We believe that health is an ongoing choice, not just a thoughtless assumption. That it is a state of mind, not a label to be handed out by ‘experts’ or a rarefied condition of perfect balance. That health is dynamic balance, flexibility, and most important, is measured not by your level of painlessness, but by your quality of life.
We believe that your health cannot be outsourced. You are the Chairman and CEO of your own health, the Director of your own Human Resources. That, as your own supervisor, you always have choices, and the ultimate decision about any path you take never rests with anyone but you. That you are the best judge of your own health, and what may be healthy for one person is not necessarily healthy for the next.
We believe that medical practitioners are useful and may occasionally be all that you need when things go off-track, but that if they don’t ‘fix’ you, it is your responsibility to heal yourself.
We believe that you should be prepared to ask questions of medical authorities, not because they are wrong or don’t care, but because they can never be as interested in getting you well as you are. And you should be prepared for the fact that they may indeed be wrong. After all, knowledge and wisdom are accumulated not by being correct from the outset, but by testing hypotheses, and every diagnosis you are given is simply a theory that is being tested…on you.
We believe that you are not a diagnosis, not a treatment, and that you cannot be categorized by the codes insurance companies use to name your chief complaint and decide whether or not it is worthy of being covered by your policy. That you are not a piece of meat on a table, a skin-bag full of blood to which pharmaceuticals may be added while you passively hope for the results of strange tests given by people you don’t know.
We believe that “diagnosis” is simply another word to classify your symptoms, but that word does not encapsulate the experience you are having, nor does it define your prognosis for improvement. We believe that everyone has the potential to be the exception to the rule, the aberration relative to others with the same condition, the one who bucks the trend and thrives in a way that may not have been predicted.
We believe that if you aren’t confident in what someone tells you about you, that some part of you may know better. That you may need a second opinion, or third, or fourth. And that you owe it to yourself to be sure all parts of you are in agreement about any course of action where your body is concerned.
We believe that doctors, homeopaths, nurses, chiropractors, physical therapists, acupuncturists, masseuses, shamans, pharmacists, astrologers, medicine women and men, nutritionists, naturopaths, priests, Ayurvedic practitioners, psychotherapists, yoga instructors, and tarot card readers are all fine resources, but in an age where information is both powerful and ubiquitous, you have a responsibility to become an expert on your own condition. That, when in pain (and otherwise), you should use your own power and the network of those who care about you to find out all that you can about your own situation, recommended diet, exercise, treatment options, and connect with other people all over the world who may be having the same experience.
We believe that, when you get right down to the root of it, the voice inside of you always has a positive intention, and that symptoms are not just something to be pushed aside, ignored, or “cured.” Rather, they may be seen as vital communications from your body about needed action, perhaps action in some other part of your body or your life that were not getting adequate attention. Setbacks and unintended consequences may also be lifesavers, temporarily limiting you in order to save you from a more ignominious fate that you may have otherwise suffered.
We believe that you are made up of the same stuff as the earth, the sky, the plants, the clouds, the stars…but not so much of plastics and parabens and pesticides and prescription medications. That innate health is your birthright because health is being in-sync with the world around you, the seasons, the food that grows where you do. That the universe is flowing through you, and when that flow stagnates, so does your health. That the best way to return to health is to welcome back into you what you have always been made up of. That like engenders like, good follows good, and nature knows best.
We believe that our beliefs are universal. That staying close to the rules and natural products of the earth are not the views of some ancient, alternative, or hippie lifestyle, but a sane and healthful way of living on this planet. That we all know this inside of ourselves, and that these words only seem foreign when we’ve lost touch with our health.
One-third of all American adults are taking care of their ill or disabled relatives and that number is expected to grow. Seventy percent of caregivers are women. These are simply statistics, but what we don’t see or hear much about is support for the caregivers themselves. ABC News recently had a short, but poignant, piece on this subject, and I felt it was an appropriate subject to share. To read the artice, click here. The article’s heading, “Wife Slips Into Madness As Husband Dies of Brain Tumor”, is a bit dramatic, but the content is sound and a propos.
Acupuncture in children is a safe treatment option with a low risk of bad side effects if done by properly trained practitioners, according to a new study published this week in the journal Pediatrics. To read more from ABC News’ website, click here…
Bacteria also come in all kinds of shapes, strings, spheres, oblongs. But they aren’t all bad guys. In fact, without them, we wouldn’t survive very long. We need them to digest food, to produce vitamins. We use them to fight off the bad bacteria. In spite of what you’re reading in the papers this week, they are more helpers than hurters.
New research shows that we may have gut “types,” just as we have blood types, based upon what type of bacteria we have in our gut. This may have a lot of implications for the way we eat, and why some of us have different reactions to the same kinds of foods.
For more on this, read this fun article from NPR correspondent Robert Krulwich on his science blog by clicking here.
Propelled by an increase in prescription narcotic overdoses, drug deaths now outnumber traffic fatalities in the United States, a Los Angeles Times analysis of government data has found. Fueling the surge are prescription pain and anxiety drugs that are potent, highly addictive and especially dangerous when combined with one another or with other drugs or alcohol.
While most major causes of preventable death are declining, drugs are an exception. The death toll has doubled in the last decade, now claiming a life every 14 minutes. By contrast, traffic accidents have been dropping for decades because of huge investments in auto safety.
Public health experts have used the comparison to draw attention to the nation’s growing prescription drug problem, which they characterize as an epidemic. This is the first time that drugs have accounted for more fatalities than traffic accidents since the government started tracking drug-induced deaths in 1979.
Learn more by reading the article in the Los Angeles Times.
Recent studies have shown that adults who often feel grateful are more energetic, optimistic, happier and have more social connections than those who do not. What’s more, grateful people earn more money, sleep more soundly, exercise more regularly and have greater resistance to viral infections. For more on all of this, check out this article in the Wall Street Journal from Melinda Beck.
We see a lot of people with heart disease of varying bodily size–some skinny, some not-so. A study now finds that heart disease risk might better be predicted through measurement of waist size. For more information these new theories from the Journal of the American College of Cardiology, you can click here to read a summary from CNN, or click here to read a PDF version of the study abstract.
Given what’s been happening in Japan, many people are asking how they can best protect themselves from the potential fallout from Japan’s failing nuclear reactors. What follows are suggestions taken from Hyla Cass, MD, a doctor in southern California. Note that the content provided herein is for informational purposes only and has not been
approved by the U.S. FDA. This information is not intended to provide personal medical advice, which should be obtained from a medical professional. …
Even as government officials and health experts downplay the health risk to U.S. citizens, pharmacies up and down the West Coast of the United States have been stripped bare of their stock of potassium iodide tablets – a frontline treatment for radiation exposure. Anxious buyers turning to the internet are faced with a similar lack of available supplies. So, what do we do? It’s a growing, ever-changing scenario, and here are my current thoughts, certainly open to modification.
Are we really at risk of exposure from radioactive fallout generated by a nuclear meltdown in Japan? I believe this is a question best left to qualified nuclear scientists and meteorologists. But after serving as a consultant to the Independent Safety Committee for the Diablo Canyon Nuclear Power Plant from 1990 to 2002, I know firsthand how important it is to be prepared for all possibilities when dealing with nuclear radiation.
One of the greatest dangers following a nuclear accident comes from exposure to gases containing radioactive isotopes of iodine. These highly carcinogenic isotopes are readily taken up by the thyroid gland, resulting in the development of thyroid cancer. Exposure to radioactive iodine calls for immediate treatment with another form of iodine, potassium iodide, to saturate the thyroid and block the absorption of radioactive iodine. This is especially critical for children, pregnant women, and nursing mothers, who are most at risk following a nuclear disaster. A lack of adequate supplies of potassium iodide tablets after the Chernobyl nuclear disaster in 1986 resulted in thyroid cancer for thousands of untreated children.
Potassium Iodide (KI)
Potassium iodide tablets are commonly stockpiled near nuclear power plants to allow for rapid distribution in case of a radioactive accident. In the absence of tablets, potassium iodide may also be administered as a “saturated solution of potassium iodide” (SSKI) which in the U.S.P. generic formulation contains 1000 mg of KI per ml of solution. Two drops of U.S.P. SSKI solution is equivalent to one 130 mg KI tablet (100 mg iodide).
According to the World Health Organization (WHO), the following doses of potassium iodide should be taken as a single dose within three hours of exposure, or up to 10 hours after exposure, although this is less effective.
- Adults: 130 mg (see below as well for CDC addendum)
- Adolescents: 12-18: WHO – adult dose; CDC – children’s dose; if adult size (150 pounds or over) they should take the full adult dose, regardless of their age.
- Children: 3-12 years: 65 mg
- Infants: 1 month to 3 years: 32. 25 mg (ie half tablet)
- Newborns to 1 month: 1/4 capsule
Note: Dosages may be crushed and taken mixed with milk or water. For kids, chocolate milk or raspberry syrup disguise the unpleasant taste.
While potassium iodate can be taken by a majority of people without any problems, it should only be used in case of a nuclear emergency. Doses in excess of the single (one time only) daily dose listed above should be taken only upon recommendation by a physician or public health authority. Patients should ask their doctor if taking quinidine, captopril, or enalopril, amiodarone, or if they are sensitive to iodine, or suffer from dermatitis herpetiformis, thyrotoxicosis or kidney problems before taking potassium iodate (or any thyroid blocker).
It is best to take iodide prophylactically, prior to exposure. Every family should have a good supply in their homes. At this time we may recommend taking 10-40mg per day. A dose of 30-50mg is the range of dietary intake in Japan and relatively safe to take long term but under practitioner monitoring. Build up gradually: 10mg – 20mg – 30mg – 40mg.
Then, in case there is an official announcement of significantly increased radiation, adults should go to the dose mentioned above: 130mg/day and children to lower doses per body weight, generally 65 mg, age 3-12 years. You can use a loading dose of two drops daily of Lugol’s Iodine, a commonly available pharmaceutical form of potassium iodide, or SSKI, and increase to 130 mg if needed. See the U.S. Centers for Disease Control recommendations. Adults over 40 should not take KI unless public health officials say that contamination with a very large dose of radioactive iodine is expected, since have the lowest risk of developing thyroid cancer or thyroid injury after such contamination. They also have a greater chance of having allergic reactions to KI. Everyone should check with their doctor, in any case.
Other supplements that may be protective are: vitamin D and vitamin K as they support appropriate apoptosis, which is programmed death of cells that accumulate various DNA errors (due to radiation and other causes), and vitamin D also supports DNA repair.
Avoid exposure to rain that may be laden with radiation if we are exposed. You’ll be informed by authorities if that is the case.
Other Radiation Dangers
Besides I-131, there are other toxic radio-isotopes, including cerium 137 and plutonium. Dr. Gabriel Cousens has provided some excellent advice in his book “Conscious Eating.” To protect yourself from cesium poisoning, consume plenty of high potassium foods, as potassium competitively inhibits cesium uptake. Foods high in potassium include avocados, sea vegetables, and leafy green vegetables, and are more effective than taking a potassium supplement.
To protect yourself from plutonium poisoning, eat lots of dulse and consume iron from plant sources, namely sea algaes such as spirulina and chlorella, which provide more iron than red meat. Miso soup has also been shown to have a protective effect. See also Michio Kushi’s well-referenced book, “The Cancer Prevention Diet.” The mineral, zeolite, is being investigated for taking most radioactive materials out of the body.
Additionally, foods and supplements high in antioxidants, will also help the body cope with these higher toxic levels as radioactive materials cause antioxidant depletion and ill health.
The Nuclear Regulatory Commission has admitted it is ‘quite possible’ that fallout from the Japanese reactors could reach America, though levels expected to be so low as to be almost undetectable. Given the unprecedented circumstances of the current crisis, though, it would be prudent to keep some potassium iodide on hand as a precautionary measure.
Stay tuned to news sources for ongoing information, as this story is clearly developing by the minute.
For both those directly affected and those of us who feel the stress of this tragedy, check out some simple trauma-releasing methods, such as EMDR, EFT, or download free EFT audio “Tapping for Japan.”
If I am able to find sources of tablets, I’ll put a note here in comments, and list them on my website, as well. Otherwise, I’d recommend using SSKI which I’ll likely be getting for my patients in the absence of tablets or capsules.
Our prayers are with the people of Japan, those who have lost their lives and those who have survived, and are dealing with trauma, grief and unspeakable loss.