A Summer Prescription from Dr. Ron Stram
Welcome to Summer!
Hippocrates had said over 2000 years ago that the path to wellness is found in clean air, fresh water, healthy food and exercise- a timeless prescription still written today for good health and well-being.
A Prescription to Move
Now that the days are longer, there can be more time to set aside for outdoor exercise. We can abandon those self-defeating thoughts of winter, "I just don't have time". Even after a long day at the office, you can be inspired by the sunlight still lingering to take a brisk walk, bike ride, or swim before or even after dinner. Set a goal: target achieving a sustained 30-45 minute heart rate equal to 220 minus your age times 0.7.
A Prescription for Breathing
Summer is a time to get closer to nature-visit your local parks on a crisp clear day and take in the fresh air and the beauty around you. Or choose to be outdoors in your own backyard. Take the time to rest with nature: look, listen and feel. Practice the 4-7-8 breathing exercise: sit comfortably with your head and neck straight, keep your eyes closed, and focus on your breath. Inhale through your nose to a count of four; hold the breath for a count of seven; and exhale slowly for a count of eight. Repeat this four times. This simple activity reduces heart rate and blood pressure and can be a helpful tool to manage stress reactions.
A Prescription for Water: How Much
Your body is worth its weight in water. Seventy percent of your body weight is made up of water. Stay hydrated! Maintain water intake of half an ounce per pound of body weight; so for example, a 140 pound female, needs 70 oz of water intake per day. Bring a water bottle with you to work and have one in your fridge to finish when you get home. This will also keep you energized throughout the day, help prevent fatigue, headaches and overeating. Remember too, that during moderate exercise one should drink half an ounce of water per minute of exercise in addition to the daily water prescription above.
A Prescription for Healthy Food Choices
Take advantage of the abundance of fresh, seasonal organic produce available through many local farmers' markets. Choose fruits and vegetables that have the deepest colors; these are the richest in anti-oxidant characteristics that can keep your body under less oxidative stress due to environmental exposures, such as toxic household chemicals, primary and secondary smoke inhalation as well as the general aging processes that our bodies undergo. The best fruit choices in this category are blueberries, blackberries, raspberries, red grapes, and cherries. The blueberry has the highest ant-oxidant content of all berries and has been shown to enhance the immune system reducing the risk of many diseases. Green leafy vegetables such as kale, swisschard, both red and green, and spinach offer these healthful qualities as well as essential vitamins and minerals that can help reduce blood pressure and maintain healthy metabolic processes.
It is a continued privilege for me and all the staff at the Center to be a part of your path to wellness. I wish everyone a healthy and joyous summer!
Stories from the Center by Ron Stram, MD
Welcome to our new Stories from the Center section of our newsletter. Everyone has a story and if we listen, it can touch our hearts in a way that can make us feel more connected to one another as a human community. Stories teach. It is in the "his-story" alone, taken during a consultation that sometimes up to ninety percent of diagnoses and treatments may be revealed. But the practitioner must take the time to listen well beyond the spoken word and listen too to the wealth of information revealed from facial expressions and the body language of the patient as well. In fact, the value of information from studying facial expressions is seen more and more as crucial to the art of the medical interview among some highly ranked medical schools which require its students to study the paintings of Master artists. Integrative Medicine embraces this artful power of the dynamic relationship when the patient becomes the teacher and the practitioner is the student.
In this section, my colleagues at the Center and I will share stories that have been inspirational to us as health care practitioners sharing the journey towards healing with our patients and hope that they will inspire others to share their own stories as they discover their own path to wellness.
Healing Without the Cure
Ron Stram, MD
Many people are diagnosed with conditions that have no cure. They tend to be chronic and progressive such as cancers, diabetes and heart disease. Yet, no one wants to be labeled "sick" for the rest of their lives; we want to believe we will get better, no matter what the diagnosis may be.
Walking out to the reception area to meet my new patient in her early 50’s, I found "Mary" sitting with a worn expression of sadness- a sight that is not uncommon in people who suffer from chronic debilitating illness; yet when we shook hands, she looked up at me and smiled with a look of hope in her eyes that our encounter might offer a new and positive direction. As we walked to our consultation room, I noticed that her stride was self directed as if she had walked this familiar path to a physician’s office many, many times before. Not long into our conversation, Mary revealed that she had extreme fatigue, and felt weariness from her illness. She had been given a "sentence" from previous doctors that her illness would eventually cause her death and that she would suffer from a chronic diminution of her physical wellbeing. In the course of our consultation, I asked Mary what made her happy? What gives her strength? In the next moment, a glint of light appeared in her eyes as she shifted her gaze upward. She spoke about her sculpting hobby; it was her passion. So we decided to focus our attention on reducing the fatigue and pain in her hands so that she could go back to sculpting. Guided imagery was started at our first session to give Mary a tool to find her own inner strength to help change the perception of her disease in her own mind and to help her regain hope. In the coming weeks, treatments such as hydrotherapy, micro nutritional supplementation, acupuncture and dietary changes were followed simultaneously.
It was a privilege to watch Mary take control of her life. Her perseverance with her treatment plan paid off. Mary’s symptoms improved. Mary learned to adjust her time in the studio working less hours in a day than before her illness. Her new sculpture took more time to create but perhaps gave her a greater sense of accomplishment. Despite her diagnosis, Mary found ways to redefine herself and live her life with her disease.
Mary’s story is a reminder that there are great strides that can be achieved in life with the simple offering of compassion, caring and support of the human spirit. Mary needed to feel like she was more than a patient destined to a fate of illness but a human being whose capacity for living and enjoying life was still vibrant.
Lyme Disease: How to Avoid it, What to look for and What to do
Korey DiRoma, Naturopathic Doctor Lyme Disease is common in this part of the country. Now that it is summer time, there will be more people spending time outdoors. There are many beautiful areas in this part of the country, and these are the months that people will be enjoying them by hiking, camping, boating, kayaking, etc. Let's take the fear of Lyme Disease out of the equation for summertime fun. Here's how.
Lyme Disease: the Bacteria and the Tick
Let me first tell you about Lyme Disease and how it is transmitted. The disease is caused by the bacteria called Borrelia Burgdorferi. This particular bacteria lives in certain animals, mainly the field mouse and the white-tailed deer. Borrelia is then transmitted by the Ixodes tick, or, more commonly known as the deer tick. Not only does the mouse or deer have to be infected by the bacteria, but the bacteria also have to be in a certain stage of its life cycle, thus not all deer ticks can transmit the bacteria. Due to the lifecycle of the bacteria in the tick, the tick must be attached to your skin for at least 24 hours before the bacteria can be transmitted from the tick. Hence, out of all the people who get bitten by a deer tick in an endemic area (Connecticut for example) only about 1% actually get Lyme Disease. So this means that even if you get bitten by a tick, your chances of actually getting Lyme Disease are low.
So What Should You Do If You Notice a Tick Bite? Again, only 1% will become infected. The first sign of infection is typically a red rash that grows in size over 2-3 weeks if untreated by antibiotics. In fact often times it is called a "target lesion" due to the appearance of the rash. If at anytime you notice a rash like this after having been bit by a tick, you should see your Primary Care Provider immediately.
After the rash, and if one remains infected, generalized symptoms such as fatigue or discomfort may occur. Only 33% of people who get the rash will develop any further symptoms. These symptoms most commonly include arthritis and neurologic symptoms.
Antibody tests are used to sometimes determine if a person has been infected by Borrelia. However these tests are often not that accurate due to a lack of national standardizations, and because of the number of false positives and negatives.
What is the Treatment if you are Infected?
Therefore, once infected and experiencing symptoms, antibiotics should be started immediately. We recommend using natural anti-biotics at the same time to augment the treatment plan and Pro-biotics to help increase the functioning of the immune system. Because we know that the cause of Lyme Disease is the bacteria Borrelia, it is important that our treatment plan eradicates the bacteria while still maintaining optimal health for the patient.
ther natural treatments for Lyme Disease are supportive and help with the symptoms of the disease. We recommend using natural anti-inflammatories for joint pain. Certain B vitamins can help with neurologic symptoms. Medicinal mushrooms help support the activity of your immune system as well and would be beneficial.
How to Avoid that Sneaky Tick
For prevention, remember to wear light long sleeves and pants when in the woods, camping, or hiking. Tucking your pants into white socks will also make ticks more visible for removal. Use of bug repellant sprays can be helpful. Always check for ticks on your skin! Remember, they have to be attached for 24 hours to become infected. Have a friend check your neck and back, and continually scan your arms and legs.
The threat of Lyme Disease should not keep you from enjoying activities, just take these simple precautions and you'll be on your way to enjoying your summer.
How to Keep Muscle Pain from Spoiling Your Summertime Fun
Sue Coughtry, LMT Summer is a time of lots of outdoor activities. People want to get into "swimsuit shape"; people are gardening, doing lawn work, fixing up the house or garage, cleaning out attics. It's the time for outdoor sports and activities - swimming, running, baseball and soccer. You get the picture. It's also a time when a number of people get hurt.
You can avoid a lot of this trouble by warming up before you get active. Some light stretches (save the serious stretching for after the activity when you're nicely warmed up) and starting out slowly make a huge difference in avoiding muscle strain. An example is to do a few light stretches before you start running, and then start out by walking fast for a bit and then jogging before you get into that full run. Cooling down after the activity is also very important. That involves slowing down at the end of the activity. Then a good set of stretches is very effective for keeping those muscles healthy. This goes for sports as well as work and chores - allow for time to warm up and to cool down.
Be sure to drink plenty of water when you're exercising or working outside in the hot summer sun. See Dr. Stram's prescription for water intake in this newsletter. Do your outdoor workouts or the heaviest work of the day (if you can) during the early morning or evening hours when the temperature is lower. On the hottest days, either skip the heaviest outdoor exercise, find somewhere inside to work out, or switch to a nice swim for your exercise.
Medical Massage Techniques Can Help Heal Muscle Injuries
When you do strain or pull muscles, medical and orthopedic massage can make a huge difference in how fast you heal. Massage flushes the toxins out of the muscles and improves the circulation, speeding the healing. I use a variety of modalities to ease the muscle spasms and trigger points. Positional release therapy is a simple and very effective way to help the muscle release the strain. Cranio-sacral therapy can relieve long- standing trauma and injuries. Myofascial release therapy frees constrictions in the muscles and the wrapping around them. I just learned a new soft tissue (massage) technique called The Myokinisthetic System, created by a chiropractor from Kansas - Dr. Michael Uriarte, which uses a few gentle stretches with massage at the same time for each of the muscles connected (innervated) by one nerve to release a whole host of muscle and nerve problems in just a few sessions. Dr. Uriarte has had incredible success with this technique, which he's been working with since the mid-1990's. I'm very excited to be offering this to my clients now.
Whenever you have a muscle injury, consider the advantages of medical and orthopedic massage. It feels great and can relieve many muscle and muscle-related joint problems easily. Getting a regular medical massage - such as once a month or once every other month - can also prevent muscle problems from recurring, or even occurring in the first place. It keeps the muscles, connective tissue (fascia), and even joints healthy.
Quinoa Summer Salad: Learn the Secrets of this Healthy "Grain"
Beth Netter, M.D. Holistic Physician and Reiki Master Healer and Teacher. Here's a twist on the classic pasta salad and it is one your friends and family will love. Instead of pasta, which often contains pro-inflammatory substances such as sugar and flour (even whole wheat flour for some people, especially those with a gluten sensitivity), and is processed, this recipe uses quinoa as the "grain". Quinoa is actually a seed, not a grain. It is complete protein which means it contains all of the essential amino acids our body needs but cannot manufacture on its own. It helps decrease cholesterol, high blood pressure, and pain (One patient's hip arthritis pain disappeared shortly after she began eating quinoa twice a day. She stopped eating it for a week and the pain returned only to disappear once again when she restarted the quinoa in her diet.) This dish is packed with nutrients, vitamins, fiber, and is made from foods that are close to their original "earth state" so it is full of energy. This is food as medicine—and it's tasty.
Quinoa Summer Salad:
- 2 cups quinoa that you then cook (see below for cooking instructions)
- 1 -2 cups cooked or canned organic beans (kidney, black, lentils)
- 3 cups assorted cooked vegetables such as asparagus, kale, chard, broccoli, zucchini, Brussels sprouts, onion, garlic, beets, sweet potato (see below for cooking instructions)
- 4 Tablespoons olive oil
- 2-4 avocados cubed
- Optional: a dusting of herbs such as dill, turmeric, cilantro
- Optional: added raw vegetables
- Optional: ghee (clarified butter-see below)
- Optional: a pinch of salt and pepper (I recommend Himalasalt)
- Combine the cooked quinoa, vegetables, and beans (or use the canned beans).
- Add the rest of the olive oil, the avocado, and anything else you would like to add.
- This dish may be served warm or room temperature. If you don't add the ghee, there is no dairy in this.
To cook quinoa:
- 1 cup quinoa (You can put it in a pot and soak overnight if you would like. Rinse or just cook from there the next day.)
- 2 cups water
- Bring to boil and then turn down the heat to low. This cooks in only 10-15 minutes.
To cook vegetables
- Pick a medley of vegetables and cut them up into very small pieces. Make sure to include those dark green vegetables with all their nourishing vitamins!
- Low boil the vegetables in a ¼ cup of water and 1-2 tablespoons of olive oil for 10 minutes.
- You may also add 1-2 Tablespoons of ghee (clarified butter). Ghee is butter which has had its solids removed in a cooking process. All that is left is an oil. It is still a dairy product and does contain saturated fat.
Cooking the vegetables this way brings out their natural sweetness even more. It is more easily digested in the gut. And, since you are not steaming or boiling and throwing out the water in which it was cooked, you are still getting all the nutrients from the vegetables. And, according to Ayruvedic medicine, for those people who have lots of nervous energy (often showing up with headaches, pain, skin irritations) cooking the vegetables in this way may be more soothing to the body and help decrease stress.
Natural Prevention and Treatment for Cold and Flu including SWINE FLU
Cold and Flu
Nothing is worse than suffering from a cold or the flu. To help ease your symptoms and promote natural healing, I recommend trying the following vitamins and herbal remedies. As always, please be sure to talk to your doctor first or call the Center for an appointment to confirm that these are the right supplements for you and to check for possible concerns regarding interactions with your current medications.
Panax ginseng - a root herb that has been shown to enhance cellular immune function by stimulating natural killer cell activity and increased antibody production
Andrographis - Clinical trial results suggest that andrographis is effective in reducing the severity and the duration of Upper Respiratory Infections when treatment is started within the first 36-48 hours of symptoms*
EHB--Echinacea, Hydrastis(Goldenseal), and Berberines - This is a terrific immune booster, packed full of herbal medicines and vitamins, including vitamins A, C, and Zinc.
Vitamin D3 - supports immune function. Can test for levels through blood due to toxicity at very high levels
Umcka Cold Care - This homeopathic cough syrup is mild and does not contain harsh pharmaceuticals, yet is highly effective for both kids and adults.
Zinc Lozenges - The Center's recommended Zinc supplements can sooth your throat and last a long time.
Throat Mist - This is a natural remedy that is both anti-viral and anti-bacterial and relieves pain. Contains a combination of herbs and essential oils such as Echinacea and Bitter Orange.
NeilMed Sinus Rinse - A nasal rinse kit that includes an 8oz nasal irrigator and 50 regular premixed packets of pH balanced sodium chloride & sodium bicarbonate mixture (USP grade, natural ingredients, isotonic, preservative & iodine free). This is great for relieving congestion and sinus pressure. Kits are available for both adults and kids.
Nasosympatico Essential Oils - These are soothing and refreshing thyme, eucalyptus peppermint, and lavender essential oils. Simply add several drops to a nasal rinse to ease sinus congestion and open nasal passageways
Many of these natural supplements can be purchased online at www.cihh.net or by calling our office: (518) 689-2244.
Unique to the Center's medical practice, Dr. Korey DiRoma, Naturopathic Doctor, offers full comprehensive evaluations where he and Dr. Ronald Stram, MD, the Center's founder, see patients together and develop customized treatment plans taking into account the benefits of the best combination of therapies available.
For more information on natural prevention of swine flu, please refer to the recent blog post by Christopher Reilly, L.Ac: www.cihh.net/blog
Please contact us at 518-689-2244 for a free 15-minute consultation or to make an appointment for a more comprehensive personal plan.
A Cooling Yoga Posture for Summer
Jim Whiting, Certified Kripalu Yoga Instructor Summer time is upon us again and that means hot weather. When we become hot and overheated, our body temperature rises and the heart must work harder to pump blood to the skin and sweat glands busy cooling down the body. The hotter we are the more the heart must work. Here is a simple cooling posture: "Legs Up the Wall."
Lay on your back facing the wall. Raise your legs and feet on the wall pushing the hips toward the wall so your legs and feet are resting straight up against the wall. Blood will begin to move back toward the heart and help to cool the body systems and help the heart to move the blood.
For more information on yoga, visit our website, www.cihh.net.
If you have high blood pressure or back problems consult a physician before attempting this posture.
Summer can also be an important time to relax as we become more active and we become busy. Simple meditation or deep breathing can help keep your mind relaxed during this hectic season.
Come to our free meditation classes offered every Wednesday evening at 7:30pm to help you with your meditation practice.
In Chinese medical theory summer is the season related to the heart.
In addition to the Western understanding of the heart's function of pumping blood to supply the body, Chinese theory embraces the concept that the heart houses the mind. Meditation and quiet contemplation-things we commonly relate to quieting the mind, are concepts in Chinese theory that are important to nurturing the heart.
Too much "heat" can be harmful to the heart. This "heat" can be caused by excessive alcohol intake, anxiety and stress which diminish the heart qi causing conditions like insomnia, mania, and confusion. Wishing you all a summer marked by rest and relaxation and healthy heart qi.
Acupuncture, Integrative Medicine and Healthcare Reform
Christopher Reilly, Licensed Acupuncturist. Now is the time to show our support for Acupuncture and Integrative Medicine. The reforms that will take place over the coming year will shape healthcare for generations to come. At no time will there be a better chance and opportunity to influence these changes. Programs that have already been established and set in motion will be much more difficult to change than programs that have yet to take their final shape.
Acupuncture Coverage Law
New York's very own Congressman Maurice Hinchey has sponsored the acupuncture coverage bill H.R. 646 (http://www.washingtonwatch.com/bills/show/111_HR_646.html). This bill would include coverage for acupuncture under Medicare. This is very important, because state's often follow national regulations when it comes to healthcare coverage, and it would make a NY state mandate to cover acupuncture much more likely. Please visit this link and vote in the poll to support acupuncture coverage.
In addition, you can contact your own Representative https://writerep.house.gov/writerep/welcome.shtml in order to request that he or she also support this bill.
Now is the time to make our voices heard as loudly as possible!
Integrative Medicine Reform
Senator Tom Harkin (D-IA) http://harkin.senate.gov/- a long time supporter of natural and integrative healthcare that I remember from his relationship with Bastyr University- and Senator Barbara Mikulski (D-MD) http://mikulski.senate.gov recently co-chaired "Integrative Care: A Pathway to a Healthier Nation." The Institute of Medicine, part of the National Academies, also recently held a "Summit on Integrative Medicine and the Health of the Public" http://www.iom.edu/CMS/28312/52555.aspx. There is a very real buzz about prevention going on. We can all bring more momentum to the movement by letting our representatives know that this issue is important to us.
Contact your representatives in the senate: Senator Charles Schumer http://schumer.senate.gov and Senator Kirsten Gillibrand http://gillibrand.senate.gov and let them know this is important for you. Contact your representative in your district https://writerep.house.gov/writerep/welcome.shtml and let them know that you want them to support H.R. 646. It's a rare opportunity to be able to have a say in your own government and healthcare at the same moment!
What's New in Holistic Medicine at the Center
Chelation Therapy for Heavy Metal Detoxification
Jennifer Adams, NP Primary Care Holistic Nurse Practitioner. Intravenous (through the veins) chelation (pronounced key-LAY-shun) therapy has been a widely used medical treatment for heavy metal poisoning and detoxification for more than 50 years. The Center is now offering this effective treatment for detoxification of heavy metals. Chelation is derived from the Greek word 'chele', which represents the claw of a crab or lobster. How it works:chemically, the chelating agent is "C" or claw shaped and attacks a positively charged metal, such as lead, by surrounding it and making it inactive. Eventually, the heavy metal is removed from the body in the urine. Please call the Center if you suspect that you may have metal toxification. Assessment will be made through laboratory testing and chelation therapy in our new and comfortable IV treatment room can be started within a week of diagnosis. Click here to learn more about chelation therapy on our website.
CIHH Now Offers The Myokinesthetic System for Pain Relief in the Upper Body
Sue Coughtry, LMT
Sue Coughtry, our licensed massage therapist, recently completed a seminar on the Myokinesthetic System for the Upper Body. We are very excited to be able to offer this wonderful and effective system to relieve muscle and nerve pain and dysfunction for our patients with shoulder, neck, upper back, arm, and hand problems. This is great for carpal tunnel syndrome, tennis elbow, frozen shoulder and shoulder issues, neck pain and upper back pain.
What is Myokinesthetic System?
The Myokinesthetic System is a soft tissue (massage) treatment that very effectively relieves pain and improves posture. It is a system created by Dr. Michael Uriarte of Kansas City, Kansas. He developed it in the mid-1990's and has been perfecting it ever since.
How it works:
The Myokinesthetic System involves a few gentle stretches, both passive (therapist does it for you) and active (you do it), while a specific muscle is being massaged through the clothes. This therapy treats all the muscles that are innervated by the one major nerve that is the cause of the client's pain or dysfunction. Since this is an upper body treatment the client is sitting in a chair and remains fully clothed.
Sue can use this treatment as part of her 50 minute bodywork session or can do this as a stand- alone treatment, taking about a 1/2 hour. Most issues resolve after 3 to 5 treatments.
If you have any pain problems in the upper body please consider talking to Sue about whether this technique is right for you; Call: (518) 689-2244
New Classes and Workshops
Reiki I Certification Class with Dr. Beth Netter: Saturday, August 1, 2009
9 a.m. - 4 p.m. The fee is $150. Pre-registration is required by calling the Center: (518) 689-2244.
Save the Date: Reiki II Certification Class, Sunday October 25th; 9am-4pm
This Reiki II Certification Class is for students certified in Reiki I.
The Center also offers Kripalu Yoga (your first class is Free!) and free Meditation classes every week. Please check out our website for details: www.cihh.net
Women's Wellness Week at the Omega Institute
Women's Wellness Week at the Omega Institute featuring Beth Netter, MD
Beth Netter, M.D. will once again be co-teaching Women's Wellness Week at the Omega Institute's Rhinebeck Campus in Sept 13-18. The June program was received very well! This program is designed especially for women who want to ignite and enhance healing and well-being of their whole self—physical, emotional, mental, and spiritual. For more information and registration, please visit www.eomega.org
From the Front Desk:
Community-Pay-What-You-Can Week is going well.
We are reaching out to those who cannot otherwise afford complementary care. In the spirit of service and our commitment to facilitating wider accessibility to complementary and holistic healthcare, The Center recently started its "Community Service Pay-What-You-Can Week." For the first week only of every month, each of our doctors and practitioners will accept what is offered for payment of their services. A limited number of appointments are available and are subject to a first-call, first-serve basis. If you know someone who has always wanted to try acupuncture, or have a naturopathic consultation, for instance but cannot afford it, spread the word! Educating our community about the benefits and choices of complementary care is part of the mission of the Center. Our new program is a way to help achieve that goal. Please note that this offer is only good for patients who are new to the Center and who qualify based on financial circumstances.
Announcing our beautiful, newly expanded space.
We have spread our wings a bit at the Four Corners and have created a beautiful sun drenched, nurturing environment for consultations and treatments. Come and relax in our new treatment rooms for your next acupuncture visit or massage.
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