The Importance of Stress Reduction in Overall Health

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Dr. David M. Brady, author of The Fibro-Fixhope-2082141_1920

Stress is increasingly becoming a root problem in most health conditions, and is an especially significant element in global pain and fatigue conditions such as fibromyalgia. Physical and occupational stressors are commonly encountered throughout life and may include a busy schedule, a demanding occupation, managing children and family life, financial burdens, a heavy school load, planning for a large event such as new move or job, and the never-ending pinging of electronic devices and communications invading everyday life.

Emotional stress is more complex and often stems from weightier matters such as relationship difficulties, abuse, death, fear and anxiety.

While everyone experiences temporary physical stressors throughout their life, emotional stressors can linger and lead to damaging feelings of despair and hopelessness if there’s no resolution. Both forms of stress can have a significant impact on physical and mental health, reducing the body’s resiliency and arresting the healing process.

 

The health effects of chronic stress have been the subject of many studies in recent years, owing to the fact that stress has been linked to increased risks of cardiovascular disease and upper respiratory diseases, not to mention psychiatric conditions such as depression and anxiety disorders, widespread inflammation, and autoimmune conditions. In light of this, the fight for optimal health requires a serious commitment to daily stress reduction.

An individual’s stress response is highly dependent on genetics, coping mechanisms, personality, and the presence of social and familial support. Any type of stress puts excess pressure and demands on the body, prompting various biological systems to respond. Individuals with a high level of resiliency and a strong support system are often able to cope with and manage greater levels of stress, compared to those whose constitution is weak and who lack the support of others.

Chronic stress triggers the production of cortisol and catecholamines such as dopamine and norepinephrine – hormones which activate the “fight or flight” response. As these hormones surge through the body, they suppress the immune system by blocking the production of various immune cells. Stress hormones also disturb normal sleep patterns and cognitive function as they interact with and alter brain neurotransmitters.

Temporary stress is unlikely to create long-term positive health effects; however, chronic stress easily disrupts several biological systems, illustrating why it has become a root element in chronic health conditions, and especially in global pain and fatigue disorders such as fibromyalgia.

 

Stress-Reducing Activities

One of the most basic behaviors that can help in reducing stress and improving health is to decide whether or not you are over-committed. Life is full of opportunities, but the human body is limited in its capacity. Learning to focus on a few important commitments— while simultaneously forgoing less important opportunities— will help prevent stress associated with over-commitment. Establishing boundaries and fully committing to a few select obligations often produces a deeper sense of satisfaction and accomplishment.

Regularly participating in some form of mind-focusing exercise is shown to have significantly positive impacts on stress levels and mental health. Meditation, prayer and guided imagery are all excellent tools for focusing the mind. Meditation trains the brain to become aware of the moment and to be single-focused. Chronic stress often exerts itself as “mind-racing” and hyper-vigilance. Regular meditation brings thoughts into focus, improves attention, facilitatea problem-solving, reducing all stress biomarkers, and improves cardiovascular risk factors.

Similarly, prayer is a form of religious meditation that confers all the same benefits as other forms of meditation. Throughout history, it has been noted that religious practices such as prayer are significantly beneficial for reducing anxiety, improving mood and mental outlook, pain tolerance, and general health. Guided imagery is a powerful relaxation tool that encourages optimism and positive thoughts. It has also been proven to improve sleep, pain, anxiety and depression.

Creating a calming environment through the use of music and light is a simple way to sustain a state of relaxation. Like guided imagery, music therapy promotes positive emotions while reducing anxiety and stress. Classical music, particularly, has been shown to positively stimulate the parasympathetic nervous system to slow the heart rate and relax muscles. Colored light has the ability to affect brain hormones such as serotonin and melatonin, both of which are important for establishing a healthy wake/sleep cycle and contribute to positive moods. Specific colors have been used to foster specific moods in the practice of chromotherapy. Most individuals notice the positive effects of warm sunlight compared to the cold, fearful feelings provoked by dark, shadowy colors. Aromatherapy is yet another means of generating a calming environment, helpful for reducing stress.

 

Stress-Reducing Botanicals/Nutrients

Various botanicals may be helpful for supporting the biological systems that are weakened by stress.. Panax ginseng, Eleutherococcus senticosus, and Rhodiola rosea, are among the best known species of plants in a class of botanicals known as adaptogens. These botanicals support the adrenal glands and balance the production of stress hormones, thereby improving the body’s resiliency to stress and helping to recover. However, some of these classic adaptogens can be somewhat stimulating to the system and can make issues such as anxiety and hyper-vigilance issues even worse. I prefer using calming or neutral adaptogens mainly such as Withania somnifera (Ashwagandha).

Other botanicals can help reduce anxiety, promote relaxation, and improve sleep by supporting neurotransmitters in the brain. These botanicals include valerian, chamomile, lemon balm, Bacopa, passionflower, and hops. Natural brain hormones such as melatonin and 5-HTP are temporarily helpful when disrupted sleep patterns and increased pain perception prevent recovery from stress. Similarly, amino acids such as L-theanine, L-tryptophan, and L-tyrosine can be useful in boosting natural hormone production. (Note: L-tyrosine may provide an unwanted stimulatory effect in some circumstances so it should be used under the guidance of a licensed naturopathic physician or other health care professional skilled in managing the stress response with nutritional and botanical agents.)

 

Stress is a major contributor to many health conditions. It’s both a roadblock to healing, as well as a root cause of poor health. Stress-reduction often clears the muddy waters of poor health and allows for a better representation of any genuine health concerns, making it an essential lifestyle modification.

 

 

References:

Schneiderman, N., Ironson, G., & Siegel, S. D. (2005). STRESS AND HEALTH: Psychological, Behavioral, and Biological Determinants. Annual Review of Clinical Psychology, 1, 607–628. http://doi.org/10.1146/annurev.clinpsy.1.102803.144141

Salleh, M. R. (2008). Life Event, Stress and Illness. The Malaysian Journal of Medical Sciences : MJMS, 15(4), 9–18.

Wimmer, L., Bellingrath, S., & von Stockhausen, L. (2016). Cognitive Effects of Mindfulness Training: Results of a Pilot Study Based on a Theory Driven Approach. Frontiers in Psychology, 7, 1037. http://doi.org/10.3389/fpsyg.2016.01037

Andrade, C., & Radhakrishnan, R. (2009). Prayer and healing: A medical and scientific perspective on randomized controlled trials. Indian Journal of Psychiatry, 51(4), 247–253. http://doi.org/10.4103/0019-5545.58288

Chen, S.-F., Wang, H.-H., Yang, H.-Y., & Chung, U.-L. (2015). Effect of Relaxation With Guided Imagery on The Physical and Psychological Symptoms of Breast Cancer Patients Undergoing Chemotherapy. Iranian Red Crescent Medical Journal, 17(11), e31277. http://doi.org/10.5812/ircmj.31277

Lee, K.S., Jeong, H.C., Yim, J.E., & Jeon, M.Y. (2016). Effects of Music Therapy on the Cardiovascular and Autonomic Nervous System in Stress-Induced University Students: A Randomized Controlled Trial. Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine, 22(1), 59-65. doi: 10.1089/acm.2015.0079.

Radeljak, S., Zarković-Palijan, T., Kovacević, D., & Kovac, M. (2008). Chromotherapy in the regulation of neurohormonal balance in human brain–complementary application in modern psychiatric treatment. Collegium Antropologicum, 32, Suppl 2, 185-8.

Head, K.A., & Kelly, G.S. (2009). Nutrients and botanicals for treatment of stress: adrenal fatigue, neurotransmitter imbalance, anxiety, and restless sleep. Alternative Medicine Review, 14(2), 114-40.

How Toxins Cause Disease

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By Joseph Pizzorno, ND

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Although the word toxin sounds scary, most people don’t grasp precisely how toxins interact with human physiology and how long this has been a problem for humans. Doctors noticed almost two hundred years ago that toxins like mercury were causing “mad hatter disease.” It was also known that toxicity from leaded water pipes was a major cause of the decline of the Roman Empire. But in the past, these toxins were largely limited to occupational exposure. Only people who performed certain specific tasks— coal miners, who inhale coal dust, for example—were known to be casualties. Doctors didn’t consider the rest of the population to be at risk. But with the explosion of industrial activity and products, that has changed. Following more research, scientists and perceptive clinicians now better understand that toxicity affects most—if not all—of the population. The more research I look at and the more patients I care for, the more convinced I am that we are seeing only the tip of the iceberg.

 

Basically, there are eight ways toxins damage our bodies.

 

  1. Toxins poison enzymes so they don’t work properly. Our bodies are enzyme engines. Every physiological function depends on enzymes to manufacture molecules, produce energy, and create cell structures. Toxins damage enzymes and thus undermine countless bodily functions—inhibiting the production of hemoglobin in the blood, for example, or lowering the body’s capacity to prevent the free-radical damage that accelerates aging.
  2. Toxins displace structural minerals, resulting in weaker bones. People need to maintain healthy bone mass for liflong mobility. When toxins displace the calcium present in bone, there is a twofold effect: weaker skeletal structures and increased toxins, released by bone loss, which circulate throughout the body.
  3. Toxins damage the organs. Toxins damage nearly all your organs and systems. My book, The Toxin Solution, focuses specifically on the detox organs. If your digestive tract, liver, and kidneys are so toxic they are unable to detox effectively, your detoxification witll backfire and your body will remain toxic.
  4. Toxins damage DNA, which increases the rate of aging and degeneration. Many commonly used pesticides, phthalates, improperly detoxified estrogens, and products containing benzene damage DNA.
  5. Toxins modify gene expression. Our genes switch off and on to adapt to changes in our bodies and the outer environment. But many toxins activate or suppress our genes in undesirable ways.
  6. Toxins damage cell membranes so they don’t respond properly. “Signaling” in the body happens in the cell membranes. Damage to these membranes prevents them from getting important messages—insulin not signaling the cells to absorb more sugar, for example, or muscle cells not responding to the message from magnesium to relax.
  7. Toxins interfere with hormones and cause imbalances. Toxins induce, inhibit, mimic, and block hormones. One example: Arsenic disrupts thyroid hormone receptors on the cells, so the cells don’t get the message from the thyroid hormones that cause them to rev up metabolism. The result is inexplicable fatigure.
  8. Last but not least, toxins actually impair your ability to detoxify—and this is the worst problem of all.

 

When you are very toxic and desperately need to detoxify, it’s harder to do than when you are not toxic. In other words, just when you need your detox systems most (to address health issues), your hard-working detox system is most likely to be functioning below par. Why? Because the heavy toxic load you already carry has overwhelmed your detox capacity. That’s right. The more toxins you have burdening your body, the greater the damage to your body’s detoxification pathways.

 

That’s why restoring your detox organs—and with them your detox pathways—is such an important challenge (and why I devoted an entire book—The Toxic Solution—to the subject). The net result is that you then can readily release toxins from your body.

 

 

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Dr. Joseph Pizzorno is the founder of Bastyr University and the co-author of The Encyclopedia of Natural Medicine. This article was excerpted from his latest book, THE TOXIN SOLUTION: How Hidden Poisons in the Air, Water, Food, and Products We Use are Destroying Our Health and What We Can Do To Fix It. Copyright 2017 by Dr. Joseph Pizzorno. Reprinted with permission by HarperOne, a division of HarperCollinsPublishers.

Bedtime Tips for Increasing Energy and Losing Weight

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pexels-photo-129062Do this in bed to have more energy and lose more weight…

Probably one of the most common questions naturopathic physicians here in their practices is this one: “How can I get more energy?”

People are wired and tired, fatigued, running on empty, and dragging through their days. They constantly ask if there’s something they can take, something they can eat, something they can do that will give them more of what they are clearly, sadly, lacking: energy.

With all the infomercials running non-stop on late night television promising instant energy in a bottle, you could almost believe that the only reason for this widespread fatigue and lack of energy is that people aren’t drinking enough “5 Hour Energy Drink”.

That’s not the reason.

The real reason for the “no energy” epidemic is very simple.

It’s a lack of sleep.

The good news is that it doesn’t have to be that way. Below, you’ll find a few simple tips you can use, starting today, to improve your sleep.

But first, let’s talk a little bit about why sleep is so important.

 

Sleep: The Metabolic Repairman…tools-1551458_640

The body goes through five stages of sleep—4 stages plus the all-important stage known as REM, which stands for rapid eye movement.  The body cycles through these five stages several times a night, and important metabolic work gets done during this time.

If sleep is too short, or interrupted, or not restful, the cycle gets broken up and your metabolism suffers. Sleep influences appetite, stress, libido, and mood. There’s almost nothing you could do that’s more important to your overall well-being and to your metabolic health than getting a really good night’s sleep, every single night.

And by the way—lack of sleep also directly affects your waistline, and here’s why. When you don’t sleep soundly, your stress hormones go on overdrive, which drives you to overeat and to crave carbohydrates. Stress hormones also direct the body to deposit fat around the middle, which leads to the dreaded “apple shape”, the pattern of fat distribution that is so dangerous for your heart.

If you want to master your metabolism, you need to master your hormones, and sleep is one of the most important places that hormone balancing occurs. Important biochemicals are manufactured and replaced during sleep including human growth hormone and melatonin, the powerful antioxidant and anti-cancer hormone that most people think of as something you only take for jet lag. But for all this hormone production to happen, you need to sleep better and you need to sleep longer.

So here are three tips for how to do it.

 

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Tip #1: Set the Temperature at 68 Degrees…

Most of us sleep in rooms that are too warm, which is neither healthy nor natural.

The body’s temperature naturally drops during sleep (that’s why in movies you always see people cover up a friend who’s just fallen asleep).

The body prefers this lower temperature during sleep, and if the room is too hot, you have to “work” to keep the equilibrium and that interferes with good sleep. So keep the room comfortably cool—68 degrees is perfect.

 

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Tip #2: No media. None…

Take a complete media break for half an hour before hitting the sack. No kidding. This means no television, no email, no computer for one full half hour before bedtime.

Remember, this is the transition time during which you prepare the body for the relaxation and slumber to come.

You do NOT need the television to fall asleep to. The last thing your subconscious mind needs to hear as it drifts off into sleep is the latest news on the Kardashians.

 

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Tip #3: Keep it Dark...

Studies show that even the slightest light in the room can measurably interfere with metrics used to measure good, restful sleep. So keep the lights off—all of them. Dark, cool, and media-free is the way to go.

Start by doing these three simple steps and watch what happens. Your energy may improve drastically, all without taking a single prescription pill!

INM and The Future Doctors of America Cooking Class

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The Future Doctors of America (FDA) 10-week student health educational program featured a cooking class on May 23, at Jefferson Middle School located in West San Gabriel, Calif. Funded by The Institute for Natural Medicine, the program is designed to educate middle school children about heart disease and disease prevention.

The program’s primary goals are to inspire students who are thinking about pursuing a healthcare career and bring knowledge to the community about the benefits of being healthy, as well as provide information the students can bring home to their family members. Class participants included 16 students who learned how to prepare and cook recipes that could be combined into several delightful dishes. Recipes included a cauliflower pizza crust, nut-free vegan pesto and cheese, vegan meat made with quinoa, heart-healthy refried black beans and delicious black bean brownies.

The program classes were led by Carlsbad, Calif.-based Jonci Jensen, N.D. and founder of the FDA.  “Parents feedback has been positive,” says. Dr. Jensen. “The Institute for Natural Medicine has been wonderful to work with. They’re the reason this pilot program was able to happen this Spring,” adds Dr. Jensen.

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Pain Expert, Dr. David Katz M.D., Works Side-by-Side With Naturopathic Physicians

PastedGraphic-2 (1)Millions of Americans live with chronic pain that conventional medicine has been unable to alleviate. In a column published in the New Haven Register, pain expert Dr. David Katz, MD, urges medical practitioners to change their approach to chronic pain.  He recommends taking a holistic approach that factors in underlying disease, diet, sleep, depression, stress and more. Citing his own collaborations with naturopathic doctors in a clinical setting, he wrote, ”It’s important to treat the person in pain, not just the pain in the person.”  He also stressed the importance of prevention. You can read Dr. Katz’s article here.

Dr. David L. Katz; www.davidkatzmd.com; founder, True Health Initiative

 

Dr. Rob Katchko Featured in “Celebrate Woman Today”

Robert Kachko ND LAc InnerSource Health
Maintaining a healthy weight is an important factor in living a long and active life. Diets provide quick weight loss, but mounting evidence shows they rarely result in sustainable weight loss. According to Dr. Robert Kachko, ND, LAc, diets fail primarily because they do not address the root causes of weight gain. In an article published in CelebrateWomenToday, he offers tips for understanding how to lose weight by creating lifestyle changes catered to your own body’s needs so that the weight comes off and stays off. You can read Dr. Kachko’s article here.

Naturopathic Medicine Empowers Mountain Biker in Race to Beat Breast Cancer

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By Reena Mukamal, July 1, 2017

A 44-year-old cyclist, CEO, and mother of twin toddler girls, Phoenix, AZ native Victoria Cramer fought and beat the most aggressive form of breast cancer. She also ran a half-marathon, completed an 18-mile mountain-bike race, and hit a personal record (PR) in a 24-hour bike competition–all in the midst of 16 grueling months of chemotherapy treatments. She credits her extraordinary mental and physical resilience to an integrated healthcare strategy that blended naturopathic and allopathic medicine.

Victoria was referred for a biopsy nearly a year after discovering a lump on her breast while pregnant. She was a non-smoking, healthy-eating endurance athlete, and her doctors originally dismissed the lump as a clogged milk duct or benign cyst. But when her twin daughters were just 8-months-old, she received a diagnosis that knocked her off her feet: HER2-positive and estrogen-positive breast cancer—an extremely aggressive form of the disease.

Facing surgery and extensive chemotherapy, Victoria jumped into action, putting together a team and a strategy to attack the biggest challenge of her life.

In the three weeks after her diagnosis, she had 23 different doctor appointments and lab tests. But her meeting with Dan Rubin, naturopathic oncologist was “the single most pivotal moment in my entire strategy and battle against cancer.”

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Knowledgeable about every aspect of her blood work, Rubin was the first doctor to clearly articulate how serious her cancer was and how aggressive she would need to be. He also understood how important it was for Victoria to be able to run and bike and chase her twin daughters around throughout her treatment. As a naturopathic doctor, he was an advocate for her entire self—body and mind.

Dr. Rubin quickly developed a treatment plan that would allow Victoria to meet all the goals she had set for herself. Specifically, the naturopathic medicine protocol would smoothly integrate with her conventional oncology treatment by:

  1. Reducing her tumor activity while she waited for surgery
  2. Strengthening her immune system to heal quickly post-surgery and prepare for chemotherapy
  3. Building her energy and sustaining her immunity throughout chemotherapy, when her white blood cell count would be at its lowest and her body most vulnerable to infection, so she could recover quickly from round to round

As a result of incorporating naturopathic medicine into her cancer treatment, Victoria was able to:

  • Heal quickly from her surgery—which included a double mastectomy and removal of 14 lymph nodes—warding off infection and rapidly regaining her strength, mind, and energy
  • Promptly recover the mobility of her right arm post-surgery thanks to myofascial release therapy
  • Exercise every day throughout her treatment, even if it was just a walk—essential to maintaining not only her physical strength, but also a strong mental attitude that would fortify her for the long battle
  • Remarkably, complete a half-marathon and two intense, competitive mountain bike races
  • Recover from each chemo treatment in half the amount of time it took her friends/peers (4 days versus 8 days)
  • Reverse the slowing cognitive function she experienced as a side effect of chemotherapy
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Victoria riding to victory

Throughout the treatment, Dr. Rubin worked closely and collaboratively with Victoria’s oncologist to modify her supplemental treatments and address any side effects or issues that came up.

This April, Victoria marked her one-year anniversary of finishing chemotherapy. As of January 2017, she has no evidence of active cancer in her body. She recently celebrated her twins’ 3rd birthdays, is back at the helm of her strategic consulting firm, and is getting ready for continued bike racing.

 

 

From Hospice to Good Health

How Naturopathic Medicine Helped Me Beat Ovarian Cancer

 Sonia Swanson and Daisy (2)by Sonia Swanson, Jun 29, 2017

Six years ago, conventional medical doctors sent me home with a prescription for hospice care. They told me I had three weeks to live. But thanks to a non-toxic naturopathic medical treatment, I am still here today, and healthier than ever.

How I did go from hospice to good health? Here is my story.

When I was 75 years old, after a lifetime of relatively good health, I began struggling with horrible nausea and vomiting. For nearly six months, I would wake up feeling fine, but the moment I put something in my mouth, my stomach started acting up. I tried eliminating certain foods from my diet, but nothing helped. Eventually, I couldn’t keep anything down, including water. I lost 20 pounds.

Then, just a few days before Christmas, my symptoms became unbearable. My husband, Dave, took me to the emergency room at the Mayo Clinic in Scottsdale, Arizona, about 90 miles from my hometown of Payson. This was the start of grueling tests and scans, including CAT scans, sonograms, MRIs, bloodwork, and x-rays. The diagnosis was heartbreaking: ovarian cancer.

With no time to lose, I underwent exploratory surgery. Surgeons discovered a mass in my abdomen. Biopsy results confirmed that I had advanced ovarian cancer that had metastasized around my stomach and esophagus—an automatic diagnosis of Stage 4. Deciding that the tumor was too large and involved to remove successfully, the surgeons attached a drain line to my stomach to catch all the food I could not ingest and a PICC line in my arm to deliver intravenous nutrients. I had been vomiting because nothing I ate could get through the giant tumor. At least this way, I wouldn’t starve to death.

I was referred to an oncologist who suggested chemotherapy, and sent home to celebrate New Year’s Eve with my family. I knew I was in one of the best hospitals in the world, and remained positive.

In the new year, I returned to the hospital for twice-weekly chemotherapy sessions. Doctors measured my Cancer Antigen 125 levels—a primary biomarker for many cancers, including ovarian cancer. A normal CA 125 range in a cancer-free person is 0 to 35 units/mL. When I began chemotherapy, my CA 125 measured 222 units/mL. I had heard the horror stories about chemotherapy, but after my first three sessions, I felt my energy increase and thought, “This is not going to be so bad after all.”

But by my fourth treatment, things were going downhill fast. I was vomiting, having diarrhea, and starting to lose my hair. I was worn out and spending most of my time in bed. After the eighth chemo treatment, they measured my CA 125 again. It was 376 units/ML. The chemo wasn’t working, and I was getting sicker every day.

At that point, my doctors recommended a “debulking” surgery to remove as much of the tumor and mass as possible. Because the ovarian cancer had already spread widely throughout my abdomen, the goal was to leave behind no tumors larger than 1 cm. The surgery would include removal of my uterus, ovaries, and fallopian tubes.

But when the surgical team opened me up, they found that the cancer had taken over everything: they literally could not tell one organ from the next. They closed me up, and that’s when they told me I had three weeks to live. I was referred to hospice, packed up with a bottle of morphine and fluids for my PICC line, and sent home to be with my husband and my dog. My daughter offered to take care of me. We all thought I was going to die.

Three weeks went by. Then three months. I couldn’t eat anything, and was surviving on popsicles, juice and the fluids from my PICC line. It was March and I had lost another 43 pounds since the last chemo treatment in January. Every night I would go to sleep, praying that I would die quietly and peacefully.

Then in April, a doctor in Payson recommended that I try curcumin. Curcumin is the main active ingredient in turmeric, and is used in medicine for its anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties. Studies have shown that curcumin can help stop cancer growth by attacking cancer cells at multiple points in their lifecycle. It does not have toxic side effects.

My daughter helped administer my curcumin twice daily through rectal infusion. After a few weeks, I was holding down food and drink for the first time in months. Soon, the tube connecting the drainage bag to my stomach came out—all on its own. I was so happy I could eat again, especially bacon. I started to feel stronger. More importantly, my CA 125 had come down to 139 units/mL. But, it plateaued at a level still far from normal.

At that point in time, a friend referred me to Dr. Thomas Kruzel. A naturopathic doctor trained as a primary care physician at an accredited naturopathic medical college, licensed by the state of Arizona, Dr. Kruzel had a number of cancer patients in his practice and was using curcumin to treat them.

Dr. Kruzel was the first doctor I had ever met who actually took the time to sit down and talk to me and answer all my questions. Unlike other doctors, he looked at my health like I was a whole person—my mind and my body.

Dr. Kruzel started me on a treatment regime that included a weekly intravenous (IV) administration of curcumin, which is absorbed into the body more effectively in this way. He also gave me high dose vitamin C and other key nutrients to rev up my immune system. Additionally, he gave me homeopathics such as conium maculatum to help disrupt my cancer cell metabolism, and rotating herbal formulas to keep my immune system healthy and aggressive. He has helped well over 1,000 patients in his practice manage their cancer over the past 30 years.

Before long, my CA 125 started to come down again. Within two years, it measured 35 units/mL—virtually normal, meaning that my cancer was in remission. Also, I felt great! I could play with my dog, go out with my husband and my friends, and eat anything I wanted.

Six years later, once a week, I still drive an hour and a half to Scottsdale to see Dr. Kruzel and receive treatment. He has recommended that I continue receiving curcumin for the rest of my life, and anticipates that I will be able to space the treatments out to monthly infusions with time. I see him for almost all my healthcare needs now and he is my primary care provider. The truth is, I look forward to my treatments. They last about an hour, and they are painless and easy. Dr. Kruzel sits with me and we catch up on life while I am hooked up. Afterward, I go out to lunch and shopping with my daughter.

So, that’s my story. I am alive and well six years after conventional medicine practitioners had done everything they could for me, and sent me home to die. I have hope, thanks to Dr. Kruzel and naturopathic medicine.

Sonia Swanson is an 81-year-old house wife and mother of two living in Payson, Arizona. She enjoys cooking, genealogy and her beloved dog, Daisy.

How Naturopathic Doctors Are Educated, Trained, and Licensed

Washington, DC – Naturopathic doctors educated and trained in accredited naturopathic medical schools in North America are required to complete a four-year, in-residence, hands-on medical program consisting of 4,100 hours of class and clinical training. This is according to the American Association of Naturopathic Physicians (AANP), which today launched a new information service for consumers in partnership with the Institute for Natural Medicine that answers Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) about naturopathic medicine.

The first FAQ released as part of the new service includes information about the curriculum and hands-on training provided by accredited naturopathic medical colleges and the process by which naturopathic doctors are licensed or certified in their states. It also describes prerequisites for entering students, and the similarities and differences between the medical programs for naturopathic doctors and those for conventional medical doctors (MDs) and osteopathic doctors (DOs).

“Licensed or regulated naturopathic doctors receive rigorous academic education and hands-on training as primary care physicians comparable and complementary to that of conventional MDs,” said JoAnn Yánez, ND, MPH, CAE, executive director of the Association of Accredited Naturopathic Medical Colleges. “Some go on to specialize in medical disciplines such as oncology or pediatrics, but all emphasize prevention, addressing the root causes of illness and wellness as the approach to optimal health. As a result, our graduates are uniquely positioned, alone or together with conventional MDs and other health care providers, to play a central role in providing Americans with better health outcomes at a lower cost.”

The FAQ, “How are naturopathic doctors educated, trained and licensed?” can be found here on the AANP website.

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