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meditation, buddha, yoga, mindfulness

Which Type of Meditation Suits You Best?

If someone told you that just a few minutes a day of a particular practice could help you reduce your pain and anxiety, improve how you respond to stress, and better your brain, how long would it take you to make this a regular part of your day? Probably not long, right? Well get ready, because meditation has been found to help with all those symptoms and more.

Meditation is just what you think it is: A stress-relieving practice that involves choosing a focal

point, calming the mind, and repeating a mantra. It’s been practiced for thousands of years, and has evolved to include several different types. For example, gong bath meditation relies on the repetitive sound of a gong to guide meditation and help relieve stress. Yoga, on the other hand, gives practitioners aphysical practice to guide the focus of meditation.

Want to learn more? This graphic brought to you by Club Woodside and Ghergich & Co can get you started on the path toward a meditation practice.

meditation, mindfulness, yoga, stress

11 Holistic Ways to Treat Cold Symptoms

It’s that time of the year when many people are getting sick. Unfortunately there is no cure for the common cold, but a few home remedies may be all you need to help manage your symptoms as your body fights off the infection. Here are some great ways to get yourself through the next week of the cough and congestion.

1. The Secret

Support your immune system in every way possible. Eat a light diet filled with warm, fresh, cooked foods. Avoid sugar, alcohol, smoking, stressful situations and even strenuous exercise. Read on to number 2 below.

2. Rest

When you are sick your immune system is in overdrive, so the more rest you get, the better your body will be able to effectively use its resources to fight off the infection.

3. Hydrate

All that mucous, coughing and immune system activation can lead to dehydration, making you feel even weaker. Adequate hydration with water, fresh juice and light broth based soups can help prevent dehydration and make the mucous secretions less sticky and uncomfortable.

4. Saline Rinses

Saline is probably one of the most underutilized cold fighting modalities. Since cold and flu virus enter the nose or throat, rinsing with saline can help keep these areas clean, not to mention clear all the mucous secretions. The neti pot and warm salt water gargles can also provide relief of stuffy nose and sore throat symptoms respectively.

5. Stay Warm

There is truth to this old wive’s tail. Cold temperatures can affect the immunity of your nasal passages where the cold virus enters, so make sure to bundle up when going outside. From an Ayurvedic perspective, the cold and the flu result from an imbalance of the Vata and Kapha dosha. Balancing Vata and Kapha requires heat whether it be from drinking hot tea or eating warm, easily digestible foods. This is one of the reasons why salads, raw foods, cold beverages and ice cream are advised against when you are sick. Find more about how to boost your immunity from an Ayurvedic perspective here.

 

holistic, Ayurveda, immune system, cold, flu

 

6. Eat Ginger and Turmeric 

Ginger and Turmeric are both scientifically proven to strengthen the immune system and fight the cold and flu virus. Steep fresh ginger and turmeric in hot water for a fresh ginger-turmeric tea.

7. Honey

Honey can not only boost the immune system but sooth a sore throat and suppress coughing. Take a spoonful as you would with cough medicine.

8. Vitamins and Supplements

Vitamins C, D and E have been found to be helpful in boosting immunity and helping with the cold and flu. Probiotics have also been shown to reduce the duration of cold symptoms. 

9. Essential oils

One study showed that a blend of eucalyptus, sweet orange, myrtle, and lemon essential oils helped with respiratory symptoms experienced in colds.

10. Halotherapy

Halotherapy or salt inhalation therapy has been shown to help with respiratory symptoms of colds and asthma. You can perform halotherapy with a himalayan salt inhaler at home or at a halotherapy center in your area.

11. Patience

It’s important to be patient during this time. Stressing about getting better will only make things worse. Chances are you may have gotten sick due to recent stress or lack of sleep, so this is a chance to recuperate on many levels.

You DON’T need antibiotics!

I wanted to note one last thing about antibiotics. Many people come to me because they want antibiotics for their cold, not realizing antibiotics are incorrectly prescribed by many clinicians. Antibiotics are NOT indicated for colds as cold are caused by a virus. Cold symptoms usually resolve on their own in about a week. There are other over the counter options available to manage cold symptoms and sometimes a doctor’s visit may be in order to assess severe symptoms or those that do not resolve after several days. As always, prevention is your best bet when it comes to staying healthy and make sure to consult with your healthcare provider when treating your symptoms.

Read about how to prevent yourself from getting sick 10 Natural Ways to Stay Healthy this Cold and Flu Season.

What natural ways do you use to treat cold symptoms?

PSA: You don’t need antibiotics for your cold

We are amidst the cold and flu season, and the expectation for antibiotics is so common that I find myself spending most of my time explaining why antibiotic use for colds are inappropriate. It’s time that I feel people would benefit from resting at home, letting their bodies recover. Sometimes I wish I could create a PSA or scream at the top of my lungs that

Colds are caused by a virus! Antibiotics are for bacterial infections. Get some rest, fluids and let your body heal naturally!

             (I also have a few choice words for anyone who continues to inappropriately prescribe antibiotics for a cold and perpetuate the unreasonable demand… Should I tell you how I really feel?)

I am absolutely thrilled that the American College of Physicians (ACP) and the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recently published an article in the Annals of Internal Medicine that gave specific recommendations to physicians for appropriate scenarios to prescribe antibiotics. The article recommended the following valuable guidelines:

Clinicians should

  • NOT prescribe antibiotics for patients with the common cold. (AND I REPEAT, CLINICIANS SHOULD NOT PRESCRIBE ANTIBIOTICS FOR THE COMMON COLD)
  • NOT perform testing or initiate antibiotic therapy in patients with bronchitis unless pneumonia is suspected.
  • Test patients with symptoms suggestive of strep throat by rapid antigen detection test and/or culture for group A Streptococcus and should treat patients with antibiotics ONLY if they have confirmed streptococcal pharyngitis.
  • Reserve antibiotic treatment for acute rhinosinusitis for patients with:
    – persistent symptoms for more than 10 days
    – onset of severe symptoms or signs of high fever (>39 °C)
    – purulent nasal discharge or facial pain lasting for at least 3 consecutive days
    – or onset of worsening symptoms following a typical viral illness that lasted 5 days that was initially improving (double sickening).

The article also states that sinus infections usually clear up without antibiotics even if bacteria are to blame, and that antibiotics in these cases cause more adverse effects. The guidelines also recommend the following remedies for symptom relief:

Analgesics for pain
Antipyretics for fever
Systemic or topical decongestants
Saline nasal irrigation
Cough suppressants (dextromethorphan or codeine)
Expectorants (guaifenesin)
First-generation antihistamines (diphenhydramine)
Decongestants (phenylephrine)
Beta-agonists (albuterol)
Intranasal corticosteroids

The cold virus will eventually run its course. Often catching a cold happens during times of high stress and lack of sleep, so it’s important to allow yourself to rest.

Antibiotic resistance is a serious health threat and not to be taken lightly. Again, it requires a commitment from both physicians and patients. So save yourself some time and healthy gut bacteria and stay home and rest. Your cold will get better and if not, I’ll be here to help.

Read more about the 3 Main Reasons You Don’t Need an Antibiotic for a Cold and 10 Natural Ways to Stay Healthy this Cold and Flu Season.

Let me know your thoughts in the comments!

 

 

 

Holistic, integrative medicine, los angeles

East Meets West: The Future of Medicine

Western medicine does wonders when it comes to diagnosing and treating emergent medical issues such as pneumonia or broken bones. There is, however, a much larger epidemic of diseases that our healthcare system has not been able to adequately manage.  Greater than 50% of healthcare costs are caused by chronic medical conditions such as hypertension, coronary artery disease, stroke, diabetes, cancer and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease; diseases which can be prevented and even effectively reversed with a healthy lifestyle. What’s even more disheartening is that the third leading cause of death in America is thought to be related to medical interventions.

Why then with all of the available advanced medical technology and breakthroughs, do we still have such a broken system? it isn’t so much an issue of a lack of access to healthcare, as it is about the access to actual quality care. A doctor’s job doesn’t only involve treating diseases; it’s also about preventing them from happening in the first place. It is much easier to prevent a disease, than it is to treat it at a critical stage when most healthcare costs are often spent and possibility for recovery is the poorest. Our healthcare system has unfortunately become a “disease care” system.

Quality healthcare involves time, patient education and addressing the whole individual, not just the disease. The word doctor means teacher in Latin, and it’s up to medical professionals to educate their patients. Many people do not know that most health issues have roots that can be traced back to an unhealthy diet, lack of exercise, tobacco and alcohol use and inadequate stress management. Yet, many doctors are forced to see more patients in a short amount of time to make ends meet, leading to fragmented care and the inability to get to the root cause of issues. When you have twenty-five, 15-minute slots to meet with people, it’s difficult to address everything and often a prescription for a pill is the quickest solution. Pills however are superficial bandages to a deeper multifaceted issue, and often come with unpleasant side effects. It’s no wonder people have become frustrated with the healthcare system and are looking for alternatives.

Integrative medicine provides many solutions to the chronic disease epidemic. It is a patient centered, wellness-oriented approach to healthcare that embraces both conventional and alternative modalities. Just like in many Eastern healing traditions such as Ayurveda and Traditional Chinese Medicine, the focus is directed on addressing all aspects of an individual’s existence- mind, body and spirit. Western medicine is beginning to appreciate the benefits of alternative modalities such as acupuncture, yoga and meditation, which come with fewer side effects than pills. In fact, integrative medicine relies on a multidisciplinary team approach to care that involves the expertise of acupuncturists, psychologists, nutritionists and more. The team approach extends to the patient-healer relationship as well, as the patient is considered to play an integral role in healing.

People are complex and have many layers that contribute to what is seen on the surface of their issues. It takes time, effort and teamwork to stay healthy. Health comes from addressing diet, lifestyle, emotions and psychosocial factors, and not from a pill. The future of medicine will still include emergency rooms, surgery, medications and the scientific breakthroughs Western medicine has to offer. Everything has its place. However true wellness lies in embracing all safe and effective healing modalities that empower an individual to uncover and utilize his or her own inherent healing potential, a source that exists within us all.

If you live in the Los Angeles area, be sure to check out Lotus East-West Medical Center. Here you can find experts in integrative medicine, Ayurveda, acupuncture, psychology, thermography, homeopathy, meditation, reiki, naturopathy & more all under one roof!

Have you had any experiences with integrative medicine? If so, share your comments below!

Los Angeles Santa Monica Ayurveda

10 Natural Ways to Stay Healthy this Cold and Flu Season

Fall is finally here and with it comes the cooler weather, pumpkin spice lattes and the dreaded cold and flu season. Here are some tips for staying healthy over the next several months:
  1. Optimize your immune system

The most effective way to prevent colds, the flu, and many other diseases, is with a healthy immune system. Our immune system has special cells and molecules that recognize and fight the viruses that cause the common cold and flu. The flu vaccine is not 100% effective for the flu, and does not prevent colds, which are caused by a completely different virus. In fact, last year the flu vaccine was only about 20% effective in preventing the flu. A healthy lifestyle can potentially cover the other 80%. A healthy balanced diet, regular exercise, adequate sleep and stress management are simple, yet incredibly effective ways that have been scientifically proven boost the immune system.

  1. Use nasal saline rinses

The entry point for cold and flu viruses occurs primarily through the nasal passages. Use a Neti pot daily to rinse your nasal passages with saline solution to flush out viruses, preventing them from spreading throughout the respiratory tract.

  1. Gargle with warm salt water

Gargling with warm salt water has been scientifically proven to prevent colds. Like saline nasal rinses, gargling with warm salt water daily can help prevent cold and flu viruses from replicating and progressing in the body.

  1. Stay Warm

The old wives tale of staying bundled up has some merit. While cold temperatures are not the direct cause of colds and the flu, scientists have found that exposure to cold air may decrease the local immune response in our nasal passages. One of the main reasons we catch colds during colder seasons is because many people spend time indoors, thus making it easier to be exposed to cold and flu viruses. If you do decide to get some fresh air, make sure to bundle up and keep your face and neck covered.

  1. Take vitamin D

study in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition demonstrated that vitamin D supplementation in children decreased the risk of contracting the flu. Homeopathic remedies such as probiotics, vitamin C and oscillococcinum may help, but studies have not yet shown definitive evidence for their use in preventing colds and the flu.

  1. Drink Ginger Turmeric tea

In Ayurveda, colds and the flu are thoughts to be due to an imbalance of Vata and Kapha dosha. Turmeric and ginger can balance these doshas. In fact, both ginger and turmeric have been scientifically proven to strengthen the immune system and work against cold and flu viruses.

Top SellingImmune System Booster (1)

 

  1. Cover your mouth

Cold and flu viruses are transmitted through air droplets, so there is some merit to covering your mouth when sneezing or coughing, especially if you have symptoms.

  1. Wash your hands

While air droplets transmit cold and flu viruses, you can still spread the virus with your hands. Since cold and flu symptoms may not appear for up to one day after being infected, it’s that much more important to wash your hands frequently. Also, avoid touching your face to prevent the cold and flu viruses from entering your nose.

  1. Disinfect your home

This goes along with tip #8. Disinfect commonly touched places in your home, such as doorknobs and light switches.

  1. Avoid contact with sick people

The influenza virus is contagious so make sure to limit your exposure to those who are infected. If you happen to be sick as well, stay home and get some rest!

Stay ahead of the cold and flu season!

These prevention strategies are worth a cold and flu- free fall and winter season for you and your family. Make sure to practice a healthy lifestyle all year round.

Feel free to share ways in which you have been able to prevent yourself from getting sick in the comments below!

6 Holistic Ways to Prevent the Flu

The Influenza Virus

With the flu season around the corner, many of us are trying to figure out how to stay healthy and “flu-free.” The flu is a respiratory illness caused by the influenza virus. Common symptoms include:

– Fever
– Fatigue
– Headaches
– Runny nose
– Congestion
– Sore throat
– Vomiting
– Diarrhea
– Body aches

Source: cdc.gov

Source: cdc.gov

Cold vs Flu

It’s important to note that the flu is different from the common cold. Both illnesses are caused by different viruses and the flu usually comes on suddenly with more severe symptoms. The flu is also more likely to cause complications such as pneumonia, ear infections and sinus infections.

Flu Prevention

Most people think that the influenza vaccine is all they need, but according to the CDC, the influenza vaccine is only 60% effective. Here are some additional ways to help you prevent the flu (and the common cold):

1. Build a healthy immune system

The most effective way to prevent the flu, and many other diseases, is with a healthy immune system. Our immune system has special cells and molecules that recognize and fight pathogens, such as viruses and bacteria. While everyone is susceptible to the flu, those with weaker immune systems are at a higher risk of developing complications from the flu. Children, the elderly, pregnant women and those with other medical conditions such as heart failure are at risk. A healthy balanced diet, regular exercise, adequate sleep and stress management are simple, yet incredibly effective ways to boost the immune system and prevent many other diseases!

2. Cover your mouth

The influenza virus is transmitted through air droplets, so there is some merit to covering your mouth when sneezing or coughing, especially if you have symptoms.

Sneeze in progress. Source: cdc.gov

Sneeze in progress. Source: cdc.gov

3. Wash your hands

While the influenza virus is transmitted by air droplets, you can still spread the virus with your hands. Since flu symptoms may not appear for up to one day after being infected, it’s that much more important to wash your hands frequently. Avoid touching your face since the nasal passages are the main entry for the influenza virus.

4. Disinfect your home

This goes along with tip #3. Disinfect commonly touched places in your home, such as doorknobs and light switches.

5. Avoid contact with sick people

The influenza virus is contagious so make sure to limit your exposure to those who are infected. If you happen to be sick as well, stay home and get some rest!

6. Take vitamin D

A study in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition demonstrated that vitamin D supplementation in children decreased the risk of contracting the flu. Homeopathic remedies such as probiotics, vitamin C and oscillococcinum may help, but studies have not yet shown definitive evidence for their use in preventing the flu.

Take advantage of what Mother Nature has blessed you with

Despite your best efforts to prevent the flu, it’s still possible that you may come in contact with the virus. A healthy immune system, however, can stop the virus before it can spread throughout the body.  The influenza vaccine is just another way to help build our immune system’s resources, but won’t be effective if our innate healing mechanisms aren’t functioning properly.

Make sure to maintain a healthy lifestyle all year round and discuss the best flu prevention options for you and your family with your healthcare provider.

Share your flu prevention methods in the comments below!

Del-Immune Flu Prevention Expert Check out How to Prevent the Flu: Tips from 30 Health and Flu Prevention Experts on the Best Way to Avoid Getting Sick with the Flu this Winter

The Secret to Healthy Living

The Karma AppleAs a family physician, I see patients of all ages and different medical backgrounds. Unfortunately, with obesity and chronic diseases like high blood pressure and diabetes on the rise, I do not see as many healthy patients seeking preventive care.

With people living longer these days, I also care for many patients who I like to call “less young.” Certain medical problems can also arise with age. Nevertheless, I have met many patients over the age of 80 who are healthy and hardly look their age. When I encounter these individuals, I always ask what their secret is, and each person has told me essentially the same thing:

“I never smoke or drank.”

“I grew up eating healthy food.”

“I always stayed active. I still exercise everyday.”

“I always try to make the best of everything.”

A patient with dementia once even told me “The Golden Rule.”

Most responses I have gotten revolve around the same theme: a wholesome diet, exercise, healthy lifestyle and a positive attitude. Not once has anyone said, “Well Doc, I just took all my pills like you told me to.”

The Real Secret to Health

When you dig deeper into these responses, you will find that there is a much more powerful force at play.

KARMA: Do good things for your body and mind, and in return you keep your body and mind healthy.

It seems so glaringly obvious, yet there are many people out there who don’t realize that their health issues are primarily caused by the choices they (knowingly or unknowingly) make. They then take pills for these self-created issues, and often in addition to not feeling better, end up experiencing more problems related to side effects from these pills.

Health is a Choice

The leading cause of death in the USA is heart disease, which continues to rise, due to an an increase in poor lifestyle choices. These lifestyle habits include smoking and alcohol use, as well as an unhealthy diet and lack of exercise, both which lead to obesity, diabetes and high cholesterol. What’s interesting is that heart disease can be reversed by adopting healthier lifestyle habits, as demonstrated by this study. In fact, according to the CDC, the most common diseases are not only the most costly, but can be prevented just by eating a healthier diet, being more physically active, moderate alcohol use and not using tobacco.

Chronic Disease

What about a positive attitude? I truly believe that happiness creates health, and that emotional health is just as important as physical health. Positivity is highly underestimated in its role in health. This great article explains the power of the mind in healing.

Regardless of what health issue(s) you are dealing with, it’s important to be aware of how you may be contributing and why? Until the root cause of illness is identified, no amount of pills or doctors is going to make you healthy.

Old Wive’s Tales

I have taken the advice of my healthy and happy older patients, and guess what? I am healthy and happy, and you can be too. It’s simple, doesn’t come in a pill bottle, and it ultimately starts with you. Remember, do to yourself as you would want done to you.

Share your secrets for health or what you have done to become healthy again in the comments below.

 

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Preview for upcoming first episode of #HealthyVibes with Dr.

Sneak Preview

 

Dr. Aunna’s first episode of #HealthVibes airs next week. What will it be about? Sign up for email updates if you haven’t already. Tune in for more…