Aging Gracefully with Natural Medicine

Our goal is aging gracefully. We want to be as youthful as possible both inside and outside. Using our knowledge of normal physiology and what know about our tools can help us shape some key points.

The Basics of Aging Gracefully

Eating right for you. Veggies are always a good idea- as many servings and colors as you can get in. Fruits are important too. Beans are a common denominator among the oldest living populations in the world and likely that is related to feeding the diverse microbiotic world of the gut. Protein sources and healthy fats are important. Avoid those foods you know don’t agree. They just aren’t worth the trouble.

Exercise should include balance exercises and for those at risk for osteoporosis- weight bearing exercises. Moving is key to vitality and feeling strong.

Antioxidants are imperative to aging well. The sooner we incorporate them in our routine, the sooner they can protect your tissues from oxidation or aging. It is never too late to start. Work with your naturopathic doctor who is especially trained in antioxidant ratios and can pick out the multivitamin that you will see results on.  Lutein/Zeanthinin are protective for the eyes while we are seeing an increase in macular degeneration and retinal detachment.  Curcumin is anti-inflammatory helping health lipid protection and joints.  The right B’s are important for methylation challenges especially in MTHFR.

Mental workouts are important to keep that brain working. Whether you are taking a cooking class or doing puzzles or learning a new language; new learning helps to keep the brain active.

Be Aware of YOUR Particular Health Problems

Knowing your risk factors gives you the power to prevent worse damage. This is where your naturopathic doctor is especially important. They are looking out for ways to prevent and to make your susceptible areas stronger. It is a completely different way of looking at healthcare but patients are refreshed to feel they can be empowered and do something about their health risks instead of waiting for things to happen.

Whether your risk factors include dementia or arthritis, both of which impact your life and your loved ones, you can nourish your brain or joints and give it the tools it needs to prevent damage as well as preventing the damage from taking place. It seems like a simply novel idea and it really is with patients showing much appreciation in the simplicity.

3. Decrease Overall Inflammation
Inflammation is a normal part of aging so if we can ramp up the tools to slow it down, we can notice that a number of factors can improve from mood to libido to memory and focus. Many primary concerns such as gastrointestinal, cardiovascular, rheumatic is brought on by inflammation. We have to treat the cause and not the symptom. Natural solutions are in demand so there may be many protocols that you have never heard of that are working in your naturopath’s office.

4. Money is an Investment
Money is an object for health and happiness. Yes, good health costs money. Alzheimer’s disease is a high cost to a family and society. Investing in your brain, especially if you are at risk, with high-quality products specified for you does no harm and may actually help. Many diseases cost an incredible amount of money but a maintenance plan of health habits and a regimen of individualized products that do not interfere with essential medications can help combat the risks and live healthier, happier, full lives.

Consider your options for aging gracefully.

Autoimmunity: Can Herbs Help or Hurt

Autoimmunity is complicated and need an expert’s eye to find safe natural alternatives for autoimmune disease.  The body loses it self regulation or self tolerance in autoimmune disease and as a result, inflammatory molecules rush to the affected target tissues.  The immune system allows production of large amounts of inflammatory cytokines or communication molecules that create tissue damage.  Cells in the CD4+ helper cell family, particularly TH1 and TH17 drive the pathways.  Autoimmune diseases such as listed below are examples of the disruption of the immune system from the regulatory cells and the ‘attack of self’.


Hashimoto’s Hypothyroidism

Inflammatory Bowel Disease (usually Crohn’s or Ulcerative Colitis)

Lupus (or systemic lupus erthmatosus)

Multiple sclerosis

Psoriasis and Psoriatic Arthritis

Rheumatoid Arthritis

Sjogren’s syndrome

Ulcerative Colitis

The desire to use herbs or botanicals when you have autoimmune disease is not uncommon.  Pharmaceuticals or medications are limited in their effects so holding off and managing symptoms with other tools can be a great option for patients who are in the early stages of autoimmunity even if they have a lot of pain.  I have seen patients well progressed in their disease do well off medications and on botanicals, however it dose take alot of dedication and work.  There is growing interest among patients and the research community to use plants to help manage autoimmune symptoms.

Keep Your Hair Health as You Age

I see a number of patients who are worried about maintaining their hair health as they age. They are losing hair or it is thinning. They may think it is a phase and so they wait to see what happens and may even get concerned enough to try a few things on their own. By the time they come into my office for care, they are really concerned. Sometimes patients bring a bag of hair into the office that they show me or a bag full of supplements they have tried. Not only do we want to understand why the hair loss started but we want to rule out any contributing medical conditions, then provide nutrients for building good hair.

Types of Hair Loss

There are several types of hair loss.
Non-Scarring Hair Loss Types include:
Alopecia areata
Androgenetic hair loss
Telogen effluvium
Anagen effluvium

Scarring Hair Loss Types include:
Lupus- the discoid variant
Lichen planopilaris
Central centrifugal cicatricial Alopecia
Radiation-related hair loss
Mixed Hair Loss includes:
Traction alopecia

Vitamins and Proteins for Hair Health

Hair is constantly replacing itself. At any given time, 2% of hair is falling out and being replaced. Active growth lasts 2-6 years. This is why most hair health treatments take a while to implement. Many women and men are trying to figure out ways to get that thick hair back or fill in bald spots. There are some basic good for your hair tips that all of us can do. A diet rich in plant-based foods helps with healthy hair growth as well as adequate protein. Oral hydration is often forgotten. Adequate sleep drives the circadian rhythm, sex hormones and inflammation which all play a part in driving healthy hair growth. On top of these basics, we like to check basic labs to be sure everything is optimal. Thyroid and iron levels are important since both hypothyroid and anemias can cause hair loss.

  • Biotin can strengthen what you have in your hair and nails but doesn’t really help with new growth. We don’t want to take more than necessary because it can affect our thyroid or heart medication efficacy; 2.5-5 mg is plenty. More than 10 mg is not needed. You may have to take it for 6 months before it gets integrated in.
  • Vitamin D on the other hand appears to stimulate dormant hair follicle. Testing Vitamin D levels is discouraged nowadays in doctor’s offices but is a good idea when we are taking it as a supplement.
  • Vitamin A is tricky because too much preformed Vitamin A can prevent hair growth so no more than 25,000 IU daily but in general, there should be a purpose that you are on Vitamin A for more than a month.
  • Zinc can influence cell differentiation. Patients with hair loss generally have lower zinc as well.
  • Silicon, particularly cs-OSA can influence hair growth after 9 months or so but the absorption is highly dependent on digestion.
  • Selenium can be particularly helpful if thyroid is involved.

Other options depending on the individual such as DIM, Maca or topical miroxidil in either liquid or foam used before bed. Low level laser light therapy (LLLT) or red and near infrared light aimed at the scalp have been shown to be helpful with 26-week minimum use. There are several FDA approved devices. Platelet Rich Plasma has also been helpful for bald spots but also genetic hair loss. Often patients see results after 3 treatments even though the goal is 6 treatments. Annual maintenance is needed to maintain the results but patients seem to be quite satisfied with the results. Cosmetic tools or Camouflage is something else that can be used along the way. Scalp coloring with pens, pencils, sprays or powders to make thinning or balding less obvious. Hair pieces can be helpful too but the cap fit is the most important element. Extensions and weaves are yet another options.

If you are looking for natural options for hair loss or the best ways to stop hair loss or prevent hair loss and maintain hair health, please reach out.  We specialize in this kind of thing so it’s not a new idea for us. Getting the right care tailored for you and your situation is key to success in your health.  At Journey of Health Naturopathic Clinic we are dedicated to finding the right integrative solutions for each patient. We proudly serve the San Diego area, providing some of the best service in Naturopathic medicine. If you wish to further your own journey of health with Naturopathic solutions and Alternative medicine, give us a call at (619) 772-1164.  We offer free 10 minute consults so you can see if we are the right fit for you and you family.  Reach out and learn more about your holistic medicine options today!

Mold: Is My House Making Me Sick?

Is it possible that the mold is making you sick? Do you have some chronic generalized symptoms that are persistent despite treatment even good treatment?  Treatment may work for awhile but it just doesn’t hold. Or perhaps treatment is helping a lot but the sustainability of lots supplementation, intense diet restrictions and lifestyle modifications is intense.  This predicament is classic for patients suffering from mold exposure. Molds such as Aspergillus, Penicillium, and Fusarium are more common than we think and are making people sick!  Remember hearing about black mold? That’s called Stachybotrys and I see it come up positive as a culprit of causing mold illness!!  Yuck!

Now you may think mold growth in San Diego is fairly rare.  It is more common than you think and something to look for if someone in your house is always trying to find ways to feel better! If you are wiping black mold off your tile, it doesn’t naturally grow on tile so it is coming from behind the tile.  If there is a history of a flood or water damage in your house and it has not been adequately dried and/or treated, it only needs a few spores to for the mold to grow back.  Mold thrives in damp areas. They can grow on anything with cellulose such as fiberboard, wood, gypsum or paper.  The mold itself is not dangerous but it is those mycotoxins that tear down our health.

Mold Toxicity Symptoms

So what does having this fungus in us look like when mold makes us sick? Here is a list of symptoms that have a connection with mold toxicity:

  • Allergies that worsen
  • Alzheimer’s
  • Anemia
  • Asthma, coughing or wheezing
  • Bloating
  • Brain Fog
  • Dehydration despite excess thirst
  • Dementia
  • Dizziness
  • Dopamine disruption
  • Eyes that are itchy
  • Fatigue
  • Fevers and poor temperature regulation
  • Hair Loss
  • Headaches, especially sharp sensations
  • Light Sensitivity
  • Liver Infections
  • Infections, exacerbation of micro infections especially in the Lungs
  • Insomnia or trouble sleeping
  • Memory Loss
  • Muscle Cramps
  • Nausea chronically
  • Nerve Pain
  • Night Sweats
  • Nosebleeds
  • Obsessive Behaviors
  • Parkinson’s Disease
  • Rashes, especially itchy
  • Sensitivity becomes increased to fragrances and chemicals
  • Sinus Problems
  • Skin Sores
  • Sweet Cravings
  • Throat that is itchy
  • Tics of Tremor
  • Weakness that is generalized
  • Weight Gain or Loss

In the last couple years, a new mycotoxin test has been developed which is really helpful for patients to learn about their present mold exposures and eliminating them as well as detoxing from them.  It is shocking to see toxic mold metabolites come up so high that they bypass the known ranges of measurement.  The type of metabolite helps isolate the type of mold and how the exposure likely happened.  It can be really difficult to test your home and even harder to test your workplace, vehicle, RV, school or other place for mold but testing people for their exposure is very doable.  I have patients who come to me wondering, and have been wondering about whether they have mold in their house and the easiest way to find out if they have been exposed is by testing for mycotoxin metabolites.  The test is a simple urine collection and can identify Aflatoxin, Ochratoxin A, Gliotoxin, Mycophenolic Acid, Citrinin and a few other metabolites.

Is there HOPE after toxic mold exposure?

Since our office has a holistic mind set, I have an unwritten policy in our office not to test for things that we really don’t know what to do about.  In other words, if we can’t use the results of the test, it is all very interesting but not really useful or helpful to make it very far on our journey to wellness.  So the next reasonable question is, “what can we do for mold toxicity?”  What do we do when Ochratoxin A comes up high.  Or other metabolites relating to Aspergillus, Penicillium and the dreaded black mold, Strachomyces.  

Naturopathic Doctors really are good at offering detox options.  Natural medicine gives us a lot of tools for eliminating mold mycotoxins and other toxins.  There are some basics such as making sure that our bodies are in elimination mode.  One of my favorite ways is by infrared saunas, which we have in our office.  Ochratoxin A, phalates and heavy metal have all been found in human sweat.  Cool right?  Castor oil packs target the liver which is a main outlet for lymphatic bound toxins.  Dry skin brushing can compliment this and is practiced in alternative medicine circles.  Charcoal can be a good option as well.  Cholestyramine and nebulized antifungals are both finding good success. 

Individuals will have their own unique challenges and need to follow up with a Naturopathic Doctor for a personal plan to wellness. We specialize in this kind of thing so it’s not a new idea for us. If you are frustrated with your health, finding a doctor as a resource is key to success in your health.  At Journey of Health Naturopathic Clinic, we are dedicated to finding the right integrative solutions for each patient. We proudly serve the San Diego area, providing some of the best service in Naturopathic medicine. If you wish to further your own journey of health with Naturopathic solutions and Alternative medicine, give us a call at (619) 772-1164.  We offer free 10-minute consults so you can see if we are the right fit for you and your family.  Reach out and learn more about your holistic medicine options today!

It’s time to Find out by TESTing- DETOX and TREAT you as an individual.

Holistic and Natural Pregnancy

How to Have a Healthy, Holistic, Natural Pregnancy
For Mom and Baby
During pregnancy, a woman’s body creates an environment in which an entire human being is formed. What could be more amazing than that? As the new mom-to-be strives to protect the integrity of the womb in which her baby will develop, she needs to make good lifestyle choices and commit to high-quality food and nutrients. Here’s some important information to help achieve a holistic and natural pregnancy.
Pregnancy Nutrition Essentials
Daily requirements for macronutrients (proteins, fats, carbohydrates), vitamins, and minerals change dramatically in pregnancy and are crucial to the health of mom and her developing baby. For most normal-weight pregnant women, the right amount of calories is about . . .
  • 1,800 calories per day during the first trimester.
  • 2,200 calories per day during the second trimester.
  • 2,400 calories per day during the third trimester.
These calories should be acquired from a variety of whole grains, fruits and veggies as well as eggs, lean cuts of meat and poultry, and low-mercury fish, such as tilapia or salmon. (Vegetarians and vegans will have dietary considerations to discuss with their Naturopathic doctor in order to ensure they meet their caloric and nutrient needs.) During pregnancy it’s particularly important that food is sourced organic, verified non-GMO and antibiotic-free to ensure chemicals are not passed along to the baby.
Tips For Meeting
Pregnancy Nutrient
Increase Protein. Pregnant women need 75 – 100 grams of protein daily, Good sources include: fully cooked fish, lean meat, poultry, nuts, legumes (black beans, lentils, chickpeas, etc.), plain yogurt with added fresh fruit, and tempeh. If you find it challenging to eat high-quality sources of protein, speak with your doctor about using protein powder to make smoothies (or to add to yogurt or oatmeal).
Choose Healthy Fats. Consuming adequate fats is vital to baby’s organ and brain development. Focus on healthy sources such as avocado, nuts and nut oils, olive oil, coconut, eggs, low-fat plain yogurt with fresh fruit.
Snack on Veggies and Fruits. Eating a rainbow of fruits and veggies helps curb cravings, boost energy, and provide essential fiber, vitamins and minerals (calcium, vitamin C, folic acid, and others). Ideally, eat veggies raw or steamed; also consider fermented veggies.
Drink More Water. A woman’s blood volume increases during pregnancy and her body has to supply fluid to replenish the amniotic fluid surrounding the baby. Drinking water is important for hydration levels and may help with morning sickness and prevent constipation. The amount of water needed varies by activity level, climate, food consumption; an average rule of thumb is to drink 1/2 body weight in ounces.
Go for Whole Grains. The carbohydrates provided by whole grains are your body’s primary source of energy. Grains also provide B vitamins and fiber. Ancient Grains (such as millet, flax, farro, oat, and quinoa) are an excellent source of whole grains. Choose fresh-baked breads; opt for whole grain crackers, pasta, and brown rice.
Consume Fermented Foods. Fermented foods are a potent source of probiotics, which are essential to powering up the mucosal immune system in your digestive tract and producing antibodies to pathogens. Both are key to maintaining vibrant health for mom and baby. Your holistic doctor may recommend a probiotic in lieu of fermented foods.
Eat Smaller Meals. Morning sickness, special dietary needs, and other factors can alter the food a woman can tolerate during pregnancy. Many women find eating smaller meals, more frequently, is easier for digestion and managing nausea.
Avoid Chemicals. Chemicals in processed foods, caffeine, and sugar can affect the development of the baby’s brain and nervous system, as well as immunity and gut health. Try to avoid (or significantly reduce) your intake of processed/packaged foods, caffeine, and sugary snacks. If you need a caffeinated beverage, opt for green tea over soda and if you drink coffee, keep it to one cup per day.
Consider Supplements. A prenatal vitamin containing folate is beneficial to many women during pregnancy and many holistic doctors recommend starting it a minimum of three months preconception. A number of other supplements are considered important for mom and developing baby, based on individual needs. Consult your holistic doctor to determine what is safe and best for you.
The Integrity of the Womb
Many chemicals and medicines have unknown risks for the fetus, which can result in birth defects. To protect the integrity of the womb, it’s important for a woman to avoid use of over-the-counter and prescription medicines that are not essential for a health condition. Of course, recreational drugs, alcohol, and smoking are to be avoided. Finally, herbs (botanical medicines) and essential oils should be cleared by your holistic physician before use during pregnancy or breastfeeding.
These tips skim the surface of making healthy choices during pregnancy. To address your unique needs, speak with your Naturopathic doctor, obstetrician or midwife about what is best for you and baby during pregnancy.

Inflammatory Bowel Disease and Crohn’s Disease Recovery

Many patients are diagnosed with Inflammatory Bowel Disease, Crohn’s Disease, IBS or Irritable Bowel Disease when they have an onset of symptoms, either diarrhea, constipation, or not being able to make it to the bathroom. It can come on suddenly or something that gets worse over time.  They may be told that they have a diagnosis of IBS and their condition may not be investigated further.  IBS is a category of symptoms that we don’t know what to do with but with further testing, an IBS patient may actually have a different diagnosis of IBD or Inflammatory Bowel Disease or Crohn’s Disease. 

Many patients feel like they are left without options after visiting the doctor except  imodium and being told to manage their stress.  They may not even get a definitive diagnosis.  It can be a hopeless, helpless situation that patients may feel they are not be receiving adequate treatment for their condition or that not much seems to help.  They also will not be able to understand their prognosis or what their disease process will look like in the future.  As it progresses, a proper diagnosis can help plan for the disease and prevent aspects of the disease or hold it off.

Labs have come a long way to help us understand what the future of these diseases look like for a person.  For example with Crohn’s disease, there are certain genetic markers that can tell whether they will have a more challenging disease process sooner in life.  This information can help plan for more aggressive treatment earlier if you have it or knowing the alternative treatment will likely be effective for long term if you don’t have the gene.  There are also specific antibodies that can tell us whether treatment is working or not by if their markers improve.

If inflammatory bowel disease and crohn’s are ruled out and the diagnosis of irritable bowel syndrome remains, there are still many options.  Discovering the reason for irritability such as dysbiosis, infection or food intolerances as well as stress management and adequate nutrition can often help with finding some answers.  

Seeing patients empowered with tools and knowing what is best for them is the best part of my job.  Irritable Bowel Symptoms can go on forever.  If you or someone you care about is suffering from these symptoms, please reach out to your Naturopathic Doctor so we can find some alternative and integrative medicine options.  Symptoms can include:


Alternating constipation and diarrhea


Trouble sleeping

Pain and Cramping

Gas and Bloating

Feeling exhausted, Fatigue

Anxiety and Depression

We specialize in this kind of thing and see it frequently in our office so it’s not a new idea for us. Getting the right care for your body is important and tailored for your specific body in mind. At Journey of Health we are dedicated to finding the right naturopathic solutions for each patient. We proudly serve the San Diego area, providing some of the best service in naturopathic medicine. If you wish to further your own journey of health with naturopathic solutions and alternative medicines, give us a call at (619) 772-1164.

Naturopathic Approaches to Fever

Fever phobia is fairly common among parents of young children, and even some adults when they become sick. We worry that something serious is going on. Most often, that’s not the case.

Fever occurs when our body’s internal thermostat (an organ in the brain called the hypothalamus) shifts our body’s normal set-point upward, indicating that something is out of balance. It can be brought on by a virus, bacterial infection, heat exhaustion, inflammatory conditions such as rheumatoid arthritis, teething, pain and vaccinations just to name a few. Symptoms may include:

  • Chills and shivering
  • Headache and muscle aches
  • Sweating
  • Dehydration
  • Loss of appetite
  • Weakness
  • Irritability

While these symptoms are uncomfortable, be comforted knowing that fever is a natural and beneficial response of the immune system. It plays a key role in helping the body fight off infections and can even help strengthen immunity. It typically resolves on its own.

You should know . . .

  • For infants, toddlers and young children, a slight fever generally will go away with attentive care and holistic therapy. However, for infants younger than two months, fever should be discussed with your family doctor.
  • If a child is unable to hold eye contact/seems unresponsive, has intense neck pain or uncontrolled vomiting, seek emergency medical care. Adults should seek emergency care if they become confused, experience abdominal pain, persistent vomiting, intense head or neck pain, or have a seizure.
  • Children between the ages of six months and five years might experience febrile seizures. The seizure is triggered by a rapid change of temperature. About one-third of children who have one febrile seizure will have another one, most commonly within a year. This is generally not harmful and unlikely to cause long-term damage. If a seizure occurs, loosen tight clothing and gently hold the child on the ground in a safe area to prevent injury.

Naturopathic, Gentle Ways to Manage Fever

Since most fevers resolve on their own, don’t be quick to reach for over-the-counter meds to lower it. Instead, consider the following simple therapies aimed at supporting the body’s innate ability to heal and restore balance.

  1. Fast the Fever. Never feed a fever. The body’s resources should not be diverted to digesting food while it’s fighting fever. Drink clear broth, homemade electrolyte replacement drinks, water or suck on ice cubes.
  2. Keep a Journal. Record when the fever started, temperature, how you measured (oral, ear, rectal, etc.), and note any symptoms. Be sure to measure temperature consistently, not with different instruments each time (note differences in recording methods). Also, note if there was exposure to anyone who’s been ill. List all medications, vitamins and supplements taken. You’ll need this if you have to see the doctor or go to the ER.
  3. Use Hydrotherapy. This home remedy increases comfort while supporting the body’s ability to lower temperature. It involves the use of cold towels or sheets with a wool blanket over top and all wrapped around the body.

The bottom line is that a fever is the body’s attempt to restore balance. Your La Mesa Naturopathic Doctor may have other suggestions and strategies for supporting the body through a fever so be sure and check in for more information!

Contact our office for more information

Journey of Health Medical Clinic


Make a Change for Better Health this New Year

Have you set an intention to make better choices around diet and exercise in the New Year? Kudos for recognizing a change needs to be made and committing to it! As you begin to adopt new, healthier behavior, remember that change is a process. Be kind and patient with yourself. It takes about six weeks for a new behavior to become ingrained in our lifestyle, whether it’s exercising, eating more veggies and less meat, or limiting those sodas you’ve come to love.

Success involves creating plans for moving forward, as well as for for managing those inevitable setbacks. Here are some simple strategies to help you achieve your goals.

Know Your Why. Write down why you want to adopt a particular health behavior or change a poor one. Motivation is an important predictor of behavior, so be honest with yourself. Think deeper than just wanting to fit into smaller clothes – examine how you want to feel when you achieve that goal. Connecting emotion to your “why” strengthens your motivation and willingness to stick to the goal: I’ll feel healthier and stronger and more confident when I lose weight and fit into a smaller size.

Find Your Tribe. Enlist the support of loved ones, friends, and co-workers. Working toward a goal together provides social support that makes it easier (and more fun) to stick with making the change. You might start by telling the people closest to you what you are doing and why. Ask people for specific help: When you see me reach for a third cookie, please say something. Tell people what you need as you start and keep them updated as you progress.

Have a Plan and Be Flexible. Anything you want to achieve isn’t about finding the time, it’s about making the time – and that’s a choice in your power. Look at your daily and weekly routines to identify blocks of time when you can exercise or prepare meals in advance. It may mean getting up 20 minutes earlier or getting off social media. Do it. Make actual appointments with yourself and keep them. Planning also means knowing your environment – at home, work and play – and being aware of triggers that could put you off course. Examples: bring your lunch instead of going out; take a walk before eating; reduce temptation by removing salty, fatty snacks from the house; shop for food mindfully, staying in the outside aisles of the store where the food is typically healthier. And be flexible: life happens and things will get in the way. Those are temporary shifts. Get right back to your health routine the following day or as soon as possible.

Set Reasonable Goals. If you need to get up earlier to exercise, don’t start with an hour – start with ten minutes. Every five days increase by five minutes until you’re awake early enough to do the kind of workout that you want. Starting with small, reasonable goals makes them more attainable and gives you a sense of achievement. And that’s important when you’re first making a behavior change. Every small success builds up to bigger achievements.

Celebrate! In your plan, note the markers at which you’ll celebrate success. Incorporate a small reward for weekly successes and a bigger reward for milestones (e.g., 3 weeks of exercising daily, or losing the first five pounds). Rewards need not be expensive; rather, make them meaningful for you – and not food based unless you’re going out to a great new vegan restaurant.

Contact our office for more information

Journey of Health Medical Clinic


Doing Good for Others is Good for Your Health

Lower stress, higher self-confidence, and enhanced social relationships – sounds like the health benefits of exercise, right? Surprise! Those benefits also come from volunteering. Whether you’re working at a food shelter, giving time as a literacy mentor, or helping out after a natural disaster, the many ways of doing good for others is also good for your health.

In general, people volunteer because they believe helping those who are having a harder time in life can actually make a difference. That alone makes those who volunteer feel good about themselves, about others, and about their community. But there’s much more to it; research shows that the “happiness effect” of volunteering enhances social, emotional, and physical aspects of health and that these benefits increase as we age.

Social Benefits

  • Strengthens community ties
  • Builds in-person social networks to create genuine friendships
  • Reduces feelings of loneliness
  • Enhances professional networks and job opportunities

Emotional Benefits

  • Strengthens emotional stability for those with and without mental health concerns, such as depression, anxiety, and PTSD
  • Improves self-esteem
  • Contributes to a sense of purpose

Physical Benefits

  • Lowers stress and tension
  • Enhances brain function
  • Reduces risk of Alzheimer’s Disease
  • Promotes being physically active

People who volunteer tend to take better care of themselves; they typically have lower rates of heart disease, depression and anxiety. These health benefits don’t just apply to adults. They apply to kids and teens as well. As noted earlier, the benefits continue as we age and become even more pronounced for older adult volunteers.

So, find a cause (or two) that is meaningful for you, involve the whole family in volunteering, and celebrate all that it does for others and for you!

Contact our office for more information

Journey of Health Medical Clinic


Peppermint for Home and Health

Aromatic peppermint (Mentha piperita) has been used for centuries to add flavor or fragrance to foods, cosmetics, toothpaste and mouthwash, soaps, candles, and scented products for the home. Several different cultures also use peppermint leaves, oil, and fresh or dried powder in holistic health preparations.

As a traditional remedy, peppermint is used to awaken the mind and help relieve fatigue. Consider lighting a peppermint scented candle during the busy holiday season. Peppermint is also well known for relief of symptoms associated with the common cold and indigestion; it works by calming the stomach muscles and improving the movement of bile through the digestive system. Some scientific studies indicate that peppermint can improve the symptoms of irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), including pain, bloating, gas and diarrhea. Because the menthol component of peppermint acts as a decongestant, peppermint essential oil is a good choice for use in a diffuser, as a chest rub, or added to a warm bath. Dried peppermint leaves make for an excellent infusion for tea.

It is possible to be allergic to peppermint. Even though it can ease digestive complaints, it may not be appropriate for people who have acid reflux (GERD). Like many other herbs, peppermint can interact with other herbs, prescription medicine, or supplements. Peppermint can affect respiratory function in young children; it should not be used without the supervision of a trained medical aromatherapist. Be sure to consult your holistic physician or naturopathic doctor before adding any form of peppermint (oil, capsule, tea) to your health regimen.

Contact our office for more information

Journey of Health Medical Clinic


BBM web link