5 Ways To Decrease Risk Of Autism, ADHD and More, Before Your Child Is Even Born

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Today I want to share with you some quick and easy recommendations to protect the health of your children, based directly off of the exciting new medical research that’s being conducted right now on Autism and ADHD.

5 Holistic Ways To Decrease Your Baby’s Risk Of Neurodevelopmental Disorders:

 

1. Take Vit D:

 

In a study published in the Journal of Psychiatry on Sept 30, 2016, researchers found that the lower the Vitamin D concentration in cord blood carried a significantly higher risk of ADHD in childhood.  Every 10 nmol/L increase in cord blood Vit D concentration offered an additional 11% decrease in incidence of ADHD.

Hop over here to find my favorite, pharmacy grade, proven effective Vit D supplements.

 

 

2.  Take a Multivitamin:

 

Published in the British Medical Journal on Oct 4, 2017, a new study found that a daily multivitamin is associated with a 31% lowered risk of Autism spectrum disorder with intellectual disability.

Find my favorite prenatal multivitamins in my online dispensary, waiting for you right here.

 

 

 

3.  Avoid Tylenol:

 

 

Published in Pediatrics in Oct 2017, a recent study shows that pregnant women who take Tylenol (acetaminophen) during pregnancy doubles her child’s risk for ADHD.

This data was taken after analyzing over 100,000 children… so it was a particularly large and significant study.

With an estimate of about 70% of pregnant women in the United States taking Tylenol during pregnancy, this is something that is absolutely critical for health care practitioners to be aware of and to begin to advise pregnant women not to use.

It is estimated that approximately 65% to 70% of pregnant women in the United States and approximately 50% to 60% of pregnant women in western and northern Europe use acetaminophen.

I’ve been blogging about avoiding Tylenol since this article I wrote after Tylenol was found to increase incidence of asthma symptom, eczema, and allergic conjunctivitis.

A study published in Pediatrics in 2011 showed that children who received Tylenol in the first year of their life had an increased risk of developing asthma by age 3.

Taking Tylenol increased the general risk of asthma by 46%… and it was dose dependent.  Meaning babies who received more Tylenol had a higher risk of asthma, all the way up to a 7 TIMES HIGHER RISK if they were given 4 tablets of Tylenol a month in the first year of life.

That’s disturbing news, especially when Tylenol is routinely recommended for treating infants who are in pain from teething, colic, fevers… in fact, Tylenol is seen as the go-to medication for infants.  No longer.  Physicians should be questioning the wisdom of recommending Tylenol for fever and pain control, particularly if a patient has a family history of asthma, eczema, or allergic conjunctivitis.

And do not think this is just advice for infants… this study looked at a half million patients from child through adulthood and found the same results of increased asthma/wheeze after Tylenol use.

 

 

And adults shouldn’t rely on Tylenol either… as I blogged about back in 2012, a study published online November 22 2011 in the British Journal of Clinical Pharmacology showed that taking just a tiny amount more Tylenol then recommended, on a chronic basis, may lead to death.

And if not death, brain injury requiring artificial ventilation and liver injury requiring dialysis are increased outcomes as well.

This large study, which followed 663 patients admitted for liver injury from 1992 – 2008, showed that folks who repeatedly took Tylenol doses just *slightly* higher than recommended had brain injury, liver damage, and an increased risk of death.   This was compared to the patients that were admitted for taking a single massive overdose, and the shocking findings were that miniscule, chronic overdoses had a worse outcome then those taking massive overdoses. 

Hold up, what? 

Yes. 

Taking just one extra Tylenol pill a day on a routine basis is harder on your body then a massive overdose.

So liver problems, brain problems, and an increased risk of death, from chronic doses that are only ONE EXTRA TYLENOL PILL a day. That’s all it takes to exceed the recommended safe dosage.  For a list of alternative solutions to using Tylenol, check out my previous blog post here…  I go over everything, from topical options, natural solutions, supplements, grounding and more.

 

4.  Eat Red Meat During Pregnancy:

 

 

A study published in Alcoholism on Nov 11, 2017 looking at over 5,000 patients found a link between addiction and red meat consumption during pregnancy.

It turns out, that eating little or no red mean during pregnancy significantly increased that child’s risk for becoming alcohol or drug dependent as an adult.

Interestingly, eating fish did not protect the offspring from substance abuse problems… it was only when mothers ate more red meat that the children were protected from forming addictions.

I believe that if a child has a nutritional deficiency — even one that started back in the womb, as in this case, not getting enough saturated fats or B vitamins or iron, this creates a deep craving that is hard to satiate as an adult.  Thus setting the child up for substance abuse issues, trying to fulfill a deep craving that is never met.

The thing is, infants and children truly need saturated fats.

This is backed by Mother Nature… our human breast milk has over 50% of it’s calories from fat, much of that saturated fat. If there was one great head start you could give your children it would be to nurse, nurse, nurse, nurse… for as long as they will let you!

We start out life consuming animal fats through breast milk… for good reason.  Children absolutely need to have saturated fats to develop properly.  Not only do saturated animal fats help us absorb fat soluble vitamins like A, D, E and K, but fats themselves make up the structure of our cell membrane.

As you know, children are literally growing machines! It’s what they do! They lay there smiling up at us and cooing and drooling and meanwhile are literally replicating cells so fast it would make your head spin. Each one of these cells needs an intact cell membrane to function.  Kids also need saturated animal fats to create the growth hormones they need to regulate growing.  Hormones affect how we grow, how we function, how we feel, how we think. We all need healthy hormone levels or we just don’t feel right.

Children literally need healthy saturated fats to grow their brain.  Did you know over half of the brain is made up of fatty tissue?  We need fats to properly grow and myelinate our neurons… our brain and nerves.  Animal fats support proper brain development in a way that plant fats (which are mostly unsaturated) can not.

Not only do children need more saturated animal fats than adults do, to literally grow their brains and create healthy growth hormones… but they also burn saturated fats faster than adults, running through their fat intake faster.

While I understand completely that there are ethical and eco-friendly reasons to become a vegetarian, I think it is crucial for children to get healthy animal fats in them initially.  As our body development slows, the amount of saturated animal fats we need declines dramatically.

So while becoming vegan or vegetarian is a reasonable adult move, it’s not in a child’s best interest early in childhood and/or during pregnancy.   And this latest study, revealing a link between lack of meat intake in pregnancy with substance abuse later in life, backs this up.

 

(plus, continue multivitamin supplementation throughout your child’s childhood:)

 

In a study published Oct 2, 2017 in the Journal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry, researchers followed children ages 7 to 12 years of age who were given either a multivitamin/mineral formula or placebo for 10 weeks.

During this time, researchers obtained data from the children’s parents, teachers and doctors, measuring ADHD symptoms, levels of aggression, mood, emotional regulation, general functional and impairment.

Half of the children taking the multivitamin improved clinically, in comparison to the placebo group.

I think it’s awesome news that something as simple as taking a multivitamin can improve emotion, attention, and general functioning in children with ADHD.

Gut dysfunction, food sensitivities, food dyes, processed foods, and low intake of fruits and vegetables can play a significant role in ADHD, as I am going to blog about for you in detail next week!

 

 

5. Avoid Household Chemicals:

 

 

A recent study just published May 2016 in the journal Environmental Research  reveals the extent of damage that common household chemicals are having on children…

…impairing cognitive function and altering behavioral development.

Chemicals that are routinely found in homes that are implicated in impairing cognitive function of children are commonly found in nonstick cooking pans, carpet pads, upholstery, and in electronics.

Exposure during pregnancy to these and other toxic items containing polybrominated diphenyl ethers (PBDEs) and perfluoroalkyl substances (PFASs) is now definitively associated with decreased cognitive function of children later in life — significantly correlated with lower cognitive function, worse behavioral control, marked deficits in global brain functioning, and poorer metacognition as well.

These findings show that the mother’s concentration of these chemicals in the blood during pregnancy is having a functional impact on her child almost a decade later.  Children aged 5 – 8 years old were found to have impaired executive mental function corollary to their exposure in utero.

PDBEs and PFASs are persistently found in detectable blood concentrations ***worldwide*** — and this exposure is taking a toll on our most valuable resource… the future of our children.

Almost everyone has detectable amounts of PBDEs in our bodies thanks to the global usage of these toxic chemical compounds in household products.

So what can you do?

You know I never ever share upsetting health information without providing lots of things you can do to make a difference right now in your own health.

So here are some recommendations that will decrease your exposure to these toxic compounds:

 

  • use a HEPA filter in your vacuum
  • use a HEPA filter if you have air conditioning in your home
  • consider running a HEPA filter air purifier in the bedroom
  • routinely wipe down surfaces with an all natural surface cleaner (hop over to my blog post here for a recipe toinexpensively make your own!)
  • wash your hands regularly, especially before eating and touching your face (for example, prior to applying make up or putting in contact lenses.)
  • limit or eliminate your use of microwave food packaging (if you must microwave, transfer the food from the packaging to a glass container first!)
  • limit or eliminate your use of nonstick coated pans and cookware, particularly if it shows signs of deterioration!  I recommend stainless steel pots and pans and glass bakeware whenever possible.

 

 

 

What can you do, after birth, to support healthy functioning if your child is diagnosed with ADHD?   Plenty!

4 Additional Holistic Treatments For ADHD:

 

 

 1.  Avoid ADHD medications if possible:

 

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After looking at over 185 randomized control trials that evaluated the use of ADHD meds in over 12,000 children in the USA, Canada and Europe, the resounding truth was that the side effects of Rx medications are too severe and too common, and the benefits too minimal, to warrant prescribing these medications in childhood.
In fact, children on the ADHD medications had a 60% higher risk of trouble sleeping and a 266% greater risk for decreased appetite.

Even more alarming, another study published in the British Medical Journal (May 31, 2016) found that the stimulant methylphenidate (commonly prescribed for children to treat ADHD: Ritalin, Daytrana, Concerta) increases the risk of cardiac arrhythmias.

The increased risk for cardiac arrhythmia remained statistically significant no matter how long the child was on the medication… rising steeply to a 100% increased risk during the first 1 – 3 days after the start of the Rx.

There was also an increased risk of hypertension during the first week of being on the Rx and an increased risk of heart attack (myocardial infarction) starting a week after introduction of the Rx.

The bottom line?

The minimal benefits were so incredibly inadequate to risk the very high rate of side effects that physicians are now being urged to curb use of these medications — a very surprising admission from the world of conventional medicine that maybe drugs are not the answer here!

 

2.  Ensure adequate sleep:

 

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Sleep problems have long been considered a hallmark of ADHD…

…leading to reduced quality of life, reduced level of functioning and reduced school attendance.

A study published on January 20, 2015 in the British Medical Journal, has found that even a simple, brief sleep intervention with ADHD children provides lasting benefits that lead to improved sleep and decreased ADHD symptoms.

244 families of children (aged 5 – 12 years old) with ADHD were given sleep hygiene counseling (setting a routine bedtime, removing electronics from the bedroom, avoiding caffeine, etc…) during two different consultations.  The control group had the same aged children and the same diagnosis but control families received only routine clinical care and no sleep counseling.  After only two sessions focused on supporting sleep, not only did the sleep problems improve, but the actual ADHD symptoms, quality of life, and even memory improved as well!

There was a significant decrease in sleep problems, an increased average sleep duration time, a marked and significant decrease in ADHD symptoms, improved assessed working memory and recall, and parents and teachers both reporting improved behavior and improved daily functioning.

These improvements were sustained at both the 3 month assessment AND the 6 month assessment, showing that addressing sleep problems can lead to substantial and sustained benefits for children with ADHD, over and above the effects of any medical interventions or medications.

Want help getting your child deep restorative sleep tonight and every night?

sleeping baby

The answer is to sleep grounded.

Every single child (especially children with ADD, ADHD, or any sleep disturbances at all) should sleep grounded all night long to help prepare them to be resilient to whatever they may face the next day.

Here is the absolute best way to ensure your child sleeps grounded all night long… no other way even comes close.  Click here to find out more.

 

 3.  Allow room for spontaneous activity in your children!

 

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Wondering if sitting still at a school desk all day long is actually healthy for your child?

It’s not.

Wondering why this is still the mold we are trying to fit children into?

Me too.

Hop over here to read more about why prolonged sitting is so deadly and how to prolong your life (and your child’s life!) by getting up, moving about more and allowing them to get up and fidget more too!

I’m personally a big fan of homeschooling for many reasons, but one of them is so that children can have freedom of movement.

Boxing bright and multi-focused children into a classroom isn’t the answer.

Learning to live with and even thrive with each child’s own learning style and see it as a strength in the long run will help these unique children thrive in life.

Not all kids can learn sitting down.

Not all kids can learn straight from a textbook.

For years, my son ate most of his meals standing up.

Would I medicate him so he would sit to eat?

That would be insane.

Would I likewise medicate him so he would sit to learn?

Equal insanity.

Lots of healthy physical activity daily is not only a must for ADHD children, but really it’s a great message to instill in ALL CHILDREN as physical inactivity is the most damaging thing you can do for a person’s long term health, so getting them in a routine of sitting at a desk all day is a deadly habit to get them into.

As I blog about here, the secret to a long life is the get up and get moving, the exact opposite message that we give children in a school setting.

 

4.  Use Omega 3 supplements instead of the Rx meds.

 

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We’ve known for quite a while that Omega 3 fatty acids are absolutely fabulous for the body… especially the brain.

Fish oil (specifically Omega 3 fatty acids) literally calms the body from head to toe.

Everything, and I mean everything, works more smoothly in our bodies with fish oil… skin is calmer, hair is shiner and softer, our cardiovascular system is more resilient, our joints are more protected, our muscles get less sore and recover from stress and injury faster, our chances of senile dementia lessen… incidences of stroke and heart attack decrease… it’s just fabulous, whole-body-anti-inflammatory stuff.

The Journal of the Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry recently published the results that Omega 3’s were effective in treating ADHD.

Researchers studied over 700 children on Omega 3 supplementation and found a significant improvement in both measured inattentiveness and hyperactivity… as measured by clinicians and as reported by the parents of the children in the studies.

Previous research has shown that there is a difference in Omega 3’s in both plasma membranes and erythrocyte membranes of ADHD patients as compared with their healthy peers.   So supplementation would make sense, based on the fact that it would help rebalance and stabilize those membrane imbalances… as well as act as a general anti-inflammatory to the central nervous system at large.

Not only is this large meta-analysis study great news for families who have failed “conventional” medical approaches (meaning medicating them with Rx hasn’t worked) but also to families who are hesitant to risk the crazy toxic side effects offered from prescription meds.  The prescription meds used to treat ADHD, both the stimulant drugs and non-stimulant drugs, have side effect profiles like hypotension, bradycardia, heart block, syncope, sedation, and somnolence.

These results are so exciting, because the effects seen from Omega 3 supplementation (and in particular, eicosapentaenoic acid) were seen to be effective in studies that were as short as 7 weeks long, which means Omega 3 supplements work quite quickly in helping treat ADHD.

You may notice a supportive difference as early as two months on fish oil supplements!

 

 

What if your child is diagnosed with autism or autism spectrum disorder?

You can do plenty to support their health as well!

3 More Ways to Naturally Support Children with Autism:

 

 

 

  1.  Serve Broccoli:

 

A small but important study showed that a component of broccoli and broccoli sprouts (sulforaphane) can help give autistic patients a significant boost to social skills and verbal communication… naturally!

Published Oct 13, 2014, researchers studied 40 males between the ages of 13 and 27… all who had moderate to severe autism.  26 received broccoli sprout extract (50 to 150 umol daily) and 14 received placebo and measured the results after 18 weeks.

The results were impressive — almost half showed measurable improvement in several different areas including social and verbal skills.

46 % of participants had measurably improved social and verbal skills after taking broccoli-sprout extract for over 4 months, compared to only 3% of the placebo group.  Benefits included: improved social interactions, improved eye contact, improved verbal communication, decreased repetitive movements, decreased irritability and decreased hyperactivity.

2.  Serve Probiotics:

 

 

Because the gut microbiome of autistic patients has lower diversity than non-autistic peers, researchers were hoping that by improving the gut flora of autistic patients they would see an improvement in both GI and autism related symptoms…

…and they were shocked to find such robust, pronounced results!

An 80% improvement in symptoms that showed no decline even after the therapy was stopped!

The Study (published in Microbiome on Jan 23, 2017) showed that GI symptoms such as abdominal pain, indigestion, diarrhea and constipation all dramatically improved or resolved (an average of 82% improvement in symptoms) and that the improvement was maintained two months after treatment was stopped.

Autism spectrum related symptoms also improved with the flora transfer — resulting in significant improvement in 17 different ASD related symptoms such as social skill deficits, irritability, hyperactivity,  lethargy, aberrant speech and more (as measured by PGI-III assessment) and those improvements were robustly maintained with no reversion two months after treatment ended.

Interestingly, researchers found complete correlation between improvements in GI symptoms and improvements in ASD symptoms… the worse the GI symptoms were, the worse the ASD behaviors were, and the more the GI symptoms improved, the more the ASD behaviors improved.  This suggests there is a huge correlation between gut microbiome health and ASD severity, and that by supporting gut flora we can modify and support ASD behaviors.

The improvements showed no signs of lessening even two months after therapy was stopped, with 80% improvements still being maintained over 8 weeks after therapy ended.

Although flora transfer is not available clinically in the USA yet, you can support your child’s gut flora by giving them yogurt, kefir and other probiotic rich foods, as well as supplementing with a probiotic meant for children.  Find my favorites in my online dispensary here.

The Bottom Line:

The critical importance of the gut-brain axis can not be overemphasized.

Any therapeutic approach to treating neurological or developmental issues must also include support to the digestive system and bowel function.

 

 

 

3.   Choose Organic Whenever Possible:

 

There is ample proof to show that pesticides are contributing to the steep rise of autism spectrum disorders (ASD) and developmental delay (DD.)

The latest study was published a few weeks ago on June 23, 2014 in Environmental Health Perspectives.

This study specifically links prenatal exposure of organophosphates (the most commonly applied agricultural pesticide) and other commonly used pesticides to autism rates in offspring.

Pesticides are neurotoxins that are clearly having a known, predictable and permanent effect on the developing fetal neurology during gestation.

This particular study looked at northern CA residents (the state of CA alone uses approximately 200 MILLION POUNDS of active pesticides EACH YEAR) and tracked pesticide exposure during pregnancy.  They looked at an association with living near commercially used agricultural areas that apply pesticides and exposure during pregnancy.

Studying almost to 1,000 children, the results showed that children with ASD were 60% more likely to have had organophosphate pesticides applied near their home (1.25 km distance.).  Children with developmental delay were 150% more likely to have had carbamate pesticides applied near their home during ANY POINT of the pregnancy.

This just adds to the already largely accumulating data that proves pesticides are a significant contributing factor to the increase rates of autism and developmental delay… this is the third study to show a definitive association between living in areas where agricultural pesticides are used and an increase risk of autism.
This information is released right on the heals of the latest medical study I shared with you on my blog in April 2014 that shows pesticides causing a 400% increase in Alzheimers.

These pesticides are CLEARLY having a dramatic affect on our neurology.

They are affecting OUR central nervous system… not just prenatally, but throughout our entire life.  Neonate to elderly.

 

 Want more holistic ways to support your child’s unique, vibrant energy flow, from pregnancy through adulthood?

 

Join into my upcoming

Heart Centered Parenting Class

that starts in just 3 weeks!

 

This class is absolutely filled with ideas, solutions, encouragement, and support.  Daily uplifting articles, exercises, suggestions, videos, and more… plus two live Q&A phone calls where I will answer every single parenting question — health related or not — you could ever ask me.

This course is a welcoming, loving space… and is perfect for any parent… mother or father, single or married, parenting babies, toddlers, preteens, teens… those with specific health issues or just wanting to boost their child’s wellness… in crisis or in times of peace… conventional minded or alternative minded… all are welcome, all are wanted… all are here to join together in ensuring the best for your beautiful precious one-of-a-kind child.

 

Join me in this very private, very personal, very honest, very sincere, very vulnerable, very supportive parenting class where we take two weeks to go over my top 10 pillars of boosting your child’s innate sense of health and self esteem and power…

…to impact their health for the better for a lifetime.

 

Sign up now to reserve your spot.

Class runs from Feb 5th to Feb 16th, 2018.

 

xoxoxox, Laura

 

Childhood Trauma Increases Risk Of Self Harm. Here’s Help.

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Children who are maltreated in any way — physically, sexually or emotionally — are more likely to inflict self injury to their body later in life.

 

And it’s important to note, if your child has suffered any of these types of traumas — even if they are not depressed or suicidal — this study still applies.

Researchers found that children who were maltreated but had no suicidal ideation were still over three times more likely to harm themselves as peers who were not abused, a new study published Nov 28, 2017 in Lancet Psychiatry finds.

So be kind to yourself if you are an adult who was abused in childhood, because there is a reason you are more likely to engage in self harming behaviors as an adult.

And even though this is hard to talk about, it’s important, because it’s also preventable with the right support.

 

The Study:

  • This huge study compiled data on 71 different studies on childhood abuse
  • Researchers looked at data on over 19,000 patients

 

The Results:

  • Children who had an incidence of childhood abuse were 3.4 times more likely to commit self harm, even without any suicidal thoughts or feelings.
  • All types of maltreatment were found to be significantly associated with self harm, with emotional abuse having the highest rates of self harm.  This is important to note, because generally emotional abuse is typically thought to have less impact than sexual or physical abuse… but this study found that self harm was actually highest in patients who experienced emotional abuse as children.
  • The risk of other, non-self-harm behaviors was increased as well, including subsequent PTSD, personality dysfunction and dissociation disorders after maltreatment during childhood.
  • And sadly, age did not decrease the likelihood of self harm, meaning that adults are just as likely to inflict self injury as teens are, suggesting that maltreatment has long term effects that persist long after the trauma occurs.

 

 

We already know that the effects of trauma persists well into adulthood, as I’ve recently blogged to you about the long term effects of bullying.

Published in JAMA Psychiatry in Feb, 2016, researchers conducted the largest study ever to look at the painful, lasting ramifications of childhood bullying.

Looking at over 60,0000 children born from Jan to December in 1981, researchers identified over 5,000 children who had been bullied or exposed to bullying and then followed them into adulthood, through 2009.

What did they find?

 

Being subjected to bullying — even just witnessing bullying! — significantly raised the risk of depression, anxiety and even psychosis in adulthood.

Simply witnessing bullying doubled the rates of psychiatric diagnosis in adulthood, including depression, anxiety disorders, and psychosis.  And being personally bullied or bullying others almost *tripled* the rate of psychiatric disorders diagnosed in adulthood.

In 2012 I blogged about a medical study that shows that physical punishment (in the form of spanking) causes a steep rise in psychiatric disorders…  and this newer study shows that bullying behaviors — even ones where the child is never touched… just WITNESSING intimidating behaviors — is creating lasting psychological damage.

Child abuse happens in all races, all socioeconomic levels, all countries.  Estimates are that about 40 MILLIONS children EVERY SINGLE YEAR are abused world wide.

These studies serve to show it’s absolutely not just a concern over the child’s immediate safety and well being, but it is also a concern for long term health outcomes that reach well into adulthood.

Long term health consequences are not limited to physical health disorders such as adrenal fatigue, obesity, heart disease and cancer, but dramatically increase the incidence of psychiatric disorders in our adult population… including anxiety, depression, psychosis, suicide, addiction, PTSD and more.

 

How?

3864077-856701-puff-of-abstract-smoke-swirls-on-whiteChild abuse leaves epigenetic marks on the child’s genetic make up…

…inducing chemical changes in the way DNA is methylated and the way genes are expressed, activated or silenced.

This alters the way a cell functions and the way that organs and the body as a whole functions, causing poor health outcomes later in life.

Published in the May 14, 2013 in the Proceedings for the National Academy of Sciences, researchers show that childhood maltreatment causes different patterns of DNA methylation and genetic expression, causing a change in a child’s epigenetic profile.

 

There are some traumas that we just can’t shield a child from.

Like birth trauma.

 

 

It doesn’t have to be overt, intentional abuse, like bullying at school or emotional abuse by a coach or something more obvious like that.

Even just stress during the birthing process has been associated with long lasting behavioral changes that persist into adulthood.

As I’ve already blogged about, a study (published in JAMA Psychiatry Oct 5, 2016) revealed that the more stressful the birth is on the baby, the higher the risk that baby has for developing Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD) decades later.

Children who were born prematurely and children who experienced stress during delivery both had statistically significant increases in the rates of developing OCD during adolescence and young adulthood.

Stressful birth circumstances included: maternal smoking during pregnancy, cesarean section delivery, preterm birth, low APGAR scores, unusually low or high birth weight, breech presentation at labor and more.

Researchers looked at a 2.4 million population of births from 1973 to 1996 and followed these children through 2013. They found that more stress during pregnancy and delivery, the higher the rate of OCD. For example, when mothers smoked 10 cigarettes or more during pregnancy, the child had a 27% higher risk of OCD later in life.  Low APGAR scores increased the risk of OCD by 50%.  Breech babies had a 35% higher risk of OCD.  Cesarean deliveries had a 17% higher risk of subsequent OCD.

So the bottom line here is, even birth stress is felt and absorbed by the infant, and increases their risk of psychiatric diagnosis later in life.

The infant endures stress during delivery, and the greater the stress, the more likely it is that the child experiences the stress as a traumatic event.  OCD is simply an attempt to regain control of a situation in which the infant was very out of control.

As an adult, attempting to control the environment around you by performing repetitive behaviors and managing intrusive, stressful thoughts is simply a way to try to regain control after an intense experience where, as an infant you were traumatized by being out of control in a very scary situation.

Holding on to birth stress and trying to relieve it years later through OCD thought patterns and behaviors is yet another way that proves to me that our body holds on to stress on a cellular level, and affects us through adulthood.

So what can we do?

 

You know I never provide any form of upsetting medical literature without giving you positive, holistic tools to effect real change.

So today, here are several life changing things you absolutely can do with your child right now to help mitigate the effects of trauma and support their health for the rest of their life:

 

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1.  Boost your child’s resiliency by being affectionate to your children during childhood.

 

Parents who are affectionate during childhood support long term well being in their children, well into adulthood…

…mitigating some of the damage of childhood trauma.

According to research conducted by Darcai Narvaez at the University of Notre Dame, adults who reported that they received physical affection from their parents and felt supported by their parents, as well as did things as a family both inside and outside of the home, had lower rates of depression, lower rates of anxiety, less stress in social situations and a greater ability for empathetic behavior.

 

 

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2.  Let your child adopt a pet

 

I strongly suggest if at all possible, you allow your child to have a favorite pet during childhood.

Having pets has not only been found to cut asthma rates in half (as published on November 2, 2015 in JAMA Pediatrics) but it gives them many psychological benefits such as:

  • giving children a very healthy exposure to unconditional love
  • providing stability and continuity during times of unavoidable stress in the child’s life (such as during a move to a new home, entering a new school, or a change in the family dynamics such as a death or divorce)
  • providing a framework to talk about holistic and important topics such as death (as inevitably pets have a shorter life span than humans and often the death of a pet is a very healthy introduction to speaking about death before it pertains to a human family member such as the loss of a grandparent) and reproduction (my kids saw many a baby being born by their guinea pigs, rabbits, and chickens, even hand bottle fed baby birds and helped house train all their puppies!)

Loving and caring for a special pet is a priceless, priceless gift during childhood.

 

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3.  Providing lots of exposure to positive, uplifting connections with others

 

As I blog about here, a positive mood is actually contagious in children and children who spend time around others who are uplifting have HALF the risk of depression as a teen!

If you are concerned about your child’s mind-frame, encourage them to get connecting:

  • play sports
  • join clubs
  • connect with safe, positive friends
  • connect with safe, positive family members
  • connect with their community
  • and connect with therapists or other supportive mental health professionals if necessary…

…because medical studies prove that being around others with a good mood helps not only in the short term (transforming the energy of that interaction) but is protective over time to help decrease both incidence and prevalence of depression.

 

 

4.  Get parenting support for yourself

 

Parenting can be physically exhausting, emotionally draining as you pour your heart and soul into your child.

And even then, if under the very best of conditions parenting is an exhausting, overwhelming journey… what do you do if your child is faced with a trauma?

A life threatening illness?

A diagnosis you never expected?

A divorce you never planned on?

A traumatic death in the family?

A move that uprooted your child from everything they had ever previously known?

Or what if you have your own medical illness, mental health crisis…

…or are just stretched very thin between parenting and taking care of aging parents?

What if all of the above apply, all at the same time, and more?

Oh my goodness there are so many intense scenarios that can happen during childhood, and all you want to do is protect your child from the strain of it all, but where do you start?

You absolutely CAN mitigate the trauma that life might have had in store for your beloved child, you just need some support.

Please let me help.

I am running my heart centered parenting class from a deep, centered, experienced place within my own soul that knows you can get through this, that there are always new ideas that you can work with, that things change and shift over time and that if all you do is absolutely love your child, then you are doing enough.

I have navigated my own two children through terrible traumas that were completely unexpected and resulted in a complete shattering of their childhood.

I have been down on the floor exhausted, praying and crying and not knowing what to do next.

But I have also continued to persevere, not allowing life circumstances to change the heart of how I want to parent, and you can and will too.

Not only a parent, I am also teacher, now on my 16th year of homeschooling both of my children.

Not only a parent and a teacher, but a physician… with extensive holistic knowledge on how to support my children’s innate health best. I approach medical issues with a holistic mind first, but recognize the value of traditional medicine when needed.  Navigating the conventional world of medicine, full of conventional treatments like antibiotic, Rx mediations, vaccines, you name it… I have the medical experience to separate what is helpful from what is harmful for our children’s long term health.

Not only a parent, a teacher and a physician, but a single parent as well.  Oh yes.  I’ve done all of this on my own — all while running a successful business — right in the middle of the most exhausting years of parenting.  I get it.  I’m not just saying parenting is overwhelming, I am living the overwhelm right there with you.

Not only a parent, a teacher, a physician, a single parent, but also a court appointed advocate.

Our trauma was so traumatizing that I felt exceptionally motivated to turn around and start protecting not only my own children but also others in the legal system who might need help.  So I completed Guardian Ad Litem training to become a court appointed professional child advocate for children caught in the legal system.

As a Guardian Ad Litem who is also a physician, I am in a unique position to not only advocate for what it the best interest of a child, but what is in that child’s best *mental and physical health* as well, even when they have complicated medical issues that must be addressed.

What does all this mean?

 

This means I have a huge tool kit to support you with.

I want to share all of my experience as a homeschooling mama, as a single mother, as a holistic physician, and as a court appointed child advocate (GAL) with you.

I want to give you ideas, solutions, encouragement, and support.

Join me in this very private, very personal, very honest, very sincere, very vulnerable, very supportive parenting class where we take two weeks to go over my top 10 pillars of boosting your child’s innate sense of health and self esteem and power… to impact their health for the better for a lifetime.

In these two weeks I will send you daily uplifting articles, exercises, suggestions, videos, and more sent directly to you and we will have weekly live Q&A phone calls where I will answer every single parenting question — health related or not — you could ever ask me.

This course is a welcoming, loving space… and is perfect for any parent… mother or father, single or married, parenting babies, toddlers, preteens, teens… those with specific health issues or just wanting to boost their child’s wellness… in crisis or in times of peace… conventional minded or alternative minded… all are welcome, all are wanted… all are here to join together in ensuring the best for your beautiful precious one-of-a-kind child.

 

Class runs from Feb 5th to Feb 16th, 2018.

Sign up now to reserve your spot.

 

xoxox, Laura

If You Could Start 2018 Off Knowing This One Healing Truth

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If there was one thing I would want to give you to start your next year off in the best possible healing mindframe, it’s this truth:

Look at what is possible in health.

What is possible is where your healing lies.

What you feel is possible for YOU defines exactly how far you can go with your healing.

You can go as far as you feel is possible for you to go and no further.

 

So let’s start 2018 off reminding ourselves:

  • You are always full of healing potential… always.

  • No one can tell you what is true for your body or your health… so don’t let anyone have that kind of power.

  • Conventional medicine can be helpful in illness and disease but is absolutely not equipped to help you maximize health and wellness.

  • For maximizing your own health, you have full and complete control… here’s why:

(all of the artwork in this post are hand painted by me, from my old med school anatomy book that I painted over… putting new healing energy on top of old sterile laboratory images!)

 

 

The entire model of medicine is backwards and needs a major re-do.

 

The way the current medical model is set up is to test and report the outcome of a medication or surgery or intervention in the scientific literature, and to use these statistics as the standard of care.

I’m very familiar with the scientific method of research not only through keeping on top of the current scientific literature to as a licensed physician… but also because growing up as the daughter of one of the lead scientists at the National Institutes of Health I attended international scientific meetings since I could walk… and then went on to join a laboratory at the National Cancer Institute throughout my college years where we conducted leukemia research.

 

And with my experience in both laboratory medicine and clinical medicine, what I can tell you is:

the entire thing is messed up.

 

 

Here’s basically what happens:

A study collects data on a group of people — half of who get the drug (or surgery/intervention/etc…) and half who receive placebo in a double blinded study.

The results are collected which basically tell us what the outcome was for this particular group of people at this particular point in time in this particular location and with this particular modality.

Your doctor reads this and then sees you in his or her office.

When you are diagnosed with an illness, your doctor reviews the current standard of practice for that disease and based on these studies he tells you some statistics that are likely for you if you take this medicine or have that procedure done.

Your doctor unknowingly limits your healing potential with what

has been most probable in the past for others.

 

 

Many times, these statistics are frightening, scary, and deflating.

And often they change the outlook of the patient for the worse…

…because as we know in medicine:  Outlook changes Outcome. 


 

And even when the statistic or intervention offered has favorable odds of working, you are now being defined and limited in the doctor’s mind (which is then transferred to your mind) of what is standard, what is probable, what happened in the past to others.

 

What this model of healthcare never ever allows for is *POSSIBILITY*.

It never shows you what is POSSIBLE FOR YOU.

 

 

It brings you down to the lowest common denominator.

It never lifts you up and reveals to you the unlimited healing potential of your body.

 

 

new health

(another image from my med school anatomy book that I painted over…)

 

You have unlimited healing potential.

You should *know* THAT.

Every cell in your body has unlimited potential to heal.

 

What we do in modern medicine right now is collect data from around the world on what we are limited to, on what is probable.

But what we SHOULD be doing, is scouring the entire world to find all the anecdotal evidence, all the case reports, all the best outcomes, all of the miracles that happen all over the world every single day in every sort of condition in every type of person with every intervention ever dreamed up… and studying THOSE.

 

We should be finding out WHY some folks heal fully..

…why some invite miracles…

…why some never get a disease in the first place…

…why some are predicted to have a very poor outcome and they fully heal anyway.

 

 

Because these experiences —

of people getting the illness that YOU HAVE

and surviving and thriving and fully healing from it

— are PROOF of what is POSSIBLE.

 

I am not interested in reducing a patient’s healing to a pre-set outcome.

I am interested IN WHAT IS POSSIBLE FOR THEM.

 

 

new rx

(another painting I created from ripping a page out of my med school anatomy book, you can see the tear in the left upper corner!)

 

 

I want physicians to look through the medical literature like an encyclopedia, filled with all kinds of beautiful outcomes from all kinds of amazing interventions and treatments, both holistic and conventional…

…and I want them to go through this information together with their patients as an IDEA BOOK OF WHAT IS POSSIBLE…

…and together come up with a treatment plant that feels right to that specific patient.  And yes, using intuition or taking into account *gut feelings* and preferences of how a patient wants to heal and what modalities fill them with hope and what modalities fill them with fear — this is very useful guidance we should absolutely be including in the decision making process!

Because there are *UNLIMITED* ways to heal!

And there are many paths to healing and you can align with any one of them! Or many of them!  And the process of healing should be uplifting and a relief… not a battlefield.

Instead of sitting down and pulling out a study that tells me what percentage of people do poorly with this condition and what percentage of healing will or won’t happen and having my patient walk away with a statistic or a number, I want them actively choosing inspired action!

 

I believe the medical literature should be an encyclopedia of

what has gone right for others and what is

POSSIBLE AND ATTAINABLE FOR US ALL.

 

 

Because if it is possible…

…if it has happened even one single time to one other person on this planet…

…than it can absolutely happen to you.


It  has already been proven POSSIBLE.

So let’s fill the medical literature up with what is possible and attainable and study THAT!

Let’s switch the focus from probable, to possible.

If even one other person has had this illness and experienced a complete recovery, than that is documented and possible for YOU too.

Even if it has never ever happened to anyone else, it can happen to YOU.

 

(more artwork I painted from my med school anatomy book!)

Anything is possible!

 Anything!

 

We just need to keep our minds and hearts open to possibility.

Because if healing has happened to even one other person, than for sure it’s been proven:

 

It can happen.  It has happened.

And it can happen to you too.

 

I don’t want the standard of care to be that we sit a patient down and look at the spectrum of outcomes in the past and we limit our patient’s future healing by overlaying the mass failure of others onto them.

 

I want physicians to sit their patient down to look at the spectrum of WHAT IS POSSIBLE in healing…

…and lay out all the possible paths back to Well Being for them…

…and together reach for THAT.

 

That’s what health care should be!  A journey back to Wellness!

 

 

I think if we can shift the medical literature

from Probable To Possible

we’d experience a shift in the well-being of people everywhere.

 

 

 

Visiting a doctor should be a wonderful uplifting experience, a chance to get all kinds of healing possibilities and inspiration and ideas collected from the medical literature from all over the world offered to us by someone who is our healing advocate.

Ideally we would walk away from every doctor’s appointment feeling full of possibility.

 

So… the next time your physician talks to you about a treatment plan and gives you outcome percentages and probabilities, just remember:  this is simply a mass marketed number.

It doesn’t tell you what is possible with this condition and it doesn’t tell you what is possible FOR YOU.

 

 

There is a path unfolding for you and leading you right towards wholeness,

healing and Well Being.

All you need to do is follow your own intuition.

So the next time Google searches, medical studies, and statistics and scary worst-case-scenario stories are overwhelming you and adding to your health anxiety instead of alleviating it… there is a better way.

Below I made a video to help walk you through EXACTLY how to use the internet to your advantage when you are trying to find answers.

 

Give the video below a listen and share it with loved ones who tend to do internet searches to find health care answers.

 

(If the video isn’t showing up in your newsletter, simply click here to watch this video on YouTube)

 

 

To your unlimited healing potential…

and a wonderful ever expanding and upleveling 2018!

xoxoxo, Laura

 

I Had No Idea This One Neurotransmitter Changes Everything We Know About Aging

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Serotonin is historically linked with depression — and poor sleep as well — since serotonin is the precursor to melatonin and folks who are low in serotonin are likely low in melatonin too.

(Which sucks because as I blog about here, folks struggling with depression are only likely to have the depression resolve if they are sleeping well.)

But today’s medical study truly blew me away, because it reveals that serotonin isn’t just linked with depression and sleep, but with cognition.

 

In fact, this study suggests that the decline in cognition and memory issues as we age isn’t simply a normal function of aging — but actually a reflection of declining serotonin levels.

Meaning, our brains don’t decline as we age, our serotonin levels do.

Boost serotonin, and keep your cognition — and your memories!  — as intact as ever.

Here’s more:

 

Previous studies have shown significant drops in serotonin in Alzheimers, but today’s medical research looked at serotonin levels in preventing and treating mild cognitive impairment (MCI) — what some would call *normal* age related cognitive and memory decline.

This study finds that serotonin declines early on, before memory problems are apparent and diagnosable.

So it makes sense… restore serotonin levels to prevent memory loss and age related cognitive issues?

Here is what they found:

 

The Study (published Sept 2017 in Neurobiology of Disease):

  • 56 adults, half with mild cognitive impairment and half who were healthy and cognitively normal, were demographically matched and studied using neuroimaging and clinical tests.

 

The Results:

  • Patients with mild cognitive impairment had significantly less serotonin transporters in the areas of the brain affected by dementia (cortical and limbic areas) as well as sensory and motor areas as well.
  • Serotonin transporter levels were reduced by at least 10%, and in some cases as much as 38% in different parts of the brain associated with dementia.
  • Lower levels of the serotonin transporters directly corollated with worse test performance on auditory-verbal and visual-spatial memory tests.
  • The brain volume of patients with lower serotonin transporters was also decreased — as well as reduced cerebral blood flow in temporal and parietal areas of the brain, as compared to the healthy control patients.

 

The bottom line:

Clearly serotonin plays an important role in not only mood

but cognition and brain health as a whole.

 

It’s very exciting to think that by supplementing with serotonin, we might be able to not only treat mild cognitive impairment but actually prevent age related decline in cognition and memory all together.

You know as more medical studies come out looking into using serotonin therapy as dementia prevention, I’ll blog about them for you right here!

 

 

But meanwhile, there are already very high quality, pharmaceutical grade supplements that boost serotonin naturally — typically used to treat depressed mood, seasonal affective disorder and sleep issues — now we might want to consider using these same supplements to help support healthy cognitive function too!

My favorite serotonin boosting supplement — 5HTP — is available in my online dispensary for you right now and at an automatic discount.

Over here, I have an entire category of Cognitive Health supplements that are all manufactured and processed to pharmaceutical grade standards waiting for you!

 

 

 

 

The next step?

 

I would LOVE to see a medical study looking at light box therapy in preventing dementia.

 

 

 

If light therapy boosts serotonin and effectively treats depression, I feel confident that this same serotonin boost helps to ward off dementia and other age related cognitive changes.

I feel so strongly about light therapy (which boost everything from mood to libido!) that I scoured the medical resources available to me as a physician to find the best, easiest to use, most clinically effective, and most cost-effective light therapy box on the planet.

I carry it right here for you.

 

 

 

This information is incredibly timely, and is important to share.

 

Because  a new study (published Oct 2017 in Alzheimers & Dementia) found that mild cognitive impairment (MCI) related to age is set to dramatically skyrocket over the next 30 years — jumping from about 6 million Americans to 15 million Americans — with similar trends world-wide.

Preclinically — meaning serotonin levels are dropping and age related brain changes are starting to occur but no diagnosable symptoms are yet showing clinically — there are about 47 million Americans that would benefit from dementia prevention strategies — and this number will skyrocket as well, to over 75 million Americans over the next 30 years.

It’s so important to treat this at the preclinical levels, because later stage clinical dementia requires around the clock nursing home level care, which is emotionally devastating as well as time-consuming and exceptionally expensive.

 

And I believe prevention is absolutely possible.

 

So here is a round-up of all of the things you can do — holistically! —  that I have shared with you both in today’s medical study and in blog posts over the past few years.

 

 

15 Ways To Preserve Healthy Brain Function, Naturally:

  •  Sleep:

    sleepHigh quality sleep is medically proven to protect brain function and poor quality sleep is associated with an increased risk of dementia.  Melatonin naturally declines with age, so supplementing with melatonin if sleep depth and quality declines with age is an important way to protect and preserve brain function.

 

To a long and dementia free future, straight from the medical literature to you! 

 

 

Share these with all of your loved ones… as we launch full force into 2018, supported in every way… mind body soul and cognition!!!!!

Keep all of your precious memories safely accessible and intact by focusing on brain health today, for a much more meaningful and fulfilling tomorrow.

With love…

xoxoxoxo, Laura

 

Why Grounding Specifically Helps With Chronic Conditions

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When we talk about grounding, it’s usually because there are instant perks:

  • immediate pain relief
  • instantly deeper sleep
  • instantaneous release of muscle tension
  • immediate boost to energy and mood
  • instantly improved blood flow, etc…

 

But did you know that grounding is actually even more helpful in chronic conditions — disabilities or illnesses that need support over a lifetime?

This is where grounding can really, truly shine.

If you’ve been told you have a condition that will never improve… old injuries or scars or chronic pain conditions that you have been told you just have to get used to as your *new normal* — uh… no.

If you haven’t been using grounding as part of your healing plan, then there is a huge part of healing that your body needs and has been completely missing.

Grounding is an entirely different pathway for bringing fresh healing flow into old issues that seem stuck.

They are not stuck.

Grounding can change all of that.

In fact, chronic disease and disabilities are exactly where grounding makes the most impact.

Here’s why:

 

 

Grounding for Chronic Conditions (click to view directly on my website)

 

The video where I review the past 20 years of medical literature on grounding

is waiting for you right here.

 

 

Want more resources on grounding?

Check out these articles I’ve written for you:

 

 

and visit my Grounding Boutique for grounding tools that are:

  • the highest quality, using cutting edge highly conductive materials like stainless steel and carbon fibers
  • hand made (right here in the USA) by local craftsman
  • ethically crafted using eco friendly materials
  • medical grade & physician developed (directly by me!)
  • designed to last decades.

 

Not mass produced overseas using the cheapest possible materials and engineered to stop working after a wash or two, the products I carry are each:

  • hand picked by me
  • hand tested by me
  • and I personally package and ship each item, directly from my hands into yours.

 

Literally!

 

Hop over to the Grounding Boutique today if you want to find a grounding tool that will help ground and heal you for many many years to come…

…the perfect long term support to any chronic health conditions you would like to resolve:

 

 

To your natural health!

xoxoxo, Laura

 

 

Ease Holiday Stress With This Essential Supplement + 10 More Ideas

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Have Black Friday, Cyber Monday, holiday music piping in to every grocery store and gas station and holiday travel plans have you feeling frazzled and overwhelmed?

Me too.

So today, here’s 10 effective ways to ease your stress and feel naturally relaxed as you face the hustle and bustle of the holidays.

 

1.  The easiest way to become stress-proof:  

take probiotics.

 

I’ve blogged in the past about how probiotics are so powerful in stabilizing the mind that they are actually a treatment for depression.

In today’s new study, researchers show that taking probiotics for only one month reduces stress, decreases anxiety and even improves memory!

Researchers looked at the strain of Bifidobacterium longum and followed what effect this probiotic had when used as a “psychobiotic” — looking at mood, stress, and even cognitive performance.

Turns out, not only does the gut play an essential role in your ability to absorb and utilize nutrients… and not only does the gut play an enormous role in our immune function… and not only does the gut play a clearly defined role in mood… but it is now shown to play a role in cognition, memory, and the ability to retain healthy thought function under stress.

Research presented Oct 18, 2015 at the Society For Neuroscience annual meeting showed that after only one month, B. Longum statistically and significantly:

  • reduced the cumulative output of the stress hormone cortisol
  • decreased subjective reports of anxiety in response to acute stress
  • improved memory and improved EEG output

 

It’s exciting to focus on treating stress, anxiety, depression and memory disturbances through enhancing the gut biome, because this is a low cost, easily accessible all natural non-prescription, healthy and fabulous intervention that we can all be taking to become resilient to stress.

Not just right now, during the holidays… but all year long!  Woot

We can’t change the stress that the holidays can bring, or the sad feelings at losses we have endured and people we miss over the holiday season, or prevent certain life events that may cause trauma and result in increased anxiety or depression, but one thing we do have the power to modify is that we can support our gut microbiome better so that we can boost mood and support brain function.

Changes in diet and using probiotic supplementation can do all of this… in only one month!

Consider:

  • Adding probiotic containing foods such as fermented foods, kefir, komubcha and organic whole fat yogurt to your diet routinely
  • Taking a high quality probiotic supplement that includes strains (such as b. longum and b. bifidum) that have been medically proven to affect brain function and support the gut/mind axis.
  • Other supplements to consider:

Magnesium: being mineral deficient can trigger anxiety symptoms… magnesium deficiency can cause shakiness, muscle tension and irregular heartbeat.  Your muscles (including your heart!) and your central nervous system absolutely need minerals to stabilize and function.  I highly recommend magnesium replacement if you tend to feel anxious, get trigger points or other areas of muscle tension, have difficulty relaxing at night, grind your teeth or have restless legs, or any other difficulty allowing your body to unwind.  Nightly magnesium bath soaks, topical applications of magnesium lotion, or trace mineral drops in water throughout the day can do wonders to settle a hyper-irritable central nervous system and soothe a tension.

Omega 3 fatty acids: Omega 3 fatty acids offer a calming effect on the brain.  In fact, a medical study published in Brain, Behavior and Immunity in November 2011 showed that taking Omega 3 fatty acid supplements dropped anxiety rates by 20%!  Eating fish several times a week or taking krill oil daily is an easy way to boost your intake of Omega 3s.

 

 

 

 

Find my very favorite probiotics, mineral drops, omega 3 formulas and more in my pharmacy grade, online dispensary right here!  That way, you can be sure that you are taking a medical grade product that WORKS.  Not paying for an empty promise with weak or ineffective probiotic strains, or probiotics that have lost efficacy because of the way they were manufactured and stored.  Find medical grade probiotics,  fish oils that are pure and tested, and minerals that are in the right dosages for optimum health right here.

 

2. Reconnect with nature.

 

When you get overwhelmed this holiday season, all you have to do here is walk out your front door, step out of your office, or stop driving and step out of your car.

To reconnect with nature is to find an instant sense of spaciousness, a calm centered experience as you take a single deep breath.

Reconnecting with the wonder of being a human being standing on a rock that spirals through space and seeing the earth for the vast support network it is can’t help but lift your spirits for the better.

The power of nature can hold even your worst of days and remain an immovable source of strength.

Don’t believe me?

The next time you are having a panic attack, or a pounding headache, or a knot of worry grow in your stomach, just go outside.  Get out there.  Don’t force anything, just start walking and let nature work its magic.

 

3. Focus on Spirit.

 

This is something shown over and over again in the medical literature — the power of prayer to affect clinical outcome is a beautiful fact.  As I recently blogged about here, there have been several major medical studies released in the past few months that show the major, physical, measurable impact that outlook has on our brain function and brain chemistry.

The surest way I know to alleviate stress and suffering is to find meaning in it.

Whether it’s through mediation, personal prayer, asking friends and family to pray for you, cultivating your own sense of spirit surrounding and supporting you — these are all such important ways to alleviate stress.

The divine support system is around you, surrounding you, whether you are able to feel it or not.

Never fear that. Nothing is required of you.

But calling on the power of prayer and connecting with that reservoir of love is an instant boost that strengthens you and changes outcome, no doubt about it.

Need some more inspiration?  Read Man’s Search For Meaning, by Viktor E. Frankl.

He is a concentration camp survivor who writes beautifully about how the people who survived these horrific conditions were not the strongest, or youngest, or even the healthiest… they were the ones who found meaning in what they were going through.

Finding a deeper, spiritual meaning in what you are going through — focusing on the why behind the holiday season instead of the superficial gifts and demands — is in and of itself enough to sustain you.

 

 

4. Music.

 

My kids will tell you that if I am really grumpy, all we have to do is hop in the car and turn on the radio and within a few songs, all of a sudden I don’t feel so hopeless.

In fact, I feel optimistic and grateful and filled with the same sense of wonder and possibility that I feel when I spend time in nature.

The power of music to wash through you and lift you is amazing.  In fact, as I blog about here, music has the ability to lift dementia — it is that uplifting!

If you are feeling stressed or depressed, especially if you can not leave your current surroundings (perhaps you are in the hospital or your office or your car…) slip on some music and allow it to sweep through your soul and lift you higher.

Music is universal and can meet you wherever you are.  During the holidays, it’s so easy to slip on some holiday tunes, but if you are getting sick of those don’t hesitate to reach for whatever music (or even a guided meditation!) soothes your soul.

 

 

5. Reach out to your support system.

 

There IS a support system around you, even if you don’t think you have a friend in the world.

I know I didn’t fully realize how many people I had, providing back up support in my life, until I went through a personal crisis.

Some of my most meaningful sources of support were from people I had never ever met before — like the manager at my local bank and the complete stranger who came to pick up some furniture I got rid of as we downsized our belongings.

Both of these people forever changed my life. Both of these people are angels living on earth. And don’t even get me started on the unbelievably generous neighbors, friends and family that I actively leaned on for support.

If you are suffering and over-taxed, ask for help.

Ask your neighbor, ask your family, ask your friends.

If you have none of the above, go out into the world asking for help to show up — go to the park, go to your bank, go to the grocery store, go to the thrift shop.

Angels are out there waiting to embrace and help you.

 

6. Refresh your space.

 

A symbolic fresh start during times of stress can help you move on and ushers in a new, positive and hopeful energy instead of feeling stuck.

For me, this meant that the kids and I literally moved and relocated our life.

But even if it the middle of the holiday season is not the right time to contemplate a physical move, you can go through your entire home with the idea of bringing in fresh energy — freshening up the plants in each room, rearranging whatever furniture you can, adding a mirror or two and burning candles of light in the evenings to help create a new flow of light through old, dark and depressing spaces.

Even if you can’t do anything to change your physical surroundings, creating a symbolic gesture in order to usher in a new start is so very important.

From going outside to take a deep breath of air, to lighting a smudge stick, to ringing a bell and setting a new intention for the space you are in, do something to break the illusion that you are stuck.

You are not stuck.

You are a new person every single day and every moment within that day.

When our physical surroundings don’t change, especially in the midst of great stress, you can get caught up in the illusion that your situation is permanent and hopeless.

This is not so… there is always an ebb and a flow of energy through every situation no matter how unchanging it appears on the surface.

The illusion that things never change can mentally hold you in a place of worry.

Release this by making small changes to your living space, changing the energy of the room you are in, physically leaving the space you are in for a breath or two, or using candles/incense/smudging/bells/chimes/lighting/a new plant… whatever it takes to feel the energy shift in your space and remind you that nothing…

…NOTHING…

…stays the same forever.

This holiday season will soon be over, before you know it.

It’s a matter of a few weeks and then next thing you know, we are headed into spring.

 

 

7.  Breathe.

 

Use the centering power of your breath to provide calming bio-feedback immediately to your body.

It only takes 10 minutes of slowing down your breathing to decrease anxiety… that’s because deep breathing decreases your heart rate, decreases your blood pressure, stimulates digestion, lifts mood, and helps you relax more easily into sleep.

Deep breathing stimulates the vagus nerve, which that runs through your chest and abdomen and helps to regulate many different organs, including the heart, lungs, and the gastrointestinal tract.  By stimulating the vagus nerve you support the parasympathetic nervous system into calming you down.

Try deep belly breathing (not shallow chest breathing) and slow your breathing to half the normal rate (from about 12 breaths per minute down to about 6.).

Thwarting stress can be as simple as breathing in while counting to 5, holding your breath for 3 counts, then releasing slowly while counting to 7.  Repeat!

Breathe your way through it and usher in the feeling of peace and calm with each breath.

 

8. Gratitude and compassion.

 

This is a no-brainer — one of the gifts of suffering is that you can witness and hold other people’s suffering so much more fully.

Compassion and gratitude for the journey and knowing that others have made it through ordeals much much worse can really help instill hope to your own journey.

As contrary as it sounds, topics that would have felt dark or depressing to the kids in their homeschool studies in earlier years felt powerful and empowering to them during our own times of stress.

For example, we dove deeply into WWI and WWII studies, reading Anne Frank’s diary and having long, meaningful discussions about suffering and triumph… those felt incredibly moving and fortifying to us

Knowing the darker side, leaning into it, persevering through it, witnessing with compassion what others have gone through… all of these things make traveling your own dark night feel less lonely and more optimistic in the sense that you KNOW you will reach the other side.

You WILL reach the other side.

Focus on witnessing suffering in others around you and holding compassion for the entire yin and yang of it all, the darkness and light of the world… the richness here is a different twist on helping to find meaning in suffering and the gift here is being able to open your heart even wider then you thought possible before.

During the holidays there are tons of community outreach programs, from donating to a gift drive to cooking up and serving a holiday meal to those in need, that it’s probably the most easily accessible time to express gratitude and compassion.

Keep your eye open for flyers and ads in local businesses and libraries, church bulletins and neighborhood drives, for ways that you can give of your time and energy in a way that uplifts you instead of adds to your to-do list.   Others have done the hard work for you of arranging ways to donate — sign up for something as little or big as you like!

 

9. Sleep.

 

Studies have shown that sleep deprivation is even harder to bear on folks during times of anxiety or stress.

If you are going through a time of stress, it is more important than ever before in your entire life that you sleep well.

 

You MUST SLEEP in order to recover from the stress of the day and prepare for the next day ahead.

In fact, sleep is so powerful that it is totally possible to treat anxiety solely through increasing the quality of your sleep.

Look over these blog posts I’ve written on the importance of sleep, or just head right over here for more ideas on increasing sleep quality tonight!

 

 

If you find the holidays are dragging you down or overwhelming you… STOP and take a nap.

Even 20 minutes can improve the quality and experience of the rest of your day.

 

10. Body work.

 

The feeling of worry and stress and anxiety is often the stress of energy that is accumulating in the body without release.

I know I personally feel this as a ball of pressure right in my solar plexus, but it’s different for everyone.

Irritability, crying, headaches, diarrhea, nausea, tension, muscle stiffness, decreased or increased appetite, weight loss or gain, insomnia… often these all represent energy that just needs to be released to make room for the natural healing process and optimism and energy to return.

 

If you are feeling stuck and in need of physical release, do any or ALL of the following to help assist your body in letting go of stress — doctor’s orders:

11. Light Therapy.

 

The fact that the holidays (for those of us in the northern hemisphere) comes during the darkest part of the year, yet require the most energy out of us, is very very stressful.

Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) is a very real and natural consequence of getting less light.  Less light means less mood boosting serotonin in our brains.  Which can equal anxiety, depression, even trouble sleeping for many of us.

But the flip side of that, though, can give us a very simple, very effective treatment:  light therapy!

Light therapy has been clinically proven to boost mood.

Published August 2015 in Biological Psychiatry, researchers found that after only 30 minutes of daily light therapy  in the mornings, fear and anxiety levels were significantly reduced and stimuli that used to trigger panic did not trigger an anxiety response in the way that it did before the light therapy.

You can use a Lightbox to boost morning light exposure, or simply make a habit of going out every morning immediately after waking up and grabbing 30 minutes of daylight.

Light therapy can be used safely in conjunction with medical treatments (including Rx medications) so if you are on an anxiolytic medication, augment your treatment with light therapy and it’s possible you can work with your physician to decrease dose!

 

 

I hope this list of 11 things you can do to release stress and support your health… even in the middle of great personal stress or seasonal overwhelm… is helpful to you and a blessing of some ideas to consider.

To a stress free holiday, my friends!

xoxo, Laura

 

 

 

 

Best Of The Best: 2017 Healing Holiday Gift Guide

Posted

 

Because it’s Cyber Monday, I want to share with you my very favorite holiday gift ideas, so that you can support the health and happiness of your very favorite people.

 

We all know someone who gives so much of themselves they are getting burnt out, run down.

Or someone facing a health challenge that could use a fun and uplifting healing gift.

So often in dealing with a medical condition, journeying through illness and healing, or watching someone you dearly love go through it (which can be waaaayyy worse than going through it yourself) is exhausting.

But healing does not have to be stressful all of the time, there are lots of ways to encourage your loved ones to take a break in a way that support their health goals.

And healing gifts certainly don’t have to be boring either.

Let’s give all our caregivers, family members and loved ones gifts that uplift and nurture them every single day.

 

Top 3 Caregiver Gifts:

 

For caregivers who exhaust themselves supporting others, a thoughtful gift is any gift that reminds them to nurture themselves as well.  Here are three ways to do it:

 

Dr. Laura's Daily Healing Focus Cards: A Daily Dose Of Health

 

1.  Daily Health Tip Card Deck:

 

This is a stack of 68 different awesome, uplifting, positive supportive ideas that offer a simple healing focus of the day. Choose a new card each day and read the holistic health tip it offers.  So easy and something that even the most busy caregiver in the world can do to support their own Well Being.

 

2.  Heal-All Year Calendar:

 

The only calendar in the world create by an intuitive-based physician… and customized by YOU!

Add in your specific healing goals to each month.

Designed to positively support you all year long, uplifting and affirming your health intentions as you reach all of your personal healing goals!

Let these healing prompts get you there!

 

 

 

3.  Let-It-Go Daily Organizer

 

Start each day on the right foot:

You do not have to do it all,

 and you do not have to do it alone.

Each day, release the illusion that you have to control outcomes and just do the best you can. If you can write down a *reasonable* to do list for yourself, then you can release everything beyond that to the Universe. And lastly, remind yourself what you are looking forward to for tomorrow so that you can go to sleep uplifted!

 

Top 3 Fun Gifts:

 

For loved ones who are facing a health challenge, they could truly use a fun uplifting gift more than anything else.   Here are my top 3 choices for healing gifts that will bring a smile to their face!

 

1.  Temporary Tattoos

 

As a holistic physician, I often recommend that my patients write healing intentions directly on the part of their body that is in need of healing.

So I was beyond thrilled to find these gorgeous temporary tattoos that can do this exact same thing but even more beautifully — using nontoxic ink, which is much safer than ink found in permanent markers.  Now my patients have a healing tool they actually want to show off!

 

2.  Movie + Popcorn

 

Everyone loves a movie night, and this one will absolutely change their lives.

Heal For Free delves deeply into the science of what grounding does to the human body, and faces what critics try to do to discredit this astoundingly simple solution to pain and suffering.

From the elderly in nursing homes to patients affected by overwhelming EMF exposure… even those on the brink of death are revitalized by the life-saving practice of Grounding.

Every DVD ordered during November and December comes with a free bag of organic popcorn, and you can add on a grounding tool to make a very unique, custom gift… so that your loved ones can start grounding the moment they watch the film!

 

 

3.  Monthly Gift Subscription

 

Know someone who already loves grounding?  Or want to have a super fun, truly exciting way to introduce them to it?

Grounding Box is a fun monthly care package that arrives on your doorstep filled with medical grade, eco-friendly items that keep you grounding to the earth in fresh and fun new ways, month after month after month!

Give a gift subscription to your very favorite loved ones and they will be constantly delighted and nurtured long after the holidays are over!

 

 

Stocking Stuffers Galore

 

Looking for something small you can tuck into their stocking, mail in the mail, or travel with to surprise them on their doorstep?   Here are some of my very favorite holistic healing tools that make giving a little surprise super fun and easy:

 

Grounding Wrist & Ankle Strap -- One Item, Two Ways To Ground

1.  A Grounding Wrist & Ankle Band —

 

There is no easier way to get grounding than to simply slip this band right on your wrist!

Easy on, easy off… easy peasy.

 

 

Conductive Grounding Socks: lower extremity healing

2.  Grounding Socks —

 

Keep those toes warm without blocking the healing flow!  Can be used indoors or outside with your grounding heel strap and you stay warm, and grounded!

It’s win-win!

3.  Grounding Gloves —

 

Did you know you could wear gloves outside and still get direct healing from the earth just by wearing conductive gloves?

Hands stay warm, you stay grounded.  Can be used indoors as well.

 

Dr. Laura's Shiny & Strong Holistic Hair Care Kit

4.  Dr. Laura’s Shiny & Strong Holistic Hair Kit

 

There are millions of hair care products out there — I’ve scoured them all and put together this healthy holistic 7 piece hair care kit so that you can jump start your hair’s health, shine and strength… naturally!  Comes in a reusable travel tote, ready to gift!

 

Dr. Laura's Vibrant Glow Anti-Aging Complete Face Care Kit

5.  Dr. Laura’s Anti-Aging Holistic Face Care Kit

 

Did you know there are ingredients out there that turn back the hands of time so powerfully they can actually reduce your risk of skin cancer?  It’s true.

These are the products I personally use every single day.  And I want you to have them too.  This kit includes 8 full sized products that last a long time and truly work… all in a reusable eco friendly tote and with a free face mask included!

Dr. Laura's Healthy Body Ethically Crafted Holistic Body Care Set

 

6.  Dr. Laura’s All Natural Body Care Kit

 

Did you know that skin is constantly surrounding us with love… a physical layer of loving protection at all times?  Your skin is a living miracle.  Without it, we absolutely could not survive.  So let’s treat our body’s covering with respect, love and healthy supportive products that release our innate well being.  To that end, I’ve pulled together this 10 piece body care kit for you and your loved ones!

Dr. Laura's Healthy Smile Holistic Oral Complete Care Kit

 

7.  Dr. Laura’s Bright Smile Oral Care Kit

 

I’ve pulled together all of my very favorite, ethically crafted, cruelty free, holistic, healthy, all natural oral care products into one awesome 10 piece kit so that you can remake over the health and vibrancy of your smile quickly and easily!  To your healthy sparkling smile and the smile of those you love…

To a simple, safe, healthy, loving, supportive holiday season full of connecting with those that you love and giving gifts that truly make the recipient feel better than they ever did before…

xoxoxo, Laura