Essential oils and menopause: Can they help?

Essential oils have been utilized in folk remedies for many generations.  They may lessen the uncomfortable effects of menopause and are beginning to be recognized in mainstream medicine for their benefits. Menopause marks the end of a woman’s reproductive years and symptoms leading up to it can range from mildly annoying to debilitating. You may experience changes in sleep habits, low libido, anxiety, depression, weight gain, irregular menstruation and bone loss.

Research shows the oil called Vitex agnus-castus, more commonly known as chasteberry, may help with irregular periods and mood swings. Lavender oil can promote healthy sleep and may reduce hot flashes, headaches and heart palpitations.  And rose oil may regulate your cycle, improve mood and reduce hot flashes.  Phytoestrogens which are plant based estrogens may also support hormone balance.  Try clary sage, fennel, cypress and coriander oils.

As with anything, talk to your doctor before beginning and carefully follow the manufacturer’s usage instructions.

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Fight Fatigue and Get Your Mojo Back!

 Always tired? You might just not be getting enough sleep, or it could be something more serious. See common causes for fatigue and what you can do about them.
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Fatigue Cause No. 1: Not Enough Sleep

It may seem obvious but you could be getting too little sleep. That can negatively affect your concentration and health. Adults should get seven to eight hours every night.

Fix: Make sleep a priority and keep a regular schedule. Ban laptops, cell phones, and televisions from your bedroom. Still having trouble? Seek help from a doctor. You may have a sleep disorder.  For simple insomnia, hypnosis works great!  It’s also been shown to improve deep sleep. Schedule a session and try it out!

Fatigue Cause No. 2: Sleep Apnea

Some people think they’re sleeping enough, but sleep apnea gets in the way. It briefly stops your breathing throughout the night. Each interruption wakes you for a moment, but you may not be aware of it. The result: you’re sleep-deprived despite spending eight hours in bed. Your doctor may order a sleep study to check for this.

Fix: Lose weight if you’re overweight, quit smoking, and you may need a CPAP device to help keep your airway passages open while you sleep.

Fatigue Cause No. 3: Not Enough Fuel

Eating too little causes fatigue, but eating the wrong foods can also be a problem. Eating a balanced diet helps keep your blood sugar in a normal range and prevents that sluggish feeling when your blood sugar drops.

Fix: Always eat breakfast and try to include protein and complex carbs in every meal. For example, eat eggs with whole-grain toast. Also eat small meals and snacks throughout the day for sustained energy. With hypnosis you can gently train your mind to naturally make healthy eating choices.

Fatigue Cause No. 4: Anemia

Anemia is one of the leading causes of fatigue in women. Menstrual blood loss can cause an iron deficiency, putting women at risk. Red blood cells are needed because they carry oxygen to your tissues and organs.

Fix: For anemia caused by an iron deficiency, taking iron supplements and eating iron-rich foods, such as lean meat, liver, shellfish, beans, and enriched cereal, can help.

Fatigue Cause No. 5: Depression

You may think of depression as an emotional disorder, but it contributes to many physical symptoms, as well. Fatigue, headaches, and loss of appetite are among the most common symptoms. If you feel tired and “down” for more than a few weeks, see your doctor.

Fix: Depression responds well to talk therapy and/or medication.  With the advice of your doctor or therapist, hypnosis can be a good adjunct therapy.

“It seems most effective complementing cognitive behavioral therapy or interpersonal psychotherapy,” says Steve G. Kopp, a licensed mental health counselor and marriage and family therapist.

Fatigue Cause No. 6: Hypothyroidism

The thyroid is a small gland at the base of your neck. It controls your metabolism, the speed at which your body converts fuel into energy. When the gland is underactive and the metabolism functions too slowly, you may feel sluggish and put on weight.

Fix: If a blood test confirms your thyroid hormones are low, synthetic hormones can bring you up to speed. But coping with hypothyroidism can sometimes be very challenging. Get some hypnotic help to keep you strong and resilient as you find your path towards greater health.

Fatigue Cause No. 7: Caffeine Overload

Caffeine can improve alertness and concentration in moderate doses. But too much can increase heart rate, blood pressure, and jitteriness. And research indicates too much actually causes fatigue in some people.

Fix: Gradually cut back on coffee, tea, chocolate, soft drinks, and any medications that contain caffeine. Stopping suddenly can cause caffeine withdrawal and more fatigue.  Hypnosis can help you overcome caffeine addiction and get your natural energy back.

Fatigue Cause No. 8: Hidden UTI

If you’ve ever had a urinary tract infection (UTI), you’re probably familiar with the burning pain and sense of urgency. But the infection does not always announce itself with such obvious symptoms. In some cases, fatigue may be the only sign. A urine test can quickly confirm a UTI.

Fix: Antibiotics are the cure for UTIs, and the fatigue will usually vanish within a week.

Fatigue Cause No. 9: Diabetes

In people with diabetes, abnormally high levels of sugar remain in the bloodstream instead of entering the body’s cells, where it would be converted into energy. The result is a body that runs out of steam despite having enough to eat. If you have persistent, unexplained fatigue, ask your doctor about being tested for diabetes.

Fix: Treatments for diabetes may include lifestyle changes such as diet and exercise, insulin therapy, and medications to help the body process sugar.

Fatigue Cause No. 10: Dehydration

Your fatigue can be a sign of dehydration. Whether you’re working out or working a desk job, your body needs water to work well and keep cool. If you’re thirsty, you’re already dehydrated.

Fix: Drink water throughout the day so your urine is light colored. Have at least two cups of water an hour or more before a planned physical activity. Then, sip throughout your workout, and afterward drink another two cups.

Fatigue Cause No. 11: Heart Disease

When fatigue strikes during everyday activities, such as cleaning the house or weeding the yard, it can be a sign that your heart is no longer up to the job. If you notice it’s becoming increasingly difficult to finish tasks that were once easy, talk to your doctor about heart disease.

Fix: Lifestyle changes, medication, and therapeutic procedures can get heart disease under control and restore your energy.  Here too hypnosis can be a useful adjunct.

Fatigue Cause No. 12: Shift Work Sleep Disorder

Working nights or rotating shifts can disrupt your internal clock. You may feel tired when you need to be awake. And you may have trouble sleeping during the day.

Fix: Limit your exposure to daylight when you need to rest. Make your room dark, quiet, and cool. Still having sleep issues? Talk with your doctor. Supplements and medications may help, and hypnosis may be appropriate.

Fatigue Cause No. 13: Food Allergies

Some doctors believe hidden food allergies can make you sleepy. If your fatigue intensifies after meals, you could have a mild intolerance to something you’re eating — not enough to cause itching or hives, just enough to make you tired.

Fix: Try eliminating foods one at a time to see if your fatigue improves. You can also ask your doctor about a food allergy test.

Fatigue Cause No. 14: CFS and Fibromyalgia

If your fatigue lasts more than six months and is so severe that you can’t manage your daily activities, chronic fatigue syndrome or fibromyalgia are a possibility. Both can have various symptoms, but persistent, unexplained exhaustion is a main one.

Fix: While there’s no quick fix for CFS or fibromyalgia, patients often benefit from changing their daily schedule, learning better sleep habits, and starting a gentle exercise program.  These illnesses tend to be very hard to treat and benefit from a multi-pronged approach, including hypnosis to help lower pain levels and deal with stress.

Fast Fix for Mild Fatigue

If you have mild fatigue that isn’t linked to any medical condition, the solution may be exercise. Research suggests healthy but tired adults can get a significant energy boost from a modest workout program. In one study, participants rode a stationary bike for 20 minutes at a mild pace. Doing this just three times a week was enough to fight fatigue.

Patchouli!

I know, I know.  You either love it or you hate it.  And it’s unmistakable.  But don’t give up on patchouli just yet.  It has some amazing health benefits.

It can be inhaled, diffused in a vaporizer or applied directly to skin. Inhaling the scent of patchouli oil or absorbing it through the skin helps transmit messages to the limbic system, a region in the brain that’s involved in controlling emotions and even influences the nervous system. Here’s what a little bottle of patchouli can do for you.

1. Patchouli helps fight depression

When you’re feeling blue, patchouli can fight depression. It helps relieve feelings of sadness or loss and will renew feelings of hope. That’s why patchouli essential oil is so often used in aromatherapy. It’s thought to uplift the mood, eliminate disappointment and relax tension. By stimulating the release of pleasure hormones like serotonin and dopamine, feelings of anxiety, anger and sadness simply disappear.

2. It prevents the spread of bacteria

One of the more important health benefits of patchouli is its antimicrobial properties that can stop the spread of microorganisms. One study evaluated the antibacterial activity of patchouli oil. It was tested against five very good antibacterial drugs commonly used to treat infections. The antimicrobial test proved that patchouli oil had strong antimicrobial effects that prevent the spread of bacteria. Use it to treat athlete’s foot or acute inflammation caused by a wound.

3. It works as an aphrodisiac

It’s not surprising that such an earthy and sensual scent would have aphrodisiac qualities. Used for hundreds of years to relieve frigidity and impotence, patchouli is a powerful “attraction” oil. According to The Soulmate Experience, patchouli stimulates the sex glands, thus increasing libido and sexual response. It’s a mildly sedative oil that slows breathing when used in aromatherapy. In fact, it’s one of the most relaxing, grounding and earthy scents in aromatherapy. But a little goes a long way. So, use it sparingly, as too much may leave your senses overstimulated, and may even leave you feeling agitated.

4. It can be used as a deodorant

Again, a little goes a long way when it comes to using patchouli as a deodorant. The strong sweet, spicy and musky aroma of this oil eliminates or masks body odor. Put two to three drops on a cotton ball and dab it on your underarms. Or, dilute it with a carrier oil such as almond oil.

5. It’s an insect repellent

Traditionally, the patchouli leaf itself is put into clothing to repel insects. But, unless you live in Asia, it may be hard to find a patchouli leaf. Use patchouli essential oil instead. One study from Thailand researched 38 essential oils as a non-toxic solution for a mosquito repellent. Patchouli was one of the most effective repellents, providing two hours of efficacy against mosquitos.

6. It treats scars

Patchouli essential oil helps speed the healing process of cuts and wounds. It also speeds the fading of scars. It’s effective against scars left by boils, acne, pox and measles. Rub two to three drops of patchouli essential oil directly onto your scars daily. Soon you will see them disappear for good.

7. It works as a metabolic tonic

Patchouli oil can help to tone your liver, stomach and intestines, increasing your ability to digest food and absorb nutrients properly. Because of these benefits, patchouli oil can give you more energy and also help your body to function better. Inhale patchouli oil with an oil burner or diffuser. Alternatively, you can add one to two drops into a cup of tea or a glass of water.

8. It restores sagging skin and strengthens the hair

Patchouli oil promotes muscle contractions. Therefore, it can help prevent sagging skin. It also regenerates new skin cells, which keeps the skin looking young, healthy and vibrant. Ideal for all skin types, it will even work on acne prone skin because of healing and germ-fighting properties. Blend five drops of patchouli oil with your facial moisturizer, or you can massage the oil directly onto your skin. Just make sure to avoid your eyes. Alternatively, you can massage five drops directly onto your scalp to strengthen your hair.

9. It eliminates dandruff

Dandruff symptoms are not always easy to spot, according to the Mayo Clinic. White, oily looking flakes of dead skin sit in your hair and fall on your shoulders. Your scalp may also feel itchy and scaly. Malassezia, a yeast-like infection, lives on the scalps of most adults. For some people, it may irritate the scalp and cause more skin cells to grow. Patchouli is an effective antifungal. Just as it helps fungus on the feet, it can also help kill fungus on your scalp. Add two drops of patchouli essential oil into your shampoo or conditioner to treat dandruff and oily hair. Simply leave it on for two minutes before rinsing.

If you haven’t already, give patchouli a try!  But use it sparingly as the scent is long lasting, and it may be too strong and unpleasant for some people.

The Truth About Breakfast and Your Health

When it comes to your well-being, breakfast is the most important meal of the day, but fewer people eat a regular breakfast than they did 40 years ago. One reason for this may be that we eat more snacks these days, sometimes in place of meals.

Passing on breakfast can lead to weight gain, and that sets the stage for high blood pressure, high cholesterol, and diabetes — all of which can lead to heart disease. For a heart-healthy breakfast, skip the fatty bacon and sausage. Instead, load up on fresh fruit and whole grains.

To keep yourself feeling fuller longer, add eggs. Eggs have protein, which takes your body longer to digest than the carbs in cereal and fruit. A high-protein breakfast can help you feel fuller for the rest of the day and may keep you from reaching for fatty snacks in the evening.

If you work out in the morning, try to eat about an hour before you hit the gym. Fueling up first will give you energy to work out and keep you from feeling faint.

A morning meal can help you stay at a healthy weight.  Breakfast may keep you from overeating the rest of the day.

Breakfast boosts your brainpower. Your brain runs on glucose, a type of sugar, and you’re low on this fuel when you first wake up. A morning meal can boost your memory, attention, focus, and alertness and help your performance at work or school. Case in point: Kids who have breakfast get better grades than those who don’t.

Breakfast gives you energy — not only does this make you more likely to exercise, but you also may tend to get up and move around in general. One study found that people who ate a morning meal burned 442 more calories through physical activity than those who skipped breakfast.

A healthy breakfast can keep your blood sugar steady, and over time, this can protect you from type 2 diabetes. One study shows that men who didn’t eat in the morning were 21% more likely to get the disease than those who did. Start your day with whole grains, such as oatmeal, cereal, or bread. They have fiber, which can also lower your diabetes risk.

A bowl of cereal can be a smart way to start your day — if you choose the right kind. High-fiber cereals can lower your risk of heart disease and diabetes. Look at the labels to make sure you’re getting a good amount of fiber (5 grams or more) — and stay away from ones that have sugar among the first few ingredients.

 

Reduce Sugar Cravings

Hoping to avoid the candy aisle during the next few days? Try taking one drop of fennel essential oil in a glass of water to help fight sugar cravings. Or chew some fennel seeds. Or call me!  Hypnosis can help boost will-power and reduce cravings.

Exercise Is the Best Thing You Can Do for Yourself

“At every level, from the microcellular to the psychological, exercise not only wards off the ill effects of chronic stress; it can also reverse them. Studies show that if researchers exercise rats that have been chronically stressed, that activity makes the hippocampus grow back to its preshriveled state. The mechanisms by which exercise changes how we think and feel are so much more effective than donuts, medicines, and wine. When you say you feel less stressed out after you go for a swim, or even a fast walk, you are.”
― John J. Ratey, Spark: The Revolutionary New Science of Exercise and the Brain

Parental Stress

Parenting stress is a critical factor influencing child health and development. 

To help reduce your parenting stress, contact me for a consultation. I offer parenting coaching sessions as well as hypnosis for stress relief (for kids and adults).