You are invited to join me (Dr. Erica Volk) for a monthly book club featuring excellent and inspiring books about health and wellness! We will meet at Momentum Health on Richter Street. Admission is free but registration is required.
We read a variety of books (one every month or so) on many subjects from mindfulness to mental health to chronic disease and more. If you want to read books that inspire and broaden your mind, and then discuss them with a group of similarly interested folks, join me!
What you have to do: Read the monthly book, register to attend, and show up!
Our next meeting will be February 6, 2018 and we will discuss Full Catastrophe Living by Jon Kabat-Zinn.
"From the founder of the Stress Reduction Program at the University of Massachusetts Medical Center comes this definitive guide to using mindfulness--moment-to-moment awareness--in coping with both illness and the day-to-day tensions encountered in life."
To register, email me at firstname.lastname@example.org or contact the front desk at Momentum Health at (778) 484-6070.
To see all Book Club events, join the Facebook group.
If you’ve struggled with digestive issues, you’re not alone. Many people struggle with common symptoms such as gas, bloating, heartburn, loose stool or constipation. It’s important to talk with your medical provider about your symptoms, but sometimes simple shifts in eating patterns are the first place to start. We call these ideal eating patterns “food hygiene” and it’s not about what you eat so much as how you eat.
If you haven’t heard about the idea of supplementing with probiotics--bacterial strains--the concept can be a little off-putting, especially in mainstream North American society which is generally fearful of germs. But probiotic supplements have been gaining popularity, earning the rank of third most popular natural product for both adults and kids in the 2012 National Health Interview Survey.
Most people don’t know this secret about naturopathic medicine: Every naturopathic doctor has an ally in the room when they’re with a patient.
Want to guess what it is? It’s not some special book. It’s not a fancy online resource, nor is it a strange old-timey medicine. Nope. It exists within the patient themselves: it is the wisdom and ability of the body to heal.
It might sound weird, but in today’s world, we often forget to breathe. Not just the type of breathing that we do automatically (which keeps us alive), but the deep, belly breaths that fill our lungs completely.
Many common habits lead to shallow breathing, which can lead to feelings of stress and anxiety. Using smartphones, computers, chronic “busy-ness,” having a sedentary lifestyle--all of that results in us not using our lungs to their full potential. Most of the time, we don’t even notice we’re breathing shallowly. The next time you spend more than a couple minutes looking at a smartphone, try to tune in to your breathing. Do you get really still, taking shallow, quiet breaths? If so, it's due to a mixture of concentration and subconscious efforts to stabilize the tiny screen. The amount of time per day that we all use these devices adds up to hours of breathing shallowly, which can make us feel more anxious and less grounded.
Breathing deeply has measurable positive impacts on our physiology. When we fully inhale and fully exhale, it increases something called heart rate variability. Heart rate variability is essentially a measure of how responsive your heart is to physiological changes, and the more responsive the heart is to those changes, the healthier it is. A person’s heart rate naturally increases with inhalation, and naturally decreases with exhalation. The more often we take big, deep breaths, the better our hearts get at changing rates and reacting appropriately to our environment. If our hearts are responsive to these small changes, that means the heart can adapt to the larger physiologic changes that happen during exercise and stressful situations, which is very important for long-term cardiovascular health.
Another way that deep breathing can positively impact our physiology is to activate something called the parasympathetic nervous system. This part of our nervous system is responsible for the functions of “resting and digesting,” and helps us feel relaxed, helps us properly extract nutrients from the food we eat, and generally helps us feel calm.
Next time you feel stressed or anxious, take a minute to tune into your breathing. Are you breathing shallowly? If so, try taking a few deep breaths and see if it helps you feel a little better.
Give it a try:
If you struggle with anxiety or stress, schedule an appointment today to learn about more natural therapies that can help you feel better.
Every acute disease is the result of a purifying, healing effect of nature.
I remember in medical school one of my professors asking,
"Why haven't we found a cure for the common cold?
Think about this for a moment. What does this mean?
Today it is incredibly common for people to struggle with food allergies, food intolerances, or both. A food allergy presents as an immediate reaction (called "IgE" reaction) upon inhaling or ingesting a food. Consider the classic peanut allergy in which an individual eats a peanut and moments later experiences symptoms like runny nose, skin reactions like hives, redness, or swelling, itching or tingling in or around the mouth and throat, digestive problems such as diarrhea, stomach cramps, nausea or vomiting, tightening of the throat, and shortness of breath or wheezing. These kinds of allergies can be life-threatening and are commonly diagnosed based on presentation alone or through a skin scratch test performed by an allergist.
A food intolerance (also known as a food sensitivity or IgG response) is a different beast entirely! People with food intolerances may not notice symptoms until hours to days after ingesting a given food, and the symptoms can be vague and varied in nature. Common food sensitivities include dairy, eggs, wheat, and soy. Generally speaking, food intolerances are not usually life-threatening, but they can be a cause of chronic inflammation and lead to numerous symptoms including brain fog, fatigue, chronic ear infections, tonsil and adenoid enlargement, eczema and acne symptoms, digestive complaints including constipation, diarrhea, heartburn, abdominal pain, gas and bloating, as well as migraines, runny nose, joint pain, and respiratory problems. The skin scratch allergy (IgE) test does not detect for food intolerance. Fortunately, naturopathic doctors are here to help!