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The Flu is Here

by Dr. Randy

Father Checking Son's Forehead for Fever ca. 2003

A significant flu epidemic has arrived again this winter. It is characterized by fevers, chills, stomach symptoms including vomiting, and a cough that can become severe and persistent. If you need help managing the different stages of the flu or finding the right homeopathic medicine for your symptoms, I am happy to consult by phone.

The first thing to consider about this flu is prevention. The flu vaccine has once again proven to be ineffective. Instead fortify your immune system with daily vitamin D and elderberry, and consider taking a medicinal mushroom formula. Using a xylitol nasal spray (Xlear) can prevent viruses from multiplying in the nasal membranes if you are exposed.

Then keep a Chinese herbal antiviral formula on hand to treat any symptoms that arise. Any Yin Chiao formula is good, (including Lonicera “honesuckle” and Forsythia). Many manufacturers produce these, for example Cold Away tablets or Yin Chiao junior liquid by Health Concerns, Children’s Clear and Release liquid by Golden Flower, and other formulations. Another Chinese herbal formula for flu is Gan Mao Ling. Use these at any onset of colds or fevers.

A western herbal formula of Echinacea and elderberry can be used at the same time. Examples of these are Wellness Formula by Source Naturals or Viracid by OrthoMolecular.

Finally, treat all flus with the appropriate homeopathic medicine as well.

The two most frequently indicated homeopathic flu medicines over the past 100 years have been Gelsemium and Bryonia. There are significant differences in the symptom pictures of these two medicines that make it easy to decide which is the better fit. They are not the only medicines used to treat the flu, but between them they will probably fit the majority of cases.

Bryonia and Gelsemium type flus both come on slowly over a 6-12 hour period. You begin to feel gradually worse over that time. By the second day you have aching muscles, feel pretty bad, and usually have a headache. Bryonia has more pain in the front of the head, which is definitely made worse by moving the head, or moving the eyes, and feels better from pressing the hand on the head. Gelsemium has pain in the back of the head with stiffness and aching in the neck and across the shoulders. Gelsemium does not want to move much either, and you may feel worse from moving around, but you avoid movement primarily because you are so tired. The characteristic state of Gelsemium is lethargy and fatigue. By contrast, Bryonia is tired but also restless. Bryonia discomfort is worse from motion, but at the same time you feel the urge to move about restlessly in the bed. No position seems comfortable. Bryonia is thirsty, Gelsemium is not. In fact Bryonia is generally warmer and drier. Bryonia wants air and cool temperatures to calm the heat. Gelsemium is chilly and sensitive to cold; cold shivers go down the spine. At the same time Gelsemium is clammy with the fever, and feelings of heat and cold may alternate. Bryonia has more coughing and chest symptoms, a painful cough that aggravates the sore throat. The Bryonia cough will also cause chest pains, and the inevitable reaction to this situation is to press the palm to the chest to minimize the movement caused by coughing.

Gelsemium does not have the energy to be emotional. Bryonia is irritable, worried, and fretful. Bryonia wants to be left alone, Gelsemium is too exhausted to respond.

Contrasting Gelsemium and Bryonia

Gelsemium                                    Bryonia

Chilly with chills down spine      Warm with desire for cool air

Thirstless                                        Thirsty

Dull, sleepy, heavy                        Dull, but irritable, worried

Worse from movement                All symptoms worse from movement, but restless

Headache at back of head,          Headache in forehead, better from pressure, worse motion

with stiff neck


New Year’s Resolve

by Dr. Randy

Many of us take time to set some resolutions for the coming year. Resolutions are always well-intentioned. At this time of year we may have the opportunity to reflect on our lives, and resolve to do some things differently. Or we may seek to begin some new directions and forge new paths. Whether we keep these resolutions during the year or not, this kind of reflection itself is beneficial.

In general, resolutions have something to do with changing ourselves, becoming a better person – an admirable pursuit. This may take the form of activities that improve our health, eating better, losing weight, getting more exercise, or resolving health problems.  Or resolutions may involve improving our mental well-being, getting out into nature, meditating, reading a book, or studying more. Or they may relate to how we interact with other people in our lives. We may wish to act more kindly, or express more concern and care for others.

Resolutions can arise from self-reflection, self-criticism, or even self-compassion. We all have a tendency to be hard on ourselves (and others). We may want to also consider self-acceptance. Everyone is actually trying their best. We can always muster greater effort, but in the spirit of kindness we may want to also consider what a good job we do. In the midst of resolutions, don’t forget to give yourself credit for your accomplishments and admirable qualities. Just the fact that you want to make a resolution says a lot about your good intentions.

The year ahead will undoubtedly contain opportunities to apply our resolutions and also contain challenges for us to face and overcome. Our resolve will help us face those challenges.

One way to help maintain our resolve is to set an intention for the day. Ask yourself, What is it that I highly value? What do I wish for myself, my loved ones, and the world? Take a few deep breaths and spend a moment thinking about these questions in the morning or during the workday. Then at night review them as well. Just asking these questions can help to maintain your resolve.



Gifting, Generosity, and Gratitude

by Dr. Randy

Christmas Presents

Gifts are a wonderful expression of generosity. If your tradition includes giving gifts this holiday season, you may want to take a moment and consider the motives and dynamics of this generous pursuit. Children can be included in a discussion about the purpose of exchanging gifts. That purpose is the personal benefit of generosity and gratitude. And the lesson can extend over the entire year. Give whatever you can. Give the gift of listening, attending with concern and interest. Forego your own personal interests and appreciate the spirit and interests of that other person in front of you. Appreciate the interconnectedness of everyone and don’t take relationships for granted.

Make gift giving personal. It is especially amusing when the season turns into a gift unwrapping frenzy, which leaves parents dismayed and disappointed in their carefully crafted purchases. Personally handing gifts to their recipient is an expression of caring. “I thought you would really like this.” Even if the gift is from “Santa,” parents can say, “This looks like something special for you.” Children already know their parents are psychic. Slow down the whole whirlwind of the holidays and there will be less post-gifting let down. Savor the flavor of generosity. And express gratitude. Model gratitude for children. “Wow that is so amazing. I bet you are feeling really grateful you got that.”

Giving gifts is an outflowing of generosity. We may have stress about choosing the perfect gift for that special person, and apprehension about whether they will like it. We may have expectations that we will get a certain response from the recipient. Or we may give with a spirit of generosity and no desire for any reciprocity or recognition.

At this holiday season we can remember to express gratitude. There is a great deal of evidence from clinical studies that feelings of gratitude are beneficial to our mental state and level of happiness and even our health.

On a daily basis we can expand our awareness by being grateful for everything. The world is complex and functions in a hidden and fundamental network that we take for granted. We can start with gratitude for our families and friends, then expand to the awareness of objects that we use, the trees and lumber industry that provide our paper, the farmers and distributors and stores that supply our food. Even the workers that pave our roads. Everything in fact is interconnected, the cycle of oxygen and carbon dioxide in nature, the cycle of birth and death, the miracle of our daily existence. Be grateful for everything.

Include Homeopathy

by Dr. Randy

Holistic health care is an inclusive practice. A holistic view covers a wide-ranging perspective: physical symptoms, diet, exercise, emotions, relationship support, work or school stress, and spiritual life. Some of these areas may be doing just fine and some may have lots of stress.  The goal of holistic practice is to bring all of them into a healthy range. This array of coverage calls for different types of interventions at various times. The medical model considers nutritional supplements, herbs and dietary changes. A psychotherapeutic model considers emotions and life situations. An educational model supports learning styles and learning differences. And a spiritual model provides sustenance for the relief of suffering and existential concerns.

Few therapeutic systems are able to affect a majority of these realms. But Homeopathy does have the potential to provide a healing stimulus that spans a broad swath of life’s imbalances. Classical Homeopathy in particular offers a comprehensive remedy for the physical, mental, emotional body. Homeopathy does not cure or even treat many health issues, such as structural physical problems or family dysfunction. But the directional force that a constitutional homeopathic medicine provides is truly amazing at times. No other medical system has that potential. Chinese medicine covers a lot of ground in its scope and effect on the body. The difference between homeopathy and other medical systems is the energetic power that a well-chosen remedy can provide. The kick start that homeopathy can stimulate often allows other interventions to work much better. And conversely, the support of diet and herbs and nutritional supplements often builds a stronger foundation so that a homeopathic medicine can do its job more profoundly.

So the bottom line is, don’t neglect to include constitutional homeopathic treatment in your holistic medical plan.

Mindful focusing

by Dr. Randy

I want to share a technique for solving a problem with a unique method that may be helpful to you. You may have a personal problem and thinking about it, or weighing pros and cons, has not led you to an answer. Your body may know the solution and there is a technique for accessing this information. The method called Focusing, is part of a broader technique that identifies buried feelings that may not be conscious or known to us. It is a technique that accesses a “felt-sense,” something that our body is aware of that lies below consciousness. Try this guided meditation if you like and see if it is helpful to you. Click here.