Aaron’s Apple

lovehopefaith A child in pain is something that no one ever wants to witness. Parents of children living with chronic illness watch their children struggle with some of the simplest things. Chronic illness shouldn’t take away a child’s opportunity to be a child. The foundation Aaron’s Apple helps to ensure just that.

Aaron’s Apple is an organization that helps families with chronically ill children. Their mission is to provide direct funding for medications and treatments that some families cannot afford for their children. They strive to make sure that children do not have to suffer with the pain that can come from chronic illness.

Aaron’s Apple is hosting a charity event on March 6th, 2014. This event is a night of education and inspiration to those living with chronic illness, IBD and other autoimmune diseases. I am absolutely honoured to be speaking at this event.

My topic is “Living with a chronic illness is not a life sentence”. There are so many ways in which chronic illness can be better understood and conquered. Simple things like encouraging strength, hope, being supportive, and having faith can completely change the outlook of those suffering. Reaching out is one of the most important things that you can do for those living with a chronic illness. Being that shoulder to rest on, that uplifting kind word at the end of a rough day, can mean the world to someone in pain.

Transform. Motivate. Awaken. Change your outlook, and watch those around you change theirs.

Female Orgasmic Disorder

shutterstock_75489988(1)  Reaching climax is something that many women struggle with occasionally. It is normal for a woman to only be able to reach orgasm through a certain type of stimulation as well. However, failure to reach climax on a regular and consistent basis can be a sign of Female Orgasmic Disorder (FOD). This can be a sign of damage done to the body and nerves, but can also be symptomatic of trauma. FOD can be particularly distressing when engaging in sexual activity with your significant other. There are many causes for FOD, but the toll it takes both mentally and emotionally can be devastating to you and your partner. It can seriously affect your relationship and make sex feel like more of a chore than something to be enjoyed by both parties. So what causes FOD? Is there anything you and your partner can do to work past it? Is it completely curable? These are some of the questions that we are going to answer.

The causes of FOD are different in every woman diagnosed with it. FOD causes break down into two different categories, primary (never had an orgasm) and secondary (trauma). There is no one specific cause, but in most cases it is the result of some sort of trauma. The causes of FOD can be broken down into two different categories as well, shutterstock_79104379physiological and psychological. They include, but are not limited to:

  • Nerve damage in the spine and/or pelvic area
  • Female Genital Mutilation (FGM)
  • Damage to the blood vessels in the pelvic area
  • Medication you may be taking
  • Depression and other mental health disorders
  • Substance abuse
  • Past sexual abuse or violation
  • Guilt about sex or sexual experiences
  • Religious beliefs or values
  • Fear of rejection
  • Fear of becoming pregnant
  • Fear of losing control

Traumatic events (i.e. rape, molestation, Female Genital Mutilation, etc.) cause your brain to react to sexual activity in a negative way. Even years after trauma, it is very hard for some women to connect physically with another person, especially someone of the same gender as the person responsible for the trauma. This is completely normal, because regardless of the type of trauma, it is a life changing and personality altering event. It is not uncommon for others to downplay the significant effects that trauma can have on your life. It is very important to make your feelings and boundaries known to those around you, especially those you choose to be intimate with.

submission 8FOD does not have to be a death sentence for your sex life. With a combination of therapy, medical interventions for physical trauma, and building a strong sense of self, it is possible to recover. Is it 100% curable 100% of the time? No. There are many women who will struggle with FOD for their entire lives. But this is no reason to give up hope and seek help. With the correct interventions, you can have a healthy sex life and work towards knowing yourself in an intimate way.

HGH and PRP in Sport’s Medicine

Dr. Anthony Galea is founder and medical director of The Institute of Sports Medicine Health & Wellness Centre. Dr. Galea not only lectures internationally, but maintained his position with Toronto Argonauts as the team physician for several years. Despite controversy surrounding him, Dr. Galea practices with integrity and continues to innovate in the treatment of injuries for professional athletes.

We have all heard of controversy surrounding some of the world’s most famous athletes and performance enhancing substances. “Doping” as it is quite often referred to by the media and athletes alike, is against the rules in all sports and athletes are subject to testing to insure they are not using performance enhancing substances. However, the mental and physical strain that athletes are under, if left untreated, can spiral out of control and lead to many things (substance abuse, addiction, mental illness, etc.). Being aware of the causes of “doping” and other self destructive behaviours exhibited by athletes is the root to understanding the “doping” itself.

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Human Growth Hormone (HGH) has been used along with anabolic steroids in an attempt to build muscle and improve athletic performance. However, there is no conclusive evidence to support that HGH does in fact boost performance. HGH has been approved to treat specific disorders in children and adults. HGH has also been prescribed with an off-label use as an anti-aging serum. Many companies advertise these products similar to beauty conglomerates advertising their anti-aging products, both having a lack of sufficient evidence supporting the claims that they will “turn back your biological clock”. HGH carries some heavy side effects and caution should be used when purchasing/receiving/using HGH and products containing HGH.

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Platelet-Rich Plasma (PRP) injections have come to the attention of media and physicians alike as a treatment for sports-related injuries. PRP injections are more commonly used as a surgical tool for plastic surgery and oral surgery. PRP injections were once on the list of prohibited treatments upheld by World Anti-Doping Agency. Due to inconclusive findings as to their use for performance enhancement, PRP injections have since been removed from this list.

So what are the ramifications when choosing to use HGH and/or PRP injections in sports medicine? While PRP injections are not against the rules, HGH is.HGH is now being tested for in some sports  with other organizations following suit. Being caught using HGH that is not otherwise prescribed for a disorder would gain the player consequences similar to those of the consequences by players doping with other substances.

Assisting players in seeking the help that they need is an important part of any team doctor’s job. Doing so may help in preventing “doping” and other self destructive patterns in players.

Obsessive Compulsive Disorder and Other Compulsive Behaviours: Part 2

Picture this.

A house, filled with everything that has ever meant something to you. A memory attached to every item. When you have to get rid of something, you feel like you are losing a little piece of yourself. This in the end makes you unwilling to get rid of anything at all. Slowly but surely, the house starts to fill until one day you can’t see the floor. But that is okay. As long as you have your things, you will be okay. You are ashamed of letting others see how you live, so you hide it. You stay in your home, rarely going out unless it is absolutely needed. One day you get a surprise visit from a loved one. You are sleeping somewhere among the piles so you don’t hear them enter the house. They see what is going on and confront you. Your defenses go up. You become angry and aggressive because they have violated your privacy. You tell them to leave you alone, that you are just fine with how things are and that you don’t need their help. Your cover has been blown, soon everyone will know your secret. But where do you go from here?

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Compulsive hoarding is just that. A compulsive need to collect things, and the unwillingness or inability to give those things up. These items take over rooms, apartments, and full houses, causing unsafe living conditions, posing severe health risks, and damaging relationships. This disorder is separate from OCD, however, like OCD many of those suffering are well aware of their irrational behaviors.

People will often collect things that other people would find not useful or of little value. Things like junk mail, newspapers, clothes that “might” fit one day, broken things and garbage. They will place high value on them, and this is likely the reason that it is so hard for them to try and give them up. People can also collect animals, becoming deeply attached to a large number of animals that they can not properly care/provide for.

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There is no one cause to this disorder. Like many disorders, the causes are multiple and vary from person to person. These causes can include:

  • Trauma

  • Anxiety

  • Another pre-existing disorder

  • Family History

Whatever the cause, compulsive hoarding wreaks havoc on an individual’s livelihood, and is an extremely difficult disorder to receive the proper treatment and support for.

Management and treatments for compulsive hoarding vary from individual to individual, depending on their situation. Behavioural therapy has often times been found to be effective. There are many processes that a therapist can walk a client through to come to terms with why the behaviour exists and develop a plan of action on how to approach treatment in a way that will make the client most comfortable. Often times the first thing that is needed is a gradual exposure to the anxiety experienced when trying to get rid of things. This will allow the client to begin to formulate a plan as to how they are going to get their living place cleaned up so that is habitable (if this is at all possible). Therapy to address the behaviours and anxiety is an ongoing process throughout treatment. Depending on the case, the client may be prescribed medication to treat any underlying disorders in order to be able to participate fully and cohesively in treatment.

Recovery and treatment are possible. It is a long and tough process, but with the right supports and treatment plan, anyone can go on to live a happy and fulfilling life.

Listed below are resources for OCD and other compulsive behaviours.

Alternative Solutions and Mental Health: Part 2

GutBrainConnection

The Brain-Gut connection is one that many people take for granted. Stress, anxiety, anger, happiness, and all other emotions effect the gastrointestinal tract, as it is sensitive to emotion. This is where feelings in your stomach like “butterflies” come from. It is a direct reaction from your emotional state, triggered by your brain and received in your stomach.

  • The brain and stomach have direct effects on each other. This is presented in many different ways.
  • Troubled intestine sends messages to the brain which can lead to emotional turmoil (stress, anxiety, depression).
  • Troubled brain sends messages to the intestines and stomach causing intestinal trouble (nausea, stomach aches and pains).
  • Brain notifies the stomach that you are hungry, stomach provides the digestive juices needed to digest the food before it arrives.

With the above things considered, it is often times hard to determine whether the intestinal problems are a product of emotional turmoil or the cause of emotional terminal. This is especially evident when you experience gastrointestinal upset without obvious physical cause.

Stress has a large part to play with GI upset. It might explain the nausea before giving an important presentation, or the stomach pains during times of high stress. This does not mean that all GI illnesses are just “all in your head”. They are however linked. Psychological symptoms influence the physiological symptoms and the physiology of the gut itself.

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Environmental toxins also play a large role in the overall wellbeing as well as the wellness of the brain and mood. Many toxins in our environment are able to pass the blood-brain barrier, making the brain more susceptible to their toxic effects. Chemical toxins, drugs, radiation from cell phones and cell phone towers all cross the blood-brain barrier and cause toxic stress. Toxic stress leads to mood changes and disorders caused by the imbalances in the brain because of the excess or lack of the proper hormones.

So what does all of this information mean? The important thing to remember is that there is a strong mind-body connection. With this connection comes many ways in which the mind and body effect each other. It is also important to remember that because of this mind-body connection, it is important to look after the entire self, not just the physical or psychological separately.

For more information, please visit http://www.wyldeonhealth.com/ .

Alternative Solutions and Mental Health: Part 1

Bryce Wylde is a leading expert in alternative medicine. In addition to being a clinician, Bryce is also a highly sought after television host, educator, author and philanthropist. Revolutionizing the way we think about alternative medicine, through his writing and other endeavors, Bryce has made a significant contribution to the medical community.

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In July of 2011, along with 18 dedicated supporters of Markham Stouffville Hospital, Bryce and I were on a journey of a lifetime. We climbed Mount Kilimanjaro, in Africa to raise money for the expansion of the mental health department at Markham Stouffville Hospital. Our children and adolescents are suffering from depression, anxiety, eating disorders and substance abuse. Youth suicide is a growing concern. The stigma surrounding mental illness keeps many people from seeking help. Raising awareness is key to overcoming the stigma.  The goal of the Climb to Conquer was to help improve the quality of life for children and adolescents struggling with mental illness by raising money for the hospitals Mental Health Program and by raising public awareness.

Mental health is an essential part of overall health. It is a part that is often overlooked until our mental health comes into question because of persistent and debilitating symptoms. In order to achieve overall wellbeing, it is important that we take a look at not only our physical health, but our mental health as well. The study of the interaction between psychological processes and the nervous and immune systems of the body is referred to as Psychoneuroimmunology (PNI). PNI links psychology, neuroscience, immunology, physiology, pharmacology, molecular biology, psychiatry, behavioral medicine, infectious diseases, endocrinology, and rheumatology, in such a way so that the connections
between the various systems in the body can be made.Brain

The link between mental health and physical health is very strong. The aches and pains of depression are just one sign that our brain is telling the rest of the body that it is in pain. Many times the aches and pains just get grouped together with the rest of the illness, but what if they are caused by something else all on its own? Part of Bryce Wylde’s practice is to take a look at the connections between the brain and the rest of our body, to identify the cause/effect relationship, and work on developing a strategy to work towards overall wellbeing.

An important part of our physical health is nutrition, and nutrition can also have a huge effect on overall mood and manner, as well as mental health. Bryce developed The Dopamine Diet, a list of dopamine rich foods that can help to lift your mood. There is a link in between your dopamine level and obesity, as explained in Bryce’s article (http://www.wyldeabouthealth.com/articles/view/59). Just simply eating healthier and being conscious of what is in your food is not something that your body will thank you for, but your brain will thank you for it as well.
dopamine
Dopamine is just one of the many important things that your brain needs to remain healthy. DHA, an omega-3 fatty acid, makes up a large amount of our brain and has been shown to improve intelligence and cognitive functioning, as well as mood. There has also been a link between DHA and a reduced risk for Alzheimer’s and dementia.

For more information, please visit http://www.wyldeonhealth.com/ .

Fibromyalgia and Alternative Therapies

Fibromyalgia is a complex condition that can be very difficult to understand. It can have an impact on virtually every part of your body. And with an array of symptoms that are not visible on medical tests, it is not often easy to diagnose or treat.

fibromyalgia

Fibromyalgia is a condition that can deeply affect a person’s life in many different ways. It is known to take a healthy, happy, well-functioning person, and turn them into someone wrought with constant pain and fatigue, robbing them of the initiative to complete even the simplest of daily routines. It greatly affects the overall well being of the person, as people suffering with Fibromyalgia are much more likely to suffer from depression as well. The depression is likely linked to the physical symptoms and the lack of an ability to maintain routine when the pain is unbearable. The symptoms of Fibromyalgia are very much in line with those of depression, which can further delay the diagnosis of Fibromyalgia.

So what treatments are out there for fibromyalgia? There is a varying degree of treatments from western medicine to adjustments in diet and workout. Not everything works for everyone. However, choosing an alternative to the medications that are offered by your regular family physician can allow for overall wellbeing, as well as pain relief.

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Western Medicine approaches fibromyalgia through pain medications, as well as using strategies to improve sleep and exercise conditioning.

Those following with the energy-based approach believe that the root cause of fibromyalgia is sensitivities to substances (both natural and man-made (i.e. vaccines and medications, as well as chemicals in everyday items)). The energy-based approach focuses on acupuncture as the chief reliever of the pain and anxiety/depression based in fibromyalgia.

While depression is linked heavily with fibromyalgia, those following the psychological approach suggest that depression can amplify the pain caused by Fibromyalgia. Cognitive behaviour therapy can improve the symptoms of depression greatly, by helping the patient identify the sources of stress that magnify their depression symptoms.

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Those choosing the nutrition-based approach choose to take supplements to help with sleep, hormones, immunity, and nutrition. Regular exercise is also a large part of this approach.

Dr. Fred Hui, a licensed and practicing MD in Toronto, approaches Fibromyalgia as a chronic flu. Dr. Hui treats fibromyalgia with a combination of I.V. treatments and other therapies to improve sleep, nutrition, and the various toxins in the body.

Treatment of Fibromyalgia is based on what is best for each patient. Many find success with each of the above listed treatments; however, not every treatment is suitable for every patient. It is important to keep in mind that it is your body, mind, and soul in these treatments. Trying different treatments is your choice, and exploring your options is an important part of the process.

How Emotions Affect Your Mind-Body-Soul Connection

How Emotions Affect our Body

Emotions are something we all share. Emotions are what provide us with a common ground to relate to one another, to converse and to express ourselves. In fact, emotions both regulate and are regulated by your body. Below I will discuss what different emotions entail for the body.

The emotion of shame is reflective of our deepest wound and can have the most devastating of effects on our emotional state. Second to the emotion of shame sits guilt, apathy, fear, anxiety, anger and hate.  Studies have shown that negative emotions can actually weaken your body’s immune system and thus bring about the onset of illness and disease.

These negative emotions affect your body in such a way that your body actually becomes traumatized by a surge of electrical shock. This electrical shock is capable of leaving the equivalent of scars and wounds, albeit emotionally and mentally. This in turn disrupts our ability to be a clear channel to love unconditionally and to be accepting of both ourselves as well as others in much the same way a child would his mother and himself. These are very powerful emotions that leave a very powerful effect on the body.

Having said this, holding back or denying yourself of these emotions only makes the feelings worse as you are denying yourself the ability to release the pain. In turn, this can cause you a great deal of stress, which is often followed by illness.  By attempting to control and stifle your pent up anger, resentment, self-judgment, physical pain and criticism amongst many other negative beliefs and fears, you result in sabotaging what you truly want and desire in your life and this stops us from being our best.

How these Emotions can Make You Very Sick

Emotions are capable of affecting the way we feel, think and behave. The reason behind this is because emotions are very much linked to our physiological well-being. What this means is that emotions are tied in and very much related to our body.

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An imbalance between your mind, body and soul is connected to your emotional well-being and can cause digestion issues or an upset stomach. Think about an unsettled stomach as the result of all the emotions your body is unable to digest or accept within.

Anger and resentment can cause inflammation and pain in the body due to an inflexible way of being or holding on to something rather than to forgive and let go.

Shoulder pain is the feeling of having the weight of the world on you and therefore feeling overwhelmed.

Back pain is reflective of a need for more support in your life, but not necessarily understanding how to create that for yourself or how to ask for it.

How to Safely Release these Emotions

Get grounded in earth, feel the earth under your feet.

Take a bath and allow your body to let loose and to relax.

Take time off for yourself.

Physical exercise and movement is really great as long as you are not in pain. Yoga, breathing work, going for a stroll are all viable options.

Release your emotions by punching a punching bag or by letting it all out as a scream in a safe place when you’re alone (like into a pillow).

Last but not least talk it out with someone you can trust like a friend, family member or therapist.  Talking is always a sure way to release and let go as long as it’s consistent.