From the Blog Journal: 4 August, 2008
Here we are, Baby Boomers. How’s your health?
I’ve attributed my good health to a hardy genotype (Nomad), compliant diet/supplementation, and use of pure essential oils in every possible way. I’m finding out, as I look around at my ailing peers, however, that there are a few VERY high risk factors.
One is the regular/frequent use of distilled spirits. People who enjoy cocktails show far more wear and tear in their fifties than the rest of us do. You’d think it’s mostly liver ailments, but I notice that their overall immunity stinks, they can’t sleep, and they don’t manage stress well. And that’s just the beginning. If you drink, switch to a bloodtype/genotype-compliant wine or beer. If you really miss the cocktails, you can cut back gradually by using water/soda more liberally at cocktail hour, enjoying that ONE diluted drink, switching to wine at dinnertime. (Eventually take wine-only at cocktail hour if you maintain that tradition.) If you’re under fifty, start now so you won’t be using spirits at all in midlife, or you’ll be sicklier than necessary, for sure.
Another risk factor is chemicals, such as those found in diet foods/diet sodas. Rather than find yourself a plaintiff in some class action suit in midlife, or wondering why you have undiagnosible vertigo (often reversible when NutraSweet usage is stopped), switch to healthy sweeteners, for instance, recommended for your blood- or geno-type.
Third: Piling up Rx meds is an American pastime. On any given day, a Baby Boomer might be taking drugs for several conditions, such as high blood pressure, high cholesterol, ulcers, menopause, a cold (wrongly taking antibiotics), and insomnia.
This is NOT to be compared to the healthy person’s taking numerous supplements every day such as multivitamins, multiminerals, fiber, omega oils and a probiotic. Rx drugs come with numerous side effects, nutrient depletions, possible adverse reactions, warnings and contraindications. There could be a piper to be paid for this layering of powerful synthetic chemicals, with conditions that most MD’s will never take the time to associate with multiple medication use.
My advice is (1) that you research, yourself, each and every med you’re prescribed, and, if it fits and you end up taking it, that you use supplements to amply replenish whichever nutrients are depleted by the drug in question. (2) If you experience side effects from a medication, do NOT unquestionably take another Rx drug to reduce these effects. You might ask your MD to simply lower the dosage of the original drug, switch you to another drug, or time the drug’s administration differently; or you might investigate or use nutritional supplements to quell the side effects. Take the time, people. That “innocent” second drug will have its own side effects and depletions…and it’s a never-ending pile-up your pharmaceutically-oriented MD may not be inclined to prevent. (3) Once your condition is stabilized on a given Rx med, look into nutrient (i.e., diet and supplements) and lifestyle changes that might enable you to take a lower dosage or to eventually wean yourself completely. Many Boomers are amazed at how much slack, for instance, a good multimineral, Stress-B-Complex and melatonin can take up! If you cannot, however, forego a given medication, it’s understandable. But try to keep the number of Rx’s to a minimum.
Fourth is the obvious cigarette smoking. I’ll say no more than that it’s like drinking dirty, poisoned water --- only it’s what you put in your lungs. Who doesn’t know this?
Fifth is sexual stupidity. Maybe it was years ago. Sometimes it’s ongoing. I live in San Francisco where some people do/have done dumb stuff. There are consequences.
Sixth is Bad Parenting. If your parenting was lazy, you may now have teenaged or young adult children with knotty problems that stress you out beyond measure. “Good-enough” parenting yields the more normal “stressful-enough” result, but those midlifers who’d cut corners as disciplinarians have unruly progeny and all sorts of stress-caused conditions, all of which are serious quality-of-life destroyers. No one put it to us correctly when we were in our twenties and thirties. No one warned us: “If you don’t stick to your highest principles here, you may think the consequences will come home to roost when you’re still feeling as vibrant and energetic as you do now, but: They’ll hit you when your joints creak and you’re career-exhausted and you don’t have the resilience you now do. You’ve GOT to raise responsible, respectful adults for THAT day.”
You may find yourself described in only one of the above categories: See what you can do about it. We’re all going to die – some of us young, some of us old. If you can live without myriad health conditions until you die, wouldn’t that be easier? If your lifestyle is high-flying, high-rolling, on the edge, and you like it that way, then someone probably made you read this. Think it over.
Not everyone cares a whole lot about his/her health; a reality many health-conscious people find shocking, even unbelievable. But it’s a fact. If you know someone who mocks the natural approach of diet/supplement/herb/lifestyle/fitness or any element thereof, don’t nag. Accept. In our fifties we understand my late grandmother’s saying, “A leopard don’t change its spots,” with regard to some of our peers’ ways (and some of our own).
Oh, and see Death differently, too: Somewhat more matter-of-factly. Some of us check out sooner, some later. People make choices and – another old saying - that’s what makes horse racing.
From the Blog Journal of 3 October, 2008
Recently on the dadamo Forum, a few folks have been obsessed with the notion of the oral administration of essential oils. In France, in particular, this is a major modality: Aromamedicine, as practiced by approximately 20% of all MD’s there. While many practitioners in other countries – and increasingly in the US, myself included – do compound such medicines, the marketplace is increasingly filling up with excellent aromamedical supplements, safe for those consumers who do not make their own. The Whole Foods Market near my San Francisco home carries cinnamon caps, oregano caps, peppermint caps, ginger caps and/or syrup, and, in its “antioxidant” dept., a couple of powerful blends by Gaia Herbs and New Planet that may include rosemary, marjoram et al (a superb vehicle for taking antioxidants, btw). And there’ll be plenty more products, I’m sure.
Using essential oils diluted in vegetable oils for medicinal use as ointments and linaments, as well as in bathing media (including salts) is a long accepted method of taking them. They are rapidly absorbed into the skin and beyond. Chest rubs, belly rubs, pelvic rubs are well established practices. Overall massage, complexion products such as moisturizers, masques, cleansers – there are many books to assist the newcomer in the crafting of these – are all options to consider. Various hygiene products (including oral hygiene) often include tea tree oil for its antibacterial, antifungal, and antiviral properties. There are even tea tree oil-saturated tampons for vaginal insertion to treat yeast infection. Tea tree oil douche solutions may also be out there by now.
While “aromatherapy” is usually assumed to be strictly psychoactive or mood-altering, (it certainly is that), note that synthetic fragrances can be liked or disliked, too. The inhalation of PURE and preferably organic essential oils, however, is of decidedly pharmacologic value. Some essential oils, such as rosemary and basil, for instance, are mental stimulants suited to say, offices, while ylang ylang and mandarin are relaxants, excellent for unwinding at day’s end or under stress. The shower gel and bath oil department of your health shop will surely reflect these and other uses.
Aromamedicine offers one particularly exciting and relatively unknown feature amongst its benefits: The oils themselves are diagnostic tools. An uncertain diagnosis can be fine-tuned depending upon the oil favored by the patient when offered various oils – with known properties - for smelling. The gravitation to decidedly estrogenic substances, for instance, can indicate a female hormonal component in the patient’s current state. A patient complaining of chest discomfort of uncertain origin may seem to like decidedly peptic (digestion-assisting) as opposed to, say, cardiotonic or bronchopulmonary-specific oils, thus providing an important clue for the directing of the history. Of course, this facet of aromamedicine can be practiced only by those with broad familiarity with essential oils and their chemistry/characteristics. There is much overlap, too, e.g., a cholagogic essence such as thyme, is also a powerhouse of an antibiotic/antifungal/antiparasitic/antiviral agent, so the sample offered must be carefully chosen to correct for possible confusion, further the differential diagnosis, and be presented systematically to the patient.
For most folks entry into the vast aromatherapeutic universe is via tea tree oil for the instant cure of athlete’s foot, lavender oil for instant relief of kitchen burns or sunburn, peppermint tea to calm gastric distress, or chamomile tea for shaky nerves. I encourage the curious to sniff those tiny tester bottles displayed for that purpose at the health shop and ask the salesperson to direct you to the literature and possible applications of the ones you fancy.
There's a lot in the health marketplace calling itself "holistic" which isn't; you and I may not mean the same thing when we use the term, which, etymologically, indicates respect to/for the Whole. In a health context, it usually means that a patient's/client's entire Life picture - biochemical, behavioral, social, spiritual - is, again, respected at the very least, and incorporated into treatment modalities, ideally. But there's a particular angle that's got me miffed, because it usurps the "holistic" adjective and some of its positive rhetoric while advocating/promulgating practices that are anything BUT.
I work with urban, upper middle class postpartum women, their newborns and mates, older children and extended families. It's a particularly vulnerable demographic, insofar as the postnatal transition of a family (especially the transition of an erstwhile buttoned-up, professional 30-40-something woman, at the top of her game, to "beginner Mom") is somewhat of a crisis. I have lectured publicly about this crisis to future doctors and nurses ("The Matrescence Crisis: Modern Transitions to Motherhood" - UCSF) because the education of tomorrow's pediatrician, obstetrician, psychiatrist, and nurse is of great importance to all of us. But I've also spoken to more "alternative" and "natural" modality audiences about "Phony Holisticness". What do I mean?
In my field, there are all sorts of questionable practitioners vying for the ignorant and easy dollars of the expectant and new parent. The deal is: You take a couple at the peak of their dual-career attainments, with plenty of discretionary income and natural fear, and you convince them they need to spend it on your product or service. Then, if you're particularly unscrupulous, you throw in some scare tactics to reel 'em in to a more insidious proposition: Fomenting the Revolution, Sister, one obstetric/pediatric patient at a time.
There are extremists out there who believe that this life-transition is the crucial time for converting a woman from reliance on Standard Western Medicine to "the alternative" and, more subversively, from her own previous life-orientation to "the Cause".
Second- and Third-trimester pregnant women of established wealth and lifestyle, innocently taking Yoga or Pilates classes in order to "tone" for their labors/deliveries, are sidelined by instructors who smilingly suggest they investigate a different birth model and "attend an informative tea / evening". Sometimes its a childbirth class instructor who uses a particular "Western model"-bashing book or ideologically-skewed handout. In many late-term cases, it is a covert attempt to derail the pregnant couple's set plans for their imminent labor/delivery (and, often, postpartum and early parenting practice), away from the norms of their own established sociocultural group, i.e., from the pre-existent setting into which the child shall be born and integrated, indeed: From their truly holistic reality.
Follow me closely here, lest you entirely misconstrue my point. If I thought Standard Medical/Hospital practices were always the Absolute be-all and end-all, and that no alternatives or auxiliary approaches are ever to be considered, I wouldn't have the column-location I do. So here's my point:
It's a gross distortion of "Holism" to, at this major and vulnerable Life juncture, separate the mid-term-or -later pregnant woman from – and propagandize her against – the person she is probably then trusting as much as her own husband or mother: Her obstetrician. For the urban 38-year-old corporate attorney in her 3rd trimester, and residing 3000 miles from her mother, and who doesn't have a strong clan- or church-based community of helpful friends nearby, to be hijacked, at that critical time, from the OB with whom she's comfortable (not to mention from the social construct in which she's used to living), verges, to my mind, on the criminal. We make a mockery of the word "holistic" if it means we ever berate/vilify/malign, or even subtly cast doubt upon, another human being's very support system. Yet this is repeatedly done by "alternative" practitioners in the birth/postpartum/newborn field, as it is in others, too, in the name of the "natural" and "holistic" approach.
I have been present when circles of "energy healers" and yoga teachers (in rent-free spaces granted them by the liberal San Francisco medical establishment!) have "lovingly" addressed upscale 3rd trimester couples who'd been very happy with their reputable and excellent OBs, "lovingly" imploring them to take on a more militant and adversarial tone with their doctors and their hospitals ("Demand her 'interventions-record'". "If 'change' is going to happen, it'll have to start with YOUR letting your doctor know you insist on her changing her [fill in the blank] policy, or you'll change OBs, even though you're due in 4 weeks! THEN she'll get the message!")
In the absence of outsiders/prospective clients, these "healers" would giggle together, mocking the "probably Republican" voting tendencies and "hopelessly straight" lifestyles of their clients: "I'm scared of these couples!" they'd gasp, commiserating about the life choices made by the professional women who sign $1000+ contracts with them.
Can we step back here, folks?
Can it possibly be loving and "holistic" for a labor-doula to meet, for the first time, a 37-year-old in her 8th month of pregnancy with her first baby, and under the care of the city's top obstetrician, and try to persuade her that the latter is "backward" for not permitting the labor-doula at the birth, and that the woman should therefore ("It's NEVER too late!") switch OBs and hospitals? At that late date? I heard that one last summer.
Is it loving and "holistic" to tell an anxious 40-year-old sleep-deprived mother (whom you've just met) of a 2-week-old, with trusted private lactation consultants and pediatrician, whose baby is struggling with latching onto the breast and thus failing to optimally thrive (an anguishing state of affairs), that her lactation consultant, postpartum coach, and pediatrician and her nurses are ALL "definitely ignorant" and "part of the problem", "on a mission to make [her] milk dry up", and then take her by the hand to an "Infant Chiropractor"? And when that "doesn't work either" (surprise, surprise) leave her high and dry, mistrusting everyone she knows? I witnessed that case just over a year ago.
Often the "alternative practitioners" who "know better" than the OBs entrusted with these higher-risk cases (Yes, the over-35 primipara - first-time childbearer - is at higher risk for such real complications as placenta previa, preeclampsia and eclampsia, gestational diabetes, obstructive leiomyomas [fibroids], premature labor/delivery, etc., than a woman in her 20s, much as some radicals refuse to acknowledge it) are simply lately-certified masseuses or instructors of swaddling-burping or of meditation! And the 3rd-trimester woman had never heard of a "labor-doula" until this evening's meeting!
And yet the activist rhetoric is militant and often supplemented with articles, monographs, references and websites versus everything these vulnerable women (my precious "mommies") trust and depend upon.
NOTE: A minority of urban women have prepared for the more natural birthing modalities, well in advance of their FIRST birth. Other urban women, another perfectly worthy minority, choose on their own to investigate different "birthing" styles and practices AFTER their first birth, when the've chosen to do it differently the second time. I'm all for either scenario for the healthy mother-to-be; the educated consumer, choosing without being pressured or diverted, investigating alternatives under her own steam and in a timely manner: Ideal.
NOTE: The employment of statistical horror-tactics, and the (ab)use of real, ignorant, and frightened human beings (as first-time imminent parents are) as a crowbar for a forced Revolution in Obstetric and Pediatric Medicine is not my idea of "holistic".
Do we say we stand for Holistic Medicine, i.e., treating the whole person within her (not our) whole situation? Then we certainly do not advocate the de-stabilization of the holistic setting, the comprehensive pre-existing support team/community, of a fellow human being in her hour of crisis. Nay, we honor those boundaries, we bow to those structures and endeavor to tread lightly, even invisibly, on the sacred ground of her (not our) story. A Revolution based on trashing the landmarks and lifebuoys of those seeking healthcare - of any kind - is not only not holistic, it isn't even humane.
I know I speak for many in medicine and, especially, its auxiliary and "alternative" orbit, when I decry this thorn in our side. It's painful to see unethical behavior such as this, and downright malpractice on the part of our ostensible/self-proclaimed "colleagues"; it also makes those of us with higher principles
-- come under unfairly pessimistic scrutiny and
-- exert heroic energies to distinguish our noble practices from those of the Ideologue-pack.
Who pays your fees, fellow practitioners? If you can't respect and embrace the Totality of your clients'/patients/ rooted setting(s) and orientations(s), then Guess What: There's nothing Holistic about your work.
I'd like to see a psychiatry book by Dr. D'Adamo. There's certainly enough data on the bloodtype link to fill one; his Encyclopedia contains much of this, and his other books mention it as well.
Psychiatric symptoms are all too common in our world today, and the field could use all the help it can get in the diagnosis, classification and treatment of these. Happily, I've met two San Francisco psychiatrists who are familiar with, and praise, Dr. D'Adamo's work. Another one, specializing in the postpartum, uses nutritional therapy. And all three are USSR-born.
The most common and well-documented connections I've seen between bloodtype and psychiatric symptomatology are bloodtype O/bipolar/aggression and A/anxiety/depression. Those of bloodtype O or A (together constituting the vast majority of Americans -- about 86%) would do well to follow D'Adamo's Live Right 4 Your Type diet/fitness/lifestyle/supplement guidelines to see if symptoms do not abate or disappear. The B and AB bloodtype/psychiatric classification connection is not quite as clear.
I hold the opinion that the understanding of the psyche really requires an anthropologic knowledge of the individual's bloodtype's roots. Thus the energy expenditure patterns, overall life rhythm and orientation to the world can be respected, so that an A does not try to drug himself to function as a healthy O, for example. As long as psychiatry holds out only one model for a healthy American psyche, the majority of Americans will be seen to lack it; the healthy O and healthy A should NOT appear identical. A bloodtype-educated psychiatrist can assist patients in adjusting to life's challenges in ways commensurate with their genetic inheritance, so as to evoke behaviors and responses reflecting their individuality. Clinically, options for pharmacology and style/program of psychotherapy can be explored far less randomly and differential diagnoses refined according to bloodtype-geared parameters.
Finally, psychiatrists are rather more likely to acquaint themselves with alternative models than are other MDs. I've had a few of them as clients; they tend to be (of bloodtype B and) open to the paradigm. A focussed compilation of bloodtype data and case histories, showing nutritional/fitness/lifestyle/supplementation AND pharmacology recommendations would be, as I see it, well received by many of them. If there's any way to bring them on board, including via research published in their journals, society may actually grow saner!
Neurologists speak of "plasticity"; they're describing keeping mentally fit. Dr. D'Adamo treats of this in his book on aging and elsewhere: Ways for midlifers and seniors to keep their neurons firing. Everyone recommends "mixing it up", doing things differently from time to time. Some rut-bound types have to force themselves to follow that advice. I seem naturally to be of the intellectual-calisthenics persuasion.
Recently, I began plotting the genealogy of a friend whose pedigree is particularly illustrious. Talk about mental gymnastics! There's a lot of detangling to do. It's challenging and interesting. I recommend it highly. It also helps one develop computer skills, both web-surfing and all sorts of downloading, scanning, and editing.
Here are ideas for keeping those brain cells limber and lithe:
Plot a complex genealogical map.
Learn a new language and speak it frequently (go to the appropriate foreign country or neighborhood).
Learn to READ in a new (or dead) language. Read a new sentence, then paragraph, then page, each week, then each day.
Teach yourself a new alphabet: Cyrillic, sanskrit, greek, arabic, hebrew...
Dr. D. recommends crossword puzzles. If you're a whiz at these, start timing yourself. Write starting and finishing times. Then set goals, such as "weekday NY Times: 20 mins.", "Sunday Times: 45 mins." Even if you don't finish, your speed will increase naturally, and you've put a new spin on the whole activity. Also: If you've always done crosswords, switch to acrostics, or London Times, or a foreign language.
Do brain twisters. Mensa puts out books of these. You can even take a Mensa-proctored and -graded IQ test, available in many cities. It's actually fun!
Study something new, in depth. Choose a historic era, location, subject -- The reign of Amenhotep, the NASA Apollo program, diamond mining in South Africa, national healthcare programs around the world - whatever matters to or intrigues you. Go to a library or bookstore and browse for a few HOURS. See what develops. (My brother made it a point to study one course, from his kids' high school programs, right along with them, each semester.)
Take up a new hobby: Scrapbooking. Rock-collecting/gemology/jewelry-making. Photography (the real kind: with film). Drawing. Gardening. Crocheting. Needlepointing. Home decor and/or crafts projects. Carpentry. Furniture salvaging/refinishing. Ceramics. Weaving. Cookery in a new style. Wine-tasting. Start small; collect ideas first. Be on the lookout.
Take up a new sport: Go to a putting green or a driving range. Smack some tennis balls from a Ball Boy. Start swimming. Learn archery. Play ping-pong or pool. Take dance lessons, T'ai chi, yoga. Ride a bike. Pump iron. Go sailing. Row a boat. Go fishing.
Listen to all different styles of music: Classical, Gregorian chant, gospel, country, bossa nova, raga, rai, celtic, swing, motown: Dance to all of them.
Educate your ear: Take an audio course in music history/appreciation. Subscribe to an orchestral season. Take up an instrument, perhaps one that you dropped in grade school. If you're talented, start a chamber group in your town. Join a chorus: Most cities have at least one of these...or start one!
Help someone. Identify a neighbor or acquaintance who might benefit from a skill or from time of yours. Make a commitment.
Enroll your dog in an obedience, agility, herding or coursing program.
Play scrabble or Boggle or Trivial Pursuit.
Learn bridge, mah-jongg, or canasta.
Go on an adventure trip: Cruise Antarctica, Galapagos, Alaska. Ride a camel in Jordan. Go to a dude ranch. Participate in an archeological dig.
Go on a mercy trip: Build a house in New Orleans. Bring medicine to Gaza.
Diversify your investment portfolio and educate yourself about a particular market or sector. Track it. Subscribe to a relevant journal. Attend a conference on it.
Get involved with a new charitable organization. Sit on the board of one that matters particularly to you.
Befriend younger people. Get to know them. Find out what interests them, how they view the world. Invite them over for coffee.
Read the encyclopedia (I kid you not) and talk about what you discover therein (I had a fascinating cousin whose conversational topics started with the same letter for months at a time; she had a complete set of Britannica in her bathroom).
Read the Bible, cover to cover, according to a feasible plan: Plot it out.
A chapter (or so) a day? Uplifting!
Study an atlas. Teach yourself state/country capitals, names of shires, states, provinces départements/cantons of favorite countries. Play Geography with friends and family.
Participate in an online forum about something new to you.
And, of course, "Come up with stuff to blog about!"
[posted by Dr. D'Adamo for Sante J]