Saturday, March 12, 2011

Bust Out From Those Blues!

The statistics are, well to put it bluntly, depressing!  Nearly 14.8 million American adults experience the crushing emotional and physical symptoms of depression, and a majority of those who are diagnosed are women.

The reasons so many of us feels so sad at some point in our lives vary.  It may be due to:

Biological imbalances
Nutrition deficits
Not enough sleep
Even situational triggers

A constant that is found in those of us who get a bad case of the blues is: The body stops producing or effectively using the brain chemicals that regulate our mood.

Our brain chemical in particular, serotonin, is a neurotransmitter that is a key regulator of emotion, behavior and mood.  It serves as a messenger, jumping between neurons.  When not enough serotonin makes the leap, it can result in those feelings of depression.

With conventional medicine you may go to your doctor, and they will prescribe antidepressants such as as Prozac, Zoloft, and Paxil-these being the most popular.  These work by helping your body make the most of the serotonin that is already available in your brain.  The upside for many is brighter outlook, however common side effects include:

Weight gain

These don't sound fun...right?

In contrast however, natural remedies not only support the serotonin you already have, but ALSO help your body CREATE more of it, with fewer nasty side effects!

Here are some important and very effective natural remedies to help lift your mood:

Fish Oil 
The abundant stores of omega-3s in fish oil help your body make better use of the serotonin it already has.  Fish oil helps treat depression especially postpartum depression because during pregnancy, the mother's brain has to give up omega-3s so the baby's brain can develop, which can result in deficiency.  So it is important for pregnant women to supplement with fish oil during and after pregnancy.  A contraindication would be if you are taking heart medications, such as blood thinners, fish oil can interfere with their effectiveness.

How to use:  Take 2,000 milligrams of combined EPA and DHA fish oil per day.  

S-adenosylmethionine supports the production of serotonin.  It may work as well as, in addition to enhancing the effects of , conventional medications in treating major depressive disorder.  It is important to note, that i is energizing and may increase feelings of anxiety in some people.  

How to use:  Start at 400 milligrams, building to 1,200 or 1,600 milligrams per day in the morning.  Try taking it earlier in the day and midday because it can interfere with sleep.  Take the same dose for at least a week before adding more, stop increasing the dose if side effects occur.  

St. John's wort
St. John's wort helps your body make better use of the serotonin it already produces,  it is as successful as conventional antidepressants in the short-term treatment of mild to moderate depression.  Something to note however, is it can interact negatively with antidepressants and interfere with the effectiveness of other drugs, such as birth control pills.

How to use:  Dosages vary depending on the brand.   Generally, it is advisable to take one 300 milligram tablet three times a day.

B vitamins
B vitamins encourage the production of neurotransmitters, such as serotonin.  A deficiency in B vitamins can trigger or worsen depression.  B vitamins are water-soluble, so your body can quickly uses and eliminate them.  So it is smart to replace them on a daily basis.

How to use:  Take two sublingual tablets per day dissolved under the tongue.

Vitamin D3
The body produces more serotonin after being in the stronger rays of the summer sun versus winter sunlight.  So supplementing with vitamin D3, a form of D that is closest to what is created naturally in the body, may enhance serotonin levels.  It is especially important to check your vitamin D levels if you have darker skin or get minimal sun exposure.

How to use:  Take 2,000 to 5,000 IUs of vitamin D3 daily.  Taking 10,000 IUs or more of vitamin D daily can be toxic.

Over 80% of the population in the western world are deficient in Magnesium.  Magnesium helps your body create the serotonin it needs for you to stay in a positive mood.  It also encourages the serotonin that is already there to work more efficiently.  Magnesium can elevate your mood, relieve stress, and help you sleep.

How to use:  Start with a half teaspoon daily of a powered formula and gradually increase to two teaspoons per day.  You may also take magnesium in tablet form and try and take it about an hour before a meal or with a meal.  The dose varies between 300-900 milligrams daily.  Try and spread this amount out over 2-3 times a day.  You need to figure out you own exact dosages, which should be the highest dosage that doesn't not produce diarrhoea.  If that happens you need to cut back the dose.

Stop suffering from those blues and find relief with less harmful natural remedies that can help prevent and ease depression!

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Brooke Shields talks about how she turned to CranioSacral Therapy for help

When stress left Brooke Shields with a frozen jaw, she turned to CranioSacral Therapy for help. She talks to Victoria McKee
Brooke shields lopes into the Upper West Side office of Dr Karen Erickson, a CranioSacral  therapist. She is almost unrecognizable in dreadlocks, with an unmade-up face (revealing a small spot on her forehead), and wearing a huge puffy coat.
But she is recognized, of course. ‘It always happens,’ she says, with a shrug, when a woman comes up to her in the waiting room. She chats happily with the fan about her dreadlocks (adopted for her latest film, Black and White, about hip-hop culture in New York) before going in for treatment. The woman stares after her in admiration, marveling out loud to the room at large, ‘So she gets spots, too.’
I lad Brooke heard her, she would undoubtedly have laughed. `Life is too short to take yourself too seriously’ is the philosophy of this former child star who has matured into an apparently well-balanced woman. ‘I’ve always found self=deprecation is the ultimate diffuser. If you’re singled out as a special entity for how you look or what your profession is, it creates an instant barrier. One of the best ways to get through it is to laugh at yourself. I learned that as a kid.’
She learned a lot as a kid, growing up in New York and on screen, playing a preteen prostitute in Louis Malle’s Pretty Baby and two years later, aged only fourteen, revealing almost all in the film The Blue Lagoon.
When you have had to deal with roles like those, and the pressures of intense media interest in you, both as a child star with a stage-mother-turned-manager, and latterly as the wife of tennis-player Andre Agassi (from whom she is now separated), you had better be able to laugh.
But until recently, laughing-and even eating-caused Brooke physical pain. `It got to the point where I just couldn’t open my mouth wide enough to cat an apple,’ says Brooke. `Someone would have to “start” my apples for me.’ She was suffering from TMJ syndrome, named after the temporal mandibular joints on each side of the jaw. `I used to grind my teeth – I broke my braces once in high school – and my jaw had frozen tight, because it’s one of the places where I keep my stress.
`I’m a very physically manifested person. You can tell I’m under a lot of pressure right now because my skin changes.’ Hence the spot. `Having this kind of bodywork therapy is the only sure-fire way of getting me back on track.’
It takes 45 minutes of Dr Erickson’s gentle hands-on treatment to realign Brooke’s jaw, straighten her hips, and lengthen her spine. `You feel like you’ve gone back to the womb,’ Brooke enthuses. `She has such a nurturing, maternal feeling.’
Dr. Erickson is actually a chiropractor, but she practices craniosacral therapy instead of traditional `bone crunching’ much of the time. As a holistic practitioner, she also recommends nutritional supplements and other therapies for patients when necessary. Those who visit her regularly claim she makes them feel as if they have been in a health spa for a week.
`I’ve always been interested in exploring different pathways to health,’ says Dr Erickson. It was one of those pathways that led her to the guru of cranio-sacral therapy, the osteopath John Upledger, who developed the therapy and with whom Dr Erickson trained.
Dr Upledger describes his therapy as taking `a very soft-touch, hands-on therapeutic approach that involves the enhancement of natural bodily function. The important thing it does is enhance fluid movement through every cell in the body.’ The effects can be fundamental and far reaching.
Through subtly stimulating the circulation of spinal and lymphatic fluids and the nerve
endings, as well as the vital pressure points in the head (cranium) and lower spine (sacrum particularly rich in nerve endings), the whole body can be treated. These key elements, according to Dr Upledger, govern its functioning and general well being.
Although Dr Upledger is an osteopath, he describes his therapy as `much less invasive than cranial osteopathy’, and contrasts his gentler approach with that of osteopaths who `like to see the bones moving’.
Despite its name, in craniosacral therapy, every area of the body is worked on -not just the head and sacrum. Even the feet and legs arc manipulated, as having a condition such as bunions or bad knees can throw other parts of the body out of alignment. `Through craniosacral therapy, the practitioner can feel where the problem is manifesting itself – a problem in a foot can affect the knee or the hip-and clear the blockage,’ Dr Upledger explains.
It was Brooke’s Los Angeles chiropractor, Dr. Jeffrey Rochford, who discovered her TMJ syndrome and first used some craniosacral techniques on her.
`When I started with Dr Erickson, she didn’t know anything about the previous diagnosis,’ Brooke remembers. `She suddenly said, “Do you mind if I work inside your mouth?” There’s nothing more painful than when she works on the point, but it’s a precise pain; it’s focused, and then it’s over.’
Brooke first went to Dr Rochford after being hit on the head while filming an episode of the comedy series Suddenly Susan (shown in the UK on Channel Four and Sky One), in which the actors were playing basketball. ‘By the end of the day, I couldn’t turn my head – I was immobile. The next day, I wasn’t able to work and the producer sent me to Dr Rochford.’ When work on the film The Weekend (about a B-movie actress and her domineering mother) brought Brooke to New York, Dr Rochford recommended that she visit Dr Erickson.
`Their manner is very different, but their technique is similar,’ observes Brooke. `I was afraid of coming to New York without knowing someone who could work on me. I didn’t want to try someone randomly, because, when I have had my back cracked or something, I’ve usually been in more pain afterwards.
‘When I’ve been to Dr Erickson, I feel there’s more oxygen going through my body. I feel taller; I can breathe better,’ she explains.
Brooke acknowledges that she has long had a desire to feel in control, so surrendering herself to craniosacral therapy took some effort initially. `The whole concept of not being in control has always made me panic, but there’s nothing more annoying than being “off center”.
`With actors, it doesn’t matter how good you are if you’re not on time or on your mark or in your life. When my spine is centered, as it is through this therapy, I feel centered and more in control of my life in general.’

What is CranioSacral Therapy?

First you may be asking...What is CranioSacral Therapy?  

In a nutshell CranioSacral Therapy assists the body with a non-invasive touch, using no more than five grams of pressure, roughly the wight of a nickel to evaluate and detect imbalances and restrictions in the body.  It releases these restrictions deep in the central nervous system so that every other system in the body can relax and self-correct.  It helps you naturally free yourself of physical and emotional pain, stress, and discomfort and strengthens your resistance to disease and enhances your health and wellbeing.  

CST came about from the Osteopathic profession.  The Founder of Cranial Osteopathy, William Sutherland came to the conclusion in the early 1900's that the bones of the skull had movement.  He did further studies and came to prove this.  Then later came along Dr. John Upledger, he coined the term CranioSacral Therapy and was a true pioneer in this field.  The discovery of the Dural Pulse by Dr. John E. Upledger was the foundation for the groundbreaking work that he would later coin as CranioSacral Therapy.  He was assisting in a surgery and was asked to hold the dural tube.  However the dural tube was very hard to hold still and seemed as if there was a rhythm about it.  From there he looked more into this.  From 1975 to 1983, Dr. Upledger was a professor of biomechanics at the College of Osteopathic Medicine at Michigan State University. While he was there he led a team of anatomists, physiologists, biophysicists and bioengineers who performed and published the clinical research that formed the basis for CranioSacral Therapy.

The CranioSacral system has a pulse just like that of your circulatory system and your respiratory system.  The CranioSacral Systems pulse is 6-12 beats per minute.  This rhythm can be felt anywhere on the body by using a very sensitive touch. 

An important function of this system is the production, circulation, and re-absorption of Cerebrospinal Fluid (CSF).  This fluid provides essential nourishment for the central nervous system, helping it to maintain a consistent balance even when other conditions of the body are changing.  All of the critical functions that are mediated by the Central Nervous System are dependent upon supply of this fluid.  The Cerebral Spinal Fluid is contained within the Dura and surrounds and protects the brain and spinal cord.  It nourishes the brain and spinal cord and is very information rich, it tells a lot about the health of someone.

The CranioSacral System also consists of the membrane system which is the the membrane that lines the cranium and the dural tube that surrounds the spinal cord.  It also consists of the sacrum and the 22 bones of the skull.

The Autonomic Nervous System is greatly influenced with CST.  The ANS consists of the Parasympathetics and the Sympathetics.  Especially in today's society we are always go go go and dealing with stress.  So our Sympathetics are in overdrive.  With CST we can calm your Sympathetics down and kick in your Parasympathetics to create a more normal internal environment so that the cells of the body will continue to live and function properly.  Each cell will benefit from being in a state of homeostasis which means balance.  But, if one or more functional systems lose their ability to contribute, we will see breakdown of homeostasis.  Now all cells suffer, moderate dysfunction will lead to sickness, and if there is extreme dysfunction this can lead to death, if left alone. 

One of the primary tenants of the work is that everything in the body is connected to everything else.  So it's not possible to influence one part of the body with out influencing all of it.  

Fascia is a specialized system of the body that has an appearance similar to a spiders web or a loose knit sweater.  You can also look at it as the part you need to cut through when separating the skin of a chicken from the meant.  It is that saran-like covering that encases every muscle, bone, nerve, artery and vein, as well as all of our internal organs including the heart, lungs, brain and spinal cord.  The fascia system is not just a system of separate coverings.  It is actually one continuous structure that exists from your head to your toe without interruption.  

So you can begin to see that each part of the entire body is connected to every other part by the fascia, like the yarn in a sweater.  Trauma, inflammatory responses, and/or surgical procedures create Myofascial restrictions.  The fascial will become tight and restricted, which will then restrict the blood, nerves or energy meridians within that muscle or organ.  Long-term restrictions may result in thick fibrous areas within the fascia that will cause dysfunction and eventually dis-ease within the systems of the body.  CST helps the fascia get back to its normal healthy state, and help it become relaxed and way in configuration.       

Structure and function are inseparable, alterations in one, to some degree, will modify the other.  CranioSacral Therapy can help optimize brain structure which often improves function.  

What can CranioSacral Therapy help?

By complementing the body's natural healing processes, CST is increasingly used as a preventive health measure for its ability to bolster resistance to disease, and is effective for a wide range of medical problems associated with pain and dysfunction including:

-Migraines and headaches
-Chronic pain
-Motor-coordination impairments
-Central Nervous System disorders
-Orthopedic problems
-Traumatic Brain and Spinal Cord injuries
-Learning disabilities
-Chronic fatigue
-Emotional difficulties
-Stress and tension related problems
-Fibromyalgia and other connective-tissue disorders
-Post-traumatic stress disorder
-Post-surgical dysfunction
-Pregnancy difficulties
-And so much more

CranioSacral Therapy is great for all ages!  Newborns to adults!

What is a session like?

You will then lie down comfortably-fully clothed.  I will also have you take your shoes off.  I do recommend that you wear loose, comfortable clothing.

The session is usually performed with you lying on a comfortable massage table, occasionally I may have you seated or standing.  I will begin by using a light touch at the feet-to assess where restrictions and other related problems exist in your body.  I will then continue to work through other parts of your body. 

What about during the session?

Experiences during a CranioSacral session are as individual as the clients themselves.  They also may differ from session to session.  Sometimes, you may deeply relax or even fall asleep, at other times you may talk a great deal, recalling hidden memories or expressing emotions.  You may even remain still during the entire session, hardly noticing my evaluation and treatment.  While others will experience sensations within the body as the evaluation process is continued. 
At various times throughout our session, I will support your limbs and spine while facilitating a release of accumulated tension.  This process is called energy cyst release or Myofascial release.  During this release, you may occasionally recall circumstances surrounding a past shock, trauma, or injury.  Releasing and re-experiencing past hurts assists the body in reversing dysfunction and restoring the previous level of mobility.  You can re-create those past hurts or dysfunction, this process has been named SomotoEmotional Release (SER)®
During a CranioSacral session it could be necessary to do some related work in the mouth ( Maxilla, Vomer, Mandible...) along with some of the face muscles, because these bones are closely related with the Sphenoid bone.  If not in balance they may be the root cause of the dysfunction.  

What about following a session?

Just as your session can very from another individuals session greatly, the immediate results from person to person can be just as diverse.  This relaxed state may cause some people to sleep for many hours after a session, while others may experience a big increase in energy.  Reduction of pain or an increase in function may occur immediately after the session, or it may develop gradually over the next few days.  Because CranioSacral Therapy helps the body resume its natural healing processes, it isn't unusual for improvement to continue well after the session.  Meanwhile, for some here may be a reorganization and integration phase as the body adapts to the release of previously held patterns.