Saturday, November 10, 2012

Ayurveda - The Dynamics of the Life-Force

Ayurveda, the science of life, is the natural healing system of India, its traditional medicine going back to ancient times. The same great Vedic seers and sages that produced India's original systems of yoga and meditation established Ayurveda as well.

Ayurveda originated as part of Vedic Science, an integral spiritual science that provides a comprehensive understanding of the entire universe of matter, mind and consciousness. Vedic Science includes yoga, meditation, mantra and astrology, and sets forth Ayurveda as its special branch for healing both body and mind. On this broad and profound background, Ayurveda includes herbal medicine, dietetics, bodywork, surgery, psychology and spirituality.

Ayurveda is the healing gift to us from the ancient enlightened Vedic culture. According to astronomical records in ancient Vedic texts, the Vedic system, including Ayurveda, was in practice before 4000 BC, when the vernal equinox occurred in the stars of Gemini and the now dry Sarasvati river was the greatest river in India. Ayurveda reflects healing wisdom of this ancient Sarasvati culture that was one of the great cradles of world civilization.

Ayurveda has gone through several stages of development in its long history. It spread east along with Indian culture into Indonesia and Indochina, and to the west to the Greeks, who developed a similar form of natural medicine. Buddhists added many new insights to Ayurveda and took it along with their religion to many different lands. Ayurveda became the basis of the healing traditions of Tibet, Sri Lanka, and Burma and also influenced Chinese medicine, Many great Buddhist sages, like Nagarjuna, perhaps the most important figure in the Buddhist tradition after the Buddha, were Ayurvedic doctors and authors. Ayurveda therefore is a rich tradition, adaptable to many different times, cultures and climates.

Today Ayurveda, in yet another stage of development, is reaching out to the western world and addressing modern conditions. Ayurveda is part of a new movement towards a global medicine that includes the best in the medicines of all lands. A new natural planetary medicine is emerging, largely through an examination of traditional medicines of native peoples throughout the world.

Friday, November 9, 2012

How To Manage When A Health Crisis Hits!

A brain tumor! Really?

This was my thought last April 2012 when I was diagnosed with a 3 centimeter tumor in the left occipital region of my brain. What happened to simple illnesses like a cold, or if that wasn't getting my attention how about a less life threatening illness? Of course those questions can't be answered, so I made a decision. I would do the best I could and use all the tools available to me (medical and other wise) to manage this crisis, learn from it, grow with the experience and free myself from it! This is the first of several articles that will outline the process of healing and understanding how to make the best out of a health crisis.

My Story: It is traditional at Passover Dinner for all participants to read. When it came to my turn, I tried to read and couldn't! Of course I went into immediate denial. "I'm tired from all the cooking" and "I just got a new puppy". Well that didn't make a difference. What did was my good friend Judy who yelled at me to "Call the doctor." "But I was in the middle of a TV show", I complained. She and my husband wouldn't leave me alone so I called. Two days later I had an MRI and 4 hours later I was up at Cedars Sinai Hospital with the best neurosurgeon in California. Three days later I was operated on to remove the tumor.

The good news... they got it all... the bad news... it was aggressive and I had to do radiation for 6 weeks and take chemotherapy pills for 6 weeks. The protocol for treatment is taking 5 days of chemotherapy pills every month for a year. I have also entered a clinical trial at Cedars Sinai for a vaccine that will disable these cells. The end result of the surgery is that I am healthy but still am unable to read or drive... darn... more to deal with! I believe that we have lessons to learn from the crisis in our lives. I will address that important issue in a later article.

I told you my "story" because I didn't want you to get stuck on what happened. What is important is what I decided to do about it and the journey that I have been on for the last six months.

When first diagnosed, after the initial ripple of fear and apprehension, we move into action. We listen to the doctors and choose who we want to be on our team. There is a lot of pressure on everyone to do the 'right' thing. But what is right? How do you know what is right for you? The questions flood your brain. The tendency is to give the decision making over to the doctors or to family members. Don't do that! Keep your cool. Feel the emotions that come up. Then come back to yourself, your truth, your intelligence, and what you believe in. This is the only place where you can really listen to yourself. It became apparent to me that I needed traditional and holistic treatment. I saw it as a full circle. Pretty simple. Now I had to find out what the circle contained.

I knew that I needed an advocate, a therapist who could keep me in tune with myself so that the fears didn't take over. I knew I was going to do the Western medical treatments, even though I have always been suspicious of the traditional medical society. I took a leap of faith and realize that they are experts in treating tumors, are expertly trained, and I would get good advice and guidance. I listened to my family and friends and made my own decisions. I checked out every option and idea that was presented to me. I believe that when an idea comes to me I should pay attention. It is an opportunity that may or may not be right for me. I decided yes on a nutritionist, yes with my holistic medical doctor (which I already had), and yes to a clinical trial for an anti-cancer vaccine. I decided no to acupuncture and a few other healing modalities simply because I was overwhelmed with doctor appointments. I, of course, said YES to hypnosis and guided imagery. I have practiced hypnotherapy for 30 years and it is such a big part of me. The difference is that I allowed other practitioners (my friends) to work with me. I have some wonderful CDs to listen to and hypnosis is multi-faceted in that I can work on stress, fear, negativity as well as healing, symptoms alleviation, and strengthening my health.

My mindset was important. I chose a therapist who believes that once the tumor is there the crisis that caused it is over and the healing was in progress. It resonated with me. I have never seen myself as sick or unhealthy.

Thursday, November 8, 2012

How The Digestive System Works in the Human Body

There are many natural foods that will help your digestion and relieve a wide variety of digestive problems. You will bulk up your stool and have regular bowel movements by eating fibrous fruits, vegetables and whole grains. Your digestive system will be impaired by some foods, especially those good tasting fast or junk foods. If you want your digestive system to be healthy, it is important that you avoid this list of processed foods. Before you change your diet to improve the functions of your stomach and colon, discuss your proposed changes with your doctor before making any major diet changes.

Natural Foods that will Help You Digest Your Food

In order to function normally, your digestive system along with the rest of your body basically needs minerals, vitamins and other nutrients that are contained in large amounts, which are found in fruits and vegetables. Large quantities of fiber are found in most fruits and vegetables, which is the reason why they are among the foods that will help your digestion. Artichokes, berries, peaches, pears, plums, potatoes, squash and greens; are a few of the fruits and vegetables you should eat to help with your digestive process. A large percentage of the fiber is stored in the skin of the fruits and vegetables, which means if the skin is edible, then you should eat it. You will get a lot of fiber from dried fruits, like prunes or raisins.

Whole Grains

As mentioned, whole grains are also among foods that will help your digestion. If you want to increase your intake of fiber and nutrients, try eating more whole-grain foods instead of eating refined or white grain products. Whole grains are used to prepare food products such as bread, crackers, muffins and pasta. If you want to improve your digestive health, then you should eat more high-fiber bran and cereals. You can get 5.3 grams of fiber from a 3/4-cup serving of bran flakes. Although, I love Acacia fiber... 25 to 35 mg a day... on everything, or just in water, no more bulking, yucky Phsyllium!!!

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Bariatric Diet Foods Right After the Procedure

Bariatric diet foods are an incredibly important type of supplement and nourishment tool if you have had this procedure. The procedure changes the shape and size of your stomach and other components of your digestive system. Though there are many different variations to this procedure, it usually results in significant weight loss. Once you have the procedure, it will take your body time to heal and to recover from it. During this time, the food you eat needs to be chosen carefully.

Allowing You to Heal

If you broke your arm, you would not move it for a number of weeks to allow it to heal. With this procedure, it is not possible to go without eating while the internal organs heal. That is why you need bariatric diet foods. These foods are designed to fit your body's needs at this time without causing any type of discomfort during the healing process. There are several ways they do this.

The bariatric food contains high concentrations of nutrients. This will ensure that everything you eat is giving your body the energy it needs to heal. Most people will be up and back to life within just a few days. Your body requires energy to get back on track. Of course, since your goal is to lose weight, the foods cannot be high in calories. Rather, they need to provide high nutritional value to your body without actually being high in calories to encourage weight loss.

Additionally, these food products need to be soft enough to move through your body without actually hurting it. Because these openings are narrow, it is very difficult for any type of solid food to enter into the system at this point. While you are healing, you need liquid and soft products only to enter your body.

Food Can Still Taste Good

It is often a misconception that these programs will provide you with diet meals that are going to taste bad. You may not be drinking soda and eating chips, but you are going to get tasty food to enjoy. You may even find that these initial products are designed to curb many of the cravings you are having in the first place. Do not overlook the importance of selecting foods that will provide you with the nutrition you need, but are also tasty.

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Healthy Lifestyle - A Comprehensive Approach

"What is this life full of care?

We have no time to stand and stare."

- William Henry Davies

Reflecting the hectic and complicated nature of present day lifestyles, this quote is a grim reminder of the precedence acquired by material considerations over health and happiness. In our eagerness to earn more, we have neglected the balance between various aspects of life. Research has proved the link between contemporary lifestyles and disorders like obesity, heart and lung diseases, depression, anxiety, mood disorders etc.

The World Health Organization (WHO) defines health as the state of complete physical, psychological, and social well being, not merely the absence of disease. Therefore, a healthy lifestyle is one that leads to such a complete state of well being. Broadly speaking, a healthy lifestyle can be attained by adherence to the following:
  • Positive Thinking: The mind has great power over the body. The hardest part is making up your mind. If you are determined to adopt a healthy lifestyle - there is always a way. Develop a positive self image and be yourself. You can do well by not being unduly influenced by what other people say and by being ambitious only to a reasonable degree.
  • Balanced Diet: A balanced diet contains adequate amounts of nutrients like carbohydrates, proteins, vitamins, and fats along with fiber and water. These are essential for efficient operation of the body. Fruits, vegetables, cereals, milk, and meat, should be sufficiently consumed in a balanced manner. Consuming whole grains and salads is particularly beneficial. If you are fond of intoxicating brews, opt for red wine that is an appetizer and aids digestion. Liquor is beneficial only in moderate quantities.
For best results, distribute the food intake throughout the day and progressively decrease it as the day progresses. Include proteins in your diet at the start of the day - these suppress the feeling of hunger and, thereby, limit the desire for eating junk items between meals.

Herbal nutritional supplements are a natural way of compensating diet imbalances. They also improve immunity, memory, and sleep quality.
  • Exercise: A thirty minute daily workout keeps the body fit. Priority should be given to cardiovascular / cardio exercises like brisk walking, jogging, aerobics, skipping / jumping rope, swimming, bicycling etc. which increase the heart rate and maintain it for a sustained duration. These exercises improve the heart rate, metabolism, immunity, and hormonal profile. Cardio exercises are different from Pilates that focus on strength building and stretching. Cardio exercises are more effective for burning calories and weight maintenance. Yoga, meditation, and breathing exercises are beneficial for similar reasons.

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Making Meal Replacement for Weight Loss Work

Meal replacement for weight loss can work for many people. Many individuals struggle to finally turn the corner and to start achieving their goals. Yet, it is incredibly important for you to take the time to find the right program and then stick with it. Sometimes, it all comes down to making a decision each time you sit down to eat the right thing. This is not easy. One way to take the risk out of the equation is to use a program designed to make it simple. It does the work for you. All you have to do is to follow the plan as it should be followed and you will see the results you want.

How Replacements Can Help

There are many ways that a meal replacement for weight loss can help you. If you are one of the many people that has trouble making the right eating decisions due to time factors, portion control, emotional eating, or other concerns, this type of plan removes that risk. You don't have to make any decisions at all. You do not eat more than you should. Ultimately, this will mean that you are less likely to make a mistake that will affect your goals.

For many people, the reason they do not eat a well balanced, portion controlled meal is the lack of time to prepare it. It is far easier to drive through a fast food restaurant instead of trying to do it on your own. Who has the time to plan a meal, not to mention make it? If that is the case, this type of choice makes it easy. You no longer are at risk of not having the food you need at hand.

Minimizing Risk Factors

It is easy to take a second portion or to enjoy a snack even when you are on such a plan. The problem is, doing this could really cost you in the long term. If you want this plan to work for you, you need a foolproof way of cutting out the risks. Replacements for your meals can help. They make it easy by keeping you from eating too much of the wrong thing. More importantly, they help you to get the type of food you really need.

Monday, October 29, 2012

Top Tips on How to Stay Healthy

Physical fitness is not the sole basis of being healthy; being healthy means being mentally and emotionally fit. If you want to be a well-rounded, healthy individual, here is a couple of staying healthy tips that may help you do just that:

Maintain an exercise routine

No, you do not have to force yourself into intense workouts at the gym if you do not want to. You can stick to easy floor exercises or simply keep yourself moving by doing some house chores. What is important is that you continue exercising. Give at least thirty minutes a day to workout and/or exercise at least three to five times a week.

Have a routine; see to it that you have enough physical activity each day. Remember, the more you keep moving, the more calories you burn; the higher your metabolism will be-and the higher the metabolism, the better physical fitness.

Be conscious in your diet

To stay healthy, you need to keep eating healthy. Add more fruits and vegetables in your diet and less of carbohydrates and unhealthy fat. Avoid eating junk food and sweets. Avoid skipping a meal-this will only make your body crave for more food the moment you resume eating. And the tendency is, one will stuff himself with whatever food that is there-and this practice can be very unhealthy.

Remember to burn more than you eat. If you are eating more, you need to move more. This practice will help you lose weight and keep a fit body. If one wants to simply maintain his/her current weight, match the amount of your workout with your food intake.

Engage in the things you are passionate about

Every now and then, to keep the stress and the demands of life from taking over you, take a break to do something you love doing. Play some instruments, draw some pictures, read novels, watch a few episodes of your favorite show, bake, cook-just do whatever it is that will make your spare time much more enjoyable and productive as well. Giving time for hobbies will help you unwind, relax and boost your self-confidence.

Sunday, October 28, 2012

Foam Sclerotherapy and Stroke: The Facts

In a clinical audit in the United Kingdom of 7,027 patients who had undergone 11,537 foam sclerotherapy procedures, no cases of stroke were reported.

· In France alone, 1.5 million sessions of sclerotherapy are performed each year. Around the world, it is quite likely that millions of sclerotherapy treatments are performed each month.

· In a prospective registry of 12,713 sclerotherapy procedures in France, no cases of stroke were reported.

· Only 13 cases of stroke after sclerotherapy have been published in the world despite the huge number of these procedures being performed around the world each day. Some involved liquid sclerotherapy (4 cases), not just foam (9 cases). The majority (10 out of 13) made a complete recovery. Of the 3 cases of stroke after sclerotherapy that did not make a complete recovery, 2 occurred after liquid sclerotherapy.

· Stroke is a much greater risk after any operation under general anaesthetic including surgical vein stripping than after Foam Sclerotherapy.

· In my opinion, Foam Sclerotherapy is very safe. In fact, I believe it is much safer than traditional operations under GA such as stripping which are usually recommended by most vascular surgeons for the removal of varicose veins.

Ultrasound-guided Foam Sclerotherapy

Injection treatments have been used for many years to treat varicose veins. Two recent developments now allow us to use an injection technique to treat varicose veins that was previously only treatable by surgery. These are the use of ultrasound to guide the injection and the preparation of the chemical as foam. Over the last 10 years or so, the use of foam injection was spread widely in France, Spain and Italy and more recently the technique is being used in the USA. The treatment can be performed as a "walk in, walk out" or "lunch hour procedure".

What is foam Sclerotherapy?

The solutions that are injected are exactly the same as those which are already used to treat varicose veins. These are mixed with air to create foam, which looks a little like hair mousse, or shaving foam. Many medical and scientific studies have confirmed that Foam Sclerotherapy has an excellent safety record and that it produces excellent results in the treatment of vein reflux and varicose veins.

Who is suitable for Foam Sclerotherapy?

Most people with small or moderate sized varicose veins can be treated in this way. People with severe vein reflux are usually best treated by Laser or VNUS Closure FAST to obtain a more rapid improvement. People with large varicose veins lying close to the skin are also better treated by Microphlebectomy to avoid the brown discolouration of the skin which may occur after foam Sclerotherapy.

Key features

· Ultrasound guided sclerotherapy is a new method of treating varicose veins

· There is no need for an operation under general anaesthetic

· The treatment involves injections under local anaesthetic

· A treatment session is complete in about 45 minutes

· The treatment is carefully monitored using ultrasound

· A firm compression bandage must be worn for a week afterwards

· The cost of treatment are much lower than for surgical methods

· Minimal or no time off work

How does the foam work?

After injection, the foam pushes the blood out of the way and completely fills the vein. The lining of the vein is instantly removed by the foam (this doesn't hurt) and the vein responds by shrinking and the vein walls stick together. The channel through the vein is sealed and over the course of a few months the vein is completely absorbed by the body's healing processes.

The treatment

Treatment is performed in a treatment room and not an operating theatre. The patient rests comfortably on an examination couch. A small amount of local anaesthetic is used to numb the skin of the leg and a small needle is inserted into the refluxing vein that is feeding the varicose veins. The position of the needle is carefully monitored using ultrasound so that feeder veins are closed. Foam is then injected and its progress into the feeder veins and varicose veins is care-fully monitored with ultrasound. The whole treatment usually takes no more than 45 minutes. Finally a firm bandage is applied to the leg. The aim of this is to keep the veins compressed so that they do not fill with blood when the patient stands up. The bandage is usually worn for a week followed by an elastic compression stocking for a further week. When the bandages are removed at the follow-up appointment it is usual to find that all the varicose veins have been sealed. The leg may be a little bruised at this stage, although this is usually fairly minor. If any varicose veins have not been completely treated in the first session, they are injected and bandaged to complete removal of all veins. If varicose veins are present in both legs, the treatment is given to one leg at a time with an interval of 1 to 2 weeks.

Sunday, September 30, 2012

What Treatments Are Available for Varicose Veins?

There isn't yet a perfect treatment for varicose veins. A perfect treatment would remove all the varicose veins completely to give you the blemish free legs you had when you were younger, the varicose vein would never return and there would be no side effects or complications from treatment. If the assessment is based on a comprehensive ultrasound scan and the treatment is performed under ultrasound guidance, the majority of people get an excellent result and are very pleased.

The four main treatment options are:

· VNUS Closure Fast and Endo-venous laser (EVL) - these involve the use of fine catheters placed inside the vein to heat it and seal the varicose veins

· Injections of solutions called sclerosants into the vein which start a healing process in which the vein shrinks and disappears

· a non-thermal medical adhesive called Sapheon Venaseal™. A fine catheter is inserted into the refluxing vein and medical "superglue" is administered inside the vein causing it to permanently close

· microsurgical removal of veins called Microphlebectomy

VNUS ClosureFast

VNUS ClosureFast is the latest "State of the art" treatment for varicose veins. It produces rapid results and an excellent cosmetic outcome. The treatment is usually carried out under local anaesthetic as a day case or "walk in, walk out" procedure. This means that charges are reduced, time off work is minimal and therefore the treatment is highly cost effective. Your suitability for VNUS ClosureFast is assessed by a comprehensive ultrasound scan.

After numbing the skin with local anaesthetic (similar to a dentist's injection) and cleaning the skin with antiseptic, a fine needle is inserted into the refluxing veins under ultra-sound guidance and then a fine catheter is passed up the vein. At all times, the exact position of the catheter is monitored by ultrasound. The precision radio frequency energy (a little like microwaves) seals the vein instantly and the catheter is gently withdrawn along the length of the unhealthy vein. The whole process is checked at every stage by ultra-sound to ensure excellent results.

After the procedure, a high quality medical graduated stocking is worn for 7 days continuously and thereafter during the day for two more weeks. Walking and normal activities are encouraged. Most people can get back to normal activities such as work and driving in a day or two. Simple painkillers such as paracetamol and ibuprofen are only rarely required.

With VNUS ClosureFast treatment, the veins with faulty valves are sealed under local an-aesthetic without surgery. The highly targeted energy gets your leg looking and feeling better fast.

· Treatment in less than 2 hours

· Local anaesthetic, day case or "walk in walk out" treatment

· Little or no time of work

· No painful cuts or scars in the groin

· No painful stripping

· Rapid return to normal activities including driving

· Excellent cosmetic results with no ugly scars

· Low risk of recurrence

The treatment is carried out under the "watchful eye" of the ultrasound equipment to ensure successful closure of the faulty veins. As there are no surgical cuts, there is virtually no risk of infection, which can occur occasionally after traditional operations

Endo-Venous Laser (EVL)

This procedure uses the precision of laser energy and is performed under local anaesthetic. A fine catheter is inserted into the affected veins under ultrasound guidance using a small needle. The laser fibre is positioned in the groin at the root of the reflux.