A holistic course of action takes into account the mental, emotional, physical, and spiritual balance achieved throughout life.
It is the accumulation of the whole based on our constitutional health (what we are born with/into) and the lifestyles choices we make during our stay here.
Following a holistic lifestyle should be one of continuous education, exploration, and self-discovery. So many, many people give their lives and bodies away to the trust of advertisers, doctors, friends, and family members.
Managing Your Lifestyle Choices
Lifestyle factors include situations that occur during our lifetime based on our choices, such as smoking, chemical dependency, obesity, type 2 diabetes and dietary choices. Of course, it is never just one factor that is an indicator of this change, but a host of factors accumulating over a lifetime.
Many times, the symptoms from the aging process are confused with symptoms of peri/menopause. In general, symptoms associated with the aging process include weight gain; change in sleep patterns, hearing loss, a rise in blood pressure and/or cholesterol.
These changes are often confused as a direct result of peri/menopause. Often, by changing some lifestyle choices these symptoms of aging lessen or disappear altogether. Regardless if symptoms are due to peri/menopause lifestyle/aging problems, the solutions can affect both outcomes.
- Not smoking has a direct correlation to hot flashes, so by quitting smoking you can relieve hot flashes.
- Weight gain increases body fat, which in turn affects hormone levels. By reducing the number of calories per day to 1200, a decrease in weight will occur. Belly fat has been shown to alter hormone levels.
- Exercise, like work, eating, sleeping… must be scheduled into your day in order for you to do it! You know when to go to work, you know when to eat, and you must know when to exercise. The best way to do this is to make it apart of your day. Increasing your exercise to four days will have additional benefits such as lowering cholesterol and burning more calories. In addition, weight bearing exercises (walking, weight training, jogging…) help increase bone density. Exercise regulates hot flashes.
- Kegal exercises can and should be done several times daily to keep the pelvic floor tight and strong. These are wonderful exercises for bladder control due to shrinkage of urethral and vaginal membranes, which can cause incontinence. Right where you are now, start squeezing the anal sphincter and lower pelvic wall. Squeeze, hold, relax. Repeat this 10 times. Then repeat the entire sequence again. Do this 4-6 times a day.
- Learn biofeedback. Studies have proven it effective for both tension headaches and migraines. Biofeedback is the innate ability to influence the automatic nervous system through the exertion of will and mind. Chances are you have used biofeedback yourself. You’ve used it if you have ever taken your temperature or stepped on a scale. These devices “feed back” information about your body’s condition.
- Vaginal dryness can often be an issue as hormone levels fluctuate. Vaginal lubricants can be helpful. Staying sexually active will increase blood flow to surrounding tissue. A wonderful natural lubricant is a paste made of aloe vera gel and slippery elm powder. Use a tablespoon of pure aloe vera gel and slowly stir in the slippery elm powder to create a consistency of toothpaste. Insert a teaspoon of this paste inside the vagina at night to relive dryness. Vaginal itching can be addressed by applying a non-fragrant vitamin E cream or by opening up a vitamin E capsule and applying the oil directly.
- Treating Hot Flashes is probably the number one issue with the change from reproductive to the non-reproductive years. Nutritional recommendations must be followed (see below). Getting long-term stress issues under control has shown to be extremely important. Regulating the body’s cooling mechanism through regular exercise is imperative.
- Stress plays a major role in all biological and physiological functions. Exercise, meditation, yoga, relaxation techniques, massage, acupuncture, guided imagery are just a few therapies that can all help to relieve depression, anxiety, irritability, mental forgetfulness, fuzziness, over thinking and fatigue. Stress puts a great deal of burden on the adrenal glands, which, in turn, causes them to work harder. This decreases the amount of hormones needed to help reduce the effects of declining estrogen needed by the body. Do this progressive relaxation technique. Use your hands. Both self-massage and reflexology (you can find free reflexology charts here) can help.
- Trigger point therapy. Probably one of my best remedies for tension, as this can be done with a tennis ball while laying on a hard floor.
- Eat something. Food as medicine has been used for centuries to treat a wide variety of disorders. Used for prevention as well as treating symptoms, the healing power of food and herbs has been documented for centuries. Eating food rich in plant estrogens (phytoestrogens) can be helpful for many women. A plant-based diet rich in phytoestrogens has been shown to decrease symptoms of hot flashes and night sweats. Phytoestrogens are naturally occurring, non-steroidal plants.
Food as Medicine
Food as medicine has been used for centuries to treat a wide variety of disorders. Used for prevention as well as treating symptoms, the healing power of food and herbs has been documented for centuries. Eating a healthy diet, maintaining a healthy weight, exercising regularly and quitting smoking if you smoke, can help protect against heart disease, osteoporosis and some types of cancer.
Eating food rich in plant estrogens (phytoestrogens) can be helpful for many women. A plant-based diet rich in phytoestrogens has been shown to decrease symptoms of hot flashes and night sweats. Phytoestrogens are naturally occurring, non-steroidal plants.
They are sometimes referred to as “dietary estrogens” as they are plant based “foods” with a similar chemical structure to estradiol. As they mildly mimic or sometimes act as antagonists to estrogen. These would include:
- black current seed oil
- flaxseed (crushed)
- primrose oil
- soy milk
- soy beans
Vitamin E, emulsified, mixed tocopherols, (400 – 800 iu) daily can reduce hot flashes, assist in lubrication, tissue repair and improves circulation.
Vitamin B complex (mixed B’s) assist in improving circulation and cellular function, improving adrenal function, minimizing water retention and maintains the health of nerves, hair, skin, eyes, liver and gastrointestinal functions.
Lecithin granules (1 tbs 3 times daily before meals) or capsules (1200 mg 3 times daily) before meals, acts as an important emulsifier for Vitamin E to help reduce hot flashes.
Supplement 1500 mg of calcium and 400 mg of vitamin D in divided doses, will not only help with sleep but will increase bone density as well.
Omega Fish Oil, such as QH Ultra, is an amazing hormone regulator! OMEGA-3 fatty acids, help prevent aging skin, menopausal symptoms, promote better circulation, lower cholesterol, prevent blood clots, reduce heart-related risk, and the pain of arthritis.
Water should be a very important part of any nutritional program. Distilled water is best. 6-8 8 ounces per day. Water allows for the cleansing, thinning and free flow of mucus in the system. Dehydration is often a trigger of symptoms.
Foods to Avoid
Certain foods may trigger hot flashes. Dairy products and meat products are foods that can irritate the heat mechanism in the body (inflammation) triggering and/or aggravating hot flashes. Limit your dairy consumption to low fat yogurt and/or buttermilk.
Other aggravators include sugar, spicy foods, hot beverages, caffeine, and alcohol. If you suspect that food is a trigger, do The Allergy Elimination Diet. Certain foods and food additives such as MSG, citric acid, alcohol, vinegar and marinated foods can be the culprit.
Also look at possible triggers such as chocolate, wheat, sugar, lunch meat such as hot dogs or bologna, dairy products, nuts or fermented foods such as yogurt, cheese or sour cream.
Avoid excess salt intake.
Excessive caffeine can also be a trigger. Throbbing pain cause by blood vessels that have diluted are the result of too much coffee. Caffeine withdrawal can create headaches, so drink coffee in small amounts and taper off gradually.
Herbal Remedies for Menopause
Herbs such as black cohosh, blessed thistle, dong quai, fennel, red raspberry leaf, sarsaparilla, squaw vine, false unicorn root, and wild yam root are natural estrogen (precursors) promoters. Gotu kola and donq guai can be used to relieve hot flashes, depression, and vaginal dryness. These herbs are best balanced in Eastern herbal formulas that are specific to particular patterns (group of symptoms). (See Traditional Chinese Medicine below).
Black cohosh (known as both Actaea racemosa and Cimicifuga racemosa), is used for hot flashes and other menopausal symptoms.In 2001, the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists stated, primarily on the basis of consensus and expert opinion, that black cohosh may be helpful in the short term (six months or less) for women with vasomotor symptoms of menopause.
Extracts of black cohosh are standardized to 26-deoxyactein, a member of a group of chemicals known as saponins. Black cohosh contains plant-based estrogens, also called phytoestrogens, that can mimic the estrogen found in the human body. Regularly taking black cohosh can alleviate cramping, hot flashes, vaginal dryness and emotional distress, and reduce levels of luteinizing hormone secreted by the pituitary gland, which triggers ovulation.
Dong quai is renowned among Chinese herbalists for its beneficial effects on the female body. The herb has estrogenic properties that can help relieve many menopause symptoms, such as hot flashes and vaginal dryness. In Chinese medicine, dong quai is considered to be warming to the body, giving new vitality to women suffering from menopause-induced fatigue.
False unicorn root (Chamaelirium luteum), is a Native American herb. False unicorn root is used to treat medical concerns, include decreasing estrogen and progesterone levels , easing digestive woes, treating infections of the uterus, eliminating ovarian cysts, and treating endometriosis.
Fennel tincture, seeds, and oil are used as an estrogen pre-cursor source to regulate menstruation, and relieve discomforts of menopause. Fennel was traditionally known as the slimming herb as it has a stimulating effect on the metabolism. The herb increases gastric secretions, which has a beneficial action on digestion, and helps to regulate intestinal flora.
Red raspberry leaf (Rubus idaeus) is a wonderful uterine tonic often used for women suffering from menopause symptoms especially when there is spotting for no apparent reason. When used regularly, red raspberry leaf will tone smooth muscle tissue, helping to ease cramps and discomfort. It also helps to regulating cycles during perimenopause.
Sarsaparilla (Smilax officinalis) has a progesterogenic action meaning that the herb can be used to bring relief to women suffering from symptoms of menopause as well as other menstrual issues,such as premenstrual syndrome. In certain cases where menopause is associated with debility and depression sarsaparilla can be very useful. As a matter of fact, Native Amazonian people have been known to take sarsaparilla to improve their virility and to treat problems associated with menopause.
Wild yam root (Dioscorea villosa) is a natural approach that helps women at menopause relieve hormone imbalance. It can prevent and halt mid-cycle bleeding by contributing as a precursor to progesterone production. Wild yam extract is diosgenin, NOT progesterone. Diosgenin is the precursor to progesterone.
Herbal Recipes for Menopause
Get your dried, organic herbs, organic essential oils, bulk spices, loose leaf organic teas and aromatherapy supplies at the place where we shop – StarWest Botanicals!
A note on wild yam progesterone creams: creams that contain progesterone but also contain mineral oil will prevent the progesterone from being absorbed into the skin. pharmaceutical companies buy natural progesterone (derived from yams and soybeans), and then chemically alter its molecular form to produce synthetic progestins. This molecular form is not found in nature, but it can be patented and therefore much more profitable.
Most synthetic drugs consistently show that separating the so-called active ingredient from the rest of the plant to create other substances not found in nature almost always creates harmful side effects. Science has not been able to duplicate efficiently in synthetic drugs what natural substances can do.
Progestins are less safe for women because of its side effects and health consequences!
Several essential oils that contain hormone-like substances related to estrogen are helpful during menopause. Essential oils such as basil, bergamot, clary sage, anise, fennel, cypress, angelica, coriander, sage.
Essential oils blends such as peppermint and lemon will help relieve hot flashes.
Geranium, neroli, and lavender balance hormones and also help modify menopausal symptoms. As a rejuvenation cream, geranium, neroli, and lavender oils revitalize a dry complexion and make a good cream to counter vaginal dryness.
With the addition of vitamin E oil, this cream can improve the strength and flexibility of the vaginal lining while quickly healing abrasions that may occur during intercourse when the lining is too dry.
Bergamot oil calms the nervous system and promotes nerve health. It is helpful with depression, mood swings such as emotional ups and downs.
Geranium eases the negative feelings and helps to promote feelings of intimacy. This is a soothing oil that can restore balance, stability and stability.
Jasmine is a soothing flower that helps to reduce anxiety, calm emotional upset, and regulate mood swings.
Lavender – Massage this soothing oil directly into the temples, jaw line and back of neck for soothing relief from a tension and headaches. Lavender relieves muscle spasms and pain as it reduces inflammation. One of the best multipurpose oils for treating anxiety, mood swings, and insomnia.
Lemon is an uplifting and citrus solution for stopping hot flashes, encourages circulation and clears the head.
Peppermint clears sinuses and improves breathing. Massage this oil (preferably in a carrier oil) into the temples, sinuses, nape of the neck and jaw line. Gently inhale this remedy to stimulate blood circulation and create a cooling sensation. This is an excellent oil for relieving hot flashes, especially when it is blended with clary sage and lemon.
Rose is a soothing scent that stimulates circulation. Rose reduces inflammation and relieves muscle spasms. It calms the nervous system and decreases depression.
Essential Oil Recipe for Menopause
Get your dried, organic herbs, organic essential oils, bulk spices, loose leaf organic teas and aromatherapy supplies at the place where we shop – StarWest Botanicals!
Hydrotherapy for Menopause
The mysterious and amazing healing power of water has been utilized for centuries. Water cleanses, refreshes and restores all life. We are always drawn to water. Be it a soothing fountain or majestic waterfall. Water is a carrier. It flows. It moves along the line of least resistance to find its way to the ocean where comes and goes in the ebb and flow of tides and waves.
The appeal is inexplicable! We crave water, maybe because our bodies are made up of a large percent of it. Maybe because we instinctively know how it can heal us.
Hydrotherapy is the use of water in any form in the treatment of dis-ease. Hydrotherapy was used by the ancient Greek physicians. The use of baths for such purposes as well as for religious purification, personal cleanliness, and private or social relaxation dates from at least the time of ancient Greece. A German, Vincenz Priessnitz, popularized the use of spas in Germany and elsewhere in Europe, where they are still popular today.
Hydrotherapy has a number of uses. Warm water will relax spasm; thus, hydrotherapy has been useful in treating such conditions as muscular strains and sprains, muscular fatigue, and backache. Heat is often used in conjunction with massage or other manipulative or stimulative treatments, such as the whirlpool bath.
Sitz baths (sitting in hot water) are effective in the treatment of many disorders. Water is also useful in physical therapy because patients who exercise in a buoyant medium can move weak parts of their bodies without contending with the strong force of gravity.
Contrasting bath of hot then cold water is a great treatment for menopausal symptoms. Taking a contrasting shower is even better. Make sure you end with cold water! Pay attention to under the arms, top of the head, mid back and vaginal region.
For a relaxing bath, as the tub fills with water add 2 spoons of Sea Salts to the bath water for a soothing, tension relieving soak. Submerging as much of your body as possible, stay in the bath for at least 20 minutes, adding water as needed to maintain the temperature of the bath. End with a cool to cold shower.
An ice pack on the back of the neck, temples, top of the head, pulse points and between the shoulder blades can relieve a hot flash. Relax on to an ice pack for about 15-20 minutes. Repeat if necessary.
Exercise for Menopause
Exercise like work, eating, sleeping… must be scheduled into your day in order for you to do it! You know when to go to work, you know when to eat, and you must know when to exercise.
The best way to do this is to make it apart of your day. Increasing your exercise to four days will have additional benefits such as lowering cholesterol and burning more calories.
In addition, weight bearing exercises (walking, weight training, jogging…) help increase bone density.
Exercise also regulates hot flashes.
Emotional Aspects of Menopause
There is an emotional aspect to every illness. Often times, it is the emotional thoughts or “excess emotions” that will lead to illness.
The following therapies are utilized for calming the mind, help with stress relief and focuses on our mental powers over any situation. The ability to balance your emotional, mental, physical and spiritual self is up to you. Here are some suggestions:
The Season of Change
The single most important point you can make about change… is not what faces you that’s the problem, it’s how you react to it.
The mental and emotional side of menopause… is often a larger hurdle to overcome, as our attitudes and beliefs create our mind/body structure.
It is important to embrace the transition! Learn to recognize strengths you may have overlooked.
Embrace optimism and reform your old belief system. Honor the new you, which you are transforming into.
Use this affirmation: I love and approve of myself I see myself and what I do with eyes of love! I am safe.
CranioSacral Therapy for Menopause
CranioSacral Therapy (CST) is a gentle hands-on method of evaluating and enhancing the function of the craniosacral system – the physiological body system comprised of the membranes and CSF or cerebrospinal fluid that surround and protect the brain and spinal cord.
CST enhances the body’s natural healing processes to improve the operation of the central nervous system, dissipate the negative effects of stress, enhance health and strengthen resistance to disease. The method generally requires only a very gentle touch to test for restrictions in various parts of the craniosacral system. Often the evaluation alone will help solve the presenting problem.
CranioSacral Therapy for women; corrects post childbirth mis-alignment and relieves lower back pain. Eases menstruation and balances hormones during menopause. Aids in slimming and improves skin conditions
SomatoEmotional Release for Menopause
SomatoEmotional Release (SER) is a therapeutic process that helps rid the body and mind of the residual effects of past trauma and associated negative responses. Its origins date to the discovery in the late 1970’s by John E. Upledger, DO, OMM, and biophysicist Zvi Karni, Ph.D, that the body often retains rather than dissipates physical forces resulting from an accident, injury or emotional trauma. The trauma causes the body to isolate the dysfunctional area.
Although a reasonably healthy body can work and adapt, sometimes, an extra effort is required to perform normal emotional functions. As years pass, the adaptive pattern of the body loses its effectiveness. Symptoms and dysfunctions begin to appear that become increasingly difficult to ignore or suppress.
Yoga Therapy for Menopause
Yoga poses can be good alternatives to “traditional” health remedies because they relax the body and mind, improve circulation and respiration, reduce tension and help the body through it’s healing process.
When undergoing peri-menopause or menopause you may have a host of situations to deal with. Issues concerning these woman include the reproductive tract, excessive or irregular menstrual bleeding, anxiety, depression, hot flashes, night sweats, insomnia, mood swings, fatigue, osteoporosis, cardiovascular issues and breast health.
Yoga is a great remedy for all of these symptoms as yoga can be restorative, protective, energizing, calming, connective and can make this time of transition a spiritual and regenerating practice!
Yogic Breath Exercise
The Yogic breath exercise can be done without instruction, without danger, and with a good chance that your discomfort and stressful feelings will be reduced. Relaxation Breath is the most powerful tool for stress management.
Sit up, with your back straight in any position. Place your tongue against the ridge of tissue just behind your upper front teeth and keep it there throughout the exercise. Exhale completely through your mouth.
Close your mouth and inhale quietly through your nose to a mental count of four. Hold your breath for a count of seven. Exhale completely through your mouth, to a count of eight. Repeat this cycle three more times for a total of four breaths. Try to do this breathing exercise at least twice a day.
You can repeat the whole sequence as often as you wish, but don’t do it more than four breaths at one time for the first month of practice. This exercise is fairly intense and has a profound effect on the nervous system.
Deep Diaphragm Breath
Sit with your legs crossed in a comfortable position. Breathe slowly and evenly from your diaphragm, through your nose. Fill your lower abdomen, lungs, then chest with air. Hold for a four count then slowly exhale the air out from your chest, lungs, then lower abdomen. Repeat three or four times. That’s it! Just allow your shoulders to drop and your face relax as you breath, deep.
A Passive Yoga Exercise for Menopause
This passive exercise uses gravity and the weight of your body. Take a bath towel and fold it the long way. Then roll it up into a tight roll. Lie on the floor or your yoga mat and place the roll under your neck. Make sure the back of your head is touching the floor or mat.
Your neck is now supported. Now all you do is simply relax your neck and body. Take several l-o-n-g, s-l-o-w, d-e-e-p breaths. With each breath, allow your neck and shoulders to release all their tension. Relax here for about 15-20 minutes.
Also consider Breath Exercises, Mountain Pose, Child’s Pose, Cat, Head to Knee, Knee to Chest, Laying Down Twist, Standing and Seated Forward Bends, Standing Back Bends, Fish Pose..
Meditation Therapy for Menopause
Meditation is a time-honored technique that can take you into infinite dimensions of consciousness. One major principle to meditation is in the ability to completely quiet your mind. Quieting the mind comes as a result of meditating over a long period of time, but any time you are looking within, you are meditating.
There are many meditation methods. Some are passive and others are active — not in the physical sense, but in the sense that you actually do something during meditation. Meditators learn to focus their awareness and direct it onto an object: the breath, a phrase or word: a mantra, repeated silently, a memorized inspirational phrase, an image in the mind’s eye.
Researchers have documented immediate benefits in terms of lowered blood pressure, decreased heart and respiratory rate, increased blood flow, and other measurable signs of the relaxation response.
Meditation will calm an agitated mind, creating optimal physical and mental health, undo our sense of separateness, which is the common root of fear and misery, unify consciousness, putting us in touch with our higher self and connect us to higher consciousness. Meditation restructures the mind, allowing us to achieve our full potential as human beings.
Progressive Relaxation is just that. A slow transition from a tense, immobile state to a calmer more supple mind and body. This is a way of releasing tension in the muscles. There are many variations of Progressive Relaxation.
Here is one of them:
- Begin by laying on your back in a comfortable position.
- Take a series of deep slow breaths and then focus your awareness on different parts of the body in turn, becoming aware of any muscular tension and releasing it.
- One way to do this is to first tense a muscle deliberately and then relax it.
- You can start with the top of the body, tensing and relaxing the muscles of the upper face, then moving on to the jaw, neck, chest, front of the arms, abdomen, thighs, lower legs, feet, and toes.
- Then do the same down the back of the body. Finally, lie still with the eyes closed, concentrating on your breath. Allow the whole body to relax into the ground. Feel the floor underneath you, supporting you. Feel the earth supporting the floor. Feel yourself now deeply rooted and grounded into the earth beneath you.
- Enjoy this deep feeling of peace and freedom from muscular tension.
Proven Herbal Formula to Help Menopause Symptoms
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