Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Herbs Provide Fuel For the Body To Build It Stronger And Healthier

Herbs have been used for a long time as foods to heal disease in our human society. It can be estimated that herbs have been used by humans for at least 15,000 years, with animals using the herbs as medicine for much longer. They, fortunately, had the instinct to search and find the herb they need when it is needed, while our animals of today are limited by fences. Many veterinarians claim that horses will go out and look for a plant that will be helpful to get them to get rid of a parasite when they have it. This plant is called Wormwood. A lot of the first herb uses were actually learned from observing and ill animal and watching it go out and get a plant. Man then followed and ate the plant himself.


The Indians in South American discovered that the Pau d’Arco tree possesses a lot of medicinal ability in the inner back by observing that the inner bark repelled the insects that flooded other trees in the rain forest. The Indians also found a bush that is found in a certain canyon increased their eyesight, so they named it Eyebright. Similarly, the Arizona Apache and Pima Indians found that if they took a twig of the Chaparral bush and heated it and placed it in or next to a tooth hoe, the pain and infection were relieved.

Because of the above, it can be inferred that man has been using herbs for an extremely long time. This is important, especially when taking it to comparison just how short-term the use of chemicals has been. There is no doubt to anyone that chemical use over a long period of time causes a negative effect on the human body. It seems extremely odd that the scientific community prefers their scientific laboratory experiments with chemicals over 4,000 to 5,000 years of herb use. It seems as if someone would see the inadequacy of trying to find a medicine in laboratories by working with animals over a period of months versus the use of herbs by humans in their natural habitat for thousands of years.

Chemicals are not food for the human body as they have all sorts of negative effects including unwanted immune responses which cause inflammation. They do not provide any nutritional affects. Herbs, on the other hand, are foods that fuel the human body, nourishing it and also cleansing it so that it may be energized. Additionally, these herbs have a lot of unknown positive effects. This seems so simple that some wonder how anyone in a professional status could see the truths in prescribing a drug for their spouse or client. A lot of times it is suggested that patients ask their doctors if they would prescribe the same drug or surgery for their wife or children. We need to become aware of the responsibility we have to our bodies.

Many herbs have Glyconutrients and polysaccharides that can feed the immune system. These Glyconutrients or polysaccharides are simple sugars that provide raw materials for the body to build its self better and stronger. Every cell in the body is wrapped with instructions. When the immune system come in contact with each cell, it determines whether its friend or foe. Herbs can help the body build its self better.

Those people who ask if they will become dependant on an herb are thinking of the herbs as a drug instead of food. Although we are dependant on food, it is better to eat food that has been proven to help our body, rather than one which will poison it. Herbs are foods that have proven elements involved which will provide a positive effect on our body. Each specific herb can provide a specific need to our body.

Soluble Fiber such as Guar Gum Promotes a Healthy Colon

Guar gum is what is known as a soluble fiber, and it is well known that it promotes a healthy colon. You will not find soluble fiber in what you believe to be 'high fiber foods', yet it is a very important part of your diet, particularly if you have problems with your colon such as Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS) or even colon cancer.


Traditional high fiber foods, such as bran, leafy vegetables and cereals, contain insoluble fiber that mechanically act as an aid to digestion and the movement of your food through your gastrointestinal system. Soluble fiber, on the other hand, is found in what are more commonly regarded as starchy foods, although unlike starch, the chemical bonds that attach the various sugar molecules together cannot be broken by the acids and enzymes used by your gastric system to digest them.

They thus pass through the body undigested, in the same way as insoluble fibers, and so contribute to the mechanical system upon which the peristaltic pumping motion of the intestine depends. Because it is not digested, soluble fiber contains practically no calories since it does not contribute to the metabolism of your body. Fiber imparts many benefits in addition to enabling your intestine peristalsis to move your food through your digestive system.

For a start they don't contribute to your nutrition, either negatively or positively, but provide bulk to what you eat and provide help to your bowel movements by giving the intestinal muscles something to bite on. One of the benefits of such foods is their effect on your blood sugar and preventing the onset of diabetes. They can also help you to avoid obesity through providing virtually calorie-free bulk to your meals. Some fibers can bind chemically to toxins and certain fats, and can clean out your colon. So what's the benefit of soluble fiber over the insoluble type, and where does guar gum enter the equation?

Basically, soluble fiber is water soluble while insoluble fiber is not. Insoluble fiber is contained in cereals, beans and peas, fruits and in fact anything that doesn't dissolve in water, even when acted upon by that concentrated hydrochloric acid that is the basis of your digestive juices. Soluble fiber can help to prolonging the time that your stomach acids and enzymes spend in digesting your food. Soluble fiber is reported as conferring many health benefits, and guar gum and pectin are two of its major forms.

Guar gum is obtained from the guar bean, indigenous to India and Pakistan, but also grown in the USA, China Africa and Australia. The bean is edible to humans, and also used as cattle feed and fertilizer. TO obtain the gum, the seeds are dehusked and milled, and the gum is a whitish powder, not gummy as you might believe. However, when dissolved in water it gels when it comes into contact with calcium or borax.

It is effective as a laxative, due to the bulk it forms when dissolved in water, and can relieve not only constipation, but is also an effective treatment for IBS, Crohn's disease, colitis and other conditions of the lower digestive tract. Because it enables the colon to eject toxins and other undesirable waste products much more rapidly, guar gum is good for the health of your colon, and absorbs not only toxins but also undesirable bacteria.

Guar gum is what is known as thermogenic: it helps your body to burn fat by converting it to energy, with a resulting increase in your body heat. Not only that, but because it contains very little calorie content, it can bulk up a meal, help to make you feel satisfied and lower the glycemic index of your meal. It is used in many types of weight loss products and diets, although its uncontrolled use can be dangerous due to the potential blockage of your esophagus through insufficient fluid intake. For that single reason you are unable to purchase guar gum in non-prescriptive weight loss products.

Another of the benefits of soluble fiber, and guar gum in particular, is that it accelerates the absorption of calcium in the colon. Since calcium is normally absorbed in the small intestine, as opposed to the colon, this is good news for those seeking to lose weight. The reason for that is that the dairy products which traditionally contain most calcium tend to be high in calories, and guar gum enables you to get your RDA of calcium from a diet lower in these products by maximizing the calcium extraction and absorption right through the intestinal tract, and not only in the small intestine.

It has also been found to improve your tolerance to glucose. One of the problems that diabetics have is that sugars are absorbed mainly in the small intestine, whereas guar gum also enables it to be absorbed in the colon. Therefore, while the overall absorption level remains constant, there are no peaks and troughs since the absorption is constant through the entire intestinal tract rather than all the demand being in the small intestine. There is therefore less of a demand for insulin at certain times after a meal, so that the overall level of blood insulin can be reduced.

Guar gum is used as a delivery medium for certain drugs. Where it is desirable for a drug to be released into the colon as opposed to any other part of the gastrointestinal tract, this is the ideal substance. Guar gum can be degraded, if not digested, by anaerobic bacteria (bacteria that live in the absence of oxygen). Certain drugs can be attached to the guar gum molecule, and after consumption will pass unchanged through the stomach, duodenum and small intestine.

However, when it reaches the colon, the anaerobic bacteria that populate the large intestine degrade the gum, and release the drug molecules into the colon where they are needed. There are a number of delivery techniques in addition to using the gum itself, including using derivatives of guar gum, using a combination of the gum and other polymers and also multiparticulate delivery techniques.

Partially hydrolyzed guar gum also seems to increase the population of your bowel with friendly bacteria, or probiotics, such as lactobacilli and bifidobacteria. These can help to prevent or reduce the symptoms of many bowel conditions, and probiotic drinks taken with guar gum can be extremely beneficial to people suffering the symptoms of irritable bowel syndrome and other similar disorders of the lower intestinal tract.

So if you have a disorder of your lower intestine or colon, try a soluble fiber such as guar gum as a natural treatment, and where appropriate also take that with a probiotic. Most people find that their symptoms improve and in many cases they disappear altogether.

Folic Acid, The News Keeps Getting Better

National press has recently taken an interest in the benefits of folic acid, with coverage increasing throughout the media. Folic acid, a B vitamin and other folates helps the body to form red blood cells and aids in the formation of genetic material within every body cell. Folic acid also helps to prevent birth defects. Proponents of dietary supplements have encouraged the use of folic acid by women who are of the child-bearing age for a long time.


The public is becoming increasingly aware of the importance of this nutrient to prenatal development. In a survey done by U.S. Health and Human Services in 2007, about 40% of all women surveyed reported the daily consumption of a supplement that contained folic acid, while about 42% of women surveyed reported that folic acid is the most important vitamin for women of child-bearing age. This study also found that awareness of the benefits differed by age group. Younger women were the least likely to know about the benefits of folic acid, and therefore, were the least likely to consume folic acid. These younger women were also more likely to hear about folic acid from a magazine or newspaper or school or college, rather than their health-care provider.

On the contrary, the women who aged 25-34 and 35-47 were much more likely to hear about folic acid and its benefits from their health-care provider. Because of these results, the U.S. Health and Human Services considers it vital to increase young person education and awareness. Folic acid has long been known to help prevent birth defects. Recent research on folic acid shows that it may also help in preventing premature births, boost baby weights, prevent preeclampsia, reduce risk of Alzheimer’s disease, and even cut male smokers’ stroke risk.

Folate is determined from the term “foliage,” and is a member of the B vitamin family where it can be primarily found in dark leafy green vegetables, legumes, citrus fruits, beets, meat, and wheat germ. Folic acid does not occur in nature and cannot be found in unfortified foods. It is not an active form of the B-vitamin. However, it is the most common form of folate used is supplements and in fortified food products due to the fact that it is highly bioavailable and chemically stable. It is also readily reduced to tetrahydrofolate, which is the active coenzyme form of folate. One study, comparing folic acid from orange juice and folic acid from a supplement showed that the supplement had a better absorption rate than the fortified orange juice.

Although folic acid is not generally associated with side effects, there have been some clinical reports that high level of folic acid can mask a deficiency of vitamin B-12. However, a deficiency of B-12 is very uncommon and it has been determined that only amounts about 3000 – 4000 micrograms per day of folic acid for extended periods of time may have this masking effect, which can in turn be eliminated by supplementing with a few micrograms of B-12. For more information about folic acid and its benefits to your body, contact your local health food retailer.

Energize the Body Mentally And Physically With Natural Guarana And More

Guarana comes from the Amazon basin, and has been used by the natives of the Amazon rain forest to treat conditions such as diarrhea, arthritis, fatigue and even to reduce hunger. It is, in fact, a climbing plant of the Sapondacaea family, although it is the fruit for which it best known. Each contains a single seed that contains around five times the amount of caffeine of a similarly sized coffee bean.

An interesting piece of trivia is that the reason why such seeds are rich in caffeine is that the substance is poisonous to certain pathogens that would otherwise attack the berry. The same is - true of all seeds that contain caffeine: it is a means of self-defense. Obviously it is an effective defense since the berries appear to relatively immune to such common plant diseases.

Guarana is named after the Guarani tribe of South America, and the language is spoken by many in the area around Paraguay, Bolivia and Brazil, and also parts of Argentina. In fact over 67% of Paraguayans speak the language. There is a myth that when child of the Guarana village was killed by an evil god, a more benevolent deity planted the child's left eye in the forest and the right eye in the village. The left eye gave rise to the wild form of the plant, and the right eye the cultivated form.

This likely came about because of the appearance of the fruit when it is split open: it has the appearance of eyeballs. However, what is true is that Guaranis made tea from the seeds, and also a bread known as guarana bread by mashing the powder into a dough and shaping it into a cylindrical bread. It is dry roasted and milled to a fine powder, also known as Brazilian cocoa, but it has never quite managed to compete commercially against the coffee! However, it has its local adherents to whom it is a staple drink.

However, back to the health benefits of the seed. They were recognized as early as the 17th century when Father Felip Betendorf introduced it into Western civilization, but over the centuries since then it has been found that even in spite of the caffeine content it has been demonstrated to have brain-boosting properties and able to increase tasks requiring mental attention. It is certainly known to be an energizer, and able to give a boost to your brain when you really need it. So why should this be, and how does it do this?

The flavor is a bit like chocolate, hence its nickname of Brazilian cocoa, and has been approved by the FDA as a food additive. Extracts from the berry have been shown to possess strong antioxidant properties, and also act as bactericides and fungicide, few of which can be put down the caffeine content. In fact the seed has been proposed for use in the food industry as a natural antioxidant and preservative and as stated below, that is more acceptable to people than synthetic chemicals.

This is probably in response to the fact that synthetic antioxidants are in decline whereas the natural antioxidants such as vitamins, C and E and the various tocopherols and carotenoids are increasing in prominence due to them being more readily accepted by the consumer than the synthetics such as butylhydroxytoluene(BHT). These antioxidants are commonly used as food preservatives, in that they slow down the oxidation of foodstuffs, and people are increasingly feeling that natural products are preferable for this application than synthetic.

Guarana seeds have been found to be exceptionally high in proanthocyanadins with powerful antioxidant properties. They are fatal to free radicals and help to prevent cardiac disease and to improve cellular activity. They also display antimicrobial and antifungal activity. Chemically, they consist of up to 60% starch, pectins, saponins, proteins, and the aforementioned caffeine (3% - 5%). The guarana paste can contain up to 7% caffeine that can be dangerous to those with cardiac problems.

Guarana also contains tannins at levels of up to 12%, including catechin and some proanthocyanadins. The astringency of these tannins represents a problem to their use in the beverage and food industry, although the substance is regarded as safe by the FDA. They have little if any nutritional value and can react with alkaloid and proteins to form unwanted complexes. Were it not for tannins guarana would be more acceptable to the food industry.

However, it is for their energy-boosting properties that the guarana berries and seeds are most prized by many. The fact they it has been traditionally used as a stimulant and aphrodisiac indicates that there is something behind these claims. Studies on mice, hamsters and other animals have supported these effects. It has been found to posses the two desirable properties (to some) of stimulating the nervous system and curbing the appetite.

Consequently, it is used in diet and weight loss pills, and also to maintain high energy levels. In fact weight loss pills are used by many people to maintain their energy levels while not eating. This is a definite bonus to those that want to lose weight, but dislike the lethargy that a strict diet can cause.

There is a downside to that of course, and that is insomnia and an increased heartbeat, and also nervousness and feeling 'on edge'. Once people stop using guarana they suffer withdrawal symptoms such as nervousness, irritability and headaches.

The upshot is that it is basically the high caffeine content of guarana that allows its use as a stimulant that can boost not only energy, but also reduce appetite and act as an effective weight loss supplement. However, used excessively it can lead to nervousness and while it is included as an ingredient in many foods and drinks, you should be careful when using it as an energizing supplement if you have any heart problems at all.

Otherwise, guarana is used to energize the body naturally, and is not only very commonly used for this purpose in South America, but also increasingly so in the USA and elsewhere with some very good results.

Improving Sexual Performance Naturally

Nowadays, sex seems to be everywhere except where it counts, in the bedrooms and love lives of married Americans. We see it on TV, in magazines, in the books we read, in the movies we watch, and even in the music we listen to. Estimates of 15 to 20 percent of the 113 million married Americans are not having sex, and many of those that are say that it’s not as enjoyable as it was in the past, or they’re not having enough of it. The interesting part of this is that the very same thing is happening to husbands and wives in Paris, London, Lisbon, and Madrid. Research has proven that couples who live in Western civilized countries are much more likely to be unhappy than those living elsewhere in the world. It is believed that married couples living in Brazil, Beijing, and Tibet have access to powerful plant medicines that keep their sexual relationships healthy and happy.

Many plants and herbs have been found all over the world that really does improve orgasms in women and erections in men, making sex satisfying for both parties involved. These plants really do help by working with your body’s innate mechanisms for healthy sex. A man needs an erect penis that remains firm through foreplay and into intercourse so that he is able to experience a pleasurable ejaculation when he and his partner are ready. Similarly, a woman needs to feel desire and the feeling of being desired for her to achieve her orgasm. There are many plants which will help men and women obtain these necessities of sex and you will be able to know if the herbal plant you’ve purchased is actually doing its job.

Because most women put their family’s needs before their own, it has led to a large quantity of very tired moms and wives. These life demands impair sexual performance in men also. Work stressors, family demands, and home maintenance often result in fatigue and lack of energy, leaving no energy left to devote to sex. Two supplements, Maca and Rhodiola Rosea, reduce sexual fatigue in women and men who are too tired to make love. Maca, which is grown in Peru, has been prescribed by physicians to men with low libido and diminished erectile function and has shown excellent results. Researchers have recently studied Maca and discovered that two compounds, macamides and macaenes, are responsible for improved sexual stamina and help men and women obtain more frequent and powerful orgasms. Rhodiola Rosea, grown in the highest mountains of Europe and Asia, was once used by early Siberians to boost strength and stamina. After using it, they realized that they not only had more energy, but also had more sexual stamina. Rhodiola helps us to adapt to changes in life and the stresses of every day life. Hormones, produced by our body when we are stressed, are necessary in cases of trauma or childbirth. Stress caused by work, family, or personal struggles can cause fatigue, added weight gain, poor metabolism, and impaired sexual hormone. Rhodiola makes sure that we get the hormones when they are needed, in order to protect our health, and give us more energy, vitality, and better sex.

As a woman enters perimenopause, the years where she is still menstruating despite the fluctuating estrogen levels, she often feels a decrease in desire for sex. Because estrogen is the hormone that drives a woman’s reproductive system, as it starts to decrease, the sex drive decreases also. Traditional medicine has some answers to help those women in perimenopause and menopause as well. Ashwagandha, is also an adaptogen, like Rhodiola, and has powerful sex-enhancing powers. It has been helping women enhance their desire for sex for many years. Catuaba, a tree that grows in the Brazilian Amazon, stimulates sexual desire and is used worldwide today by women who desire passionate sex. Eleuthero, often called Siberian ginseng, has been used by tribal people for over 2,000 years to eliminate sexual fatigue. It, also, is an adaptogen, and invigorates sexual function.

For men, it is often their equipment that lets them down, with the inability to get an erection hard enough or keep it long enough to satisfy their partners and themselves. Unlike women, who can fake an orgasm, men have to perform every single time they have sex. Horny Goat Weed, Yohimbe, and Panax ginseng can help with these problems. Horny Goat Weed has been used for thousands of years in restoring sexual fire, treating impotence, and increasing production of semen. Research has proven that horny goat weed has activities similar to those of androgen, which are sex hormones that stimulate desire in men. Yohimbe, nature’s Viagra, helps men to attain a firm erection by stimulating engorged vessels within the penis and nerves of the lower spine. Panax ginseng stimulates the central nervous system, invigorates the brain, increases resistance to stress and fatigue, and sharpens the mind. It is also used by many men to enhance libido and sexual vitality and has been proven to help with problems of erectile dysfunction. To make sure you get the most for your money when purchasing these products, make sure the supplement you are considering is from a well-respected manufacturer, the herbs are standardized, and that the extracts are concentrated for optimal benefit. Men who have been diagnosed with high blood pressure, thyroid disease, prostate problems, or other illnesses should use caution when selecting any health supplement. This same advice applies to women who are pregnant or nursing. Always remember to keep your doctor informed about the supplements you are using, especially if you’re also taking prescription drugs.

The easiest way to naturally enhance your sex life is to practice. Studies have shown that couples in the Amazon rainforest, as well as those in New York City, have better sex lives if they make it priority. Men who smoke need to quite because research has shown that more than 20 cigarettes daily causes a 60 percent higher risk for erectile dysfunction, as compared to those who never smoked. This is because smoking decreases blood flow and makes it difficult for men to obtain an erection. Since sex is a visual and tactile endeavor, visually stimulating images can arouse even the most tired people. Just remember that sex always has consequences and improving your sex life does not eliminate the requirement to practice it responsibly. You must be sure to consider the consequences of sexually transmitted diseases and pregnancy. Horny Goat weed, Maca, and other herbs can be found at your friendly internet health food store.

Bioidentical Hormones: An Alternative to Premarin

Chances are, if you have required medication therapy for your menopause, you were given a prescription for Premarin or a similar ‘conjugated estrogen’ product. Premarin is a synthetic estrogen made from the urine of pregnant horses. Other conjugated estrogen products like Enjuvia and Cenestin, are made synthetically from plant sources.


The problem with conjugated estrogen products like Premarin is that it not only contains human-like hormones, they may also contain other hormones that are unlike human estrogens, like horse hormones. Many medical experts question if our bodies really know what to do with these equine estrogens. It is thought that some of the ill effects sometimes experienced by women taking Premarin, such as migraine and fatigue, are caused by these horse hormones.

There has for some time now been an alternative to traditional synthetic hormones like Premarin called 'bioidentical hormones'. Bioidentical hormones have been around for many years. However, up until now, they have not been widely advertised or promoted by the medical community. This is a shame as many women are finding relief from their menopause symptoms without the possible ill effects of Premarin. Times are changing though. The medical community may be seeing the potential benefits of bioidentical hormones. The American Medical Association (AMA) has just vowed to make patients and physicians “more aware of the safety and efficacy of bioidentical hormone compounds.”

Bioidentical hormones are hormones that are ‘identical’ to human estrogen hormones on a molecular basis. These hormones are typically isolated from natural sources such as soy beans and yams, but are modified so that they are just like the human hormone. There are a couple of commercial bioidentical products available. These include Ogen, Ortho-Est, Estrace, Estraderm and Prometrium. Ogen and Ortho-Est are crystallized forms of a single human estrogen. Estrace is a single hormone estradiol. Estraderm is estradiol in a patch. Prometrium is a bioidentical form of progesterone. Bioidentical hormones can also be compounded by specialty pharmacies called ‘compounding pharmacies’. Compounding pharmacies are pharmacies that will ‘compound’ (‘prepare’ or ‘mix’) the medication according to your doctor’s order. These types of pharmacies can compound formulations that are not commercially available. Bioidentical hormones are typically ordered under the names ‘Triest’ or ‘Biest’. Triest is a combination of all 3 human estrogens; estradiol, estrone, and estriol. Biest is a combination of two of these hormones; estriol and estradiol. These formulations are nice because they contain two or three of the 3 human estrogens. The doses of these hormones can also be better tailored to the patient since the pharmacy can compound anything according to the doctor’s order.

‘Bioidentical’ and ‘natural’ estrogens should not be confused. Bioidentical hormones are ‘identical’ to the actual human hormone, whereas ‘natural’ hormones typically are not. Natural hormones usually refer to plant-based ‘phytoestrogens’ which are not the same as human estrogens. Sometimes these natural hormones can be converted into bioidentical hormones, but in their normal plant form, they are not bioidentical. Sometimes herbs like black cohosh and red clover are referred to as ‘natural hormones’. Personally, I do not recommend these herbs as their effectiveness is questionable and black cohosh has been associated with liver toxicity.

Up until now, compounded bioidentical estrogen products were not overseen by the FDA. This has changed as now, the FDA will conduct surveys for purity and dosage accuracy and require compounding pharmacies to complete mandatory reporting on these products. For the consumer, this is potentially good news as it will help ensure the quality of such compounded products. They are also requiring these compounding pharmacies to keep track of the reported adverse events (‘unwanted effects’) of these products.

If your symptoms are not really that troublesome, you may not require hormone therapy. If you and your doctor decide that you would benefit from hormone therapy, you may want to consider a bioidentical hormone product vs. a synthetic one. Whether you choose a bioidentical product that is commercially available or one that is compounded is up to you. One advantage of choosing a compounded bioidentical product is the dose can be customized for you. As with any other medication, it is important to use the smallest, effective amount of the hormone that will provide you symptom relief. To find a compounding pharmacy near you, you can look in the Yellow pages under ‘Pharmacies, compounding’ or ask your local retail pharmacy where you might find one.

Expensive Antioxidants: These Fruit Juices are Not for the Frugal

Would you pay for a bottle of juice? This may sound crazy but many people will pay a pretty penny for a bottle of juice if it promises things like ‘longevity’ and ‘cancer-free living’. These fruit juices have taken the health food market by storm. In fact, there are so many of them on the market now, keeping them straight can be a little confusing. Many of these juices make claims that are not backed by any really good evidence. For this reason, most of these juice manufacturers rely on testimonials from people who claim the juice has helped or cured an ailment they had.

Read on to figure out how to sort through these fancy fruits:

Mangosteen
Mangosteen is an Asian fruit. The juice it makes is marketed under names such as XanGo, Mangoxan and Thai-Go. Most of these brands contain mangosteen juice mixed with other juices. The producers of this juice claim that this juice is an extraordinary antioxidant. This antioxidant effect may be contributed to the xanthones found in the juice. Xanthones are compounds that have antioxidant properties.2 It has also been purported to strengthen the immune system, support good respiratory health and aid joint function. It also claims to contribute to a healthy intestinal tract.1 The juice’s possible benefits in the GI tract are thought to be due the tannins present in the juice. Tannins are thought to have a sort of astringent affect on the intestinal walls, which may help reduce diarrhea.2 Although the manufacturers make some great claims, there is no real evidence available that show that this juice benefits any specific health condition. There are currently no known drug interactions or side effects documented for mangosteen. This of course does not mean there aren’t any. It only means that none have been documented yet.

Acai
Acai, pronounced ah-sah-yee, is a fruit that grows in South America. The juice is marketed under such product names as MonaVie, Sambazon and Bossa Nova. The producer of this juice claims that this juice has a low glycemic index (meaning it does not contain many pure sugars that will spike your blood sugar) and that there is no other fruit available that has as much antioxidant power.3 There has been some evidence that shows that acai juice may have activity against leukemia cells, however, there is no good evidence that this juice is good for any other disease or condition.

Pomegranate
Pomegranate juice is available as a pure juice or mixed with other juices. Pom Wonderful, a popular brand of this juice, claims that this juice is full of antioxidants and may help with such conditions as cancer, heart health and may have anti-aging properties. Unlike many other health supplements on the market, there are some preliminary studies on pomegranate juice that show promising results with regard to these claims. For examples, some data suggests that this juice may slow the progression of atherosclerosis (hardening of the arteries). It is thought that pomegranate juice helps accomplish this by preventing the formation of plaques that can cause arteries to clog. It is also thought that it helps dilate the blood vessels. Because of its effects on blood vessels, it has been thought that pomegranate juice might also prevent erectile dysfunction.
It is also thought that pomegranate juice may help reduce cholesterol by reducing the body’s ability to make cholesterol in the liver. Pomegranate juice has also been shown to reduce blood pressure by reducing the activity of an enzyme called ACE in the body.
Finally, there may be evidence from animal studies that pomegranate juice inhibits the growth of cancer cells in prostate and breast cancer.
Many of the potential benefits of pomegranate juice are thought to be due to its high polyphenol content. Polyphenols are antioxidants. Pomegranate juice is thought to have as much as three times the polyphenol content of red wine, blueberries or green tea.
Drug interactions and side effects for pomegranate juice are not all known, however, people who take blood pressure medications should use caution when drinking pomegranate juice or eating the fruit. Although not well documented, taking blood pressure medications with this juice may cause extremely low blood pressure which can lead to fainting, heart problems or worse. It also appears that pomegranate juices inhibit many of the same enzymes in the system that grapefruit juice does. This means that you should check with your doctor or pharmacist before drinking these juices with certain other medications, such as those that use the CYP2D6 and CYP3A4 enzymes in the body. Drinking the juice with these medications may cause levels of the medication to change in the body. This juice has also been shown to cause allergic reactions, even in people who have taken it for many years. 2 It is important if you experience any symptoms of a serious reaction such as a rash or swelling of the tongue or throat, that you stop eating/drinking the pomegranate and seek medical attention immediately.

Goji
This plant with beautiful red berries grows in China. It has many other names such as Chinese Boxthorn, Chinese Wolfberry, Di Gu Pi, Gou Qi, Ning Xia Gou Qi and Barberry Matrimony Vine. It is usually mixed with other juices. The manufacturer of this juice claims that this juice promotes longevity and may help lower cholesterol in the body. Goji also contains many nutrients like beta-carotene, niacin, vitamin B6 and vitamin C. Despite these claims and the fact that it contains these nutrients, there is no compelling evidence that Goji helps with any particular condition.
As for side effects, few are reported. It is recommended that pregnant women do not consume Goji as it has been shown to have mild uterine stimulant properties. Goji may cause some drug interactions with those drugs that use the CYP2C9 enzyme in the body (ask your doctor of pharmacist if you are taking any of these medications). Patients taking warfarin (Coumadin®) should be especially careful.

Sea Buckthorn
Some products like Thai-Go combine sea buckthorn with other juices. Weleda is an example of a brand that markets pure sea buckthorn juice. These juices contain many nutrients like beta-carotene, vitamins A, B1, B2, B6, C and E.2 It is also thought to contain beneficial fatty oils. It is said that sea buckthorn can lower cholesterol, help heal gastric ulcers, reduce cancer cell growth, promote wound healing and help prevent blood clots.2,4 These all sound well and good, however, there is no real evidence that sea buckthorn can accomplish any of these claims. There are no reports of serious side effects from sea buckthorn.

Morinda (Noni)
This is often referred to as ‘Noni Juice’. The manufacturers claim that this juice can boost the immune system, increase energy and act as an antioxidant.5 There is preliminary data from animal studies that this substance may be useful in the future for treating conditions like cancer, HIV, pain, and infections.2 This does not mean that it is safe and/or effective in humans, however. In fact there is no reliable data in humans as of yet to show that Noni is effective for any human condition. One should also be cautious in that there have been cases of possible liver damage from the use of Noni. One patient even required a liver transplant.2 Patients who take acetaminophen (Tylenol®) should be especially careful. Noni also contains high levels of potassium. For this reason patients who take medications that can increase potassium levels should be careful as well as too much potassium in the body can cause serious side effects like heart arrhythmias (check with your doctor or pharmacist). Patient with kidney problems should also be careful as these patients are prone to having higher blood potassium levels anyway. As with any other supplement that has unknown effects, pregnant women should not drink Noni juice.

The Bottom Line
Most of these juices do not have any compelling evidence that show that they do what they claim. Most of the claims put forth by these manufacturers are backed not by studies, but by testimonials of people who have used them that claim extraordinary results. All in all, most of these juices (with the exception of Noni) do not appear to have any harmful side effects so consuming them will probably not hurt, however, it is important to remember juices can be high in calories and that consuming too much of any juice can thwart weight loss or weight maintenance plans if one is not careful. Unknown drug interactions is also a potential problem with these juices. Pregnant women should avoid these juices as side effects for these substances has not been clearly established.


RERFERENCES:
1. XanGo juice. www.xango.com/learn/. (Accessed January 2, 2007).
2. Jellin JM, Gregory PJ, Batz F, et al. Pharmacist's Letter/Prescriber's Letter Natural Medicines Comprehensive Database. http://www.naturaldatabase.com. (Accessed January 2, 2007).
3. Bossa Nova acai juice. www.bossausa.com/home_bossa_ove_acai_juice.html (access January 2, 2007).
4. Li T. Product development of sea buckthorn. In: Janick J, Whipkey A, Eds. Trends in new crops and new uses. Alexandria, VA: ASHS Press, 2002:393-8.
5. Tahitian Noni Juice. www.tahitiannoni.com/united_states/english/retail/index.html?r=399. (Accessed January 2, 2007).

Exotic Herbal Powerhouses To Boost Libido, Memory And More

Even though a lot of herbal medicines have yet to be scientifically supported in the West, logic proves that people wouldn’t be using an herbal product for centuries if it didn’t work. A great deal of the herbs that we now recognize as having great health benefits were recently considered fairly exotic, a main one being Green Tea, which has just recently gone mainstream. It is predicted that this same event will occur with herbs from the Amazon basin, which is one of the most bountiful places on the planet. It has been explored and looked at for generations for “the next big thing,” which in most cases has already been in use for centuries. There are many energizing herbs that also have great antioxidant properties, which are also available to us here in the United States.


Maca root, which has been cultivated for at least 2000 years, is related to plants including radishes, mustard, and cabbage. It is cultivated by the Andean people in Peru, where it is found to contain a great deal of beneficial compounds that enhance overall health and vitality. Some strains of maca root have been cultivated in Incan sites since 1600 B.C. During early European colonization, maca root was used as a form of currency, similar to the way cocoa was used by the Aztecs. This plant thrives in high altitudes between 10,000 and 16,000 feet. It seems that the harsher the conditions, the better it grows, as efforts to grow the plant in Central Europe haven’t been successful as compared to its home turf in Peru. Maca root is a popular, nutrient-packed super food which is commonly powdered and mixed into drinks. Because maca root is a natural energizer, it has libido enhancing abilities, as well as many others. It acts as an adaptogen, being known as “Peruvian Ginseng” in South America. Maca root is most commonly recommended for boosting the immune system, menopause support, and hormonal balance in general. It is a great source of energy and for all-day endurance. The alkaloids found in maca root are partially responsible for maca’s energizing abilities and libido boost. Research has proven that the hypothalamic-pituitary axis (HPA) boosts energy and overall aphrodisiac abilities in both men and women. Maca root contains compounds called macamides and macaenes which have been scientifically proven to enhance energy, stamina, and sexual function. There are other reasons why maca root is such a great plant. One group of compounds, isothiocyanates, reduces the risk of breast and stomach cancer.

Guarana, loved for its mild stimulating effect, has many benefits. It is such a big part of the culture in Brazil that it actually out-sells Coca-cola in its soft-drink form. Similar to many other herbs, Guarana was used locally well before European settlement. This evergreen vine usually climbs fairly far up the Brazilian forest trees, its seed being the main part that gets used. It also contains powerful antioxidants including catechin, epicatechin, and proanthocyanidins that protect cells from destruction of free radicals and also give benefits to the body’s tissues and blood.

Catuaba, a common tree found in South America, contains many components known as alkaloids. These alkaloids are responsible for the mental boost that most people get when they take a catuaba-based supplement or mix. Catuaba bark can be a little bit confusing because there are many species using the same common name. Make sure to read labels carefully, as the one that results with the best luck is Erythroxylum catuaba.

Coffee Fruit, specifically the bright, red berry that is the seed of the coffee fruit, is often left behind in the process of making coffee. This is because it is too delicate to last long in the hot conditions necessary to make coffee. However, advances in technology have made the “coffee cherry” extract possible. This extract is not just another antioxidant. It also decreases tumor size and possibly even prevents their formation in the first place. The elements in coffee berry activate T-lymphocytes which shrink mammary tumors or simply put them on hold.

Muira Puama, which grows between 15 and 45 feet high and is native to the Amazon basin of Brazil, has been used for centuries for energy support. Some of its included components are beta-sitosterol, campesterol, and lupeol. Like other nervous system stimulants, muira puama has been researched lately for its ability to boost memory retrieval and protect brain tissue. This herb is also able to improve low libido and poor erectile function in men after only two weeks.

Acai berry, a traditional favorite food source for people in the Amazon, grows on a tall-growing palm and provides a rich source of anthocyanins, which are purple pigments that have extremely high antioxidant activity. Once the fruit is harvested, it decays rapidly. Therefore, special processing is necessary to make sure that all the nutrients of acai berry are included. Not only do these fruits fight against free radical damage, but they also help natural digestive enzymes and boost natural immune defenses. Current research is investigating the effects of acai berry on leukemia, as results have been very positive so far. When choosing a supplement, make sure to look for one that is organically-grown. The best companies employ local people to harvest acai so that they provide jobs and better lives for future generations to come.

Sustainability refers to a set of naturally occurring circumstances that ensure that all members of a situation are adequately nourished to promote their healthy continuance as well as practices in programs designed and implemented to keep natural systems healthy and flourishing. Many of these programs focus on environmental protection and preservation of traditional cultures. In the realm of medicinal plants, sustainable practices consist of organic agriculture, species management, fair trade, and benefit-sharing programs. To sum it up, sustainability pays people fair wages, puts resources back into the communities they came from, and ensure that the resources that benefit us all are going to stay around for a long time to come. It is an earth-friendly, people-friendly concept of commerce that is thankfully being put into effect all around the world.

Herbal supplements are a great way to boost energy, boost immune response, and boost libido when taken correctly. Always consult your health care provider for conditions such as loss of energy, chronic colds from low immune system, or no libido because symptoms like these are not normal to healthy individuals and need address by a processional. Great supplements like maca root, catuaba, muira puama, acai berry, and green tea can all be found at your local or internet health food store.

Exotic Herbal Powerhouses To Boost Libido, Memory And More

Even though a lot of herbal medicines have yet to be scientifically supported in the West, logic proves that people wouldn’t be using an herbal product for centuries if it didn’t work. A great deal of the herbs that we now recognize as having great health benefits were recently considered fairly exotic, a main one being Green Tea, which has just recently gone mainstream. It is predicted that this same event will occur with herbs from the Amazon basin, which is one of the most bountiful places on the planet. It has been explored and looked at for generations for “the next big thing,” which in most cases has already been in use for centuries. There are many energizing herbs that also have great antioxidant properties, which are also available to us here in the United States.


Maca root, which has been cultivated for at least 2000 years, is related to plants including radishes, mustard, and cabbage. It is cultivated by the Andean people in Peru, where it is found to contain a great deal of beneficial compounds that enhance overall health and vitality. Some strains of maca root have been cultivated in Incan sites since 1600 B.C. During early European colonization, maca root was used as a form of currency, similar to the way cocoa was used by the Aztecs. This plant thrives in high altitudes between 10,000 and 16,000 feet. It seems that the harsher the conditions, the better it grows, as efforts to grow the plant in Central Europe haven’t been successful as compared to its home turf in Peru. Maca root is a popular, nutrient-packed super food which is commonly powdered and mixed into drinks. Because maca root is a natural energizer, it has libido enhancing abilities, as well as many others. It acts as an adaptogen, being known as “Peruvian Ginseng” in South America. Maca root is most commonly recommended for boosting the immune system, menopause support, and hormonal balance in general. It is a great source of energy and for all-day endurance. The alkaloids found in maca root are partially responsible for maca’s energizing abilities and libido boost. Research has proven that the hypothalamic-pituitary axis (HPA) boosts energy and overall aphrodisiac abilities in both men and women. Maca root contains compounds called macamides and macaenes which have been scientifically proven to enhance energy, stamina, and sexual function. There are other reasons why maca root is such a great plant. One group of compounds, isothiocyanates, reduces the risk of breast and stomach cancer.

Guarana, loved for its mild stimulating effect, has many benefits. It is such a big part of the culture in Brazil that it actually out-sells Coca-cola in its soft-drink form. Similar to many other herbs, Guarana was used locally well before European settlement. This evergreen vine usually climbs fairly far up the Brazilian forest trees, its seed being the main part that gets used. It also contains powerful antioxidants including catechin, epicatechin, and proanthocyanidins that protect cells from destruction of free radicals and also give benefits to the body’s tissues and blood.

Catuaba, a common tree found in South America, contains many components known as alkaloids. These alkaloids are responsible for the mental boost that most people get when they take a catuaba-based supplement or mix. Catuaba bark can be a little bit confusing because there are many species using the same common name. Make sure to read labels carefully, as the one that results with the best luck is Erythroxylum catuaba.

Coffee Fruit, specifically the bright, red berry that is the seed of the coffee fruit, is often left behind in the process of making coffee. This is because it is too delicate to last long in the hot conditions necessary to make coffee. However, advances in technology have made the “coffee cherry” extract possible. This extract is not just another antioxidant. It also decreases tumor size and possibly even prevents their formation in the first place. The elements in coffee berry activate T-lymphocytes which shrink mammary tumors or simply put them on hold.

Muira Puama, which grows between 15 and 45 feet high and is native to the Amazon basin of Brazil, has been used for centuries for energy support. Some of its included components are beta-sitosterol, campesterol, and lupeol. Like other nervous system stimulants, muira puama has been researched lately for its ability to boost memory retrieval and protect brain tissue. This herb is also able to improve low libido and poor erectile function in men after only two weeks.

Acai berry, a traditional favorite food source for people in the Amazon, grows on a tall-growing palm and provides a rich source of anthocyanins, which are purple pigments that have extremely high antioxidant activity. Once the fruit is harvested, it decays rapidly. Therefore, special processing is necessary to make sure that all the nutrients of acai berry are included. Not only do these fruits fight against free radical damage, but they also help natural digestive enzymes and boost natural immune defenses. Current research is investigating the effects of acai berry on leukemia, as results have been very positive so far. When choosing a supplement, make sure to look for one that is organically-grown. The best companies employ local people to harvest acai so that they provide jobs and better lives for future generations to come.

Sustainability refers to a set of naturally occurring circumstances that ensure that all members of a situation are adequately nourished to promote their healthy continuance as well as practices in programs designed and implemented to keep natural systems healthy and flourishing. Many of these programs focus on environmental protection and preservation of traditional cultures. In the realm of medicinal plants, sustainable practices consist of organic agriculture, species management, fair trade, and benefit-sharing programs. To sum it up, sustainability pays people fair wages, puts resources back into the communities they came from, and ensure that the resources that benefit us all are going to stay around for a long time to come. It is an earth-friendly, people-friendly concept of commerce that is thankfully being put into effect all around the world.

Herbal supplements are a great way to boost energy, boost immune response, and boost libido when taken correctly. Always consult your health care provider for conditions such as loss of energy, chronic colds from low immune system, or no libido because symptoms like these are not normal to healthy individuals and need address by a processional. Great supplements like maca root, catuaba, muira puama, acai berry, and green tea can all be found at your local or internet health food store.

Natural Supplements Like 5-HTP To Support A Normal Sleep Cycle

5-HTP is 5-Hydroxytryptophan, and amino acid and a precursor of serotonin, an important neurotransmitter. 5-HTP can pass from the blood to the brain and allow it to synthesis serotonin and it is thought to work synergistically with some nutritional supplements to support the way we feel, otherwise called mood. It is also thought to promote a healthy sleep cycle since serotonin itself takes part in the processes that regulate mood, sleep and also control of appetite.


A typical healthy diet does not contain significant sources of 5-hydroxytryptophan. Instead, it is manufactured by the body’s biochemistry from l-tryptophan that is found in most proteins. Hence it is available from read meats, cheese, poultry and seafood. Most is available from beef and cheese and vegetarians and vegans rely on avocados, peanuts and cashews for their l-tryptophan. Even so, these sources of tryptophan do not lead to the production of large amounts of 5-HTP by the body and a supplement is indicated when natural levels have to be increased, not only in the case of vegans but for all of us.

The major natural source of this important amino acid is the plant Griffonia simplicifolia. Native to Central and West Africa, this is a climbing shrub and its seeds are an important source of supplemental 5-HTP. So the biochemical pathway to serotonin is from 5-HTP that is taken as a supplement or synthesized from l-tryptophan.

The reason that serotonin is so important is in its variously different functions within the body. It is found not only in the brain, but also in the intestines and in the blood. When you get cut, or the blood vessels get damaged, then serotonin is released by the platelets in the blood and acts by constricting the blood vessel, and so preventing or reducing blood loss. It also controls the action of the muscles in the cardiovascular system and intestines ensuring that they function smoothly by stimulating their contraction.

However, it is for its effect on the brain that serotonin is best known. It is a neurotransmitter that is responsible for the transmission of electrical signals across the synapses, the small gaps that separate neurons. If these misfire then a whole range of neurological malfunctions can occur, including sleeplessness, autism, appetite loss, migraines, mood disorders and eating disorders. Serotonin is therefore a critical component of the brain and so, therefore, is 5-HTP, from which it is made.

The biochemical pathway involves the formation of 5-HTP from l-tryptophan by means of the enzyme tryptophan hydroxylase, and another enzyme converts the 5-HTP to serotonin. The serotonin can then be converted to melatonin by means of a two step reaction involving two other enzymes. Incidentally, not all of the tryptophan is converted to serotonin since it is also used to manufacture niacin, Vitamin B3 by means of another biochemical pathway and different enzymes.

Melatonin is the hormone that controls sleep patterns, and synthesized in the pineal gland deep in the brain. It would therefore seem sensible to take supplements of melatonin directly in order to promote sleep, but this seems to be effective only where the patient’s melatonin levels are low. A melatonin supplement is not nearly as effective as a supplement of 5-HTP. Tryptophan is effective in improving sleep levels and decreasing the number of times insomniacs awaken during the night, but this is a prescription drug.

5-HTP is not, and can be purchased at any health store. It is a very effective substitute for tryptophan and a daily dosage of 50 mg – 100 mg taken with fruit juice has a significant sedative effect on children and insomniac adults. All these facts have been established in double blind studies where neither the patients nor those carrying out the studies have known who received the drug or supplement and who were given a placebo.

Apart from its effect on sleep, 5-HTP supplements improve mood and help depression, PMS, anxiety and migraines, and also help overweight people by acting as an appetite suppressant. Insomnia can be caused by a number of factors, among them anxiety and depression, and serotonin can help to control these conditions. Melatonin secretion appears to be promoted by Vitamin B12 (methylcobalamin) and B12 deficiency is common, especially among the elderly and in vegans, since there is no effective vegetable source. A vitamin B12 supplement might also help sleeplessness by improving the secretion of melatonin once biosynthesized.

However, although the supplement is a natural product, keep in mind that it is a mood-changing chemical and can interact with other drugs. Examples of known interferences are with triptans used in treating migraines, and Carbidopa that is used in the treatment of Parkinson’s Disease. It is important that if you are on any other medication you check with your doctor that a 5-HTP supplement is safe for you to take. It has not yet been tested for safety during pregnancy and nursing and there is a possibility that it could be the cause of seizures in Down’s Syndrome children, though that has still to be established.

To sum up, then, 5-HTP is not contained to any extent in a normal diet, but is manufactured from the body’s diet of proteins that contain its precursor, l-tryptophan. In the event of a 5-HTP deficiency, there is insufficient biochemical production of it from natural sources of l-tryptophan to make up for any shortage, and so supplements are required.

5-HTP supplements are indicated in the event of insomnia or disturbed sleep patterns and where mood and appetite have to be regulated. It is also used to alleviate the symptoms of melatonin deficiency such as depression, anxiety and tension, and in such cases 5-HTP, being a natural over-the-counter supplement, is preferred to the prescription drug tryptophan. Recently l-tryptophan has come back on the market as an Over the counter supplement available in health food stores. Melatonin supplements are effective only where there is a definite reduction in the patient’s natural level, and 5-HTP is more effective where a general increase in melatonin is needed.

5-HTP is a natural and safe remedy for sleeplessness, but you must check with your doctor if you are pregnant or nursing, or if you are taking any other medication.

Folic Acid May Reduce Birth Defects And Aid In Cancer Treatment

Folate also known as folic acid is a member of the B vitamin family, derived from the term “foliage”. Folic acid is found in dark leafy vegetables, legumes, citrus fruits, meat, and wheat germ. Let’s look at how folic acid is found in nature, how folic acid might help in birth defects, and help with cancer treatment.


Folic acid occurs in two forms in nature folic acid or folate. The only place you will find folic acid is in fortified foods or multiple vitamins. B vitamins need to be in their active form for the body to utilize them. All B vitamins have to be coenzymated by the liver the active form before the body can absorb them. Folic acid is usually found in the form of folate. Folate is the most commonly use form of folic acid because it is highly bioavailable and chemically stable. Folate is easily reduced to tetrahydrofolate, the active coenzyme form of folate.

Folate is most always absorbed in the small intestines. Folate is converted or metabolized into 5-methylterahydrofolate when absorbed across the intestinal mucosa. When folic acid in the form of folate is taken on an empty stomach, almost one hundred percent is absorbed into the bloodstream. Digestibility of folic acid with foods is estimated at fifty percent and folic acid that is not in the form of folate is estimated at eighty five percent. Recently, studies have been performed on the digestibility of folic acid in supplements verses foods fortified. They discovered that dietary supplements provide more bioavailable folic acid than foods. For example, one study compared folic acid in supplement form verses orange juice that is fortified with folic acid, the dietary supplement won in terms of a better absorption rate.

Pregnant women can benefit the most from taking folic acid daily. In the United States alone there are over three thousand pregnancies with neural tube birth defects. Neural tube is formed early in pregnancy which later turns into the brain and spine on babies. When the neural tube does not form correctly early in pregnancy, the baby can grow up with life long disabilities or worst case it can cause death. The two most common neural tube defects are known as spinal bifida and anencephaly. Studies have found that a folic acid deficiency can cause a neural tube defect early in pregnancy. The U.S. Public Health Service and March of Dimes recommends that all women in child bearing years should take folic acid in no less than 400 micrograms per day to reduce the risk of neural tube defects while pregnant. The studies have been so conclusive that even the FDA has authorized a disease risk reduction health claim that folic acid can reduce the risk of birth defects in pregnant women.

One study in 2004 was done by the Lewin Group found that in 10.5 million women of childbearing age who took 400 micrograms of folic acid. This study showed six hundred fewer babies were born with neural tube defects which provided a significant reduction in medical costs. Estimated savings of 1.3 billion in lifetime medical costs just in the five years this study has been out.

Also, researchers have discovered that cancer cells have a natural attraction to folic acid. This opens a whole new area of drug therapies that could become available for cancer patients. Folic acid could be used as a nontoxic carrier for chemotherapy drugs. Researchers at the fourth annual Gene, Drug Therapy and Molecular Biology meeting, suggested that conventional chemotherapy drugs could be used to destroy cancer cells with folic acid as the carrier. Researchers have found that folic acid is over-expressed in certain cancers: especially cancers of the ovary, cervix, endometrium, kidney, breast, brain, lung, and colon. Researchers said that tumors resistant to typical chemotherapy treatments gobble up folic acid. Researchers estimate that over 300,000 people are diagnosed with cancers that over-express the folate receptor in the United States alone. These cancer cells have 500,000 times greater affinity for folic acid than normal healthy cells. Drugs with folic acid as a carrier can find those hard to reach cancer cells while avoiding the normal healthy cells.

Folic acid looks like a very promising B vitamin supplement to aid in wide range of diseases. If you are in child bearing years or undergoing cancer treatment, always consult your health care provider before starting a new supplement regiment. Remember when looking for folic acid, always read the label and make sure the folic acid you are taking is in the form of folate. Great supplements like Folic Acid can be found at your local or internet health food store.

Support Adolescence with Flower Remedies

Adolescence - the difficult period when a child changes from child to adult, usually beginning at age eleven and lasting through nineteen. This is a period of great change - physical changes in their body become very apparent, young people begin to search for their personal identity, they begin to feel strong sexual feelings and learn what is socially appropriate and responsible in reaction to theses feelings.


Young people begin to challenge parents' authority and the safety of their care in order to develop personal freedom and independence. This is a time when they begin to know the world they live in, their social systems become more solid, their school work becomes more challenging, many hold their own jobs and become active in extra-curricular and civic activities.

Ironically, during these turbulent years, as young folks work hard at establishing their self-identity and individuality they are very vulnerable to the pressures of the world and often look for security in their peers. Adolescence brings with it a period of apprehension, insecurity, and experimentation which produces a kind of sameness in order to become one-of-the crowd. These young adults begin to dress in similar fashion and wear similar hairstyles; they begin to talk alike, listen to the same style of music, and socialize with others of similar mind.

Individuality and maturity carries with it a long period of unreasonable judgment commonly due to a lack of life inexperience. Too often we hear reports in written and verbal media regarding the extremely high incidence of teenage pregnancy resulting in the death of mother and/or child, and in extreme cases, incarceration of one or both too-young parents. Drug and alcohol abuse is seen in children as young as ten years of age. Drug abuse now includes snorting of household chemicals, pulverizing standard over-the-counter (and prescription) drugs and snorting them. Suicide is the third leading cause of death amongst American teens (aged 10-19), next to accidents and homicide. Three million people in the US cry out in emotional pain by "cutting", causing physical injury to themselves as a way of relieving internal emotional agony. Recent statistics report that there are more children in the population affected by divorce than there are children living in households with intact parental partnerships. 35% of our teens are at risk or are overweight (by 25 pounds or more). 20% are obese. It is incredible that very young children and teens alike are now being diagnosed with high blood pressure, dangerously high cholesterol levels, and the beginnings of cardiovascular disease, insulin resistance, and depression, asthma, allergies and ADD/OCD in record numbers. Almost 30% of our teens are diagnosed with eating disorders or other forms of mental or emotional illnesses.

Why? One can entertain many explanations. A record number of families are fractured by divorce. Parents are absent from the home too often. Social, spiritual, role model connections are often sacrificed when the family unit is stressed. Our food sources are sadly depleted from vital nutrients due to additives during processing of our food and the stripping of nature's soil for centuries of over use. Fast food has become a main source of nutrition in the home, in the car, and in schools nationwide. Children have become too busy and over-stressed by well meaning social activities. Our culture has become incredibly media minded, learning the wrong ways to health and happiness. Computers have become too much of a source of our social and intellectual entertainment. Exercise of the mind, body and spirit is becoming extinct as a result.

What to do? Spend more time in a family unit to eat healthy, home cooked meals together. Take a few hours a week to play, take a walk, go to the park, concerts, game nights, etc. Look into community sponsored exercise and recreation courses. Worship together and develop a spiritual foundation to build upon. Contact a holistic nutritionist to set up healthy meal plans and dietary guidelines. Browse your local health food store for healthy choices in food and find holistic health professionals in your area. (Chiropractic, massage, acupuncture, yoga for physical helps; homeopathy, aromatherapy, and flower remedies for mental, emotional and social health are available everywhere.)

A Registered Bach Practitioner will offer supportive consultation and a personal remedy formula. The correct combination of essences will help turn negative moods and emotional states into positive ones. This gradual and subtle change supports one to be "who they truly are", decreases stress, and guides us wonderfully during challenging transitional periods. Self discovery, self-acceptance, increased confidence, and a happier path in life are all possible with flower essences. Consider essences to support the physical changes (self-image) during the teen's years; for the transition from child to adult, and help with fear and apprehension. Your practitioner can offer essences that guide in setting healthier bound-aries in relationships. Essences can help balance anger, feelings of isolation, and even help determine the long-term goals in one's life!

There is no reason for parents and teens to wander through this inevitable and challenging period of life without healthy supports. Call a Bach Foundation Registered Practitioner today - and find your healthy balance today!

The Green Person

We know our planet is hot - how hot is still a question of some debate - although it seems we get closer each day to a consensus that something (or a whole lot of something's) must be done to reverse the effects of global warming.


Chances are if you're reading this column, you are one of those people who is either looking for more information on Living Green or you are a Green Person already.

The good news: There is no shortage of ways Joe Consumer can make changes in Living Green on the way to Being Green.

If you are just starting, here are some powerful adjustments almost anyone can make:

1. Use compact fluorescent lightbulbs (or, CFLs). The EPA says "If every American household changed five regular light bulbs to compact fluorescent bulbs, it would be like taking 8 million cars off the road." Look for the Energy Star logo; any average hardware store carries them.

2. Cut down on VOCs (Volatile Organic Compounds) by using gas grills over charcoal grilling. Gas BBQs produce about half as much CO2 as charcoal grills, and about 1/3 as much as electric grills.

3. This summer collect rainwater run-off with a simple rain barrel solution. Rainwater is chlorine free, can be used on plants and helps reduce polluted rain run-off in streams and rivers.

4. Plant a tree. Trees act like natural air filters. They absorb the carbon dioxide and release oxygen back into the air. The average person is responsible for emitting 94 pounds of CO2 every day. It takes at least four trees to offset the CO2 you personally generate in a month. Visit American Forests (americanforests.org) or The Conservation Fund (conservationfund.org), a non profit group in Arlington, VA for more. Both groups will plant a tree for you.

(And, for $57 the Conservation Fund will plant 11 trees for you - enough to neutralize 14 tons of CO2 from the atmosphere!)

The other half of the model Green Person requires a bigger commitment to Living Green/Being Green. Because they are "macro" choices they will have much bigger impacts on the cleaning up the environment, saving energy and remaining carbon neutral.

Big commitments might look like this:

1. Drive a fuel-efficient hybrid car
2. Build an energy efficient, sustainably built green home
3. Donate a percentage of your earnings to an environmentally responsible non-profit.

Living Green starts with a state of mind. The choices can be absurdly confusing, often eccentric and tend to the altruistic. The important thing is to put it in perspective.

At the same time, Living Green is NOT meant to be polarizing, it is NOT a superficial label and it is NOT an excuse to point fingers at people.

Green IS an excuse to take some new steps towards cleaning up the environment.

How to Pick a Reflexology School

How to Go About Choosing the Right Reflexology School
So you want to learn how to give your friends or family a reflexology session or maybe even are thinking about beginning a new career or part-time job that lets you help others who are looking for solutions that support wellness.


Maybe you have looked at holistic health or trade publications that speak about the opportunities for financial growth in the alternative health industry of which reflexology is a part. At this point you're asking yourself, "Where do I start?”
Slow down, relax. Here are a few tips by experts in the field about choosing the school that is right for you. Maybe you really like the holistic, body, mind and spirit connection of bodywork like reflexology. Or maybe you are a “just the facts” kind of person who likes to have scientific facts and data to back things up. Schools are as different as the students that attend their classes.
So, take the following tips and come up with some questions designed to get the particular answers you need to make your decision about the school that is the right choice for YOU. Then, check out the school setting to see if the atmosphere is right for you. Attend a clinic where the students get hands on experience by working on people like you. Ask the students questions about their class and what they think about it. Call and talk to the instructors. Remember you are hiring them to provide a service. So interview them first. Attend an open house to see the facilities and talk to the faculty.
Here are some five tips to help you pick the reflexology program and school that is a perfect match for you:
1. Have a reflexology session or two to experience the different styles of each therapist. Talk to them about their school and find out what they liked best and least.
2. Now let’s talk a little bit about you. Sit down and let your brain go and think with your pencil without worrying about legibility, grammar or whether it makes sense or not. No one needs to even see this but you. Answer some questions. Why do you want to learn reflexology? What did you like best about receiving reflexology? Least? Do you have any hang-ups about touching other people’s feet, hand or ears? What about strangers? Do you wish to practice reflexology as a gift for people you know or for others outside your circle of family and friends? Will you work part or full time on others? Will you have problems charging for your services? These are all important questions that you need to be honest with yourself about before you commit financially and personally to professional training like the IUPUI Reflexology Certification Program in Indianapolis.
3. Still unsure? Consider a short, community education course at your local school or university such as Indiana University, Purdue University Indianapolis (IUPUI). The shorter hour courses offered through community education or community learning networks will probably provide sufficient instruction to work on family and friends. They will also give you a good idea whether or not you want study reflexology in a longer course for professionals which are typically 200 or more hours.
4. Review the materials and course descriptions. Note class requirements, instructor credentials costs, classroom hours, dates and length of the course. List questions the materials don’t address.
5. Interview the instructors. Look at whether they are nationally certified, still operate a practice and if the school is accredited and has a long-standing reputation.

These are all great ways to ensure that your reflexology training will be a great investment in your future as a professional reflexologist or that your community education class will help you learn enough about reflexology to work on your kids and friends.
For the right school in Indiana, call IUPUI Reflexology Certification Program at 317-403-5051 or go to http://www.restore-inc.com/iupuireflexology.html

Massage Therapy – So Much for So Little

Do you remember what it felt to be young? Muscles that weren't sore but that were strong and flexible, joints that didn't ache, headaches that never were and an energy supply that seemed endless. Sleep came easy. You were pain free and full with life. You were alive! Would you like to feel that way again?


Massage therapy can help you restore the youthful sense of vitality that you used to possess. Massage is a word that brings up a variety of feelings to different people. To some a smile comes across their face at the sound of the word as memories of ooh … and ahh… softly fall from their lips when their body begins to remember past experiences of total relaxation. To others it brings up uneasiness. They are uncomfortable with being touched by another in such a close and intimate space. And to others, well they are just neutral and have no opinion or experience one way or the other. All these feelings are right and true for the person who is feeling them. I believe, however, that these perceptions are changing.

In 2005, 47 million Americans received a massage. The primary reason was for relaxation, stress relief or medical reasons. And last year 2 million more Americans received a massage than the year before. According to a study at Stanford University, 70% of Americans use some type of alternative therapy. With more and more people using massage therapy there must be some reason. It is a well known fact that people are becoming dissatisfied with the biochemical based approach of western medicine, and they are seeking a more holistic and integrated approach to health and well-being. There must be another way.

Massage Therapy has been at the forefront of the alternative/complimentary medicine movement. Although the numbers vary depending on what is included in the definition, the National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine (NCCAM) reports that between $36 and $47 billion was spent on Complimentary and Alternative Medicine (CAM) in 1997. And Massage Therapy was one of the top 10 alternative therapies used by consumers. Today there are literally hundreds of studies that confirm the benefits of massage therapy. Most studies encompass a relatively short period of time (months) and focus on stress reduction and pain management for a variety of ailments. To my knowledge the studies have always shown a statistically significant benefit to receiving massage therapy.

What are some of these proven benefits? Massage provides relief to people of all ages—from infants to seniors—and from all walks of life—the weekend warrior or tri athlete, the stay at home parent or the overstressed, overworked executive.

Massage is a drug-free, non-invasive way to facilitate the body's own natural healing process. Massage is effective for a variety of health conditions especially with those that have a stress-related origin. And this is so important to your well-being because the Center for Disease Control and Prevention has stated that up to 90 percent of the doctor visits in the USA may be triggered by a stress-related illness.

Research indicates that massage can help with back pain, headaches, stress, anxiety, fatigue, high blood pressure, depression, treating cancer-related fatigue, sleep disorders, diabetes, immune system suppression, low energy, autism, muscle stiffness, scar tissue, limited joint movement, poor concentration, premature infant growth and awareness, surgical recovery times, arthritis pain, fibromyalgia, age-related disorders, infertility, eating disorders and smoking cessation to name just a few. How can something as simple as touch help so much? The reasons are because massage:
· Relaxes.
· Softens tense, injured and overused muscles.
· Increases circulation enhancing the flow of oxygen and nutrients throughout the body.
· Stimulates the immune system.
· Relieves muscle pain including headaches.
· Enhances the removal of waste products from the body.
· Reducing spasms and cramping.
· Increasing joint flexibility.
· Reduces workout recovery time.
· Releases endorphins, the body's natural painkiller.
· Reduces swelling.
· Exercises atrophied muscles.
· Restores postural distortions.

These are wonderful benefits. As you can see having a massage does more than just relax your body and mind - there are specific physiological and psychological changes which occur, even more so when massage is utilized as a preventative, frequent therapy and not simply as a mere luxury. Massage not only feels good, but it can cure what ails you. It is no wonder the numbers of people who receive massage is growing year after year.

But what makes massage so unique when compared to other healing modalities is something that is so lacking in today's world: touch. As mentioned above massage has been shown to help premature babies gain weight faster and shorten hospital stays than for babies who are not touched. So how do we explain this affect? Is it some new physiological benefit that we cannot as yet explain or is it evidence of what compassionate touch can do on a deeper emotional/spiritual level?

Many adults have reported deep healing experiences on the massage table. While the therapist unwinds stressed and tired muscles, pent-up emotions that don't always have time to be processed during the day can become unwound as well. And just being touched can be healing as it gives us a feeling of being connected to something larger than ourselves especially if the touch is safe, caring and compassionate. Studies continue to be done on the benefits of massage and the power of touch. So who knows what the research will show.

Martial Arts and Massage Therapy?

Chi Kung, which is also sometimes written Qigong, is an ancient Chinese practice for harmonizing the subtle energies through balancing the breath within the body. Chi means breath and/or energy, and Kung means ability or process of development. So Chi Kung can be loosely translated as "breath and/or energy development". And, though there are countless styles and variations of Chi Kung practices, the main categories are lying, sitting, standing or moving Chi Kung. The practices vary from very passive and internal meditative styles in a lying or sitting position, to very dynamic and active movement.


Martial Arts and Massage?

Tai Chi Chuan is one of the most well known styles of moving Chi Kung. The word "chuan" denotes a fighting art and Tai Chi Chuan is a martial style where the principles of Chi Kung have been applied to martial movements and the developing of fighting ability.

However, there is much Chi Kung that is not connected to martial arts. In Buddhist and Taoist circles Chi Kung was used to help attune the adept to the subtle energies, and thus support their spiritual development.

Chi Kung was also used by traditional Chinese doctors for healing and rehabilitation. And this is what Chi Kung is mostly known for today.

Some of China's most ancient medical texts refer to breath and movement exercises. And, in recent times, studies have been done in universities and hospitals, as well as by independent doctors, validating and exploring the healing qualities of various Chi Kung principles. These studies have documented the profound effects that Chi Kung can have on balancing, harmonizing, and energizing every system of the body: the circulatory system, endocrine system, immune system, and so on.

The Chi Kung that I study comes from a traditional martial arts context, with a strong emphasis on building bodily health and vitality as the foundation for further practice. The classes that I teach are based on a process of structural rebalancing. Using various exercises, from lying down to moving, students learn to soften the tissues and loosen the joints, freeing up the breath wave. Through an increasing proprioceptive and kinesthetic awareness one becomes more conscious of what is going on in ones own body. This is a powerful neuromuscular reeducation. And when a person gets the "knack", it becomes an ongoing activity. Going through this process while standing and moving within the gravitational field makes it a very real experience that is directly applicable to everything one does.

Another aspect of the structural rebalancing is based on "softening the tissue". With a focus on relaxation and rhythmic movement, the student is able to release tensions and restrictions within the soft tissues. This helps to develop a fluid quality to ones movements, which literally "flushes" the tissue, having a profound effect on the immune system.

I feel that this is the basis for the healing qualities of Chi Kung. This flushing process can affect the entire body, all the organs and tissues, with a profound physiological effect. And, when the body is vitalized, the subtle energies become free flowing, allowing the whole body-mind being to experience a sense of freedom and harmony.

Integrating Chi Kung with massage therapy is a main focus of mine. And teaching classes at FSM with the students has been a great inspiration for me. I'm starting to do workshops in Chi Kung, and I invited my teacher, Wei Lun Huang, to Gainesville this past October. If you would like information about workshops, or Chi Kung in general, you can contact me through the Florida School of Massage.

Feeling Stress Out About Life? The Best Way to Become De-Stressed.

Not sure what to expect when it comes to a massage from a Day Spa. Most people are a little intimidated their first time. Here are a few simple rules to follow to make the most of your massage.


First and foremost, you need to be early for your appointment. If you arrive late, you have already stressed out your body and you might as well have stayed home. Being stressed out will make it take longer for you to relax and you will not get the best out of your massage.
Make sure that you do not eat before your massage session. As some massage techniques can include pressure points, this can cause you to be uncomfortable.
It is also important to feel very comfortable with your masseuse. Most places ask that you remove all of your clothing. If you are not comfortable with this, you need to discuss it with the masseuse. Most places will work around you clothing. Keep in mind however that these are professionals that you are dealing with and you will not get the effects of complete stress relief if they do not have access to your skin in the areas that are bothering you.

Good communication is extremely important. You need to let the Day Spa know of any health information that might interfere with your session. You also need to let them know what you expect from the massage as well. During the session make sure to open your mouth and give feedback about the amount of pressure, room temperature, or the speed of movement. Anything that bothers you, you need to let them know. You have the right to stop the massage any time during the session if you do not like something that is being done.
Do your best to relax during the session. Breathing, trying not to tense up or even chatting can help you to relax. The masseuse will follow your lead.

Some things to remember after your massage: It is likely that you will feel light headed and dizzy right after the massage. Be aware to take your time getting up and off of the table. This will also allow you to reintegrate into your surroundings. After your massage you want to make sure to drink plenty of water. This will help to replenish it.
It is important to realize that the effects of massage are cumulative. The more you get a massage, the better your body will respond and you will feel more relaxed.

Aromatherapy Massage and Massage: Effectiveness on Emotional and Physical Wellbeing

It has been well established that stress is one of the leading factors of chemical changes in the body. Persons who suffer from high anxiety are more prone to depression, disrupted sleep, heart disease and a kaleidoscope of other health disorders. In the case of those persons suffering from a plethora of health conditions, aromatherapy massage and massage have been shown to alleviate stress and anxiety. While these natural healing techniques may not always cure disease, they can have a remarkable effect on the physical body.


What many individuals do not realize is that stress is the leading proponent in raising blood sugar levels and blood pressure, red blood cell over activity, constricted blood vessels, racing pulse, and digestive problems.[4] These facts prove that stress can have a very negative impact on overall health.

In a report by the Research Institute of Nursing Science (College of Nursing Seoul National University, Seoul, South Korea)[1], aromatherapy massage was studied on elderly women in Korea to determine its efficacy on anxiety and self-esteem issues.

In the study, aromatherapy massage was administered using aromatic essential oils, such as chamomile, lavender, lemon and rosemary. Overall, the study lasted seven (7) weeks in duration. During that time frame, aromatherapy massage sessions were set three (3) times per week, with each session being 20 minutes. After the initial three-week period, a one-week intermission ensued, and then continued the remaining three weeks. While blood pressure and pulse rate were not significantly affected, remarkable differences were clearly established in regard to anxiety and self-esteem.

In another study, aromatherapy massage was administered to older patients suffering from constipation. In the 10-day study, the experimental group was given abdominal aromatherapy massage; using the essential oils lemon, peppermint and rosemary. The control group, too, was given massage; but without the aid of aromatherapy. Upon commencement of the study, levels of constipation were measured by the constipation assessment scale (CAS). While the results found that the average number of bowel movements had improved in both groups (being treated with both aromatherapy massage and placebo massage); the experimental group who had received the aromatherapy massage showed a significant improvement. Purportedly, the aromatherapy massage demonstrated that its effects lasted for two (2) weeks after treatment; whereas non-aromatherapy massage lasted approximately seven to ten days (7-10). In conclusion, the study found that aromatherapy, coupled with massage does help ease geriatric constipation.[2]

Other research suggests that both aromatherapy massage and massage are beneficial to persons suffering from cancer. In a study performed by Princess Alice Hospice in the UK, patients were administered both aromatherapy massage and massage alone during a four-week course. To assess its efficacy on physical and psychological symptoms, both techniques were randomly administered to patients with advanced stages of cancer. The findings were promising, as significant sleep patterns were enhanced in both the aromatherapy massage group and the massage-alone group. In addition, depression levels were statistically significant in the massage group. Overall, the study showed that patients who had heightened levels of distress were more likely to respond to both aromatherapy massage and massage alone.[3]

In conclusion, we have learned that stress-related disorders and health complications can be significantly reduced and/or alleviated by natural healing techniques such as aromatherapy massage, massage and other noninvasive health treatments.

Lomi Lomi

"Touch the body with a loving touch. If your hands are gentle and loving, your patient will feel the sincerity of your heart. His soul will reach out to yours, and the Lord's healing will flow through you both."
Aunty Margaret Machado


Early visitors to Hawaii noticed and commented on this healing art. In 1803 Archibald Menzies wrote, "A number of natives placed themselves around us to Lomi Lomi and pinch our limbs, an operation which we found on these occasions, very lulling and pleasing when gently performed.” In the 1820's early missionaries to the Hawaiian Islands found the native healers to be accurate in their diagnosis and treatment of illness, and in mending broken bones. They considered the Hawaiians to be heathens, however, and in 1893, after years of political upheaval, the new government outlawed all spiritual traditions, including healing arts, the study of the Hawaiian language, and hula dancing. But the sacred traditions did not die; they were hidden and practiced in secrecy, passed down only within the Hawaiian community (ohana), through "iki maka lihilihi a maka alawa", which means “to do by observation and insight.”

In 1973, Aunty Margaret Machado, a respected kupuna (elder) from the Big Island, decided to share her family's knowledge by teaching it to anyone who had a sincere desire to learn, Hawaiian or not. She felt it was time for the ancient healing gift of Lomi Lomi to be felt throughout the world. While Aunty Margaret was criticized by many in the Hawaiian community for revealing the secrets of Lomi Lomi, it was through her efforts that Lomi Lomi was brought to the forefront of a resurgence of interest in native Hawaiian healing. The history of Lomi Lomi, however, goes back to the beginning of the history of Hawaii.

"It is correct to say that Lomi Lomi encompasses a massage, but it is not limited to it. Native Hawaiians say the true definition of Lomi Lomi is reconnecting with spirit." One may ask if it is like a Swedish massage; Aunty Margaret says absolutely "no." It's very different she says. "It's a praying work. Each student learns to pray first to God."

One of the common similarities among Lomi Lomi practitioners of old was the power and knowledge they had. That is, their ability to communicate deep to the bones of their patients via their touch through soft tissues, yet being noninvasive and connecting it all with spirit, says Maka'ala Yates, a Hawaiian medicine specialist.

The Lomi Lomi technique focused on finding congested areas in the body and dispersing them, by moving the palms, thumbs, knuckles and forearms in rhythmic, dance-like motions. Setting the intention for healing, the kahuna would also utilize prayer (pule), breath (ha) and energy (mana). The practice of Lomi Lomi was common within each Hawaiian community and contributed to a vibrant, healthy society.

Lomi Lomi literally means “knead-knead.” Aunty Margaret who is on of the oldest and widely recognized teacher of Lomi Lomi has this definition of Lomi Lomi which is: “The Loving Touch – a connection of heart, hands and soul with the Source of All Life.” Students of Lomi Lomi learn to flow the love from the heart, through the hands, to connect with the soul of the one receiving the massage. Healing is increased by love, love received and love given. In the Oxford Dictionary the definition of love is “fondness, a deep or passionate affection to someone or something.” To the Hawaiians it is so much more, it also includes tolerance, forgiveness, acceptance, non judgment, appreciation, compassion, respect and so many other elements. This is the very foundation of a Lomi Lomi massage.

To understand the depth of Lomi Lomi massage, it helps to have an understanding of the Hawaiian philosophy called Huna, and how the philosophies of Huna relate to bodywork and healing. A fundamental assumption of Huna is that everything seeks harmony and everything seeks love. So how does this relate to massage? Perhaps this can best be understood by one of the alternate names for Lomi Lomi, and that is "Loving Hands" massage. The reason for this is that it works gently yet deeply into the muscles with continuous, flowing strokes, totally nurturing the body and, enabling the recipient to relax, give in and simply be. So, whilst technique is an important part of the massage and associated healing, much of the work is done by love, with the focus of the practitioner on the client being deep and complete, using loving hands and a loving heart.

This flowing with total energy, using the long continuous, flowing strokes, combined with the very loving touch, relaxes the entire being, assisting in a letting go of old beliefs, patterns and behaviors that cause limitations and which are stored in the cells of our body. People generally think of memory, beliefs, our "programming", as being stored in our head, in our brain. This is not the case. This memory, and other programming, is, in fact, stored in all the cells of our body.

The Hawaiians look at things in terms of energy flow, suggesting that an idea or belief can block energy flow as much as muscle tension can. Lomi Lomi helps release the blockages, whilst at the same time giving the energy new direction. Thus Lomi Lomi is not just a physical experience; it also facilitates healing on the mental, emotional and spiritual levels as well. The Hawaiians view all aspects of the body as one and believe that the physical, mental, emotional and spiritual are all part of the "whole" self - when healing is effected on one level, all levels are affected.

When harmony is lacking, the effect is pain physically, mentally, emotionally or spiritually. Illness is a state of tension, which leads to resistance, which blocks energy movement. Lomi Lomi helps release this and, therefore, facilitates the road to healing. On the physical level, through Lomi Lomi, stress and tension are relieved, blood and lymph flow assisted and the elimination of wastes and toxins stimulated.

So, what happens during a Lomi Lomi massage? How is it performed? A Lomi Lomi usually commences with stillness between the practitioner and client, often with the practitioner’s hands gently resting on the clients back. In this stillness the practitioner will quietly say a blessing or prayer asking for whatever healing is needed to take place during the massage. Alternatively or as well, the client may be asked to set their intention for any healing they would like to receive. The therapist then works very intuitively with the client. In this respect, there is no set format or sequence for the massage and no two massages will ever be identical.

The massage is given in fluid, rhythmic motion using the forearms as well as the hands. Some people have described this as feeling like gentle waves moving over the body. Another feature is that different parts of the body may be massaged at the same time. For example, one arm or hand may be working on a shoulder and the other hand may be working on the opposite hip. This assists the recipient in totally relaxing, as it is impossible or at least extremely difficult for the brain to focus on the two different areas at once. By not working on areas in isolation, a deep sense of balance and harmony is achieved. As I said earlier, whilst technique is important, the priority is loving the body, using intuition so the massage is "right" for the client. The client on the table is not viewed as someone to be fixed, but a being to be returned to harmony and balance. It is important to remember that the practitioner does not heal but is the facilitator for the healing.


Under body and full body strokes also help to free the energy, make the body soft, promoting free and abundant flow of life energy in the recipient. According to Huna philosophy, energy also gets blocked in the joints. Gentle stretches of the body and gentle rotations of the joints are therefore also incorporated to assist the release of tensions and assist the flow of energy. Once again not forcing, but feeling the level of the client’s resistance or comfort. The therapist may also hum at various points during the Lomi Lomi as the vibrating and amplified energy that results also aids the release of blockages.

Dance work or hula movements, combined with the breath work of the practitioner are also important and integral aspects of Lomi Lomi. The reason for the hula-type dance around the table whilst massaging is not just because it looks cute! The movements are all-important to assisting the energy flow both within the practitioner and recipient and help keep the energy at a high level. This combined with breathing techniques by the therapist are also important in assisting the energy flow. The sharing of the breath, the essence of the Creator or universal energy--whatever name you like to give it--is an old Hawaiian custom and greatly enhances the energy flow once again.

Because the practitioner works intuitively, a massage may be slow and very relaxing or at times it may be a little faster and, therefore, more invigorating and enlivening to the body. Sometimes the recipient may experience an emotional release as the massage can release and shift negative emotions, negative beliefs and other "stuff" that has been stored in the cells of the body, with the healing effects of the massage continuing long after the massage is over.

While Lomi Lomi is often referred to as a spiritual massage, the technique is also practical and specific. It is, for example, effective in breaking up calcium deposits and lactic acid build-up. This is accomplished by a variety of movements, such as circular thumb strokes that are done in a one-two-three rhythm directly over the area. Knuckle strokes are used on larger, denser muscles in the same rhythm, followed by soothing forearm strokes and hacking.

In addition to Lomi Lomi's physical benefits are the emotional releases felt during and after a session. Recipients of a Lomi Lomi treatment often experience freedom from anxiety, worry, fear and a host of other negative thought patterns. This freedom comes only when the practitioner is aware of their responsibility to the client.
"It is a process that allows the patient to meet the practitioner mid-way in their crisis so healing can take place." Yates says. "It is the Lomi Lomi practitioner's responsibility to guide and treat each patient with right intentions using the correct protocol of treatment based on his/her feelings. The purpose of Lomi Lomi is to bring alignment back to the individual in body, mind and spirit."

During a genuine Lomi Lomi session, the therapist is aligned with divine energy, and keeps his or her heart and mind clear for Spirit to move through them as a conduit for healing energy. Proper breathing and pure thoughts are important. According to the Hawaiians, thoughts contain mana, or energy. When thoughts are combined with touch and breath they are transferred to the receiver. Therefore, the therapist's thoughts must be focused on love and healing.

If something has occurred which interferes with the therapist's ability to control their thoughts, then ho’oponopono is practiced. Ho’oponopono is a prayer of forgiveness and of making things right. It must be done if we have harmed another person or ourselves in thought, word or deed. Ho’√≥ponopono "is a spiritual practice of making things right with yourself and all others before God. One who truly practices ho'oponopono is one who takes a daily inventory of his or her thoughts. This practice is frequently performed at sundown as a way to end the day with a right heart. Any intent to harm, any conscious or unconscious attitudes of malice, jealousy, or hatred must be rooted out and replaced with aloha. Aloha is recognizing the divine nature in every living thing."

Ho'opnopono is a Spiritual practice which was nearly lost in the last few generations. It is a precisely structured traditional family health maintenance procedure in which discordant family conflicts and problems are resolved through pule, discussion, confession, repentance, and mutual restitution, forgiveness, release and severance. Its overall goal is to "set things right", to correct and restore pono among family members.

Most therapists come to Lomi Lomi after years of doing other types of massage and bodywork. One can expect months of training and years of practice to truly master the technique. This is due to the mental and emotional clarity and physical stamina required of the practitioner. Many massage traditions teach that the therapist must continually shield him or herself from negativity that may be coming from the client, but Lomi Lomi teaches the opposite. The client is considered to be the vulnerable one, open to and receiving the therapist's energy, positive or negative. Lomi Lomi practitioners must learn to control their thoughts and trust in their higher selves in order to direct positive healing energy to clients. Dedicated practitioners know that this is a constant process of self-awareness and prayer.

Some months ago a new client, who for years had concerns about her size, was in tears at the end of the massage. She told me that it was the first time in her life she had ever felt safe & beautiful. Why do I do what I do? – That’s why.

The old ways of the Hawaiian ancestors are being absorbed into a technological world; however, the original intention of aloha remains. A Lomi Lomi session is a respite from the outside world. My passion with Hawaiian healing and wisdom continues to grow and expand, and so do my regular sojourns to my island home to reconnect with the energy that feeds my soul. My desire is to spread the Aloha Spirit and bring as much of the energy and wisdom back to create a little piece of paradise here.

My use of the term “Aunty or Uncle” is a term of respect on the islands of Hawaii, not a blood relationship term.

Aloha Mai - I come with love.