Is Meditation Beneficial?

Woman practicing yoga on the beachDuring meditation people sit quietly, witnessing internal thoughts and external stimuli without getting too engaged with them. There are many forms of this ancient practice. The origins of meditation are in ancient spiritual and healing practices – mainly from India, China and Japan. Relaxation and meditation have been shown to be beneficial in the treatment of many diseases as it improves both psychological and physical health. Individuals who practice meditation view the mind and body as inseparable.

The two most popular forms of meditation are Transcendental Meditation (TM) and mindfulness mediation. TM is derived from Hindu tradition and promotes relaxation through the use of a mantra. A mantra is a word or sound used for concentration. Mindfulness meditation trains the participant to be an observer by focusing on what is happening in the present moment both internally and externally.

There are four basic elements common to medication techniques – a mental device (such as a word), a passive attitude, a comfortable posture and a quiet environment. A number of recent studies have explored to what degree we can exercise control over things that were thought to be non-changeable.
Research has found that meditative practice can change the workings of the brain including learning and states of consciousness. Studies have shown that the areas of the brain that govern concentration, mood and memory all experience increased signaling during meditation. Physical functions such as a decrease in the production of stress hormone, and changes in blood pressure, heart rate and respiratory function have all been documented during mediation. Adults with cognitive impairment such as Alzheimer disease may also benefit from meditation, as recent studies have shown that meditation may change the mapping of brain circuitry. Other disorders such as anxiety, depression, chronic pain and sleep disturbances related to cancer may also be improved with meditation.

Hermann Wellness offers comprehensive medical care with holistic treatments including acupuncture, vitamin testing and nutritional counseling. Please contact the office at 813-902-9559 for more information or to schedule an appointment.

Health Benefits of Tulsi

Tulsi , also known as Holy Basil, is an herb native to India. It is regarded as an important herb in the practice of Ayurveda (the traditional medicine of India) and has been used for thousands of years. It is a popular beverage in India and is commonly grown in the homes of families and temples. Historically it has not been used in cooking and rather consumed in the form of tea, oil, or chewing of fresh leaves.tulsi

Tulsi has many health benefits. Most significantly it is an adaptogen, which is a natural substance that helps the body adapt to stress. It relaxes the nervous system and ultimately increases our resistance to stress, fatigue, and anxiety. It can be a useful adjunct in treatments of anxiety, depression, and stress. Tulsi contains potent antioxidants that promotes health in the body. It is helpful in pulmonary problems, such as asthma and bronchitis as it decreases mucus. Chewing the fresh leaves can help improve dry cough. It is also thought to decrease inflammation thereby reducing pain. There is some evidence suggesting it reduces blood sugar levels and could be helpful in diabetics. Also, tulsi can be helpful in treating the common cold as it helps the immune system and reduces fever.

Tulsi is among one of my favorite herbs. In fact, it was my go to beverage to combat stress during my training in residency when I would frequently have 30 hour calls. Consider trying tulsi tea the next time you are at the grocery store and notice the health benefits yourself.

At Hermann Wellness, we offer Holistic Primary Care to our patients. Our offices are located in Tampa and St. Peterburg. Please call the office at 813-902-9559 for more information or to schedule an appointment.

Seasonal Flu Vaccine

flu vaccineSo, what’s the difference between the traditional flu vaccine and the preservative-free flu vaccine? The main difference is that the preservative-free flu vaccine does not contain thimerosal. Thimerosal is a mercury based preservative that protects against the growth of bacteria and fungus that could damage the vaccine. It is used in multi-dose vials of the flu vaccine to ensure it does not become contaminated as it is used for multiple people. Though different needles are used with each vaccination, thimerosal offers additional protection. Thimerosal is not used in single dose vials where the vaccine is limited to one vial per patient.

So, is thimerosal dangerous? There is no debate whether the substance mercury is toxic. Scientists agree that mercury is a potent neurotoxin (a toxin that affects the nervous system). The debate, however, ensues around the form of mercury and the amount that is considered toxic. The claims around thimerosal causing autism are under great debate and no study to date has shown a definitive link. The question is a simple yet a personal one. Do you want to expose yourself, your young children, or an unborn child to mercury, a known potent neurotoxin? To me, it makes great sense to minimize our exposure to mercury especially when there are other safer alternatives available.

The preservative-free vaccine works in the same way as other flu vaccines. It contains the same three strains of the inactivated influenza virus that is determined by research to likely be the most common strains for the approaching cold season. It takes about 2 weeks after the injection for the vaccine to become effective. Side effects are similar to those of other vaccines and include: soreness at the site of injection, low-grade fever, and muscle aches. The best time to get vaccinated is early in the fall before flu season; however, it can be received throughout the flu season until late January or even later. The CDC recommends everyone ages 6 months or older to get the flu vaccine every season.

At Hermann Wellness, we offer preservative-free flu vaccines to our patients. Please call the office at 813-902-9559 for more information or to schedule an appointment.

Can N-acetylcysteine Increase My Glutathione Levels?

antioxidantN-acetylcysteine (NAC) is a pro-drug for the amino acid cysteine. Supplementing with NAC increases intracellular levels of glutathione, which is a super-antioxidant. Deficiency of intracellular glutathione can worsen oxidative stress and accelerate cellular death in diseases such as Alzheimer disease, Parkinson disease, liver disease, cystic fibrosis, sickle cell anemia, HIV/AIDS and diabetes.
According to the World Health Organization (WHO), NAC is essential for pulmonary and renal functions and is used for antimicrobial purposes. It is identified as one of the most important medications needed in a basic health system. Massive cellular death can occur when an organism is starved of cysteine. However, the actual mechanism of cellular death appears to be more closely related to the loss of available glutathione.

NAC has very few documented side effects. The most commonly reported side effect is gastric distress when higher doses of NAC were given. NAC is typically found in the form of powder filled capsules. Typical dosing is 600mg give 3 times daily. NAC is not found in food sources, but high protein foods such as eggs, wheat, broccoli and poultry are good sources of cysteine.

At Hermann Wellness, Dr. Anne Hermann and staff, offer comprehensive vitamin testing and nutritional counseling services to patients. Offices are maintained in Tampa and Saint Petersburg Beach, Florida. Please contact the office at 813-902-9559 for more information or to schedule an appointment.