Posts Tagged ‘mental health’

Parenting is hard work. Kids needs are 24/7 and then there’s coordinating the life of a family that can sometimes seem like an impossible puzzle. Without the support of a village modern families face significant challenges to create a peaceful, harmonious start in life for their children.

Our mainstream healthcare systems acknowledge 2 ways to help pediatric mental health. Psychotherapy and medication. Pyschotherapy sessions can involve numerous ways to gain self-awareness and cultivate the self we wish to become. The greatest success is typically seen with a 12 week commitment as a minimum. Working with a therapist is an amazing way to express ourselves in a safe and contained manner. It supports people of all ages to build confidence, develop insight and overcome challenges.

Medication in our western medicine definition includes only pharmaceuticals. SSRI’s, anxiolytics and sedative drugs all have potential for serious complications and side effects. In addition, they interrupt the normal development of the brain that can result in lifelong changes, especially to young people. They can be extremely useful in severe cases but they come with a substantial cost to long-term health.

There is an incredible wealth of knowledge that can be found in traditional systems of healing as well as modern research of natural medicine tools. As a Naturopathic doctor, my training is first and foremost to utilize the simplest substances to promote positive, natural development of the body. From there, we observe the changes to the system and then work to either promote or suppress the imbalances.

Acupuncture is a powerful tool to shift the nervous system from our anxious, fight or flight mode into our calm and relaxed rest and digest mode. Our overall health depends significantly upon the amount of time we spend in the “rest and digest” or parasympathetic state of being. Acupuncture also enhances function of different organs of the body, prescribed in each session based upon the overall balance and imbalance of the individual. While needles are often used, pediatric tools can vary in their impact from tuning forks, simple acupressure, shonishin Japanese acupressure tools and more.

Bodywork tools include a variety of forms of touch that allow the individual to experience comfort and relaxation as well as improved physiology. Comfortable and consentual physical contact with another human being in and of itself shifts our brain activity to be more receptive and promotes a peaceful state of being. Children need touch even more than adults to develop a healthy nervous system.

Herbal medicine and nutritional therapies are intended to be utilized on an every day basis as a way to improve our challenges on a physical, mental and emotional level. There are countless herbs classified as “nervine” herbs which are known to reduce nervous tension in the body. Knowing which foods work well for us and in what combinations is an invaluable part of every day life. Using plants as medicine is fundamental to every traditional culture on our planet. Every species of animal varies their consumption of plant matter to help naturally support their overall health. As human beings, we can benefit greatly from customized herbal and dietary formulas that we use routinely.

Adorable cute boy with hat in a lavender field stock photo

When addressing anxiety and depression symptoms, there is a significant benefit to utilizing thorough neurotransmitter testing prior to treatment with any herbs, supplements and especially drugs. Neurotransmitters are the brains chemical messengers that establish the state of the brains ability to respond to stimuli in a “normal” or typical manner. For example, when we participate in a group activity that is oriented around a cause we care about, serotonin naturally enhances and provides us with a lingering sense of well-being and happiness. But this is just one of the many neurotransmitters orchestrating the mind and mood balance. Knowing which way the balance is tipped when we are not well is the key to knowing how to regain the balance we need.

It is a very unfortunate situation when a person is prescribed a drug that works against the problem they are already having, and then creates a new problem by establishing another imbalance from the drugs side effects. For children, these changes can be permanent. Instead, when we test first, assess the bodies obstacles and support the system naturally we can ensure health will increase with time. Pharmaceuticals may still be helpful, especially when done in a specific individualized manner in conjunction with the tools to help improve the body’s development.

Please visit your local resource at Stillwater Clinic & Apothecary for herbs, vitamins and individual practitioner services to support the healthy balance in your life and your family today. This holiday season, come experience acupuncture/acupressure in our Japanese foot spa for a relaxing experience for all ages.

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Part 1: Finding the Balance


With daily topics like global warming, political strife and natural disasters it takes a serious effort for anyone to find peace and inner quiet today. For young people who have grown up in the era of media and technology infiltrating many aspects of their lives, anxiety is commonly an everyday feeling.

Historically, I worked with teens and young adults for issues like acne, headaches, growing pains, hormone balance and eating disorders. Today, every single teen and young adult I know complains of anxiety as a primary challenge. Often with this comes the classic swing of the pendulum of struggling with depression as well.   According to the National Institute of Mental Health, 25% of teens have diagnosable anxiety disorders. This is a significant increase from previous generations and does not include low grade anxiety or social anxiety, which are even more common.

What ever happened to carefree childhoods and wanting to stay forever young? Nowadays it seems the urgency to grow up to better cope with the apocalyptic dilemma’s that circulate everyday life robs our youth of the freedom to explore their hearts desire and contributes to an all too common emotional instability.

It is not all external factors either. The more we learn about brain development and neurological balance, the more we recognize increasing challenges with the pathways in our brain that reduce neurological stimulation. There are numerous substances we consume or are exposed to that provoke brain excitability that can cause an anxious feeling to linger a lot longer than it should. Some people being far more vulnerable to these than others.

Now more than ever, we all need help finding ways to access our peaceful, joyous selves. We need something that will bring us out of the flurry of worries, fears and anticipations and into a calm present moment. Tools we can use for momentary stressful events that provoke anxiety as well as routines we can establish in our lives to cultivate our happiness.

Integrative medicine provides a unique lens to address mental health concerns. Utilizing tools from standard, allopathic healthcare in addition to traditional systems from around the world offering a diverse approach to balance health. The first goal of understanding the symptom is to identify the cause. This is the key to providing immediate relief and long term changes. Both physical exam diagnostic tools and lab testing can help reveal which organs of the body may be experiencing distress to contribute to feelings of uneasiness. For young people this is especially important so that interventions are supporting the long term health as the body grows.

Stay tuned as this 4 part series addresses youth anxiety and is intended to provide a resource for the community to discover new ways to find a peaceful center while moving through the chaos of the modern world.

If you or someone you love are struggling with anxiety and/or depression, get help today with integrative medicine. At Stillwater, we encourage the combination of psychotherapy and natural medicine tools as well as collaboration with western medical providers for pharmaceutical support as needed. Our goal is to make use of the best of all systems of healing to get patients the balanced care they need for today, as well as for a healthier future.


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