Fatigue and low energy are probably the most common complaints we hear in our clinic. Sometimes the cause of fatigue is obvious. Most often the cause is multifactorial -- a series of circumstances that each play a part in creating a systemic condition.
In this issue of our Newsletter, Dr. Connie writes on the energizing reality of inner joy and presents a naturopathic perspective on examining the causes of fatigue. Dr. Marcel writes about one his his favorite therapies to banish fatigue -- napping; and Dr. Corrine offers an in-depth look at some of the causes of fatigue.
Carlene writes again from one of her favorite perspectives, self-care, and offers some information on working with emotional fatigue. Jane and Nicole will return next month from their vacations.
Low energy and fatigue are NOT a normal state of being and should not be accepted as such. In this world of cause and effect, there is always a reason for feelings of low energy. If you are experiencing fatigue and can't figure out what is going on or how to solve the issue, your team at Pacific Naturopathic may be able to assist you find an answer.
Dr. Connie, Dr. Marcel and your care team at Pacific Naturopathic and the Hernandez Center for Adjunctive Cancer Care
Dr. Connie's Musings...
|Dr. Connie meditates by the pond at our Hawaii retreat|
Rekindle the Inner Joy
Fatigue is a common complaint patients bring to our naturopathic practice. Fatigue is most often multifactorial. One of our jobs is to rule out a physiologic cause. When patients describe a pervasive fatigue, present on waking, present throughout each and every day, we often find a physiologic cause. Likewise, when the fatigue comes and goes in somewhat predictable patterns through the day, we also may find a physiologic cause.
Patients often come to us from conventional physicians having been told that there is no physiologic reason for their fatigue, that they really are just fine, and perhaps they should go on an antidepressant. As naturopathic clinicians, we are more apt to find a physiologic reason than are conventional physicians, as we are trained not simply to diagnose disease, but to assess for optimal functioning. (See my article below for a discussion of some of the potential causes of physiologic fatigue.)
Many times, however, both conventional and complementary testing fail to reveal a physiologic cause. Often the cause is situational....a dead end job, an unsatisfying relationship, a lack of purpose, a feeling of being trapped by the demands of others or of circumstance, a lack of acceptance of what is. "I'm just so tired of this....." becomes an affirmation. Affirmations create vibrational realities that strengthen with each repetition. In a sense, a story is created, and the person believes in and lives by the story rather than being observant of what is actually happening in the moment.
I myself once had a powerful experience of this kind of story telling. I was working with a shaman on a pervasive insomnia. The shaman had asked me why this was a problem, noting that night time is the perfect time to meditate. I rephrased my complaint then, saying that the problem was that I was tired and miserable throughout the day due to lack of sleep at night. The shaman responded that that was indeed a problem, if in fact it was true. She suggested that I observe what was actually happening. In point of fact, I had a few times during the day when I was not at my best, but most of the time I was really fine. I discovered that my story was untrue. When I stopped affirming the story and stepped into the actual moment, my reality changed.
"Within me lies the energy to accomplish all that I will to do. Behind my every act is God's Infinite Power."
Sometimes, when I wake in the morning, I hear that storyteller within again affirming "I'm so tired. I just can't do this today". I counteract with an affirmation of Paramahansa Yogananda. "Within me lies the energy to accomplish all that I will to do. Behind my every act is God's infinite power!" Other vibrational assists include yogic mudras and asanas, chanting, breathwork, exercise.
Outer world experiences can also lift a person out of fatigue. Even patients with diagnosable conditions may recover their energy when falling in love or engaging in other joyful experiences. What better way to energize than to rekindle the fire of inner joy?
Dr. Connie thought I was kidding when I told her that in response to this week's newsletter topic (fatigue) I would write about one of my favorite afternoon activities - napping. Well, since other writers have covered the mental/emotional and physiological reasons for low energy and fatigue, why not write about the benefits of the therapeutic nap?
Throughout my life I have been able to close my eyes anytime, almost anywhere and take a nap. When my son was a toddler, I could nap with him crawling all over me. If I have an afternoon lull in patient care, one of the reclining IV chairs in my office is a perfect place for a bit of shuteye. If I get tired while driving, no problem, I just park in a shady spot and nod off for 10-20 minutes.
Most mammals are polyphasic sleepers, meaning that they sleep for short periods throughout the day. To wit: cats and dogs. Humans (at least N. Americans) are thought to be biphasic - one period of wakefulness and one period of sleep. There is some question as to whether or not this biphasic pattern is a natural human experience or if it a response to the 8 to 5 routine predominant in N. America. In Europe, for example, most businesses close for most of the afternoon. You can bet that many businessmen close their eyes for a few minutes as well. Afternoon siestas are common in S. America.
|Thomas Edison napping in his lab.|
What is clear is that Americans appear to be becoming more and more sleep-deprived, and mentally and physically tired people function less efficiently and make poorer decisions than fully alert people. Will naps by decision-makers help change the world and create a fully awakened kind of human being that can make rational, clear-minded, less reactionary decisions? Probably not, though some notable historical people - including Winston Churchill, John F. Kennedy, Ronald Reagan, Napoleon Bonaparte, Albert Einstein, Leonardo da Vinci, Stonewall Jackson, Salvador Dali, Yogi Berra, Eleanor Roosevelt, Gene Autry, Thomas Edison and George W. Bush -- are known to have valued an afternoon nap.
So let's take a look on the benefits of napping:
-- Napping increases creativity. One group of researchers discovered that following a nap there is a burst of activity in the brain's right hemisphere, the side associated with creativity. An earlier study found that naps led to better performance on creative word problems.
-- Napping improves learning and memory. According to a 2010 Australian study, although longer naps (20 minutes+) are more likely to leave you a bit groggier on waking, they can have a more profound effect on mental retention of information. In another study, participants who napped regularly improved their performance on cognitive tests of memory and vigilance.
-- Naps can enhance performance and alertness and reduce mistakes and accidents. A study at NASA on sleepy military pilots and astronauts found that a 40-minute nap improved performance by 34% and alertness 100%.
-- Napping improves your moods. Fatigue and sleepiness doesn't feel good and may leave us touchy and irritable. A nap can be a like a restorative mini-vacation.
-- Napping boosts productivity. Sleep researcher Sara Mednick, PhD, author of Take a Nap! Change Your Life, says that a siesta can actually improve work output and be just the right pick-me-up for sleep deprived, worn-out employees. "You reset the system and get a burst of alertness and increased motor performance. That's what most people really need to stave off sleepiness and get an energy boost."
-- Napping may decrease your risk of heart disease. A study published in the Journal of Applied Physiology found that habitual napping is associated with a 37 percent reduction in coronary mortality, possibly because of reduced cardiovascular stress associated with daytime sleep.
Napping rules: Keep naps short, from 10 to 20 minutes to avoid grogginess; take early afternoon naps so as not to interfere with nighttime sleep; and create a restful, warm environment for your nap.
If you just can't nap no matter what you do, even just quiet rest or meditation can do wonders. Simple breathing exercises - like breathing slowly and counting your breaths can help slow down your brain and be restorative. And on that note ... it's time for a nap. Zzz.
For more on Dr. Marcel's work click HERE.
The Causes of Fatigue
Corrine Wang, N.D.
Feeling run-down and exhausted? Having difficulty falling asleep or staying asleep? Fatigue is one of the most common complaints I see in practice. It is often a multifactorial condition that can be caused by a number of different reasons. Below is a list of possible causes and how they can lead us to feeling fatigued.
1) Daily habits: Fatigue can be due to lifestyle choices and habits that eventually lead us to feel tired. One way of combatting fatigue is to set regular schedules for things like meals, the time that you sleep, and setting aside time to exercise.
2) Dietary choices: Eating irregularly can cause our blood sugar levels to swing, especially if we also choose certain foods like sugary foods and caffeine. This can cause our energy levels to rise and fall quite a bit depending on when and what we eat. Sugary foods and caffeine can give us a burst in energy, but they can also cause us to crash right after metabolizing them. Eating meals consisting of healthy fats, proteins, and handfuls of vegetables at regular times will keep our blood sugar levels stable and maintain our energy levels.
3) Sleep: Setting more regular times for going to bed and getting enough rest is important for sustaining energy levels throughout the day as well as allowing our body to repair and restore at night. Good sleep hygiene, like turning down the lights, turning off electronics an hour before bed, and avoiding caffeine and alcohol a few hours before can all help with setting the tone for a restful night of sleep and feeling more refreshed and ready to go in the morning.
4) Exercise: Being sedentary also leads to fatigue. Getting up and exercising kicks up metabolism and can boost energy levels for the day. Even a light, brisk walk can help increase energy levels and put you in a better mood overall.
5) Stress: Stress, whether it is physical or mental-emotional, impacts our body physiologically in the same way. If we are continually under stress, this constantly pushes our adrenal glands to be working which can eventually lead to breakdown and exhaustion. Our adrenals are the main glands that help us to cope with stress, regulate our blood sugar levels, and work with the thyroid in maintaining energy levels. A dysregulation in the adrenal glands also affect our sleep either in the ability to fall asleep and or to stay asleep at night.
6) Thyroid: Thyroid is the main gland that regulates our metabolism. When the thyroid is running low, people may tend to feel cold, start to gain weight, have dry hair and skin, and also feel lethargic.
7) Anemia: Anemia, a condition marked by a deficiency of red blood cells or of hemoglobin in the blood, makes people feel weak and tired. Anemia can be due to a variety of things including blood loss like heavy menses each month, a deficiency in nutrients like iron, folate, and B12, or other possibilities like anemia from a chronic illness or hemolytic anemias.
8) Vitamin D: Low vitamin D status has been implicated in a number of symptoms, including fatigue. Vitamin D is a hormone that affects us on many levels, and a low vitamin D status has been attributed not only to fatigue, but muscle pain and weakness, cardiovascular disease, diabetes, bone loss, autoimmune diseases, and cancer.
9) Other causes: Other things, like our mental-emotional state, can also cause fatigue. People who are depressed or overly anxious can have varying states of tiredness. Depression usually leads to more of a sense of lethargy and a loss of interest/motivation in activities, even ones that may usually be joyful for someone. Anxiety can first cause people to feel more alert and "wired," but over time, this can also lead to fatigue as the stress from anxiety and constantly being "on" impacts our adrenals. Again, as adrenals become taxed, we begin to lose the ability to cope with stress and start to feel more tired.
As seen above, because fatigue can be due to so many different things, it is important to get a thorough evaluation to determine what is the causative factor or factors involved. I work with people to look closely at lifestyle choices that may be impacting energy levels, as well as use lab testing to check for physiological reasons for fatigue including anemia, low vitamin D status, or imbalanced hormones. This all-around approach allows us to target and treat those areas that contribute to fatigue for each individual and help them reach their optimal states of health and energy levels as quickly as possible.
To set up an appointment for an evaluation of your fatigue, please call us at (650) 917-1121.
Untangling the Tangled
Web of Fatigue
When I was a child, we all knew (thanks to television commercials of the time) that iron poor blood caused fatigue, and that Geritol would solve the problem. When Dr Marcel and I started our practice in the early 90's, patients with fatigue came in with concerns of Epstein Barr Virus or Candida, popular diagnoses in those days. When I say these were popular diagnoses, I don't mean to imply that they were not real conditions, rather that the perspective from which the causation of fatigue is viewed changes over time, and can be looked at through many different lenses.
These days, fatigued patients come to us suspecting they have Lyme Disease, adrenal fatigue or low thyroid function. Their suspicions may or may not be verified by naturopathic testing, which often varies from the conventional testing methods. Adrenal status is tested via saliva and urine testing. Thyroid is tested through expanded blood panels. Even a diagnosable disease such as Lyme Disease may require testing by specialty labs.
If we do establish that the cause is adrenal fatigue, we then need to delve deeper to understand whether the fatigue is caused by a lifestyle issue such as unremittant stress, by pain, by an underlying disease process, or by a nutrient deficiency. If the underlying causes are not addressed, no medicine will alleviate the fatigue.
With the thyroid, a plethora of investigative opportunities arise. We need to consider whether the thyroid is being stimulated by the pituitary, whether an imbalance in other hormones is influencing thyroid hormone output, whether the thyroid gland itself is failing to respond to the pituitary, or whether thyroid hormone is being converted to the active form of thyroid hormone. If not, why not? Is the lack of conversion an adaptation of the body due to stress (which leads us back to the adrenal glands) Are environmental toxins hindering thyroid function? Or do we come back to nutritional deficiencies?
If we determine that the cause is nutritional deficiency, we have more questions to ask. Is the problem a lack of intake of nutrients? If so, why is there insufficient intake? Is there a lack of appetite, a lack of dietary knowledge, an inability to procure or prepare food? Or is the problem poor digestion, poor absorption, or a genomic variability preventing the utilization of a nutrient in the form in which it is provided?
The problem may be none of the above. Perhaps the problem is an imbalanced lifestyle (too much "on" time, too little "off" time, too much sleep, too little quality sleep.) Perhaps there is a lack of exercise, with not enough oxygen being delivered to the cells. Perhaps dietary patterns are causing blood sugar swings. Or perhaps the person is consuming foods to which they are allergic. Or, as often occurs, medications may be contributing to the fatigue.
It is in the complex interplay of physical, mental, emotional, spiritual and social conditions that we find the cause, and ultimately the treatment for fatigue.
Find out more about Dr. Connie's work HERE.
and Caring for Yourself
When we are emotionally, mentally or physically fatigued it is difficult to carry out our usual daily activities. And when we're emotionally drained, we are usually physically tired too. This can make us feel weak, achy, sore, irritable, moody, inattentive and unmotivated. As bad as these symptoms make us feel, we often continue to push ourselves to the point of exhaustion. Prolonged or intense stress often leads to fatigue.
One way to avoid fatigue is to become more aware. Notice changes in your emotional and physical health and any signs of fatigue. Slow down and take a break before you become completely exhausted. Breathe, meditate, walk, or get some fresh air. Know yourself and seek out activities that will help you feel better, such as yoga, massage or something creative. Make your health a priority by giving yourself time to recharge.
Take a look at your life and notice any patterns that may contribute to your exhaustion. For example, do you take on more than you reasonably have time to do? Identify the stressors in your life, and begin to make changes. Practice saying "no." Eliminate or limit activities that make you feel stressed. Spend less time with people that are stressful to be around.
If you are an empath, someone who is highly sensitive to energy and emotions, you may suffer from emotional exhaustion because you are picking up other people's energy. You may not realize what is happening, but it feels like your emotions are constantly changing and you don't know why. This can lead to depression and feelings of emptiness. If you are highly empathic, and you find yourself emotionally fatigued, you need some down time.
Spending time alone to refuel can be helpful, specifically while doing a non-emotional activity such as gardening, beading or crocheting. It is also energizing to spend time in nature with the plants, trees and water. Better yet, take a nature walk, or do some type of physical activity that takes you away from your emotions. When I was a child, my Mom used to say, "Go outside and get the stink off ya." Now I understand what she meant.
If you are highly empathetic, I recommend a daily practice of releasing old energy, calling back your own energy, and shielding yourself. One simple way to do this is while washing your physical body in the shower, clear your energy field too. Simply imagine releasing any emotions or energy that you have picked up from others. Visualize these unwanted emotions going down the drain with the shower water. Then imagine a spot on your forehead between your eyebrows, like a target, and call back your own energy that you have left with people or places from your past. Like darts imagine your energy coming back to the target on your forehead. And finally, imagine a bubble of white light surrounding you in all directions, and intend that this white light will protect your from absorbing other people's energy.
Take care of yourself by paying attention to early signs of fatigue, identify stressors and limit them, and don't forget to take plenty of breaks to refuel!
Read more about Carlene's transformative work here.
Rapid Pain Relief
With Elijah Fee
Elijah Free, MH, CMI, CMT
Elijah Free's approach to helping his patients deal with physical pain has been described as bordering on miraculous. Elijah is also a Master Herbalist who designs and produces all of his own herbal products for his healing practice. He is an herbal product designer for Ridgecrest Herb Company.
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Elijah Free is a healer, specializing in pain elimination of all types, both mechanical and metabolic. He is a master medical herbalist with numerous specialties, a researcher and product designer for his own label; Earth Friend Herb Co.
Elijah is the author of "Apprentice to Angels," and a U.S. patent holder for a formula to eradicate fibromyaligia. He was recently granted a 501-C3 from the IRS as a medical study, something almost exclusively for institutions such as Stanford, hospitals or pharmaceutical companies.
Bringourvetsallthewayhome.org is all about Elijah's work with an herbal formula for PTSD that restores the lives to veterans and anyone else with this condition. A documentary video will be available later this fall about this project. A video on fibromyaligia can be seen at rapidpainelimination.com
To schedule an
appointment with Elijah,
please phone 650-917-1121.
Breast Thermography at
- a safer screening tool -
Environmental toxicity is one factor contributing to fatigue and other disease.
Medical and non medical radiation are sources of environmental toxicity thought to contribute to alterations in the very structure of the DNA, causing cancer promoting mutations.
Many women hesitate to opt for mammograms due to their concerns about the potential adverse effects of radiation exposure. Breast thermography offers a safe screening option that does not involve any adverse effect. For that reason, many women choose annual screening with breast thermography, resorting to mammograms when thermography readings are unclear or high risk.
Read more about
Pacific Naturopathic here.
Pacific Naturopathic Hawaii:
Re-energize in Paradise
Check Future Openings
(then click on "Calendar")
|Imagine yourself sitting here|
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At our Pacific Naturopathic Retreat Center on the Big Island of Hawaii,
guests find that their fatigue lifts as they enjoy the interplay of the life giving elements of earth, water, fire, air and ether.
The earth is verdant with flowers, fruit trees, and all manner of vegetation. With a certain tropical unpredictability, one might experience gentle ocean breezes or whistling Kona winds. Water may arrive in light showers or "cats and dogs" and can also be enjoyed sitting by our peaceful pond, or in whirlpool baths or in the hot and cold tubs. There is the fiery glow of sunrise and sunset, and the warmth of the sun by day. And permeating it all...
the vix medacatrix naturae, the healing power of nature upon which naturopathic medicine is based.
Come, enjoy, rejuvenate and reinvent yourself.
Openings available from May.
For more information, please visit our dedicated web site.
The Hernandez Center for Adjunctive Cancer Care
News and Commentary on Cancer Topics
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What We Offer
at the Hernandez Center...
Marcel Hernandez, ND
Our cancer patients often ask us to give them an estimate of the effectiveness of therapy at the Hernandez Center for Adjunctive Cancer Care. We respond that our entire focus is on helping our patients stay healthy, upbeat and positive.
The truth is that the botanical and nutritional therapies we offer (including intravenous vitamin C), although 'adjunctive' in nature, have powerful documented actions in decreasing inflammation, reducing tumor load and attacking cancer stem cells.
Our mind/body approaches are focused on transformation of experience. And our bodywork approaches help reduce muscular pain, resolve lymph drainage problems and relieve stress.
The hope we offer is not that of a miraculous cure, although we are definitely open to miracles, but the hope of a life lived to the fullest in dignity and understanding, for however long that may be.
|How We Partner With
Conventional Medicine at the Hernandez Cancer Center
Connie Hernandez, ND
We get many phone calls from current and prospective patients asking just what it is that we can do for cancer patients through our center.
Many patients are concerned that we might recommend treatment protocols that conflict with treatments offered by their oncologists.
We make every effort to work within the context of what is acceptable to a given oncologist, though we do provide research articles to our patients re treatments that have been found by naturopathic oncologists (often working in concert with more progressive conventional oncologists) to be helpful, though not yet accepted by conventional medicine.
One example would be the use of I.V. Vitamin C during chemotherapy treatment. Our patients almost universally feel that the treatments help them tolerate and recover from treatments far more easily. And research supports that perception. See HERE for a review of some of the literature.
We are able to provide support to help patients go through surgery more easily; protocols to augment the efficacy and reduce the side effects of chemotherapy and radiation regimes; protocols to restore health post treatment; specialty tests to help uncover the cause of the cancer; dietary counseling; emotional freedom technique and hypnotherapy to work with the many issues that arise during treatment.
One of the greatest benefits we are able to offer is that of an intimate, caring environment, in which patients feel supported in their choices, and leave the clinic after each treatment feeling better than when they came in.
Please phone us for an appointment for evaluation.
Vitamin C -- A Highly Effective Anti-Tumor Nutrient
Marcel Hernandez, ND
Perhaps the most encouraging discovery in recent years in the treatment of cancer has been the role of Vitamin C. Researchers have learned that a concentrated dose of ascorbic acid, delivered intravenously, is selectively toxic to cancer cells while not harming healthy cells.
It seems that cancer cells, which utilize glucose (sugar) for energy, mistake ascorbic acid for sugar and allow it to penetrate their cells. Once inside the cell, the ascorbic acid turns into hydrogen peroxide, which is toxic to cancer cells. Cancer cells have the ability to neutralize small amounts of hydrogen peroxide, but not the high levels produced by intravenous vitamin C.
Studies at the National Institutes of health discovered that a rapid infusion of high dose ascorbic acid led to large concentrations of vitamin C in the extracellular space. The vitamin C reacted spontaneously with the molecular oxygen within cancer tumors and generated large amounts of hydrogen peroxide, causing oxidative stress and toxic overload to tumor cells, much in the same way that chemotherapy is intended to work.
But how can this be possible? It has been known for years that Vitamin C is a powerful antioxidant, so how can it cause oxidative stress powerful enough to kill cancer? The answer, researchers learned, is simple, but a bit difficult to wrap your mind around. The effect of vitamin C within the body is dose dependent. There are many substances that can generate different effects depending on the size of the dose. A small dose of vitamin C delivered orally works as an antioxidant. A large dose delivered rapidly via I.V. works as an oxidant within cancer cells.
In the 1970s, Nobel Prize winning scientist Linus Pauling and a team of researchers promoted intravenous and oral vitamin C for late stage cancer patients. In two published clinical trials they reported that patients significantly prolonged their lives and enjoyed improved quality of life with the administration of vitamin C. After numerous follow-up studies, the key finding was that while oral vitamin C functioned as an antioxidant and was ineffective against cancer, high dose intravenous vitamin C provoked oxidation. Furthermore, numerous infusions of the vitamin led to tumor regression.
The reason that high dose vitamin C does not harm healthy cells is that these cells produce sufficient amounts of the enzyme catalase to neutralize the oxidative effects of hydrogen peroxide. However, cancer cells produce only a small amount of catalase leaving them vulnerable to oxidation. Our experience at the Hernandez Center supports these findings. Our patients, even those with late stage diagnoses, feel better overall with improved quality of life. Our current I.V. protocols insure blood and tissue levels of vitamin C that are both safe and effective in killing cancer cells.
Please phone us at 650-917-1121 for more information.
Other I.V. Therapies Offered at Pacific Naturopathic and the Hernandez Center
Corrine Wang, N.D.
Many people have already heard about intravenous vitamin C as a complementary cancer therapy to help stimulate the immune system as well as being directly cytotoxic to cancer cells. We are often using this therapy at the Hernandez Center for our cancer patients. What people may not know is that we also have many other IV therapies that are also very helpful in supporting our cancer patients depending on their symptoms and what they need.
We often give a nutrient IV in between IV vitamin C sessions, which helps to provide more energy and rebuild our patients that may be feeling fatigued or have low blood counts.
We also have other anti-inflammatory and anti-cancer therapies like IV curcumin (turmeric) or IV silibinin (from milk thistle).
Another IV treatment that can help cancer patients from losing more weight or to help them gain weight is an infusion that includes a variety of amino acids.
These are just a few of the protocols we have for our cancer patients. For more information or to set up an appointment, please contact us at the Hernandez Center at (650) 917-1121.
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The Hernandez Center
for Adjunctive Cancer Care
2570 W. El Camino Real, Suite 111
Mountain View, CA 94040
650-917-1121 (v) * 650-917-1127 (f)