5 natural tips for poison ivy

Check out my upcoming post for the Ottawa Mommy Club! Great tips for kids but they all apply to adults too.

Contact with poison ivy leads to itchy, fluid filled pimples on the skin.  This blistering red rash is very unpleasant for kids.  One of the key things to teach your children is how to identify what poison ivy looks like and to obey signs that warn of poison ivy  in order to minimize their risk of contact.

If your child does come into contact with poison ivy, here are 5 natural solutions to help ease their discomfort:

1. Apply pure aloe vera gel to the skin 3 times per day.  This will have a cooling, soothing effect on the irritated skin.

2. Alternate aloe vera gel with calendula cream.  Calendula is anti-inflammatory which will help relieve redness and swelling.  Calendula is also anti-microbial and will help to prevent the spread of infection due to scratching and open blisters.

3. Boil chamomile tea, allow it to cool and add it to your child’s bath water.  Chamomile is soothing and when absorbed through the skin has calming effects which are helpful for irritable children.

4. Slice up some cucumber and store in the freezer for 10 minutes.  Apply cool cucumber slices to hot skin for a soothing effect.

5. Use the homeopathic remedy Rhus toxicodendron 30 CH.  Let 3 pellets dissolve under the tongue up to 5 times per day to relieve poison ivy symptoms.  Homeopathic Rhus tox is made from diluted poison ivy and utilizes the principle of ‘like cures like.’  Essentially you are giving the body a small, diluted amount of a substance to stimulate a healing response to the effects of the same substance at a higher toxic amount.  Homeopathic remedies are easily found at your local drug or health store.

If your child has poison ivy on their face or if they are having signs of an allergic reaction such as breathing difficulties and extreme swelling call your primary health care provider immediately.

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Homeopaths to be regulated in Ontario April 1st 2015 – What does this mean for you?

Today is a big day for homeopathy in Ontario as the Homeopathy Act of 2007 will be proclaimed and the College of Homeopaths is formed.  This means that the homeopathic profession will now be regulated in Ontario under the Regulated Health Professions Act (RHPA) alongside naturopathic doctors, chiropractors, acupuncturists, etc.  Here’s a link to the Ontario College of Homeopaths which explains more about the regulation of the homeopathic profession.

Regulation of a profession ensures that we have access to holistic health care of a high quality standard.  In order to be licensed under the new College of Homeopaths, a homeopath must meet a certain standard of education, clinical knowledge and experience.

Regulation of a profession also protects the public from professional misconduct.  Professional standards of practice will now be in place to guide homeopaths in providing the highest standard of care to their patients.  Now if there is a complaint, we have a process for reporting the complaint and a regulatory body to discipline the homeopath if they are not meeting the standards of care.

As a naturopathic doctor, homeopathy is currently part of and will remain part of my scope of practice.  In addition to my education at the Canadian College of Naturopathic Medicine, I completed the Accelerated Diploma Program for Naturopathic Doctors provided by the Ontario College of Homeopathic Medicine.

I am pleased to announce that I am currently applying to the College of Homeopaths for my homeopathic license.  This means I will hold a license as a naturopathic doctor and as a homeopath.

What does this mean for you as a patient?

It means more options for your health care.  I can provide homeopathic care within the scope of a naturopathic visit along with the other naturopathic modalities of nutrition, lifestyle changes, herbal medicine and acupuncture.  Or if you are interested in homeopathic treatment alone, I can provide homeopathic care in a separate visit under my homeopathic license.

For those of you with extended health benefits for naturopathic medicine, look out for homeopathic medicine to be added in as a separate category.  Most insurance plans already cover homeopathic medicine.  It is your employer who chooses which coverage to include.  If you would like to see homeopathic medicine covered under your health insurance plan, it is best to speak with your human resources department about this matter.

This is an exciting time for holistic health care in Ontario! I’m looking forward to providing homeopathic medicine as part of your health care team.

Dr. Ellen

FREE health talk! Strategies to detoxify your body

This week I kick off a series of FREE health talks on ‘Strategies to detoxify your body.’

My goal is to increase your awareness of the negative health impact of toxin exposure.  I’ll provide  information on how to avoid environmental toxins in your home and work place.  You will learn practical tips on how to improve your body’s ability to detoxify using naturopathic medicine which includes clinical nutrition, botanical medicine, homeopathic medicine, traditional Chinese medicine and acupuncture and lifestyle changes.

These talks are part of the Ottawa Public Library Program guide.

Click HERE to register and find a library branch in your community.

Looking forward to sharing lots of great info with you!

FREE Health Talk: Boosting your immune system naturally

This week I kick off a series of FREE health talks on ‘Boosting your immune system naturally in time for winter.’

My goal is to provide  information on how to boost your immune system using naturopathic medicine. You will learn how to prevent the flu and recover faster by strengthening your immune system using clinical nutrition, botanical medicine, homeopathic medicine, traditional Chinese medicine and acupuncture and lifestyle changes.

These talks are part of the Ottawa Public Library Program guide.

Click HERE to register and find a library branch in your community.

Looking forward to sharing lots of great info with you, just in time for winter!

Naturopathic treatments for spring allergies

If you or someone you know suffers from seasonal allergies, check out my article in the April/May 2012 edition of Healthy Directions Magazine.  The article is on page 24 and outlines naturopathic treatments for seasonal allergies including essential nutrients, probiotics, omega-3 fatty acids, botanical medicines, acupuncture and homeopathy.

Here’s the link: Healthy Directions April/May 2012: Natural treatments for spring allergies

If you would like a print version feel free to stop by my clinic to pick one up:

Alta Vista Chiropractic and Massage Clinic

1690 Bank Street

Ottawa, ON, K1V 7Y6

613-731-5775

Happy reading!

Natural ways to treat nausea

Nausea is unpleasant no matter what the cause (pregnancy, the flu, being on a boat).  Why not treat it in a safe and natural way!

1. Ginger: Also known as Zingiber officinalis, this botanical is regularly used in cooking and has three active ingredients named gingerol, shogaol and zingerone that help to relieve nausea.  Drinking ginger tea can help calm your stomach.  Here is an easy recipe for homemade ginger tea: http://vegetarian.about.com/od/morerecipes/r/GingerTea.htm or you can buy it pre-made in teabag form.  There is also a ‘natural’ Gravol on the market that is ginger based if you cannot tolerate the actual ginger flavour.

2. Acupressure: There is a great acupuncture point located on the inside of your wrists called Pericardium 6 that helps relieve nausea.  You can apply pressure to this point for 10-30 seconds as needed for nausea.  Closing your eyes and focusing on your breath while you press the point can also help.  Check out the instructions in this video to locate the Pericardium 6 point on yourself:

If you suffer from nausea consistently, for example in your first trimester of pregnancy or you are on a cruise ship, an alternative option is to wear Sea bands.  These are bracelets with a metal ball that supplies consistent pressure on Pericardium 6 and can be worn as long as they are needed.

3. Homeopathy: There are many homeopathic remedies which can treat nausea without interfering with medications and that are safe for children, pregnant women and the elderly.  Two remedies readily available at health food stores are Arsenicum album and Colubrina aka Nux vomicaArsenicum album is useful for nausea after eating spoiled food and nausea that is associated with vomiting, diarrhea, burning pains in the stomach and a desire for small sips of water. Colubrina is useful for nausea after excessive alcohol intake or in the morning after eating that is associated with gas, bloating, headache and irritability. 

Although these natural methods are helpful, it is always advisable to see your primary healthcare practitioner, especially if nausea is persistent and worsening which may be a sign of a serious health condition.

What is the difference between a naturopath and a homeopath?

What is the difference between a naturopath and a homeopath? Now that I have designations as both a naturopathic doctor and a homeopathic doctor, this question seems to be popping up a lot more frequently.

Here`s a video by my colleague Seth Yates explaining the basic concepts of naturopathic medicine, treatment methods and education of a naturopathic doctor, I especially like the funky background music:

Now that you`ve familiarized yourself with naturopathic medicine, watch this video of my mentor Julie Henry explaining the basic concepts of homeopathy as well as the difference between homeopath and a naturopath:

Next, let`s summarize some of the key similarities and differences between a naturopath and homeopath:

Philosophy of health

Both naturopaths and homeopaths work under a wholistic view of health.  They strive to do no harm and treat using the most least invasive method available.  Health is considered to be influenced by physical, mental, emotional, social, and environmental factors which are all taken into account when deciding on a treatment plan.  Symptoms are an expression of an imbalance within a person and the different systems of the body are interconnected.  Both a naturopath and homeopath work to heal the root cause of a person`s health issues, rather than suppress symptoms.

For more information on the guiding principles of wholistic medicine: http://www.drellensimone.com/guiding-principles.html

Types of treatments

A naturopath uses homeopathy as part of their overall healing toolkit.  They also use nutrition, supplements, lifestyle counseling, botanicals, Chinese medicine and acupunture, and physical medicine when treating their patients.  A homeopath is considered a specialist in using homeopathy and this is the primary treatment method used.  Both use their tools to provide specific and individualized care for their patients.

Education

A naturopath and a homeopath both have knowledge of the core health sciences such as anatomy, physiology, pathology, immunology and pharmacology as well as training in physical examination, appropriate assessment, and knowledge of when to refer to another practitioner if warranted. Both professions undergo rigorous clinical training and examinations to ensure graduates meet the standards required to practice their form of medicine.

Educational institutions in Ontario:

Canadian College of Naturopathic Medicine

Ontario College of Homeopathic Medicine

Regulation in Ontario

Currently, both naturopathic medicine and homeopathic medicine are in a transition process to become regulated in Ontario under the Regulated Health Professionals Act (RHPA).  Naturopaths were previously regulated under the Drugless Practitioner Act and the Board of Drugless Therapy-Naturopathy.  Homeopaths have not been regulated in Ontario for a number of years and this re-regulation follows a renewed use of homeopathic medicine as a form of alternative medicine treatment.

Regulation resources:

The Transitional Council of the College of Naturopaths of Ontario

The Transitional Council of the College of Homeopaths of Ontario

Integration with other healthcare professionals

Regulation under the RHPA will hopefully lead to an increasing number of naturopaths and homeopaths being included in a patient`s current health team.  Integrating homeopathic and naturopathic medicine can effectively augment a patient`s conventional treatment plan leading to higher patient satisfaction and more comprehensive patient care.

Insurance coverage

Homeopathic and naturopathic medicine are currently not covered under OHIP and patients pay for these services.  However, the majority of private insurance companies like Great West Life and Sunlife provide coverage for these services to assist patients in seeking complementary forms of healthcare. Your employer decides what services are covered in your insurance plan and if naturopathic and homeopathic medicine are not currently covered, you may ask your employer or human resources office to explore the option of including these services.

Resources to help you find a qualified naturopath or homeopath:

Ontario Association of Naturopathic Doctors

Canadian Association of Naturopathic Doctors

The Canadian Naturopathic Foundation

Ontario Homeopathic Association

The National United Professional Association of Trained Homeopaths

I hope this post provided you with answers to this very common question. If you have other questions you would like answered let me know and I will try to address them in future blog posts.

Feel free to share your thoughts about naturopathic and homeopathic medicine, as well as resources you think others would find useful!