Dealing With Insomnia – Get A Good Night’s Sleep

Among the most frustrating of sleep disorders, insomnia can be particularly maddening. The persistent inability to fall asleep, especially when you are tired, can leave you stressed and wound up and wondering what is wrong. Yes, an inability to sleep will occasionally occur, but persistent insomnia is no laughing matter.

Most everyone experiences some minor episodes of insomnia lasting from one night to intermittent episodes of sleeplessness for a few weeks. This form, called transient insomnia, is not unexpected and almost everyone will face it at some point in their lives. For instance, a particularly stressful week at work might leave someone unable to sleep for a few nights. But, once the week is over, they can get back to sleeping normally.

Some people may also experience acute insomnia, which is a form of short-term insomnia that can strike at some points in peoples’ lives. For instance, if someone is suffering through a job loss or a difficult divorce, they may experience a persistent inability to get good sleep for anywhere from three weeks to six months. Notice that, in the case of acute insomnia, this is not a nightly occurrence and the sufferer is still able to get good sleep on some nights.

The most severe form of insomnia is chronic insomnia, which occurs almost nightly for a month or longer. This form of insomnia often seems to arise from seemingly nowhere and leaves the sufferer almost no reprieve. Oftentimes, this can leave the person fatigued, but not actually tired enough to fall asleep. This situation can lead to depression, anxiety, an inability to concentrate, and a feeling of just “being in a fog” all the time. Obviously, this is a bad state for a person to live in and they need to find relief.

While the temporary forms of insomnia can be relieved by relieving the temporary causes of insomnia, this is not a solution for people who suffer from chronic insomnia. Thus, people with chronic insomnia need to find solutions that address insomnia specifically.

Many people turn to sleeping pills in these situations, but these are problematic in some ways. Sleeping pills can be addictive even in their most benign forms and, oftentimes, people will become permanently reliant upon sleeping pill to get their nightly rest.

Other people seek herbal treatments, such as valerian, chamomile or lavender, for relief from insomnia. Many of these herbal remedies are fairly benign, but they can still leave people reliant on them to fall asleep at night.

More traditional remedies for insomnia include exercising in the afternoon, drinking warm milk before bed, avoiding anything mentally stimulating in the evening, and just going to bed early at night and waking up early in the morning. Obviously, it is preferable to start with traditional remedies such as this and move toward herbal remedies or sleeping pills if these do not help.

While insomnia is frustrating for people who suffer from it, it is treatable. There are many remedies out there and people should not be afraid to try them. In most cases, people can simply wait out the circumstances that are causing their insomnia and they will be fine. However, if insomnia is an almost nightly occurrence for a month or more, it is time to talk to a doctor and see what remedies might be suitable.

Discover The New Science Of Glyconutrition And Fibromyalgia

I have worked with a number of people who once suffered from the symptoms of Fibromyalgia or from Chronic Fatigue Syndrome. Fibromyalgia and Chronic Fatigue Syndrome are two similar disorders with overlapping symptoms. They include chronic fatigue, sleep disturbances, immune system dysfunction and psychological depression. People with Fibromyalgia also experience muscle and fibrous tissue pain, as well as gastro intestinal challenges. The cause or causes of Fibromyalgia and Chronic Fatigue Syndrome are unclear and some regard them as syndromes rather than actual diseases. Therefore, established medical treatments are based on the management of individual symptoms and can often be a game of cat and mouse for the medical professional.

With such complexities it is easy to understand why the role of nutrition in Fibromyalgia and Chronic Fatigue Syndrome has largely been overlooked. However since we now understand the importance of dietary components like glyconutrients (Mannose, Fucose, Galactose, Glucose, Xylose, N-Acetylgalactosamine, N-Acetylglucosamine and Sialic Acid) in regulating the immune, nervous, muscular systems as well as cell-to-cell communication in general, it is apparent that the biological activities of such nutritional components may play a significant role in maintaining proper function of those systems.

Also associated with these two conditions is an abnormal sleep pattern. Any number of gland failures resulting in hormonal imbalance may influence this. As sleep is a function regulated by a number of hormonal factors, nutritional support of glyconutrients as well as certain plant sterols may provide benefit in this area by supporting improved production and coordination of key hormones.

Some studies have shown possible linkages of viral and bacterial infections, such as Herpes, Coxsackie B and Lyme disease, to Fibromyalgia and Chronic Fatigue Syndrome. The reason for this is that many of the symptoms are closely associated with that of an active infection. There is also a high association with the diagnosis of either of the conditions and a positive test for one or more of these pathogens.

Other scientific evidence also suggests that Fibromyalgia and Chronic Fatigue Syndrome are related to immune system dysfunctions based on measurements of various immune markers in patients with these disorders. This can be measured in levels and activity of Natural Killer Lymphocytes, Cytokines such as Interleukin as well as other immune system factors. Through the measure of this activity, some studies have suggested that these two conditions may be autoimmune in nature. Whether or not they are, it is apparent that support of proper immune system function through improved nutrition can bring benefits to those suffering from any of the effects of these conditions. For example, acemannan, has been shown to enhance the killing activity of Macrophage against Candida Albicans, and can be found in certain glyconutrient supplements.

Regardless of the precise mechanisms in Fibromyalgia and chronic fatigue syndrome it should be apparent from the review of scientific and medical literature that all systems of the body are intimately involved in the syndrome. Proper dietary support for the cells from which these systems are composed calls for appropriate levels of a range of micronutrients. This is not limited to mere vitamins and minerals, but may also involve other categories of so-called phytonutrients including anti-oxidants, plant sterols and glyconutrients.

How Are Antioxidants Linked to Anti-Aging?

Antioxidants have been widely praised in the media. Many know they are linked with anti-aging properties. However this is not new, it all began with one man’s theory a half a century ago about how free radicals were associated with aging, and science has been trying to catch up with it ever since.

As Dr. Nicholas Perricone, M.D., states in his 2001 book, “The Wrinkle Cure”: “When it comes to aging, it’s not Father Time that’s public enemy number 1. It’s the very busy, very nasty little molecule called the free radical.”

The Free Radical Theory of Aging was published by Denman Harman in 1956. He theorized that aging is a result of free radical damage of the cells of the body. This is also called oxidative stress.

Today, a great deal of experimental evidence supports the premise that length of life is determined by the crucial balance of antioxidants with free radicals in the body. Oxidative stress is being shown to be at the root of disease and aging.

One example is that the life of the fruit fly was up to 30% longer when it was genetically altered with an addition of enzymatic antioxidants. Not only that, but the altered fruit flies also showed a reduced amount of age-related oxidative damage.

Studies of humans have also shown evidence of free radical damage playing a large part in human aging. One 1996 study compared markers of free radical damage in the blood and found evidence of the highest oxidative damage associated with the disabled elderly, an intermediate amount with the healthy elderly, and the lowest levels with the healthy adults.

The study also found that higher blood levels of antioxidant Vitamins C and E were associated with less disability, and signs of free radical damage were associated with more disability.

We need to rethink our concept of aging. We accept disease, disability, senility, wrinkles, and all the other many signs of aging as natural. Instead, we should view this as ‘unsuccessful aging’ – ie., aging associated with deterioration, disease and disability.

Successful aging is what happens when the human body is able to fight off oxidative stress, and continue to regenerate and repair itself. Successful aging is getting older healthily, without significant pathological conditions.

What the evidence is telling us is that it is crucial we take antioxidants and free radicals very seriously if we want to ‘age gracefully’ and avoid the many pitfalls of ‘unsuccessful aging’.

Even young people can be victims of unsuccessful aging, if they are not providing their bodies with the necessary balance of having have enough dietary antioxidants to fight off the free radicals.

In our modern culture, many of us are guilty of not getting adequate nutrition. It’s ironic, when we are the richest we have ever been that we should be feeding our bodies so poorly.

An interesting example of how a person can seriously damage their body with the wrong diet was seen in the Documentary ‘Super Size Me’ by Morgan Spurlock who ate only McDonald’s for a month. In just 30 days of having a junk food diet as his sole source of nutrition, his health was spiraling downwards and out of control.

The fact that he gained 25 pounds in a month was the least of his worries. He experienced a toxic liver, a significant increase in cholesterol, headaches, depression, a lower sex drive and poor skin. He returned to normal after his experiment ended.

Unfortunately a great many of us continue to do damage to our bodies, by smoking cigarettes, drinking coffee, eating junk food, and not eating our vegetables. When the media began warning us of free radicals, many of us did not understand the massive damage we were causing our bodies or how to prevent it, especially as most of the signs of damage are invisible until it is too late.

Free radical damage is accumulative and spreads like wildfire over time. Do your body a favor. Feed it a diet rich in antioxidant nutrition. Make it a habit, eat your fruits and vegetables, take your vitamins, and try to stop or cut down on damaging bad habits. You will thank yourself in 20 years.

Use antioxidants wisely to age successfully. Maybe like the fruit fly, you too can live 30% longer.

Tired All The Time? Try These Adrenal Support Essential Oil Blends!

Adrenal Support from Nature – Aromatherapy Essential Oil Blends for Fighting Fatigue

Feeling fatigued a little too often? Morning cappuccino no longer doing its job? Getting that feeling that you’ve been worn thin by your busy schedule, and you’re just not bouncing back? These can be signs of over-worked adrenal glands – and can be symptoms of a syndrome known as “Adrenal Fatigue”. Thankfully, a few commonly-available essential oils can offer support in regenerating worn-out adrenal glands.

What is Adrenal Fatigue?

The adrenal glands are your body’s workhorses when it comes to dealing with stress. These tiny glands, each about the size of a walnut and shaped like a tiny pyramid, sit atop each kidney. The adrenals produce important hormones such as cortisol, an energy releaser, and pregnenolone, the precursor from which almost all your body’s steroid hormones are made, including DHEA, progesterone, testosterone, and estrogens. Pregnenolone is an extremely important memory enhancer, and not only does it make you smarter, it also brings about feelings of well-being and enhances your ability to deal with stress. Weak adrenal function can have a variety of symptoms, including depression, insomnia, and lowered immune system function.

There can be many contributing factors to adrenal fatigue, though these can almost all be lumped into the category of ‘too much stress’! Overwork, sleep deprivation, poor eating habits – particularly too much sugar, injury and illness, and over-use of stimulants are a few common causes. Addressing these issues are of primary importance for long-term regeneration of the adrenals and their hormonal output. However, natural adrenal supporting essential oils used in aromatherapy can be very useful in bringing balance and assisting in restoring adrenal function to normal, healthy levels, in mild-to-moderate cases of adrenal fatigue.

Adrenal Supporting Essential Oils

Several easy-to-find essential oils are commonly used in aromatherapy to support the adrenals glands. Some are used purely for adrenal gland restoration, while others are used to provide a healthy lift when needed, and may be of assistance when reducing caffeine intake. These oils are not to be taken internally, but are best diluted in a carrier oil and applied to the skin.

Spruce and Black Spruce Needle Oils – Spruce is thought to restore depleted adrenal glands, and is used regularly by aromatherapists in blends applied directly over the adrenal area, or in an all-over body lotion.

Pine Needle Oil – Pine essential oil is noted to be one of the “most effective oils for fatigue and nervous debility”. Pine can be blended with Spruce for a synergistic revitalizing effect.

Atlas Cedar Oil – Moroccan Cedar is thought to gently and persistently stimulate the metabolism. Rather than regenerating, as do the Spruce and Pine oils, Cedar will provide a smooth, deep, and long lasting stimulation without the side effects of coffee and black tea.

Peppermint Oil – Peppermint has a broad range of healthful properties, and is thought of as an uplifting aroma. Peppermint, like Cedar, can be used for gentle stimulation and alertness.

Citrus Oils – Essential oils pressed from the rinds of citrus fruit like sweet orange, bitter orange (bergamot), lemon and lime are also uplifting and brightening, yet have a relaxing quality as well. They are useful additions to fatigue-busting blends, as the added calming, but not sedating, quality can lower stress levels, which are generally the cause of adrenal fatigue in the first place.

Aromatherapy Blends for Adrenal Fatigue

First, a blend to provide pure regenerative support without stimulation. This blend is suitable for regular use, and some users report almost immediate results – it has been noted to reduce or eliminate that nauseous feeling that can accompany insomnia. FOR A ONE OUNCE BLEND – add 1.5ml Spruce or Black Spruce and 1.5ml Pine Needle essential oils to one ounce (30ml) of your favorite carrier oil (Hazelnut is commonly used, but any common aromatherapy carrier oil should do the trick). Apply regularly to the kidney / adrenal area. Note: 1ml is about 25 drops.

To use these oils in a gently stimulating, all-over body blend, add 3ml each of Spruce and Pine essential oils, 2ml Atlas Cedar oil and 2ml of your favorite citrus oil to 4oz of carrier oil. Apply this all over after a morning shower – though if using the citrus oil, do not apply to areas that will be exposed to the sun in the following 72 hours, as citrus oils are photosensitizing.

If you prefer the properties and aroma of peppermint, try the following blend: 6ml of Spruce or Black Spruce, 2.5ml Atlas Cedar and 1.5ml Peppermint in 4 ounces of your favorite carrier. This blend will not be photosensitizing to the skin, and can be used all over the body.

Conclusion

These wonderful smelling aromatherapy blends can offer support in cases of mild and moderate adrenal fatigue for many people, though the underlying causes of this condition should be addressed concurrently for best results. For most folks, this means reducing caffeine intake, improving diet by reducing sugar consumption, and finding balance in one’s life between work, family, and personal time.

Using Essential Oils Successfully With The Herpes Virus – A Personal Account

Aromatherapy Oils and the Herpes Virus – One Person’s Success Story

The Herpes Simplex virus (or HSV) is a difficult disease. It is widely known as incurable, with painful skin lesions on sensitive areas of the body. The lesions reccur more often for some people than others – their ‘outbreaks’ tend to be related to periods of high-stress. Modern medicine does not offer a cure, though there are pharmaceutical preparations available to limit the frequency and duration of HSV outbreaks. With a reputation as ‘incurable’, ‘painful’, ‘not-so-pretty’, and varieties described as ‘oral and labial’ or ‘genital’, the disease can be a little challenging and embarrasing to say the least.

Well, I’ve been through this. I’ve had the painful lesions, had to deal with the regular outbreaks of painful cold-sores in my mouth and on my lips (I was blessed with the ‘oral’ variety). I’ve been through those great internal debates on how to break the news to a partner (thankfully always returning that look that says something like ‘Oh! I thought you were going to tell me my cat just died…that’s no big deal’). Though it still seemed like a big deal. Regularly having those few days of feeling like a flu was coming on, followed by a few days of outbreak – at what always seemed like the worst of times. On top of it, being an athlete, training really hard tended to cause outbreaks as well – weightlifting in particular. Maybe it was just really strenuous, or maybe I wasn’t actually a ‘weightlifter’ – but that heavy lifting would almost always lead, once again, to an outbreak.

I freqently wondered in the midst of these bouts with HSV if this was something I’d have to deal with for the rest of my life – I tried doctor prescribed medicines, Lysine and other remedies, but none kept the virus at bay enough to really make a difference.

Then someone introduced me to essential oils, and I learned a little about their studied antiviral activity. I stumbled onto research performed with a certain oil known as Melissa. Melissa essential oil is distilled from Melissa herb, a plant with a long history in natural medicine. The plant yields a relatively small amount of oil compared to other aromatic varieties, so it’s cost seems a little high. But formal investigation has been being going on in Europe for many years applying the oil to herpes lesions, with very promising results. One company has even extracted a component of the oil and sold it in a prescription form (though I have not read of any evidence showing the extract works better than the oil itself).

The most encouraging statement regarding the use of Melissa on herpes was made by Dr. Dietrich Wabner, a professor at the University of Munich: he stated that a single application of Melissa may lead to a complete remission of the disease. A possible cure! I’d figured I had nothing to lose, so I tried a little bottle of the oil.

Searching further, I found a regimine for the oils’ use. Melissa might not lead to a complete remission in just one application – other healers were finding success when the oil was applied to the affected area when an outbreak felt ‘imminent’. The oil was applied perhaps three times per day during the outbreak; this was repeated the next several times the user thought an outbreak may be coming on, and through the duration of the skin healing. My outbreaks were usually on my tongue at that point (though they started on the palate of my mouth). I would get a very fatigued feeling for a few days, then my tongue would get what seemed like individual taste buds that would feel as though they were burnt (and yes, I have had medical confirmation as to their cause). I also had lesions on my lip, but not as often. So I began the Melissa oil program – just one drop in my mouth a few times a day – and thankfully I actually liked the taste!

Well, perhaps the single dose worked for some folks, but I wasn’t quite so fortunate – though I was certainly not discouraged. The history of Melissa and it’s healing powers was renoun, and I kept up with the program. Despite continuing to have outbreaks, they were shorter, and they seemed to occur less frequently. And after a while, it dawned on me – the outbreaks had stopped completely! And believe me, my life has been no less stressful – more so if anything. Also, while outbreaks do tend to happen less freqently for some over time, I had been living with this for 15 years and they were still fairly regular. But no matter how stressful my days were, how heavy my weight training sessions or other athletic endeavors, the outbreaks have not returned!

For individuals who may have more sensitive skin than I, or have outbreaks in more sensitive places, Melissa essential oil can be diluted in a vegetable or nut oil (Hazelnut oil or Rosehipseed are commonly used) to 1/10th or even less of the total volume and be just as effective (some say that even 1% will work). It is important to note – and repeated many times in the literature – that taking any essential oil orally, or appliying undiluted to the skin, should be done with extreme caution – whatch your own reaction closely and proceed accordingly. I do not have experience with application to the genital variety of Herpes simplex, but the texts do not make a distinction – this may be where a carrier oil could come in handy. But whatever way it’s used, the system should be followed closely: apply Melissa 2-3 times a day to the affected area when an outbreak is on the way, and use it until the sores have healed completely. Follow this method for the next several outbreaks; there are no guarantees, but this may work for you or someone you may know – and what a wonderful thing it can be!

For sufferer’s of Shingles, another Herpes virus variety causing lesions of the skin, Ravensara (Ravensara aromatica, or ‘True’ Ravensara) oil has been used. Individuals have found relief using Ravensara in a 50-50 blend with Tamanu Nut oil. The Tamanu Nut sooths the skin during the healing process and keeps the Ravensara in contact with the sores. I have not heard of this offering a complete cure, but I have heard of this blend really helping relieve discomfort of this condition.

So if you choose to use aromatherapy oils like Melissa or Ravensara yourself (or to a recommendation), find a trusted source for the essential oils. Find ‘true’ varieties of each – Melissa is often adulterated, and the real thing is generally priced between $10 and $20 per milliliter (about 25 drops, which actually goes a long way); Ravensara should be of the ‘Ravensara aromatica’ variety. Be conservative with direct application – remember that diluting the oil has not been reported to reduce efficacy. Yes, I liked the Melissa oil straight, and never had a problem – but others I’ve known have had sensitive reactions – though this may have been related to UV exposure. Be good to yourself and listen to your body – may you achieve healing success!

Why Some People Are Hostile To Natural Medicine

My Top-Ten List of Why Some People are Hostile to Natural Medicine

Laziness

In this quick-fix, instant-gratification society some people are too lazy and too spoiled to do the actual work required to be healthy. It’s so much easier and so tempting to simply pop some pills hoping that that will somehow deliver health.

Drug Addiction

Between Coffee, Chocolate, Green Tea, Black Tea, Cola Drinks, Yerba Mate, Cigarettes and Alcohol, some people don’t go a day without some sort of stimulant drug or alcohol. For the people already addicted to these legal drugs embracing prescription or over-the-counter drugs is the natural choice.

Racism

Herbal Medicine and most of the holistic health modalities whether it is yoga, acupuncture, tai-chi, qi-gong, meditation, etc. were developed by the non-White, Non-European peoples of this world. Some people hostile to natural medicine are simply hiding a racist attitude that if something isn’t validated by a white man in a white labcoat then somehow it’s isn’t valid. I would much rather trust in the integrity of a Akan, Ibo, Mayan, Aborigine, Cree or Tibetian Bush Doctor/Traditional Healer than I would any scientist or drug company. Ironically the same scientists and drug companies that discredit the knowledge of the indigenous peoples of the world are the same ones dispatching ethnobotanists to every remote corner of the world to learn the secrets of Bush Doctors so they can patent them.

Sheep-ism

Some people are sheep and usually will only follow and seldom lead. They are not independent thinkers, and haven’t spent the time and energy needed to challenge the information being spoon-fed to them by the corporate media and the scientific community. This society is very affluent and if you don’t ask too many questions or make any trouble there are vast rewards available to you.

Unfortunately holistic health isn’t one of them. For holistic health you need to listen to you body instead of authority figures. You need to connect to nature and to some sort of spiritual core. You need to be the leader of your own life.

Snake-Oil Salesmen

As written in my article “ The Natural Health Products Hustle”, there are too many snake oil salesmen in the natural health products market making false claims and dubious products. For anyone with a natural tendency to be skeptical of natural healing this provides all the excuse they need to be hostile.

Godlessness

Some people just don’t believe. Some people don’t believe in respecting nature, in respecting their bodies, in experiencing the connectedness between all things. For unbelievers such as these they will have a challenging time suspending their negativity and disbelief towards holistic healing and thus may never benefit from it fully.

The Anti-Christ Factor

Some people do believe. What they choose to believe in are the Gods of Science and Industry. They believe in the rape and pillaging of the environment, in factory farming, in genetically modifying food, in pesticides and chemical fertilizers. Their belief system compels them to see all things natural as heresy.

Stubbornness

Like George Bush with his Iraq War and Napoleon in his Russian Campaign, some people are too stubborn to admit when they’ve made a mistake or are on the wrong side of an issue. Forsaking Natural Medicine for synthetic factory medicine was a mistake and is a mistake. There is a place in healing for high tech equipment and synthetic drugs. In my opinion those options are for emergency situations or in situations where natural therapy has failed. They just have everything ass-backwards. Natural medicine is the real medicine and Allopathic Medicine should be used as “Alternative Medicine” and treated with the degree of skepticism currently reserved for Natural Medicine by the mainstream.

Fear

Some people are afraid of nature. They are afraid of anything untamed by man. If it isn’t slickly packaged, sterile, and dead, they are afraid. If it doesn’t come with the seal of approval of the government or the scientific community they are also afraid. Their fear keeps them dis-empowered.

Factory People Need Factory Medicine?

If you have lost your individuality and become a mass-produced factory person, eating mass-produced factory food, having mass-produced factory thoughts, then perhaps only mass-produced factory medicine will resonate with you. Perhaps it’s wrong to even try to convince you to eat organically or to heal yourself holistically. Maybe you have evolved into some kind of Darwinian nightmare that can only live on synthetic pleasures.

Christopher Scipio