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


What Should I Eat If I Am Constipated?

Constipation pain in kids is hard to watch.  Even as an adult, it is miserable and search for constipation relief.  Chronic constipation cause us to ask some of these common questions.  Most common is, “what should I eat if I am constipated?”  Knowing what food causes constipation can be helpful and most integrative doctors will encourage you to focus on simple diet changes such as avoid dairy and processed foods while increasing your fiber in fruits, veggies, beans and grain intake.  Definitely making sure you get your water in daily is important.  Probiotics, prunes, magnesium, massage can also be great tools.  There are holistic medicine options you can do from for chronic constipation.  This still doesn’t answer the another common question of “why do I get constipation so easily?”

Food intolerances can be something that triggers constipation.  these mysterious, sometimes even perfectly healthy foods can take days to cause the constipation.  Fortunately nowadays, Naturopathic doctors can run a food intolerance test or a panel of 184 foods based on your IgG memory of your food reaction.  This is different from the IgE food allergy test that your integrative doctor would may offer you.  If may still be helpful but IgE allergy tests don’t provide the answers to what foods may be causing you or you kids chronic constipation.  Natural medicine is focused on finding those holistic health options that work.  It is an alternative medicine way of thinking about constipation trouble.

Another common question, “Is Miralax Safe for kid?” Even the manufacturer says that Miralax is for occasional constipation.  Unfortunately, it is often the only option given to parents as a help for their kids and doctors encourage parents to administer to kids because they really don’t know of other options.  Alternative medicine has many natural remedies for constipation relief but they usually only work temporarily.  Only a Naturopathic approach of getting to the cause will help you solve the constipation once and for all.  Identifying food intolerance may be the cause for some, identifying gastrointestinal infections or inflammation may be another’s cause.  Each person is an individual and Naturopathic medicine takes this into account using tools such as unique labs as well as herbs, nutrition, diet, hydrotherapy, homeopathy and so much more.  The right combo for you or your kid can help pooping naturally become a regular thing.

What can you do for chronic constipation? We specialize in this kind of thing so constipation is not a new idea for us. Getting the right care tailored for you or your child’s specific body and 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!

Natural Treatment for Anxiety in Kids

Anxiety in kids is a common thing to encounter in a naturopathic clinic. It can be all consuming for both kid and parents especially around separation and/or sleep.  I recommend kids who experience anxiety to be treated with homeopathy.  Homeopathy are natural remedies for child anxiety whether younger children or teenage anxiety and these natural remedies are a powerful integrative tool in natural medicine that can help kids adjust to their surroundings.  Starting school can be one of those triggers.  Kids with social anxiety can find it difficult to make decisions in a group and most education is geared toward collaborative group teaching.  They may act the part but their anxiety will continue to accumulate until there is an outlet such as a physical symptom- sore throats, or belly pain  with constipation are really common.  The worry and feeling of being overwhelmed are difficult to express especially when trying to be good at school.

Other children with anxiety may be super sensitive either emotionally or physically.  Even the smallest suggestion of a problem can send them running to someone for safety.  The feeling of abandonment can also be something that is triggered by anxiety.  It is a real fear for them that dominates their ability to learn and thrive.  If a teacher is sweet and safe with the child, they may do well but if the teacher is not warm but more strict, the child can think that the teacher is always mad at them or that they are bad creating a block to the learning.   Homeopathy can reduce a child’s anxiety overcoming both emotional distraction and reoccurring physical issues at the same time.  The child can improve in a holistic way when we consider everything.

Your Naturopathic Pediatric Doctor can also consider the other tools in naturopathic medicine that can be contributing to anxiety.  Integrative medicine can include looking at diet, nutrition through labs and history or supplements for child anxiety while naturopathic medicine can suggest herbs for anxiety and food intolerances contributing to the anxiety. Physical problems can also be related to the ability to focus and this is where functional medicine comes in handy. The complaint may not be something that can be clearly seen on a lab but we know there is a dysfunction such as pain, constipation or reflux or even frequent illness.  These are all physical symptoms that can come along with anxiety.

Homeopathy can be a very helpful tool.  It delivers information to the body to help get out of a stuck mode such as anxiety.  Finding the resources you need within the community can also be a key to dealing with depression or anxiety which can often be a lack of self confidence in kids.

We specialize in this kind of thing and see anxiety frequently in our office so it’s not a new idea for us. Getting the right care for your child is important and tailored for your child’s specific body and situation in mind. 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 medicines, 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!

Solve That Asthma!

Asthma can be such a challenge for kids to live a normal life particularly when it comes to sports involvement or spending the night at friends’ houses that have pets.  Fortunately, there are a lot of natural medicine treatments for asthma.  Food sensitivity testing or testing for food allergies can be very important to identify.  We can’t always control what is in our environment but we can control our diet.  Encountering allergens or things you react to can include both food and environment so the more you get in, the more reactive the airway will be and the less you encounter, the less likely the airway is to react.  As we decrease the aggravations, the child can eliminate asthma and the need to medications which is very exciting for the family.

Any Integrative Health Center is likely to see asthma in their pediatric population and our naturopathic doctors are no different.  Over 25 million people and their families experience the challenges of asthma contributing to a large number of office visits to the doctor and repeat visits to the doctor, both scheduled and unscheduled.  Many have to seek care in urgent cares when treatment is not managing asthma adequately.   We have a lot of hope for parents who are looking for alternative medicine or naturopathic medicine options for their pediatric kids with asthma.  There are a lot of tools in the functional medicine realm that helps create a holistic treatment approach for our patients.

The holistic doctor’s view of treating the whole body tends to be more successful than just treating the airway which may continue to get worse.  This is a functional medicine view of the body as well by working on the immune system response, some thing that is not clearly visible but is working on an unseen level.  The immune system is focused on keeping the body safe but if it is confused on whether food is aggravating, it will continue to try to address the problem.  Taking the food out for a period of time can allow the immune system to regroup, heal up the lining of the intestines along with make the enzymes that digest and break down the food into digestible molecules to distribute through the body.  The largest challenge here is to identify the foods that are causing the aggravation.  Food intolerances are often obscure.  Sometimes they are not easy to identify since it can take 4 days to have a reaction.

As a naturopathic doctor, I have seen many pediatric patients present with chronic asthma that is reoccurring and after treatment, they have a bag of pharmaceuticals that they no longer need that they have gradually been able to wean off.  This is empowering for kids and parents.  The basis of treatment again is identifying the food intolerances and food allergies, decrease the inflammatory burden their body is exposed to and balancing the microbiome.  There are many botanicals that can be used in the meantime to help relax the airways but addressing the cause is what gives the long lasting results.  Don’t underestimate your body’s desire to use natural medicine to heal from asthma.

This is something Dr. Shannyn Fowl is familiar with and has seen in kids and adults alike.  Please don’t hesitate to reach out to us at (619) 772-1164 for a free 10 minute consult to see if we are the right fit for you.  Our Naturopathic Medicine Clinic in San Diego, CA welcomes new patients are interested in finding natural options for their healthcare concerns.

Insomnia: Tools to Get Sleep

Imagine being able to beat insomnia and wake up feeling rested and with energy every day without the worry of wondering whether you will sleep tonight.  Sleep deprivation is an epidemic today in America.  Many of us go through our day worrying about sleeping. Lack of sleep is a major health issue causing an increasing risk for conditions such as metabolic syndrome, diabetes, cardiovascular disease, cancer, accidents, arthritis, obesity, and substance abuse.  The concerns that most often come to mind are the immediate results we experience from lack of sleep, including fatigue, depression, anxiety, and immune system problems such as autoimmune and frequent colds or illness. There is so much going on in our daily worlds that we may be overly driven and sometimes need to take a step back to remind ourselves that ensuring restorative sleep is definitely part of a life well lived.

Purpose of Sleep from a Naturopathic Doctor

From a holistic perspective, sleep is an opportunity for your body to heal and detoxify. Sleep is the anti-inflammatory action of your body that helps to wash out our brain and solidify the most prominent memories- either good or bad. Naturopathic doctors firmly believe sleep is when you are cleansing your body.  Therefore some treatment options are specifically more helpful before bed since your body is headed for a detox or purifying mode. Special cells that perform like pacman will drift along sweeping thru your brain collecting and transporting debris, unsafe molecules or simply unneeded substances out of the body.  The night housekeeping also sweeps out the excess cobwebs or thought connections but leaving the stronger connections otherwise known as the stronger memories. This means the reinforced memories like having fun at the go-carts today will overwhelm the end of the year school testing from today.

Pharmaceutical Options

There are a number of pharmaceutical choices that are hypnotic or just help you fall asleep faster and stay asleep longer.  The disadvantage of these is that they do not affect the last stage of sleep which is the most restful and therefore they can have some of the same side effects such as drowsiness, fatigue.  They can induce hypothermia which in turn can affect your thyroid function.  They also reduce cortisol which can help with stress but also motivation. Pharmaceuticals can be a helpful tool to adjust the GABA receptors for sleep but it is usually not as easy as taking a pill and calling it a night.  These drugs don’t get to the cause of why you are not getting enough sleep so we still have to work on getting the deep sleep, managing your stress and why you are not sleeping to begin with. In the end, they don’t change the sleep architecture which is why they sometimes stop working for patients.

Integrative Medicine for Sleep

So we can agree we need MORE SLEEP, BETTER SLEEP and HOW IMPORTANT IT IS. We can also agree that if we are going to use a holistic view on how to improve sleep, we must include your favorite STRESS MANAGEMENT tools whether those are a blend of botanicals, meditation, yoga, exercise or tea ceremonies.  Find your groove.  Sleep training plus a sleep aid has been shown to be more helpful than just a sleep aid or doing nothing especially if it is the ‘getting back to sleep’ part that is a challenge.  There are many lifestyle shifts that are free and can help lay the groundwork for making good sleep tools work better.  Exercising 3 or more times per week earlier in the day will help you fall asleep faster and stay asleep longer in general.  Keeping a gratitude journal, doing things you love, praying and soothing sounds can all help decrease the adrenaline in day to day life.  Review any situations that wished you had handled differently, replay them, or have a friend help you sort it out so you feel better about it, luxuriating in that feeling.  These are just a couple reminders or ideas of how day to day tools are included in integrative medicine for sleep.

Sleep Hygiene

Among those natural treatments for sleep essentials are the sleep routine. The 30 minutes before bed are a crucial time to train your brain and your body to gear toward healing and cleansing.  That on and off button is a slider for most of us not just off.  Diming lights, avoiding technology lighting and just slowing down in general is important.  Dump the thoughts that are clouding the mind on paper to deal with tomorrow if needed.  If your mind tends to race at night, keeping a pen and paper next to your bed allow you to dump it.  Avoid doing any work in bed at any time of day and keep the bed for sleeping only.  It should be a cool and comfortable spot, too warm can prevent you from sleeping.  Avoid things you are sensitive to as well as pollen from plants.

Preparing for sleep can also include an Epsom and soda soak, 5 minutes of deep breathing.  Light-blocking blinds and a sleep mask as well will prevent light from interfering with your natural circadian rhythm. Likewise, not enough light during the day can interfere with your natural wake cycle.  Naturopathic Doctors agree on how important this sleep routine is although they may have different addition tools to add such as sleep glasses, a green light as a harmonizing color to trigger the pineal gland or botanicals.

Naturopathic Medicine and Sleep

Rhythm is key for beating insomnia and getting sleep which involves your hormones and neurotransmitters.  Cortisol should be ramping down at bedtime while melatonin should be ramping up.  Cortisol is the hormone that gives us drive and energy and helps us deal with stress.  It is a good hormone to have. We even need a small amount for sleep to occur.  However, there are many things that can go wrong here causing it to be too low all the time or too high/ too low at the wrong times. DHEA is the precursor hormone to cortisol. Too much stress can stimulate excess DHEA or too much cortisol.  Sometimes the DHEA is exhausted and can not go up to match the need for cortisol.  Then there is the melatonin which is made from serotonin. If there is a malfunction of the serotonin whether timing or amount, the melatonin will be effective. The balance of DHEA and cortisol as well as the balance of melatonin with serotonin is crucial to mood and sleep.

Let’s now take a quick look on how we can use some integrative medicine tools. A popular natural treatment used is taking melatonin or sometimes even GABA. These items can be addictive you may need more and more over time, although melatonin does naturally decrease with age so it can be appropriate in older individuals. It also doesn’t change the sleep architecture, so may stop working. Not a route I would recommend long term.

Naturopathic Nutrition and Diet for Sleep

Focusing on getting neurotransmitters where they need to be in the body is a great integrative medicine tool for patients who have insomnia.  Neurotransmitters rely on amino acids and fatty acids and is a holistic way to think about sleep.  Therefore, healthy balance of these in your diet relies on good diet, being able to digest them and assimilate distribute them in the body, as well as properly eliminating.

Fats are the sources for neurotransmitters. Omega 3’s are anti-inflammatory and are the ones you should focus on.  Omega 6’s are pro inflammatory and we get a fair amount in our food already. Many amino acids are found in our food such as tryptophan such as nuts, eggs, fish, figs, tuna, brown rice, soy, dairy and meat especially turkey which is why we all need a nap after Thanksgiving turkey! Tryptophan is made into serotonin.  Serotonin is that neurotransmitter that induces sleep and is also found in food such as whole wheat, bananas, walnuts and pineapple.  One of my favorite scripts for patients is a baked potato before bed since it is full of serotonin, organic please.  Amino acids can provide food for your neurological system, thus molecules for endurance and to prevent over reactions such as anxiety or depression.  Using a targeted amino acid for more specific complaints related to insomnia can be successful too and a pure functional medicine way to think about insomnia.

Avoid the tyramine foods around bedtime such as spinach, tomatoes, aged and soft cheeses.  Oranges don’t have tyramine but can trigger an awake cycle.  Caffeine 4 hours before bed is not a good idea either.  Skip that nightcap!  Although alcohol may initially have a sleepy or sedative impact, it will likely make you wake in a few hours and disrupt the quality of sleep.  Sleep apnea and snoring are worsened by alcohol.  Try to finish your meal at least 3 hours before bedtime.  This is another naturopathic tool that has rung true over the centuries.

Other naturopathic tools available in San Diego include looking at your hormones. Progesterone can be sedating and quite appropriate if your hormones are out of balance.  Estrogen has a motivating effect so if you are low already, progesterone is a great option.  Hydrotherapy options can include a warm bath before bed, castor oil packs, saunas or the more involved hot fomentations or constitutional hydrotherapy.  Getting a work up for a homeopathic remedy may also help may an impact on a chronic sleep problem.  Homeopathy can work wonders in many parts of your life.

Naturopathic Pediatrics

Since we do a lot of naturopathic pediatrics in our office, I want to touch on normal sleep patterns here.

Infants are on 3 – 4 hour sleep cycles – 18 hours sleep

6-12 mos old – most of the sleep is at night

Teens – 9 – 10 hours are needed and they tend to be night owls

Adults – 7-9 hours on average

Women tend to have more difficulties falling or staying asleep

Women in their 40-50’s complaints about sleep increase 40%.

Men are 8xs more likely to suffer from sleep apnea and night awakenings

Kids who snore are 2xs more likely to suffer ADHD.  Often snoring can be resolved by addressing the inflammation in the throat and food intolerances are almost always part of the picture.  Fortunately, we can do a simple finger stick to test for 184 foods so we are not left wondering what they may be reacting to.  Restless legs can be missed in kids which can contribute to insomnia.  Growth Hormone can affect our need for REM sleep, this is why growth spurts mean more sleep. Once GH is released, we get groggy.  This decreases with age.

Find Your Answers!

Whichever natural tools you use for your integrative approach to insomnia, we are happy to help you find answers. We specialize in this holistic 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.

Recommendations for Happy and Healthy Children

There’s a lot you can do to help your child maintain optimal health and prevent the occurrence of common illnesses. For instance: Do you model healthy eating? Are you exercising as a family? Do you make time to play and relax? Teach your children the following self-care tips and you’re helping them establish a lifetime of healthy habits.

Healthy Mouth, Healthy Body. Kids should brush and floss at least twice a day. Good oral hygiene benefits the whole body.

Clean Hands, Healthier Kids. A daily shower or bath is important, but it’s routine hand washing that helps prevent the transfer of bacteria, reducing the chance of diarrhea, respiratory illness, and the common cold.

Guard Against Colds. Teach children to: avoid shaking hands or getting close to folks who are sneezing and coughing; refrain from sharing school supplies and toys with those who are sick; never drink or eat from another child’s containers; always use tissues and cough into the crook of their elbow, not their hands.

Bug Prevention. Lice love warm, cozy places. To prevent the spread of head lice, kids should not wear hats indoors. They should never share brushes, combs, hats, hairbands, or athletic headgear. If lice are present at your child’s school or daycare, consider a short haircut or styling long hair in a ponytail, bun, or braid.

Healthy Hydration. Water is essential to health. It helps flush toxins from the body, maintain healthy circulation, promote strong muscle contractions, facilitate digestion, and prevent dehydration.

Eat a Rainbow. A balanced diet includes a variety of colorful fruits and veggies, whole grains, and high-quality sources of protein. Involving your children in shopping and meal preparation empowers them to make healthy choices and try new foods. Eat at least one meal each day together as a family, without watching TV or having phones and other electronics at the table. This promotes mindful eating and encourages family communication.

A Little Sweetness. If you’re modeling healthy choices around sweets, then it won’t bother your kids (too much) that you’re asking them to do the same. Point out the health problems associated with eating too much sugar (e.g., poor athletic performance, gaining weight, diabetes). However, don’t deprive kids and don’t label foods as good or bad. If they’re making healthy choices 80% of the time, a little sweetness in their diet will be okay-and will be savored.

Strengthen Emotional Muscles. Encourage your child to journal, collage, write poetry or draw comics to express a range of emotions. A ‘what’s up’ notebook between an adult and child encourages kids to open up, tell you about their day, even ask embarrassing questions. Adults who reply honestly and non-judgmentally find this is a great way to start difficult conversations or just get a sense of what’s going on with their child. This works best if you start during the later elementary or early middle school years.

Family Values. Call a family meeting and find out what’s important to each family member and what they think will contribute to a healthy, happy home life. For example, your family might identify respect, responsibility and communication as core values. This exercise sets up expectations for behavior inside and even outside your home. It helps kids feel accountable for their behavior toward themselves and other family members.

Contact our office for more information

Journey of Health Medical Clinic


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