MENTAL HEALTH by DESIGN: How to Edit Your Mental Health Equation for Improved Mental Health

Updated September 8, 2020

mentalhealthequation

Every person’s mental health equation, including yours, is uniquely different and yet every person’s mental health equation shares common denominators.

According to Madhuleena Roy Chowdhury‘s Positive Psychology article What is the Mental Health Continuum, “The mental health continuum is a range having mental health and mental illness at the two extreme ends.  The shift between the distinct markers of healthy point, problem point and disorder point are determined by a person’s internal and external faculties.” Below if the image from Madhuleena’s article.  Please visit the link and read.

continuum

I have always been envious of people who appeared to be able to consistently stay at the healthy, happy end of the continuum.  After years of experiencing a range of mental health continuum points for a variety of reasons, and recovering from depression using a variety of strategies, I am able to stay close to the healthy, happy point of the mental health continuum most of the time. It is much easier to be resilient during times of stress when one is healthy and happy. Greater resilience during challenging times is my ongoing quest. To start a return to, and stabilization at the healthy, happy point of the mental health continuum; one needs to look at their mental health equation and the common denominators they share with others.

A common denominator is a commonly shared theme or trait.  You will no doubt have heard people speak about the common denominators for success in business, relationships and people who live to be healthy past 100.  A common denominator is also a common element in a mathematical equation. In math class you learn to rewrite your math equations to change the undesirable answer. When things are not adding up in your life you may be prompted to start subtracting out potential causes; analyzing and rewriting your mental health equation by subtracting out contributing factors and adding in supports, can help you to restore and maintain better mental as well as physical health.

In the midst of the additional uncertainties and stressors added to our lives and the lives of the people around us due to the Covid-19 pandemic, adding in additional supports would be a good place to start to restore and maintain better mental health. These have been really challenging times for all of us, setbacks are not uncommon, especially in the ability to cope with stress and maintain resilience.  According to the Psychology Today article Pandemics and Psychoneuroimmunology, our mental state can be a determining factor in how significantly we are affected by the pandemic.

“Viruses use the same receptors as neuropeptides to enter into a cell, and depending on how much of the natural peptide for a particular receptor is around and available to bind, the virus that fits that receptor will have an easier or harder time getting into the cell. Because the molecules of emotion are involved in the process of a virus entering the cell, it seems logical to assume that the state of our emotions will affect whether or not we succumb to viral infection.” Dr. Candace B. Pert

“COVID-19 reminds us to include a discussion of psychological factors in being able to fight off the virus by maintaining optimal immune functions. Staying positive, remembering to laugh, and maintaining hope and optimism may be crucial to maintaining a strong immunity and our very survival. We must also grieve the tragic loss of so many who have fallen from this deadly virus.” James F. Zender, PhD, The New Normal 

There are many free mental health supports available, depending on where you live. I have listed several supports at the end of this post. Subtracting out some of the mental health challenging factors, like those I highlight below, may have to wait until a later time after isolation, when your regular healthcare provider and other qualified practitioners can guide you. You now have the time to do your research and planning, make diet changes, add in exercise and mind body strategies to help you in your quest to sustain a healthier, happier mental health state and ‘thrive in spite of everything’.

During times of Covid challenges I often think of Roberto Benigni’s Life is Beautiful,  where “a father interprets the world for his young son upon their arrival in the bestial barracks of a Nazi concentration camp. In the horror of a concentration camp, the father’s task is impossible but simple: invent a story that will help him and his son survive”.

During a very dark mental health continuum point in my life, a caring family member suggested I read Man’s Search for Meaning. It seemed like a very depressing pick at the time. “In Man’s Search for Meaning, psychiatrist and neurologist Viktor Frankl (1905-1997) wrote about his ordeal as a concentration camp inmate during the Second World War. Interestingly, he found that those who survived longest in concentration camps were not those who were physically strong, but those who retained a sense of control over their environment.but turned out to be just what I needed.” I am so grateful for the recommendation.

How do you rewrite your mental health equation?  

You can rewrite your mental health equation by subtracting out or cancelling your well-being challenging contributing factors and adding in strategies to help eliminate your depression and other mental challenges. The combined approach strives to ‘right the wrongs’ that may be a part of your depression/mental health equation; allowing your body’s natural healing mechanisms to heal your brain and restore your brain chemistry and function to normal. It took me years of research and trial and error strategies, while also working on my multiple physical health equations to achieve the improved health results I have. This post focuses on the mental health equation factors that I and my clients have addressed to achieve improved mental health.  Obviously brain damage and past trauma are additional factors that will need to be addressed with additional medical and psychological supports. This is a process that will take time. It is not as simple as the equation image below.

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I suffered from depression at various times in my life.  My understanding and definition of what was possible about being depression free were limited due to everything I was told and read. My father had suffered from depression and I was told once I had two episodes of depression in my life I would probably need to be on medication for the rest of my life for it. I changed my definition of what I believed was possible, I am a bit of a rebel; and then looked for ways to make it happen. I analyzed my depression equation, started researching and then started editing my depression equation, subtracting out potential causes and adding in supports. I am now 100% depression free and have been for many years. I do not take medication or regular supplements for depression. Not only that, I feel upbeat and happy and blessed! I am finally at the envied, happy end of the mental health continuum. My quest now is becoming more resilient using strategies to be better prepared to cope with the unexpected challenges that will come my way, like pandemics.

You may need to rewrite your definition of what is possible in terms of becoming depression free so that your brain and body are on the same page. This may require a paradigm shift. Every person may not be able to stop taking medications, but you may be able to reduce your medications and improve your mental health by editing your mental health equation.

Do not reduce or stop taking your prescribed medications or start editing your depression equation without the supervision of your regular healthcare provider.

“According to all known laws of aviation, there is no way that a bee should be able to fly. Its wings are too small to get its fat little body off the ground. The bee, of course, flies anyway. Because bees don’t care what humans think is impossible.”[1]

Understanding the Genetics and Environmental Factors of Your Depression Equation

Although you may have a family history of depression or mental illness, it does not mean that you will have or continue to suffer mentally.  Genetic predispositions are inherited but do not always become expressed, allowing for a condition, unless they are turned on by environmental factors. Although you cannot subtract out genetic factors, you can prevent genetic predispositions from activating due to environmental influences, preventing the related health challenge.

Environmental factors or external factors, like your lifestyle, including work and life balance, diet, exercise, pollution and physical, mental, emotional and spiritual stressors can affect your brain chemistry and brain function, mood, resilience, ability to cope and stay positive. You have control over most of these factors and for those out of your control, there are supports that you can add in to cancel out or minimize their negative impact.

Your general health, diet, nurture, supports, medications and habits can affect your physical, mental, emotional and spiritual health. This is an area where you may have to make some hard and radical decisions, which should only be considered and implemented under the care of qualified health practitioners.

“After completing an enormous study, scientists have dismissed claims that single gene variants, or even a small group of them, can dictate susceptibility to depression. Instead, they suggest that any genetic risk for depression likely arises from very large numbers of variants, each contributing a small effect.”

“In an American Journal of Psychiatry paper, the team concludes that early theories about ‘depression candidate genes’ are wrong and that studies identifying them have likely done no more than produce ‘false positives’.”[2]

“A genetic predisposition (sometimes also called genetic susceptibility) is an increased likelihood of developing a particular disease based on a person’s genetic makeup. A genetic predisposition results from specific genetic variations that are often inherited from a parent. These genetic changes contribute to the development of a disease but do not directly cause it. Some people with a predisposing genetic variation will never get the disease while others will, even within the same family.”[3]

“However, it appears that even with a genetic predisposition to mental illness during birth, resistance to mental illness is possible. Resilience is heightened because of a favorable nurturing environment after birth or perhaps due to exercise. People should create enriched environments where they help and support each other, exercise actively, and gain resistance to stress.”[4]

Environmental pollutants can become a part of your body pollution and mental health equation. As a teenager I pumped leaded gasoline at my father’s gas station. The combination of toxic gas ingredients negatively affected my brain.

Benzene, toluene, and xylene; and the additives ethanol, methanol, and methyl tertiary butyl ether are efficiently absorbed through the lungs so living, working and commuting in polluted environments can add to your toxic load.

Reported in the Meet the Neurotoxins: The Toxins That Threaten Our Brains post “Leading scientists recently identified a dozen chemicals as being responsible for widespread behavioral and cognitive problems. But the scope of the chemical dangers in our environment is likely even greater. Why children and the poor are most susceptible to neurotoxic exposure that may be costing the U.S. billions of dollars and immeasurable peace of mind.”

I started to suffer from depression at that time.  While investigating my depression equation later in life, when I once again suffered from depression after off gassing of a new house, I made the environmental pollution connection and implemented whole body detoxification, a two step detox; through natural strategies to deal with my accumulated body pollution.

From Architectural Digest – What You Need to Know About Off-Gassing: Even after an install, a project’s furnishings and finishes can leach harmful chemicals into the air for years through a process called off-gassing. Here’s how you can combat it.

To fully understand the impact of dangerous off gassing check out Harmful Toxins in Living Environments and their Hazardous Chemical Impact.

“There are nearly 1000 substances which have been identified as having, or possibly having, neurotoxic effects. Exposure to sufficient amounts of these chemicals, either in the work place or elsewhere, can cause neurological and brain problems. Likewise chronic exposure (long term, lower level exposure) can also have damaging effects.” Toxic Exposures – Brain Injury

I knew that my brain had been negatively affected by many toxins, adding to my brain and body pollution, and compromising my brain function. At some point in my exposure history my blood brain barrier became compromised, allowing later toxins to easily enter my brain. Do you know what your body pollution looks like? Read my blog post on body pollution to find out.  A combination of whole body detoxification and BodyFeedback Interview and Therapy treatment for a client, eliminated a disabling 50+ year caterpillar phobia. After understanding that my compromised blood brain barrier allowed toxins to readily enter my brain, nervous system and body I learned the importance of protecting it. Read more at my blog post: NATURAL CURES: Protecting and Repairing Your Blood Brain Barrier to Restore Mental Health. If you are having mental health issues, your blood brain barrier may be allowing toxins to pass through into your brain and affecting your overall health.

According to The Brain’s Way of Healing by Dr. Norman Doidge, reporting on a NASA “self training” technique to prevent epilepsy, “astronauts were getting epilepsy from their exposure to rocket fuel”.

“A cocktail of harmful toxic chemicals has been detected in every person tested in a cross Canada study of pollution in people.”[5]

“In this sample of young adults with low levels of lead exposure, higher blood lead was associated with increased odds of major depression and panic disorder. Exposure to lead at levels generally considered safe could result in adverse mental health outcomes.”[6]

“Lead exposure in childhood appears to have long-lasting negative effects on mental health and personality in adulthood, according to a study of people who grew up in the era of leaded gasoline. The findings reveal that the higher a person’s blood lead levels at age 11, the more likely they are to show signs of mental illness and difficult personality traits by age 38.”[7]

“Vert and colleagues in Barcelona identified significantly increasing rates of depression among those exposed to a range of air pollutants, with doubling odds of depression”

“Emergency department attendance for depressive episodes were significantly higher for particular combinations of air pollutants at certain times”[8]

What we eat effects not only our physical, but also mental health. Although you may not have been advised to look at your diet when presenting at your doctor’s office with symptoms of depression, anxiety or stress; research has shown that diet is a key factor in brain health.  I was eating a fairly healthy but limited diet during my major period of depression due to food allergies.  Study through a Nutritional Consulting course provided me with an in depth knowledge of nutrition, detoxification pathways and health recovery.

“Few people are aware of the connection between nutrition and depression while they easily understand the connection between nutritional deficiencies and physical illness. Depression is more typically thought of as strictly biochemical-based or emotionally-rooted. On the contrary, nutrition can play a key role in the onset as well as severity and duration of depression. Many of the easily noticeable food patterns that precede depression are the same as those that occur during depression. These may include poor appetite, skipping meals, and a dominant desire for sweet foods. Nutritional neuroscience is an emerging discipline shedding light on the fact that nutritional factors are intertwined with human cognition, behavior, and emotions.”[9]

“Studies have compared ‘traditional’ diets, like the Mediterranean diet and the traditional Japanese diet, to a typical ‘Western’ diet and have shown that the risk of depression is 25% to 35% lower in those who eat a traditional diet. Scientists account for this difference because these traditional diets tend to be high in vegetables, fruits, unprocessed grains, and fish and seafood, and to contain only modest amounts of lean meats and dairy. They are also void of processed and refined foods and sugars, which are staples of the ‘Western’ dietary pattern. In addition, many of these unprocessed foods are fermented, and therefore act as natural probiotics.”[10]

In a new study published in the July 15, 2020, online issue of Neurology®, the medical journal of the American Academy of Neurology, study author Ka He, M.D., Sc.D., of Columbia University in New York states “Omega-3 fatty acids have been shown to fight inflammation and maintain brain structure in aging brains. They have also been found to reduce brain damage caused by neurotoxins like lead and mercury. So we explored if omega-3 fatty acids have a protective effect against another neurotoxin, the fine particulate matter found in air pollution.”  When my brain was extremely challenged after the off gassing of our second new build I searched relentlessly for solutions and found someone (not medical or scientific) who claimed that the Omega 3 resolved their depression so I started taking large doses of non GMO unbleached lecithin and after some time noticed improvement.  I now understand why it helped, having read this research.  I recommend that my clients take Omega 3 daily for improved mental health. For more on the steps I took to depression free read  my how to guide, The Whole Person Well-being Equation.

Dr. Emily Deans, in her Psychology Today article, reports that randomized controlled trials show that the right diet can improve depression.[11]

Stress, stress idling and stress sensitization can be contributing factors to depression, anxiety, compromised coping and resilience; factors in the mental health equation. Achieving a strong resilience and ability to cope with what life presents takes a lot of work, I am still a work in progress. Do not lose hope! These qualities are key to improving your mental health equation. Implementing ongoing stress management strategies throughout your life is important to living depression free and enjoying  good, consistent mental health and ability to cope and roll with life’s challenges. Hopefully stress management will be the first ‘go to’, as well as diet changes and exercise that doctors prescribe to people presenting with anxiety, depression and stress symptoms; not just a suggestion or after thought. You can read more about the impact of stress in my blog post on stress title STRESS IDLING & SENSITIVITY: A Modern Day Health Challenge.

“If the stress is continued or prolonged, it can leave adverse effects on body’s immune, cardiovascular, neuroendocrine and central nervous systems. When chronic stress goes untreated it can result into serious disabilities like insomnia, weakened immune system, high blood pressure, anxiety and muscle pain. It can also play a role in developing major disorders like depression, heart disease and obesity.”[12]

“Life is a balance of holding on and letting go!” – Rumi

Sometimes past stress, trauma, memories and history are unable to release from the brain or body, resulting in ongoing unwanted symptoms or triggering. For one client, a 50+ year debilitating caterpillar phobia was dislodged using a combination of whole body detoxification and energy tapping to break the connection. Body scan visualizations and energy tapping can be combined to encourage the body to dislodge past stressors, traumatic events, memory and history, eliminating symptoms.  Find out how to customize and practice body scan visualizations in my book. Visualization is just one of the body’s amazing abilities.

The human body was created with many amazing abilities, often referred to as ‘the doctor within’. Understanding and utilizing those often misunderstood and mostly forgotten powers is crucial to well-being and eliminating depression. Exploring ways to continually develop and maintain strength of mind and body will enable you to better endure the demands of life with grace and confidence; ultimately allowing you to stay focused on the pursuit of meaningful goals. Change and fortitude often start with a healthy dose of fear. Sometimes fear comes through a ‘wake up call, something is really wrong’, like the debilitating symptoms of depression.

“Mind-body interventions (MBIs) such as meditation, yoga and Tai Chi don’t simply relax us; they can ‘reverse’ the molecular reactions in our DNA which cause ill-health and depression, according to a study by the universities of Coventry and Radboud.”[13]

You can find the summarized strategies that I used to edit my physical and mental health equations to improve my health, eliminating depression, toxicant induced loss of tolerance (TILT), multiple chemical sensitivities (MCS), stress sensitization and multiple food allergies; in my book The Whole Person Well-being Equation. You can also find out about the additional supports that I use through my blog posts and social media pages which are listed at the end of this post.

If you are not one of the lucky people who finds themselves at the happy end of the mental health continuum daily, with superior resilience; do not despair. Many people find themselves regularly sliding back and forth to different points on the mental health continuum during challenging times. Set backs happen when it comes to dealing with anxiety, depression, coping with stress and achieving resilience. The goal, obviously, is to stay closer to the healthy, happy end of the continuum all the time.  The strategies, information and resources I have provided can help you with that goal, they have helped my clients reach their mental and physical health goals. Success in an endeavour is about consistent commitment.  Keep putting one foot in front of the other when you feel despair, keep moving forward, even if only by baby steps. You can do this!

There are going to be many hard days in life. I have had many and know life will continue to come with challenges and hard days. Consider creating a mantra to help you on the hard days that feel mentally and hope challenging.  Check out my mantra in my blog post SURVIVAL MANTRA: Words to get you through the hard times

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Follow my road map to help you edit your mental and physical health equations, restoring your health so that you can get on with your life and the pursuit of meaningful goals and relationships. Find alternate mood protecting and enhancing supports at My Green Medicine Cabinet. Consult your regular healthcare provider before stopping medications or adding in alternative supports. 

Consider escaping to a farmacy, garden, green space or botanical experience

‘for your physical, mental, emotional and spiritual ails’

escapetothefarmacy2

Escaping to, immersing in and eating from nature and botanical experiences brings so many body, mind and spirit benefits!

Using distractions as therapy has been one of my ongoing tools for coping with life’s challenging days. Although I no longer suffer from depression and my brain functions better than it has in year, I still use distraction therapy on days when life’s challenges mount, like those that present from the multiplier effect of having a large family and the present day challenges presented by the pandemic. There are many mind immersing ‘distraction therapy’ tools available. Follow my posts where I share some of my favourites.

These are very difficult times and existing mental health and addiction challenges can be magnified. If you have people in your life who are exhibiting threatening mental health behaviours towards themselves or others, it is important to take action through setting boundaries and incident reporting.  Failure to take note and action could result in serious consequences for you or other people, including your loved ones. The recent events in Nova Scotia highlights the seriousness of radical changes in a person’s mental state that led to the death of so many innocent people. Utilize and recommend the mental health supports that are readily available during the pandemic, through governments and community services. Check out the resource list below.

I started researching for my book and writing while I was recovering. My brain and some of my body are still ‘a work in progress’. There is more editing and healing to do, in terms of my 100% brain function goals. One of my left over quirks/deficiencies from my past chemical brain damage, is that while having a conversation a word will occasionally come out in a sentence that is not the word I intended.  Not sure where that comes from. My brain substitutes an alternate, unrelated word for the word that I intended. People tend to be a bit confused at times, as well as me.  Sometimes adds a bit of humour! It isn’t always easy to laugh at oneself when one malfunctions, physically, mentally, emotionally or spiritually. You will find many blog posts that I have written throughout my recovery from physical and mental challenges on my blog.  At the very end of this post I have listed several blog posts about brain challenges, so scroll to the bottom of this post to read more.

Wishing you whole person well-being!

Elisabeth Hines, C.N.C., C.B.P., Holistic Wellness Practitioner, Health by Design, http://www.mybodycanhealitself.ca/

This blog post contains Amazon affiliate links for qualified product purchases.

My Bookshttp://www.mybodycanhealitself.ca/books.htm

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https://www.facebook.com/LIVE.DEPRESSION.FREE/

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Must Read Books for mental health recovery:

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[1] http://en.wikiquote.org/wiki/Bee_Movie

[2] Scientists quash claims about single ‘depression genes’, Medical News Today, https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/324884

[3] What does it mean to have a genetic predisposition to a disease? US National Library of Medicine, https://ghr.nlm.nih.gov/primer/mutationsanddisorders/predisposition

[4] Involvement of Genetic and Environmental Factors in the Onset of Depression, US National Library of Medicine, https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3897684/

[5] Pollution in People, Toxic Chemical Profiles of 11 families and 5 adults across Canada, https://environmentaldefence.ca/report/report-pollution-in-people-toxic-chemical-profiles-of-11-adults-and-5-families-across-canada/

[6] Blood lead levels and major depressive disorder, panic disorder, and generalized anxiety disorder in U.S. young adults, US National Library of Medicine, https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2917196/

[7] Childhood lead exposure linked to poor adult mental health, Science Daily, https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2019/01/190123112330.htm

[8] Air pollution, mental health, and implications for urban design: a review, Journal of Urban Design and Mental Health, https://www.urbandesignmentalhealth.com/journal-4—air-pollution-and-mental-health.html

[9] Understanding nutrition, depression and mental illnesses, Indian Journal of Psychiatry, US National Library of Medicine, https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2738337/

[10] Nutritional psychiatry: Your brain on food. Dr. Eva Selhub, Harvard Health Blog, March 26, 2020, https://www.health.harvard.edu/blog/nutritional-psychiatry-your-brain-on-food-201511168626

[11] A Dietary Treatment for Depression: A Randomized controlled trial shows the right diet can improve depression. Dr. Emily Deans, Psychology Today, March 17, 2017

[12] Chronic Stress Leads to Anxiety and Depression, Annals of Psychiatry and Mental Health, https://www.jscimedcentral.com/Psychiatry/psychiatry-5-1091.pdf

[13] Meditation and yoga can ‘reverse’ DNA reactions which cause stress, new study suggests, Science Daily, https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2017/06/170615213301.htm

Resources:

Check with your local and national government websites to find supports for your region and country.

Mental Health Commission of Canada – https://www.mentalhealthcommission.ca/English/external-covid-19-resources-general-public

Taking Care of your Mental Health During COVID-19, Government of Canada, https://www.canada.ca/en/public-health/services/diseases/2019-novel-coronavirus-infection/mental-health.html

Canadian Mental Health Association – https://cmha.ca/news/covid-19-and-mental-health

Diet quality and depression risk: A systematic review and dose-response meta-analysis of prospective studiesJournal of Affective Disorders, January 15, 2018.

Diet and Depression. Dr. Monique Tello, Harvard Health Blog, January 29, 2020.

Dietary patterns and depression risk: A meta-analysis. Psychiatry Research, July 2017.

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More of my blog posts to help you edit your mental health equation:

THE POWER OF MIND BODY HEALING TO BECOME SYMPTOM FREE – http://mybodycanhealitself.ca/wordpress/the-power-of-mind-body-healing-to-become-symptom-free/

BACK TO ‘BALANCE’: Body, Mind & Spirit Life Balancing Self-Care Strategies – http://mybodycanhealitself.ca/wordpress/back-to-balance-body-mind-life-balancing-self-care-strategies/

YOUR BODY’S INTERNAL COMMUNICATION SYSTEM: Improving crucial messaging for better health – http://mybodycanhealitself.ca/wordpress/your-bodys-internal-communication-system-improving-crucial-messaging-for-better-health/

SELF-TALK REPROGRAMMING: How to Change How Your Body & Brain Response ‘for a healthier you’ – http://mybodycanhealitself.ca/wordpress/self-talk-reprogramming-how-to-change-how-your-body-brain-respond-for-a-healthier-you/

THE GIFT of a Healthy Brain: Strategies to Protect and Restore Optimum Brain Function – http://mybodycanhealitself.ca/wordpress/the-gift-of-a-healthy-brain-strategies-to-protect-and-restore-optimum-brain-function/

INDOOR AIR QUALITY: A Potential for Compromised Brain, Nervous System and Overall Health – http://mybodycanhealitself.ca/wordpress/indoor-air-quality-a-potential-for-compromised-brain-nervous-system-and-overall-health/

BRAIN & NERVOUS SYSTEM FUNCTION RECOVERY: More is Possible! – http://mybodycanhealitself.ca/wordpress/brain-nervous-system-function-recovery-more-is-possible/

HEAVY METALS: Dangerous To Your Brain – http://mybodycanhealitself.ca/wordpress/heavy-metals-dangerous-to-your-brain/

BRAIN INJURY: Natural Strategies for Recovery – http://mybodycanhealitself.ca/wordpress/brain-injury-natural-strategies-for-recovery/

HISTORY REVISITED: Lessons Learned from Pandemics of the Past

apothecaryMNT

In the midst of a worldwide pandemic, while waiting for life saving vaccinations, looking back in history can provide insights for additional strategies to alleviate symptoms, and potentially save lives. Medieval medicine has come a long way to advance medical care. The Medical News Today article, What was medieval and Renaissance medicine, reported that the local apothecary or wise women would provide herbs and potions.(5) Folk medicine of the Middle Ages dealt with herbal remedies, prayer and religious rituals in the treatment of ailments by monks and nuns. Monastery gardens grew an abundance of medicinal herbs.

“A group of physicians treated victims of the 1918 influenza pandemic with botanical medicines and the treatments were very successful.”(2) Research review concluded “we feel confident that herbs that historically have been used successfully to alleviate flu symptoms also work to normalize cytokines, reducing the production of the proinflammatory cytokines responsible for the challenging symptoms of influenza. Although unproven, the clinical evidence of symptom reduction appears to be a result of a quieting of the cytokine storm”.(2)

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The Spanish flu outbreak of 1918–1919 was the most devastating pandemic on record, killing between 50 and 100 million people worldwide. Fresh air (4),  sunlight, scrupulous standards of hygiene, reusable face masks, disrupting the transmission of the virus by banning public gatherings, closing schools and isolating infected people, are credited with substantially reducing patient and staff infections and deaths.

“Scientists suspect that cytokine storms caused many of the fatalities in the 1918 flu pandemic and the 2003 outbreak of SARS, a virus related to the one that causes Covid-19.”(1)  A cytokine storm is an overproduction of immune cells, including cytokines, that can result in lung inflammation and fluid buildup; often leading to respiratory distress and secondary pneumonia. Scientists are now studying the use of Traditional Chinese Medicine and natural therapies for the possible treatment of Covid-19 (7)

Inflammation is your body’s protective response to injury and damage, required for natural ongoing healing and repair. Chronic inflammation resulting from stressors, pollution, toxins, poor diet and some drugs creates unhealthy inflammatory responses. Lifestyle, an anti-inflammatory diet, herbs and essential oils are important considerations for supporting a healthy immune system response; ensuring pandemic preparedness.

“Doctors are learning that one of the best ways to reduce inflammation lies not in the medicine cabinet, but in the refrigerator. By following an anti-inflammatory diet you can fight off inflammation for good.”(6)

An anti-inflammatory diet requires avoiding refined carbohydrates (white breads and baked goods), fried foods, sugar, red meat (burgers, steaks), processed meats (hot dogs, sausages), margarine, shortening and lard. Micronutrients are crucial to supporting the body to initiate a healthy immune response. A diet rich in anti-inflammatory foods, like tomatoes, olive oil, green leafy vegetables (spinach, kale, collards), nuts, fatty fish (salmon, mackerel, tuna, sardines), fruits, herbs and spices provide supports to ensure healthy inflammatory responses. Anti-inflammatory herbs and essential oils can help your body to offset skewed and chronic inflammatory responses.  .

Hildegard of Bingen, St. Hildegard, was a medieval medical practitioner educated in classical Greek medicine who prescribed folk medicine remedies. Herbs and aromatics were used to both prevent and cures diseases and plagues. Hildegard catalogued both her theory and practice in two works. Physica and Causae et Curae.

“Her hallmark is to emphasize the vital connection between the ‘green’ health of the natural world and the holistic health of the human person. Viriditas, or greening power, was thought to sustain human beings and could be manipulated by adjusting the balance of elements within a person. Thus, when she approached medicine as a type of gardening, it was not just as an analogy. Rather, Hildegard understood the plants and elements of the garden as direct counterparts to the humors and elements within the human body, whose imbalance led to illness and disease.

She became well known for her healing powers involving the practical application of tinctures, herbs, and precious stones. She combined these elements with a theological notion ultimately derived from Genesis: all things put on earth are for the use of humans.”(3)

Hildegard of Bingen’s books provide a vast historical portrait of medicinal herb usage and successes.

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My confidence in historically proven medicinal herbs and aromatics, like that of St. Hildegard, and my study of botanical herbs through the teachings of Maria Treben, a world renowned herbalist from Austria; have encouraged me to stock my apothecary  to be prepared for my symptoms and those of my clients. In this age of uncertainty, which has been experienced many times throughout the centuries, self sufficiency in addition to sound medical advice, is a wise health strategy.

 greenfirstaid

You can find an excellent source of wild crafted and organic herbs. You want clean herbs so make sure of your source to avoid buying herbs grown in polluted areas and countries.

  

Elisabeth Hines, C.N.C., C.B.P., Holistic Wellness Practitioner, Health by Design, www.mybodycanhealitself.ca

Paid Links:  “As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases (books above)”

Sources:

(1)    What is a cytokine storm?  https://www.knowablemagazine.org/article/health-disease/2020/what-cytokine-storm

(2)    Herbal Treatments for Pandemic Influenza: Learning from the Eclectics’ Experience – https://www.researchgate.net/publication/244889601_Herbal_Treatments_for_Pandemic_Influenza_Learning_from_the_Eclectics’_Experience, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hildegard_of_Bingen

(3)    Hildegard of Bingen and the Greening of Medieval Medicine – https://muse.jhu.edu/article/4342

(4)    The Open-Air Treatment of PANDEMIC INFLUENZA – https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4504358/

(5)    Medical News Today. What was medieval and Renaissance medicine? – https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/323533

(6)     Harvard Health Publishing, Harvard Medical School: Foods That Fight Inflammation – https://www.health.harvard.edu/staying-healthy/foods-that-fight-inflammation

(7)    Publications on the use of TCM to treat COVID-19 – Learn Integrative East-West Approaches to Treat Covid-19 – https://exploreim.ucla.edu/covid19/publications-on-traditional-chinese-medicine-tcm-to-treat-covid-19/

Deadly immune ‘storm’ caused by emergent flu infections – https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/02/140227142250.htm

Into the Eye of the Cytokine Storm – https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3294426/

The cytokine storm of severe influenza and development of immunomodulatory therapy – https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4711683/

Practical Solutions to Preventing and Treating COVID-19 Using Lifestyle, Vitamins, and Herbal Treatments https://www.researchgate.net/publication/340607489_Practical_Solutions_to_Preventing_and_Treating_COVID-19_Using_Lifestyle_Vitamins_and_Herbal_Treatments

Cytokine Storm – An Over Reaction of the Immune System – https://www.newscientist.com/term/cytokine-storm/

Essential Oils and Their Major Compounds in the Treatment of Chronic Inflammation: A Review of Antioxidant Potential in Preclinical Studies and Molecular Mechanisms – https://www.hindawi.com/journals/omcl/2018/6468593/

Effects of a Combination of Thyme and Oregano Essential Oils on TNBS-Induced Colitis in Mice – https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2233768/

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FIGHTING AGE & STRESS RELATED IMMUNE DECLINE: Implementing strategies to keep you protected.

Updated September 12, 2020

Immune decline

It has long been accepted that as people age, their immune systems declines (termed immunosenescence). Your thymus gland, the small organ behind your breast bone, plays an important role in the immune and endocrine system. According to medical science the thymus gland starts to atrophy during puberty, and also sometimes due to extreme stress. In spite of the atrophy, it generally continues to play an immune roll in a healthy individual; still training T lymphocytes to fight infection and cancer for your lifetime. As you age you have fewer immune cells, and the ones you do have, don’t communicate with each other as well as they did when you were younger. That means they take longer to react to harmful germs, viruses and to heal from injury. Research reports that this deficiency also impacts whether or not a vaccine will be effective; “B lymphocyte deficiencies have been found which contribute to lower vaccine response in the elderly as well as in some younger individuals”.

From the New England Journal of Medicine article titled Covid-19 and Immunity in Aging Populations — A New Research Agenda “As we age, health conditions associated with aging, particularly noncommunicable diseases such as heart disease, cancers, and metabolic and autoimmune diseases, combined with treatments for these diseases and with immune senescence, substantially affect responses to vaccines and infectious diseases.”

What’s stress got to do with your immune system health? According to Maier, professor of psychology at the University of Colorado. “In a real, true sense, stress makes you physically sick”.  You can read more about his research below in the section on stress.

Watching the daily news reports highlight the vulnerability of seniors and the immune compromised to viruses, in particular to the current ‘pandemic’. Despite being a healthy senior, I like many older people, feel vulnerable. If I contracted the virus and suffered respiratory complications; my life, as I had it planned out, might take an unscheduled turn. I will continue to heed scientifically researched based information on protecting and maintaining a healthy immune system as I continue to age, as well as, follow government recommendations for health protection.

Our Canadian government and healthcare system have implemented recent measures to protect the senior and immune compromised population, and with everyone’s cooperation, these measures should be enough to keep everyone safe. Please follow the World Health Organization and your country and county’s public health department recommendations for coronavirus protection, your important first step to immune protection.

WHAT CAN YOU DO TO BETTER UNDERSTAND & FIGHT AGE & STRESS  RELATED IMMUNE DECLINE?

Modifications and supports:

The thymus is the small organ where T-cells mature.  According to the LIVESCIENCE article Immune System: Diseases, Disorders & Function; “This often-overlooked part of the immune system, which is situated beneath the breastbone (and is shaped like a thyme leaf, hence the name), can trigger or maintain the production of antibodies that can result in muscle weakness”, the Mayo Clinic said. How can you determine what factors weaken you? What is on your weak list?

According to research, you can reverse thymic atrophy, rejuvenating immune system responses. A Springer Link research article titled Reversing the immune ageing clock: lifestyle modifications and pharmacological interventions, indicates that  you can fight your ‘forcasted’ immune decline. Below are a few summarized points from the research. Visit the link to read the research – https://link.springer.com/article/10.1007/s10522-018-9771-7

• high levels of physical activity in adulthood have a beneficial effect on thymic output
• optimal nutrition is an important determinant of healthy ageing and plays a significant role in maintaining healthy immune function
• zinc found in shellfish, meat, nuts, seeds, beans, nutritional yeast and wheat germ is a trace element required for multiple immune cell tasks
• reservatol found in red grapes, peanuts and berries, has immune modulating (enhancing) effects
• a wide range of pharmacological agents with anti-immunesenescence (anti-immune decline) properties have been identified

Taken from a BMC (part of Springer Nature) Immunity & Aging research article titled CMV and Immunosenescence: from basics to clinics – “Alone among herpesviruses, persistent Cytomegalovirus (CMV) markedly alters the numbers and proportions of peripheral immune cells in infected-vs-uninfected people. Because the rate of CMV infection increases with age in most countries, it has been suggested that it drives or at least exacerbates “immunosenescence”. This prompts the question ‘would adding in natural antivirals regularly offset this contributing factor’?

“Growing evidence” reported in the Frontiers of Immunology, Nutritional Immunology article “It is increasingly recognized that nutrient intake, above what is currently recommended, may beneficially affect immune function, modulate chronic inflammatory and autoimmune conditions, and decrease infection risk. This includes both macronutrients (lipids such as n-3 PUFA) and micronutrients (zinc, vitamin D and vitamin E), in addition to phytochemicals and functional foods (probiotics and green tea). Many of these nutritive and non-nutritive food components are related in their functions to maintain or improve immune function including inhibition of pro-inflammatory mediators, promotion of anti-inflammatory functions, modulation of cell-mediated immunity, alteration of APC function, and communication between the innate and adaptive immune systems.”

Your Internal Pharmacy:

Your complex body was created by God (your Creator) with many amazing abilities. Every moment of every day, without any action on your part there are hundreds of processes taking place and abilities available to you, even while you are asleep. The healthy human organism, with its complex high-tech operating system; is continually self-detecting, self-diagnosing, self-renewing, self-healing, self-repairing, self-cleaning and self-protecting. The human body has an exceptional internal pharmacy, including your immune system, which when functioning properly produces necessary threat responders, natural analgesic, anti-depressant, anti-anxiety, anti-stress, sleep-inducing, immune system strengthening and gastrointestinal normalizing chemicals.[1]  Many of the body’s processes and abilities are automatic and are often taken for granted. Your body’s pre-programmed amazing abilities and God’s ‘farmacy’, (no not pharmacy); nature’s bounty, can naturally provide you with what your body needs to have good physical, mental emotional and spiritual health. Learn more about your internal pharmacy and how to care for it to maximize health, including a healthy immune response.

Nutrition/Diet:

The immune system has many protective and signalling functions which require an adequate availability of micronutrients to maintain a healthy immune response.  Diet deficiencies of many of these necessary micronutrients are often found in the elderly and immune compromised. The Nutri-Facts article titled Micronutrients and the immune system states “The nutrients collaborate and complement each other in the diverse processes of the immune system”. It is crucial that we ingest an adequate supply of healthy foods with diverse micronutrients to maintain a healthy immune response.  Many drugs are associated with the depletion of nutrients that are necessary for a health immune system. Corticosteroids like cortisone and prednisone cause increased zinc excretion. Speak with your doctor and a nutritional consultant to help you maintain a healthy nutrient rich diet. Homemade soups with a large variety of quality ingredients are an excellent way to get a diverse array of immune supporting micronutrients.

According to the Frontiers in Immunology article Immunosenescence (immune decline) and Its Hallmarks: How to Oppose Aging Strategically, “The close connection between nutrition, intake of bioactive nutrients and supplements, immune function, and inflammation demonstrate the key role of dietary strategies as regulators of immune response and inflammatory status, hence as possible modulators of the rate of immunosenescence. The link between aging and disease is in part a reflection of the functional changes in the immune system of older people”. You can read more at https://www.frontiersin.org/articles/10.3389/fimmu.2019.02247/full

The Blue Zones research article, Boost Your Energy and Immunity with These 13 Super “Blue” Foods,  reports that you can improve your immunity by making changes in your diet. A diet focused on beans, greens, sweet potatoes, nuts, olive oil, oats, barley, fruits, green or herb teas, turmeric, garlic, shitake mushrooms and goats milk; can boost your immunity. The Blue Zones Solution lays out a proven plan to maximize your health based on the practices of the world’s healthiest people. Dan Buettner reveals how to transform your health using smart eating and lifestyle habits gleaned from new research on the diets, eating habits, and lifestyle practices of the communities he’s identified as blue zones—those places with the world’s longest-lived, and thus healthiest, people. Visit the Blue Zones website to read more at https://www.bluezones.com/2020/03/boost-your-energy-and-immunity-with-these-13-super-blue-foods/.

Are you negatively affected by certain foods or other triggers?  Determining the root cause of these can provide you with useful information, allowing you to avoid them and preventing risky immune system distractions and other health challenges.  THE WEAK LIST:  A Necessary Well-being & Protection Tool .  Learn how to use your body responses to identify health challenges in my blog post Health Protection.

Immunotoxicity:

Immunotoxicity is an ongoing challenge for all ages. Immunotoxicity is defined as adverse effects on the functioning of both local and systemic immune systems that result from exposure to toxic substances including chemical warfare agents. The personal care, home and garden products that we use daily come with potential immunotoxic challenges, disrupting the body’s natural and necessary immunosurveillance, immunoassessment and immunoresponses. Check out your personal health care products for their potential immunotoxicity ratings at the Environmental Working Group Skin Deep Database – https://www.ewg.org/skindeep/#.

Fragrance in personal care, laundry and household products also contain immunotoxic risks. Check out the Less Toxic Guide for recommendations for less toxic options for other products you regularly use – http://www.lesstoxicguide.ca/.

Workplace exposure to toxins can result in immunotoxicity. Environmental immunology has provided highly tangible benefits in the study of the immune system. The Research Gate article Occupational Immunotoxicology, states that “Occupational immune diseases are some of the most common illnesses that affect workers including inflammation, allergy, respiratory disease, autoimmunity, or other immune modulation resulting in suppression following exposure in the work environment”. Workplace protection for employees from toxins is an employer responsibility.

Stress, Stress Idling and Stress Sensitivity:

According to the Health Psychology Open article titled Psychological intervention based on psychoneuroimmunology; “Beliefs, attitudes, spirituality, and psychological perspectives can dramatically affect our health, disease course, and overall well-being. Psychological and social disorders are also capable of altering the immune system, which may influence vulnerability to the disease and its evolution.” https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6444782/

In an American Psychological Association article title A new take on psychoneuroimmunology, research is pointing to a circuit linking the immune system and brain connects illness, stress, mood and thought in a whole new way:

“For more than a decade, researchers have known that behavioral and psychological events can influence the immune system. But now new research shows that the immune system sends signals to the brain “that potently alter neural activity and thereby alter everything that flows from neural activity, mainly behavior, thought and mood,” said Maier, professor of psychology at the University of Colorado. In a real, true sense, stress makes you physically sick,” explained Maier. “In addition, many of the changes over time in mood and cognition from day to day are driven by events in the immune system of which we are unaware.”

Do you feel like you are stress idling? Are you sensitive to stress?  According to research reported by the American Psychological Association article Stress Weakens the Immune System, “Managing stress, especially chronic or long-term stress (even if it’s not intense), may help people to fight germs”.  Germs include bacteria, viruses, fungi, and protozoa. The best action you can take to keep your immune system strong and able to handle ‘germs’, providing virus protection, is to manage your stress.

According to research “individuals who are sensitized to stress become so over time through repeated exposure to external, as well as endogenous, stressors.  As such, increasingly minor stressors maintain the disorder than were required to trigger its initial onset”. Being chronically stressed out and stress idling indicate that the body’s stress response is flawed. This can interfere with normal body functions including the necessary communication for accurate immunosurveillance, immunoassessment and immunoresponse.

Managing stress is a necessary ‘must do’ to ensure a healthy immune response.  Ensuring a healthy life balance through a more ‘health promoting’ priority list with stress management strategies is an important immune support for all ages, especially those who are elderly, immune compromised, stress idling or stress sensitive. From the American Institute of Stress article by Jim Porter, Are You Stress Sensitive, “My recommendation for stress sensitive people is to take up meditation. Meditation may actually help you rewire your nervous system. One study of mindfulness meditators (at the University of Wisconsin) showed that people who meditated for 30 minutes every day for 8 weeks were actually able to increase the size of their left prefrontal cortex, the part of the brain responsible for happiness and contentment.” Learn more at STRESS:  A Modern Day Challenge -. http://mybodycanhealitself.ca/wordpress/?p=1115.

Mindfulness and meditation:

Mindfulness is the psychological process of purposely bringing one’s attention to experiences occurring in the present moment without judgment.  Meditation is an effective tool in this process. Mindfulness practices can reduce rumination and worry which can lead to stress, anxiety and depression; all detrimental to a healthy immune system. Mindfulness comes with many physical and mental health benefits. Consider creating and repeating a personal mantra, another mindfulness practice, which can help calm the mind. “Neuroscientists, equipped with advanced brain-imaging tools, are beginning to quantify and confirm some of the health benefits of this ancient practice, such as its ability to help free your mind of background chatter and calm your nervous system”. Check out my Survival Mantra mantra which helps me get through the hard times when self doubt and stress mounts.

Mindfulness and meditation have been researched for their immune system supporting benefits. According to a Research Gate article titled Meditation and Immune Function: “Practicing meditation has several benefits, including reducing the severity of psychological disorders and stress-related ailments, increasing immune function, and delaying the progression of various diseases. Researchers have found that Mindfulness Meditation, Transcendental Meditation, and Qigong interventions have positive effects on individuals’ NK (natural killer) cell activity and proportions, B-lymphocyte numbers, and telomerase activity, while also keeping CD8+ T-cell numbers stable during times of high stress. In addition, meditation has also been shown to increase antibody response in people injected with the influenza vaccine. Similarly, HIV positive individuals practicing meditation showed increased T-cell and NK cell counts and NK cell activity, slowing the progression of the virus.”

https://www.researchgate.net/…/329479535_Meditation_and_Imm… I listen to the Ultimate Zen Meditation playlist on Spotify for my meditation ‘time outs’ as well as silent meditation on breathing, ‘peace’ and family.  The research based ‘ways to’ and ‘how to’ meditate suggestions on this Science of People post are helpful to get started.

Mindfulness is an interesting word.

Tai Chi:

According to a Harvard Health Publishing article titled Tai chi gives immune system a boost, “Tai chi might have a strong effect on the immune system because it manages to bring exercise, relaxation, and meditation together in “one behavioral intervention,” the researchers said. They theorized that tai chi enhances T cell activity by quieting the nervous system’s ‘fight or flight’ response, which can, in certain circumstances, interfere with the immune system.” https://www.health.harvard.edu/newsletter_article/In_Brief_Tai_chi_gives_immune_system_a_boost

Yoga:

New research published in the Journal of Behavioral Medicine shows that yoga can boost your immune system, helping you fight off viruses and protect you from the damaging health consequences of chronic inflammation. https://www.psychologytoday.com/ca/blog/urban-survival/201802/new-research-how-yoga-boosts-your-immune-system

Herbs:

Herbs have long been used to support immune system health. Immune stimulating herbs are recommended to be used short term to help you to resist infection and provide support when exposed to contagious illnesses. Immunomodulating herbs are slower acting, with a more prolonged, deep immune balancing, toning effect.

o Allium sativum – Garlic bulb
o Baptisia tinctoria – Wild Indigo, root
o Commiphora mol-mol – Myrrh, resin
o Echinacea spp. – Purple coneflower, root and seed
o Eupatorium perfoliatum – Boneset, leaves and flowers
o Sambucus canadensis and S. nigra – Elderberry, flowers and fruit
o Spilanthes acmella – Toothache plant, leaves and flowers
o Usnea spp. – Usnea lichen or old man’s beard, whole lichen body
o Zanthoxylum clava-herculis and Z. americanum – Toothache tree, bark
o Panax ginseng – root
o Siberian ginseng, Eleutherococcus senticosus – root
o Astragalus membranaceus – root
o Licorice root, Glycyrrhiza glabra L. – root
o Cat’s claw, Uncaria guianesis and U. tomentosa – root and stalk bark
o Ashwagandha, Withania somnifera – root

https://www.chestnutherbs.com, https://journals.sagepub.com/doi/pdf/10.1177/1534735403256419, https://www.sciencedirect.com/topics/biochemistry-genetics-and-molecular-biology/astragalus-membranaceus, https://academic.oup.com/ajcn/article/70/3/491s/4714940, https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3252722/

Essential Oils:

Many essential oils support the immune system by either fortifying the immune response or eradicating bacteria and viruses that can make you sick. Essential oils have specific immune-strengthening properties: antibacterial, antiviral, antifungal, antiseptic and anti-inflammatory. https://fullscript.com/blog/essential-oils-for-immune-health

• Eucalyptus – Immune-modifying and antimicrobial effects of Eucalyptus oil and simple inhalation devices. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/20359267
• Frankincense – Modulation of the immune system by Boswellia serrata extracts and boswellic acids. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/20696559
• Oregano – Antiviral efficacy and mechanisms of action of oregano essential oil and its primary component carvacrol against murine norovirus. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/24779581
• Thyme – Antibacterial and immunity enhancement properties of anaesthetic doses of thyme. https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S1018364713000918

The preceding information is just a small collection of strategies to get you started on fighting your ‘forcasted’ age related immune decline and immune vulnerability. Check with your regular healthcare provider before implementing changes in your healthcare supports, there may be contraindications due to age, medications or other factors. Do not stop taking your prescribed medication without consultation with your doctor.

For an in depth immune system review to discuss your body’s immunosurveillance, immunoassessment and immunoresponse and how to ensure they are working for you at maximum capacity, book a consultation.

For more health promoting strategies:

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Elisabeth Hines, C.N.C., C.B.C., Holistic Wellness Practitioner, Health by Design, www.mybodycanhealitself.ca, elisabethlhines@gmail.com

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EMERGENCY & TRAVEL PREPAREDNESS: Naturally Ready for the Unexpected

Emergency Preparedness Hawaii

T’is the season for mingling and the many unwelcome tag along guests that come along for the ride.  Being prepared for health emergencies is always important.  We are all ‘a work in progress’ on our own unique well-being path. A strong immune system and ‘stress free’ state of readiness would be ideal, but is not always possible in our busy lives.  Good nutrition, adequate rest, life balance and quality self care are essential for health emergency preparedness and maintaining good health on a daily basis.  Whenever I am travelling I initiate virus preparedness protocols to be ready for any viruses I encounter at airports and on flights. Scroll down the page to learn how I prepare.

To stay up to date on virus concerns for travelers visit your local public health department and the World Health Organization websites.

Long wait times for appointments and treatments, and drug shortages and unavailability may require some self-help strategies for pain and inflammation management, virus and bacteria solutions, stress management and yet undiagnosed symptoms and conditions.

Besides the usual recommended emergency preparedness items you can add:

  • Self-help strategies and tools found in The Whole Person Well-being Equation
      • Clear and concise information on how to investigate and promote the elimination of your symptoms

      • Detailed strategies for eliminating body pollution, body detoxification aids for specific types of environmental toxins, detoxifying foods and recipes, herbal detoxification bath recipe for full body detoxification using the body’s largest organ – the skin

      • Self-help therapies and tools to improve your health

      • How to use your brain’s operating system for improved health

      • How to redefine your definition of ‘possible’ for improved well-being

      • How to identify and eliminate limiting thinking and beliefs for improved well-being

      • How the mind/body connection and research prove the power of visualization

      • How to use visualization to improve your health

      • 40 general body scan visualizations that can improve your health

      • 18 customized body scan visualizations to fight diseases and cancer

      • How to customize visualizations to fight disease and cancer using a diagnosis, prognosis and information from questions you ask your doctor

      • How to customize visualization equations to eliminate unwanted habits and associations

      • How to customize affirmations for improved well-being

      • How to use specific foods to repair DNA damage

      • How to rejuvenate your body using foods

      • How to rejuvenate your body and stack your well-being odds regardless of your environments

      • How to tap into your body’s natural ‘fountain of youth’

      • Renewed hope that you can become symptom free and regain your health

      • Muscle response testing for health protection instructions – learn the basics to protect you from offending foods and harmful substances (a variety of discreet methods you can use while shopping before you buy). If you are inhaling, absorbing or consuming multiple substances daily that weaken you or cause irritation, inflammation or interference; your immune and other systems can be compromised, interfering with your body’s ability to fight illness and disease.

      • How to focus your body’s natural identification, awareness, understanding, knowledge, belief, responding, healing and protection mechanisms using self-help therapies. These abilities can be compromised in persons with conditions (e.g. MCS), diseases and cancers.

      • Get your copy of The Whole Person Well-being Equation today, a packed DIY self-help guide to wellness and health protection.

Ebook Cover New_1-1

  • Green healthcare supports to help you naturally manage unwelcome and unexpected viruses and bacteria and ride life, holiday and travel roller coaster challenges.

greenhealthcare

balance test

Have you noticed that there are times when you feel sudden weakness or nausea, your balance is altered or one side of your body is weaker than the other side?  Are there times when all of a sudden you feel faint or your brain chemistry has been ‘knocked off’ of its normal balance? Muscle response testing is a form of neuromuscularbiofeedback, an applied kinesiology biofeedback testing method.  It uses feedback from the body and brain (your virtual black box) as information.  Other forms of biofeedback include taking a pulse, taking a blood pressure and listening to the heart with a stethoscope.” In the 1950s, Dr. Arthur Coca identified that his wife’s heart rate would increase if she ate a food that provoked an inappropriate or allergic response. This was, as Dr. Coca put it, ‘accidentally acquired knowledge’ which he then applied to patients as well as his wife. The results were very effective and consistent.”  Similarly muscle response testing provides information about foods and substances ingested, inhaled and applied to the body as well as environmental factors including stressors. Anything can cause disruption to the natural communication and function within your body.  Learning how to read your body’s responses after exposure to suspected causes can provide you with health protection. A daily dose of accumulated ‘balance disruptors’ can seriously interfere with the body’s normal healthy required communication and function, compromising physical, mental, emotional and spiritual health.  Learn how to protect your health by paying attention to your body’s responses.

MY EMERGENCY PREPAREDNESS PACKING: 

My travel ready backpack will include a variety of easy to pack essential oils for emergency readiness, a diffuser, personal inhalers, carrier oil and empty capsules.  I have a ready to spray, non toxic hand sanitizer with a mix of protective oils with me wherever I go:

  • pain and inflammation – frankincense, turmeric, marjoram, lavender (I put a combination of frankincense, turmeric and marjoram in a capsule to manage inflammation and pain. I also apply essential oils to my spine using the SOC neurologic and inflammatory protocols when needed)
  • virus and bacteria readiness – oregano, thyme, cinnamon, eucalyptus, clove, rosemary, tea tree ( I put a combination of protective oils in a capsule before social gatherings and boarding a plane.  I add several drops to the wick in a personal inhaler and a hand sanitizer spray bottle for easy use while travelling.  I also apply essential oils to my spine using the SOC infectious protocol when needed.) Face masks can provide a layer of protection from all viruses. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) does not currently recommend that people in the U.S. wear face masks in public to prevent infection. Proper and regular hand washing and covered coughing are important protection strategies. The CDC has issued guidelines on two different kinds of face masks — surgical masks and N95 respirators — which are commonly worn by health care professionals and those who are already sick.
  • stress management – lavender, marjoram, Siberian fir, wild orange (I use these oils in my diffuser and the lavender and marjoram on my reflexology points, pulse points on the neck, wherever I feel tension and on my inner wrists and ankles. I also apply essential oils to my spine using the SOC emotional protocol when needed)
  • digestive upsets – digestive blend of Anise Seed, Peppermint Plant, Ginger Rhizome/Root, Caraway Seed, Coriander Seed, Tarragon Plant, and Fennel Seed essential oils. ( I use this blend with a carrier oil and massage in clockwise circles on my abdomen for digestive system upsets.  The SOC digestive protocol, applied to the spine provides further relief when needed)

Get started on packing these emergency preparedness essential oils!

A ‘ready for the unexpected’ backpack with a copy of The Whole Person Well-being Equation book and a selection of the oils listed would make a great ‘green gift’ for a loved one!

Adding in more mind body and natural strategies to your emergency and holiday preparedness can help fight climate change, by reducing your environmental footprint!

If you would like help getting started on your natural emergency preparedness contact me at elisabethlhines@gmail.com.

Elisabeth Hines, C.N.C., C.B.P., Holistic Wellness Practitioner, Health by Design, www.mybodycanhealitself.ca

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REBOOTING YOUR HEALTH : Revive Your Body’s Amazing Abilities

reboot

Holistic health strategies, like lifestyle medicine address the root causes of disease and symptoms. The human body came equipped with efficient innate abilities that when working properly, will not only protect you from pathogens and environmental threats, but also fight disease.

“I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well.” Psalm 139:14

“Everyone has a doctor in him or her; we just have to help it in its work. The natural healing force within each one of us is the greatest force in getting well.” Hippocrates, the Father of Medicine, Greek Physician (460BC-377BC)

Like a computer, for optimum operation, the body and brain require ongoing undisrupted surveillance and communication to effectively detect and respond to threats. When your computer stops functioning optimally you can do a ‘reboot’ or ‘system restore’. Holistic health strategies help your body to naturally reboot and system restore; allowing your body to return to functioning as intended in God’s pre-programmed factory default settings.

reboot definition:

  • to start up again after closing or shutting down to boot up again waiting for a computer/program to reboot
  • to start (something) anew to refresh (something) by making a new start or creating a new version 
  • to start anew to make a fresh start 
Daily exposure to toxins in the water we drink, the air we breathe, the food we eat and the products we absorb through our skin, hair and nails results in an ongoing circulation of these disrupting forces as our body attempts to detoxify them. Even if your body has efficient detoxification pathways, this ongoing flood of toxins can disrupt normal communication, surveillance and responses while your body is working hard to detox them. This is an even more of a health challenge for little ones and pregnant moms. The human body was not designed to function with an ongoing level of toxic, disrupting body pollution. Think about how a virus affects the normal operation of your computer.  You need to eliminate the virus for the disruptions to stop and normal computer function to resume.  A steady wash of toxins in your body also causes ongoing disruptions and compromised functioning. Ongoing effective detoxification like that provided with the two step detoxification strategy below allows all of the body’s normal productions (internal pharmacy), functions (immunoresponse) and other amazing abilities to work as originally designed.

 

I recommend a two step detoxification process to limit the ongoing internal disruption caused by toxins, a crucial step to ‘reboot’ your body’s natural, amazing abilities:

 

Step #1 – Stop adding to the body’s detoxification load and body pollution. This can be accomplished by ‘greening’ your environments, diet, personal care products, symptom relief options and cleaning products.

Step #2 – Eliminate your present body/mind pollution by promoting the body’s natural detoxification pathways effectiveness using a variety of body detoxification strategies and aids.

Regardless of what your health challenges are, this two step process if the place to start for health recovery and reboot.  Get started today using holistic health strategies which will naturally reboot your body’s naturally functioning and amazing abilities.  You can find more holistic health strategies and expanded detoxification aids and recipes, including botanical spa therapy in my book The Whole Person Well-being Equation. 

Ebook Cover New_1-1

Wishing you restored health and healthy longevity so that you can fully focus on living your life and the pursuit of meaningful goals!

Elisabeth Hines, C.N.C., C.B.P. Holistic Wellness Practitioner, Health by Design, www.mybodycanhealitself.ca

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YOUR BODY’S INTERNAL COMMUNICATION SYSTEM: Improving crucial messaging for better health.

bodybraincommunication

The nervous system is the body’s main communication system and it’s ongoing, undisrupted flow of information is the most important requirement for optimum health.  It gathers, analyses and uses information from the body and the environment to keep you healthy.  If, when and how the body and mind respond depends on healthy messaging.

So what happens when something interferes with the information transmission that your body and brain need for proper functioning and responding? Well think about your computer and what would happen if it had a virus or your power supply was disrupted or damaged.

powersupplyfailure

Immunosurveillance is a term used to describe the processes by which cells of the immune system look for and recognise foreign pathogens, such as bacteria and viruses, or pre-cancerous and cancerous cells in the body. Healthy immunosurveillance, immunoassessment and immunoresponse requires ongoing, undisrupted accurate messaging throughout the body and brain.

We all know that many things can interfere with our computer’s communication and performance.  There are also many factors can interfere with the body and brain’s communication and performance.

What can you do?

To keep your body’s internal communication from disruptions and interference, providing for healthy responding and optimum function you will need to be vigilant, proactive and protective.

  • Wash your hands often with non-toxic soaps.
  • Use all natural personal care, laundry, household and lawn care products.
  • Avoid medications and drugs where possible and use natural symptom relief strategies.
  • Eat foods that are as close to their natural state as possible, unprocessed and free of additives and preservatives.
  • Avoid air pollution by implementing protection measures – air purifiers, etc.
  • Use all natural personal hygiene products.
  • Avoid all sources of radiation.
  • Body pollution is the result of your body’s inability to get rid of toxins and other foreign substances. Detoxification is a two step process that helps your body to get rid of body pollution: Stop adding to your body pollution and remove your body’s existing body pollution.
    • Drink clean water and eat plenty of vegetables and fruit to promote natural detoxification.
    • Add strategies to improve detoxification..

How can you learn more about how to protect and improve your health naturally?

YOUR BODY CAN HEAL ITSELF: Follow My Road Map to Get There

Elisabeth Hines, C.N.C., C.B.P. Holistic Wellness Practitioner, Health by Design, www.mybodycanhealitself.ca

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‘ITCHING’ TO RUN or FIGHT: Managing a ‘Ready to Take Off’ Stress, Fight or Flight Response

Itching

Remaining cool, calm and collected has been my ongoing goal to ensure that I stay grounded during times of stress, emotional upset and tragedy. My baseline calm default was altered in the past due to stress trauma and at times had me ‘idling’ on the edge. When stress and grief became a factor in my life, my ‘itchy’, ready to respond sympathetic nervous system ‘gas pedal’ would activate. This disrupted my overall balance, exaggerating my ‘not yet’ overcome vulnerabilities.

Some people have an over active, under active or faulty blood sugar, hormone, immune, heart or blood pressure response. Medically and generally accepted as ‘out of a person’s control’. An over active or run away stress, fight or flight response is seldom given the same understanding or acceptance. Extreme cases may be diagnosed as post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).

So what do you do if you find yourself somewhere between an ‘itchy’ stress, fight or flight response and PTSD? I am not going to mislead you by telling you there is a quick fix.  I have been working on restoring my baseline calm default for years using a variety of natural strategies and have made gains and experienced set backs.  The good news is the gains have been greater than the set backs. I am a ‘work in progress’, daily keeping my focus on my ultimate goal of ‘think, feel and respond like a Buddha’. You can find many of the holistic strategies that I have used in the past that have helped me to make huge gains in my health in my book The Whole Person Well-being Equation. Below you will find some additional and expanded strategies that I use and you can use to help you.

  1. Maintain life balance. This can be a challenge when you are going through major stress provoking times of your life.  Sometimes I feel like I am on a roller coaster ride when these major life stressors come my way. I have worked really hard to maintain life balance over the years and help clients and workshop participants to assess, restore and maintain life balance so that they are better prepared when the major life stressors come their way. You can learn about my life balance tools and workshops by clicking on the image below.  Board with
  2. Create a mantra.  This can help reprogram how your body and mind respond, gradually resetting your base ‘calm’ default. One of my mantras is ‘I chose to remain cool, calm and collected in the midst of stress, drama and the unexpected’.
  3. Use breathing. I recently started this practice again after a major life stressor. Inhaling to a count of ‘1,2,3’ while exhaling to a count of ‘1,2,3,4,5,6’ prompts the parasympathetic nervous system to slow your heart, putting on the brakes to prevent an out of control stress, fight or flight response. When at home I set my cell phone timer to remind me every hour to repeat the breathing sequence several times. When away I can ignore it when it goes off or take a few moments in my busy day to repeat the breathing sequence.
  4. Use imagery and visualization. Combined with the breathing sequences, imagery and visualization help engage my parasympathetic nervous system’s braking action, decreasing my stress hormones and ‘itchy’ sympathetic nervous system’s gas pedal response. Lily of the valley has been a favourite image for me since I was a child visiting my grandmother’s farm garden, and I use it as my ‘go to’ visual and sensory reset. The perfect little bell shaped flowers and calming aroma bring me back to my grandmother’s garden. I have a picture of the lily of the valley on my cell phone wallpaper. I use a variety of sensory essential oils to provide a calm reset.
  5. Incorporate Symphony of the Cells. Symphony of the Cells is an orchestrated application of therapeutic grade essential oils developed by Boyd Truman after 20 years of experience working on thousands of people with chronic and acute emotional and physical conditions. The professionally designed protocols combine the layering of specially selected essential oils with therapeutic properties which are applied in layers to the spine and feet and inhaled aromatically. The spine is an excellent application site since the sympathetic and parasympathetic nervous system travel along the spine and the spinal cord fluid can carry the therapeutic benefits up to the brain and central nervous system. Each protocol application provides an immediate relaxing and sometimes releasing impact with continued therapeutic benefits as the oils therapeutic properties reach the cellular level. I alternate the neurological, sensory and forgiveness protocols regularly since they can be helpful for managing stress, PTSD, emotional trauma, fear, anger, tension, hyperesthesia, anxiousness, OCD, mental fatigue, loneliness, self-doubt and grief. I highly recommend adding the Symphony of the Cells to your wellness plan. Come and see me for a one on one complimentary introduction and application to get started.  Attend or host a Symphony of the Cells workshop. Contact me at elisabethlhines@gmail.com  or my daughter Amanda Dumouchel @mamasandoils for more information.
  6. Prayer, gratitude, nature and quiet.  My daily companions to promote calm and keep me balanced.

Wishing you ‘cool, calm and collected’ living!

Elisabeth Hines, C.N.C., C.B.P., Holistic Wellness Practitioner, Health by Design, www.mybodycanhealitself.ca,

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#stress #PTSD #emotionaltrauma #fear #anger  #tension  #hyperesthesia #anxiousness   #OCD  #mentalfatigue  #loneliness #selfdoubt #grief #fightorflight #posttraumaticstressdisorder #lifebalance #bloodsugarregulation

GO GREEN: For ‘a healthier you’!

gogreen

Working with many clients with various diagnoses over many years has provided me with many insights.  My own personal health challenges in the past due to toxicant induced loss of tolerance (TILT) and resulting MCS, depression, EI, chronic fatigue, SD had prompted me to ‘go green’ many years ago.  Avoiding harmful toxins and substances in my diet, personal care products, pain and symptom management, house and garden products were a necessity for me to recover and I now enjoy good health. My informed knowledge and vigilance about toxins in my products and environments keeps me healthier.  My liver and brain are also less challenged now that I have cleaned up my products and environments, a real ‘health’ win!

greenmop

How do you Go Green ‘for a healthier you’?

  • Green your diet – avoid additives, pesticides and other contaminants.  Buy organic when possible.
  • Green your personal care, household and other products – check out the ingredients of your present products at the EWG Skin Deep Database and then make a healthier choice. The Less Toxic Guide will also guide you. Switching to paraban free products is important, keep in mind that there are other harmful ingredients in moisturizers and personal care products. Click on the moisture lotion image below to check out the ingredients in three popular skin moisturizers rated by Skin Deep. What is the health cost of beauty for you?

moisture lotion

  • Green your symptom relief. Switch to natural alternatives for a healthier liver and you. Your liver has to break down everything that you inhale, absorb through your skin and consume – sometimes overwhelming normal healthy liver function, leading to unwanted symptoms.

greendrugs

 My book The Whole Person Well-being Equation provides you with many natural symptom relief strategies, the ones that brought me through all of the diagnoses above to the other side, symptom free.  My Green Medicine Cabinet provides natural pain management options which my clients and I have tested that really work and are more liver friendly than many prescribed and over the counter options.

gogreenworkshop    Organic Moisture Lotion

  • Attend a ‘Go Green’ Health & Beauty Workshop to learn how to make your own healthier products.  Learn what therapeutic essential oils you can add to my organic moisture lotion recipe to promote skin repair, provide skin cancer protection and provide deep pain relief naturally.  If you want ‘less ingredients’ and if your liver is challenged in any way, then this workshop is for you.  Healthy liver function is required for your body to break down all of the synthetic ingredients in personal care products. Next workshop in Rockwood, Ontario is Saturday, February 9 at 1:00 p.m. Workshop details.

Switching to natural, safer products will prompt your body to eliminate the body pollution of toxins.  You will also need to maximize your detoxification strategies to rid your body of the remaining harmful substances.  Detoxification requires a two step approach: Stop adding to your existing body pollution by ‘going green’ and eliminate your existing body pollution my boosting and supporting your body’s natural detoxification processes.  You can find information on these in my book.

When toxins have been in your body for a number of years they can cause damage and interference of normal body communication and functions.  It will take time for your body time to return to normal healthier body and brain functions after detoxification.  The strategies in my book will guide you so that you can enjoy the same recovered health that my clients and I do.

Expect more in terms of your health!

Wishing you greater health and happiness! It is within your reach – take the first step!

Elisabeth Hines, C.N.C., C.B.P. Holistic Wellness Practitioner

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BOTANICAL SPA THERAPY: Whole Body Detoxification

Updated:  March 3, 2020

botanicalspatherapyebook

Every day provides you with many opportunities for a ‘healthier you’.

Pamper yourself with botanical spa therapy baths for ‘a healthier you’.  Add your favourite music, naturally scented beeswax candle (no synthetic candles or scents), your favourite beverage and book and relax while your body detoxifies.

The greatest gains that I made in my health recovery from body pollutiontoxicant induced loss of tolerance (TILT) and depression came from whole body detoxification using the botanical spa herbal therapy that I designed. I recommend whole body herbal detoxification baths that I have developed to my clients as a first step for all health challenges and they are amazed at the results. Botanical spa therapy herbal baths use your skin, your body’s largest organ, to detoxify your body.

Are some of your symptoms related to body pollution? If your olfactory bulb is offended by smells (you cannot stand the smell of scents even natural ones) or you have lost your sense of smell then you are probably showing the signs of body pollution and toxicant induced loss of tolerance (TILT).

Your body has a pretty amazing detoxification system which when working properly should be able to efficiently detoxify you.  The challenge is that we live in a world full of synthetic chemical pollutants and mass doses of natural toxicants that can overwhelm our detox pathways. Body pollution, which we all have, even as newborns,  interferes with the body’s normal healthy communication and signalling processes required for healthy body function including immunosurveillance, immunoresponse and tumor suppression.

“Chemicals have replaced bacteria and viruses as the main threat to health.  The diseases we are beginning to see as the major causes of death in the latter part of (the 1900’s) and into the 21st century are diseases of chemical origin.” 

Dr. Dick Irwin, Toxicologist, Texas A&M University www.lesstoxicguide.ca/index.asp

Your liver and detoxification pathways may at times when over burdened, need some extra help to eliminate body pollution.  Read my blog post MAINTAINING HEALTHY LONGEVITY: Keep Your Liver Happy in the Midst of Toxins, Distress and Happy Hour to learn more.

 

herbalapothecary2

Herbal apothecaryherbalcabinet

The pictures above displays some of my apothecary herb collection.  My study of the medicinal benefits of herbs while I was striving to recover my health, brought me the greatest gift.  After many trial and error detoxification strategies, mostly designed to be consumed; I had a light bulb moment one day while taking a bath. In my studies to become a nutritional consultant it was clear there were many body parts and systems involved in the detoxification process.  As a reviewed what I had tried so far to regain my health and the medicinal properties of herbs that I was drinking, I thought, ‘if my skin is my largest organ, why not use it to detoxify me more thoroughly?’ ‘What would happen if I used the medicinal herbs in a bath tea’?  Well the results were amazing.   The herbal bath tea mix was combined with sea salt, baking soda and apple cider vinegar.  You can learn about the individual detoxification properties of the botanical spa therapy bath ingredients in my book.  You will find the botanical spa therapy herbal bath recipe and detailed therapy instructions in Chapter 6, Detoxify, of my book and the Botanical Spa Therapy e-book.

botanicalspatherapyebook

$26.98 CAN


Get started today on your detoxification plans for ‘a healthier you’!. Check with your regular healthcare practitioner before proceeding with any form of detoxification as there may be contraindications due to health, medications or other factors.

Regaining health requires implementation of a series of  ‘stop, start and change’ strategies. The biggest challenge, in ‘hind sight’ and from the successes of my clients has been knowing ‘what do you stop, start and change‘. That’s where my road map can help you.

My study of medicinal herbs, included in my Nutritional Consultant course, was through the writings of Maria Treben, an Austrian herbalist and author of the books Health from God’s Garden and Health Through God’s Pharmacy. My library also hosts The Encyclopedia of Medicinal Herbs.  If you want to learn more about herbs I would recommend these books as your ‘go to’.

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Elisabeth Hines, C.B.C., C.B.P., Holistic Wellness Practitioner, www.mybodycanhealitself.ca, elisabethlhines@gmail.com

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THE GIFT of a Healthy Brain: Strategies to Protect and Restore Optimum Brain Function

changeyourbrain

Updated February 25, 2020

As many of my friends, family and clients know, I have had my brain challenges.  The good news is that my brain now functions better than it ever has in the past and I intend to make sure it stays that way. My brain and I are a work in progress, just like a play dough creation. Some people’s brain challenges are visible while others are well hidden. Either way, there may be times when your brain may have some setbacks. Do not despair or lose hope. Wherever you are on your brain recovery, the information and strategies that I share about my recovery can help you. Brain neuroplasticity is the ability of the brain to adapt and change. The brain is plastic at all ages (think playdough)

playdough

so we can continue to learn and create changes in our brains and nervous systems throughout our lives. You can change your brain by implementing strategies that increase brain derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF) which plays an important role in neuronal survival and growth, serves as a neurotransmitter modulator, and participates in neuronal plasticity, which is essential for learning and memory. As you read on you will find research about essential oils that promote the increase of BDNF naturally.  While a healthy, active lifestyle is a main contributing factor for increasing BDNF naturally, there are many researched botanicals, foods and herbs that also naturally promote increased levels of BDNF.

My past periods of depression and compromised brain function were the result of various factors including, body and brain pollution from toxins, toxicant induced loss of tolerance (TILT), stress and stress sensitization, and lack of life balance and resilience.  As a teenager I pumped leaded gasoline at my father’s gas station.  I started to suffer from depression at that time.  While investigating my depression equation later in life, when I once again suffered from depression after off gassing of a new house, I made the environmental pollution connection. You can read about how I was affected by all of these in my blog posts and website ‘about‘ page. I am grateful for the information, guidance and natural strategies that have helped to restore my brain and body health.

With the looming statistics for depression, dementia (which my mother suffered from) and Alzheimers, and the deep compassion I feel for anyone who has brain challenges;  my focus moving forward is on preventing mental decline as I age and helping others to do the same.

What did it take to restore and improve my brain to better health? What am I doing to protect my brain?

  • Learning and understanding the impact of brain and body pollution
  • Dealing with brain and body pollution is a primary ‘must do’ using natural and added detoxification aids (whole body detoxification method using Botanical Spa Therapy)
  • Avoiding brain (including blood brain barrier) compromising factors
  • Adapting a healthy plant based diet and avoiding processed foods.  I also eat wild caught fish and organic free range eggs.
  • Drinking filtered water
  • Ongoing assessing, restoring and maintaining of life balance
  • Regular walking in green spaces
  • Regular yoga and tai chi exercises
  • Meditation and meditation music while visualizing my calm, happy place- this has been extremely beneficial during times of distress and while sleeping.
  • Prayer – visually handing over my basket of concerns for me, my family, my clients, the needs of the world, daily to my higher powers, my God, for healing, protection and guidance.
  • Grounding – my daily affirmation “I choose to remain cool, calm and grounded in spite of everything (or specific)” while visualizating my Wisdoms from a Tree painting. Seeing myself grounded by deep roots and swaying like the branches of a tree in the midst of life’s challenges. I am a greater support for myself and others if I remain grounded and resilient. This also prevents feelings of anxiety and distress and an itchy HPA stress response.
  • mywisdomfromatree
  • Maintaining a healthy life balance. Maintaining a realistic priority list and healthy boundaries, allowing me the down and relaxation and ‘not available’ time I need to offset life’s stressors and challenges.
  • Learning about the neuroplasticity of the brain. Regular reading of health promoting books, especially those about brain health and recovery.  You can find my recommended reads in my book, plus Dr. Norman Doidge’s amazing books below which have been such an eye opener.
      • The Brain that Changes Itself – this is a paid affiliate link below.  Click on the book to learn more about what is inside.

      •  The Brain’s Way of Healing – this is a paid affiliate link below. Click on the book to learn more about what is inside.

  • Practicing mind body healing strategies including affirmations, visualizations and meditation.  You can find my recommendations in my book.
  • Adding in of natural supportive strategies including essential oils with healing properties. You can find my recommendations in my book and My Green Medicine Cabinet.

The preceding information may seem daunting.  It took me 10 years of research and trial and error strategies to make major gains in my health.  I now feel healthy, energetic and more resilient. I have condensed all of the information and resources that brought me to ‘my healthier brain and me’ and you can use my holistic protocol (self help guide), website and blog post to achieve your “healthier brain” and ‘healthier you’.  It works! Each new client receives a copy of my book and uses it as a guide to help them restore, maintain and improve their health.

Ebook Cover New_1-1

RESEARCH: Credible resources for using essential oils for dementia, Alzeihmers and increasing brain derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF) to help repair damaged connections between neurons. 
is an online community dedicated to advocacy, education and supporting those whose lives have been impacted by Alzheimer’s disease and other forms of dementia. Alzheimers.net was created by people touched by Alzheimer’s, to give caregivers and those with Alzheimer’s a place to share our passion for change and a cure for the disease. 
 
Mayo Clinic on aromatherapy for dementia – 

https://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-lifestyle/consumer-health/expert-answers/aromatherapy/faq-20058566

Pub Med, US National Library of Medicine – “WE FOUND AROMATHERAPY AN EFFICACIOUS NON-PHARMACOLOGICAL THERAPY FOR DEMENTIA. AROMATHERAPY MAY HAVE SOME POTENTIAL FOR IMPROVING COGNITIVE FUNCTION, ESPECIALLY IN AD PATIENTS”. 
https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/20377818

Research Gate – ArticleinPsychogeriatrics 9(4):173-9 · December 2009 with 553 Reads

DOI: 10.1111/j.1479-8301.2009.00299.x · Source: PubMed  “In conclusion, we found aromatherapy an efficacious non-pharmacological therapy for dementia. Aromatherapy may have some potential for improving cognitive function, especially in AD patients.”  https://www.researchgate.net/publication/43079177_Effect_of_aromatherapy_on_patients_with_Alzheimer’s_disease
 
Alzeihmer Society – “There is some evidence that aromatherapy may be effective in helping people with dementia to relax, and that certain oils may have the potential to improve cognition in people with Alzheimer’s disease. Research has specifically highlighted the potential benefits of the use of lemon balm (Melissa officinalis) to improve cognition and mood in the treatment of Alzheimer’s disease, and lavender oil to reduce occurrences of aggressive behaviour in dementia.”
 
News – Medical Sciences:   
 
Japanese scientists have isolated active compounds in several plant medicines. These techniques helped the scientists identify and isolate active compounds found in Drynaria rhizome, a plant medicine that can improve memory. It has been proven to reduce disease characteristics in mice models with Alzheimer’s disease.

A 2012 study shows that rosemary (Rosmarinus officinalis), a common plant used to distil essential oil, can also help improve cognitive performance in healthy adults. Also, rosemary can boost brain performance.

In another study in 2013, scientists found that rosemary may enhance the ability to remember events. Also, it helps people keep future tasks in mind. Since memory loss is one of the hallmark symptoms of dementia, this function could make rosemary oil and important component of therapy to combat dementia.

Scientists also found that six essential oils, namely thyme, rose, clove, eucalyptus, bergamot and fennel, are capable of suppressing the inflammatory COX-2 enzyme. The effect is similar to that of resveratrol, one of the important compounds that gives red wine its health benefits.

Of all the essential oils, thyme produces the highest reduction in COX-2 levels by about 75 percent. The other essential oils reduced the COX-2 level by 25 percent. COX-2 is an inflammatory enzyme that has been also linked to the development of AD”  https://www.news-medical.net/health/Aromatherapy-for-Dementia.aspx

Alzeihmers & Dementia: The Journal of the Alzeihmers Association 
 
Anti-Alzheimer’s disease effect of essential oil from aerial parts of Salvia miltiorrhiza Bge  – 

http://www.ijcem.com/files/ijcem0059161.pdf

Neuroquantology – Progress of Essential Oils in Prevention and Treatment of Alzheimer’s Disease –

EO, as one of the effective constituents of natural plants, is more and more recognized by people for its medicinal value and health care value. Through the analysis of different pathogenic mechanisms of AD, the anti-oxidation of EO against acetylcholinesterase inhibition, Aβ depolymerization, free radical injury and the protection of PC12 injured cells, it can be seen that EO of various plants has the activity of preventing and treating AD. The use of EO has many kinds of ways, such as oral administration, fumigation, smearing and so on. Combined with its excellent anti-AD activity, EO has the potential value of developing natural drugs for the treatment of neurogenic diseases. At present, more studies on anti-AD activity of EO are ongoing, but we haven’t made clear the key components of many plants’ essential oil, the synergetic effect of each component in EO, and in-depth anti-AD mechanism, which needs more researches.   https://www.neuroquantology.com/index.php/journal/article/view/1583
Lavender essential oil ameliorates depression-like behavior and increases neurogenesis  – https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0304394019301429

Modulatory effects of aromatherapy massage intervention on electroencephalogram, psychological assessments, salivary cortisol and plasma brain-derived neurotrophic factor – A 4-week-aromatherapy massage program significantly improved all psychological assessment scores in the Stat-Trait Anxiety Index, Beck Depression Inventory and Short Form of Psychosocial Well-being Index. Interestingly, plasma BDNF levels were significantly increased after a 4 week-aromatherapy massage program. Alpha-brain wave activities were significantly enhanced and delta wave activities were markedly reduced following the one-time aromatherapy massage treatment, as shown in the meditation and neurofeedback training. In addition, salivary cortisol levels were significantly reduced following the one-time aromatherapy massage treatment”. https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0965229914000582

_____________________________

Moving forward, my brain protection and improvement strategy includes the essential oil brain protection blend below as well as aromatherapy massage.  Read the research information above to determine which oils you feel you should add to your personal blend:

My Dementia and Alzeihmer’s and Healthy Brain Neuroprotective Blend

  • Frankincense – 4 drops (according to research abates age related dendritic regression in the hipppocampus, anti-cancer )
  • Clove bud – 2 drops (according to research reverses memory and learning deficits, anti-cancer)
  • Rosemary – 5 drops (according to research improves cognitive performance, abates age related dendritic regression in the hipppocampus, anti-cancer)
  • Copaiba – 2 drops (according to research is neuroprotective)
  • Melissa – 5 drops  (according to research is neuroprotective, anti-cancer – glioblastoma)
  • Lemongrass – 4 drops (according to research is neuroprotective)
  • Lavender – 4 drops (according to research is calming)
  • Add the preceding drops to a 10 ml roller ball bottle and top up with Fractionated Coconut Oil or a mix of grapeseed/olive oil. Apply to the toes (brain reflexology points) and brain stem twice daily.

Get started using essential oils with neuroprotective properties for a healthier you and healthier brain!

Check with your regular healthcare provider before using essential oils or other recommendations found on my website, books and blog – there may be contraindications due to medications, health conditions or other factors.

Wishing you optimum health and happiness!

Elisabeth Hines, C.N.C., C.B.P. Holistic Wellness Practitioner, www.mybodycanhealitself.ca, elisabethlhines@gmail.com

Sources:

Melissa officinalis – https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3555743/

 
                        –   https://draxe.com/hypothalamus-function/                                                                                                                                           Copaiba Oil – https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3291111/