Acupuncture as a Holistic and Integrative Therapy

Holistic and Integrative Practices in Healthcare have always existed side by side with Western medicine but not till the 20th Century did these other methods start to make an impact and entry into Western society.  Many of these methods when utilized under the care of a healthcare professional can be very beneficial and can sometimes work in unison with Western medication.  Various therapies that were once not mainstream such as chiro, massage therapy, hypnosis and acupuncture have no taken important roles in health and wellness within Western society.

Acupuncture is a type of holistic and integrative healthcare therapy that is an alternative to many pain pills

 

Acupuncture is one such therapy that can help one with a list of maladies and issues from physical pain to mental stress.  Utilizing a concept on various points of the body, the healthcare professional looks to alleviate pressure at certain points to manipulate negative energy.  Of course, the concept is tied to deep spiritual concepts found in Eastern religions, but the concepts also from a physiological standpoint also bear merit in how the body reacts to acupuncture.

The article, “Acupuncture Explained: What is It & How Can It Help You” by  Sophie Steiner and Dr. Evan Pinto looks closer at acupuncture.  Within the article, they detail what acupuncture it is, its history and what is used to treat.  While it may not be for everyone, the authors of the article are confident in its abilities to treat a broad range of maladies with many benefits.  The authors state,

“Acupuncture, a form of alternative medicine and core component of TCM, is a welcome antidote to the prescription meds and quick-fix interventions typical of Western biomedical culture. By strategically inserting hair-thin, stainless steel needles into specific pressure points, acupuncture helps relieve the symptoms of a wide variety of conditions by shifting the body from attack mode to a more balanced, restful state. Acupuncture helps balance out one’s Qi, or energy center, leading to a calmer, healthier person.”

“Acupuncture Explained: What is It & How Can It Help You”.  Sophie Steiner and Dr. Evan Pinto.  March 17th, 2023. Thats

To review the entire article, please click here

Commentary

Acupuncture is an alternative therapy utilized by a variety of Holistic and Integrative Healthcare Specialists to treat a variety of pain and stress disorders

 

Acupuncture is a form of alternative medicine that involves the insertion of thin needles into specific points on the body. These needles are typically made of stainless steel and are about as thick as a human hair. Acupuncture is based on the belief that the body has energy pathways, or meridians, that can become blocked or disrupted, leading to illness or pain. By inserting needles into these specific points, acupuncturists aim to unblock the energy flow and restore balance to the body.

The History of Acupuncture

Acupuncture has been practiced in China for thousands of years and is believed to have originated in the Neolithic era. The earliest written records of acupuncture date back to the Han dynasty (206 BCE-220 CE), and the practice has been continuously used and refined ever since. In the 1970s, acupuncture gained popularity in the West, as practitioners sought out new approaches to healthcare that were less reliant on drugs and surgery.

How Acupuncture Works

The exact mechanism by which acupuncture works is not fully understood, but there are several theories. One theory is that acupuncture stimulates the release of endorphins, the body’s natural painkillers. Another theory is that acupuncture triggers the release of neurotransmitters, which can help to regulate the body’s nervous system. There is also evidence to suggest that acupuncture can help to reduce inflammation and improve blood flow to certain areas of the body.

The Benefits of Acupuncture

Acupuncture has been shown to be effective in treating a wide range of health conditions, including chronic pain, anxiety, depression, and infertility. One of the main benefits of acupuncture is that it is a natural and non-invasive form of treatment, which can be used to complement or replace traditional medical approaches. Unlike drugs or surgery, acupuncture has few side effects and is generally very safe when performed by a qualified practitioner.

Acupuncture and Holistic Medicine

Acupuncture points correlate with spiritual energy points that allow the movement of negative energy and promote healing

 

Acupuncture is an integral part of holistic medicine, which focuses on treating the whole person rather than just the symptoms of a specific condition. Holistic practitioners believe that the mind, body, and spirit are interconnected, and that any imbalance in one area can lead to health problems in another. Acupuncture can be used as part of a comprehensive treatment plan that includes other holistic approaches, such as nutrition, exercise, and meditation.

Acupuncture and Integrative Medicine

Integrative medicine is a broader approach that combines traditional medical treatments with complementary therapies, such as acupuncture. Integrative medicine practitioners believe that a patient’s overall health can be improved by addressing all aspects of their health, including their physical, emotional, and spiritual wellbeing. Acupuncture is often used as part of an integrative approach to treat a variety of conditions, from chronic pain to cancer-related symptoms.

Acupuncture and Pain Management

Acupuncture is perhaps best known for its ability to relieve pain. Studies have shown that acupuncture can be an effective treatment for a variety of pain conditions, including back pain, neck pain, and headaches. Acupuncture works by stimulating the body’s natural painkillers, such as endorphins, and by reducing inflammation in the affected area. For patients seeking a natural alternative to drugs or surgery, acupuncture can be an effective and safe option.

Acupuncture and Mental Health

Acupuncture can also be an effective treatment for mental health conditions, such as anxiety and depression. Studies have shown that acupuncture can help to regulate the body’s nervous system, which can lead to a reduction in symptoms of anxiety and depression. Acupuncture can also be used to treat insomnia, which is often a symptom of mental health problems. For patients seeking a natural and non-invasive approach to mental health treatment, acupuncture can be a valuable option.

Acupuncture and Fertility

Acupuncture is becoming an increasingly popular treatment for infertility. Studies have shown that acupuncture can help to regulate the menstrual cycle and improve blood flow to the uterus, which can increase the chances of conception. Acupuncture can also be used to reduce stress and anxiety, which can be a barrier to conception. For couples struggling with infertility, acupuncture can be a safe and effective complement to traditional fertility treatments.

What to Expect During an Acupuncture Treatment

During an acupuncture treatment, the practitioner will insert thin needles into specific points on the body. The needles are typically left in place for 20-30 minutes, during which time the patient may feel a slight tingling or numbness. The practitioner may also use other techniques, such as cupping or moxibustion, to enhance the effects of the treatment. Patients should wear loose, comfortable clothing and should avoid eating a large meal before the treatment.

Finding an Acupuncture Practitioner

When seeking out an acupuncture practitioner, it is important to choose someone who is qualified and experienced. In many states, acupuncturists are required to be licensed, so be sure to check their credentials before making an appointment. It is also a good idea to ask for referrals from friends or family members who have had acupuncture treatments. Many health insurance plans now cover acupuncture, so be sure to check with your insurer to see if your treatment will be covered.  Many Holistic and Integrative Specialists can also help one find someone trained and qualified to perform acupuncture.

Frequently Asked Questions About Acupuncture

  • Is acupuncture painful?
  • Is acupuncture safe?
  • How many acupuncture treatments will I need?
  • What conditions can acupuncture treat?
  • How long do the effects of acupuncture last?

Conclusion

Please also review AIHCP’s Holistic and Integrative Healthcare Specialist Program and see if it meets your academic and professional goals

 

Acupuncture is a safe and effective form of alternative medicine that can be used to treat a variety of health conditions. Whether you are seeking relief from chronic pain, mental health issues, or infertility, acupuncture can be a valuable part of a holistic or integrative treatment plan. By working with a qualified practitioner, you can experience the many benefits of acupuncture and take control of your health naturally.  Contact your healthcare professional or a holistic and integrative specialist to find a qualified practitioner in acupuncture.

AIHCP offers a Holistic and Integrative Healthcare Specialist Program for qualified healthcare professionals, especially in nursing, who look to utilize both Eastern and Western medicine in helping patients.  It is important to have a qualified and trained professional in guidance of many of the alternative therapies.  Holistic Nurses and other Holistic and Integrative professionals can safely guide individuals in utilizing these types of alternative therapies.  Please review AIHCP’s Holistic and Integrative Healthcare Specialist Certification and see if it matches your academic and professional goals.  The program is online and independent study and open to qualified professionals seeking a four year certification.

Additional Resources

“The Benefits and Side Effects of Acupuncture”. Cathy Wong.  June 29th, 2022. VeryWellHealth. Access here

Acupuncture. Mayo Clinic Staff.  Mayo Clinic.  Access here

Acupuncture. October 14th, 2020. Cleveland Clinic. Access here

“Is Acupuncture the Miracle Remedy for Everything?”. Danielle Sinay. September 18th, 2018.  Healthline.  Access here

Holistic Health and Vitamin Supplements

Supplements and vitamins are important to overall health.  With many diets lacking certain vitamins and minerals, individuals can face a variety of deficiencies within one’s body.  Hence it is critical to sometimes supplement vitamins for overall health.  It is important when taking vitamins to understand the dosage and frequency in taking them.  Some vitamins such as C can be quickly passed through the body without negative results, while other vitamins can be stored and lead to higher levels that are detrimental to the body.  This is why it is important to work with a healthcare professional whenever looking to address a deficiency within the body.  Holistic and Integrative Healthcare Professionals can also present guidance and information.

Vitamin supplements can treat a deficiency within the body but should be started under the guidance of a healthcare professional or holistic and integrative healthcare specialist

 

The article, “How Long Does It Take for Vitamins to Work?” by Mariam Hakhyan discusses how to properly utilize vitamins in one’s health.  She labels out some common vitamins and, especially Vitamin D3 and B12 and how many individuals face lower doses with these particular vitamins and require supplementation.  She also discusses the nature of vitamins in how relation to their potency and application.  She states,

“Vitamins are natural compounds vital for the body’s proper functioning and health. They can be obtained from foods and in the form of vitamin supplements. When considering replacement, the most important vitamin is the one that your body is deficient in. When taking vitamins without seeing any immediate results may raise the question: “Do vitamins work immediately or do you have to wait to see the results?” Well, this depends on several factors, such as the type, bioavailability, dosage, and length of therapy.”

She later relates that vitamins and health depend on multiple factors including the level of deficiency within the person, the type and formula of the vitamin and the person’s own subjective physiology of the body.

“How Long Does It Take for Vitamins to Work?”. Mariam Hakhyan. March 21st, 2023. Healthnews.  Access here

Commentary

One of the main benefits of taking vitamins and supplements is that they can help to fill the nutritional gaps in our diets. Many of us do not get all the nutrients we need from the foods we eat, and taking vitamins and supplements can help to provide us with the essential vitamins and minerals we need to stay healthy.

Vitamins and supplements can also help to support our immune system, improve our energy levels, and support our overall health and wellbeing. For example, taking vitamin C supplements can help to boost our immune system, while taking a probiotic supplement can help to improve our gut health.

Another benefit of taking vitamins and supplements is that they can help to reduce the risk of certain health conditions. For example, taking calcium supplements can help to reduce the risk of osteoporosis, while taking folic acid supplements can help to reduce the risk of birth defects in pregnant women.

Common Types of Vitamins and Supplements

There are many different types of vitamins and supplements available, each with their own unique benefits. Some of the most common types of vitamins and supplements include:

  • Multivitamins: These are supplements that contain a combination of different vitamins and minerals.
  • Vitamin D: This is a vitamin that is essential for strong bones and teeth.
  • Omega-3 fatty acids: These are supplements that are commonly taken for heart health.
  • Probiotics: These are supplements that contain live bacteria and yeasts that are beneficial for our gut health.
  • Calcium: This is a mineral that is essential for strong bones and teeth.

Understanding Vitamin Labels

When choosing vitamins and supplements, it is important to understand how to read the labels. The label will provide information on the ingredients, dosage, and any potential side effects.

The label will also provide information on the recommended daily intake (RDI) of each nutrient. This can help you to determine whether the supplement is providing you with the right amount of each nutrient.

It is important to note that the RDI is just a guide, and the amount of each nutrient that you need may vary depending on your age, gender, and overall health.  Holistic and Integrative healthcare specialists and holistic nurses can provide key insight.  If one is not available, a primary physician can also guide one in understanding the label and dose.

How to Choose the Right Vitamins and Supplements for You

Choosing the right vitamins and supplements can be overwhelming, especially with so many different options available. The best way to choose the right vitamins and supplements for you is to speak to your healthcare provider.

A Healthcare professional can guide one to better diets and vitamin supplementation

 

Your healthcare provider or Holistic Nurse can help you to determine which vitamins and supplements you need based on your age, gender, and overall health. They can also help you to choose high-quality supplements that are safe and effective.

When choosing vitamins and supplements, it is also important to look for products that are third-party tested. This means that the product has been tested by an independent laboratory to ensure that it contains the ingredients listed on the label and that it is free from contaminants.

Best Practices for Taking Vitamins and Supplements

When taking vitamins and supplements, there are several best practices that you should follow to ensure that you are getting the most benefit from them.

One of the most important things to remember is to follow the dosage instructions on the label. Taking too much of a vitamin or supplement can be harmful and can cause side effects.

It is also important to take your vitamins and supplements with food, as this can help to improve absorption. Some vitamins and supplements are better absorbed when taken with fat, so taking them with a meal that contains healthy fats, such as avocado or nuts, can help to improve absorption.

Potential Risks and Side Effects of Vitamins and Supplements

While vitamins and supplements can provide many benefits, they can also come with risks and side effects. Taking too much of a vitamin or supplement can be harmful and can cause side effects such as nausea, diarrhea, and stomach cramps.

Some vitamins and supplements can also interact with certain medications, so it is important to speak to your healthcare provider before taking them.

It is also important to be aware of the potential risks associated with certain vitamins and supplements. For example, taking high doses of vitamin A supplements can be toxic and can cause liver damage.

Myths About Vitamins and Supplements

There are many myths and misconceptions about vitamins and supplements, and it is important to separate fact from fiction. One common myth is that taking high doses of vitamin C can cure the common cold. While vitamin C can help to support our immune system, there is no evidence to suggest that it can cure the common cold.

Another myth is that all supplements are safe and effective. While many supplements are safe and effective, not all of them are. It is important to do your research and choose high-quality supplements that have been third-party tested.

Tips for Incorporating Vitamins and Supplements into Your Daily Routine

Incorporating vitamins and supplements into your daily routine can be easy and convenient. One way to do this is to set a reminder on your phone or calendar to take your vitamins and supplements at the same time every day.

You can also try incorporating vitamins and supplements into your meals. For example, you can add a scoop of protein powder to your morning smoothie or sprinkle some chia seeds on your yogurt.

Conclusion: Unlocking the Power of Vitamins and Supplements

Vitamins and supplements can be a great way to support our overall health and wellbeing. By understanding the benefits, risks, and how to choose the right vitamins and supplements for you, you can unlock the power of these essential nutrients and take control of your health.

Please also review AIHCP’s Holistic and Integrative Healthcare Specialist Program

 

If you have any questions or concerns about vitamins and supplements, be sure to speak to your healthcare provider. They can provide you with personalized recommendations and help you to choose high-quality supplements that are safe and effective.

CTA: Speak to your healthcare provider today to learn more about how vitamins and supplements can support your overall health and wellbeing. Holistic Nurses and other Holistic and Integrative Healthcare Specialists can provide guidance as well.

Please also review AIHCP’s Holistic and Integrative Healthcare Specialist Program and see if it matches your academic and professional goals.  The program is online and independent study and open to qualified healthcare professionals looking to earn a certification dealing with holistic health.

Additional Resources

“What are vitamins, and how do they work?”.  Yvette Brazier. December 16th, 2020. MedicalNewsToday.  Access here

“9 Vitamins and Minerals You Should Take Daily”.  HealthEssentials.  November 4th, 2021.  Cleveland Clinic.  Access here

“Why take vitamin and mineral supplements?”. Anne Harguth. August 23rd, 2022. Mayo Clinic Health System . Access here

Vitamin D. Mayo Clinic Staff.  Mayo Clinic.  Access here

 

Holistic Integrative care and Herbs

Various herbs play key roles in helping individuals with anxiety, depression, the flu, and other mild maladies with cholesterol and sugar levels.  These supplements can be utilized but should be utilized with caution as not to counter act any pharmaceutical drugs.  When exploring various herbs it is important to understand their use and how they are measured and applied.  They also need to used in harmony. Without proper guidance, Eastern herbs can be detrimental if not used properly.  This is why it is important to work with a primary physician or a holistic integrative healthcare specialist who can help guide one through the process of utilizing herbs

There are a variety of herbs for various maladies. Please also review AIHCP’s Holistic and Integrative Healthcare Certification

 

AIHCP offers a four year certification for qualified professionals in Holistic Integrative Healthcare.  The program is designed for Holistic Nurses and other specialists.  The program is online and independent study and can help professionals gain the knowledge to help others utilize holistic health and herbs.  Please review AICHPs’ Holistic and Integrative Healthcare Specialist certification

 

 

Please review the video below

Chinese Medicine and Holistic Health

Chinese medicine is a venue many turn to in search of herbs and managing long term health.  Chinese medicine practitioners usually own local shops and expertise in these areas.  They consider balance to be the key in life itself and utilize Chi and concepts of Yin and Yang in managing health.  When something in the body is imbalanced, they look for herbs or practices to restore that balance in the body.

It is imperative though that individuals who look to these resources inform primary caregivers and have proper guidance to know what can mix with current medications.  Holistic and Integrative Healthcare Specialists understand both Eastern and Western concepts and how they interact.  Holistic Nurses can play key roles in helping individuals identify the best resources and Chinese herbs to utilize as well as individuals to potentially purchase from and work with.

Chinese medicine is about balance. It looks at Chi or breath as well as balance of Yin and Yang.

 

The article, “A Beginner’s Guide to Traditional Chinese Medicine” by Michelle Pugle discusses these many issues.  The article examines the philosophy behind Chinese medicine but also reviews the various herbs and practices that can be utilized.  The key concepts of Chi and Yin and Yang are emphasized throughout as well as a brief history and frequently asked questions.  While the article praises Chinese medicine, the author warns that one should never create a replacement plan to traditional medicine and should never take herbs without proper consultation.  She states,

“Traditional Chinese medicine should not be used in replacement of Western medicine or to delay the possibility of treatment for serious disorders, infections, or the like. If you’re curious about what traditional Chinese medicine may offer, consider talking to your healthcare provider and a traditional Chinese medicine practitioner before trying any options at home.”

“A Beginner’s Guide to Traditional Chinese Medicine”. Micelle Pugle. November 30th, 2022.  VeryWellHealth

To review the article, please click here

Commentary

‍Chinese Herbal Medicine (CHM) is a traditional form of healing that has been used for centuries in Asia and has recently gained popularity in the West. It is based on the principles of Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) which is a holistic approach to health and wellness that emphasizes the balance between mind, body, and spirit. CHM involves the use of natural herbs and plants to treat a variety of ailments, from digestive issues to mental health. In this article, we’ll explore the history of CHM, its many benefits, the common herbs used in it, its relationship to Western medicine, how to get started with CHM, and its safety considerations.

What is Chinese Herbal Medicine?

Chinese Herbal Medicine is a branch of Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) that uses natural herbs and plants to treat a variety of ailments. It is a holistic approach to health that focuses on treating the whole person, rather than just a single symptom or condition. The herbs used in CHM are believed to be able to balance the qi, which is the energy that flows through the body and is responsible for its overall health. The herbs used in CHM are usually combined into formulas that are tailored to the individual’s needs.

CHM is one of the oldest forms of medicine, with a history that dates back thousands of years. It is still widely used in Asia and is gaining popularity in the West. CHM is often seen as a complementary form of medicine, meaning it can be used together with conventional Western medicine to treat a variety of ailments.

Traditional Chinese Medicine History

Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) has a long and storied history that dates back more than 2000 years. It is based on the ancient Chinese philosophy of Daoism, which emphasizes the balance between yin and yang and the importance of keeping the body’s qi (energy) in balance. The earliest forms of TCM used herbal medicines, acupuncture, and moxibustion (a form of heat therapy) to treat various ailments.

Over the centuries, TCM has been refined and developed and is now used to treat a wide range of ailments. It is still widely used in Asia and is gaining popularity in the West. In recent years, more and more Western doctors have begun to incorporate TCM into their practice, and it is now widely accepted as a valid form of medicine.

Benefits of Chinese Herbal Medicine

Chinese Herbal Medicine (CHM) has many benefits. It is a holistic approach to health that focuses on treating the whole person, rather than just a single symptom or condition. The herbs used in CHM are believed to be able to balance the qi, which is the energy that flows through the body and is responsible for its overall health.

The herbs used in CHM have a wide range of therapeutic effects, from soothing digestive problems to boosting the immune system. In addition, the herbs used in CHM can be tailored to the individual’s needs, meaning the treatment is personalized and effective.

CHM is also seen as a complementary form of medicine, meaning it can be used together with conventional Western medicine to treat a variety of ailments. This makes it a great option for those who are looking for an alternative form of treatment.

Common Chinese Herbal Medicines

Chinese Herbal Medicine (CHM) uses a variety of herbs and plants to treat a variety of ailments. Some of the most common herbs used in CHM include ginseng, ginger, astragalus, licorice, and dong quai.

Ginseng is believed to have a tonic effect on the body and is often used to boost energy and vitality. Ginger is used to treat digestive issues, while astragalus is thought to boost the immune system. Licorice is used to treat respiratory issues, such as asthma, and dong quai is used to treat menstrual cramps.

These are just a few of the herbs used in CHM, and many more can be used to treat a variety of ailments. The herbs used in CHM are often combined into formulas that are tailored to the individual’s needs.

Chinese Herbal Medicine and Western Medicine

Chinese Herbal Medicine (CHM) and Western medicine have different approaches to health and wellness. Western medicine is based on the scientific method and is focused on treating the symptoms of a disease or condition. CHM, on the other hand, is focused on treating the whole person and restoring balance and harmony to the body.

Despite their differences, CHM and Western medicine can be used together to treat a variety of ailments. In fact, many Western doctors now incorporate CHM into their practice, and it is widely accepted as a valid form of medicine.

How to Get Started with Chinese Herbal Medicine

If you’re interested in trying Chinese Herbal Medicine (CHM), the first step is to find a qualified practitioner. It’s important to find someone who is experienced and knowledgeable in CHM and can tailor the treatments to your individual needs.

Once you’ve found a practitioner, you’ll discuss your health concerns and the practitioner will create an individualized treatment plan for you. This may include dietary and lifestyle recommendations, as well as herbal formulas tailored to your needs.

Finding a Qualified Practitioner of Chinese Herbal Medicine

When looking for a qualified practitioner of Chinese Herbal Medicine (CHM), it’s important to find someone who is experienced and knowledgeable in CHM and can tailor the treatments to your individual needs.

A qualified healthcare professional should work with anyone considering supplementing Chinese medicine with traditional medicine

 

It’s a good idea to do your research and ask for recommendations from friends or family who have used CHM. You can also ask your doctor for a referral or check online for practitioners in your area who specialize in CHM.

Once you’ve found a qualified practitioner, it’s important to discuss your health concerns and ensure that your practitioner is familiar with the herbs and formulas they are recommending.

Chinese Herbal Medicine for Holistic Health

Chinese Herbal Medicine (CHM) is a great option for those looking for a holistic approach to health and wellness. It is based on the ancient principles of TCM and focuses on treating the whole person, rather than just a single symptom or condition. The herbs used in CHM are believed to be able to balance the qi, which is the energy that flows through the body and is responsible for its overall health.

CHM is also seen as a complementary form of medicine, meaning it can be used together with conventional Western medicine to treat a variety of ailments. This makes it a great option for those looking for an alternative form of treatment.

Chinese Herbal Medicine Safety Considerations

As with any form of medicine, there are safety considerations when it comes to Chinese Herbal Medicine (CHM). It’s important to make sure that the herbs and formulas used in CHM are safe and appropriate for your individual needs.

It’s also important to make sure that the herbs and formulas used in CHM are of good quality and have been tested for safety. It’s a good idea to ask your practitioner for a list of ingredients and to make sure that the herbs and formulas they are recommending are safe for you.

Finally, it’s important to make sure that the practitioner you are working with is qualified and experienced in CHM. As with any form of medicine, it’s important to find a qualified practitioner who can tailor the treatments to your individual needs.

Conclusion

Chinese Herbal Medicine (CHM) is an ancient form of healing that has been used for centuries in Asia and is gaining popularity in the West. It is a holistic approach to health and wellness that focuses on treating the whole person, rather than just a single symptom or condition. The herbs used in CHM are believed to be able to balance the qi, which is the energy that flows through the body and is responsible for its overall health.

AIHCP offers a comprehensive program for Healthcare Professionals to earn a certification in Holistic Health

CHM is often seen as a complementary form of medicine, meaning it can be used together with conventional Western medicine to treat a variety of ailments. It is important to find a qualified practitioner who is experienced and knowledgeable in CHM and can tailor the treatments to your individual needs.

Chinese Herbal Medicine can be a great option for those looking for a holistic approach to health and wellness. It is important to be aware of the safety considerations and make sure that the herbs and formulas used in CHM are safe for your individual needs. With the right practitioner, CHM can be a great way to achieve holistic health and wellness.

Please also review AIHCP’s Holistic and Integrative Healthcare Practitioner Program. Also known as Holistic Nursing, nurses and other qualified healthcare professionals can take the online and independent study program to earn the four year certification.  Please review the Holistic Nursing Program and see if it matches your academic and professional goals.

Additional Resources

“Chinese Medicine and The Causes of Disease”. Emma Suttie.  March 24th, 2022. MindBodySoul.  Access here

“The Role of Chinese Medicine in Health Maintenance and Disease Prevention: Application of Constitution Theory”. Lingru Li, ect, al.  Am J Chin Med
. 2019;47(3):495-506. doi: 10.1142/S0192415X19500253. Epub 2019 Apr 25. National Library of Medicine.  Access here

“Yin and Yang Overview”. Bill Schoenbart & Ellen Shefi. HowStuffWorks.  Access here

“Holistic Health”. Suzan Walter, MBA. American Holistic Health Association. Access here

Benefits of Vitamin D: The “Sunshine Vitamin”

By – James M. Katz, BA

Vitamin D is often thought of as a nutrient that helps our bones and teeth stay strong, but its benefits go far beyond this. Often overlooked, vitamin D is a key part of a healthy diet, as it has been shown to play a role in controlling inflammation, cell growth, and even our mood. This essential holistic nutrient is critical to keeping us healthy, and a deficiency can lead to a number of health issues. In this article, we’ll explore the surprising benefits of vitamin D and how it can impact your health and well-being. From its role in immunity to its ability to lower your risk of chronic disease, the importance of vitamin D cannot be underestimated. So read on to learn more about this important nutrient and how it can help you stay healthy and happy.

Vitamin D is often referred to as the ‘sunshine vitamin’, Vitamin D is a micronutrient that is produced by our skin in response to sunlight exposure. It plays an important role in our bodies, and recent research has highlighted a range of surprising health benefits associated with Vitamin D. These include improved immunity, better bone health, and a lower risk of certain diseases.

Vitamin D helps to reduce the risks of later in life cognitive decay as seen in the article below. By taking vitamin D you can stop and prevent many mental issues such as dementia as stated by a third. Please read below and press the link for the full article.

 “Vitamin D may reduce the risk of dementia by up to a third, a study has suggested.

Researchers at Tufts University in America looked at levels of vitamin D in 290 adults in the Rush Memory and Ageing Project, a long-term study of Alzheimer’s that began in 1997.

The team looked at vitamin D levels in four regions of the brain. Two were linked to Alzheimer’s – one known to be involved in dementia, and another believed to not be linked to cognitive decline with age.

They found that vitamin D was present in all four regions and people with more of it had better cognitive function.”

Vitamin D could reduce the risk of dementia by a third,  Joe Pinkstone. The Telegraph. Wed, December 7, 2022
Access link here

Sources of Vitamin D. Includes Mushrooms, Fish, Cheese, etcCommentary:

Sources of Vitamin D

Most people acquire their vitamin D through the sun. UVB light from the sun is absorbed by the skin and converts into Vitamin D. Hence, people who live in regions where there is a lot of sunlight throughout the year, such as the tropics, have a lower risk of developing a Vitamin D deficiency. In the United States, most people get their Vitamin D from fortified foods, such as milk, yogurt, and cereal, and supplements. Although Vitamin D is naturally created by the sun, the majority of us do not spend enough time in the sun to get the recommended amount of Vitamin D. This is especially true for those who live in Northern climates where the days are shorter and there is less sunlight. Certain groups, such as pregnant women, infants, the elderly, and people with darker skin, are at an even higher risk of developing a deficiency. People with conditions like osteoporosis and autoimmune diseases, such as psoriasis, may also need to pay special attention to their Vitamin D levels.

Vitamin D and Immunity

Most people are aware of the role Vitamin D plays in bone health. However, you may not be aware that it also plays a significant role in immunity. Studies have shown that a Vitamin D deficiency can reduce your body’s ability to fight off infections. This is particularly problematic during the colder months, as you are more likely to come into contact with germs like cold and flu viruses, which can be very contagious. Vitamin D is known to enhance the effects of certain white blood cells, known as T cells, which are the guardians of your immune system and prevent infections from forming. Vitamin D deficiency can also negatively impact your B cells, which are responsible for making antibodies in response to an infection, as well as natural killer cells, which fight off cancer cells. A Vitamin D deficiency can increase your risk of contracting and spreading infections, such as the common cold and influenza, and may be particularly common in groups who are at an increased risk of deficiency, such as pregnant women.

Vitamin D and Bone Health

Vitamin D is not only critical for helping your bones stay strong and preventing osteoporosis, but it also helps to build and maintain bone density. When you are young and your bones are still developing, Vitamin D is essential for building strong and healthy bones, as it helps your body to absorb calcium and phosphorus, two essential minerals needed for bone growth. As you age, Vitamin D is also needed to maintain existing bone density as you are more likely to experience age-related bone loss, which is known as osteoporosis. If you have a family history of osteoporosis or have experienced a fracture in the past due to weak bones, you may be at an increased risk of developing a deficiency. This is because Vitamin D is known to affect the rate of bone turnover, which can increase your risk of fractures if your bones are not as strong as they should be. In fact, research suggests that Vitamin D deficiency may be linked to an increased risk of fractures, especially in older people.

Vitamin D and Mood

Several studies suggest that a Vitamin D deficiency may be linked to an increased risk of depression, anxiety, and other mood disorders. While it is unclear how Vitamin D may impact the production of neurotransmitters in the brain that regulate mood and emotions, it is believed that a deficiency may disrupt the serotonin and dopamine pathways, which can increase risk of depression. Individuals who are more likely to be at risk of developing a deficiency include pregnant women, people living with certain chronic diseases, such as autoimmune diseases, and those who do not get enough exposure to sunlight. While more research is needed to determine the exact link between Vitamin D and mood and anxiety disorders, it may be advantageous to pay attention to your Vitamin D levels and speak with your doctor if you are experiencing mood changes that you believe may be related to a deficiency.

Vitamin D and Cancer Prevention

Studies have shown that higher levels of Vitamin D are associated with a lower risk of certain cancers, including breast cancer and colorectal cancer. Vitamin D can influence cell growth and plays an important role in controlling abnormal cell proliferation. This may explain how Vitamin D can help to reduce the risk of contracting certain cancers. Further research is needed to understand how exactly Vitamin D impacts cancer prevention, but it is believed that Vitamin D may also play a role in regulating genes that can increase the risk of these types of cancers. People who are more likely to be at an increased risk of developing a deficiency include pregnant women, people living with certain chronic diseases, such as autoimmune diseases, and those who do not get enough exposure to sunlight.

Vitamin D and Heart Health

It is often thought that cardiovascular disease is caused by high cholesterol, hypertension, and other major risk factors. However, Vitamin D deficiency has been associated with an increased risk of heart disease. Research suggests that Vitamin D may also play a role in regulating blood pressure and preventing blood clots. A Vitamin D deficiency can reduce the amount of calcium in your blood, which can lead to an increased risk of heart attack and stroke. People who are more likely to be at an increased risk of developing a deficiency include pregnant women, people living with certain chronic diseases, such as autoimmune diseases, and those who do not get enough exposure to sunlight. Given the link between Vitamin D and heart health, it is important to pay attention to your Vitamin D levels and ensure that you are getting enough. While Vitamin D deficiency can be overcome with proper supplementation, heart disease cannot and may be more difficult to prevent.

Vitamin D and Diabetes

Research suggests that a Vitamin D deficiency may be linked to an increased risk of type 2 diabetes. While it is unclear why Vitamin D may play a role in preventing diabetes, it may be related to its ability to reduce inflammation and regulate insulin production. Individuals who are at an increased risk of developing a deficiency include pregnant women, people living with certain chronic diseases, such as autoimmune diseases, and those who do not get enough exposure to sunlight. Given the link between Vitamin D and diabetes, it is important to pay attention to your Vitamin D levels and ensure that you are getting enough. If you are at a higher risk of developing a deficiency, you may want to pay special attention to your Vitamin D levels and talk to your doctor about supplementation.

Vitamin D and Osteoarthritis

While many people suffer from joint pain and inflammation due to rheumatoid arthritis and osteoarthritis, there are many ways to prevent or slow down the progression of these diseases. One of these is getting enough Vitamin D. Research suggests that Vitamin D may be able to help ease joint pain and reduce the risk of developing osteoarthritis. Individuals who are at an increased risk of developing a deficiency include pregnant women, people living with certain chronic diseases, such as autoimmune diseases, and those who do not get enough exposure to sunlight. Given the link between Vitamin D and joint health, it is important to pay attention to your Vitamin D levels and ensure that you are getting enough. If you are at a higher risk of developing a deficiency, it may be beneficial to pay special attention to your Vitamin D levels and speak with your doctor about supplementation.

Conclusion

While Vitamin D is naturally created by the sun, most of us do not spend enough time in the sun to get the recommended amount of Vitamin D. This is especially true for those who live in Northern climates where the days are shorter and there is less sunlight. There are several foods that are rich in Vitamin D, including fish and fatty fish, but many of us get too little of this vital nutrient. For example, we only need to spend about 10 minutes in the sun to get our Vitamin D needs met. If you’re spending more time indoors, you may want to supplement with vitamin D. That’s it! Keep this article handy as a reference when you’re looking for the best sources of vitamin D – and remember, you can always ask your pharmacist or doctor for advice.

Proactive health care is sometimes the best solution to our healthcare needs. Action is always faster than reaction! If you are interested in learning more about Holistic and Integrative Health Care approaches and have more questions about it then perhaps you should visit our Holistic Health Care Certification program FAQ page

References:

Mayo Clinic – Vitamin D and MS 

Wikipedia Vitamin D

Additional Resources:

Non-musculoskeletal benefits of vitamin D, Sunil J. Wimalawansa, The Journal of Steroid Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, Volume 175, 2018, Pages 60-81, ISSN 0960-0760,

Access Here 

Vitamin D for Health: A Global Perspective, Arash Hossein-nezhad, et al, Mayo Clinic Proceedings, Volume 88, Issue 7, 2013, Pages 720-755, ISSN 0025-6196,

Access Here 

Vitamin D deficiency in Europe: pandemic?, Kevin D Cashman, et al, The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, Volume 103, Issue 4, April 2016, Pages 1033–1044,

Access Here 

Vitamin D deficiency 2.0: an update on the current status worldwide. Amrein, K., Scherkl, M., Hoffmann, M. et al.  Eur J Clin Nutr 74, 1498–1513 (2020).

Access Here 

St. John’s Wort: Its Many Uses

By: Dominick L. Flarey, Ph.D, RN-BC, ANP-BC
Certified Adult Nurse Practitioner
St. John's Wort Plants and flowers laying around three brown medicine bottles

Many people have heard of St John’s Wort (1) (Hypericum perforatum) because of its popularity as a depression remedy, but not everyone is aware of its other use as a burn remedy. First, a little history about this yellow flower. The herb is named after John the Baptist because it normally blooms around his birthday, June 24. The word ‘wort’ is the middle English word for ‘herb’. St. John’s wort is a plant that has been used medicinally for centuries. The most common use of St. John’s wort is for the treatment of depression. The active ingredients in St. John’s wort are thought to be hypericin (2) and hyperforin (3). Hypericin is thought to work by inhibiting the reuptake of serotonin, norepinephrine, and dopamine in the brain.

St. John’s Wort as a Burn Remedy

Long before it was used as a mood stabilizer, St. John’s Wort was traditionally used as a burn remedy. Herbalists in ancient times would make a paste from an infusion of St. John’s Wort and corn starch. This mixture was spread on the burn and dressed with clean bandages made of linen or cotton. Sometimes, an oil made from the flower petals was applied to an inflamed or burned area.

Although herbalists from centuries ago managed to figure out the various uses of this herb, they did not know why it worked. Today science can give us some insight as to why this herb works so well as a natural burn remedy, but its pharmacology is still not completely understood.

Here’s what we do know. The herb contains the chemical compound ‘hypericin’ which has anti-inflammatory, antimicrobial, and antibiotic properties. When applied topically to the skin, burns heal faster and with less scarring. Its anti-inflammatory properties make it a great sunburn remedy as well.

Many people report that they’ve had success using St. John’s Wort as a remedy for other skin ailments like psoriasis and warts. Medical studies are under way that may prove St. John’s Wort as a remedy for these skin ailments  and some types of skin cancer.

St. John’s oil or cream is readily available from health food stores or may be ordered online. Store it in a cool dark place, and it should keep for up to two years. If you’re adventurous and prefer to make your own, follow this recipe:

St johns wort herbs flowers laying in a jar with tea mix

* In blender grind one cup of fresh St. John’s Wort flowers to a pulp

* Place the pulp in a clean jar

* Cover with extra virgin olive oil

* Let the jar stand in a warm place, out of direct sunlight

* Shake/stir it daily for two weeks

* Use a cheesecloth to strain and bottle for use

The color should be a deep red. If it’s pink, use fresher flowers next time.

Burns are serious injuries, and if you ever experience even a minor burn, you should immediately apply first aid by immersing the burned area in cold water. Also, be sure to follow your doctor’s recommendations; however, you can consider using complementary therapies in addition to your doctor’s treatment. It’s quite likely that you will heal faster, and that there will be less scarring.

St. John’s Wort for Depression

The active ingredient in the herb is hypericin, which is thought to work by inhibiting the reuptake of certain neurotransmitters in the brain, including serotonin (4). Studies have shown that St John’s wort is effective in treating mild to moderate depression, and it may also be effective against anxiety and other mood disorders. It is a popular herbal remedy for depression that is thought to work by increasing levels of serotonin in the brain. It usually takes about 2-4 weeks for St. John’s wort to start working for depression, though some people may notice a difference sooner.

There is some evidence to suggest that St. John’s wort may act as a monoamine oxidase inhibitor. Monoamine oxidase inhibitors (MAOIs) are a class of drugs used to treat depression. They work by preventing the breakdown of monoamines, which are chemicals that play a role in mood and emotion. MAOIs can cause a variety of side effects, including fatigue, insomnia, and gastrointestinal problems.

There is a significant body of research indicating that St. John’s Wort is an effective treatment for mild to moderate depression. The mechanism of action is believed to be similar to that of other antidepressants, such as selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs), by increasing levels of neurotransmitters in the brain. Given the lack of serious side effects and the low cost of this herbal remedy, it should be considered as a first-line treatment option for depression.

The dosage of St. John’s wort for depression can vary depending on the severity of the depression and the individual’s response to the herb. A common starting dose is 300 mg per day, divided into three doses. If the depression is mild, this dose may be sufficient. If the depression is more severe, the dose may be increased to 600 mg per day. Typically, patients will take St. John’s wort for at least six weeks to see if it is effective for their depression. If the patient does not see any improvement after six weeks, they may discontinue use of the herb.

table with the words Depression written on it and different supplements tablets laying on the table

Can St. John’s Wort be taken along with Benzodiazepines? Benzodiazepines are a class of drugs that are commonly used to treat anxiety and other mental health conditions. There is some evidence to suggest that this herb may interact with benzodiazepines, and it is therefore important to speak with a healthcare professional before taking these two substances together.

Side Effects and Precautions

The most common side effects of taking St. John’s Wort for depression are gastrointestinal upset, fatigue, and dizziness. Less common side effects include headache, dry mouth, and constipation. Some people may also experience photosensitivity, meaning their skin becomes more sensitive to sunlight. While most side effects are mild and go away on their own, more serious side effects have been reported in rare cases. These include liver damage, mania, and serotonin syndrome.

There are some medications that St. John’s Wort can interact with. These include:

– Antidepressants

– Birth control pills

– Blood thinners

– Cancer medication

– Cyclosporine

– Cancer medications

– Heart medications

– HIV/AIDS medications

If you are taking any of these medications, it is important to talk to your doctor or health care provider before taking St. John’s Wort.

There are a few foods that St. John’s Wort cannot be taken with. These include anything high in tyramine, such as aged cheese, red wine, and cured meats. These foods can cause an increase in blood pressure when taken with the herb. There are other food interactions that are known with St. John’s wort. The herb can decrease the absorption of fat-soluble vitamins, such as vitamins A, D, E, and K. It can also reduce the effectiveness of birth control pills, and it may increase the metabolism of certain drugs, such as antidepressants, leading to reduced efficacy. Therefore, it is best to avoid taking St. John’s wort with birth control pills or other medications.

Is drinking alcohol permissible when taking St. John’s Wort? There are no definitive studies that indicate whether it is safe to drink alcohol while taking St. John’s Wort. However, it is generally recommended that people avoid drinking alcohol while taking any medication, as alcohol can interfere with the body’s ability to process and absorb the medication. Additionally, alcohol can increase the risk of side effects from medications, including St. John’s Wort. Therefore, it is advisable to err on the side of caution and avoid drinking alcohol while taking this supplement.

The side effects of this herb can be divided into two main categories: those that are caused by the plant itself, and those that are caused by the interaction between the plant and other medications. The most common side effect of St. John’s Wort is gastrointestinal upset, which can include nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea. Other side effects that have been reported include headaches, dizziness, insomnia, and anxiety.

Other Uses for St. John’s Wort

The modern use for St. John’s Wort besides treating mild to moderate depression and burns is that it has also been traditionally used for nerve pain, such as sciatica and neuralgia and used for insomnia and menopausal symptoms.

Neuropathic Pain

St John’s Wort has been used traditionally in the treatment of neuropathic pain (5), due to its purported antinociceptive and anti-inflammatory properties. It is thought that these effects are derived from its constituent hypericin, which is a flavonoid found in the plant. Hypericin is a potent inhibitor of voltage-gated sodium channels, which may reduce neuronal hyperexcitability and therefore alleviate nerve pain.

a 3D illustration of the spine, the neck showing a lite up area in red and yellow signifying pain

St John’s Wort has been the subject of research in terms of its efficacy in providing relief for nerve pain. Studies have suggested that this herbal remedy can provide significant levels of analgesia when taken regularly and in doses that are consistent with the recommended guidelines. Additionally, the active ingredient Hypericum perforatum has been shown to have anti-inflammatory properties which may be beneficial in reducing inflammation caused by nerve damage and thus provide alleviation of associated symptoms such as pain.

Insomnia

St. John’s Wort, is an herbal remedy that has been used for centuries to treat insomnia. It works by modulating serotonin pathways and interacting with neurotransmitter receptors in the brain, resulting in improved sleep quality. Studies have shown its efficacy in reducing symptoms of primary insomnia, particularly when combined with other therapies such as cognitive-behavioral therapy.

St John’s Wort has been documented to have positive effects on the treatment of insomnia, with some studies suggesting that it could be as effective as traditional pharmacological treatments. The active constituents in this herb, including hyperforin, flavonoids and terpenoids, are believed to be responsible for its sedative effect.  It is thought to modulate the serotonergic system, which plays a role in sleep-wake regulation, particularly through its effect on the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal axis.

Menopausal Symptoms

The herb has been evaluated for its efficacy in alleviating menopausal symptoms, with research demonstrating that it can be an effective treatment for reducing the severity of hot flashes. The active components found in St. John’s Wort are believed to be Hypericins and hyperforin, which have been suggested to possess a range of pharmacological activities, including modulating serotonin and opioid receptor activity and increasing GABA neurotransmitter levels.  It is also theorized that the active constituents of St John’s Wort, particularly hypericin and hyperforin, possess potent phytoestrogenic properties which may account for its efficacy in alleviating menopausal symptomatology.

Conclusion

In conclusion, St. John’s wort is a beneficial herb with many potential uses. It has been used since ancient times to treat mental health disorders, may have antifungal properties, and can be used to treat skin wounds and burns, as well as neuropathic pain and menopausal symptoms. Additionally, research suggests that St. John’s wort may be useful for treating symptoms of menopause and improving moods and cognitive function in the elderly. With its many potential benefits, it is becoming increasingly popular as an alternative remedy for a variety of ailments. Certified Holistic Nurses will find the information in this article to be particularly useful in their professional practices especially related to education of their clients.

Are you a Registered Professional Nurse who has an interest in learning more about Holistic and Integrative Nursing Practice? The American Institute of Health Care Professionals, Inc. offers a full curriculum of continuing education courses leading to a Certification in Holistic and Integrative Nursing Practice. You may preview the program by accessing here.

References

  1. St. John’s Wort. National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health. US Department of Health and Human Services. National Institutes of Health. access here
  2. Hypericin. Wikipedia. access here
  3. Hyperforin. National Library of Medicine. access here
  4. Serotonin. The Cleveland Clinic. March 18, 2022. access here
  5. Neuropathic Pain. The Cleveland Clinic. December 7, 2020. access here

Suggested Readings

1. Clinical relevance of St. John’s Wort interactions revisited. Simon Nicolussi, et. al. British Journal of Pharmacology. November 19, 2019. Vol 177 (6):1212-1226. access here

2. Hypericum perforatum (St John’s wort) beyond depression: A therapeutic perspective for pain conditions. Nicoletta Galeotti. Journal of Ethnopharmacology. March 2017. Vol 200 (22):136-146. access here

3. St. John’s Wort. The Mayo Clinic. By: Mayo Clinic Staff. February 13, 2021. access here

Stress and Better Diet

Stress is something everyone deals with and cannot escape but that does not individuals must become victims to it.  Chronic stress is a large problem in the modern world and through simple stress management techniques, stress can be reduced.  However, diet also plays a key role.  Maintaining a healthy diet can keep the body healthy and immune system stronger.  In addition, there are a variety of herbs and teas that can also supplement diet to help the body deal with daily stress.

Better balance, supplements and diet can help the body ward off negative effects stress.

 

The article, “How your diet can help reduce anxiety and stress naturally” from the Life Style Desk of  The Indian Express takes a closer look at certain dietary habits that can help strengthen the immune system and reduce stress.  The article recommends fibers, carbohydrates, healthy fats and proteins in proper proportion.  Until the ultimate culprit of stress is identified, a proper diet can help the body fight off sickness caused by stress.  The article states,

“In today’s time, stress and anxiety have become increasingly common. While there are many asanas, workouts, and medications to manage the same, experts believe that eating a balanced diet can also help in myriad ways. “Being stressed or anxious is the body’s way of telling you to slow down, take some time, and reduce the pressure. If left unattended, this pressure goes up to the brain and interferes with the body’s daily responses and concentration levels,” said Ishti Saluja, a nutritionist.”

“How your diet can help reduce anxiety and stress naturally” LifeStyleDesk.  November 14th, 2022. TheIndianExpress.

To read the entire article, please click here

Commentary

Understanding that stress weakens the body physically, especially the immune system, it is important to fortify the body with good diet and supplements.  When the body is in the fight or flight response, it produces cortisol and other hormones that prepare the body for conflict.  Muscles tighten, heart rate increases, and mental alertness increases.  This over a long period of time can cause damage to the body and weaken it.  Good diet can help the body fight off the negative effects of chronic stress.

Diet and Stress

The relationship between stress and diet is a complex one. Diet can influence stress levels, and vice versa. For example, someone who is dieting may be more likely to experience stress due to the restrictions placed on their eating. And someone who is under a lot of stress may be more likely to turn to comfort foods or overeat.
There is some evidence that certain nutrients can help to reduce stress levels.

There are many types of foods that can help reduce stress levels. Some examples include:
1. Foods rich in omega-3 fatty acids: These nutrients are known for their anti-inflammatory properties and have been shown to help reduce stress and anxiety. Some good sources of omega-3 fatty acids include oily fish (such as salmon and tuna), flaxseeds, and chia seeds.  2. Foods high in magnesium: Magnesium helps to relax the body and mind. 3. Foods containing probiotics: Probiotics have been shown to help reduce stress and anxiety.

There are a number of supplements that have been traditionally used for stress relief. These include herbs such as chamomile and valerian, as well as nutrients such as magnesium and vitamin B. While there is some scientific evidence to support the use of these supplements, it is generally considered to be weak.  Omega-3 fatty acids, magnesium, probiotics, and Ashwagandha are all examples of supplements that have been shown to be effective in reducing stress levels.

Among two of the most useful herbs for stress are Chamomile and Valerian. Chamomile (Matricaria chamomilla) is a dried flower that can be found pre-packaged at most health food stores. When brewed as a tea, chamomile is thought to be a relaxant, can be helpful in restoring insomnia, and be a soothing detoxifier of the gut. Chamomile tea infusion has demonstrated anti-anxiety properties in animal studies and shown to be effective in treating human anxiety disorders.  Valerian is an herbal remedy that has been used for centuries to treat a variety of conditions, including stress. The active ingredients in valerian are thought to be volatile oils and valerenic acid, which have sedative and anxiolytic effects. A number of studies have shown that valerian can reduce stress and improve sleep, although the exact mechanisms are not fully understood.

Conclusion

In conclusion ,stress and diet are two important factors that go hand-in-hand. When you are feeling stressed, it is important to eat healthy foods that will help you manage your stress levels. Herbs can help to reduce stress and improve overall health. There are a variety of herbs that can be used, and it is important to find the right one for each individual. With the help of herbs, people can reduce stress and improve their health.  Likewise, when you are following a healthy diet, it is important to manage your stress levels so that you can stay on track. by following these simple tips, you can help improve your overall health and well-being.

Before trying any herbs or dietary changes be sure to consult a physician to ensure you are following the right procedure for yourself.

Please also review AIHCP’s Stress Management Consulting Program and see if it meets your academic and professional goals.  The program is online and independent study and open to qualified professionals seeking a four year certification in Stress Management.  Please also review AIHCP’s Holistic Nursing Program as well.

Additional Resources

“Strengthening the Immune System and Reducing Inflammation and Oxidative Stress through Diet and Nutrition: Considerations during the COVID-19 Crisis”. Mohammed Iddir, etc. al. May 27th, 2020.   Nutrients 2020.   Access here

“Probiotics as Beneficial Dietary Supplements to Prevent and Treat Cardiovascular Diseases: Uncovering Their Impact on Oxidative Stress”. Elisardo C. Vasquez, etc. al. May 7th, 2019. Oxidative Medicine and Cellular Longevity. Access here

“The 13 Best Herbs for Stress”. Siobhan Mendicino. October 7th, 2022. The Botanical Institute. Access here

“How to Use Herbs for Anxiety and Stress”. Tiffany La Forge. December 10th, 2021. Healthline.  Access here

 

 

 

 

Holistic Approach to Treating Cancer and Its Side Effects

Physiotherapist doing accupuncture

Written by Fay Smith

 

Traditional holistic approaches focus on multidimensional wellness aspects involving movement, meditation, and using food, supplements, herbs, essential oils, and homeopathic remedies as medicine.

People may consider these holistic approaches as alternative remedies to help with cancer treatment. But while these alternatives don’t play a direct role in curing cancer, they may help you cope with the signs and symptoms of this disease.

Some cancers like lung, colon, breast, and prostate cancer are more prevalent than others. There are also types of cancer, like mesothelioma, which is directly linked to asbestos exposure.

The Mesothelioma Group’s site provides an informative resource on the stages of mesothelioma, its diagnosis, and treatment options for its symptoms.

What holistic approaches may help manage cancer and its side effects? Are there any benefits to using such methods in addressing the side effects of rare cancers?

This article explores the various ways to manage cancer holistically. Additionally, the article discusses the advantages of managing the disease’s side effects using the holistic approach.

 

Holistic Ways to Help Manage or Treat Cancer and its Side Effects

People often use the term holistic approach or alternative medicine to refer to methods healthcare providers don’t usually offer.

However, researchers continue to study these alternative remedies to help gather evidence to determine whether healthcare professionals can use these methods alongside standard treatments.

When used with standard medical therapies, these evidence-based integrative medicine methods may help relieve various symptoms related to cancer and its treatment.

However, these alternative or integrative treatments generally aren’t potent enough to replace standard medicine completely. So if you or someone you know has cancer, discuss your options with your healthcare provider to find the right mix of alternative and standard treatments.

Holistic and alternative methods that can aid in treating cancer and its side effects include:

  • Acupuncture: This method involves inserting tiny needles into your skin at specific points.

Studies suggest acupuncture may help relieve nausea caused by chemotherapy. Acupuncture may also help relieve pain in people with cancer.

If you wish to try acupuncture, ensure that a licensed practitioner performs this technique using sterile needles.

Acupuncture isn’t recommended if you have a low blood count or if you’re taking blood thinners. So it’s best to consult your healthcare provider before you proceed with this procedure.

Another related method is acupressure, in which a practitioner applies mild pressure instead of needles to various areas of your body to help relieve nausea.

  • Aromatherapy: This technique uses fragrant essential oils for various therapeutic benefits like relieving stress, managing anxiety, and promoting sleep.

You can add oils infused with scents like lavender, chamomile, citrus, and peppermint to your bath water or apply these oils to your skin during a massage. You can also heat the fragrant oils to release their scents into the air.

Aromatherapy may help relieve cancer symptoms like nausea, pain, and stress.

While you can perform aromatherapy on your own or with a practitioner with relative safety, some oils applied to the skin can cause allergies. Talk to a medical provider to determine which oils are best for you.

  • Massage: Massages comprise different techniques that involve kneading your skin, tendons, and muscles to promote relaxation and help relieve stress and muscle tension.

Research shows that massage therapy can be a part of supportive care for cancer patients who are interested in trying this method.

Clinical practice guidelines recommend massage as one approach to help with anxiety, stress, fatigue, depression, and quality of life.

Some cancer centers have massage therapists among their staff. Your healthcare provider can also refer you to a therapist who regularly works with individuals with cancer.

If you decide to have a massage, ask your therapist to avoid tumors, surgical scars, or radiation treatment areas. Meanwhile, if you have bone cancer or other related diseases like osteoporosis, tell your massage therapist to use light pressure.

  • Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT): This method is a form of talk therapy wherein a mental health counselor works to help you see challenging situations better so you can respond to these events more effectively.

CBT may help individuals with cancer manage their sleep problems by identifying and replacing behaviors and thoughts that are causing or worsening their sleep issues, promoting sound sleep.

One study noted that oncology practitioners can consider integrating CBT in various ways to allow nonpharmacologic treatments to aid in cancer symptom management.

 

Benefits of the Holistic Approach in Helping Treat the Side Effects of Rare Cancers

Holistic health is a life approach that encourages individuals to acknowledge the whole person through physical, emotional, mental, social, intellectual, and spiritual aspects. These alternative methods may help individuals deal with various health conditions, including cancer.

Although alternative treatments can’t cure your cancer, they may provide some relief from the signs and symptoms of the disease.

Cancers, including rare ones, can cause numerous side effects, including pain, anxiety, fatigue, nausea, stress, and sleep problems. Holistic treatment methods may help manage these adverse effects.

For example, if you’re experiencing anxiety, try massage, meditation, relaxation techniques, or music therapy to help relieve this symptom.

Meanwhile, if you’re stressed, go for aromatherapy, yoga, or exercise. For pain, consider acupuncture, massage, or hypnosis.

These alternative methods aren’t meant to replace standard cancer treatments, so you must consult a doctor or oncologist about how you can incorporate these remedies to help you cope with cancer and its symptoms.

To learn more about alternative medicine or the holistic approach to help with cancer, contact the National Cancer Institute at 1-800-422-6237 or visit cancer.gov.

If you are interested in more information visit AIHCP’s Holistic & Integrative Health Care Practice Certification Program Here

References

What is Holistic Health?

https://www.wcsu.edu/ihhs/what-is-holistic-health/

Alternative cancer treatments: 11 options to consider

https://www.mayoclinic.org/tests-procedures/cancer-treatment/in-depth/cancer-treatment/art-20047246

Aromatherapy: Do Essential Oils Really Work?

https://www.hopkinsmedicine.org/health/wellness-and-prevention/aromatherapy-do-essential-oils-really-work

Massage Therapy for Health : What the Science Says

https://www.nccih.nih.gov/health/providers/digest/massage-therapy-for-health-science

Cognitive Behavior Therapy for Patients With Cancer

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4577033/

What is Holistic Health?

https://www.wcsu.edu/ihhs/what-is-holistic-health/

 

 

Integrative and Holistic Therapies for Chronic Pain Management.,

Integrative and holistic healthcare specialists can help many individuals best manage their pain with a variety of alternative therapies.  These therapies range from acupuncture to massage therapy and anything in between.  It is important to properly balance any alternative and holistic therapies with the knowledge of one’s primary physician.   This prevents any misuse or improper mixtures with conventional and alternative modalities.   Holistic Nurses and other forms of holistic specialists can help provide the knowledge and guidance in utilizing there therapies properly for chronic pain.

The article, “The Benefits of Integrative Medicine in the Management of Chronic Pain: A Review” by Hirak Trivedi, Tara A. Avrit, Leah Chan, De Mauria Burchette, Rajni Rathore reviews some of the utilized alternative practices for pain management.  In it, they include massage therapy, acupuncture, yoga, and chiropractic manipulation.  From a reviewed study, they come to the conclusion that yoga and physical therapy have beneficial results in pain management.  The article states,

“Chronic pain is a debilitating condition that affects many individuals throughout their daily lives. While it is common to treat chronic pain with pharmaceutical treatments, an approach that has also shown great benefits is the use of integrative medicine, such as massage therapy, osteopathic and spinal manipulation, acupuncture, and yoga. The keywords “integrative medicine,” “pain,” “chronic pain,” and “pain management” with the use of the Boolean operators “AND,” “OR,” and “NOT” were used to identify relevant studies discussing the effectiveness of alternative medicine in the treatment of chronic pain”

The Benefits of Integrative Medicine in the Management of Chronic Pain: A Review. Trivedi H, Avrit T A, Chan L, et al. (October 05, 2022) The Benefits of Integrative Medicine in the Management of Chronic Pain: A Review. Cureus 14(10): e29963. doi:10.7759/cureus.29963

To review the article, please click here

 

Natural and integrative holistic approaches to pain management have proven to be very successful for chronic pain in individuals

Commentary 

Holistic and integrative medicine are two approaches to healthcare that take a more comprehensive view of the patient. Holistic medicine focuses on the whole person, taking into account all aspects of their life and health. Integrative medicine takes a more individualized approach, looking at each patient as a unique individual and tailoring treatment to their specific needs.  HIM practitioners view health as more than just the absence of disease, but rather as a state of physical, mental, and spiritual well-being. Integrative medicine (IM) is a relatively new field of medicine that combines conventional Western medicine with complementary and alternative medicine (CAM).  The use of this type of approach is also very important in chronic pain management.

Holistic Approaches and Pain Management

Holistic and integrative pain management are approaches that focus on the individual as a whole, rather than just the symptoms of pain. This approach acknowledgement that pain is a complex experience that is affected by physical, emotional, social, and spiritual factors. The goal of holistic and integrative pain management is to address all of these factors in order to help the individual find relief from their pain.

There are many types of holistic pain management, but some of the most popular include acupuncture, aromatherapy, and massage therapy. Acupuncture is a form of traditional Chinese medicine that involves inserting thin needles into the skin at specific points on the body. Aromatherapy is the use of essential oils to promote relaxation and healing. Massage therapy is a form of manual therapy that uses pressure and strokes to relieve muscle tension and pain.

The use of massage therapy is one of the more relaxing forms of pain management.  Massage therapy is an effective way to manage pain. It can help to relax the muscles, increase circulation, and reduce inflammation. Massage therapy can be used to treat a wide variety of conditions, including headaches, back pain, neck pain, and carpal tunnel syndrome.

One of the most successful and most used forms of pain management is chiropractic manipulation. Chiropractic is a branch of medicine that focuses on the diagnosis and treatment of musculoskeletal disorders, with an emphasis on the spine. Chiropractors use a variety of techniques to manipulate the joints and muscles of the body, including manual adjustments, traction, and massage. Pain management is a broad term that refers to the various methods used to relieve pain. This can include medication, physical therapy, acupuncture, and chiropractic care.

Finally, Acupuncture is a popular and effective form of pain management that has been used for centuries. It involves the insertion of thin needles into the skin at specific points on the body, which can help to relieve pain by stimulating the nervous system.  There is a growing body of evidence to support the use of acupuncture for pain relief, and it is now considered an effective treatment for a variety of conditions such as headaches, back pain, and arthritis.

Conclusion

Integrative and Holistic approaches to chronic pain management are very successful in helping people cope and deal with pain but they need to be used in unison with a trained professional.  Certified holistic nurses or holistic and integrative healthcare specialists can play a key role in helping individuals utilize alternative therapies and combine them with conventional medications.   Yoga, acupuncture, massage therapy and chiropractic manipulation are all successful ways to manage pain.

Please also review AIHCP’s Holistic and Integrative Healthcare Specialist Program and see if it meets your academic and professional goals.  The program is online and independent study and open to qualified professionals seeking a four year certification in Holistic Nursing.  Qualified healthcare professionals and nurses are welcomed into the program and are eligible for certification after completing the core courses.

Additional Resources

“Clinical Practice Guideline: Chiropractic Care for Low Back Pain”. Gary Globe, PhD. et, al.  Journal of Manipulative and Physiological Therapeutics Volume 39, Issue 1, January 2016, Pages 1-22. Access here

“Complementary and Alternative Medicine in Cancer Pain Management: A Systematic Review”. Priyanka Singh and Aditi Chaturvedi.  Indian J Palliat Care 2015 Jan-Apr; 21(1): 105–115 doi: 10.4103/0973-1075.150202. Access here

“Holistic Alternative Medicine and CAM Definitions”. Val Silver. Holistic MindBody Healing.  Access here

“Pain Management: Alternative Therapy”. WebMD Editorial Contributors. Reviewed by Dan Brennan, MD. October 20, 202. WebMD. Access here

 

Integrative and Holistic Healthcare Practitioner Blog on Ayurveda

Aruyveda medicine is trending in health and wellness conversations across the nation.  Individuals look hard to find ways to compliment their conventional treatments.  Ayurveda provides individuals with a variety of holistic remedies for prevention and cure of numerous illnesses.  Integrative and Holistic Healthcare Professionals can help individuals properly utilize Ayurveda and its many supplements with conventional treatment.  Please also review AIHCP’s Integrative and Holistic Healthcare Practitioner Program

Ayurveda can have many positive benefits for health. Please also review AIHCP’s Integrative and Holistic Healthcare Practitioner Program

 

The article, “What Is Ayurveda, and Why Is It Trending So Big Right Now?” by Brittany Burhop Fallon looks at Aruyveda and why it is so helpful to so many.  She states,

“Ayurveda is wonderful and comprehensive system of holistic medicine developed 10,000 years ago by the Tamil Siddha yogis in the South of India,” says Martha Soffer, internationally acclaimed Ayurvedic Panchakarma expert and founder of Surya Spa. “Their goal was to extend and revitalize their lives and to give them the greatest chance for enlightenment. ”

To review the entire article, please click here

Please also review AIHCP’s Integrative and Holistic Healthcare Practitioner Program and see if it meets your academic and professional goals.  The program is online and independent study and open to qualified professionals seeking a four year certification in Holistic Nursing.