Homeopathy and Evidence

At Charm City Natural Health, we take pride in the fact that we practice evidence-based natural medicine. We are constantly reviewing new articles and studies, and we readily use new knowledge in the clinic. While some may feel the evidence is lacking for natural therapies, this is decidedly not the case; evidence has long been mounting for the therapies we use in our clinic.

Our practice is also informed by patient preference. When patients have a preference for a certain type of therapy, we work with them so that they get the greatest benefit from that treatment. We believe firmly that our patients are not biochemical equations to be solved - they are living, breathing people who need to be cared for, not fixed.

We were therefore excited to learn of a recent study in the online journal PLoS One, which found that individualized homeopathic treatment was superior to fluoxetine (Prozac) in the treatment of depression and menopausal symptoms in menopausal age women. The article is here for your reference. Dr. Runde and Dr. Paddock are both trained extensively in homeopathy, and have used this type of treatment for conditions ranging from digestive disturbances to chronic pain.

If you are looking for homeopathic treatment, you can be confident that we will offer you the best. Call today with any questions!

Taking Care of Your Heart and Yourself!

Valentine's Day is around the corner and it's a great time to take pause and think about your health - though few do! For many of us, Valentine's Day is a time for chocolate and candy, rather than health, but there are two important reasons to think of your health.

First of all, the symbol of Valentine's Day is the heart, and so it's a great time to stop and think about your heart. Most heart disease is determined by diet and lifestyle choices, which is an area that naturopathic medicine thrives in, so it's a great time to visit your ND. An ND can counsel you on the cardiovascular wellness program that works for you, which may include a Mediterranean style diet, moderate exercise, and supplementation. NDs can also recommend nutritional supplements and botanical medicines as part of a treatment plan.

Secondly, while most of us are giving our loved ones gifts of flowers or candy this Valentine's Day, consider giving your partner the gift of health - yours! Living a healthy lifestyle and taking a preventive approach to health not only helps ensure that you'll be around for a long as possible with them, but it also improves the time you spend together. By overcoming your health limitations, you increase the amount of quality time you spend together, living life to its fullest, and there's no better way to show your love than through quality time.

Hopefully you've got a special meal or a special event planned for you and your partner, and at Charm City Natural Health, we wish you nothing but the best, but in this holiday season, remember that the gift of health is one of the greatest you can give.

At Home Hydrotherapy for Immune Support

Born out of well-established European spa medicine traditions (balneotherapy), naturopathic hydrotherapy uses the application of hot, cold, or neutral temperature water to the body. If you’ve ever put an ice pack on an acute injury like a sprain, than you’ve used hydrotherapy! Naturopathic doctors use hydrotherapy techniques to stimulate healing processes and you can use it this winter to help your body’s immune system beat a cold or flu.  Here are three of the most common hydrotherapy techniques that I recommend in the winter months: the warming sock treatment, the contrast shower, and an at-home version of constitutional hydrotherapy. Today I will tell you about the first one, which is also my favorite. 

Warming Socks

Do this before-bed treatment when you’ve got a sore throat, ear infection, sinus infection or congestion, upper respiratory infection, cough, or bronchitis. This treatment is best repeated for three nights in a row.  This treatment acts in a reflexive way by increasing blood circulation and decreasing congestion in the upper respiratory passages (lungs, throat, sinuses, and nasal passages). It can be very calming and often people report that they sleep well during the treatment. The warming sock treatment can also help decrease throat pain of acute infections. This treatment can be done in conjunction with whatever other treatments you are taking for your illness (antibiotics or natural medicines).

Gather the following: 1 pair of white cotton socks (ankle socks are best), 1 pair of thick wool socks (that are taller than the cotton socks), a towel, and a warm bath or warm foot bath.

Directions: soak your cotton socks in cold tap water and wring them out thoroughly so that they do not drip. Place these socks in the freezer while you complete the next stage, called the warming phase. You must complete the next stage of the treatment (warming phase) as it is the most important and protects your feet from the harmful effects of just applying cold. It is also the fun and soothing part: Soak both feet in warm water (either in bathtub or a bucket) for a full 10 minutes. You may also take a warm bath or hot shower for 10 minutes to complete the warming phase, but do not get your hair wet. After you’ve warmed your feet for 10 minutes, dry off completely (feet or whole body, depending on how you completed the warming) with a towel. Put on your warmest pajamas that consist of both long sleeve shirt and pants. Grab the cotton socks from the freezer and place one on each foot, then immediately cover the cold cotton socks with the warm wool socks so that they are double-layered. Get right into bed, under the covers and make sure that you are not chilled. Add extra blankets as needed. Keep the socks on overnight as you sleep. When you wake up in the morning the cold, wet cotton socks will be dry and warm!

Cautions: don’t do warming socks if you’ve got a circulation disorder like Raynaud’s, diabetes, arterial insufficiency, or intermittent claudication as the cold phase will cause blood flow in your feet to decrease too much for you. If you have a skin disorder on your feet that is aggravated by cold or wet, this treatment is not for you either. If you have decreased sensation of pain or temperature in your feet, do not do this treatment because you will have a hard time knowing if the water is too hot or the socks too cold. If you have questions, always consult your provider!        



A Home-Made Cold and Flu Buster

Cold and flu season is upon us, and sometimes, even when you eat well, stay hydrated, wash your hands, and try to stay healthy, you come down with something! This happened to Dr. Paddock recently, so here's his recipe for a home-made cold buster:

1 tbsp apple cider vinegar
1 garlic clove, pressed
1/4 tsp ginger powder
1/4 tsp cayenne
1 tsp honey

Combine all ingredients in a mug and add 8 oz boiling water. Stir together.

This is a spicy combo, but it will warm you up, soothe your throat, and get you back to feeling like yourself in no time! And remember, getting sick every once in a while is part of life! Take the time to rest and recuperate, and your immune system will be stronger for it.

If you suffer from frequent seasonal illnesses, or seem to have long-lasting seasonal illnesses, contact Charm City Natural Health and see if naturopathic medicine is best for you.

Make A New Year’s Commitment to Your Health

New Year’s resolutions are commonly made and broken within weeks. We all know the story: ‘I will do this…’, ‘I will stop doing that…’, ‘I need to learn how to…’ Unfortunately, most of us make a resolution, expect immediate results, and are discouraged when we don’t see the results we want.

As far as I know, no one keeps stats on New Year’s resolutions (thankfully), but one that I hear commonly is a resolution to lose weight. A lot of people overdo it during the last two (or three) weeks of December and so head into January with a little bit of extra weight. Others have struggled with their weight for some time, but take the New Year as a chance to commit to losing the weight once and for all.

Weight loss, however, is no easy feat for most people, especially when the excitement and enthusiasm of New Year’s has you setting the bar high. A healthy rate of weight loss is generally rated to be 1-2 pounds per week, a rate that is hardly awe-inspiring – if you’re looking to lose 20 pounds, and after a few weeks of challenging diet and exercise changes, you’ve only lost 3 or 4 pounds, it can be easy to get discouraged.

Find someone with whom you can form a therapeutic alliance. Weight loss is a challenge, but there are strategies that are proven to work. However, though these strategies are effective in taking weight off and keeping it off, they require consistent, ongoing work – there are no quick fixes where weight loss is concerned. As a result, it’s important to have someone you can work with, whether that’s a health professional, a personal trainer, a friend, or a family member. I think I harp on this just about every week, and I’ll continue to do so – when working with chronic health concerns or long-term health projects, don’t go it alone. In times of difficulty or discouragement, it helps to have someone to lean on.

Exercise is key, even if the weight doesn’t seem to be coming off. A recently published study showed that in the long run, staying active reduces mortality from all causes, regardless of weight change. These reductions were not small potatoes, either – staying fit reduced all-cause mortality by 30%, and an even larger drop was seen in those who improved their fitness. I don’t think this study shouldn’t diminish the health benefits of attaining a healthy weight, but should serve as encouragement to those who exercise without seeing the immediate benefits. Here’s a great video to give you some more encouragement, and here’s a little entry I wrote about what ‘counts’ as exercise. A lot of people, especially around the New Year, rush into vigorous exercise regimens they can’t keep up, but I recommend starting closer to home – go for a walk, get in the garden, take a bike ride. The key to exercise is to be regular about it, not to be vigorous.

To sum it all up, here’s my invitation to you – make a New Year’s resolution to your health. Losing weight has tremendous benefits, but equally important is to get active. Weight loss improves your cardiovascular health (a big issue among us Americans), and exercise is good for just about everything under the sun. And as always, work with others in achieving your goals – when I was in school, one of the mottos they taught us when preparing us for 4 years of school was this, ‘If you want to walk fast, walk alone. If you want to walk far, walk together.’ Nowhere is this truer than with weight loss – if you want to achieve your goals, find someone who will support you in doing so.

If you need help or guidance in 2016, please contact a naturopathic doctor at Charm City Natural Health.

Why Detox

At Charm City Natural Health, we believe that all interventions should be supported by a strong understanding of benefit, so let’s talk about detoxing.

Three Reasons, One Detox

Almost everyone can benefit from an occasional detox, but there are three main issues that a formal detox program can address. That doesn’t mean that there are only three diseases or symptoms that a detox can help with! Our patients may have different diagnoses, but have similar underlying issues with diet, lifestyle, and high toxic burden causing those illnesses. People whose health will benefit from a detox typically suffer from one or more of the following issues:

Environmental Toxin Exposure

Whether it’s pollution, pesticides, medications, plastics, or any of the host of harmful substances found in our environment, most of us endure regular exposure to toxins found in our external environment. Our modern world is full of harmful compounds that weren’t around 50 or 100 years ago. Studies of umbilical cord blood by the Environmental Working Group have shown that babies are exposed to over 200 chemicals while in utero. While our bodies have built-in detoxification systems, the burden on these systems has grown exponentially in the last century, and most of us are struggling to keep pace with what we are exposed to. When we fall behind, these toxins affect our health. The Charm City Detox mobilizes and removes accumulated toxins by enhancing the body’s routes of elimination. These routes of elimination include your bowels, kidneys, skin, and lungs.

Unhealthy Food Consumption

The typical American diet is high in saturated fat, refined sugar, and food additives, while being simultaneously low in vitamins, fiber, minerals, and other health-giving compounds. Our bodies are adapted for high quality fruits, vegetables, nuts, seeds, and protein sources. They often struggle to process so much bad fat and sugar, causing cumulative damage. By eating a clean, health-promoting diet during a detox, you give your body a break and the opportunity to clean up. You can also set the stage for a new, improved diet in the future.

Food Sensitivities and Reactions

Not just a fad, food sensitivities and reactions are involved in a high percentage of chronic ailments from skin conditions to digestive disorders to joint pain. However, they can also be difficult to diagnose because the effects of these foods are often slow to disappear. By eliminating the most common offending foods from your diet during a detox, you give your body a chance to return to symptom-free living, and by gradually reintroducing these foods, you can make correlations between symptoms and the offending foods.

To learn more about the Charm City Detox, launching in January 2016, click here.

Health and the Holidays

For many Americans, December is for holiday parties, family gatherings, and then New Year’s celebrations. Unfortunately, it’s also a time that is stressful for a lot of them. For some, being with family brings up old issues and disagreements. For others, it’s being away from family that is so stressful. For still others, December is a constant fight with a rapidly expanding waistline.

What does this have to do with health? Funny you should ask… Health isn’t just physical, but emotional and psychological as well. The holidays (be they now, or at other times of the year) provide us with an opportunity to promote emotional health in the midst of the challenges. In some ways, the challenges remind us of the need for emotional health.

A teacher of mine gave all of his emotionally stressed patients the simple prescription, “Treat yourself gently.” This is has since become a mantra for me in my personal and professional life, and is never more applicable than at the holidays. A walk in the park, a quiet cup of tea, a moment to meditate, or playing an instrument are examples of what he meant. During the rush of travel, the chaos of a kitchen or the strife across the dinner table, these specific things may be hard to find, but there’s an easy solution – Treat yourself gently. Make allowances for your shortcomings and circumstances. Forgive yourself. Find something that works for you in your life and make time to enjoy it.

Your naturopathic doctor at Charm City Natural Health can help you manage your stress as well. The work you do is sometimes only part of the solution, and getting a nudge in the right direction from a naturopathic doctor can be just what you need.

What is Glycemic Load?

For a long time, nutritional content has been listed on the labeling of processed foods, and this listing includes sugar content. On a nutritional label, the sugar content tells you, how much glucose, fructose, or other form of sugar is in a given serving of food.

Here’s the only issue with this: Not all sugar is created equal. A teaspoon of sugar in the form of white table sugar hits the blood stream a lot faster than a comparable amount of sugar contained in an apple. Why? Refined white sugar requires little digestion, and is absorbed very rapidly by the body. By contrast, the sugar contained in an apple must first be digested before being absorbed by the body, a process that takes much longer to happen.

In light of the recent diabetes epidemic, doctors, nutritionists, and scientists have sought a way to understand foods that goes beyond their sugar content, and assesses how the sugar impacts the body. As we know, diabetes is caused by chronic overexposure to sugar in the blood, a problem made worse by sudden spikes in blood sugar. The glycemic load is an estimate of how a given food will impact the blood sugar. It’s calculated by factoring in both how quickly a food will be metabolized into sugar and how much sugar would be generated by the food.

If a high glycemic food is consumed, it hits the blood stream faster and raises blood sugar levels higher than a low glycemic food. In response, the pancreas has to work hard to produce insulin, and it has to do so quickly. If this cycle is repeated too frequently for too long a period of time, it can lead to Type II Diabetes.

In general, foods with a low glycemic index include fruits, vegetables, beans, nuts, and unprocessed grains. Foods with a high glycemic index include obvious culprits, such as candy, soda, and other sweets, but also refined grains as found in bread and pasta, and even some starchy root vegetables, such as potatoes.

If you still have questions, your naturopathic doctor at Charm City Natural Health can help you design a diet plan that will help you avoid illness and keep working towards health. 

What is Diabetes?

There are two main types of diabetes: Type I Diabetes and Type II Diabetes. To understand what separates these conditions, it’s important to know that blood sugar is kept steady by the pancreas. When it’s too high, the pancreas brings it down. When it’s too low, the pancreas brings it up.

Type I Diabetes is caused by an immune reaction to the pancreas that causes to body to be destroy the cells that produce insulin, the hormone that lowers blood sugar. In Type I Diabetes, patients have to take regular insulin shots in order to control their blood sugar. For most of us in our 30s and older, this was the primary type of diabetes we learned about in our childhood. Type I Diabetes appears in childhood, and is a lifelong condition.

Type II Diabetes, which is now the predominant type of diabetes, is an altogether different disorder, though it also results in poor blood sugar control. In Type II Diabetes, chronic overexposure to high levels of sugar in the diet effectively causes the pancreas to lose its sensitivity to sugar in the blood, so that it no longer acts to lower blood sugar. This means that blood sugar levels remain chronically high, leading to a whole host of problems.

In the long term, the pancreas of a person with Type II Diabetes can become so damaged that it is actually unable to produce insulin at all. In such a case, patients need to take regular insulin shots in order to control their blood sugar. Because of this recent development, doctors and researchers now refer to two different types of diabetes – Insulin-Dependent Diabetes and Non-Insulin Dependent Diabetes.

Naturopathic medicine, and the use of dietary therapies in particular, has an important role to play in the prevention of Type II Diabetes and in the treatment of early stages of the illness. Contact your naturopathic doctor at Charm City Natural Health to learn more.