Depression is no laughing matter. Although depression is very common, you may feel alone, helpless, and lost. Long term depression can feel debilitating. Getting out of bed is a Spartan feat, and yet falling asleep is almost impossible. While some depression is caused by circumstances such a loss of a loved one, it can become a physical problem. Doctors may prescribe medications that work at first, and then stop. If the underlying issue is not addressed, depression can become a chronic condition. Continue reading
The Patanjali’s Yoga Sutras are widely regarded as the authoritative text on yoga. These “threads” (translates from Sanskrit for sutra) of wisdom offer guidelines for living a meaningful and peaceful life.
Recently Sutra 2.16 has been on my mind:
“Pain that has not yet come is avoidable” (in Sanskrit “Heyam Duhkham Anagatam”).
By practicing yoga with meditation, postures, breathing exercises, we are practicing a form of preventive medicine for our minds.
I had already been addicted to yoga by the time I discovered this sutra, but if I had not discovered yoga, this sutra would have drawn me to it. I had this realization that I actually had control over my thoughts, and in this busy world we live in, anything we can do to help calm the mind and prevent future stress, pain, anxiety is worth looking at. Continue reading
We’re all familiar with the importance of maintaining healthy levels of hormones, insulin, and cholesterol, but did you know that there is a close relationship between all three of these?
As a holistic doctor, when there is an imbalance in hormones, I look at the hormone levels of the organs of the endocrine system as well as the cholesterol and blood sugar health.
The Endocrine System
The endocrine system is comprised of glands that regulate the body by secreting hormones directly into the bloodstream. The classic endocrine glands include the pituitary, thyroid, parathyroid, pancreatic islets, adrenals, and gonads (ovaries and testes). The endocrine system plays a huge role in regulating mood, growth and development, tissue function, metabolism, sexual function, and reproductive processes.
Cholesterol and Hormones
Cholesterol is needed to make both sex and adrenal hormones. Hormones are the messengers of the endocrine system, and cholesterol is key to transporting hormones to the correct receptor sites on the cells. If you have low cholesterol, your body isn’t able to transport hormones efficiently, and if you have high cholesterol you may not have enough hormones getting into your cells. Low hormonal levels caused by cholesterol imbalance can result in symptoms such as fatigue, brain fog, hot flashes, and low sex drive.
Insulin and Hormones
The Standard American Diet (SAD) has a huge impact on overall health, especially in regards to insulin over-production. Because of a poor diet consisting mostly of simple carbs (soda and fast food), cells become resistant to insulin. The simple carbs convert into an excessive amount of glucose, and the glucose turns into more insulin than the body wants. Too much insulin floating around in your body is a huge problem. It can result in hormone resistance, inflammatory response, anxiety, and mostly commonly, weight gain. Increased insulin levels can also increase the adrenal hormone cortisol (the stress hormone) leading to weight gain, chronic anxiety, PCOS, and other health issues.
Steps you can take to balance hormone levels by supporting healthy blood sugar and cholesterol levels:
- Incorporate protein, complex carbs and good fats into your meals and snacks.
- Include 6-8 servings of a wide variety of vegetables in your meals, especially those that are bright in color.
- Consume 25 grams or more of fiber daily
- Go lightly on fruits and avoid high glycemic fruits such as bananas, figs, raisins, dates, oranges and grapefruits.
- To stabilize blood sugar throughout the day, eat breakfast before 10am, lunch before Noon, a snack between 2-3pm, with dinner between 5-6pm.
- Manage stress: yoga, meditation, do something that gives you joy
- Sleep 8 hours a night
It’s always a good idea to check your hormone, cholesterol, and insulin levels every year to ensure you are balanced.
Dr. Melanie’s experience in the natural health field ranges from working with individuals on various health issues — such as stress, fatigue, insomnia, weight loss, hormone imbalances, and digestive issues. Call (317) 344-9840 or request an appointment.
Micronutrients (vitamins and minerals) are the building blocks for good health. Without proper nutrition, many people can experience chronic symptoms such as fatigue, anxiety, digestive issues and more.
Knowing how your body is absorbing (or not absorbing) nutrients is crucial in my practice. I frequently depend on micronutrient lab tests to get a base understanding of my patient’s health. Something as seemingly simple as B vitamin deficiencies can help me assess whether someone has adrenal fatigue or digestive issues.
Common conditions such as anxiety are met with all sorts of medication that may not last in their effectiveness. People suffering from chronic anxiety bounce from one medication to the next with little relief. Magnesium is an over-looked nutrient that if deficient can trigger anxiety and even panic attacks. Testing for magnesium and addressing the deficiency with supplementation can provide long-awaited relief. However, not everyone who has anxiety is magnesium deficient. That is why testing for micronutrients is so fundamental. Continue reading
Abhyasa/practice and Vairagya/non-attachment (Sutra 1.12-1.16)
The practice of yoga includes deep awareness of habit patterns (samskara). These habits of thinking, feeling, and reacting affect our capacity for joy. The unconscious habit patterns create filters over the reality of the present moment, with the potential of creating distress or suffering. In Patanjali’s Yoga Sutras, the methods of yoga are described as a pathway to reduce the internal machinations that provoke suffering.
Sutra 1.12 suggests that our thought patterns (vrittis) are mastered, regulated, or quieted (nirodhah) through practice (abhyasa) and non-attachment (vairagya). The process of persistent, systematic exploration of thought patterns, fears, and false identifications allows for detachment from the filters that enable suffering.
Abhyasa describes the continuous practice necessary to clear the mind. It cannot be accomplished in one sitting. Clearing the mind requires discipline of consistent attention and time to develop the cumulative power of yoga. It is also true that old habits die hard. The unconscious thought patterns continue to arise. Through continued intentional awareness we can begin to observe these patterns and reduce their impact.
Vairagya refers to the process of letting go of the many attachments our minds accumulate. Panatjali describes these attachments in Sutra 2.5, saying attachments are the thoughts that follow identification with pleasurable experiences. There is no moral judgement about this attachment, rather it is how our minds differentiate between “I” and “other.” Attachment is a natural habit of the mind. The yoga practice is to become aware and witness these natural attachments as thought patterns rather than reality. Continue reading
Have you ever been stuck in negative or disturbed thinking? Ever had a time when all looks dark and there seems to be no good in the world? Yoga philosophy offers a suggestion for changing perspective, inviting new ways of thinking.
Patanjali’s Yoga Stura 2.33 “VITARKA BADHANE PRATIPASHA BHAVANAM” suggests that when suffering from afflicted thinking, we need to cultivate a different perspective. Patanjali continues to describe how negative thinking is a kind of violence done to ourselves. The practice of yoga is to develop clear thinking and introduce thoughts opposite to the negative.
The Western psychology perspective of this idea is cognitive restructuring. This is where the individual works to adjust their attitude, thoughts, and reactions.
Cognitive restructuring refers to the process of replacing cognitive distortions with thoughts that are more accurate and useful. Cognitive restructuring has two basic steps: (1) Identifying the thoughts or beliefs that are influencing the disturbing emotion; (2) Evaluating them for their accuracy and usefulness using logic and evidence, and if warranted, modifying or replacing the thoughts with ones that are more accurate and useful.” (Benggeli, 2010, para. 15)
Contact Dr. Melanie at (317) 344-9840 to learn more or to schedule an appointment.
The human body is amazing. I love learning about it, discovering how to work with it to ease issues that come along with especially chronic health conditions. As a homeopathic doctor, I team up with natural bodily functions in order to increase healthy responses and decrease symptoms associated with illness.
A natural survival technique that Homeopathic doctors consider to be one of the most important natural defense mechanism against viruses is a fever. During a fever, interferon, an antiviral chemical, is released and T-cells and B-cells increase.
How Do T-Cells and B-Cells Fight Fevers?
Helper T-Cells: These cells are the drivers and the coordinators of the immune defense. They activate B-Cells and Killer T-Cells.
Killer T-Cells: Specialize in attacking and killing cells infected by viruses and possibly bacteria. Continue reading
Attempting to find the right diet and exercise program is confusing, especially when there are so many different opinions about the correct way: Paleo Diet, Ketogenic Diet, Mediterranean Diet…. which is right for you?
Genetic testing looks at your unique chemistry and can provide a tailored diet and exercise program that eliminates the guess work involved in weight loss.
The research behind genetic testing for lifestyle and wellness improvement has progressed dramatically. Specific genes can identify how the body processes carbohydrates, fats, proteins, and micro-nutrients as well as determine the effectiveness of different types of fitness.
In addition, it is a guide to understanding how the body uses food and what foods work best for you.
A 2010 Stanford University Study shows that women on genetically appropriate diets lose significantly more weight. People on genetically appropriate diets lose twice (2x) the number of waist inches compared to those who guess.
Genetic testing to support Weight Loss includes a laboratory analysis of your DNA sample including 48 genetic markers.
The Genetic Report includes:
- Analysis of 16 genetic traits related to weight loss
- Food recommendations, including macronutrient breakdown and caloric needs
- Nutrient recommendations, including supplement suggestions
- Exercise recommendations, including cardio and strength training
- Supporting scientific research
Diets are not unique to you but your DNA is. Possible benefits to genetic testing for Weight Loss may include:
- Weight management
- Disease prevention
- Maximizing energy
- Improvement to overall health
At the start of each new year, many of us dust off our good intentions – resolutions to eat better, exercise more, or let go of long time bad habits. Unfortunately, these old habits are strong. We’ve all got unconscious habit patterns that guide our actions rather than our conscious intention. This is nothing new. Thousands of years ago Patajali described unconscious habit patterns of the mind in the Yoga Sutras.
Patajali identified the subtle impressions of our past actions, or unconscious thought
patterns, as samskara. The word samskara translates from Sanskrit sam means joined together and kara means action or cause. One way to understand samskara is as neural pathways that form deep connections in our brains through repetition. The concept that “neurons that fire together wire together” reflects this idea. Continue reading