Posts Tagged ‘family health’
The AAP, Pesticides, and Children
While one might think that the medical community always advocates the latest research and information that comes from the scientific community, the reality is that the two don’t always (some would even argue often) meet. However, in the case of pesticide exposure in children, the two are coming together, thanks in part to a statement by the American Academy of Pediatrics published in the Dec 2012 issue of Pediatrics. This new policy statement provides recommendations on the reduction of pesticide exposures, which in turn will greatly improve public health in all age groups.
This report recommends that “pediatricians become familiar with the effects of acute and chronic exposures to pesticides; learn what resources are available for both treatment of acute poisoning and addressing lower dose chronic exposures in children; and understand pesticide labeling.” (Quoted from the AAP news release)
Environmental Health and Fertility
Yet another article about the impact of environmental contaminants making their way into the food supply. This article discusses how these toxins can inhibit fertility, causing as much impact on both male and female fertility as smoking. While the concentrations of these chemicals in the environment are going down, they still impact many families. While it recommends the avoidance of animal fats (because we know that toxins accumulate in the fatty stores of mammals), we recommend a different approach: humanely and ethically raised animals that are fed the foods their bodies were intended to consume. Fats play a crucial role in the diet and fertility, so instead of cutting them out altogether, we recommend only avoiding them while eating out and making better grocery purchases at home. (For more information, check out the book Naturally Knocked Up by Donielle Baker.)
Superbugs in the News
As always, the overuse of antibiotics and antibiotic resistance is in the news again. This article talks about the risks of CRE (Carbapenem-Resistant Enterobacteriaceae), how little is known about the actual rate of this deadly infection (that is already endemic in many areas), and why there are no treatments–or promises of future treatments–for this serious public health concern. From the article: “The spread of CRE threatens to change the face of health care, crippling hospital units that specialize in treatments such as organ transplants and chemotherapy, which rely on the ability to control infections in patients with weak immune systems. If unchecked, “these (bacteria) are going to greatly impact the kind of surgeries (and) treatments we can have,” Perencevich says. “We’re entering the post-antibiotic era; that’s a very big problem.”‘
This is a post I’ve wanted to write for many years now, but haven’t. I keep putting it off because I know it will come as unpleasant to many, but after several recent events the staff and I have encountered, we’re aware that the issue isn’t going away and this information needs to be said.
This is a post about aromatherapy. More specifically, it’s a post about the SAFE and effective use of essential oils – particularly in the States. You see, aromatherapy, as we know it, is a really new area of science. It originated in the 1920s in France. While aromatic oils from plants have been used therapeutically for millennia, these highly potent chemical extracts have only been used in the US for a few decades. So, naturally, with a field of science so new, it makes sense to turn to its place of origin for the widest array of evidence based information about its proper use.
In our Clinical Master Herbalist course, we rely upon such textbooks for the program. These include original research and case studies conducted at hospitals and physicians’ offices in locations where aromatherapy is accepted as a normal part of medical care. In the US, however, the practice is still very fringe and not used widely, neither is it studied as in depth.
These textbooks and experts, backed by large bodies of scientific evidence are able to best tell us how to use essential oils for safe and effective results. One of the things they tell us is that essential oils – with very, very few exceptions – are not to be used “neat” or undiluted on the skin. They are also not to be taken internally, again with very few exceptions, many of which require direct medical supervision or care. These pioneers of the field that have been studying the chemistry of essential oils for decades are not confused about the quality of a good oil. They’re not talking about adulterated oils or low grade oils. And they’re not recommending “therapeutic-grade” or similarly certified oils – designations that are essentially developed by the marketing departments of popular direct-sales brands here in the States. They’re talking about high quality organic oils that are so potent that they must be diluted before use on the skin and should not be ingested due to their chemical purity.
The reason for this is that these oils are not liquid equivalents of whole herbs. They’re not extracts that are already diluted in alcohol, glycerin or another substance like we use for herbal remedies. They’re concentrated chemical portions of the whole herb that have been removed directly from the plants for use in natural medicine. They’re not only safer when inhaled or diluted for topical application – they’re usually most effective when used that way. We know this to be true because we have vast amounts of scientific evidence over many years verifying this as the ideal use of the substances.
Many direct-sales or MLM companies exist in the States that are telling us otherwise. They say their oils are so potent/pure that they can be used undiluted on the skin or internally – a claim that is not even logical as the more potent/pure an oil, the less suitable for either application it would be. Our educational programs have always sided with evidence based medicine. We’re strict about that, and through the years have not always been popular for that stance. However, we’re also confident that we’re providing a valuable service with such information, enabling parents to use natural health safely and effectively in their homes. Our families are not guinea pigs, so why subject them to unverified and inaccurate recommendations hoping for the best, when we have large bodies of evidence that show us how to get reliable results without risking their safety?
Why bring up this topic now? Because in addition to the years of frustration of watching well intended consumers purchase overpriced oils to use incorrectly and dangerously in their homes, we’re now hearing reports of harm associated with these risks. Most recently, we read a heartbreaking post on our VR forums about a miscarriage suspected to be a result of consumption of oils that are not to be consumed internally – even when not pregnant. We’re deeply saddened at this news and don’t want to see these situations increase in number.
So please, regardless of what you’re told otherwise, always check the validity of claims given to you about any natural health option you’re considering – whether it be essential oils, whole herbal preparations, or something else. Insist upon sticking to evidence based information for your family’s sake.
Because they’re not guinea pigs; they’re priceless and irreplaceable.
70% of modern health problems are directly caused by lifestyle choices. SEVENTY percent! What would your life be like if almost 3 of every 4 illnesses, disorders or concerns that came your way … didn’t.
What troubles me the most about this statistic is that so many of us already know or at least suspect that, but we still don’t make the change. My husband and I (admittedly documentary junkies) were watching a film last night about another health crusader trying to spread the word about prevention.
Normally I avoid such films and shows and last night once again provided evidence of why… whether it’s Jamie Oliver or Joe Cross – or your or I, the response is almost always the same – a combination of 1) it doesn’t really work, 2) it’s too much trouble, or 3) I’ve already tried the natural route (or know someone that did). And I find myself both saddened and frustrated!
To take a closer look at each of these:
1) it doesn’t really work… not so! Epidemiologists, scientists, researchers, professionals, just about ANYONE that spends any time reading through medical literature can verify that yes, prevention does work! The American Cancer Society tells us that 75-80% of all cancer related deaths are directly related to environmental choices. Not genetics! The experts that devote their lives to researching how we get sick are telling us that we don’t usually have to! What would the country look like if we could prevent / save: almost 3/4 of the dollars spent on illness (medication, days lost in work or productivity, treatment, specialist visits), 3 out of 4 or even 4 out of 5 of the deaths lost to cancer, nearly 3 out of 4 of the health concerns we face – lost days from our lives that could have been better spent elsewhere – instead of sick in bed!
2) it’s too hard… I’ve been up close and personal with a struggle to beat cancer – and seen cancer win. I’ve seen children facing life threatening illnesses that emotionally tear up their parents. I’ve seen individuals of all ages in pain, struggling to enjoy their days despite a chronic health concern. *That’s* too much trouble. Cancer occurring at a rate that is quadruple (or more) what it should be is too much trouble. Diabetes, obesity and adrenal fatigue are too much trouble. Changing simple lifestyle habits – a route I’d prefer any day.
3) I’ve tried it – or my friend has – This one needs it’s own blog post really, but here’s what that usually means: I’ve tried the latest fad diet, I’ve tried the gov’t food pyramid (or revised pyramid, or circle), I’ve taken the latest cool health supplement, I’ve been taking the newest MLM product. I’ve had people tell me they need to take medicine because eating raisins didn’t cure their chronic inflammation, coconut oil didn’t cure their cancer and vinegar didn’t cure their GERD. I’ve seen people eat hot dogs while telling me bananas are bad for you, and eating cake while telling me yogurt is bad for you. I’m not at all advocating the trendy, pseudo-science that passes through communities faster than the illnesses they claim to cure. I’m advocating an evidence based, scientific and rational approach to life. Make the claim back itself up with evidence – both modern scientific and time tested. When formula was introduced as the superior infant food, babies died. When margarine was introduced to replace “bad” saturated fats, heart disease and inflammatory conditions skyrocketed. Processed foods result in chronic health concerns. That’s backed by scientific in multiple languages.
So, what to do? Educate yourself! We have more resources available to us than ever before. Thanks to modern conveniences, students study wellness through our school in over a dozen countries across multiple continents. Get a book on real foods, read labels, make simple lifestyle changes. Each of these baby steps will add up – and you’ll see a difference!
One thing natural health is known for is anecdotal evidence. Unfortunately, this trend truly permeates the natural health realm, though it rarely comes from the actual professionals. We’ve all seen it – usually the great health advice comes from a friend on facebook or in a play group. It goes something like this:
- I know they say not to let your baby cry at night, but we did it and my 3 year old turned out ok. You can’t listen to everything they say.
- Epidurals don’t increase your risk of cesarean. I had one with all 3 of my kids and didn’t have a cesarean.
- That new study suggesting that cesareans lead to obesity can’t be true because I was born naturally and am overweight while my kids are thin and were born by cesarean.
- I won’t take milk thistle because it made my friend tired and I already have adrenal fatigue.
- This herb will cure strep throat. I’m pretty sure my kids had it once and we took that and it went away.
- Hawthorne doesn’t help with hypertension. I took it for a month and it didn’t change at all.
- Garlic oil doesn’t help with ear infections because it can’t reach the infection. Here, take these ear drops instead.
(and yes, these are all actual examples of things I’ve heard or read! I could go on and on…. )
Here’s the catch:
1. Nothing works for everyone. It is possible that 1 person was the exception to the rule. If the success rate is 99.9%, there will still be that 1 in 1,000.
2. Basic epidemiology tells us to look for confounding factors – other things that are at play in a situation. For example, the milk thistle story – was this person getting enough sleep? Were they fighting off a cold? Were they having a bad day? This is why evidence based medicine uses trials of hundreds, if not thousands of people to find those consistent results.
3. Just as the 1 in 1,000 means that something good won’t happen to everyone, it can also mean something bad won’t happen. You can do something that is known to increase your risks and still be ok – sometimes. I once drive home from my parent’s house to realize that my (then) toddler’s seat hadn’t been properly buckled into the car. My toddler was not injured. I still don’t recommend driving for an hour without having your toddler’s seat properly installed. That case is not an argument for making poor choices, it’s an example of how blessed I was to escape the potential harm that could have taken place due to my oversight.
Case studies are interesting to researchers because they lead to possibilities that result in large scale trials to review these issues and test whether or not they are true. They are leads for potential findings, but not stand alone evidence. However, when we already have large bodies of evidence that show us that *this result* usually happens when *this thing* takes place, we can avoid using our families as guinea pigs and rely on the comfort that comes from scientific evidence. This is the premise for the School of Natural Health and everything that we do at Vintage Remedies.
You’ll find that we err on the side of being conservative when it comes to health. My kids are not guinea pigs and I don’t imagine your kids are either. So, we stick to remedies that are backed with large scale studies verifying the use, safety and effectiveness of what we teach in our programs and our books. Our students know that you’re not going to find the latest (but soon to be disproven) trends, conspiracy theories and scare tactics here – just solid information backed by solid evidence. That’s just the way we do things. While we appreciate the folk medicine from times past and the single case studies, knowing they lead to wider research, we also acknowledge that such tidbits are just the start for real understanding of health.
With the launch of our big new project a mere 2 days away, we’re working overtime here at the Vintage Remedies office. There are so many important details about the new program that we don’t want you to miss. So, even though we can’t tell you what it is just yet, we can give you some pointers of things not to miss when it comes out. (And you might just call these subtle hints about the awesomeness of the new launch!!)
1. Giving Back. We’ve always dreamed of having a one-to-one aspect to Vintage Remedies, but haven’t had just the right project to make that work. Now we do and we’re so excited about this feature of the new launch. So, when we make our big announcement Tuesday, don’t miss the “Giving Back” tab on the right!
2. Connections. This new launch will have its own facebook fan page, twitter page and newsletter – completely separate from the regular Vintage Remedies pages. On these new pages, we’ll post even MORE practical tips for natural living. Don’t forget to sign up, like us and follow us! (And here’s a hint – you’ll earn more entries in our giveaways when you do!)
3. Benefits. This new launch is extremely versatile! It benefits the workplace, medical professionals, families, childbirth professionals and so many more people! (Confused yet? It’ll all make sense Tuesday…) So, if you’re a medical, childbirth or wellness professional, an employer, a mom or a part of a family (that’s everyone!) be sure to click on the “Benefits” tab to see how this new launch will best benefit you and your unique needs!
4. Completely Unique. Sometimes we take a concept that’s already being done and do it better. We did that with our Herbalist courses, and are proud to offer the best available! But sometimes, we get a little creative and come up with a completely new idea that’s never been done before. Like Vintage Remedies for Girls, Guys and Kids. We love both types of projects, but this one is completely unlike anything else. Make sure you read through the description to fully explore all of the great features and components of the new launch. Trust us – having worked on each individual aspect of the project, we know there are features galore!
5. Exclusivity. We’re thrilled about this new launch and expect it to be a HUGE hit. To share our excitement, the first 25 to participate will benefit from some special savings. Unlike our previous releases where the pre-release phase was determined by a specific date, this one is restricted to the first 25, so you don’t want to delay. Plus, there are big benefits to being the first in your area… you’ll see why on Tuesday!
Excited yet? We are! We’ll be posting more giveaways soon. The next three will have a combined retail value of OVER $500! Definitely stay posted, enter the giveaways and join us Tuesday for the big announcement. We know you’ll love it as much as we do. See you then!