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Monday, March 24, 2008

Herb Seminars at Vitamin Cottage

It was a productive week last week because I had the opportunity to conduct herb presentations for the great people that work at Vitamin Cottage. They were very kind to me and made me feel welcome. We discussed a variety of different herbal subjects and core concepts. We also had the chance to discuss some very effective herbs and how they are frequently used.

Some of the most fun I had was conducting the organoleptic tests to show how difficult it is to tell herbs from one another when they are in their ground form. This was fun and useful because it gave us the chance to taste herbs and talk about what tests are used to identify herbs. One of the most important tests that we discussed was Thin Layer Chromatography and how it is applied.

I had a great time and the people that work at Vitamin Cottage are some of the most well informed and knowledgable people I have done presentations for. I look forward to having another chance to present subjects to them in the future. For an outline of the materials covered please drop me an email.

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Going to the Doctor Can Be a Pain in the BACK

Some of you may know that I have a herniated disk and have tried a number of different therapies to reduce the pain associated with it. On the recommendation of my doctor I went to a back specialist to discuss another option. I was appalled at my interaction with him.

During the meeting with the doctor I was my usual cordial self. I was friendly and outgoing and did my best to put him at ease. I know a little bit of James goes a long way so I was trying to ease him into the situation.

While he was busying himself with my records and familiarizing himself with my history he asked several questions. He had the personality of a dead house plant but no matter. I wasn't there for his personality but for his expertise. It was when he actually started to speak to me that I learned how lacking in genuine interpersonal skills that he was.

I have been spoken down to many times in my life as have most of us. Generally speaking the people that speak down to me aren't discussing such an important issue as my back. Nor am I paying these people to do something important that will affect the quality of my life. His condescending tone and apathetic approach to my existence prevented me from allowing him to treat me.

After he made his recommendations, which actually seemed like a good strategy, I told him that I didn't think we were connecting. I went on to say that I thought his approach was good but that the relationship wasn't working between us. His expression during my statement did not change. It was as if I had asked him what time it was. His reaction surprised me. He said "Oh. OK." He then stood up and walked out of the room.

One of the fundamental precepts that I live by is the importance of treating people with dignity and respect. All people. I struggle to understand how any care giver could be so disrespectful as that man was and think he would be able to help his patients heal. I am sad that he seemed so completely unmoved by my comments but then again, perhaps he didn't want me for a patient after all.

I am not posting his name because I don't want to do the man any harm. However, if you are planning to see a back doctor in Ogden, UT you will need to be careful.

Good health to you all.

Sunday, March 9, 2008

Stress Presentation Overview

What is Stress?
Stress is the reaction to any stimulus that upsets the normal function of the body and/or mind. The key point is to acknowledge that stress is the reaction that a person has to an event rather than the event itself.

Segerstrom and Miller 2004
Conducted an important analysis of stress research over the last 30 years.
Meta-Analysis of 293 studies and 18,941 subjects

Stress Categories
Internal Conditions
External Circumstances
Internal Imbalances

The Stress Reaction
Physiological reactions to stressors
Important chemical functions
Supplements used to help manage stress

What Triggers Your Stress Response?
Exercise/Intense physical labor
Environmental pollution
Emotional stress
Psychosocial Stress
Crisis of values, meaning and purpose
Misaligned core beliefs

How Do You React to the Stressor?
Hypothalamic Pituitary Adrenal Cortex (HPA) axis

Cardiovascular/Respiratory Reaction
Address cell, brain, immune, digestive issues
Reduce stressors – stress hormones

Cellular Reaction/Glucose-Lipids
Fuel reserves are tapped
Serum glucose
Serum fatty acids
Inhibition of cell sensitivityto insulin:
Increased serum glucose
Increase serum lipids

Brain Reaction
Increased mental alertness
Improved reaction time
Nerve tissue degradation
Increase in free radicals
Exhaustion of important nutrients

Immune Reaction
Natural resistance enhanced
Counters allergies and inflammation
Thymus impact
Cellular and Humoral responses
Production of antibodies and T-lymphocytes
Specific attacks that arerequired to kill off pathogens are slowed
Susceptibility to allergies & infections

Digestive Reaction
Inhibits digestion
Inhibits gut motility and secretion
Increases the metabolic rate – nutrient depletion
Relaxed urinary bladder
Stomach/Pancreas tug of war
Improper breakdownof bulk food materials
Poor digestion and assimilationof nutrients

Free Radicals/Oxidative Stress
Unstable molecules

The Anti Stress Supplements
Picking a formula
Closely review the formula
Reviewing the serving sizes
Assessing the quality of company

Identify the key sources of your stress
Take action to reduce the impact of the stressors
Surrounding yourself with supportive people
Determine the serving size you need in a stress formula
Identify the best company you can buy from
Create a plan to deal with the stress and stick to it

Friday, March 7, 2008

Feedback on "The Anatomy of Stress"

I received such a kind and wonderful note from Lainy Dietrick after completing a series of training presentations at the Good Earth chain in Utah that I wanted to include it on my blog.

"To whom it may concern:

Regarding training and seminars that James did for our five Good Earth stores.

He did and excellent job of explaining the subject not only giving information but doing it in a very entertaining way, that both staff and customers enjoyed very much. He was extremely well prepared and picked a good subject. He did a good job of educating and not coming across like a salesmen. He really went the extra mile. The weather was very bad and made it almost impossible to get to the American Fork store. But he persevered and did a wonderful presentation for the one customer that made it. I almost didn't make it home that day so I know how bad it was. No matter if we had a few customers or many he was gracious and made every attendee feel special in all of our stores. ... Thanks for your continuing support.

Lainy Dietrick
Good Earth"

Stress Presentation Frequently Asked Questions

There were a number of questions that came up as a result of having a short amount of time to devote to questions following the presentation entitled "The Anatomy of Stress". In this area of the site I have provided a set of the Frequently Asked Questions. I will add to it as I think of additional questions that came up.

The model on this screen is the Stress Continuum. Click on it to see a larger image of it.

Q: How long should the stress reaction last?
The duration of the stress reaction is a function of the type of stressor that is involved. For example, the stress caused by getting a speeding ticket is going to last significantly less time than the stress caused by the death of a loved one. The key is to limit the impact of stress and to avoid chronic stress. The effects of chronic stress cause the long term negative effects described in the presentation. Therefore, it is important to take the steps that are essential in limiting the stress reaction such as meditation, counseling, behavioral changes and surrounding yourself with people that are going to be supportive and helpful.

Q: Should I take a stress formula in addition to my multi-vitamin?
It depends on the potency of both the stress formula and the multi-vitamin. In many cases the B vitamins that are included in stress formulas are beneficial and necessary for restoring the nutrients that are exhausted by chronic stress. However, it is important to avoid taking excess amounts of any nutrient to avoid a potentially toxic level and to avoid wasting money. If you feel unsure about how much of any nutrient is safe then you should speak with a qualified practitioner. Never guess with something as important as your health and never take a lot of a nutrient when a little will do.

Q: I have pain in my abdomen. If I take these supplements will this pain go away?
A: If you have pain in any part of your body then something is wrong. The pain is the body's mechanism of telling you that there is a problem. If you have experienced stress for long enough to have developed pain in your abdomen then it is unlikely that a supplement is going to be sufficient to help you. Be sure to err on the side of caution and see a nutritionally oriented practitioner so that you can get the help you need. Remember, supplements are designed to work as a way to supplement a healthy diet and a healthy lifestyle. They are not designed nor do they function as a substitute for medical care. Once you have identified the cause of the pain, you can and should use supplements as part of the strategy for recovering and maintaining your health.

Q: I have stress from an experience that happened a long time ago. Will the supplements in your presentation help with that?
A: No. Stress that continues to cause problems years after the event are unlikely to respond to a supplement regimen. For example, if the stressor that happened years ago was related to emotional, physical or sexual abuse can cause continued stress that must be addressed with the help of a qualified counselor. Investing the time and money in getting issues like this resolved will pay off in the future and give you a chance to enjoy years of happier and healthier life.

Thursday, March 6, 2008

Stress Seminars in Colorado

Wow! What a wonderful week. We spent this week in Colorado conducting more presentations on the Anatomy of Stress. Our host was Vitamin Cottage. They are a wonderful group of people and made me feel very welcome. Tonight was the largest audience at 50+ people in attendance. I was fortunate to spend some additional time after each presentation interacting with attendees and answering questions. I was inspired and impressed by their stories and by the active participation in managing their own health. I always learn a lot from the participants and hope that they find benefit in the information I provide. I consider myself incredibly fortunate to be able to interact with such wonderful people.

There is a significant amount of useful information about stress management and the physiological effects of chronic stress in the work of Seegerstrom and Miller. These researchers did yeomans work on the subject and I am greatly indebted to them for conducting their work.