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January Issue of Natural Alternatives
January 05, 2017

Natural Alternatives for Your Total Health

January 2017
Hello, and welcome to this edition edition of my Natural Alternatives Newsletter!

I hope you will enjoy reading this issue.

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“The natural healing force within each one of us is the greatest force in getting well.” ~Hippocrates

Happy, Healthy and Prosperous 2017th to You and to Your Family!







by Dr. Erin Olivo

When we talk about energy, we are really referring to two kinds of energy fields: veritable energy fields, which can be measured, and putative energy fields, which cannot be measured with our current technology. Veritable energy fields include things like vibrational energy (sound), and electromagnetic forces such as visible light, magnetism and monochromatic radiation (lasers).

There are many well established uses of measurable energy fields in the diagnosis and treatment of disease. Some of these include: magnetic resonance imaging, laser eye correction surgery, cardiac pacemakers, radiation therapy and UV light therapies for psoriasis and seasonal affective disorder. There are also a few less researched therapies that use this type of energy. Magnetic therapy involves the use of magnets, which are placed on the body to relieve pain. Sound energy therapy (also sometimes known as vibrational therapy) involves using tuning forks to create certain healing sound frequencies that resonate with the body to promote healing. Music therapy is another type of sound energy therapy: listening to music has been shown to lower blood pressure and to reduce pain and anxiety.

Most frequently, the term energy medicine refers to techniques that involve the putative energy fields. Although it has not yet been able to be measured by conventional methods, therapists who work with this type of energy claim that they can see it with their own eyes or that they can sense it with their hands or bodies. The field of energy medicine involving putative energy fields is based on the fundamental premise that all physical objects (bodies) and psychological processes (thoughts, emotions, beliefs and attitudes) are expressions of energy. Therefore, all bodies are believed to be infused with a "subtle" energy or life force. This life force is known by a variety of terms corresponding to different traditions. In traditional Chinese medicine it is called qi (pronounced CHEE), in the Judeo-Christian tradition it is called spirit, and in Ayurvedic medicine it is represented in the doshas.

Acupuncture and Acupressure

In therapies involving this subtle energy field, it is believed that health is determined by the overall flow and balance of a person's vital life force energy. Imbalances or blockages in the natural flow of the subtle energy fields in the body cause illness. Therapies such as acupuncture and acupressure are all believed to act by correcting imbalances in the flow of subtle energy along the meridians, or energy channels. In therapies such as healing touch, Reiki and even prayer, a healer is believed to emit or transmit the vital energy to a recipient as a way to restore health. 


Acupuncture originated as part of the Traditional Chinese Medical System (TCM), and today is often practiced in the West as a stand-alone treatment. This treatment involves the (virtually) painless insertion of very fine needles shallowly into the skin at points all over the body. The points chosen by the practitioner are very specific and correspond to points along the meridians—or channels of vital energy flow—throughout the body. Acupuncture has been well studied and proven effective in treating a variety of conditions, especially pain.

QiGong and Tai Chi

These related therapies originated in the medical system developed centuries ago in China called Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM). These techniques involve the use of meditation, movement and breath regulation to improve or rebalance the flow of vital energy. These slow, gentle movements can be performed by virtually anyone, regardless of age or fragility. Research has shown that regular use of qigong or Tai Chi exercises can improve circulation, improve immune function and promote a relaxation response in the body. In China today, these therapies are used in many hospitals along with conventional medicine to treat cancer, heart disease and digestive problems.

Reiki/Healing Touch and Therapeutic Touch

Each of these energy medicine techniques involve the movement of a healer's hands over the patient's body, sometimes without actually touching the body. The practitioner uses his or her hands to sense imbalances of energy and to strengthen, correct or redirect the subtle energy flow as a means to promoting health. While these modalities have not yet been well researched, there is some casual evidence to suggest they could be helpful in a wide variety of illnesses such as stress related physical symptoms, pain, high blood pressure and other heart conditions.

Learn more about Reiki

Whole Medical Systems

Two practices of note that place equal weight on the body, mind and spirit are Ayurveda and Traditional Chinese Medicine.

Ayurveda, meaning "science of life," is a system of medicine that has been practiced in India for thousands of years. As one of the original holistic medical systems, it is practised in a very individualised manner. Dr. Deepak Chopra played a key role in introducing this medical system to a Western audience. The system, like Traditional Chinese Medicine and Tibetan Medicine, is based on the view that everything is composed of five basic elements—space, air, fire, water and earth. In ayurvedic, it is believed that these elements combine to form three different metabolic and energetic body types, called doshas. Treatments are prescribed according to dosha type, and include a combination of diet, exercise (yoga), meditation, herbs, massage, exposure to sun and breathing exercises (pranayama).

Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) is one of the world's oldest medical systems and it is the true forefather of "holistic medicine." This system is based on the view that health is determined by proper flow and balance of a person's vital energy, or life force energy, called qi (pronounced CHEE). This life force energy is thought to flow throughout the body along channels called meridians, and it is along these meridians that the points used in acupuncture and acupressure are found. Within this system, there is also an underlying belief that the wellness of mind and emotion is critical to the balance of qi and to overall health. In TCM, herbal medicine, acupuncture, diet, massage and yoga are all combined to enhance the overall flow of qi.

Learn more about TCM and Acupuncture

by Dr. Edward Group DC, NP, DACBN, DCBCN, DABFM

Pollen, mildew, dust—to many people, they’re essentially harmless. For those with allergies, they are the triggers that send their immune system into overdrive. Allergies are a malfunction of the immune system that causes it to be hypersensitive to stimuli. When the immune system is triggered, immunoglobulin E (IgE), a type of antibody, signals for the release of histamines. Histamines, which tell mucous membranes to produce mucus and cause blood vessels to dilate, are the catalyst for the inflammation that produces watery eyes, runny nose, and other symptoms we refer to as allergies. You may be familiar with antihistamines—medications that are marketed for the relief of allergy symptoms.

Allergies are more common now than ever before, especially among children, and human behavior may be to blame. Humans have a habit of disinfecting and sanitizing almost everything. Cleanliness isn’t a bad thing, but this practice has tremendously reduced human exposure to the microbes and other impurities that can actually train and strengthen the immune system. Without routine exposure, the immune system doesn’t develop properly and becomes hypersensitive to substances that would otherwise register as benign. The “hygiene hypothesis” might explain why modern humans have more allergy triggers and why allergy rates are on the rise. In a very short period of time, from an evolutionary perspective, our exposure to “grime” has plummeted, leaving our immune systems less developed and less intelligent.

It’s probably safe to say that allergies have affected humans as long as humans have been around, but it wasn’t until 1906—shortly after the scientific community’s acceptance and first forays into immunology—that a man named Clemens von Pirquet published research that explained the idea. His ideas were not well received. In fact, Pirquet’s contemporaries lambasted his research. Despite their criticism, he continued his work and his campaign to establish the terminology we still use today.

Allergies Can Strike During Winter

You might think winter is the season that’s free and clear of allergy triggers but that’s not necessarily true. Even in the dead of winter, when nothing is blooming outside, your indoor surroundings may set you off. Firing up the furnace releases a flurry of old dust, dander, and mold spores into the air. And, consider this—during the winter, you’re more apt to spend your time huddled inside with the doors and windows sealed tightly. When ventilation is reduced, allergens concentrate and inflame allergies.

Winter allergy triggers may also extend outdoors. Certain trees like mountain cedar (Juniperus ashei) release pollen during the winter that can be the catalyst for a runny nose or itchy eyes. If you live in a cold climate, you may be affected by snow mold. You read that right, snow mold. A blanket of snow can accommodate the growth of grey snow mold (Typhula spp.) or pink snow mold (Microdochium nivalis). And, for people who are allergic to conifers, natural, fresh-cut fir trees and decorative evergreen wreaths are likely to produce more problems than holiday cheer.

Symptoms of Winter Allergies

The most common symptoms of winter allergies include congestion, sneezing, runny nose, red eyes, and changes in mood. Although it might be easy to confuse the symptoms of winter allergies with a “head cold” there are key differences. If you have a cold, you’ll likely have a fever, body ache, or a sore throat. Itchy, watery, or swollen eyes also distinguish allergies from the common cold. The duration of your symptoms is another tell; whereas allergies may be ongoing, a cold generally lasts 3-4 days.

Tips for Minimizing Winter Allergy Symptoms

Without a proactive approach, allergies can interfere with your ability to enjoy the winter months. It’s crucial to identify your triggers, then do your best to avoid them. Below are a few trigger-specific tips to keep winter allergies from spoiling your season.

Get Rid of the Mildew

Mildew loves a warm, moist environment and that means that showers and washing machines are mildew magnets. Towel drying them after every use can reduce the proliferation of mildew. If your bathroom (or garage) has a ventilation fan, use it. A dehumidifier is helpful if you have trouble keeping humidity levels in your house below 40%. Essential oils like tea tree or eucalyptus, which are natural mold killers, can also help prevent problems.

Keep Dust, Dander, and Dust Mites at Bay

Dust, dander, and dust mites are everywhere and almost impossible to escape but an indoor air purification device can actively capture them. Use a vacuum equipped with a HEPA filter at least once a week. To reduce dust mites and dander, use mite-proof sheets on your beds and don’t allow pets in your bedroom. Wash bed linens in hot water to kill dust mites. Avoid down comforters—they provide a friendly environment for microscopic pests.

Actively Avoid Winter Pollen

If you live in the frozen tundra, pollen might be less of a concern. But, if you live in an area with winter blooming trees, and many people do, tree pollen is tough to escape. The best strategy is to have a pollen-free home. Keep doors and windows closed and seal gaps with weather stripping tape. Keep pollen out of your car by setting the air to circulate rather than bringing in air from outside.

Stay Allergy Free This Winter

Allergies can strike anytime but if you stay cognizant of your allergy triggers and proactively avoid them, they don’t have to disrupt your life. There are many ways to stay healthy during the winter, what methods help you control your allergy


by Dr. Rita Louise

How the Body's Circulatory System Works

Our circulatory system is made up of a complex web of arteries and veins. Our arteries carry oxygen rich blood to the cells of our bodies, while the veins are designed to pump oxygen poor blood back to the heart. This is accomplished through a series of one-way valves that do not allow blood to flow backwards into the vein.

What Causes Varicose Veins?

When someone suffers from varicose veins, the one-way valves of their veins do not close adequately, resulting in the inefficient transport of blood back to the heart. This causes the blood to flow backward within the vein, creating pressure and causing the vein to become swollen and distended.

While rather benign, this health condition affects about 15% of all adults worldwide. Most people recognise varicose veins because of their knotted, twisted, swollen, and often bluish color of these veins. In addition to any cosmetic concerns they may pose, these veins can cause discomfort in the form of dull nagging aches and pains, night cramps, ankle swelling, feelings of burning, or leg fatigue after prolonged standing.

There are a number of factors that play a part in the development of varicose veins including heredity, gender, lifestyle, occupation and age. They are also known to form during pregnancy due to the dilating effect progesterone has on the veins. Because they are associated with lack of circulation, the formation of varicose veins is more common in people who sit or stand in one position for long periods of time, habitually sit with their legs crossed and those who lack regular exercise.

Wellness Suggestions for Varicose Veins

~ Avoid Prolonged Standing - Avoid standing for prolonged periods of time. If this is unavoidable, move your legs often. Stretching and flexing your ankle will work to pump the blood out of your legs and get it circulating again.

  ~ Limit Sitting Sessions - If you find yourself sitting for extended periods of time, get up and move around every 35 to 45 minutes.  
~ Walk Regularly - Take regular walks to help exercise the muscles of the legs and increase blood flow.  
~ Wear Loose Clothing - Avoid clothing that may restrict blood flow.  
~ Control Your Weight - Keep your weight down. This can help to reduce pressure on your legs.  
~ Reduce Salt from Diet - To help prevent leg and ankle swelling, reduce your salt intake.  
~ Keep Legs Elevated - Elevate your legs whenever possible especially when sitting.

~ Witch Hazel Applications - Topically, witch hazel can be applied to the legs to ease discomfort.  
~ Butcher's Broom Remedy - Butcher's broom has historically been used when dealing with circulatory ailments such as varicose veins.  
~ Ginkgo Biloba - Supplements such as ginkgo biloba, gotu kola or capsicum have been shown to improve circulation.  
~ Coenzyme Q10 - Coenzyme Q10 also improved tissue oxygenation and increases circulation.

~ Vitamin C - Vitamin C with bioflavonoids and rutin can help this condition by reducing blood clotting tendencies, promoting healing and helping to strengthen the blood vessels.  
~ White Oak Bark - White oak bark can be used to help reduce inflammation of the veins as well as to tighten tissues and strengthen blood vessels.  
~ Omega 3 - Essential fatty acids such as omega 3 or flax seed oil can help to reduce the pain and inflammation associated with varicose veins.


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Thank you for reading.

Brampton, Ontario, Canada

P.S. If you have a comment or suggestion, just reply to this e-mail. Your feedback is important to me.



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This newsletter is for educational purposes only. It is your right to educate yourself in health and medical knowledge, to seek helpful information and make use of it for your own benefit, and for that of your family. You are the one responsible for your health. You must educate yourself in order to make decisions in all health matters. My views and advises are not intended to be a substitute for conventional medicine, but simply a help you to make educated changes in order to help your body heal itself. If you have a medical condition or concern you should consult your physician.

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