Archives for February 2015

Abdominal pain

abdominal-painAbdominal pain is common and worrisome many individuals. There are hundreds of over the counter remedies that one may take to soothe the symptoms of burning, cramping, nausea, and achiness. Many patients state that the pain causes them anxiety. When seen by a gastroenterologist they are given an acid blocker right away. If that doesn’t help within two weeks they may undergo an endoscopy. If an ulcer or gastritis is discovered, they’re back to the acid blocker and perhaps an antibiotic in cases of H.pylori.  However, in non-infectious cases, the chronic pain is not resolved.

Unfortunately, there is no discussion about about one’s diet which is surprising in cases of stomach pain. Naturopathic doctors always include nutrition consulting whether it be a disease like cancer or in more obvious complaints like weight gain. However, the average gastroenterologist is not educated in holistic nutrition. He may have a dietician in the office, however the products contain dairy and chemicals which further the progression of the disease.

Whether the ailment be upper GI which causes burning or nausea or lower GI which causes cramping and bloating, a diet of unprocessed and digestible foods will halt the progression of the disease and its symptoms.  The field of gastroenterology in general has overcomplicated the diagnoses of different types of abdominal pain and has no “cure”. They can only suppress the symptoms with medications which have side effects and cause malnutrition. And in severe cases, a patient will undergo surgery to remove organs like the gallbladder or parts of the intestines. This in turn causes a whole other state of illness.

Therefore, naturopathic doctors should be the first ones to see in any case of abdominal pain to see if the symptoms will go away with simple dietary changes and supplements.

Meditation, The Conscious Sleep

meditationMeditation, a practice used since ancient times in some countries such as India, is gaining popularity in the modern western world. And now modern medicine is studying the effects of meditation on aging gray matter in the brain noting that it is preserved more in those who have meditated than those who have not. They have also noticed that meditation affects various regions throughout the brain.

Oftentimes meditation is associated with a religious practice, and although many techniques teach devotion to a deity, meditation can simply be a practice of stillness.

In practicing stillness, one becomes the observer of himself…stepping out of oneself and watching. Whether it be observing the breath or the thoughts that float by, the practitioner begins to acknowledge that there resides within him, an outsider that is looking within…at you. How is this valuable to us?

When we overly identify with our thoughts and emotions (which we do nearly 100% of the time), we lack peace of mind and clarity. We are too deep inside the forest to see the trees. With quiet reflection, we can safely withdraw from our thoughts and feelings…even if it’s just for a few seconds, and find some serenity and clarity.

Meditation, also called the conscious sleep, provides invaluable rest to the brain. In normal sleep, we reside in the subconscious entirely. In the conscious sleep, we rest..consciously. This is incredibly valuable for the brain..and in large for one’s mind. During subconscious sleep, the mind is ever active most of the night, in dreams and processing the day’s activity, with all of its sensory input. However, in the moments of mental stillness attained during meditation, the mind rests. Perhaps this is the explanation for the preserved gray matter amongst the elder meditators.

What does this mean to you? It means that if you suffer from chronic insomnia due to mental restlessness, you now have a tool to provide the body and mind with rest…even without sleeping. Simply clear the mind and focus on the breath. There are techniques to help you build endurance for focusing. We all begin the practice with restlessness, even the Dalai Lamah struggles with restlessness during meditation. The idea is to not resist the thoughts but to step outside of them, and into the observer..now you’re meditating.

Other physical benefits of meditation include blood pressure , pain reduction and better circulation.