Monthly Archives: September 2008

Cold Season Begins: Stay well naturally

Even in lovely Northern California, people around me are beginning to get sick. The change of seasons, stress of back to school and other commitments, along with imperfect eating habits sets people up for decreased immune function.

Here are my top six ideas for staying well:

1. Wash your hands. I know my grandmother used to repeat it. We all thought she was a broken record. But studies have shown without a doubt that people who wash their hands more frequently get fewer colds. (Avoid antibactieral soaps – they create “super bugs” that can contribute to antibiotic resistance.)

2. Avoid sugar. Sugar depresses the immune system for up to four hours after its consumption. I believe that one of the reasons so many people get ill during holiday travels is that they consume way too much sugar and therefore their immune system is rendered helpless.

3. Eat real food. Avoid the junk. Cook foods yourself. Shop the perimiter of your grocery store. Eat your leafy greens. (Check out my website fore more good, healthy recipes:

4. Sleep. Most Americans don’t get enough. It is the main time your body can regenerate and heal itself. If you have insomnia, see someone (preferably a naturopathic doctor) to fix it. But the reality  is that most people just honestly don’t allow enough time for sleep. Stop your projects earlier, avoid excess stimulation before bed (I mean frightening or violent TV or books), and make sure you are sleeping in complete darkness.

5. Take your vitamins. I recommend that even healthy people take a good, balance multivitamin. Unless you have a really perfect diet, which I don’t know that many people who do, it is a good insurance policy. If you don’t want to do a multivitamin, at least take a good fish oil (a pure one without heavy metals, PCBs, and products of rancidity), and perhaps a B complex.

6. If you feel yourself becoming ill, take it easy. Don’t do the ol’ American type-A push through it all. Take the afternoon off. Or sleep in. Eat well, but not large meals – stick with soups or raw foods. Take your probiotics and be particularly gentle on yourself. Be sure to drink lots of water and increase the Vitmin C. (EmergenC effervescent packages are great to help increase hydration while upping your C.)

More later on treating colds. Stay tuned.

Gardens as inspiration

Having special flowers around has always been a passion. One thing I have been impressed by in California are the huge passion flowers growing up walls fences, enormous lavender plants. I think that this plant pictured below (tree peony) may have medical uses, but I don’t use it in my practice. Being around ones that are effective at treating conditions is one of my favorite things about gardening. I had fabulous comfrey plants (great for wound healing), rosemary, and mullein. Fran had these super cimicifuga plants. Which when extracted is great for many menopausal symptoms. She didn’t even realize. For her it was just the color, pattern and design. But there they are with all of their healing potential.

Mist on the tree peony from Fran's yard

Mist on the tree peony at Fran's

Word of the day: breathe

You get what you pay for. This is a fairly well-known fact. And if you are going to bargain shop, try to stick to known quantities: toilet paper, cell phones, vehicles. Not anything in the personal services industry. I will spare you my rant for earlier in the day. Mostly because after making a huge mistake in the hair care industry, being furious, sad and frustrated, I have taken some time to breathe. Oh – and laugh! We often pay lip service to this basic relaxation technique, but for me there is nothing that makes more sense to add to your daily routine.

The research that has been done on stress reflects that we don’t need to pack up and move to a tropical island to live healthfully. But we do need methods or managing stress. There are all kinds of fancy tools and gadgets, and if that is what will work for you, go for it. But breathing is free. Deep yogic breathing can be learned easily. But just the regular ol’ deep breathing that you can imagine sitting there at your computer is very effective.

Try it. Drop your shoulders. Pay attention to how shallow your breathing is when you are working. Then go deep. Take a long, slow, deep breath. Maybe even count to 5 as you breathe in, hold for 5, then 5 more on the exhale. Nothing magical about those numbers. Use what works for you. That was probably enough to make a difference. But try scooting your chair back, closing your eyes, and let 5-10 minutes slip away from you. Focusing only on the air coming in and out of your lungs. If the next task pops into your head, give it a little imaginary pat on the head, and go back to your breathing. The task will still be there.

Naturopathic Medicine Comes to Petaluma, California

Welcome to my blog. Thanks, Kelley, for getting me moving!

My husband and I just relocated from New Hampshire to Petaluma. My practice is now open. It is called Willowbend Natural Medicine.

As a naturopathic doctor I work to find and treat the cause of disease. I focus on women’s health issues, including infertility, menopausal issues, restless leg issues, depression and anxiety. A typical treatment plan will be individualized to suite your needs, and may include nutrition, lifestyle changes, supplements, herbs and homeopathy. Focus on the whole person is critical to the healing process.