Dr. Adam Baumgardner

Aromatherapy 101

 

Tea Tree Oil

Overview

Aromatherapy is a form of alternative medicine that uses essential oils and other aromatic substances to treat and prevent disease, manage and reduce pain, alter mood, improve cognitive function and memory, and support overall health and well-being.  Aromatherapy is generally delivered using three modes of application: aerial diffusion, direct inhalation, and topical application.  The specific treatment or desired intent determines which of the three modes is used within an individual session.  Many aromatherapy practitioners offer a holistic approach to the treatment of illness and chronic conditions that includes promoting relaxation and internal harmony and restoring balance. 

History

People have believed that aromatic compounds have healing properties since ancient times.  Aromatherapy recipes can be found in the Bible and have been uncovered in the ancient tombs of the Pharaohs.  Infused oils were included in medical texts as far back as the first century and the use of essential oils as tools for healing can be found in the historical record of China, India, the Middle East, and ancient Rome.  Advances in distillation opened new doors for the creation of essential oils and allowed for significant advancement in the art and science of aromatherapy.

Despite this long history, the practice remains an alternative option for treatment in much of the western world.  Critics doubt the effectiveness of these treatments without acknowledging the rich history of plant compounds that have contributed to medical treatments and the role plants play in most of the modern medicines used today. 

How it Can Help

Aromatherapy works with the body to activate critical systems for healing like the limbic and immune systems.  When paired with complimentary techniques, aromatherapy treatments assist the body in finding natural healing paths and support the natural healing process.  Some treatments rely on the part of the brain that responds to smell to trigger these healing responses.  Other treatments use the pharmacological properties of the essential oils to produce the desired result through direct application to the skin. 

Most Popular Oils

Peppermint oil, made from the plant menthe piperita, is used to treat both headaches and muscle aches and can be helpful in treating some problems with digestion.

Ylang Ylang oil, made from cananga odorata, promotes relaxation, eases tension, and can be used to aid with depression.

Lavender Oil, made from the plants lavandula angustifolia and lavandula vera, is also used to promote relaxation and ease depression in its inhaled form.  Helpful for restoring hormonal balance in women, it can also be used to treat skin injuries including burns and wounds.

Eucalyptus oil, from eucalyptus globulus or eucalyptus radiate, is beneficial in the treatment of respiratory problems like coughing and asthma and can alleviate tense muscles.

Lemon oil, made from citrus limon, is used as a disinfectant in a variety of circumstances ranging from wound care to household cleaning.

Rosemary oil, from the plant rosmarinus officinalis, is used to stimulate the mind and body.  It is also helpful for engaging the immune system and the digestive system.

Tea Tree oil, from the melaleuca alternifolia, is known for its ability to boost the immune system and for its natural anti-fungal abilities.

How I use them

I have found that this is an especially helpful tool with children in cases where I don’t want to have them take herbs as they are to powerful.  Applying them to the skin allows the oil to be absorbed as the body needs.  Two companies that I see as very good at making pure oils are YoungLiving and BeYoung oils.  Both companies are actually founded by a set of brothers and they go to great lengths to make sure the oil is so pure you can even ingest it!  Ask me about it and I’ll be happy to tell you who I use to get the oils from.  Then you can get them yourself!!!  One of the best things about oils is anybody can learn how to use them and get them from a good source all by themselves.  You can be the one to help your family!

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Dealing with Sugar Cravings: How to Use Sweeteners the Right Way!

Everyone is upset with sugar.They talk about how bad it is for you and how people are addicted to it and on and on and on. Most

It's so pretty... just one bite couldn't hurt... By zigazou76

people then turn a deaf ear because they are GOING to eat their dessert, They have sugar cravings to satisfy… because, I mean, who wants life without desert right? :)

 

What if I told you that you can have your desert and it would taste good and it would be healthy? You can you know… you just have to be smart about how you do it.

 

I think such a conversation would go like this:

 

‘What?’ You say. Are you crazy? I only turn half a deaf ear… I know sugar causes diabetes, hypertension, and weight that doesn’t come off.’

 

And I say ‘yup and it doesn’t stimulate hormones like Leptin and Grehlin the right way so your metabolism doesn’t kick in like it should and you stay hungry, and it effect brain chemistry so endorphins get produced and kill your will power, and because it messes with Calcium levels in the blood your teeth rot too.’

 

‘You’re not really making your case here’ you say!

 

What is ‘Sugar?’

Let’s step back for a second and define our terms though. Sugar can

A representation of the structure of sucrose a...

Table Sugar or Sucrose is half Fructose. Image via Physchim62

indicate the white stuff most people think of as sugar. That is actually cane sugar.  You might also hear it called table sugar or sucrose. Other types of sugar are found in milk, fruits, veggies, honey, etc. These are all described as carbohydrates. Individual types of carbohydrates such as sucrose in cane sugar or lactose in milk are identified by their parts. For example cane sugar is half glucose and half fructose… the same fructose you find in your apple! Some people also break things into simple and complex carbohydrates. Simple being smaller and more quickly absorbed by the body… and therefore harder on blood sugar control.

 

Now I’m going to give you a few keys for using sweeteners the smart way.

 

Some Keys to Follow

If you are the type of person that has really bad sugar cravings there is still hope! There is an excellent book called Potatoes Not Prozac by Kathleen DesMaisons. I would get it and read it. She doesn’t know everything, but it is an easy read and gives you some really good information. Three things I would note when you read her book:

1. When she says sugar you should translate that into ‘all fructose not in whole fruit’

2. For really bad cravings consider coming to see me about getting some Gymnema

3. The ‘bland’ period she describes doesn’t have to be so long. Come ask me.

 

Healthy Breakfasts should also taste good! image By Annie Mole

Never eat carbohydrates by themselves. Carbs, as they are called, are a short term food. If you don’t also eat some protein and healthy fats at the same time your energy will plummet and you will have to eat sooner… and you will wreak havoc on your blood sugar levels. A piece of white bread toast in the morning… not so great. A piece of Ezekiel 4:9 toast with some Omega 3 rich Karrygold butter and an Omega 3 scrambled egg on the side… Heaven and Healthy!

 

Stay away from concentrated sources of fructose. This doesn’t mean fruit, but it does mean fruit juices, sucrose, etc. Fructose isn’t metabolized in the body the way that other sugars are. It affects brain chemistry, metabolism, and the liver differently. Buffered by fiber in fruit this is ok, but take the fiber away and you start to have issues! For more on this watch this Amazing Video of a Cornell Grad MD lecturing on the effects of Fructose.

 

Choose Dextrose and Stevia as your main substitute in sweet foods. Dextrose is glucose and glucose (the sugar in your blood that your body likes to use) and is much better utilized in the body. You will get full quicker, your metabolism will be stimulated, and your liver will be happy! Dextrose is not as sweet as sugar. About 70% as sweet so some will add 1 ¼ cup dextrose when a recipe calls for 1 cup sugar. Stevia is very sweet, but has no carbohydrates in it so it is diabetic friendly. Use sparingly and get KAL brand to avoid the aftertaste most people don’t like in other brands.

 

 

Simple sugars should be eaten soon after exercise Image By alantankenghoe

Eat simple sugars soon after exercise. The body is primed for simple sugars after exercise. Insulin receptors are upregulated, the metabolism is up, and the muscle needs to be replenished. You should still avoid the fructose containing sugars, but even those with blood sugar issues can usually handle the simple sugars like dextrose, lactose, and others pretty well right after a good workout.

 

You Control Sugar, Sugar Cravings DON’T Control You!

Now, like I said, you can have your desert. Maybe it is cookies made with dextrose instead of sucrose and it is right after your workout and with some homemade trail-mix… but you get to have the cookies and not worry about paying for it later!  Enjoying the Holidays without sugar cravings and with a sense of wellbeing is so much better!

 

Try it Out!

 

Ezekiel 4:9 Cereal is a sprouted cereal that is a great alternative Image By Joelk75

Want a healthy sugar alternative to the sugar glazed breakfast cereal? Try Ezekiel 4:9 cereal with raisins, and banana cut up in it with unsweetened almond milk or raw milk poured over it. Want it sweeter because you just got back from your jog? Add a little dextrose powder!

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The Healing Power of Water

Healing Power of Water

In today’s world, we hear a lot about how eating healthy, exercising, getting enough sleep, and taking the right preventative measures can help us get healthy and stay healthy.   But there is one other thing that is as vital to our health as any of these that is often overlooked.  Even though it is one of the foundational elements of a healthy lifestyle, it doesn’t get the same attention as the others.  Water.  Clean, clear, potable water is vital to sustaining our lives and maintaining our health.

More than 75% of our bodies are composed of it and after air to breathe, it is the second most critical element to sustaining life.  While most experts agree that on average a person can live as long as 8 weeks without food, humans cannot live without water for more than 3 to 6 days.  This fact alone shows just how important water is to our health and wellbeing.

Why Water Matters

Our bodies use water and need water for almost every bodily function.  Water helps with circulation by maintaining the right viscosity of our blood.  It helps carry toxins and waste from our cells so they can be removed and is required for the removal process.  Some parts of our bodies are made up almost entirely of water and it is mandatory in order for our bodies to function.  We can lose as much as a gallon of water every day when we sweat, go to the bathroom, and even when we breathe.   Replenishing the water we are using and losing each day ensures our bodies have an adequate water supply to operate effectively.

What Happens When We Don’t Get Enough

Most people talk about dehydration without really understanding how prevalent a problem it is in America and how devastating it can be both in the short and long term.  When we think of someone suffering the effects of dehydration, we often picture someone in a movie who has just come out of the desert with dry cracked lips, who is stumbling and on the verge of collapse.  While this is an extreme picture of dehydration, you don’t need to watch a movie to see someone who is suffering the debilitating effects of dehydration.  Just look around you.  An estimated 75% of Americans are chronically dehydrated which means most of the people you see today aren’t getting enough water.

Everyone knows that those cracked lips and stumbling gait are indicators that someone needs water, but do you know the signs and symptoms of chronic dehydration?  They may surprise you and should help you understand why water can be said to have healing powers.  Here are a few of the signs someone is dehydrated:

·        Lack of energy and fatigue

·        Aches and pains throughout the body

·        Dry flaky skin

·        Short term memory problems

·        Impaired brain function

·        Digestive issues including constipation, nausea, and vomiting

·        Joint pain

·        Headache!  Big reason people come to see me!

How Much Do You Need?

Most experts agree that people need 8 to 10 glasses of water each day to remain properly hydrated.  The basic formula for you and your needs is your body weight divided by 2 times 1.1 as we live in a desert and then 1.15 if you drink anything with caffeine in it.  Some of that water can come from other liquids like juice and milk or from foods that contain a lot of water.  My rule of thumb here is cut it in half before you count it.  If you drink 8 ounces of juice count it as 4 ounces.  Beware of other beverages however, like soft drinks, coffee, and alcohol, which have the opposite effect and contribute to dehydration due to their caffeine and sugar content.  Remember that you are losing, potentially, a gallon of water each day just going about your business; replacing that water is as important to your health as choosing apples over potato chips and yoga over a rerun of Desperate Housewives.

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Muscle Testing Allergies, and other stuff: The Good, The Bad, The Video!

 
 
Collage of several of Gray's muscle pictures, ...
Not all muscle testing is the same. The different types are used for different types of problems.                                                                   -Image via Wikipedia

          Many are confused about muscle testing, if they even know what it is.  Some have heard of muscle testing allergies, some have heard of muscle testing for other reasons, and some have never heard of it all!  This blog will hopefully clear a few things up. 

          First of all not all muscle testing is the same.  There are several different types.  This confuses a lot of people and so they lump everything else in with what they had done to them.  This can be bad or good, but it is always confusing.  Here are the three main types:

1. Applied Kinesiology

          Also known as AK, this is where you check strength of a muscle and compare it side to side.  The idea here is that while you will get differences between the left and right naturally… as we are all left and right handed, you should still get nice resistance if the neurology and joint structure is working as it should.  When there is a big difference from side to side the practitioner searches for the disconnect.  Post treatment then they should re-check and see great improvement in the strength and the ‘lock’ of the muscle.

2. Response Testing (the type used for muscle testing allergies)

Allergens can be checked by holding part of the allergen, often contained in a glass vial, and checking musculature. Image By Helena Liu

            This is where you check a muscle, any muscle, pre and post exposure to a stimuli.  This stimuli can be potential allergens, stimulation of acupuncture points, homeopathics, nutritional supplements, etc.  A change in strength here usually indicates how the body will respond to that stimuli.  This is the type you use as muscle testing allergies and sensitivites and it can also figure out what the body needs in the case of acupuncture or other healing modalities. 

3. Suggestion

            The brain is aware of everything we are doing and what is happening to us.  With this in mind it isn’t that strange that musculature can become weaker or stronger with certain mental pictures.  Ask any psychologist about psychosomatic behavior… but be ready for a long discussion!  With this in mind certain techniques like NeuroEmotionalTechnique (NET) and others will say or have the person read a variety of things and see what happens to the musculature.  Depending on the way the practitioner is doing it a weak or strong response can mean a positive or negative response just like with Response Testing. 

Does it work?

          People often ask if this really works or if the practitioner is just pushing harder.  Or they say ‘wait I wasn’t ready!’  My favorite is the big muscular guys who at first can’t be budged and then I can use my pinky to bring their arm down… they really don’t like that ;)  

          The answer to the question of ‘does it work’ is yes and no.  It isn’t as sensitive a test as say blood work in the case of allergens.  It can be wrong in the case of joint dysfunction, but most of the time it is quite accurate and very cost effective.  To have a blood test done for $300 versus a quick muscle test, that costs no more than the evaluation it is part, of is a big difference for the 10% more sensitivity that blood work has in the case of food allergens.  

          When it doesn’t work it is usually an error on the part of the practitioner.  Unlike blood tests there is some art to muscle testing that has to develop with time and practice.  Also, just like everyone else, the practitioner can become confused and use the wrong type of muscle testing for the wrong thing.  This will almost never work and come up with false responses. 

Cheating with Muscle testing

Applied Kinesiology Demonstration

You need to be able to trust the person muscle testing you. Image by mandydax via Flickr

 There are unscrupulous people out there.  They sometimes use muscle testing at trade shows or fairs to sell products.  What they do isn’t even pushing harder.  They just change the angle of pull.  If you ‘seat’ the joint you push into it and give it more mechanical advantage.  If you pull it out of the joint you ‘unseat’ it and it becomes weaker.  They use this principle to trick people into thinking their product is good for them.  Don’t be fooled by this.  This kind of response testing can work, but you should be able to trust the person to be honest about it and not change the angle of pull.  If you can’t trust them beware.

Japanese Documentary

            There is a kind of muscle testing called Bi-Digital O-Ring testing.  This is a Japanese form of muscle testing that has had some great research done in hospitals in Japan.  It is Response Testing at its finest and there was even a documentary about it on the Japanese version of NOVA.  You can watch it for free here: Muscle Testing

 

          If you are looking into muscle testing allergies or for any other reason keep an open mind and first and formost find someone you feel/think you can trust to do it.  It can be very helpful, but  as it isn’t perfect it should be part of a whole range of methods of diagnosis used by your practitioner,  be they Chiropractor, Acupuncturist, Naturopath or MD.

 

4 Myths about Acupuncture

 

Myths About Acupuncture

Acupuncture is one of the alternative treatments that is helping to bridge the gap between the practices of Eastern medicine that have been around for thousands of years. It is also a very good adjunctive therapy to the Western medicine most Americans use as their primary method of managing their health.  Despite being available in America for more than 30 years, many people still do not understand the health benefits of this holistic practice.  Myths and misconceptions about how much acupuncture hurts, how much it costs, how safe it is, and whether or not it is effective keep people from getting the benefits of this ancient art of healing.

Here are 4 of the most common myths about acupuncture and the facts that dispel the myth.

1.   Acupuncture Needles Hurt

Acupuncture needles are very fine and thin with very sharp ends… sharper means less painful when talking about needlesJ. The needles used for acupuncture are very different from those used for injections in Western medicine.   Most patients do not feel the needle being inserted and those that do feel, only feel a tiny pinch or prick that goes away almost instantly. 

Once the needles are inserted, they are left in place for a period of time ranging from 5-20 minutes.  The needles are so thin they do not generally cause tissue damage on insertion or removal and rarely leave a mark on the sign after removal.  When they do it is generally gone the next day.

2.   Acupuncture Only Involves Needles

While needles are the most common tools used by acupuncture practitioners, they do use other tools to treat their patients.  Especially if the patient is afraid of needles.

Some of the most common alternate types of stimulation of acupuncture points are:

  • Acupressure (simple pressure to the AcuPoint use a finger or rod)
  • Acustim (light electrical current to the AcuPoint)
  • Aculaser (Cold laser directed at the AcuPoint.  The replaces Moxibustion in most cases)
  • GauSha (Rubbing of the area around AcuPoints to increase blood flow)

3.   Only People Who are Sick or in Pain Can Benefit

Many people believe that acupuncture is only beneficial for people who are in pain or who are sick, but this is not true.  Acupuncture is gaining popularity as an accepted therapy used in chronic pain management but it can also be beneficial in boosting overall health and wellness.  Because acupuncture is a tool for restoring balance in the body, it can be used for a variety of treatments and has a place in any preventative wellness program.

Acupuncture has also been used to treat addiction and aid in weight loss.  As a preventative therapy, there are many potential benefits offered by the various acupuncture techniques.

4.   You Have to Believe in it for it to Work

Perhaps because of its origins in Eastern medicine, many people continue to doubt the effectiveness of acupuncture and attribute some kind of placebo effect to those who claim it is beneficial.  In essence, they believe that in order for it to work, you have to believe that it will.  However, because acupuncture causes physiological changes on the body, its effectiveness is not reliant on your belief that it will work.  By releasing endorphins, improving circulation, and other physiological changes acupuncture creates positive changes throughout the body.  It can be used to reduce stress, restore balance, and support immune system function… and much more.  If you would like to know if acupuncture might help your condition call and ask.  I’ll be happy to share what I know! 

 

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