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Why the Best Medicine Might Be Your Right and Left Feet

ALTERNATIVE THERAPIES

Alternative Therapy is a treatment used instead of a conventional treatment to aid the body in the healing process.  It is comprised of several different treatment options to include acupressure, which involves the use of hands and fingers to apply pressure to an area that needs treatment.  This process alters the internal chi, strengthening it, calming it, or removing a blockage of the flow.  The difference between acupressure and acupuncture is that the latter uses hair-thin needles at specific points, while the former doesn’t break your skin. Both methods are based on touching meridians that carry chi, or energy throughout the body. Aromatherapy is the holistic way of healing with essential oils that have been extracted from plants.  Essential oils applied to the skin are absorbed into the bloodstream can take immediate effect.

Ayurvedic medicine restores the balance and harmony to an individual that results in self-healing and good health.  Therapies such as massage, reflexology, shiatsu, deep tissue manipulation, movement awareness and energy balancing are collectively referred to as bodywork.  Most Chinese herbs can be prepared by steeping in hot water to make an infusion, boiled to produce a stronger solution called a decoction; used to make powders, pills, or syrups that may be taken internally.

Chiropractic therapy has been used to treat problems such as back pain, headaches, bladder infections, respiratory conditions, sinusitis, asthma, heart disease, hypertension, colds, prostatitis and addiction.  The primary focus is on the treatment of back pain and musculoskeletal problems.

Herbal therapies and Homeopathy remedies are vital parts of living a holistic health lifestyle. Herbal medicine can be effective in treating ailments such as; upset stomach (herbal teas), colds and flu’s, minor aches and pains along with many others.  Homeopathic remedies are substances which cause the symptoms of the disease to be treated when taken full strength.  Homeopathic remedies are repeatedly mixed with water or alcohol and shaken (succussion), often diluting the substances to such a degree that no amount of the original medication can be found in the remedy.

Hydrotherapy, involves the use of water for pain relief and treating illness.  Treatments can include wraps, sprays, and douches, as well as steam rooms and saunas. The use of such devices is to stimulate an immune response to detoxify the body by changing the body temperature.  Mind-body medicine focuses on treatments that may promote health, including relaxation response, hypnosis, visual imagery, meditation, spirituality, yoga, support groups, and biofeedback.  It has provided evidence that psychological factors can play a major role in such illnesses as heart disease, and that by using mind-body techniques can aid in their treatment.

Naturopathic physicians are likely to use many different treatment modalities, including nutritional therapy, herbal medicine, TCM, homeopathy, acupuncture, hydrotherapy, and counseling.  Alternative practitioners place more emphasis on dietary intervention in some conditions whereas conventional medicine would recommend drugs or surgery to heal the body.  Japanese and Mediterranean diets contain small amounts of animal fat.  Since they are low in saturated fats, they help to protect against heart disease and some forms of cancer.

A central feature of osteopathy is its concentration on the musculoskeletal components of illness. Osteopathy is holistic and targets the whole body.  Doctors look at psychological factors, life style, and diet when they look into a client’s illness.

MINERALS

CALCIUM – RDA: adults, 800 mcg; pregnant women and young adults, 1,200 mcg

It is essential for the growth and maintenance of bones and teeth.  It enables muscles, including your heart, to contract; it is essential for normal blood clotting, proper nerve-impulse transmission, and connective-tissue maintenance.  It keeps blood pressure normal and may reduce the risk of heart disease; taken with vitamin D, it may lessen the risk of colorectal cancer.  It helps prevent rickets in children and osteoporosis.

CHLORIDE – EMDR: adults, 750 mg

It works with sodium and potassium to help maintain the proper distribution and pH of all bodily fluids and encourage healthy nerve and muscle function. Chloride alone, contributes to digestion and waste elimination.

CHROMIUM – EMDR: adults, 50 mcg to 200 mcg

It works with insulin to regulate the body’s use of sugar and is essential to fatty-acid metabolism.

COBALT – RDA/EMDR: not established

Helps form red blood cells and maintain nerve tissue.  It also stimulates growth of the thyroid gland and may lead to the overproduction of red blood cells, a disorder known as polycythemia.

COPPER – EMDR:  adults, 1.5 mg to 3 mg

Copper’s many functions include; helping to form hemoglobin in the blood; facilitating the absorption and use of iron so red blood cells can transport oxygen to tissues; assisting in the regulation of blood pressure and heart rate; strengthening blood vessels, bones, tendons, and nerves; promoting fertility; and ensuring normal skin and hair pigmentation.

FLUORIDE – EMDR: adults, 1.5 mg to 4 mg

It is required for healthy teeth and bones. It helps to form the tough enamel that protects teeth from decay and cavities, and increases bone strength and stability.

IODINE – RDA: adults, 150 mcg; pregnant women, 175 mcg

It has been known to prevent and treat goiter – enlargement of the thyroid gland. Iodine influences nutrient metabolism; nerve and muscle function; skin, hair, tooth, and nail condition; and physical and mental development.

IRON – RDA: adults, 10mg; premenopausal women, 15 mg; pregnant women, 30 mg

Iron is found in hemoglobin, the protein in red blood cells that transports oxygen from the lungs to body tissues. It is the component of myoglobin, a protein that provides extra fuel t muscles during exertion.

MAGNESIUM – RDA: adults, 350 mg; women 200 mg; pregnant women, 320 mg

It is essential for healthy bones and teeth, reduces the risk of developing osteoporosis, and may minimize the effects of existing osteoporosis.

MANGANESE – EMDR: 2.5 mg to 5 mg

Used for the proper formation and maintenance of bone, cartilage, and connective tissue; it contributes to the synthesis of proteins and genetic material; it helps produce energy from foods; it acts as an antioxidant; and it assists in normal blood clotting.

MOLYBDENUM – EMDR: adults, 75 mcg to 250 mcg

It helps generate energy, process waste for excretion, mobilize stored iron for the body’s use, and detoxify sulfites – chemicals used as food preservatives.  It is also essential to normal development of the nervous system.

PHOSPHROUS – RDA: adults over 25 years old, 800 mg; young adults and pregnant women, 1,200 mg

It is essential for bone formation and maintenance.  It stimulates muscle contraction and contributes to tissue growth and repair, energy production, nerve-impulse transmission, and heart and kidney function.

POTASSIUM – EMDR: adults, 2,000 mg

It helps to maintain fluid distribution and pH balance and to augment nerve-impulse transmission, muscle contraction, and regulation of heartbeat and blood pressure.  It is also required for protein synthesis, carbohydrate metabolism, and insulin secretion by the pancreas.

SELENIUM – RDA: men, 70 mcg; women, 55 mcg; pregnant women, 65 mcg

It protects the cells and tissues from damage wrought by free radicals.  It supports the immune function and neutralizes certain poisonous substances such as cadmium, mercury, and arsenic that may be ingested or inhaled. 

SODUIM – EMDR: adults, 500 mg

It maintains fluid distribution and pH balance; with potassium, it also helps control muscle contraction and nerve function.

SULFUR – RDA/EMDR:  not established

It assists in metabolism as a part of vitamin B1, biotin, and vitamin B5; helps regulate blood sugar levels as a constituent of insulin; and helps regulate blood clotting.  Also converts some toxic substances into nontoxic ones that can then be excreted and therefore is used to treat poisoning from aluminum, cadmium, lead, and mercury.

VANADIUM – RDA/EMDR: not established

May lower blood sugar levels in some people and inhibits tumor development, and therefore may protect against diabetes and some forms of cancer. Also may contribute to cholesterol metabolism and hormone production.

ZINC – RDA: adults, 15 mg; pregnant women, 30 mg

It is integral to the synthesis of RNA and DNA.  It contributes to bone development and growth, cell respiration, energy metabolism, wound healing, the liver’s ability to remove toxic substances such as alcohol from the body, immune function, and the regulation of heart rate and blood pressure.  It enhances the ability to taste, promotes healthy skin and hair, enhances reproductive functions, and may improve short-term memory and attention span.  It can also be used to treat acne, rheumatoid arthritis, and prostatitis. It can also boost resistance to infection, especially in the elderly, and stimulate wound healing.

THE FOOD GUIDE PYRAMID

Grain-based foods, the pyramid focuses on healthy eating and showing how much to serve per meals in which one consumes.  Each group of foods is nutritious and provides the recommended servings for ultimate health.  The foundation consists of breads, cereal, rice, and pasta group (carbohydrates, vitamins, minerals, and fibers), while level 2 is comprised of vegetables and fruit (vitamins, minerals, fibers, and low in fat).  The next two that rounds off the top of the pyramid are very crucial because they provide the body with protein, calcium, iron, zinc, and other nutrients.  Keep in mind that the top group is high in fat and cholesterol which should be eaten sparingly.

Food Pyramid Guide

BASIC NUTRITION

There are numerous benefits to having a balanced diet.  Your body is healthier and your life expectancy increases.  Your body on average requires more than 40 nutrients for energy, growth, and tissue maintenance.  Water is important for your body to survive as it transports the nutrients into cells and carries waste products and toxins out.

Carbohydrates are made by plants and stored in their leaves, stems, roots, and fruits in the process of photosynthesis.  The foods that we consume contain the following basic nutrients: carbohydrates, fats, proteins, and water.  The main energy source, carbohydrates are divided into two types – simple (compounds of carbon, hydrogen, and oxygen) and complex carbohydrates (starches that are found in bread and potatoes).

Tissue growth and repair relies heavily on proteins, which help to produce antibodies, hormones, and enzymes.  Meat, fish, dairy products, poultry, dried beans, nuts, and eggs are known as dietary protein that aides in the chemical reactions in the body.

The three types of fats consist of:

  • Saturated (meat, dairy food, and coconut oil)
  • Monounsaturated (olive, peanut, and canola oil)
  • polyunsaturated (corn, cottonseed, safflower, soy, and sunflower oils)

The U.S. Departments of Agriculture and Health and Human Services have established basic guidelines and recommendations for maintaining a healthy diet.  These recommendations include:

  •  eating a variety of foods
  • controlling your weight
  • eating a low-fat and low cholesterol diet
  • eat plenty of vegetables, fruits, and grains
  • eat sugar in moderation
  • use salt in moderation
  • if you drink alcohol, do so in moderation

HERBAL AND HOMEOPATHIC REMEDIES

Decoction, tinctures, and teas, which are infusions used to prepare herbal remedies.  Using fresh or dried plants, the time of preparation may vary.  Often, herbs work in combination with other herbs for best results; but it will take some skill and one should consult with a Chinese herbal practitioner for correct dosages.

Herbal remedies may consist of the following:

  • Teas/Infusions:  Made with leaves, flowers, or soft stems of a plant.
  • Decoctions:  A water extract made from the root, bark, and sometimes twigs, berries, or seeds of a plant.
  • Tinctures:  Use alcohol to make a more concentrated extract than teas and decoctions.
  • Syrups:  To relieve coughing or to mask the flavor of a tincture.
  • Compresses:  Known as a fomentation which is soaked in a soft cotton cloth in a hot infusion or decoction.
  • Poultices:  Used like a compress, but the herb itself is applied against the skin.
  • Oils:  Used for massage and in creams and ointments.
  • Creams:  An oil-and-water mixture that is easily absorbed in the skin and relieves dry, flaky skin, insect bites, or sunburn.
  • Ointments:  A waterless, waxy or oily salves that form a protective layer over the skin.
  • Powders:  Are ground from dried herbs, and are sprinkled on food and in drinks, mixed in water, or used to make capsules.

Remember to always use caution when mixing or taking herbs.  Homeopathy guidelines should be followed to the letter.  You should never substitute other substances or drugs for the ones recommended by your practitioner.  If you consistently have any signs of illness, discontinue use and call your practitioner.  Also know that herbs can interact with other drugs.  Call your physician before taking any herbs.