Monday, February 15, 2010


One of the most common chronic pain conditions is back pain, which affects an estimated 36 million Americans. It is the price we pay for being an upright species. Fortunately, it is also very treatable.

Common Causes

Muscle and ligament strain

Muscle and ligament strain or weakness is the most common cause. This is so even if your back X-ray or MRI is abnormal (as an upright species, most everyone shows normal wear and tear on X-ray). This may be associated with the spine getting pulled out of position (e.g., scoliosis and subluxations).

Spine arthritis

This is common and ignored by most physicians and even some chiropractors. See Arthritis.

Disc disease

This is the only cause that most physicians are taught to treat (by surgery) and is all most think of. If you have weakness/decreased function in a foot (or rarely hand) from disc disease or spine narrowing, surgery is reasonable. Otherwise, in most cases, conservative measures are preferred.


This includes your body and your environment — uneven hip heights or shoulder heights, no wrist or arm rests on your work area chair, carrying a wallet in your back pocket, etc.


In most cases of back pain, there is a mix of causes occurring. Because of this, it is reasonable to do the below in combination.

Lifestyle Advice

  • If it hurts, don't do it
  • Lift from the waist
  • Stretch and do Yoga
  • Use hot compresses, hot baths, massage
  • Sleep on a medium firm mattress instead of a firm mattress (as feels best to you)

Manipulation & Physical Therapy

Chiropractors & osteopaths

Get chiropractic and osteopathic manipulation — these are much more effective than you'd receive from most M.D.s.

Massage and body work

There are many excellent types.

Physical therapists

Find one familiar with Dr. Travell's "trigger point" and "Spray and Stretch" techniques (most are not).


These benign injections into muscles/ligament areas around the spine can strengthen them and be very helpful for chronic pain (see reference link below).

Recommended Supplements

Use the following together for 6 weeks to see the full effect (though benefits are often seen in 1 week or earlier). They can then be used as needed (continue the multi-nutrient powderlong term). They can be added to back pain medications.

Multi-nutrient powder

Take a good multi-nutrient powdereach day.

Glucosamine sulfate

Glucosamine sulfate 750 mg twice a day.


MSM 2,500-3,000 mg a day.

Anti-inflammatory herbal mix

2 tablets 3x day of willow bark, boswellia and cherry.


The foloowing 3 can be used together.

Lidoderm patches

Lidoderm patches (basically novocaine in a skin patch) is very safe and helpful.


Skelaxin is a good, non-sedating muscle relaxant.


Ultracet for pain (may be addictive, but uncommon).


Mind-body approaches developed by Dr. John Sarno can also be helpful. For more info, see Dr. Sarno's current book The Divided Mind and his classicHealing Back Pain: The Mind-Body Connection (see reference links below).

Also see the book Pain Free 1-2-3.

Many other treatments can help and surgery is usually NOT needed for back pain relief.

More Information Online

Articles at


Other online resources

The Divided Mind (book at

Healing Back Pain: The Mind-Body Connection (book at

Sunday, February 14, 2010


Depression is NOT a “prozac deficiency,” but often goes away with natural therapies.

It is also important to go after the underlying causes. When you do this, most depression can be effectively treated naturally — without the side effects of prescription antidepressants.

Common Causes

Hormonal deficiencies
Nutritional deficiencies
Doing what you think you should do instead of what you really feel like doing (causing “anger turned inward on oneself”)
Sick vs. Depressed

Don’t confuse being sick with being depressed (though your physician might). Ask yourself “Do I have many interests?”

If the answer is "no," consider depression. If the answer is "yes," but you are frustrated that you have no energy to do your interests, you’re NOT depressed, but have an illness your physician is missing.

Give these treatments 6 weeks to work.


Take walks

Going for a walk (especially outside in the sunshine) 30-60 minutes a day can be more effective than Prozac.

Get more sunshine

Inadequate sunlight is a common cause of depression (called "Seasonal Affective Disorder" or SAD), which should be considered if your depression is worse in the winter.

Mind Body Treatments

Allow yourself to be angry

From a psychological perspective, depression usually represents repressed anger that has been turned inward. This is why choosing to allow yourself to be angry or even to sometimes go into a rage can be healthy when you're depressed — even if the people around you don't like it. You can tell when the anger is healthy because it will feel good. Remember though, that you are choosing to be angry, and what you are angry about is nobody else's fault (so don't beat up others with your anger). When you don't allow guilt to get in the way, notice how your depression decreases and you feel better after a good fit of anger!

Make life a "no-fault" system

This means no blame, no fault, no guilt, no judgment, and no expectations on yourself or anyone else. This means you'll be changing habits of thinking. For example, if you find yourself judging somebody, simply drop the judgment in mid-thought when you notice it. And no judging yourself for judging others!

Pay attention to what feels good

We sometimes are given the misconception that keeping attention on problems is more “realistic.” That is nonsense! Life is like a massive buffet with thousands of options. You can choose to keep your attention on those things that feel good. You'll notice that if a problem truly requires your attention at any given time, it will feel good to focus on it. Otherwise, you're living your life as if you have 200 TV channels to choose from, and you only choose to watch the ones you find really annoying!

Recommended Supplements

Many nutritional deficiencies (especially fish oil deficiency) can worsen depression.

Multi-nutrient powders

Overall nutritional support is essential, and a good multi-nutrient powder is a simple way to provide it.

Fish oil

Eat more oily fish (salmon and tuna) — at least 3-4 portions a week. Alternatively, take a teaspoon of fish oil a day. Fast food fried fish does NOT help, but tuna fish salad does.


5-HTP and tyrosine — special proteins that makes the “Happiness molecules” called serotonin and dopamine

St. John’s Wort


B vitamins and magnesium

"Happiness" herbal mix

An excellent "happiness" herbal mix can provide the 5 HTP, Tyrosine, St. John’s Wort, Magnolia, B vitamins and Magnesium in a single capsule.

Other Therapies & Advice

For more guidance on regaining happiness, read the book 3 Steps To Happiness: Healing Through Joy.

Optimize thyroid function

Natural Armour thyroid (or compounded T3) thyroid hormone (by prescription) has been shown to be very helpful in treating depression in repeated studies — even when thyroid blood tests were normal! The T4 thyroid hormone found in Synthroid (and most thyroid prescriptions used by non-holistic physicians) was NOT effective.

Treat other hormonal disorders

Be sure to treat other hormonal disorders as well. Suboptimal testosterone and estrogen levels can frequently cause depression and are easily treated by holistic Physicians. These hormonal deficiencies often need treatment even if the tests are normal.

Excellent holistic experts can be found at the Fibromyalgia and Fatigue Centers (see reference link below). These centers are recommended if you have CFS, fibromyalgia or fatigue, or if you need bioidentical natural hormone support. For general health issues, over 1,000 Board Certified holistic physicians can be found at

More Information Online

Articles at

Eliminate Depression — Naturally!

Happiness 1-2-3! Safe and Highly Effective Treatment for Depression

Postpartum Depression — Treat and Prevent with Fish Oil

Tuna vs. Prozac for Depression

Antidepressants No More Effective Than Placebo

Low Testosterone and Depression

Many Depressed Older Adults Lack Vitamin D

Antidepressant Medication Associated with 30% Higher Diabetes Risk

Other online resources

Fibromyalgia and Fatigue Centers (find a CFS/FMS physician at (find a holistic physician at

Saturday, February 13, 2010



Angina, which is chest pain caused by decreased blood flow to the heart muscle, was rare until about 60 years ago. Changes in our diet and lifestyle started to catch up with us and cause the arteries (pipes carrying blood) that feed the heart muscle itself to start blocking up. These blockages cause heart attacks and angina. When they block the arteries going to the brain they can cause a stroke. These problems are now the most common cause of death in the U.S. and Europe.

Many benign (not dangerous) things can also cause chest pain, and these are more common causes of chest pain in those under 45 years of age. These include chest wall (muscle and cartilage) pain. If the pain is reproduced or affected by pushing over the ribs and muscle in the area of the pain, it is likely chest wall pain and not dangerous (ribs are thick, and pushing on them won't cause pain in the heart or lungs below). This pain will sometimes be worse with a deep breath, but if this is occurring (especially with a lung infection or cough) see your doctor to check for pneumonia or pleurisy. If the chest pain is relieved by drinking an ounce or 2 of antacid (e.g., Maalox or Mylanta), it is likely stomach or acid reflux related (see Heartburn and Indigestion for treatment information).

If the pain is worse with exertion, and/or associated with shortness of breath or chest tightness, the risk of it being angina is increased. If this is new and occurring now, call 911, chew up an aspirin and sit back and rest. If it is a chronic and ongoing problem, see your physician.

If you have chest pain, see your doctor (or go to the emergency room if new or sudden onset). Most often it will be nothing and you'll be reassured, but if it is a heart attack or blood clot to the lungs and you miss it, you may be dead. With chest pain, better safe than sorry.

If symptoms are caused by acid stomach/reflux, see Heartburn and Indigestion.

If you suspect you have angina, you should be followed by a physician who can diagnose and treat it. If angina is proven, use the chest pain medications and even the cholesterol lowering medications (which are NOT needed or helpful in most cases where they are prescribed when no heart disease is present). Some doctors are quick to recommend heart bypass surgery in cases where the research suggests it is not helpful. In such cases, using heart stints is preferable (minor surgery and pretty safe). If bypass surgery is recommended, get a second opinion. If they feel it is OK to wait on surgery, try these options:

Diet and Exercise


Eat a high fiber, high vegetable, low red meat diet.
Eat at least 3-4 portions a week of added salmon and tuna.
Avoid sugars (Stevia is OK).
Consume grains that are only whole grains.

Exercise as OK’d by your physician. This helps your heart and body to heal

Recommended Supplements


Many nutrients are important for heart health. See the discussion on natural treatments for heart disease. In 6 weeks, these treatments may increase your heart efficiency and often improve heart function, lessening the angina.

For Chest Wall/Muscle Pain — Willow bark and Boswellia

Willow bark and Boswellia may be very helpful for most kinds of inflammatory pain. They increase in effectiveness over the first week of use and then even more over 6 weeks. Though often helpful with the first dose, they are more effective over time to help eliminate the problem.

Coenzyme Q10

Read how to lower an elevated cholesterol. If on cholesterol-lowering medications, be sure to take Coenzyme Q10 (at least 200 mg a day). These medications deplete this nutrient, and the Coenzyme Q10 deficiency can cause fatigue and muscle pain followed by heart failure — which the doctor will blame on your heart disease. Your doctor means well, but no one is paying to be sure they learn about this.




Tylenol is OK to use for the pain, but aspirin related medications like Ibuprofen can cause stomach irritation or ulcers and actually worsen the chest pain over time.

Lidoderm patches

Lidoderm patches (like Novocaine in a patch) by prescription are excellent. Put the patch(es) over the painful area for 16 hours a day (though the box says 12 hours). They may start to work in 1/2 hour, but give them 2 weeks to become optimally effective.

Other Therapies & Advice

Hot compress

If the pain is chest wall tenderness, a hot compress for up to 20 minutes 4x times a day can help the muscle relax.

Relax your chest muscles

Learning to relax your chest muscles (we may keep them tight during stress) can be very helpful.

Hot baths

A hot bath also helps.


Follow your physician’s advice for this important problem. Other natural options to consider which may help heal the problem include:

External counterpulsation

This safe and simple technique helps your heart to grow new blood vessels to bypass the old blocked ones naturally (visit the American Heart Association website for more on external counterpulsation). The economics didn’t work (invasive cardiology like surgery is one of the biggest revenue centers in most hospitals) and it has been slow to catch on. Fortunately, many health insurers will pay for the treatment.

Intravenous chelation

This series of intravenous treatments was found to markedly decrease angina in studies in the 1950’s, and was used without going through the usual placebo controlled studies. Because of this, it became very controversial, with many natural physicians using it and standard practitioners attacking them for this. It is very safe (safer than aspirin) but costs over $5,000 for the series of injections (not covered by insurance). A placebo controlled trial is underway to test its effectiveness. However, many people have had wonderful results with it, so it should be considered before having non-emergency heart bypass surgery performed.

Friday, February 12, 2010


Unfortunately, all that most doctors have to offer are medications such as Valium and antidepressants. These are often not only addictive and ineffective, but also rife with side effects.

Fortunately, natural therapies can be as or more effective. In addition, it is important to treat both the psychological and physical underlying causes.

Physical Causes

Overactive thyroid

Especially if you have weight loss, racing heart/palpitations or sweating.

Progesterone and estrogen are low

This can be seen in woman approaching menopause, and can occur 5-12 years before periods stop and tests for menopause become positive (called peri-menopause).

Low testosterone (men)

Especially beginning in, or after, one's late 40's.

Adrenal (stress handler) gland fatigue

Suspect this if you get irritable when hungry or sugar crave.

Nutritional deficiencies

Especially B Vitamins and magnesium.



When the anger/fear is buried, so you're not aware of it, it will often come out as hyperventilation. This is often associated with panic attacks with intermittent inability to take a deep enough breath, numbness and tingling around your lips and in your fingers, and feeling like you're going to die. Though scary, it is not dangerous.


Diet and Exercise

Walk in sunshine

Increase your exercise (especially walking in the sunshine). This is a great stress reliever.

Avoid sugar and caffeine

Green tea is OK.


A new mix of natural therapies has been dramatically effective in treating anxiety — and actually increases energy and mental clarity! These include the following nutrients. These are all found in combination in an anti-anxiety herbal mix called Calming Balance.

B Complex

Vitamin B1: Very high dose thiamine (vitamin B-1) at 500 mg 3 times a day.

Vitamin B3: Niacin (vitamin B3) is a natural tranquilizer — without being addictive. Some experts go so far as to call niacin "nature's valium."

Vitamin B6: Pyridoxine (vitamin B6) is critical in the production of two brain chemicals (neurotransmitters) that prevent anxiety (GABA and serotonin). Low vitamin B-12 has also been shown to be associated with anxiety.

Vitamin B5: Pantothenic acid (vitamin B5) is another B vitamin that is critical for the treatment of adrenal fatigue. Adrenal fatigue is a very common trigger for low blood sugar induced anxiety.


Magnesium has been called the "anti-stress mineral." Magnesium relaxes muscles, helps sleep, and relieves tension. Dropping magnesium levels can trigger hyperventilation/panic attacks (and even seizures if very severe) and these are often relieved with magnesium therapy.


Theanine, which comes from green tea, is another outstanding treatment for anxiety. Research has shown that theanine works by two mechanisms. The first is that it increases alpha brainwave activity, creating a state of deep relaxation and mental alertness similar to what is achieved through meditation. Second, L-theanine is involved in the formation of the calming neurotransmitter, gamma amino butyric acid (GABA). It also naturally stimulates the release of the "happiness molecules" serotonin and dopamine. Only the "Sun Theanine" form is used by most reputable companies.

Passion flower extract

This is one of the best known herbs for the treatment of anxiety. In fact, in South America when people are anxious, their friends often tell them to "go get a passion flower drink."


Magnolia bark has a long history of use in traditional Chinese formulas that relieve both anxiety and depression without leaving you feeling like you've been drugged.

The good news is that by combining the above, you can be calm, energized, and have a clear mind — naturally!

Other Therapies & Advice

Express your anger

From a psychological perspective, anxiety usually represents (often repressed) anger toward someone else or fear about a situation. These feelings need to be expressed/acknowledged — and then released. You can tell when the anger is healthy because it will feel good to express it. When it stops feeling good, release it.

Treat adrenal fatigue

If irritable when hungry, see Adrenal Fatigue.


See 3 Steps to Happiness.

More info. Online

Articles at

Finally — Cure Anxiety While Staying Calm and Energized!

Relaxation Training Highly Effective for Treating Anxiety

Thursday, February 11, 2010


20 million Americans (1 in 15) suffer with asthma, with 1/2 of these having allergic triggers, and the prevalence has been growing over the last few decades. It kills over 4,000 Americans yearly and causes over 500,000 hospitalizations. If these patients were given IV magnesium (up to 1 gm/hr for 6-12 gms a day) and vitamin B6 (100 mg/day), many of these deaths could be avoided and hospital stays prevented or shortened.

Asthma has a genetic component. If only one parent has asthma, chances are 1 in 3 that each child will have asthma. If both parents have asthma, it is much more likely (7 in 10) that their children will have asthma.

Asthma, which reflects spasm and inflammation of the pipes carrying air in and out of your lungs, is becoming more common. This is no surprise, given the increase in allergens (including homes and offices with mold), nutritional deficiencies, and chemicals in our environment.


Asthma attacks can vary from mild to life-threatening. Symptoms include:

  • shortness of breath
  • cough
  • wheezing, and/or
  • chest tightness


Many factors can trigger an asthma attack, including:

  • allergens
  • infections
  • exercise
  • abrupt changes in the weather
  • exposure to irritants (e.g., tobacco smoke)

There are many helpful medications for asthma, and most of these are being reasonably prescribed by physicians. Natural therapies that eliminate allergic sensitivity and decrease the tendency to inflammation should also be used. When combined with simple efforts to decrease contact with allergens, these natural therapies help you feel much better while decreasing the need for medications.


Multi-nutrient powder

The nutrients magnesium, vitamins B6 and B12, vitamin C, vitamin D, vitamin E, selenium, molybdenum, beta carotene and bioflavonoids have been shown to decrease asthmatic symptoms significantly. You can find these in combination in a good multi-nutrient powder. You should begin with this simple but thorough way to get nutritional support.


Boswellia 300 mg 3x day. This wonderful anti-inflammatory herbal (also called "frankincense") significantly reduces asthma after 6 weeks (and usually within days).

Adrenal nutrients

Adrenal support can be very helpful in asthma, and may decrease the amount of prednisone needed by asthmatics.


Lycopene 30-45 mg a day is helpful for exercise induced asthma. Though found in tomatoes, it takes about a pound of tomatoes, 11 ounces of tomato juice or 7 ounces of tomato paste to supply 30 mg of lycopene.

Fish oil

Fish oil. This is an anti-inflammatory nutrient. It is most helpful for children with asthma — especially after the environmental triggers are removed. Tuna and salmon are good sources (fried and battered fish are NOT). Children who eat fish more than once a week have 1/3 the asthma risk of those eating minimal fish. Interestingly, children whose mothers took fish oil during the last 3 months of their pregnancy had a 63% lower risk of asthma than those whose mothers took placebo!

Other Therapies & Advice

Clean your home

Begin by cleaning up your home. Consider adding an electrostatic air cleaner into your furnace, as this will pull allergens out of the air. Your heating/cooling service company can guide you and install it (costs about $700 but is worth it). Be sure the air cleaner filters can fit in your dishwasher and wash them the first of each month. If you can't get the in-furnace air filter, an alternative is a HEPA filter in your bedroom.

Avoid food colorings and additives

Common asthma triggers include tartrazine yellow dye #5 (which one company used to color their asthma medications with in the 1970's — until they came to their senses!), benzoates, and sulfites. Some foods also act as triggers. Try a "multiple food elimination diet" for 7-10 days to see if the asthma symptoms improve when you are off certain foods. It may be very enlightening!


A special acupressure technique called NAET can eliminate one allergy per visit. This is an excellent treatment for those with allergic asthma.

Treat leaky gut syndrome

Eliminate any leaky gut from bowelyeast/Candida overgrowth (from the antibiotics and steroids kids get for asthma).

More Information Online

Articles at

Natural Asthma Relief

Multiple Food Elimination Diet

Other online resources

NAET (acupressure technique for treating food allergies at

Wednesday, February 10, 2010


Allergies occur when our body's immune (defense) system reacts to something harmless in our environment. Inhalation allergies like pollen can cause mild symptoms, such as red eyes, itching, hives or runny nose. Food allergies are more likely to cause a wide assortment of symptoms (fatigue, pain, nasal congestion, migraines, spastic colon, autism, and many more), and should be considered when your doctor does not know the cause of a problem. In rare cases they can be life threatening (anaphylaxis where the throat swells shut or shock can occur) as occurs in some peanut allergies. For those with the latter type, carrying an "Epi-pen" (preloaded adrenaline syringe) can be life saving.


For sneezing/runny nose type inhalation allergies, standard skin testing works well (i.e., putting a drop of the stuff you're allergic to on the skin and making a tiny prick with a needle to see if the area turns red). For food allergies, skin testing and most blood tests are not reliable. The blood tests seem to almost randomly pick 30-40 foods and say you're allergic to them. Repeat the test another day and it may pick totally different foods that it says you're allergic to. Avoid these tests — they are a good way to make yourself nuts.

If you do not know what is causing your symptoms, an elimination diet for food and chemical allergies is a good idea. In this, you avoid common allergy producing foods and chemicals for 7-10 days and then retry them one at a time. 

More information online 

Articles at

Multiple Food Elimination Diet

Other online resources

ELISA/ACT Biotechnologies (reliable food allergy blood test lab at


For occasional, mild runny nose or sneezing from allergies, simple medications such as Claritin or Zyrtec during the day (not sedating) and/or Benadryl at night (sedating) can be easy and well-tolerated. If the allergies are ongoing and problematic, more effective measures are warranted.

Recommended supplements:


MSM is a supplement found in health food stores. Taking 3,000+ mg a day can decrease allergies after 4 weeks of regular use.

Vitamin C, B vitamins, magnesium

These and other nutrients decrease allergic reactions as well. These can be found in good multi-vitamin supplements designed for overall nutritional support (see Multi-Nutrient Powders).

Other Therapies & Advice Acupressure — NAET

An excellent treatment for determining and eliminating allergies is an acupressure (no needles needed) technique called NAET. It uses muscle testing to see if you go weak when holding an allergen and then can eliminate an allergy in just 20 minutes by stimulating certain acupuncture points. There are over 12,000 NAET practitioners worldwide. Most people have multiple allergies, so expect to need a course of about 25 sessions. Most people will feel better in just 10 treatments.


Another interesting approach to allergy desensitization is NLP. This technique can actually be done over the phone in a single treatment. Bren Jacobson, an experienced NLP practitioner, does this and offers an "only pay if it works" option. His phone number is 443-949-0409.

More information online:

NAET (acupressure technique for treating food allergies at

NLP Allergy Demo (YouTube video showing how NLP works)

Acne Tips

Acne (a.k.a. zits or pimples), affects over 85% of teenagers. They occur when pores, which drain the oil producing glands in the skin, get blocked. This plug forms whiteheads (if under the skin) or blackheads (if the plug is visible). When the pore gets blocked, it may get infected by skin bacteria, causing the red, inflamed pustular acne.

Acne usually begins along with the increased sex hormone production that accompanies puberty (e.g., DHEA, estrogen and testosterone). These hormones increase the production of skin oils (sebum) and the glands that make them, causing the acne to flare.

High sugar and carbs in the diet can stimulate increased levels of these hormones and increase acne formation. In addition, scratching or irritating a pimple causes it to get inflamed.

It can take 6 weeks to see the benefits of acne treatments.

Recommend supplements:

Vitamin A

Vitamin A 2,000-4,000 units/day helps dry the skin. Caution: Over 4,000 units a day is bad for bone development (if used long term); over 8,000 units a day can cause birth defects; and over 25,000 units a day can cause liver problems—so higher doses should only be used with the guidance of a health practitioner (beta carotene is OK but does not help the acne). The medication Acutane acts like high dose vitamin A. Vitamin A skin creams are safe (e.g., Retin A).


Zinc 15-30 mg/day increases the effectiveness of the vitamin A and speeds skin healing.


If constipated (less than a daily bowel movement) add fiber to your diet (e.g., vegetables, whole grain cereal low in sugar for breakfast such as "Quaker Oats Squares" or "Cheerios").


200-400 mcg/day (optional).

Vitamin B6

50-200 mg/day (optional).

Note — Vitamins A and B6, zinc, and chromium can be found combined in a good multivitamin (see Multi-Nutrient Powders).

Treatment is Aimed at:

Drying skin

Topical vitamin A creams (such as Retin A by prescription) or Benzoyl peroxide (over the counter). Both are OK.

Killing skin bacteria

Topical antibiotics are very reasonable. Antibiotics by mouth, though sometimes needed, are a bad idea for long term use. A natural alternative to topical antibiotics (or used along with them) would be "Tea Tree" oil 5%.

Note — Seeing a dermatologist during flares to lance and drain the pimples is also reasonable.

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