Tuesday, May 18, 2010

May Meeting Notes: Three Pillars of Optimal Health

This month, CityMamas joined the Women's Affinity Group Meeting on May 13th.  Dr. Greg Nigh, a Naturopathic Doctor and Licensed Acupuncturist from Nature Cures Clinic presented three strategies that can dramatically reduce stress and increase your health.  Here are some notes I jotted down from his presentation:

In Naturopathic practice, there are a few basic principles:
  • Find and treat causes of symptoms (not symptoms)
  • Symptoms are the clues and not the problems to cover up.
  • Avoid suppression
  • Bodies are good at being healthy, if we stay out of their way.
He presented 3 pillars of optimal health
1.  Eliminate anything that isn't supposed to be there.
    • allergens, infections, heavy metals (such as mercury or lead), hormonal imbalances, and most importantly, FOOD
    • FOOD is the most important clue that pushes people out of balance
    • Dr. Nigh practices elimination of foods and then reintroduction to determine cause
    • a book on the Nature Cures Clinic website takes you through elimination dieting
    • the brain is made up mostly of oil.  Unhealthy oils = unhealthy brain
    • occasional mild short-term stress is good.  chronic heavy stress is very bad.
2.  Provide whatever isn't there in sufficient amounts.
    • vitamins, minerals, oils, sufficient blood (circulation in general), and other nutrients
    • basic vitamins: B complex (6 & 12), A, C, D, E
    • basic minerals: magnesium, potassium, lithium, boron, zinc.
    • for instance, most people don't get enough magnesium.  When magnesium deficient, blood pressure goes up, hypertension.  Epsom salt bath helps!
    • basic herbs: ginkgo, green tea
    • Labs are essential for understanding the underlying cause of symptoms
3.  Remove stress.
    • Stress isn't a thing; it's a way of thinking or a pattern of thinking about our circumstances
    • Stress management is THOUGHT management
    • Stress is one of the single greatest contributors to poor health.
    • Stress is a choice we make about what will occupy our thoughts in this moment NOW.  
    • Thoughts + physical reaction to thoughts = stress.
    • Time and effort spent in meditation that occurs earlier in the day can carry over in stressful situations that occur later.
Dr. Nigh's take-home exercise (to practice any time, all the time).  He uses a pill-timer that vibrates in his pocket every 20 minutes to remind him to do the following:
  • Stop.  Stop thinking what you're thinking.

  • Notice, categorize, and scan your body.  Notice what you're thinking and categorize it to see if there are patterns, e.g. I'm remembering an argument with my child, I'm feeling right about something that happened today, etc.  He says you will start to notice the same types of thoughts occurring.  It helps to be aware of what is causing you stress.  Scan your body to determine what contracted with that thought, and to relax the muscle that contracted. 

  • What are you doing now?  Start to narrate what you're doing now, e.g. I'm reading this blog.  I'm sitting.  I have my legs crossed.  The longer you can keep up the narration, the more you can manage our stress, because it is challenging to hold "present awareness".  
This whole process takes just a few seconds.  It may help you to stop the stressful thoughts, and to think and live in the present.  It may even stop you from thinking the stressful thoughts before they happen. 

There were about 8 CityMamas in attendance.  

Any thoughts on the presentation?   Has anyone tried the exercise?  Anything to add that I've missed?

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