Sunday, June 26, 2016

Essential Oils Makeover

Did you know that oils were used long before modern medicine to take care of various aches and pains? Ancient Egyptians used them when embalming the dead. In biblical times, frankincense and myrrh were given to Jesus when He was a baby. Sacred oils were used in religious rituals. Kings were anointed with oil when crowned. Arabic countries used oils at marriage for their aphrodisiacal effects.

With the changing times, it's becoming more evident to look to the land and what the earth offers for health and wellness. Organic and hormone free foods are on the rise. Getting rid of synthetic products in the household that pose dangers to pets and children is becoming the norm.  More organic and natural brands are popping up which cater to the needs of American households.

I first got involved with Young Living essential oils when a friend suggested that I try a diffuser with a select group of oils. I fell in love. It made my home smell amazing and was very different from the typical smells from store products that have multiple harmful ingredients. It wasn't until I began to attend make'n'takes with friends to learn about the other benefits of the oils.

Diffusing Oils

Diffusing is only one way of reaping the benefits of essential oils. Inhaling the oils surpasses the barriers of the skin or the digestion process. The scent reaches the limbic system of the brain immediately and can elicit emotional responses similar to when you smell something that reminds you of a certain person or your grandmother's house on Christmas day. Physiological and psychological affects occur when the oils reach the pituitary gland. The pituitary gland is responsible for heart rate, breathing, blood pressure, memory, stress levels, and hormone balance. Essentially, one inhalation of lavender oil can change your entire day.

Ways to make the most of breathing them in:

car diffusers, diffuser necklaces, leather bracelets, home diffusers, essential oil candles

Topically Speaking

You can add the oils straight to your wrists or neck like perfume or cologne. Adding a carrier oil (fractionated coconut, olive, avocado, almond, jojoba, etc) can be used to extend the life of the essential oil. Some oils such as Panaway (wintergreen mix) can create a reaction to sensitive skin. With the carrier oil, the dilution helps even the most sensitive skin types wear your favorite blend.

Ways to wear your oils:

perfume, cologne, lotion, face moisturizer, body butter, beard balm, shampoo, conditioner, hair detangler, bug spray, after sun spray, sunscreen, lip balm

To Eat or Not to Eat

One concerning factor for some is the use of oils as a dietary supplement. The beauty of Young Living is that they offer no other ingredients within each bottle. This means that only the purest form of the substance is in each glass container. A single drop of oil can make all the difference when making guacamole or a homemade salad dressing. The best part is that they don't go bad!

Ways to ingest:

citrus (lemon, lime, citrus fresh, orange, grapefruit) in water, stress away (vanilla/lime/lavender blend) in water, use herb oils in your favorite dishes (oregano, basil, taste of italy, marjoram), make a chai blend to add pizazz to your tea, smoothies, or baked items (clove, black pepper, nutmeg, ginger, cinnamon bark), replace gum with peppermint, use Thieves with distilled water as a breath spritzer and to beat a sore throat, veggie capsules (add longevity, frankincense, oregano)

Time is of the Essence

Healing naturally takes time. To switch to essential oils and see a major difference took a while for me to see. Once I began to exchange my products for oil based and homemade items, I could tell a difference in energy, clearer thinking, better health, less fatigue, improved complexion, softer skin,  and overall joy. There's something special about using things that God provided on the earth long before we were even thought of. Let's get back to the basics. One step at a time. One oil at a time.

Yours in health,

Dr. D

Thursday, June 23, 2016

Preserving Your Body & Stabilizing Emotions

Depending on who you ask, emotions can have a positive or negative connotation. Being "emotional" isn't exactly the best adjective to describe someone; however, there is a method to the madness. Expressing emotions benefit the body in more ways that one.

Suppressing emotions can create symptoms that range from a sore throat from not wanting to speak to someone to lung problems when sadness feels overwhelming. Most can probably identify with someone literally becoming a "pain in the neck." In essence, physical issues can be connected to emotional imbalances.

"Everything affects everything." This sentence has become my favorite line. For instance, let's say that you're alone in the woods and get lost. The path is nowhere in sight and the nice allure of a songbird's tune has now morphed into the possible growling of a ferocious wolf! ...or at least that is what's going on from your perspective at the thought of being lost forever in uncharted territory. Your blood pressure begins to increase, sweat pops out on your forehead, the heart starts pounding, and  blood is now being transferred from your organs to the muscles to make a break for it.

You can relate. Although you may not have gotten lost in the woods, it's the same concept. Whenever there's a pop quiz, a deadline that you forgot about, or perhaps leaving your cell phone at home when it is your lifeline to your business, your body goes into fight or flight mode when stress levels rise. Going back to the example in the woods, the emotion of fear is directly related to the psoas (so-as) muscle, which attaches to all of the lumbar vertebrae and discs as well as the inside of the leg. Why is that important? Emotions can create physiological responses with muscles via the central nervous system. If one side of the psoas shortens more than the other, then gait is affected. Meaning... you'll be walking around in circles in the woods for quite some time. Ain't nobody got time for that!

Rather than bottling the emotion and trying to not think about it, acknowledge it and ask yourself why you feel that way. What's the good in the situation and how can you make it better? Sometimes you're powerless to change the situation, such as a car wreck. Yes, it's frustrating. However, it doesn't have to rule your life. Keep in mind that 10% of life is what happens to you, and 90% is how you react. 

Some things are harder to let go of than others. Nonetheless, there are simple ways to find peace during times of trials and suffering. Here are a few...

Ways to Zen Out:

1. Meditate

Meditating isn't just for hippies. The benefits of focusing on the positives of the day increase endorphins - the natural happy drug.

“The fundamental meditation principles of quiet thought, contemplation and reflection offer an antidote to stressful and hectic 21st century living,” says psychologist Elaine Slater. “The process of meditation stimulates the release of endorphins, thus turning off stress hormones and lowering cortisol levels associated with the fight or flight stress response. Meditation triggers the hypothalamus; stimulating the pituitary gland to release endorphins, promoting relaxation, self-healing and overall well being.”
2. Yoga or Dance

Spinal extension and opening up the body actually increase brain activity in the frontal cortex. Lack of exercise decreases brain tissue volume. Atrophy of the brain leads to dementia and cognitive decline. Patients who had higher heart rates and blood pressure when being tested during exercise were shown to have smaller brain sizes. 

With computer and desk jobs that require us to be in a flexed position all day, we need to balance it out with extension exercises on a regular basis to strengthen the spinal muscles.

3. Deep breathing

Your diaphragm is a muscle too. Much like other muscles, it needs its exercise as well. Skimp on building up the diaphragm? Chances of hiatal hernia increase, as well as pain in the lower thoracics and upper lumbars.

Put one hand on your chest and one hand on your stomach. To deep breathe correctly, you want the stomach to rise before the chest. If you're having trouble, then it's certainly something you'll want to practice more often.

4. Visualization

Sport psychology - You're stimulating the same places in the brain as if you were doing the activity. This is an example of what great athletes do to help them prepare for upcoming games and to overcome feelings of anxiety. 

Athletes & stars who use visualization:

Oprah, Arnold Schwarzenegger, Jim Carrey, Kerri Walsh/Misty May-Treanor (3 Olympic gold medals in Volleyball), Lindsay Vonn (gold medalist skier), Will Smith

5. Nature Calling

Study #1: Stanford University study found that a 90 minute walk in nature can affect the brain in a positive way. Half of participants walked through a park while the other half walked in a city.  Those who had the opportunity to experience nature had lower levels of blood flow to the part of the brain that deals with rumination.

“Rumination is a pattern of thought focused on the negative of oneself. We wanted to see how we regulate our emotions. The people in the experiment shifted the way in which they engage with nature. They shifted their attention away from those thoughts.” - Gregory Bratman, PhD
Study #2: South Korean University: Performed functional MRI scans when participants saw nature scenes. There was increased activity in the anterior cingulate gyrus (linked to positive outlook and emotional stability) and the basal ganglia (linked to the recollection of happy memories).

Find what works best for you. Your system needs to be in place long before strife becomes a factor in your life. That way you'll be able to handle the stresses that arise appropriately without creating a funk within your body. Ultimately, it's all about finding the balance. 

Yours in health,

Dr. D

Monday, June 6, 2016

Love versus Fear

Various things compel us to take action. Whether it is to get off the couch after binging on Netflix or powering through a full day of networking, our actions determine the outcome of our lives. My mentor always says, "discipline equals freedom." If you approach the day from being overwhelmed or fearful of too much to do, it may lead to you shrinking back to your den and continuing your crash course in self defense via Marvel action movies. However, to approach your day with love completely changes the paradigm. 


Goal: You want to live a long and healthy life. 

How to get there:

1. 21 Day Challenge: Doing something daily to cement it into your everyday life; in this case, it's adding exercise to your morning routine. 

2. Compound Effect:  As Darren Hardy, SUCCESS magazine's former publisher, so eloquently put it, "It's not the big things that add up in the end; it's the hundreds, thousands, or millions of little things that separate the ordinary from the extraordinary.” For example, the Starbucks you buy today creates a toxic environment for your body when it's doing its best to heal and have a properly functioning immune system. You're also losing money to a short term pleasure. At the end of the year, you will most likely take more sick days, have fatigue, and have less money in your pocket. Maintaining this perspective makes it a little bit easier to turn down.

3. Snoozers are Losers: Chances are people won't be contacting you before 8:00am. Hence why "Early to bed, early to rise..." is completely true. You'll create a person who is "healthy, wealthy, and wise." You're less likely to make poor choices at night, workouts will get done before your work day begins, and you can create the right mindset for the entire day. 

4. No excuses = commendable results. We all have the same 24 hours in a day. It's up to you on how you'll use them. Looking back at your day and noting how each hour is spent can be very eye opening when you feel you've been busy all day but only accomplished a couple tasks at the end of it. 

The most important thing is mindset. Look at each step to get to your goal as an opportunity instead of something that you HAVE to do. It's now something that you GET to do. Count your blessings. Others would love to be in your place with everything that you have going for you. What  do you desire to see when you look back ten years from now? 20 years? 30? Hopefully, you'll look back at your life with feelings of accomplishment and fulfillment. All it takes is one day... one step... one action at a time.

Yours in Health,

Dr. D