Most of us take our ability to breathe effortlessly for granted. But, when you suffer with the sinuses you become painfully aware of how wonderful it would be to be able to breath fully!
Sinus symptoms are:
Sinus related conditions include:
From a naturopathic perspective prevention is the right move, but when you're in the throws of sinusitis many simple natural remedies often provide a better treatment than antibiotics. Antibiotics are a slippery slope. It is well documented that repeated use of antibiotics undermines your immunity and produces resistant stains of bacteria. See the home treatment recommendations at the bottom of the page. These recommendations are useful whether or not you are taking a course of antibiotics.
If your reading this article, you likely have suffered with recurrent sinus issues. Let's take a look at the underlying causes of sinus problems. A primary cause of chronic sinusitis is the fact that an acute sinusitis was treated ineffectively, which then leads to further attacks. Other causes are overuse of decongestant nasal sprays, smoking, swimming, diving, allergies, or as the Chinese say, an underlying disharmony within the body that presents itself as sinusitis.
Chinese Medicine understands that any symptom in the body is a result of disharmony. In the case of sinus conditions the #1 imbalance stems from the stomach and/or liver, secondarily the spleen. Congestion or depletion of energy in the stomach, liver or spleen are at the root of all sinus conditions. Overeating fats, hot spicy foods, sweets, or drinking alcohol create ‘damp’ and ‘heat’ in the body. Damp form phlegm while heat moves upwards (a bit like steam) lodging in the lungs and nasal cavities. This is your common cold scenario, but susceptibility to colds and flu are a result of lifestyle choices. Eating or drinking excessively, irregularly and unhealthily eating and sleep habits damage liver, stomach and spleen energy. The result is a predisposition to develop a manifestations of damp/heat conditions such as sinusitis and/or bronchitis. For a deeper understanding of the Chinese Medicine approach to healing sinus conditions check out this article from Acupuncture Council of Ireland, "Understanding Sinusitis from a Chinese perspective"
For those with chronics sinus conditions emotional aspects should also be considered. Worry, stress, long term frustrations and anger issues will affect the health of the stomach, liver and spleen. Chi Nei Tsang deep organ manipulation provides an excellent therapy to relieve congestion of these organs and promote release of nervous energy trapped in the body systems.
Anyone in the US who would like to connect with acupuncturist as a treatment option for chronic sinusitis can find a practitioner in your area by visiting the NCCAOM (National Certification Commission for Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine) practitioner directory. If you are local to Phoenix/Scottsdale Arizona, my personal recommendation is Linda Lofaro LAc and practitioner of Chinese herbal medicine, Wholeself. If you are on a budget the Phoenix Institute of Herbal Medicine and Acupuncture offers a clinic that provides very affordable treatment with advanced students working under the direction of master teachers.
Home Treatments to improve Sinusitis
The Bridge to Health Sinus Recovery Protocol offers you 3 month access to diet, lifestyle changes, nutritional and herbal support to end the vicious cycle of sinus conditions. This is an affordable to way to turn your health around and end antibiotic use! Take a step toward improved wellness and purchase your Sinus Recovery Protocol today!
A common experience of most women, a vaginal yeast infection poses no long term problems, but they can become incredibly painful if protracted and recurrent. The tendency to develop yeast infections or oral yeast infections, "thrush" often indicates a potential systemic candida albicans yeast over growth. If you suspect you may have a systemic yeast overgrowth take the quiz in the BTH Candida Blog. It's a fairly good indicator of a potential microbiome imbalance.
This Yeast Infection protocol will provide you with simple and effective means of healing the condition and provide support for avoiding further infections.
What is the cause of a yeast infection?
An overgrowth of candida yeast.
This yeast strain is a normal part of the human biological eco system. It is present on the surface of your skin, digestive tract and inner cavities of the body. When it gets the green light to overgrow it's normal bounds it can proliferate in any warm moist part of the body. It begins to create inflammation and feeds off the byproducts of that process, getting stronger and multiplying even more!
How does the yeast get the green light?
This is a multifaceted answer....
There are many factors. Starting with the simplest factor. Moisture accumulating in the vaginal area...diaper rash is a yeast infection. So, wearing restrictive underwear that are all nylon or polyester which traps moisture and warmth, not allowing for proper ventilation. Yoga pants can do the same.
Heavy sugar or alcohol consumption can foster yeast growth. Intercourse can contribute. Some men have low level jock itch...another variation of a yeast infection, they pass excessive yeast onto you when you have vaginal sex. A systemic yeast overgrowth is usually the primary cause for recurrent infections, more than 2 or 3 per year.
Perhaps the most major contributing factor is the use of antibiotics, which kill off healthy probiotics that balance the yeast. See the blog, The State of Wellness in American, to learn more about the magic bullet of antibiotics and the downside we are all paying for now!
How can it be treated?
Since Candida is a fungus it can be treated with an anti fungal cream. There are many on the market that do work to a limited range. The problem with the use of these creams is that the yeast will eventually become unaffected by it. Thereby when we use these drugs we are unwittingly create more virulent strains of the yeast. We pass these super strains on to our children...it's basic evolution! An evolution we do not want to encourage. The same phenomenon has happened with antibiotics and we now have super strains of bacteria that are deadly and cannot be controlled with antibiotics.
The best and most effective way to treat yeast infections is to clean up the environment that allows the yeast to multiple.
The Bridge to Health Yeast Infection Recovery Protocol offers an affordable way to get the help you need to heal the underlying causes that lead to yeast infections. Purchase your Yeast Recovery Protocol and get started today!
Ginger (Zingiber officinale)
An interesting fact about ginger...it is an entirely cultivated plant. It was bred from wild plants, over 5,000 years ago to arrive at the state we now find it in. Originally cultivated in the islands of Southeast Asia it's popularity quickly spread through out the whole of Asia. It is one of the first spices exported to the Middle East in the 1st. Century CE.
The applications of ginger in the culinary world knows no bounds. From savory to sweet this spicy herb works well with everything! Beyond it's culinary uses, ginger has been a standard go to for herbalist and the topic of much scientific investigation for its many uses.
Ginger contains gingerol a powerful anti-inflammatory agent. It is also a potent antioxidant. This makes it wonderful for any condition of congestion, whether it be mucosal congestion from coughs, colds, asthma, bronchitis or blood congestion from an infection, over burdened liver, spleen or stomach. Researchers have determined that ginger tea is the single most useful treatment for morning sickness during pregnancy. In cases of stomachaches, indigestions, sluggish digestion ginger as a tea or in capsules will clear things up quickly.
Because of it's anti-inflammatory properties is is extremely helpful for sore achy muscles, tendonitis, bursitis and arthritis. Patients with osteoarthritis have been effectively treated for pain using ginger extracts and topical applications. Poultices made of castor oil mixed with powdered ginger are excellent for decongesting the chest or the liver and also beneficial in reduce the pain of menstrual cramping.
Ginger has also been cited for its ability to reduce blood sugars making it an excellent choice for those who are pre-diabetic or suffer with type 2 diabetes. Combine with a healthy low glycemic diet many have been able to reverse this condition.
The best thing about ginger is the taste...everyone loves the taste of ginger! Extremely juicy this rhizome is an excellent addition to fresh raw fruit and vegetable drinks. As a tea, cut and sifted ginger can be added to any of your favorite herbal, green or black teas. Powdered ginger added to nut milks, smoothies and sauces. Ginger oil has been used for aromatherapy for centuries both topically and diffused. Fresh ginger always a plus when you can find plump fresh cuttings. Watch out for moldy ginger...it easily grows green penicillium mold. Asian markets usually have the BEST ginger! Don't accept shriveled or slimy rhizomes. If the fresh choice doesn't look good, ditch it for a dried or powdered form.
Bridge to Health is pleased to announce an addition to our blogging family, Faith Grutzmacher. Faith is an avid user of essential oils and has applied herself to understanding more about the power of essential oils and their application. We are please to have her sharing what has had learned with our readers!
When someone is thinking of their health, emotions aren’t usually at the top of that list. However, our emotional health does directly influence how the rest of our body feels and functions. Emotional distress can come over us like a wave and affects our overall quality of life and how we feel day-to-day. Emotional health can have an affect on your decision making abilities, how we interact with others and how we respond to events happening in our lives. Stress is usually the culprit, this feeling can negatively impact our mood making it difficult and challenging to face our life circumstances and dealings with others.
No matter what is distressing us, it is important to find the tools and coping methods to help combat the negative emotions encroaching our mind - otherwise it can seriously impact our quality of life.
Among the many resources available to us I have found amazing benefits from using oils in my daily routine to help me keep my emotional health in check. Essential oils have been used as a form of aromatherapy and alternative medicines for centuries. Every essential oil has its own unique chemical properties, but most oils can be categorized as having either uplifting or calming properties. Keep reading to learn about 10 doTERRA essential oils that can be used for emotional health.
When choosing essential oils, make sure you check the quality. Not all oils are created with the Certified Pure Therapeutic Grade label a indicator of processing and volatility rating of the essence. the American College of Health Sciences offering this additional information on understanding what you are buying when it comes to essential oils, 5 Top Ways to Check Quality of Essential Oils.
10 best essential oils for emotional health...reprinted from doTERRA a leading essential oil manufacturer and distributor or high quality essential oils.
Applying essential oils for emotional benefits. When you are ready to try essential oils there are many ways to effectively experience the powerful effects they can offer. Try any of these application methods:
Breathing & Feeling
Breathing and feeling our feelings is intimately connected. As a teacher and student of Chi Nei Tsang I have become acutely aware of this connection in my own life. As a practitioner of Chi Nei Tsang, I see this connection or lack off it in my students/clients.
Most of us are unaware of this connection, but as you reflect back to times of emotional pain or joy you will see how powerful the breath is during an emotional experience. We have sayings that illustrate this connection...upon the end of a difficult or stressful situation we often say. "finally, I can breath again!", or we advise someone, to take some time off to "catch their breath."
When we are in the throws of anger our breath becomes rapid and full. When we are anxious our breath becomes shallow and is like panting. When we are deeply engaged in concentration we may actually be holding our breath. We also tend to hold our breath when we are in a suppressive and/or abusive relationship, toxic work situation, or are facing a fearful event.
Breath is life. When we connect to breath we are able to experience life more fully. Unfortunately what I see in the treatment room shows a story of disconnection to breath. An initial Chi Nei Tsang sessions often begin with the practitioner connecting energetically with the student. We do this by placing hands on the sides of the neck and the back of the skull in order to read the pulses of the student. Additionally, we are watching the breathing pattern of that individual, who has been asked to breath in their normal breathing pattern. In most cases what is observable is a short, shallow breath using only a minimal amount of energy and focused on the stomach only or only in the chest.
Why is this a problem? The natural cycle of breath is a one stroke movement of the diaphragm. The diaphragm drops with the in breath which in turn moves the stomach up and out, the chest follows next, rising to expand the lungs all the way to the top. Your lungs fill the internal thoracic cavity from the bottom of the rib cage to the space just below your clavicle bones. When you breath fully the chest expands and the ribs follow suit. It is the rhythmic movement of the breath that syncs us to our emotional states, allowing us to fully feel our emotional experiences.
When we do not or are not able to fully experience our emotional states we become disconnected from self. Further, we are now unable to process the energy of those emotions and clear the chi, or the energetic quality of those experiences. This energy then becomes stuck in the system. A pattern is set and we begin to suppress the breath as a highly effective tool to keep us from feelings what we are not equipped to handle in the moment. The basic patterns I see when practicing with students is an inability to draw a full breath, ie resisting feelings. I also commonly see folks who are unable to fully release the breath and the stagnant air from the lung, ie inability to let go and flow with life, holding onto experiences, unable to fully process and release.
The problem with this pattern is the stuck'ness that it creates. This stuck place also keeps us from maturing out of our strong emotional reactions. In essence we are unable to digest and process these emotional states and release them as no longer useful to us. We become "emotionally constipated"!
This phenomenon of blocked emotions tends to wreck havoc with our physical body whose functions become impeded by the blocked chi. Unable to be released, something has to give! We see the development of psychosomatic illness, allergies, leaky gut, joint complaints, constipation, IBS, ulcers, GERD, asthma. Eventually unhealed congested emotional blockages can develop in life threatening illness, cancer, heart attacks, autoimmune disorders such as Chrohn's, lupus and a myriad of other chronic conditions.
The good news...all that can be changed and healed by allowing a little at a time each day to connect with your breath. There are MANY ways to accomplish this from simply setting aside a few moments to consciously connect with your breath and expanding it gently. Practicing yoga, chi kung, tai chi, martial arts. All of these modalities are meditative practices involving exercise and breath work. Hiking, running, playing sports also connects with breath and relieves stress. Dancing, will get your breath moving and it's fun!
There is no need to fear our emotions. There may have been a time in your life that your emotional experiences seemed to big to deal with, but as you learn to connect with the alchemy of the breath you will find your balance. You will find that a little attention paid to noticing what you are feeling will initiate a gentle unwinding of the emotional tension. You will open to the joy of your being as you create a stronger sense of being grounded which will empower you to release all that does not serve you! Learn more about releasing what no longer serves you...Heart - Zero Point Process. During the Month of February each year Bridge to health offers discounted Zero Point Process Sessions as an opportunity to begin to release what isn't working for you!
Massage therapist, David Goldeen, specializes in Myofascial Release Therapy. In his practice he encounters blocked breathing patterns as well. He observes..."I see people in my treatment room that do not breath deeply or fully. This tendency is commonly caused by unconsciously holding their breath when they are scared, anxious, nervous or excited. The ongoing response pattern creates restriction in the muscles between their ribs (intercostal muscles) and their diaphragm. Eventually the restriction in this area will produce symptoms as decrease flexibility begins tp produce profound restriction of movement".
He goes onto to offer his clients and you, my readers an easily undertaken "homework" assignment!
Find a quiet time at least once a day and take 20 long slow breaths.
This assignment develops awareness of the breath, they begin to notice when they are holding their breath. The new found awareness empowers them to create a shift and breath with more fully.
Learn more about Myofascial Release and David Goldeen, LMT, BCTMB. Mr. Goldeen treats patients and teaches Myofascial Release exclusively. He has been practice massage therapy for over 30 years.
The Associated Bodywork & Massage Professionals organization has this post which offers further insight to working with breath, Conscious Breathing
Certified Wellness Consultant speaks up!