Friday, September 25, 2015

How to Choose a Holistic Practitioner

Your first responsibility as a patient/client is to select a practitioner who will join your "team" to support you in obtaining and maintaining optimum health for your body, mind, emotions and spirit. While most holistic practitioners use modalities that are currently labeled "alternative medicine," their interests and practices may vary widely. Thus, one person might work primarily with nutrition and herbs, while another might look mainly at the spiritual aspects of health and disease. Other areas of interest include spinal manipulation and body work, "energy medicine," mind-body medicine, acupuncture and stress management. It is important to remember that there are many different definitions of holistic medicine. When choosing a practitioner, make sure that individual has the same type of philosophy and uses the treatment modalities you are seeking.

The following considerations are offered as a guide to help you find a practitioner with whom you are comfortable. Optimum health is more likely to be present when you work with someone who is supportive of your efforts to be in charge of your life. Some of the criteria may not apply to all situations.
  1. Does this practitioner have health professional relationships with others? How did you hear about this practitioner? A personal referral is often more powerful than a professional referral. What do friends and other professionals say about this person? How does he/she feel about second opinions or your interest in alternative health care therapies/treatments? What technical certifications, professional organizations or hospital affiliations does this practitioner have?
  2. How do YOU respond to this practitioner's office and staff? This environment reveals his/her attitudes and beliefs. Do you feel comfortable and cared for when you call or visit the office? Does the ambiance enhance that comfort? Does the staff further your sense of well being? Are educational handouts available in the office or waiting room? Is your appointment time honored or do you have to wait?
  3. Do you feel like a valued person working as a partner with this practitioner?Healing is enhanced by a healthy relationship between patient/client and practitioner. Do you feel this practitioner is there for you? Do you feel trust and confidence? Does he/she seem to care about you, take your medical history personally and show an interest in your family, lifestyle and diet? Are you told about various treatment options? Do each of you recognize that you need the other? Is the practitioner accessible? Are you able to discuss the financial aspects of your care openly and comfortably? Positive answers to these questions are evidence of your rightful place as a co-creator of this healing partnership.
  4. Is your personal dignity respected? Any examination or interaction should be respectful of your personal dignity.
  5. Does this practitioner honor your anxieties and fears? Is this practitioner sensitive enough to place him/herself in your position regarding fears and anxieties about an illness or proposed treatment?
  6. What is the state of this practitioner's health? Does he/she appear to have a healthy lifestyle? Signs of overweight, overwork, smoking or drinking may indicate that he/she does not take care of him/herself. You will probably do best with a teammember who is just as committed to good health as you are. The Biblical statement, "Physician, heal thyself," is paramount in a health-filled relationship.
  7. Are you allowed time between diagnosis and treatment? Does this practitioner allow you the time to collect the educational and personal resources that you need to make a well-informed decision?
  8. Are you treated as if this is an important, ongoing relationship? Are you notified of test results within a reasonable period of time? Are follow-up visits scheduled after treatment? Is there discussion of future health goals and not just the immediate matter at hand?
  9. Do you feel unconditionally accepted by this practitioner? Unconditional acceptance allows you to get well in your unique way. Do you feel that you are accepted no matter what develops, no matter what decisions you make? Can the practitioner approach your care with an open mind, rather than with a predetermined treatment plan? Would the practitioner offer to a member of his/her own family the same carefully chosen advice that he/she has offered to you?
  10. Would you send the person most dear to you to this practitioner? Do you have such a strong feeling of caring, confidence and trust in this practitioner that you would send to him/her, with no misgivings, the person who is dearest to you? If so, then you have found that special person to be on your health team.

This material is used with the permission of the the American Holistic Medical Association (AHMA). It was originally created in 1988 as a consumer education pamphlet for the American Holistic Medical Association (AHMA) and the American Holistic Medical Foundation (AHMF) by the AHMF Education Committee. The chair of the committee at that time was Suzan Walter, who is now president of the American Holistic Health Association.  

Tuesday, September 1, 2015

“Say OM” - A Guide to Stress Reduction

We need stress. It is an essential part of life—as long as it stays in balance. It is when it is out of balance—or overwhelming—is when it becomes harmful. Unfortunately, most of us are out of balance when it comes to stress.  Here are some of our favorite Stress Reduction techniques that are simple to make a part of your daily habits:


Meditation is a mind and body practice that is well known for increasing  mental alertness, emotional calmness and physical relaxation, improving psychological balance, coping with illness and other stressors, as well as enhancing overall health and well-being. Mind and body practices focus on the interactions among the brain, mind, body, and behavior.


Deep breathing is a relaxation technique that is used in other relaxation practices, such as yoga, meditation, and visualization. It involves using the lungs and the abdomen or diaphragm. Most of us take shallow breaths from our upper chest instead of using our diaphragms. Shallow breathing limits the amount of oxygen we take in and when we are stressed our breathing becomes even shallower. This makes us feel more tense and Deep breathing encourages full oxygen exchange throughout the chest and lungs which calms the mind and the body Inhale about one cup of oxygen Inhale about a quart of oxygen.

Creates shorter, restless brain waves Creates longer, slower brain waves
Cannot relax, increases stress Can relax quickly, decreases stress

1. Sit  or lie comfortably with your back straight. Put one hand on your chest and the other on
your stomach.

2. Breathe in through your nose. The hand on your stomach should rise. The hand on your
chest should move very little.

3. Exhale through your mouth, pushing out as much air as you can. The hand on your stomach should move in as you exhale, but your other hand should move very little.

4. Continue to breathe in through your nose and out through your mouth. Try to inhale
enough so that your lower abdomen rises and falls.

In addition you may want to add counting as you breathe. This will help you focus on
your breathing and distract you from stressors.

  1. Breathe in to a slow count of four.
  2. Hold your breath to a slow count of four.
  3. Exhale slowly - like you are blowing through a straw to a slow count of four.


Studies have shown that just 20 relaxing minutes a day you can get amazing results!

  • Reduces or eliminates brain fog and negative mind chatter
  • Can helps increase energy
  • Promotes relaxation
  • Reduces unwanted habits and behaviors
  • Enhances productivity, memory, focus and creativity
  • Improved quality of life


Who doesn't love a  deep-rooted belly laugh. It brings us together and helps us connect to each other in more meaningful ways. As we like to say, "A laugh a day keeps the doctor away."

Researchers Dr. Lee Berk and Dr. Stanley Tan at the Loma Linda University in California have shown that laughter: 


People who lower their blood pressure, even those who start at normal levels, will reduce their risk of stroke and heart attack. So grab the Sunday paper, flip to the funny pages, and enjoy your laughter medicine.


By reducing the level of stress hormones, you're simultaneously cutting the anxiety and stress that impacts your body. Additionally, the reduction of stress hormones may result in higher immune system performance. Just think: Laughing along as a co-worker tells a funny joke can relieve some of the day's stress and help you reap the health benefits of laughter.


One of the benefits of laughter is that it can help you tone your abs. When you are laughing, the muscles in your stomach expand and contract, similar to when you intentionally exercise your abs. Meanwhile, the muscles you are not using to laugh are getting an opportunity to relax. Add laughter to your ab routine and make getting a toned tummy more enjoyable.


Laughter is a great cardio workout, especially for those who are incapable of doing other physical activity due to injury or illness. It gets your heart pumping and burns a similar amount of calories per hour as walking at a slow to moderate pace. So, laugh your heart into health.


T-cells are specialized immune system cells just waiting in your body for activation. When you laugh, you activate T-cells that immediately begin to help you fight off sickness. Next time you feel a cold coming on, add chuckling to your illness prevention plan.


Endorphins are the body’s natural painkillers. By laughing, you can release endorphins, which can help ease chronic pain and make you feel good all over.


Laughter can increase your overall sense of well-being. Doctors have found that people who have a positive outlook on life tend to fight diseases better than people who tend to be more negative. So smile, laugh, and live longer!

Martha's Minute: Eating Well


  •  Eat organic fresh fruits and vegetables make 2/3 of your meal something living.
  • Incorporate variety and as many colors of fruits and vegetables into your meal. If you have multi-colors of food on your plate, you have incorporated variety.
  • Clean your fruits and vegetables well. Use a fruit and vegi cleaner, like Sunsmile Fruit and Vegi Wash 
  • Avoid fried foods, trans fats, and cooking with vegetable oil. Instead, use organic coconut oil to cook with and cold-pressed virgin olive oil or nut oils, like macadamia or sesame nut oils for dressings.
  • Eliminate processes sugar. Instead use Xylitol, Stevia, Organic Honey or Pure Natural Maple Syrup.