Statistics indicate more and more men, women and children are overweight or obese. The National Institutes of Health state that more than 35 percent of adults in the United States are obese and more than 34 percent are overweight, while 17 percent of children and adolescents in the United States are obese. Obesity rates are three times as high among today’s children than they were among youngsters just one generation ago.

As individuals attempt to lose weight, they may wonder what is the most effective way to accomplish that objective. Some argue that the secret to weight loss is lots of exercise, while others insist that calorie control is the key. When it comes to slimming down, some may be surprised by what the experts have to say.

The Mayo Clinic advises that cutting calories through dietary changes appears to promote weight loss more effectively than physical exercise alone.

According to Shawn M. Talbott, Ph.D., a nutritional biochemist and former director of the University of Utah Nutrition Clinic, weight loss is about 75 percent diet and 25 percent exercise. People generally see the largest short-term results when they eat healthy foods and healthy portions.

Poor diets can be difficult to overcome, as it takes a lot of exercise to spur dramatic weight loss, whereas a low-calorie, healthy diet can be a simple and effective means to losing weight. Nutritionists often point to a balanced diet that focuses on fruits and vegetables, lean proteins and whole-grain carbohydrates over fad diets or ones that require the adherence to strict guidelines that are difficult to follow for lengthy periods of time.

But exercise should not be abandoned in favor of a low-calorie diet. Dr. Yoni Freedhoff, who runs one of the largest obesity clinics in Canada, says that weight loss occurs from what’s created in the kitchen, but health is gained in the gym.Dr. Freedhoff often advises his clients to make smart changes to the foods they eat to spur weight loss, and then incorporate exercise into their lifestyles as a way to keep the body in top form.

Regular physical exercise is necessary to maintain strong bones, build muscle, improve flexibility, and keep the cardiovascular system working efficiently. Exercise also releases endorphins, which can improve mental alertness and feelings of well-being.

The Mayo Clinic notes that studies have shown that people who lose weight and keep it off over the long haul are those who get regular physical activity.

When it comes to losing weight, the foods a person eats play a bigger role than exercise. But it is the combination of both diet and exercise that can lead to greater overall health and sustained weight loss.

Natural Antibiotics

By Serina Marshall

Many natural resources have properties of antibacterial substance. These resources can be found naturally in the world around us. Antibiotics such as penicillin have been helping treat people since the 1940’s. However, these antibiotics can also produce harmful side effects to the body. According to the NHS, 1 in 10 people experience side effects that harm the digestive system after taking antibiotics. Additionally, according to the NHS, around 1 in 15 people are allergic to this type of medication. With natural remedies, these effects are not as prominent, unless you are already allergic to the resource itself. These various natural substances range from foods to plants, and each deliver healing properties that are just as good as produced antibiotics.

One such natural resource is garlic. All over the globe, people have praised garlic for its preventative powers. Research has shown that garlic can be an effective treatment against bacteria, including E. coli and Salmonella.

Another disease for which the use of garlic has been considered is tuberculosis. Multiple drugs have been used to treat this very aggressive disease, and it is thought that garlic can help in the fight to combat it. Different compounds within garlic are believed to be able to reduce cardiovascular diseases, assist with high blood glucose, and have anti-tumor and anti-microbial effects. Ancient Chinese and Indian medicine suggest garlic be used for respiratory and digestion issues. It is also recommended for leprosy. The healing effects garlic can have on the body have been proven throughout history by many different civilizations and cultures.

Another resource many use as a remedy is honey. In ancient Greece, honey was used as an ointment to help heal wounds and to bring out, or even prevent, infection. In modern medicine, it is still found to be helpful in treating wounds, burns, bedsores, ulcers, and skin drafts. A 2016 study states that a topical application of honey on surgical wounds can accelerate wound care and healing. The presence of honey provides a damp environment with its protective coating. The hydrogen peroxide content contributes to the antibacterial effects of the honey. In 2011, a study showed that the best-known type of honey can inhibit 60 various kinds of bacteria. It is also reported that honey can treat wounds with methicillin resistant MRSA. In addition to antibacterial purposes, honey is also a good treatment for sore throats, coughs, and seasonal allergies.

Spices are also a natural antibiotic that are used to fight many strains of bacteria. Clove, thyme, cinnamon, oregano, and cumin help to battle antibacterial and antifungal symptoms.

These spices help against food spoilage bacteria like Bacillus subtilis and Pseudomonas fluorescens, pathogens like Staphylococcus aureus and Vibrio parahaemolyticus, fungi like Aspergillus flavus, and antibiotic resistant microorganisms such as methicillin resistant Staphylococcus aureus. Spices are safe resources to use when fighting off resistant bacteria. Clove has also been used in dental procedures. If you are looking for an immune system boost, oregano can also act as an anti-oxidant and provide anti-inflammatory properties. Ginger is another spice that can be as a remedy for different afflictions. It has been reported that ginger can help with nausea and seasickness. The healing property of ginger calms the stomach and eases the feeling of becoming sick. Also, if you are looking to lower blood sugar levels, ginger can also help in that respect as well.

For many years, Native Americans, as well as other traditional healers, have used the echinacea plant to treat infections and to heal wounds. The Journal of Biomedicine and Biotechnology published a study that reports the extract Echinacea purpurea can kill various bacteria, including S. pyogenes, which is the bacteria responsible for strep throat, toxic shock syndrome, and the “flesh eating” disease known as necrotizing fasciitis. All of these bacteria can become dangerous quickly, but Echinacea can help rid them from the body. Echinacea can also assist in fighting inflammation associated with bacterial infection. Anyone looking to use Echinacea as a natural remedy can locate it in stores or online.

Another plant that can be used as a natural resource for an antibiotic is goldenseal. This herb’s dried root is commonly used to make medicine. Usually consumed in teas or capsules to help with digestive or respiratory problems, goldenseal can help combat bacterial diarrhea and urinary tract infection. A study from 2015 supports the use of goldenseal to treat skin infections as well. In a lab report, goldenseal extracts were used to prevent MRSA from damaging tissue. Goldenseal also contains berberine, which is an important component of natural antibiotics. However, this alkaloid is not safe for infants, or for women who are pregnant or breast feeding. If someone is taking prescription medications, the physician should be consulted before taking goldenseal, as this supplement could cause interference with the medications.

Myrrh extract is another natural remedy that can help to ward off harmful germs. A study conducted in 2000 reported that the extract of myrrh could kill various pathogens, such as E. coli, Staphylococcus aureus, Pseudomonas aeruginosa, and Candida albicans.

Though myrrh is usually well received, ingesting it may cause diarrhea. When applying myrrh to the skin, it may cause a small rash. Also, if taken in large dosages, myrrh can cause heart problems. When used properly, myrrh can assist in getting rid of bacteria and infection. Thyme and lavender oils can also help to kill infection and bacteria. Thyme is not to be ingested; it is for external use only. Before applying thyme to the infected area, dilute the essential oil with equal parts of a carrier oil such as coconut oil or olive oil. Applying thyme oil to an infected area before diluting can cause skin irritation or rash. Those who suffer from hyperthyroidism or high blood pressure, should not use thyme as an essential oil.

In addition to the many different types of antibiotics in the world of medicine, there are many that exist in our everyday lives that can also provide the same healing and remedies that those produced medicines can. Natural resources can become an essential part in healing, and also an easier way to get the relief needed. It is a less expensive, and sometimes more readily available, way to obtain healing antibiotics.

Herbal Teas with Health Benefits

By Serina Marshall

Every now and then, it is nice to sit down and relax with a good book and a hot cup of tea. By using specific teas for this activity, you can actually boost your immune system in the process. For nearly 5000 years, tea has been a part of various civilizations throughout the world. Dating back to China c. 2732 BC, it is said Emperor Shen Nung made the discovery of tea when a wild tree blew leaves into his boiling pot of water. The scent given off by the newly formed concoction enticed the Emperor, and he took a drink. At that moment, tea was introduced.

Herbal teas are made from dried fruits, spices, herbs, and flowers. Due to this, herbal teas can come in a variety of tastes and flavors. In addition to their delicious flavors, some herbal teas have health-benefits along with them. For hundreds of years, herbal teas have been used as natural remedies for a multitude of ailments.

The different aspects of each herbal tea present a property that can assist in immunity and other effects offering a range of benefits to the health of the person drinking it.

Chamomile tea is most often used for its calming properties and commonly used as a sleep aid. Studies have shown that chamomile tea or extract have an effect on sleep problems in humans. However, chamomile tea is not just effective as a sleep aid. It is also reported to have antibacterial, anti-inflammatory, and liver-protecting effects. Preliminary effects in mice and rats show that chamomile may also help with diarrhea and stomach ulcers. One study also found that chamomile tea reduced symptoms of premenstrual syndrome, and another study in people with type 2 diabetes saw improvements in insulin, blood glucose levels, and blood lipid levels. The effects studied on chamomile show that is does in fact have a variety of health benefits.

One of the most commonly used herbal teas in the world is peppermint tea. Peppermint tea is used to help with digestive health, but also contains antioxidants, anticancer, antibacterial, and antiviral properties.

Several studies have proven the healing properties on the digestive tract. Those studies also show that the use of peppermint oil can help relieve nausea, indigestion, and stomach pain. Evidence also reports peppermint oil assists in relieving symptoms of intestine, colon, and esophagus spasms. Peppermint oil is also said to be effective at relieving symptoms of irritable bowel syndrome. When it comes to digestive discomfort involving cramping, nausea, or indigestion, peppermint tea is an effective natural remedy.

Ginger tea is one of the most efficient and effective herbal remedies to fight nausea. Filled with antioxidants, ginger helps stimulate the immune system and fight inflammation. Studies consistently are finding that ginger is one of the best ways to combat nausea and motion sickness. Ginger may also help prevent stomach ulcers and relieve indigestion or constipation. Other symptoms that can be relieved with ginger are dysmenorrhea, and reduction of pain caused by menstruation. Persons with diabetes also benefit from ginger.

Made from the colorful flowers of the hibiscus plant, hibiscus tea is pink-red in color and has a tart, but refreshing, flavor. Hibiscus tea offers a variety of health benefits. Hibiscus tea offers antiviral properties and its extract is effective against bird flu. Several studies have reported that hibiscus tea also helps in reducing high blood pressure. Despite these reports, please be sure to avoid ingesting hibiscus tea if you’re taking hydrochlorothiazide, a diuretic medicine, as the two may have a reaction against each other. Taking aspirin with hibiscus may also shorten the effects of the aspirin, so be sure to take them at least 3-4 hours apart.

Known as a very effective way to prevent and shorten the common cold, echinacea tea shows evidence of boosting the immune system, which helps the body fight off viruses and infections. Echinacea tea can help to relieve a sore throat or cough associated with a cold, and perhaps even prevent one from coming on in full force. The effects of echinacea on the immune system show that it assists in the overall healing of such ailments as the cold.

Hailing from South Africa, the rooibos plant provides the leaves for a refreshing herbal tea. South Africans commonly used this plant for medicinal purposes. One study has shown that rooibos tea has benefits on bone health, stimulating the cells for bone growth and density. This same study found this tea lowered inflammation and cell toxicity. Preliminary evidence also shows that rooibos tea can help in preventing heart disease. Another study showed that rooibos tea inhibited an enzyme that causes blood vessels to constrict, just as a blood pressure medicine would do. Ultimately, this herb tea helps to reduce heart issues and increase bone health.

Sage tea is known for its medicinal purposes, especially when it comes to brain health. Studies have shown that sage is beneficial for cognitive function, as well as having an effect against the plaques that come along with Alzheimer’s disease. Two separate studies on sage oil saw an improvement in cognitive function in those with Alzheimer’s. Improvements also showed in mood, mental function, and memory in healthy adults. It is also reported that sage tea improved blood lipid levels, and protected against development of colon cancer. Sage tea is an effective remedy in brain and colon health.

If you are searching for a lemon flavor in your tea, while also benefiting your health, lemon balm tea helps improve the elasticity of arteries, which helps fight against heart disease, stroke, and mental decline.

This same study shows that lemon balm tea also helps with skin elasticity. Blood lipid levels are also said to be improved by lemon balm tea, as well as mood and mental performance. This herb tea also has shown reduction in the frequency of heart palpitations and anxiety. The effects of lemon balm tea tend to show improvement in various health issues.

Made from the fruit of the rose plant, rose hip tea is high in vitamin C and other beneficial plant compounds. These compounds help with anti-inflammatory properties by reducing inflammation in persons with rheumatoid arthritis and osteoarthritis. Rose hips have also been shown to help with weight management. The anti-inflammatory properties and antioxidant effects may also help to fight skin aging.

Passionflower tea is made from the leaves, stems, and flowers of the passionflower plant. This tea is used to relieve anxiety and improve sleep. Two studies found that passionflower was effective in reducing anxiety, and one of those studies reports it was effective as an anxiety-reducing medicine. A separate study showed that passionflower also helped mental symptoms of opioid withdrawal, such as anxiety, irritability, and agitation. When looking for calmness within a tea, passionflower is a definite option.

All of the above herbal teas have their own healing properties. Each brings a natural remedy to promote effective health benefits in various areas and ailments.

People who live in regions where winters are cold often note the feeling of rejuvenation they enjoy on the first warm day of late-winter or spring. The chance to get outside and soak up some sun while breathing some warm air is a feeling unlike any other for those who spend much of their winters bundled up in layers of clothing.

The value of spending time outdoors extends well beyond dusting off winter cabin fever, providing long-term benefits that might surprise even the most ardent outdoor enthusiast.

A 2018 report from researchers at the University of East Anglia found that living close to nature and spending time outside has wide-ranging health benefits, including a reduced risk for type 2 diabetes, cardiovascular disease, premature death, preterm birth, stress, and high blood pressure. Authors of the report studied data from across the globe, gathering evidence from more than 140 studies involving more than 290 million people. Researchers cannot pinpoint exactly why people who spend ample time in greenspaces enjoy better health. However, the benefits appear to be so wide-ranging as to suggest that people who currently do not spend much time in greenspaces should make a concerted effort to do so.

The following are a handful of ways busy individuals can start spending more time outdoors:

  • Dine al fresco. On nights when the weather is fair, take dinner into the great outdoors. People who live in private homes can dine on the patio or on the deck in the backyard, while apartment dwellers can make use of local parks for nighttime picnics or dine on balconies or rooftop recreational areas, which have become popular in crowded metropolitan areas. Rooftops and balconies may not pass the “Is it greenspace?” test, but dining in such areas can be more relaxing than an apartment dining nook.
  • Get off the couch. Don’t hesitate to get outside when night falls. Spend time in the backyard or go for nightly walks around the neighborhood or in a nearby park. Say so long to television binging sessions, making healthier and more beneficial use of nightly free time by utilizing nearby greenspaces.
  • Go hiking on weekends. Even city dwellers no doubt live within driving distance of local hiking areas. Hiking provides a host of cardiovascular benefits and can make for a great, full-body workout. Researchers associated with the UEA report suggested that the practice of forest bathing, which is popular in Japan and promotes spending time sitting down or lying in nature, exposes people to a diverse array of bacteria present in natural areas that may benefit the immune system and reduce inflammation. People who think that accessing nature is helping them to stay healthy aren’t wrong. In fact, making time to include nature in your daily or weekly routine can have positive and wide-ranging effects on your overall health.

TMJ Syndrome and Chronic Pain, Plus Natural Pain Relief

By Bill Wolfe D.D.S.

Symptoms, then, are in reality nothing but a cry from suffering organs. ~ Jean-Martin Charcot MD (1825 – 1893) French neurologist and professor of anatomical pathology.

Approximately 40 percent of all healthy individuals suffer from chronic headaches. One out of eight people suffer from headaches so severe that they cannot function normally. Often these problems are related to a common cause of chronic pain: TMJ Syndrome.

TMJ stands for temporomandibular joint. This joint allows the jaw to open, close, move backward and forward, and from side to side. “TMJ syndrome” refers to a malpositioning of the respective jaw structures and associated muscles. This condition results in muscle contractions, which are a factor in approximately 80 percent of all tension related headaches. Some 75 million Americans are affected, but only about five percent are actually diagnosed correctly and treated.

If you have any of the following symptoms, you may be suffering from TMJ Syndrome:

  • Headaches, earaches and sinus pain
  • Dizziness and/or lightheadedness
  • Ringing, buzzing or clogged ears
  • Pain, spasms or tightening in the neck, shoulders, or face
  • Clicking or popping noises when opening or closing the jaw
  • Inability to open the mouth fully
  • Locking of the jaw joint
  • Pain behind the eyes
  • Loss of upper body strength with teeth closed

Only the lower jaw (mandible) moves via the TMJ; the upper jaw (maxilla) is a fixed part of the skull. Where the teeth close together the best determines the position of the mandible, which may or may not be where the muscles and ligaments want to be. The muscles will assume whatever position is dictated by the teeth.

Muscles are composed of bundles of muscle fibers, which have a certain resting length at which they operate the best – their “physiological rest position.” At this position, the muscles are in their most relaxed and strongest position. If not, the muscle fibers will be tensed. This tense contraction impedes blood circulation and energy flow, resulting in muscle spasms and cramping.

In treating TMJ, there are those dentists who use only the anatomical landmarks of the skull in its relationship to the lower jaw and those, such as myself, who use the “neuromuscular” concept, which focuses on where the muscles want the jaw to be, instead of where the teeth want the jaw to be. An acrylic “splint” can then be fabricated, fitting over the lower teeth, altering the way the upper and lower teeth fit together, relocating the jaw to the “physiological rest position” of the muscles. The patient then responds better to other treatments (physical therapy, chiropractic, craniosacral, etc.), to assist their recovery and help eliminate muscle trigger points, and adapt to the new jaw positioning.

When muscles begin to relax, the patient will notice that when not wearing the splint, the teeth no longer fit together in the same way, as the jaw is adapting to its new relaxed muscular positioning. Therefore, the final phase of TMJ treatment is to alter the way in which the teeth fit together, so that the patient’s jaw is in the physiological rest position, even when not wearing the splint, eliminating fatigue, cramping and other associated symptoms.

TMJ syndrome can cause a lifetime of suffering. However, through increased awareness and appropriate treatment, the quality of life for people with this syndrome can be greatly enhanced.

From Shirley MacLaine’s recent book, Above the Line:

“Some seventy-five million Americans are affected by TMJ syndrome, but only about 5 percent of all TMJ patients are actually diagnosed correctly and treated for their problem. I am one of them. Luckily, I found Dr. Bill Wolfe, who constructed a customized splint that I wear over the top of my lower teeth to alter the way the upper and lower jaw fit together to stabilize my entire spinal column. I wear it twenty-four hours a day except when eating. Thanks to the brilliance of Dr. Wolfe, my long-standing back pain and neck pain, the result of decades of overuse as a dancer, has resolved itself. I’m achieving long-term correction and stability of my spine and enjoying dramatic relief of my chronic pain that I was convinced was going to require surgical intervention. Instead, perhaps the creative expression from my voice had to be balanced with the earth-plane stability of my teeth and muscles in my mouth.”

I have had chronic TMJ issues for many years. As a result, I have broken several teeth and have had pain in my jaw, back and neck for around 20 years or more. I started seeing Dr. Wolfe upon recommendation of Dr. Pamela Costello, MD, Holistic Neurological Medicine, whom I am seeing for chronic health issues. Dr. Wolfe recommended a splint to correct my bite. When I began wearing it, my jaws were a bit sore as the splint was actually realigning my bite! Within just a few days or more, I noticed a significant difference in the lack of soreness and tension in my jaw. Also, my back, neck and shoulders felt more aligned with less muscle stress. There was even improvement in my posture! Obviously, I am so blessed to have met Dr. Wolfe and to have experienced pain relief beyond TMJ issues. He is truly knowledgable in dentistry and overall health. Thanks, Dr. Wolfe!

Erica, Johnson City, TN

I’ve been wearing my splint for a couple months now to help correct my TMJ. I have a prominent curve in my spine, and I have noticed that after a couple of weeks of wearing the splint, that I was not feeling the torque in my body from the curve in my spine. I started feeling much stronger and confident especially after doing my PT work and getting my chiropractic adjustments done.

Another thing I noticed was that before the splint I would tend to lean on one foot more than the other when standing due to the spinal curvature and misaligned pelvis. Now I feel balanced when I stand, and I don’t lean on one leg anymore. I also used to get at least a couple headaches a week before the splint and now I barely get any at all, and it’s great! Dr. Wolfe is an amazing person and he knows how to explain and help you throughout the journey in ways so that you can understand what’s fully going on with your body.

Victoria, Johnson City, TN

For many years I have experienced severe neck and shoulder pain despite regular chiropractic care. I attended a demonstration of holistic dental practitioner, Dr. Bill Wolfe and learned of his amazing work using dental splints to align the jaw. This, in turn, helps the spine to align more completely and aide the body to heal itself. I wore the splint for a few months and was delighted when my pain level reduced significantly! On a scale of 1-10, my pain level was as high as 8 before the splint and is now a level 2-3. I am very pleased with my progress and expect to see continued improvement.
I highly recommend Dr. Wolfe’s holistic dentistry practice.

N. W., Virgina

“I love my mouthpiece!”

Jamie Hyatt, RN, Elizabethton

TMJ Syndrome, although not a threat to longevity, can cause a lifetime of suffering. However, with proper diagnosis and treatment, the quality of life for people with this syndrome can be greatly enhanced.

Dr.Wolfe graduated from the University of Texas at Austin in 1968 and received his dental degree from Baylor College of Dentistry in 1972.

Dr. Wolfe practices in Johnson City, Tennessee, focusing on “Biological Dentistry,” which includes the principles of kinesiology and homeopathy.

Dr. Wolfe is also a board-certified naturopathic physician, and an international speaker. His speaking engagements include: The British Homeopathic Dental Association; The International College of Applied Kinesiology; and the International Association of Oral Medicine and Toxicology, Royal Society of Medicine, to name just a few.

Call my office: 423-461-0073 for a complimentary TMJ evaluation or visit for more information.

Your Healthy Brain and the Role of Environmental Medicine

By Pamela Costello, MD

As a medical doctor of 28 years, an operating neurosurgeon for much of that time, as well as a published neuroscientist of over 30 years, I’ve had extensive exposure and insights into the true basis of neurological disease. I have additionally further trained and specialized in environmental medicine, allowing me insights to diagnose the influences of the environment on our nervous systems, along with the mechanisms of repair and recovery, in treating the underlying base causes of neuroinflammatory diseases.

The natural progression of neuroinflammatory disease results in neurodegenerative disease, and most neurodegenerative disease is without potential cure by traditional medicine. Furthermore, when pharmaceutical agents are used in an attempt to slow the disease process, the side effects of those agents can be substantial, as these drugs are not removing or reversing the true underlying cause of the illness. However, when the root causes, such as neurotoxins and low grade infections, are identified and addressed, the neuroinflammatory processes can be reversed.

Environmental neurotoxins include substances that enter the body beginning at conception, crossing the placenta, with continued exposure throughout our lives via contaminated air, water, food substances, dental amalgams, pharmaceuticals, cosmetics, perfumes and hygiene products, as well as insecticides, herbicides, fungicides, etc. These acquired toxins create an inflammatory response in the nervous tissues, as well as potentially cause cell death. As our environment becomes increasingly saturated with these toxins, so do our nervous and immune systems. An environmental medicine approach addresses the basis of illness by identifying these root causes, including both historical and potential ongoing exposures.

As the burden of industrial, man made toxins accumulates in our air, soil, and water, they also accumulate in our nervous and immune systems.

Although increasing numbers of Americans are becoming aware of the concept of environmental medicine, standard medicine (which is largely run on a pharmaceutical driven “pill for a disease” model), lags slowly behind. While allopathic medicines and surgeries provide life-saving intervention in the acute, or emergency, setting they are far less appropriate in managing chronic disease or in preventing disease. The rise of environmental toxins has become stratospheric, thus mandating a dramatic refocusing of our healthcare system’s attention, as well as that of the public. This awareness is necessary in order to offer any hope to curb the epidemic rise in neuroinflammatory illness, and provide effective curative treatment to those already afflicted.

As the burden of industrial, man made toxins accumulates in our air, soil, and water, they also accumulate in our nervous and immune systems. After generations of toxins saturating our environment, we now are faced with the problem of toxic saturation in ourselves, through the process of bioaccumulation. Furthermore, while many are aware of the causes of acute poisoning, very little of current healthcare deals with bioaccumulation, or the chronic storage or accumulation of toxins in our brains, nervous tissue, immune tissue, bones, organs and other body tissues. Such accumulation results in inflammation and malfunctioning of the cells, glands, and organ systems.

Fortunately, awareness of and general knowledge about hazardous substances in our environment and surroundings is increasing. Numerous risks are continuously reduced by law, certainly through The Clean Air and Water acts, as well as the World Ban on Mercury. Although we might expect people to get increasingly healthier, more and more symptoms are manifesting and, unfortunately, with technological progress, new chemical substances keep entering into our environment and are considered absolutely harmless, until proven otherwise.

Fortunately, awareness of and general knowledge about hazardous substances in our environment and surroundings is increasing.

The good news is that environmental medicine is concerned with the causes and effects this environmental impact has on human health. Beginning with a thorough examination and investigation, treatment then follows, which entails both removing further exposures, as well as beginning the healing process by safely clearing the body of the absorbed toxins.The detoxification process stimulates the kidneys, liver, skin, and lymphatic system, and administers safe approaches, e.g. herbal substances and antioxidants, to absorb and discharge these toxins.

If you’d like a comprehensive brain health/neurotoxin burden assessment and treatment plan for your best brain health, please contact my office at 423-461-0073 and see my website

Honeybees are humble insects that benefit the environment in various ways. Unfortunately, many people lump bees in with wasps and other seemingly “harmful” insects and do whatever is necessary to remove them from their properties. But it’s important to be mindful of the beneficial roles bees play and to take steps to maintain healthy habitats so they can thrive.

Bees are one of the most important pollinators of flowers, crops and fruit trees. These small insects can make or break entire food supplies. They also pollinate clover and alfalfa that provide feed for cattle. Some experts place the economic value of bees at roughly $15 billion per year.

A consortium of universities and research laboratories that reported to The White House in 2015 found that beekeepers lost 42.1 percent of their colonies between 2014 and 2015. Bee populations continue to decline. According to the conservation organization Save the Bees, recent surveys suggest close to a 99 percent loss in bees over the last 150 years, primarily due to increasing agricultural intensification.

To combat this sharp decline in bee populations, people from all walks of life can do their part to help bees thrive once again. And by helping bees, individuals also may indirectly help other beneficial pollinating insects, such as butterflies.

Be aware of the landscape
Not all bees build the wax or paper structures associated with traditional beehives. Those hives may not be readily visible even for bees that do build them. Wood-nesting bees can nest in twigs or dead trees. Bees may nest underground or use the burrows abandoned by small rodents. Before excavating or disturbing more remote areas of the yard, check to see if it is a habitat for bees. Leave some natural areas of the landscape untouched and do not remove twigs, mounds of dirt and native flowers to attract more bees.

Plant native flowers and flowering trees
Offer bees plenty of flowering choices so they’ll be happy to come investigate. Native flowers are best because they will be most familiar. Try to plant an array that will flower at different times of the year. Simple flowers will offer more readily available access to pollen than hybrid or exotic varieties bred to produce mounding petals.

Leave swatches of natural lawn
Instead of properties featuring an entire manicured lawn, set aside an area that is encouraged to overgrow with dandelions and clovers, which are good nectar sources for many bees.

Support local beekeepers
If you find a honey bee swarm on your property, contact a local beekeeper who may be able to safely collect and relocate that swarm so it will produce honey and provide the additional benefits associated with healthy bees. People can also support beekeepers’ work by purchasing local honey. Not only does it keep jobs in the area, but some research also suggests that consuming local honey can help reduce seasonal allergies. WebMD says the practice is based on immunotherapy. Local honey contains traces of local pollen that may be responsible for seasonal allergies. Repeated exposure to small doses of this pollen might help bodies develop natural immunities.

Bees can be quite beneficial to have around, and it can be an enjoyable venture to customize landscapes to support the propagation of wild bees.

The way to a person’s heart may be through his or her stomach in more ways than one. Doctors have tied heart health to the abdomen, and having extra pounds around one’s middle can be detrimental to cardiovascular well-being.

Excess visceral fat in the belly, something doctors refer to as “central adiposity,” may have potentially dangerous consequences. While the link between belly fat and heart health has long been associated with men, women may be even more vulnerable to the adverse health effects of belly fat. A study published in March 2018 in the Journal of the American Heart Association examined 500,000 people between the ages of 40 and 69. Participants had their body measurements taken, and then were kept track of for heart attack occurrence over the next seven years. During that period, the women who carried more weight around their middles (measured by waist circumference, waist-to-hip ratio or waist-to-height ratio) had a 10 to 20 percent greater risk of heart attack than women who were just heavier over all.

Belly fat is particularly dangerous because it doesn’t just include the insulating, or subcutaneous, fat under the skin. It is largely visceral fat that also surrounds the organs in the abdomen. Harvard Medical School reports that visceral fat is metabolically active and has been strongly linked to a host of serious diseases, including heart disease, diabetes, cancer, and dementia.

Visceral fat is like an endocrine organ that secretes hormones and a host of other chemicals linked to diseases that can affect adults. One substance is called retinol-binding protein 4 (RBP4), which has been tied to an increased risk of coronary heart disease. In 2015, a study published in the Annals of Internal Medicine found that normal-weight people with excessive belly fat had a higher risk of dying of heart disease or any other cause compared with people without central obesity.

The online health and wellness resource Medical News Today says doctors determine belly fat to be a problem when a woman’s waist measures 35 inches or more and a man’s 40 inches or more. MRIs also can be used as a fat analyzer and will be judged on a scale of 1 to 59. A measurement of 13 and under is desireable.

The Mayo Clinic advises that poor diet and fitness habits can contribute to belly fat. As people age, they may have to make more drastic changes to their diets and exercise regimens to counteract changes in their metabolisms. Eliminating sugary beverages, watching portion sizes, counting calories, doing moderate aerobic activity daily, and choosing healthier foods can help tame visceral fat. Also, doctors may recommend those who are stressed to try stress-busting techniques, as stress also may be tied to excessive belly fat.

Belly fat should not be overlooked, as its presence can greatly increase a person’s risk for various diseases.

It is impossible to dispute the many ways technology has positively affected the world. Tech has made interacting and collaborating with people from all corners of the planet as convenient as conversing with a next door neighbor. Technology also has changed the face of education, making it possible for students from all walks of life to easily access a wealth of information at the click of a button.

For all of its many attributes, technology has its drawbacks as well. One of the notable detriments is the “always on” reality of tech, as well as the ability to become addicted to such instant gratification. Few adults and children can spend more than a few minutes without checking their devices.

According to a report in the Daily Telegraph, on average people are online 24 hours a week, twice as long as 10 years ago. One in five adults spends as much as 40 hours a week online. According to Common Sense Media, teens spend an average of nine hours a day online, compared to about six hours for kids between the ages of eight and 12 and 50 minutes for children eight years old and younger.

Technology also has blurred the lines that distinguish work and personal time. Gone are the days of leaving the office behind when the workday ends in early evening. Today’s workers can take work home, work remotely and even check work emails or put in some hours while on vacation. Children, too, can pay a price as a result of engaging with technology. For example, various studies indicate more than half of adolescents and teens have been bullied online.

These tips may help adults and children regain control and find balance in a tech-driven world.

  • Set strict usage times. According to Net Nanny, a technology and internet watchdog site, being plugged into devices, on an almost continual basis, directly affects the brain by keeping it in a state of constant stimulation. This can make it difficult for the brain to get the downtime it needs to recharge. Limit hours of screen time, and wind down at least an hour or so before bed.
  • Put devices on silent. If you or your children cannot resist the lure of devices, set them on silent or put them out of sight and out of reach at key times during the day.
  • Beef up in-person socialization. Instead of texting or emailing, speak with friends, family and coworkers in person.
  • Increase exercise. Time spent outdoors away from computers or other devices can be beneficial to the mind and body.
  • Find alternative solutions. Rather than running an internet search every time you have a question, look up answers in a book, travel to learn about new things, experience new hobbies, and immerse yourself in the physical world with renewed vigor.

Tech has changed the world, but it doesn’t have to consume people’s daily lives. With some mindfulness, individuals can find the right balance.

Meditation has long been part of Eastern practices and recommended by alternative health practitioners. With the widespread adoption of yoga, breathing exercises and general mindfulness, meditation has become much more mainstream and something many traditional physicians now recommend to their patients.

According to the yoga equipment supply company Gaiam, meditation is an approach to training the mind that is similar to the way athletes train their bodies. Many meditation techniques exist, and the term meditation refers to an overall discipline rather than one specific activity. People who have been meditating for some time may be able to rest their brains for extended periods of time. Some may need to work up to it. Others practice focus-specific meditation, which makes them focus on a sensation or a particular object to tune out other distractions. Another option is open-monitoring meditation, which involves paying attention to all of one’s surroundings. Instead of reacting, you just notice things as they are.
The brand-building company Buffer says that meditation produces measurable changes in the brain. Modern technology like MRI scans show a decrease in beta waves during meditation. Those waves normally indicate that the brain is processing information. Meditation helps to slow or stop that processing.

Meditation has been long studied as a way to induce relaxation and help alleviate stress. In the 1970s, Herbert Benson, MD, a researcher at Harvard University Medical School, coined the term “relaxation response.” In Benson’s words, this is “an opposite, involuntary response that causes a reduction in the activity of the sympathetic nervous system.” Meditation helps achieve that.

Meditation may produce many different health results. Some are immediate, and others are cumulative. Here are some changes a person may see:

  • better focus while not meditating
  • reduced anxiety
  • lower blood pressure
  • lower blood cortisol levels
  • greater feelings of well-being
  • reduced feelings of stress
  • ability to cope better with challenging situations
  • potential benefits on immune system function

Meditation is a skill someone learns with practice. It’s never too early or too late to learn how to meditate. Online courses and neighborhood studios can help people get on the road to wellness through meditation.