Why You Should Get a Thermogram

Why You Should Get a Thermogram

Thermography is a non-invasive, radiation-free imaging procedure. Through infrared technology, a thermogram measures temperature changes in the body. Finding areas of heat (inflammation) allows for early detection of disease processes. Although thermograms are not diagnostic in and of themselves, they can empower you to be proactive about your health.

Thermography can be done on the whole body but is most commonly done on the breast, neck, and head. Breast thermography can help assess the risk of developing breast cancer and the health of the surrounding lymph. A hormonal score can be assigned as certain warming patterns can indicate a hormonal imbalance. Thermography on the neck can help indicate thyroid and surrounding lymph inflammation. Thermography on the head can show issues hiding in the teeth and sinus, and can show some problems brewing with the facial nerves.

When it comes to the pros and cons of thermograms, there are many pros and only a few cons.

The Pros:

  • Does not require a doctor’s order
  • Can track on your own to be proactive
  • Safe and non-invasive
  • Can be done frequently without negative consequences
  • Relatively low cost
  • Empowers you to track progress of health interventions

The Cons:

  • May warrant further testing
  • Not fully diagnostic on own
  • Not covered by insurance

If you are a client at the NHCAA, your practitioner can use your thermography results and come up with a plan specific to you. After an intervention is in place, we can track progress over time with a follow-up thermogram. For example, I have a client who, on a scale from 0-5, had a risk rating of 4 on one breast and 4 + on the other. I put her on a plan to address her hormones, breasts, and lymph. She did a new thermogram in 6 months. Her risk rating on the 4+ breast decreased to 4 and all the heat changes reduced. The change over time shows improvement and validated that we are on the right track. We now modified the plan to add castor oil packs to expedite her progress.

I am a huge advocate of thermography because of the great health information provided, how easy it is to have done, and how safe it is. Although thermograms do not replace mammograms, they can be used much more frequently to keep tabs on your health. Thermograms can also assess other areas of the body and elucidate areas of inflammation that perhaps you did not know you had. Thermography is a powerful tool in your health arsenal that can empower you to prevent health issues in the future and to find solutions for current challenges you may have.

Dr. Amanda Childress

The Miracle Nutrient You May Not Know About: Inositol

The Miracle Nutrient You May Not Know About: Inositol

I have worked in the field of medications and supplements for 23 years; first as a pharmacy intern, then as a pharmacist, and now as a holistic pharmacist. I have always had nutritional supplements involved in my work. Throughout this time, I’ve been well aware of the importance of having adequate levels of Vitamin D, B12, iron, and so on. However, it was not until I started studying nutrition and holistic health and working hands-on with clients that I learned about the value of a nutrient called “inositol.”

After over 13 years of work with supplements, I can confidently say that Inositol is my #1 favorite supplement of all time. The use of this nutrient has produced clinical miracles, and in some cases, very quickly.

What is inositol?

Inositol is sometimes called a B vitamin; however, it is not actually a vitamin at all. Inositol is a type of sugar that your body, and the bodies of other mammals, produce from glucose. Don’t let the word “sugar” mislead you; inositol helps increase insulin sensitivity and lower blood glucose. 

Food sources of inositol

Inositol is also contained in many foods. You can find inositol in high amounts in many legumes, fruit (especially citrus), whole grains, liver, and honey.

Functions of inositol in the body

The extent of inositol’s role in the intricate functions of the body is not fully known;  however, there is strong evidence for many very important functions such as:

  • Hormonal regulation
  • Nervous system health/neurotransmitter signaling
  • Insulin sensitivity/glucose regulations
  • Fertility/egg quality
  • Lipid (fat) metabolism
  • Cardiovascular health

Side effects of inositol

Inositol is not a drug, so it does not cause side effects. However, some individuals may experience some mild, unwanted effects, especially at higher dosages (over 1500mg) and more commonly if a high dose is started without a gradual increase in dose. These effects are:

  • Diarrhea
  • Nausea
  • Indigestion
  • Dizziness
  • Fatigue

My clinical results with inositol

As I mentioned, inositol is my favorite supplement. I have seen this supplement bring people out of crisis and into stability and good health. I have also seen inositol play a pivotal role in controlling many chronic conditions.

Here are my top clinical scenarios to use inositol:

  • Anxiety
  • Obsessive thoughts and compulsions
  • Depression
  • PCOS and many other menstrual irregularities
  • Pain (especially nerve pain)
  • Sleep disturbances and insomnia
  • ADHD
  • Autism spectrum disorders
  • Headaches
  • Helping assist psychiatric drug tapering

Essentially, when I think of nervous system stress and neuroendocrine issues (issues that involve how the nervous system and hormonal systems interact), I think of inositol.

Real cases that inositol helped

I had a client who was working with her doctor to taper off anti-anxiety medications in a class called benzodiazepines (or Benzos). Benzos are very habit-forming and can cause troubling, even dangerous effects as someone is trying to discontinue them.  She was working with her medical doctor, but even with tapering down the dose, she was struggling. I helped her successfully and safely discontinue her Benzo by using inositol along with her tapering process.  With the help of inositol, she was off her benzo in less than a year.

I have 2 cases within the last year where the issue was extreme anxiety and panic with resulting insomnia. Both cases told me they were considering going in-patient in a psych hospital. Both cases responded to inositol within 24 hours of starting it and were able to avoid hospitalization.

Other specific results I’ve seen with inositol

  • Reducing and sometimes stopping tics, twitches, eye blinking, and vocal “stimming” in children
  • Return of a regular menstrual cycle in PCOS cases
  • Chronic pain under control
  • Reduction in pain from shingles

Not only does inositol do many amazing things for health, but it has other desirable aspects, too.

First, it is very safe and traditionally well tolerated. Any ill effects are usually mild and often resolve with a slower increase in the amount. It can be used in children and during pregnancy. Inositol can also be a safe alternative to side-effect-laden anxiety medications.

Second, it tastes really good! Inositol has a sweet flavor, which makes it pleasant to take. The sweet taste makes it very easy to administer to children. I typically use the inositol tablets by Standard Process, which are sourced from honey. These tablets can be chewed. There is also a powdered formulation that is so easy to add to drinks or smoothies. The powder is also very helpful if taking a higher dose.

As a bonus, the sweet taste and glucose-assisting properties can even help to reduce sugar cravings.

Sweet endings

Inositol is a nutrient that, in the right situation, can achieve clinical miracles. It is safe, well-tolerated, and tastes good. All these factors make it a nice adjunct to many healing plans.  If you have anxiety issues, I highly recommend this product to see if you can find safe relief.

Beyond the Glow: Ditching Scented Candles for Healthier Home Fragrance

Beyond the Glow: Ditching Scented Candles for Healthier Home Fragrance

Scented candles are often considered an easy way to create a cozy atmosphere or to unwind after a long day. It seems they become even more common during the holiday season. However, beneath their fragrant allure lie several potential health hazards that many overlook.

Most scented candles are made from paraffin wax, a petroleum byproduct. When burned, they release chemicals like benzene and toluene, both known carcinogens. The wicks may also contain heavy metals such as lead, emitting toxic fumes when lit. These pollutants can cause respiratory issues, trigger allergies, and even contribute to long-term health problems.

In addition, synthetic fragrances used in candles often contain phthalates- chemicals linked to hormonal disruptions and reproductive issues. These compounds are not just inhaled, but can also be absorbed through the skin or ingested when the melted wax comes in contact with food.

But fear not! There are safer alternatives to achieve a delightful aroma at home. One of my favorite options is homemade potpourri, which not only adds a pleasant smell to your home but also allows for plenty of customization. Here’s a simple recipe to get you started:

Homemade Potpourri Recipe:

Ingredients:

  • Dried flowers (rose petals, lavender, chamomile)
  • Citrus peels (orange, lemon, lime)
  • Spices (cinnamon sticks, cloves, rosemary)
  • Essential oils such as peppermint (optional for added fragrance)

Instructions:

  • Gather your dried flowers, citrus peels, and spices in a bowl. You can either purchase these items or dry them yourself by leaving them out in a cool, dry place for a few days.
  • Add a few drops of your preferred essential oil if you desire a stronger scent.
  • Mix the ingredients together gently.
  • Place the potpourri mix in a decorative bowl
  • This homemade potpourri not only provides a natural and pleasant scent but also serves as a lovely decorative element in your home. You can experiment with different combinations of flowers, fruits, and spices to find your favorite blend.

Making the switch from scented candles to homemade potpourri might seem like a small change, but it can significantly reduce your exposure to harmful chemicals. By prioritizing your health and the air quality in your home, you can create a soothing and inviting environment without compromising the well-being of you or your guests.

Remember, a cozy atmosphere doesn’t have to come at the expense of your health. Here’s to making our homes healthier, one step at a time! 

Mikaela Cradit, CNHP

Have Acne? These Simple Steps May Fix It

Have Acne? These Simple Steps May Fix It

If you have acne, it’s often written all over your face. 

Because acne is so visible, I often see this condition as a top 5 concern of my patients;  85% of individuals between the ages of 12-24 experience acne.  Unfortunately, it often doesn’t stop there.  Many people either experience a resurgence of acne later in life or in some cases, it never goes away. Acne can be very physically and emotionally uncomfortable and in more severe cases can lead to scarring.  Dermatologists offer many creams and treatments, but often these treatments produce minimal results or never fully clear the problem as they do not address the cause.

There are many contributing factors to acne.  The main factors are:

  • Food sensitivities
  • Toxic exposures
  • Microbial imbalances on the skin or internally
  • Hormonal imbalances
  • Digestive problems

By understanding the most common contributing factors and through my experience with patients that have acne, I will share some easy and effective natural solutions.

  1. Get a showerhead filter. The hot water coming from your shower introduces harsh chemicals into your open pores. Sometimes, simply getting a good showerhead filter can make a significant difference in acne. Many good showerhead filters are available for $60 or less. Berkey makes a good one.
  2. Cut white refined sugar out of your diet.  Sugar is inflammatory, feeds pathogens, and is a hormone imbalancer.  Enough said.
  3. Try an elimination diet.  Food sensitivities can play a big role in skin conditions, so if your skin issues persist, you should try an elimination diet to see if a particular food is the culprit.  My favorite elimination diet is the Whole30.
  4. Switch personal care products to gentle, fragrance-free options. Products that you use frequently such as hair products, face washes, lotions, body washes, etc. can have a huge impact on your skin. The type of product that works best is highly individual, but finding products that do not contain harmful chemicals and are fragrance-free is a must.
  5. Take a good probiotic. A probiotic won’t fix every gut issue, but it’s a great start to helping your skin by supporting your gut. My favorite skin-helping, broad-spectrum probiotic is Flora 12+ by Energetix.

The above steps are fantastic preliminary actions to healing acne, as well as any other skin condition because they embody many of the causes of skin problems. I want to impart a pearl of wisdom as you begin working on healing your skin.  This pearl is – The skin heals last.  Problems of the skin are a manifestation of what’s happening internally in your body. As such, healing can take time. Most interventions for the skin need at least 90 days to show results.  Be patient with any attempts you make to heal your skin and do not give up too soon.

Acne can be very uncomfortable and can have a negative impact on how one perceives their appearance.  The good news is that there are solutions to resolve acne for good and many of them are quite simple! Give these interventions a shot and if that does not take care of your skin issue, there are many more options out there.  It’s best to start with the simplest solutions first.

Dr. Amanda Childress, PharmD

Healing Using Castor Oil Packs

Healing Using Castor Oil Packs

How does one approach healing without the sole reliance on medication and surgical means?  There are many approaches to healing, naturally.

The methods most taken while pursuing the holistic route are diet, exercise, and nutritional supplements.  These approaches are powerful; however, there’s only so much you can exercise away or ingest. There are many other natural modalities available that unlock your maximum healing potential. It is helpful to look at the wisdom of the past for nearly forgotten methods for healing.  One such method has been in practice for centuries:  the castor oil pack.

Castor oil is derived from the castor bean which is native to India.  This medicinal oil can stimulate lymph and liver function and reduce inflammation.  Many of the healing properties of castor oil are attributed to its high percentage (about 90%) of the molecularly unique fatty acid ricinoleic acid.   

Castor beans are quite toxic due to a chemical called ricin that is in the pulp of the bean, but ricin is not contained in the oil.  When castor oil is extracted under heated conditions, the ricin is removed, and any ricin left behind is deactivated. 

When castor oil is used topically, it is non-toxic and can be a great addition to a healing program.  A castor oil pack is a method of saturating cloths in castor oil for healing through topical application. This pack is placed over the problem area to stimulate organ flow and function and as an anti-inflammatory measure.

Healing castor oil packs can be helpful for the following situations:

  • Constipation
  • Digestive problems
  • Abdominal cramps or bloating
  • Gallbladder discomfort
  • Menstrual cramps
  • Sore muscles
  • Joint pain
  • Swelling
  • Lymph congestion
  • Injuries
  • Fibroids
  • Ovarian cysts

Items Needed:

  • 1-quart glass jar with lid (mason jar)
  • Organic, Hexane-free Castor Oil
  • 1 cotton flannel or unbleached wool cloth*
  • A long, wide piece of cotton flannel to tie around the abdomen
  • A heat source (hot water bottle, hot rice pack, heating pad, etc.)
  • Protective covering for bed or couch (old sheets, towels, cloths, etc.)**

*You can buy a set of castor oil with a pack already made.  These premade packs are expensive but convenient.

**Some sources recommend using plastic bags or wraps.  I do not recommend using plastic as the chemicals contained therein have the potential to be absorbed with the castor oil, especially once heat is applied.

Directions:

  1. Fold the cotton/wool into a square large enough to cover the area you are addressing (Example: for liver/gallbladder, about 7”x10”)
  2. Put about 2 tablespoons of castor oil onto the cloth and fold in different directions to get the oil to saturate the full surface of the cloth. The cloth should be saturated but not dripping
  3. Apply the cloth “pack” over the desired area
    • Right upper abdomen for liver/gallbladder
    • Left upper abdomen for spleen/lymph
    • Middle of abdomen (or right upper abdomen) for general bloating and constipation
    • Lower abdomen for menstrual issues
    • Directly to joints or injured areas 
    • Mid to lower back for kidneys
  4. Cover the pack with the larger strip of cloth and wrap or tie it around the area
  5. Place a heat source (hot water bottle or heating pad) over the pack
  6. Lay down and elevate your feet if possible and relax for 30 minutes to an hour*
  7. Remove the pack and cleanse the skin with a mixture of warm water, gentle unscented soap, and baking soda
  8. Place the used pack into the glass jar and seal the lid for storage until the next use.  You can typically get 30 uses out of one pack.  Throw away the cloth sooner if it becomes discolored or has a bad odor
  9. Rest and hydrate

*You can apply the castor oil pack overnight.  If you do this method, the heat source is not necessary.

Castor oil is very safe and well tolerated when used topically; all the same, there are a few things to keep in mind when using castor oils packs:

  • Castor oil packs can stimulate bile flow, which can lead to additional, and sometimes urgent, bowel movements after use.  It is a good idea to do your pack at the end of the day when you are staying in, relaxing, and close to a bathroom.
  • Castor oil packs can stimulate lymph flow, which can lead to an increase in urination.
  • Some individuals may notice increased gut gurgling, gas, or discomfort after doing a castor oil pack; especially if placed on the abdomen.  These sensations should pass within an hour.  If you experience this, try doing the pack for a shorter amount of time until your body adjusts.

When working on a holistic healing plan, it is good practice to look at many avenues of support for your body, even beyond what you ingest. History can be a powerful teacher. Centuries of use in at least 50 countries across the world, and a fantastic safety profile, make castor oil packs a desirable adjunct to your healthy habits.  Topical castor oil also has the additional advantages of being affordable, easy to use, and able to offer quick relief in many situations.

Dr. Amanda Childress, PharmD

Are You Feeling Sluggish?

Are You Feeling Sluggish?

If you’re feeling sluggish, slow, and tired, it could be your lymphatic system.

Anytime we experience fatigue, most of us might think that our adrenals, thyroid, or sleep are to blame. So we change our sleep schedule, diet, and even take supplements advertised for energy but we still continue relying on our cup of caffeine to keep us going or we just drag through the day.

What if what’s keeping you dragging is a sluggish lymphatic system and the lack of proper elimination?

Our lymphatic system is the sewer system of our body, and it relies on organs of extractions like our kidneys, liver, lungs, skin, and intestines to eliminate toxins and excess waste. Each of these organs plays a crucial role in eliminating waste from the body to help maintain a well-operating lymphatic system.

A congested lymphatic system can affect our energy level in several ways. When the lymphatic system becomes sluggish it may not be functioning properly, which can lead to a buildup of toxins and waste products in the body. This can result in a variety of symptoms, including:

  • Swelling or edema: Fluid can build up in tissues, causing swelling.
  • Fatigue: The waste products can accumulate, leading to feelings of fatigue and lethargy.
  • Poor immune function: The lymphatic system is a key component of the immune system, and when it is not functioning properly, the body may be more susceptible to infections and illnesses, leading to more fatigue
  • Digestive problems: The malabsorption of fats by the liver and gallbladder can lead to digestive issues such as bloating and constipation.

There are several factors that can contribute to a sluggish lymphatic system and non-backed up extractory system, these include a sedentary lifestyle, high carb refined diet, stress, and a body overburdened with toxins and pathogens.

To improve lymphatic and elimination function, it is important to maintain a diet high in animal protein and healthy fats and exercise regularly. Your lymphatic system does not have a pump the way your cardiovascular system does, if you do not move it, it stays stagnant. Great ways to support your lymphatic and extractory organs are daily movement, lymphatic massages, rebounder or mini trampoline, vibration plates, and dry brushing.

Finding out “WHAT” is causing your systems to be congested is the most important step in addressing your fatigue. Talk to our practitioners to find out why you might be feeling slow, sluggish, and tired.

Dr. Taggy Bensaïd, ND

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