with dairy and/or wheat cause increased mucus production. If you’re battling a lot of mucus and/or that stuffiness feeling in your nose, ears or sinuses, I highly recommend cutting out all dairy and wheat for two days. Do a fruit, vegetable and broth fast instead. During the two day fast, drink a lot of hot lemon drinks. I also recommend this “snack”:  tiny slices of horseradish root dipped in Apple Cider vinegar. ONLY eat a LITTLE as it’s a STRONG combo and can be overwhelming. If you suffer from chronic sinus issues (which can lead to lots of sinus infections), I recommend heftily reducing dairy and wheat in your diet.

12) Functional Food Recipes for Colds, Coughs, and Flu: 

If you have these ingredients in the kitchen, feel free to make & try the following to help with symptoms:

For the Common Cold:

1)  1 stick of Cinnamon; 1 teaspoon Coriander Seeds; 2 teaspoons Fresh Ginger ; 4 Cloves; Fresh Lemon Juice; 1 teaspoon organic honey. Make as a tea and drink.

For a Cold or Cough that Won’t Quit:

1) Try mixing onion (1/3 cup chopped up); 1/3 cup raw honey ; 1/4 cup fresh Lime; and 2 ice cubes in the Nutribullet. Pour it in a shot glass, but sip it. If you don’t like the taste, hold your nose. Definitely don’t down it like a shot of Tequila. You’ll make yourself puke. Why these 3 ingredients? All 3 are shown to inhibit growth of common bacteria that cause respiratory infections. Here’s a video from my Instagram going into more detail on this.

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What else?

If you want a book to read while you’re lying in bed, though my book Manic Kingdom might keep you up!  😉

If you want sounds to knock you out

 

Dr. Eeks’ Top Wellness Products List!

 

 

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The Benefits of Eating Bone Marrow https://www.bloomingwellness.com/2019/01/the-benefits-of-eating-bone-marrow/ https://www.bloomingwellness.com/2019/01/the-benefits-of-eating-bone-marrow/#respond Tue, 01 Jan 2019 22:46:56 +0000 https://www.bloomingwellness.com/?p=13022   Have you ever been tempted to try bone marrow whilst visiting one of your city’s delicious restaurants? Most people dismiss it in favour of some of the more popular types of meat. However, you should not ignore other parts of the animal that can be tasty and nutritious. Bone marrow ticks this box. It […]

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Have you ever been tempted to try bone marrow whilst visiting one of your city’s delicious restaurants? Most people dismiss it in favour of some of the more popular types of meat. However, you should not ignore other parts of the animal that can be tasty and nutritious. Bone marrow ticks this box. It offers many health benefits for people to take advantage of.

Bone marrow is a fatty, jello-like substance that is rich in energy and packed with nutrients. It is found within the core of an animal’s bones, and it is viewed as a delicacy in many different countries. Because it is contained in the bone, you can obtain bone marrow whenever you purchase meat, whether from the supermarket or from a butcher. It is popular all over the globe, however, in the western world, this popularity is largely limited to a selection of gourmet restaurants.

Bone marrow is packed with flavour. If you think about it, when you eat bacon, the vast majority of this meat is fat and this is where the flavour comes from. Or, what about when you go out for dinner and indulge in a tasty cut of steak? Again, the meat’s flavour is largely thanks to the fat, and this is essentially what bone marrow is – an uncommon and delicious type of fat substance.

Not only does it taste great, but it offers many health benefits as well. Bone marrow is packed with vital micro-elements. This includes manganese, magnesium, selenium, zinc, iron, calcium and phosphorous. The presence of these micro-elements can help to improve the renal and cardiovascular system, whilst also strengthening immunity and improving mood, sleep and memory.

Bone marrow can also help with muscle and joint pain. Of course, it won’t be a remedy on its own. You will need to see a specialist in orthopedics if your joint pain is bad. Nevertheless, eating bone marrow does help because it contains hyaluronic acid, glucosamine, and chondroitin sulfate, all of which are compounds that lower joint pain and inflammation.

By consuming bone marrow you will also get a good dose of the essential omega-3 fatty acids your body needs. This is vital for the proper functioning of the brain. Glycine is also present within bone marrow, which is an amino that makes and repairs proteins in the body.

Whilst the benefits of bone marrow are vast, it is unlikely to be the first food that comes to your mind when dining out. However, bone marrow can be a great accompaniment to a meal. You can find a lot of different recipes online, which will teach you how to prepare and serve bone marrow. There are so many different ways you can enjoy this, from grilled to roasted bone marrow, and so you are bound to find something that suits your
taste buds.

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Knowing What Medical Attention You Need https://www.bloomingwellness.com/2019/01/knowing-what-medical-attention-you-need/ https://www.bloomingwellness.com/2019/01/knowing-what-medical-attention-you-need/#respond Tue, 01 Jan 2019 22:41:04 +0000 https://www.bloomingwellness.com/?p=13019 By Lacy Brown Hopefully, you won’t find yourself in need of medical assistance at any point in the future. But you never know when your overall health and well-being might take a turn for the worse. So, if this were to happen, it’s best to have a good understanding of what type of medical assistance […]

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By Lacy Brown

Hopefully, you won’t find yourself in need of medical assistance at any point in the future. But you never know when your overall health and well-being might take a turn for the worse. So, if this were to happen, it’s best to have a good understanding of what type of medical assistance you might require and which medical professionals you need to engage with. Here are just a few different options that you might need to take into consideration!

Self-Care

There are plenty of health issues that people around the world unnecessarily take to health professionals every day. These conditions can generally be easily treated at home, freeing up space in your doctor’s schedule for people who really need their help. Common conditions that can be taken care of at home include common colds, the flu, indigestion, constipation, and minor allergic reactions. If in doubt, visit a pharmacist and request recommendations for over the counter medications or treatments for your current condition. These can provide relief.

General Practitioners

If you have a health problem that requires prescription medication, or a condition that may require further tests, scans, or x rays to resolve, you should book in to visit your general practitioner. This is a doctor who will be able to look over your symptoms, make an official diagnosis, and write up a prescription. Alternatively, if they cannot say exactly  what is wrong or you require the use of specialist equipment, they can refer you on to specialist departments and practitioners.

Accident and Emergency

If you find yourself in an emergency situation, you should call for an ambulance or head straight for accident and emergency at one of your nearest Hospitals. Paramedics or people working in the hospital will help to take care of you and provide you with the necessary emergency care to help you on the road to recovery. Head to A&E or call for help if you have excessive bleeding or bleeding that won’t stop, chest pains, acute headaches, confusion or delirium, or potential broken bones.

Therapists

If you feel that you might be suffering from a mental health concern, you might want to get in touch with or book a therapist. This professional psychiatrist or psychologist will be able to help you to understand your symptoms, thoughts, and behaviour. While there may well have been a stigma around mental health in the past, people are becoming increasingly accepting, and it’s important that you understand your condition and find ways to either live with it or move past it.

These are just a few different situations that you may find yourself in at some point or another. Hopefully, the above advice will help you to find the right medical attention for your needs and requirements!

 

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Neti Pots and Amoebas. Should You Use One for Your Sinuses or Stick to Steam? https://www.bloomingwellness.com/2018/12/neti-pots-and-amoebas-should-you-use-one-for-your-sinuses-or-stick-to-steam/ https://www.bloomingwellness.com/2018/12/neti-pots-and-amoebas-should-you-use-one-for-your-sinuses-or-stick-to-steam/#comments Fri, 14 Dec 2018 17:55:17 +0000 https://www.bloomingwellness.com/?p=12874 There is a lot of fear around Neti Pots, because of a recent case study published in the International Journal of Infectious Diseases. Feel free to click on the link to read the specifics of the case, but I’ll summarize below: A 69 year old woman with a history of breast cancer and sinus issues […]

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There is a lot of fear around Neti Pots, because of a recent case study published in the International Journal of Infectious Diseases. Feel free to click on the link to read the specifics of the case, but I’ll summarize below:

A 69 year old woman with a history of breast cancer and sinus issues was prescribed sulfamethoxazole trimethoprim (Bactrim) twice daily to help alleviate sinus pain and congestion. Bactrim did not help, so one of her doctors recommended nasal lavage with a Neti pot. Instead of using saline water or boiled water as recommended, the woman used tap water from a BRITA filter for one month. At the end of the month, she noticed a quarter size red rash on the right side of her nose. One of her doctors diagnosed it as Rosacia. A biopsy was performed, but no diagnosis was made. The rash persisted. At the one year mark of using her Neti pot, the woman suffered a left-sided seizure. A CT scan was performed, which showed a 1.5 cm ring-enhancing lesion in the motor cortex of the brain. Because of her history of breast cancer, the most likely diagnosis was metastases to the brain. She went to the OR, a biopsy was performed, and instead of mets, she tested positive for Babmuthia mandrillaris, a type of amoeba that causes Granulomatous Amoebic Encephalitis. There are only 200 cases known worldwide, and it’s almost always deadly. Sadly, the woman died shortly after the diagnosis.

Infections from the one-celled amoebas ( Babmuthia mandrillaris and Naegleria fowleri) are extremely rare and always involve the brain being exposed to fresh water. Usually swimmers are infected,  like the 29 year old New Jersey man who died from a N. fowleri infection after swimming at the BSR Surf Resort Park in Texas. Amoeba-infected water went up his nose and into his brain, which the amoeba feeds on. Literally.  Yes, it’s a horrible, gruesome death.

Amoebas also hang out in pipes and can end up in tap water, even tap water run through a BRITA filter. There is zero threat when you swallow the water, because gastric acid kills the amoeba. But if you shoot tap water up your nose using a Neti pot, you may send an amoeba to your brain. If you do that, it will most likely kill you.

The good news is that this is easily preventable. Sinus symptoms can improve with Neti pots, but the key is to use a saline solution, a hypertonic saline solution or water that has been previously boiled or UV-treated.  NEVER use tap water, bottled water or carbon- filtered water. If you have chronic sinus issues or have had surgery due to chronic sinus symptoms, you may want to look into using Lactated Ringer’s solution instead of saline solution. At least one double-blind, randomized controlled trial shows that lactated Ringer’s solution produced significantly better sinus symptom relief than both saline and hypertonic saline solutions.

I don’t use nasal irrigation with a Neti pot. I use steam and essential oil inhalation instead of nasal irrigation, but a large randomized controlled trial comparing the two suggests that, at the end of 6 months,  nasal irrigation with saline solution is more effective at improving symptoms of sinusitis than steam inhalation. Steam inhalation was shown to reduce the frequency of sinusitis-associated headaches, however. The study used boiled water, inhaled for 5 minutes, twice a day. When I do steam treatments, I do it first thing in the morning and at night before I go to bed, and I add Matricaria extract ( Chamomile),  Thymus (Thyme) and Origarium ( Oregano). I like it, it helps me ( and my asthma) and it’s an easy method folks can try at home. If you prefer the Neti pot and it’s helping you, don’t let fear of amoebas stop you! Just don’t use tap water or filtered tap water. Ever.

 

If you are feeling blocked or struggle with sinuses a lot, this nasal lavage kit is a bit pricey,  but worth it.  I have it.

 

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ZENBands and Travel Anxiety Version: https://www.bloomingwellness.com/2018/12/zenbands-what-are-they-the-holiday-travel-style-and-travel-anxiety-version/ https://www.bloomingwellness.com/2018/12/zenbands-what-are-they-the-holiday-travel-style-and-travel-anxiety-version/#respond Wed, 12 Dec 2018 12:16:49 +0000 https://www.bloomingwellness.com/?p=12849   Hey gang, I wanted to take a minute and share a video from our Instagram page that explains the ZENBand a bit more. I’m posting it now, during the holiday season, because a lot of folks use the ZENBand as a travel gadget. If you combine it with our ZENTones, especially the anxiety-reducing ZENTones, […]

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Hey gang,

I wanted to take a minute and share a video from our Instagram page that explains the ZENBand a bit more. I’m posting it now, during the holiday season, because a lot of folks use the ZENBand as a travel gadget. If you combine it with our ZENTones, especially the anxiety-reducing ZENTones, it can be an effective tool for travel anxiety. If you’re curious about why the tones can be helpful, check out the science on on our FAQs page here.

I hate to fly. Like most fears, it’s irrational. I used to try to avoid flying whenever possible and amusingly remember googling “ship” trips to Europe when I had scheduled meetings over there. Never would have made the meeting in time. For some reason, I don’t have an irrational fear of ships sinking, and if something should happen, I’m confident in my swim stroke and worst case scenario, my dead man’s float. I also don’t fear sharks. Aren’t fears fun, random and bizarre? 😉  To me, there’s something terrifying about having ZERO control inside a plane way above the ground, and having to let go and put all of your trust in a pilot you don’t know. Yet millions of people do it every day…

Anyhow, I use my ZENBand and listen to the Anxiety-Reducing ZENTones before each flight. I listen in the airport, every single time, and it helps calm my nerves. There are a variety of ZENTones to choose from, and each one runs about 30 minutes. You can download each on to whatever device you choose, or you can easily access them through our web-based App. I must say, ZENTones is better than what I used to do: Drink a ton of red wine on my way to the airport and at at airport, pass out on the plane, then wake up at my destination with a huge headache and dried-up sinuses.  Alcohol combined with cabin air is never a good thing.

Below is the video. The band can act as as an eye-mask too, and keeping out ambient light and worldly distractions optimizes the relaxation response. The video features holiday colors ( Cherry and Basil) but we have a bunch of other colors and designs you can choose from. They are stylish, camouflage bad travel hair, and no outside labels EVER, because I find them obnoxious. ( Hey, you never know who you might meet on the plane… 😉 ) Each band is 100% cotton, so no plastic. Fleece, polyester and spandex material all contain plastic, and we are trying to cut down on our use.

Don’t forget that the ZENTones are half off through the holiday season, because I really want folks to try them!

Most importantly, wherever you are going, travel wisely and have a good time. Life is short, enjoy each moment.

 

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Cranberries and Urinary Tract Infections? https://www.bloomingwellness.com/2018/12/do-cranberries-really-help-prevent-utis-what-the-recent-evidence-says-and-what-i-do/ https://www.bloomingwellness.com/2018/12/do-cranberries-really-help-prevent-utis-what-the-recent-evidence-says-and-what-i-do/#respond Sat, 01 Dec 2018 19:33:17 +0000 http://www.bloomingwellness.com/blog/?p=5310 Who has had a UTI? I think we all have, so hopefully my little drawing to the left is relatable. If you get a UTI, “Urine for it” is right. The urgency, the stinging, the frequency…not a good time. Chronic UTIs are awful. Doctors will prescribe antibiotics, but they often lead to yeast infections and […]

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urineforit

Who has had a UTI?
I think we all have, so hopefully my little drawing to the left is relatable. If you get a UTI, “Urine for it” is right. The urgency, the stinging, the frequency…not a good time. Chronic UTIs are awful. Doctors will prescribe antibiotics, but they often lead to yeast infections and over time, drug-resistant bacteria. I know so many women who are, right now, on the UTI-Antibiotic-Yeast infection cycle. It’s a hideous cycle that can drive someone to insanity and should encourage us to find effective preventives.
There are preventive measures one can take to reduce the risk of getting a UTI, such as drinking a lot of water to flush out the kidneys; not having sexual encounters with risky people; urinating after sex, and wiping the right way, meaning wiping front to back. I was recently shocked by how many people wipe the “wrong” way, or back to front. It’s okay if you do it, because it’s an easy thing to fix.
The focus of this blog will be cranberries. Many women drink cranberry juice when they get a UTI. You’ll recognize them because they are constantly squirming while lugging around a gallon of cranberry juice wherever they goes. The question is, does it work? The answer is possibly for prevention, not so much for treatment, and it mostly depends on the dose and the timing. Why not for treatment? Because cranberries’ supposed mechanism of action is due to its Proanthocyanidins (PACs) that prevent E coli from attaching to the mucosal surface of the urinary tract and proliferating. Once the bacteria successfully attaches, it’s much easier for them to proliferate and much harder for PACs to be effective.
So what’s the evidence?
Three researchers conducted a review, published in JAMA, on 24 randomized controlled trials for cranberry juice and UTI prevention. They concluded that cranberry juice did not significantly impact UTIs. That said, there was a very high noncompliance rate for women enrolled in the studies, meaning the women did not drink the cranberry juice as directed, which may have skewed results. The researchers also noted that the cranberry doses could have been too low. Other recent studies have been more promising.
A randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled study showed that women recovering from pelvic surgery had a significant reduction in UTIs if they took 2 cranberry juice capsules 2 times a day for 6 weeks post-op (equivalent to two 8 ounce servings of cranberry juice) compared to placebo. Another study showed that women with chronic UTIs who supplemented with low or medium doses of cranberry juice for 1 year, had less visits to the doctor’s office compared to placebo. Probably the best evidence yet, is from a recent study, and the largest ever done. A multi-centered randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial showed that women with a history of a recent UTI who drank 1 80z bottle of cranberry juice/day for 6 months had a significant reduction in UTI symptoms when compared to placebo.
I eat a lot of dried cranberries, so I want to mention a 2013 study by Burleigh. It was an observational study that showed that consuming 1 serving ( 42 grams) of sweetened, dried cranberries reduced the incidence of UTIs in women prone to getting them. Dried cranberries have a different antioxidant profile than cranberry juice. Dried cranberries have a much higher concentration of polyphenols. Polyphenols may prevent E coli from attaching to the bladder wall and also interfere with E coli directly in the gut, in a way that reduces infectivity. If you want to try dried cranberries, they are a great addition to oatmeal or yogurt!
For folks who want to go the supplement route, what brand  do I use or what brand do I trust? AZO.  Here is a link to their Cranberry supplements you can try.
From the research and information gathered here, I’d say it’s worth giving cranberry juice and/or dried cranberries a shot, especially if you are a chronic UTI sufferer. But be diligent about it and commit to following one of the successful protocols mentioned above. For example, try the 1 80z bottle a day and see if it makes a difference. It can’t hurt.
Products I’ve tried that may Help:

 

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