people using phones

Electrosmog: The Pollution of the Future

Radiation exists on a spectrum. Life on earth has always been subjected to radiation from the sun and other 'natural' sources. Nowadays, radiation can also come from engineered sources, such as nuclear weapons or power plant accidents, and be devastating to life.

There are two types of radiation: ionizing and non-ionizing. Far UV, X-rays, gamma-rays, and particle radiation from radioactive decay are considered as ionizing radiation. Near UV, visible light, microwave, infrared, radio waves, and low-frequency radio frequency are all examples of non-ionizing radiation. We are taught that ionizing radiation has the energy to damage DNA, whereas non-ionizing radiation does not. For the most part, our cells have the capacity to efficiently correct damage to DNA caused by radiation from the sun and space, aka. 'background radiation.' If we didn’t, our species and many others would have become extinct long ago. The proven negative health implication of frequent exposure to ionizing radiation is that it is a risk for exceeding the repair mechanism of DNA. This could result in impaired cell metabolism and subsequent disease states, including cancer. Our cells have some capacity to heal from ionizing radiation, such as UV light from the sun or x-ray imaging, but only to a certain extent. This is the reason why exposure to these types of radiation ought to be moderated, which is the reason for wearing sunscreen and considering the risks vs benefits of having a medical x-ray performed.

Non-ionizing radiation is generally considered not to be a hazard to health. However, the amount of this radiation we are exposed to today is not the same as it always has been. Radiation in our environment has exponentially increased in the last few decades due to technological advances in smart electronics, cell towers, smart meters, and Wi-Fi, to name a few. These kinds of radiation are commonly referred to as electromagnetic frequencies, or EMFs. With so much current exposure to EMFs the question is not “does radiation affect our health?”, but rather “how does radiation affect our health?” Currently, general scientific thought maintains that non-ionizing radiation poses no health risk. However, there is growing concern and evidence that exposure can affect health through increasing free radicals, damaging DNA, activating the stress response, infertility, neurological effects, and altering enzyme reactions.

Some compelling research includes an epidemiological study correlating increased incidence of certain cancers in children living under power lines.(1) There is also evidence that MRI imaging, which involves a relatively large exposure to EMFs, can damage DNA.(2)  One study showed decreased sperm count, motility, viability, and structure in male mobile phone users.(3) Another study indicated that EMFs reduce the brain’s ability to make melatonin, a hormone important for sleep, also found to perhaps be important in preventing cancer.(4)  EMFs can even alter the growth of the vital bacteria that live on our skin and in our gut.(5) The European Academy for Environmental Medicine recognizes a medical condition called electromagnetic hypersensitivity - individuals who are more susceptible and sensitive to EMF exposure. 

In today’s world it is nearly impossible to completely distance ourselves from EMFs. However, efforts should be made to reduce exposure to EMFs. Here are some ways to accomplish this:

  1. Keep mobile devices of out of pockets and in airplane mode whenever possible
  2. Refrain from wearing devices
  3. Use a speaker as opposed to holding devices to your ear
  4. Limit time spent on devices or take breaks
  5. Turn off wireless routers whenever possible, especially during the night
  6. Avoid installing smart meters (or at the least, shield them if they are mandated by your electric company)
  7. Invest in curtains or canopies that shield EMFs
  8. Unplug in the bedroom. If you suspect EMFs are impacting your health, please contact your Reboot Center or other integrative medicine provider.

References:

  1. Lin RS, Lee WC. Risk of childhood leukemia in areas passed by high power lines. Rev Environ Health. 1994;10(2):97-103.
  2. Hill MA, O'neill P, Mckenna WG. Comments on potential health effects of MRI-induced DNA lesions: quality is more important to consider than quantity. Eur Heart J Cardiovasc Imaging. 2016;17(11):1230-1238.
  3. Agarwal A, Deepinder F, Sharma RK, Ranga G, Li J. Effect of cell phone usage on semen analysis in men attending infertility clinic: an observational study. Fertil Steril 2008;89(1):124–8. 
  4. Halgamuge MN. Critical time delay of the pineal melatonin rhythm in humans due to weak electromagnetic exposure. Indian J Biochem Biophys. 2013;50(4):259-65.
  5. Crabtree DPE, Herrera BJ, Kang S. The response of human bacteria to static magnetic field and radiofrequency electromagnetic field. J Microbiol. 2017;55(10):809-815.

Fresh healing herbs

Homeopathy Basics for Beginners & Skeptics

"What is homeopathy, really?"... We integrative physicians get this question a LOT! 

Homeopathy is commonly confused with naturopathic or herbal medicine. It is not a synonym, but rather a specific modality used within the broad scope of natural medicine. It emerged through observation of the phenomena that “like cures like” in the 18th century. 

Homeopathic remedies are dilute preparations of natural substances sourced from plants, minerals, and even metals or animals. The medicines are typically so dilute that there is not a detectible whole particle of the original substance left (it is mainly water). Homeopathic medicines work through using a specific noxious but minute stimulus to encourage the body's natural ability to heal. This means it is fairly gentle and low-risk.

Sounds great, but how do I know that homeopathy really works?

Since the way homeopathy works seems a little, well, "woo", it rightfully attracts a healthy amount of skepticism. I myself had to be convinced that homeopathy was effective through using it as a patient, as a doctor, and by staying informed about well-designed research studies. 

My personal experience

This is what really got me hooked on homeopathy. As an ND student at Bastyr University, I seemed to have a knack for homeopathic prescribing. I figured I should also try it as a patient because I was a little skeptical about its effectiveness. I had some chronic health conditions and had already tried just about everything to minimize my need for pharmaceutical medications with negative effects. My diet was healthy and clean, I exercised, and I took many herbs and supplements. However, there was something deeper that none of those medicines truly touched. I was left with some very pesky health challenges. Some of the remedies my homeopath had prescribed resolved aspects of my illnesses permanently, quickly and obviously. Other times, healing was more gradual, but sticking with it as part of my regular health care has been priceless. 

As a doctor, I find great joy seeing people who have also tried so many things finally get relief with the right homeopathic remedy. It also works well for those new to naturopathic medicine or with limited resources.

Research in homeopathy 

For folks who also enjoy research, here are brief highlights from a few of my favorite published studies:

A case study that one of my teachers spearheaded showed the successful treatment of chronic Hepatitis C using homeopathy. As Hepatitis C progresses, it causes liver fibrosis that is considered irreversible. Remarkably, in one of the cases, a liver biopsy confirmed that after homeopathic treatment, the patient’s liver fibrosis had reversed (1).

A very well-designed randomized, double-blind clinical trial showed individualized homeopathy to be a safe and effective treatment for depression and menopausal symptoms when compared with both placebo and a standard, well-researched antidepressant, Fluoxetine (Prozac). Side effects were minimal. Both homeopathy and fluoxetine were found to be effective antidepressants for improving depression in climacteric women after a 6-week treatment; additionally, homeopathy, but not fluoxetine, was found to improve menopausal symptoms (2).

"I've tried homeopathy that I picked up over-the-counter, but I am not sure it helped."

I have heard this many times. I almost wish that it was not available over the counter, because that is not how it was intended to be used.

Classical, or constitutional, homeopathic medicine is highly individualized with over 3,000 remedies your practitioner can choose from to match to your specific symptoms. There are remedies that are commonly used and fairly simple to prescribe, ie Arnica for muscle injuries. However, I recommend seeing an experienced homeopath in most cases, since they have the skill set to prescribe remedies that are more likely to work well.

A 2012 NHIS survey found that “homeopathy users who saw a practitioner were significantly more likely to feel that homeopathy was ‘very important in maintaining health and well-being’ and that it helped their health condition ‘a great deal’ than were homeopathy users who did not see a practitioner” (3).

When to consider homeopathy as part of your medical care

Most of my experience and training is in using classical homeopathy to treat mental health and neuropsychiatric disorders. For example, I have seen improve conditions in OCD, ADHD, autism, bipolar disorder and schizophrenia, as well as PANS and PANDAS, which are pediatric neuropsychiatric conditions associated with infections. However, it can be used in many other types of conditions, and I have used it for other complaints such as heart palpitations, chronic vaginal pain and/or bacterial infections, chronic sinusitis or digestive complaints.

If you are curious about homeopathic medicine, we offer 15 minute complimentary meet-and-greet visits, at which time we can determine if homeopathy may be a good fit for you and your health needs.

Resources:

  1. Sarter, B., Banerji, P., & Banerji, P. (2012). successful treatment of Chronic Viral Hepatitis With High-dilution Medicine. Global advances in health and medicine, 1(1), 26-29.
  2. Del Carmen Macías-Cortés, E., Llanes-González, L., Aguilar-Faisal, L., & Asbun-Bojalil, J. (2015). Individualized homeopathic treatment and fluoxetine for moderate to severe depression in peri-and postmenopausal women (HOMDEP-MENOP study): a randomized, double-dummy, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial. PLoS One, 10(3), e0118440.
  3. Dossett, M. L., Davis, R. B., Kaptchuk, T. J., & Yeh, G. Y. (2016). Homeopathy use by US adults: results of a national survey. American journal of public health, 106(4), 743-745.

chocolate mousse

Dairy-Free Chocolate Mousse

Here's an easy, simple chocolate mousse recipe, perfected by our very own Gwendolyn, that can be whipped into an amazingly gourmet-tasting and uber-healthy dessert in no time. Plus, it is dairy-free and gluten-free, and thus caters to many diets. Top with fresh raspberries or strawberries and coconut shavings and YUM!

Dairy-Free Chocolate Mousse

  • large avocado (should be perfectly ripe for best results)
  • 1/4 cup raw cocoa powder
  • 1/4 cup almond or coconut milk (found in natural food section of most grocery stores)
  • 2 tsp stevia or other natural sweetener (substitutes: maple syrup, birch syrup, coconut sugar)
  • 1 tsp natural vanilla extract
  1. Purée the avocado until smooth, either by hand or in a food processor.
  2. Add the cocoa powder and milk and purée until combined.
  3. Stir in the sweetener of choice, vanilla extract, and any extra ingredients (toasted almonds add a lovely crunch, and frozen berries give the mousse a great fruity twang) and mix well.
  4. Transfer the mousse to individual bowls and store in the fridge until ready to eat.
  5. Top with optional extras prior to serving.

Blend up and enjoy! Double or triple++ the recipe and spread the love.

Dessert