Posts tagged naturopathic
Training With the Flow by Amanda Roe, ND

Having a uterus and ultrarunning is generally pretty rad. There is nothing like running into some badass women in the woods, tearing up the trails and having a great time. We push each other to be better, dream bigger, run stronger. How many times have you been digging deep for the next internal power surge to arise and been inspired either by thinking of another woman runner, or witnessed within yourself that core sense of knowing you’ll rise to the occasion? We lift one another up in this sport. In the interest of elevating women in sports, let’s lift the mystique of that monthly visitor that can throw a bit of a wrench into an otherwise finely tuned machine. Periods run interference on even the best training schedules and can set you back a week or two at a time. Most of us are already balancing our running with career, family, and the odd (gasp) other pastimes besides running. Raise your hand if any of the following scenarios sounds familiar. I know.

“I was packing the car up a few months ago to leave for an early morning race. I ran back in the house to pee only to find that Aunt Flo came by to wish me luck. The race was set to start in 2 hours. I thought she was coming on Tuesday!”

“I’m scheduled for a long run on the weekend, but have been bleeding and cramping for the past two days. My legs feel weak, my back hurts, and I would eat a Taco Bell Party Pack faster than a gaggle of teenaged boys right now. How can I cement the wherewithal to get 20 miles in bright and early? My 50K is 6 weeks.”

“Looking ahead at my race calendar, again I count the weeks to go: seven weeks until the next race. I have my period this week. It should be 8 more weeks until ‘that time of the month’, but it’s going to be a close call. Can’t I just plug it up and pretend it’s not happening??”

There are so many factors that affect our biggest days out there racing and training, and uterine behavior (or misbehavior) doesn’t need to be another big unknown. Getting a general sense of your cycle can empower you to do all the right things to guide your body toward training and racing strong, before, during, and after your period.

HERE COMES AUNT FLO: Running before period (Days 15-28 of cycle)

Hydration is key. There are a lot of hormones leaving the system during this time, and it can feel akin to a detox. For women who experience premenstrual headaches, be extra sure to keep those electrolytes balanced and the excretion (ahem, peeing and moving your bowels) humming along. If you’re up for it, a trip to the sauna or hot yoga class can aid with the processing. Decreasing inflammation is also vital, particularly if you get bad cramps or have endometriosis. Focus on foods high in essential fatty acids, known for decreasing cramping and clotting, like olives and olive oil, avocado, nuts, seeds, fatty fish (like salmon, cod and halibut). Decrease coffee, alcohol, and limit sugar, as these amplify inflammatory pathways in the body.

SHARK WEEK: Running during period (Days 1-7 of cycle)

Use your discretion in determining when and how much to run. For some women, the increased circulation from exercise actually helps relieve cramping and clotting. For other women, running can cause more fatigue. Eat iron-rich foods: dark leafy greens, eggs, beets, poultry, and beef. Combining iron-rich foods with Vitamin C or foods high in Vitamin C (citrus, spinach, berries) will help your body absorb more iron naturally. Magnesium can also help a bunch. Epsom salt baths are great way to relieve muscular tension from cramping, low back pain, and leg pain.

GETTING OFF THE COTTON PONY: Running after period. (Days 7-14 of cycle)

Sleep is your buddy, and you’re likely to be feeling much better now that your body is resetting. Treat it to some daily nourishing blood-builders like spinach, black beans, dates, and carrots to stay on top of your game. Run strong, and tear it up out there, my friends!

Haiti

Thoughts of Haiti weigh heavily on my mind these days--yours too, I'll bet.  What to do?  Fortunately, there is a lot being done.  What we must remember is that nothing we do is too small. There are teams of medical professionals headed there as we speak, including Naturopathic doctors.  NDI (Natural Doctors International), a group of Naturopathic Physicians currently working in Nicuragua (but based here in Portland) is raising funds to send a team of Naturopathic physicians and students to Haiti to help with the aftermath of this tragic event.

What the world needs now, is love, sweet love.

A few last words on Travel Tips.

I'd like to round out the Travel series with a few last tips.  Below you'll find naturopathic remedies for travel-related conditions.imagesJet Lag: 1.    Melatonin: 1-3mg 2 hours before you would like to go to bed.* 2.    Exercise: 30 minutes each day, even while on vacation to regulate stress and help with sleep 3.    Lavendar essential oil drops applied to the pillow or rubbed into the temples to help with sleep.

I also found this: the anti-jetlag diet.  If you have time on your hands, there are some folks out there who swear by it.

images-1Nausea/Motion-sickness: 1.    Ginger: 6 capsules taken 1 hour before travel to soothe stomach 2.    Candied/crystallized ginger: to chew/suck on during travel 3.    Sea-bands: worn on the wrists, applies pressure to acupuncture points known to relieve nausea

Bacterial and fungal skin infections: 1.    Fungal infections:  topical application of Black Walnut (juglans nigra) 5-6 times/day plus vinegar wash 3 x’s /day—1/2 cup apple cider vinegar with 10 drops lavendar essential oil and 10 drops tea tree oil.  Keep the area clean and dry. images-22.    Bacterial skin infections: External: •    Make a strong tea of calendula officinalis flowers and apply as a compress to skin (after it's cooled a bit) •    topical application of Black Walnut tincture (Juglans nigra) 5-6 times/day Internal: Echinacea tincture  30 drops 5-6x’s day *caution: do not take black walnut internally during pregnancy or breastfeeding.

images-3Urinary tract infection: 1.    Parsley tea: simmer ½ cup of fresh parsley in 2 quarts of hot water for 5 minutes and drink over the course of 3 hours to flush the bladder.  Caution during pregnancy—high dosages may stimulate uterus.  Please talk to your Dr. or midwife before taking. 2.    Unsweetened Cranberry juice: up to 3L/day with acute onset 3.    Uva ursi (Bearberry) tincture: 90 drops 4x’s/day

*Always check with your health care practitioner before starting this or any other supplement.

Natural remedies for Traveling with Kids

Whether you're camping, heading to the beach, or staying close to home this summer, you'll want to know about these natural remedies for kids (and adults too!). Sunburn:

1. Mix 1 drop of lavendar essential oil per tablespoon of aloe vera gel and apply to burned areas.

2. For a full-body burn, combine 2 cups of baking soda with 10 drops of lavendar essential oil in a tepid/cool bath and soak for 20 minutes. Apply a soothing hypoallergenic body lotion to skin afterwards to seal in moisture.

Bug Bites: 1.    Prevent bug bites with a homemade bug spritzer: •    2 drops each: Essential Oils of Wintergreen, Citronella, Cedarwood, Peppermint, and Lemongrass. •    Mix with ½ cup distilled water and ¼ cup almond oil (or other yummy oil) and put in a spritzer bottle. 2.    If stung, remove stinger with credit card or fingernail and apply ice quickly to prevent swelling and spread of toxins.  If wheezing or dramatic swelling occurs, call 911 immediately. 3.    Apply lavendar essential oil topically (undiluted, 1 drop) 4.    If itching occurs, combine ¼ cup of witch hazel extract with 20 drops of peppermint essential oil and 20 drops of lavendar essential oil and apply as needed with a cotton ball.

Cuts/Bruises: 1.    If the injured area is bruised, apply arnica gel or cream there 2-3 x’s day until the bruised sensation is getting better.  Can also do homeopathic arnica acutely. 2.    If the injured area is bleeding/open, clean the area thoroughly with soap and water.  Apply calendula salve 2x’s/day until a scab forms, then you can apply comfrey salve and arnica gel to continue the healing process.  Never apply arnica or comfrey to an open wound.

More Naturopathic travel tips: Cha-cha-cha.

Diarrhea:  the runs, the Hershey's squirts, the Aztec tw0-step, Montezuma's revenge, the trots---whatever your name for it is, you need to be prepared when you travel.  Diarrhea is the number one ailment affecting travelers!  The best treatment here is prevention because traveler’s diarrhea can be difficult to treat.  A few things to remember, especially if traveling in areas where the water quality is uncertain:•    Avoid seafood in inland areas •    Carry wet wipes to wipe hands before eating •    For vegetables, cook them, boil them, peel them, or don’ t eat them •    Carry a water bottle with a carbon filter or sterilizer in it •    Order meat well-done •    Use filtered/bottled water for everything (even brushing teeth) To prevent traveler’s diarrhea: 1.    Tincture*** of 1 part each: dandelion root, hops, catnip, chamomile, and artemesia taken 30 drops before each meal ***Caution: this tincture should not be ingested by pregnant or lactating women.  Instead, include the following two suggestions: 2.    Betaine HCl: 2 capsules taken before each meal 3.    Lactobacillus acidophilus: 1-2 capsules taken 20 minutes before each meal with a cup of water 4.    The use of antibiotics is controversial.  With rest and conservation of energy, most cases clear up within 5 days.  Consider antibiotic use under the following circumstances: •    Stool analysis confirms bacterial cause •    Blood mixed in with diarrhea or high fever •    Symptoms continue for greater than 48 hours without sign of improvement •    Passing of greater than 6 stools in 24 hours •    If you are completely unable to stop, rest and recuperate during your travels.

If you think you may have a bacterial or parasitic infection (blood in stool, high fever, worsening symptoms, and very frequent bowel movements), proceed to the nearest hospital or urgent care clinic.   Next week's topic: Naturopathic first aid!

Herbal Nutrition in Pregnancy

DSC_0606Herbal Nutrition for Pregnancy Red Raspberry Leaf (Rubus Idaeus): tones the uterus during pregnancy, prevents hemorrhage, provides excellent source of Vitamins C and E.  Also good source of Calcium and Iron.

Nettles (Urtica dioica): great tonic.  Has lots of Vitamins A, D, C, and K. Provides Calcium and Potassium as well.  The Vitamin K is instrumental in preventing hemorrhage during birth.  Also good for leg cramps and hemorrhoids.

Mint family (Mentha spp.): safe and helpful in pregnancy for digestive issues: morning sickness and indigestion.

Oatstraw (Avena sativa): good source of minerals for growing baby and for integrity of veins.  Oatstraw is calming and nourishing.  This herb is a personal favorite!

Specific issues during pregnancy*

Morning sickness:  1-2 cups Raspberry leaf tea, 1-2 spoonfuls of ginger root (Zingiber off.) decoction, peppermint of spearmint tea, alfalfa (Medicago sativa) tea for B vitamins

Varicose veins/Hemorrhoids: 1-2 cups daily of Oatstraw tea, 1-2 cups of nettles tea, raw parsley (Petroselinum sativum) in salads, witch hazel (topically)

Anemia: 1 TBS Yellow dock (Rumex Crispus) decoction per day.  Can also try teas of Dandelion root (Taraxacum off), Parsley, and Nettles.

Heartburn/Indigestion: Anise or Fennel seed tea for after meals, Papaya enzymes, raw almonds, Slippery Elm (Ulmus fulva)

Bladder Infections: unsweetened cranberry juice, Uva Ursi leaves infuse for 8 hours, then drink one cup every 12 hours.  Can add yarrow (Achillea millefoilium) if not clear with just Uva ursi.

Hypertension: garlic, cucumbers, Hops (humulus lupulus)—only during 3rd trimester, Passionflower tincture (15 drops per day), Skullcap (Scutellaria off.) 1-2 cups per day, Hawthorn berries (Crataegus off.)

Late Pregnancy uterine tonics: Black and Blue Cohosh (Cimicifuga racemosa and Caullophyllum thalictroides), Squawvine (Mitchella repens)

*Please consult a helath care practitioner before beginning any new herbal or nutritional regimen

Swine Flu update

Good Morning! Well, it seems that we know a bit more about the Swine flu this week compared to last week.  It does not seem to be quite as contagious or deadly as originally suspected.  That being said, there are new cases every single day, and it's important that we keep ourselves healthy! Are you keeping your stress level down?  Well, you should be.  Stress can down-regulate your immune system.  Yoga, anyone?  Deep breathing?  How about a nice long walk (in the rain, for those of us here in the Pacific NW)?

Influenza can be contagious from one day before symptoms appear to 7 days after the onset of symptoms.  There are several other known strains of the flu going around right now in addition to the Swine flu.  Believe me, I've seen a LOT of people this week with the crud.  It's a bit late in the "flu season" for all this to be going around, but alas--it is.  It also happens to be high allergy season, and unfortunately this makes people more susceptible to things like the flu.  Here are some reminders from the CDC regarding contamination and cleaning to help decrease your chances of getting sick.

Contamination & Cleaning

Photo of hands and soapHow long can influenza virus remain viable on objects (such as books and doorknobs)? Studies have shown that influenza virus can survive on environmental surfaces and can infect a person for up to 2-8 hours after being deposited on the surface.

What kills influenza virus? Influenza virus is destroyed by heat (167-212°F [75-100°C]). In addition, several chemical germicides, including chlorine, hydrogen peroxide, detergents (soap), iodophors (iodine-based antiseptics), and alcohols are effective against human influenza viruses if used in proper concentration for a sufficient length of time. For example, wipes or gels with alcohol in them can be used to clean hands. The gels should be rubbed into hands until they are dry.

What surfaces are most likely to be sources of contamination? Germs can be spread when a person touches something that is contaminated with germs and then touches his or her eyes, nose, or mouth. Droplets from a cough or sneeze of an infected person move through the air. Germs can be spread when a person touches respiratory droplets from another person on a surface like a desk, for example, and then touches their own eyes, mouth or nose before washing their hands.

How should waste disposal be handled to prevent the spread of influenza virus? To prevent the spread of influenza virus, it is recommended that tissues and other disposable items used by an infected person be thrown in the trash. Additionally, persons should wash their hands with soap and water after touching used tissues and similar waste.

Photo of cleaning suppliesWhat household cleaning should be done to prevent the spread of influenza virus? To prevent the spread of influenza virus it is important to keep surfaces (especially bedside tables, surfaces in the bathroom, kitchen counters and toys for children) clean by wiping them down with a household disinfectant according to directions on the product label.

How should linens, eating utensils and dishes of persons infected with influenza virus be handled? Linens, eating utensils, and dishes belonging to those who are sick do not need to be cleaned separately, but importantly these items should not be shared without washing thoroughly first. Linens (such as bed sheets and towels) should be washed by using household laundry soap and tumbled dry on a hot setting. Individuals should avoid “hugging” laundry prior to washing it to prevent contaminating themselves. Individuals should wash their hands with soap and water or alcohol-based hand rub immediately after handling dirty laundry.

Eating utensils should be washed either in a dishwasher or by hand with water and soap.

Scenes from the Clinic

Here at the clinic things are growing!  Our practices are growing, our vegetables are growing, and our happiness about being Naturopathic Doctors in a city as wonderful as Portland is, of course, always growing! We are already able to harvest lots of greens with beets and tomatoes just around the corner.  Always feel free to stop by and enjoy a bit of salad on us!

In your garden. In your city.

At my home, we are perpetually in the garden. Saturdays and Sundays are spent loving it, weeding it, planting, and harvesting (and then sometimes wondering what else we can do!) We came back from a wonderful camping trip to the Oregon coast this weekend, and within 10 minutes, we were out in the garden, checking on our little plant-lettes. We've grown plants from starts and seeds, and even potatoes and onions that were starting to sprout in the cupboard! There is something to be said about growing your own food, especially in these times of rising fuel and food prices. I find that there is almost nothing more satisfying than fresh veggies straight from the yard and right on my breakfast or dinner plate. The taste is the most satisfying aspect, but a close second is knowing that I'm giving energy back to the earth, and not depleting resources.

At my office, we also have a garden filled with spinach, chard, tomatoes, rhubarb, corn, squash, lettuce, peas, you name it. It's a teaching garden, and it's in a totally urban environment. You see, naturopathic medicine roots itself in sustainablilty-- Meaning the things we prescribe and teach for our patients are often things our patients can incorporate into their lives gradually, seamlessly, and for good.

Sustainability. I know it's becoming quite the buzzword, but there is a whole lot to it. There is a brand new magazine called Intentionally Urban (in-ur, for short). They just launched their first issue this month. It is a fabulous magazine that covers all aspects of urban sustainability, including urban gardening and urban chicken-raising. You can read the entire magazine online, and I encourage you to check it out.

Stay tuned to this blog for photos of our office garden. You can watch it grow with us, and maybe if you stop by for a visit, you can sample some of our tasty treats. The garden is health and life. We put love into it, and tend it with care. You can taste the difference.