3 Pieces of Better Health

Can it really be this easy? Are there really just 3 pieces of better health? The answer is a resounding yes!

Too often, like so many things we tend to make health and even treatment of certain illnesses more complicated than they need to be. As a regular reader of our materials you understand some of this already but let’s try to put it all together today in a simple fashion.

The first piece of the 3 Pieces of Better Health, in fact the mainstay of better health and yes recovery from illness has got to be diet. A plant based Mediterranean type diet. This diet with very limited, to no animal products, plenty of healthy fats like olive and fish oil and little to no refined sugars is not only perhaps the healthiest diet but also quite likely the best for our brains and nervous systems or what we doctors call neuro-protective. So this has got to be your first priority. If you need a refresher, get your ND Diet Plan HERE

There’s no question no matter where you are that physical activity is paramount to your wellness and recovery from any illness. In fact, simply start where you are! If you’re recovering from surgery for example, use that wheelchair or walker as much as you possibly can. If you are completely mobile, walk whenever you can and in fact avoid sitting for more than 20 minutes maximum any given time. Believe or not these deliberate but simple physical activities when done consistently during our day probably do more for blood flow and strength than any other single thing you can do throughout the day. This includes going to the gym in the morning and then sitting all day on the job or at home.

Finally, so much as the written about mindset and health. Make no mistake about it your attitude, your support system, your interaction with family and those you love go a long way towards ensuring you have this third but key piece of better health. And no it’s not without demanding your own needs are met. Add in daily meditation, regular thought provoking reading and simple downtime and you literally have a lifelong winning combination.

We’ll talk much more about the key chronic pain and neuropathy treatment pieces next time and as you’ll see these 3 pieces of better health slide right in a critical way.

 Finally, please don’t make your life or health plan more complicated than it is!

 Just think of all the time, money and energy you’ll save by simply becoming self sufficient with your shopping and diet, exercising at home and daily mindset & self-care!

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Best Treatments for Common Neuropathy Forms

There is good potential for improvement, and even recovery, in common neuropathy forms in many patients. You need to make sure you are doing your part, but also that your treating clinician is doing everything they can for you as well!

If you are reading this, you already know something about peripheral neuropathy. You probably know millions are afflicted.

But you may not know there are many types: the most common ones are due to chemotherapy drugs, diabetes, and pre-diabetes, or metabolic syndrome.

In fact, metabolic syndrome may very well be responsible for the majority of cases that are now labeled “Idiopathic”. The Idiopathic means we just aren’t sure what the cause is.

Nevertheless, there is good potential for improvement, and even recovery, in these common neuropathy forms in many patients.

But recovery depends upon stimulating your healing capacity.

And there are several good tools which can help do just that. For example, we know a low-carb diet (I also prefer gluten and dairy-free), stopping smoking, and losing weight is key. Exercise and rehab under supervision often make a big difference too.

Research tells us our body produces substances that help nerves heal. These are called neurotropins.

So, what are the best ways to help your body along?

Well, in addition to the things we just mentioned, maintaining good mental health is key. In fact, one study showed significantly higher levels of neurotropins in people who “were in love”!

The same study also looked at electric stimulation. The results were somewhat surprising. Indications are: less is often more!

In this study, neuropathy treatment electrotherapies that are too powerful, administered for too long, or too high a frequency produced less than favorable results.

We also know that accommodation to treatment is a factor. This occurs when our bodies “get used to” any one therapy, or even a drug. It also helps explain why patient progress can seemingly plateau.

All of this highlights the need for a comprehensive approach to neuropathy treatment.

You need to make sure you are doing your part, but also that your treating clinician is doing everything they can for you as well!

For more information on coping with neuropathy, get your Free E-Book and subscription to the Weekly Ezine “Beating Neuropathy” at http://neuropathydr.com.

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Neuropathy and Sleep Problems

Sleep Problems are Common among Neuropathy Patients. Here’s What You Can Do to Make It Better.

Sleep disturbances aren’t unusual for most people during times of stress or illness. But people with neuropathy tend to experience sleep problems more often, and in a more severe way, than the general population.

You may have already experienced how a lack of sufficient restful sleep can negatively impact your daily function. It can also be detrimental to your long-term health and quality of life.

If you’re not getting enough restful sleep, your body’s major systems just aren’t able to recharge like they need to in order to combat neuropathy symptoms. You’ll be noticing more and more weight gain, fatigue, depression, and chronic pain over time as you continue losing sleep.

It’s so important to share information about your sleep problems with your neuropathy specialist, who can build sleep adjustment into your overall treatment plan.

You can also make lifestyle changes starting right away to help improve your sleep quality and reduce neuropathy symptoms. Daily movement or exercise, preferably outdoors for the addition of vitamin D from sunlight, is very important for neuropathy sufferers with insomnia. Stress reduction is another key to healthy sleep to supplement your neuropathy treatment. Make sure to also get enough water and eat foods from a healthy neuropathy diet. Some patients (those without kidney disease) may want to ask their doctors about magnesium supplements.

Another option is the daily use of our home care kit featuring an FDA-approved electrotherapy neurostimulator. By reducing tingling and other symptoms that can distract you from sleep, this daily care program can get help you get more Z’s on a regular basis. The NDGen Home Care Kit also offers automatic shut-off and a timer so that you can safely use it while drifting off to sleep. Take a look at our NDGen neuropathy home care kit.

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How to Improve Your Quality of Life with Peripheral Neuropathy

Peripheral Neuropathy Can Severely Impair Your Everyday Functioning—Unless You Take These Important Steps Back to Good Nerve Health

You already know from experience that peripheral neuropathy can have severe and destructive effects on your everyday quality of life. With neuropathic pain, even the easiest tasks can begin to feel impossible. It’s hard to work, to move around, or even to sleep when you are affected by nerve pain, numbness, and tingling.

When we talk about “quality of life” in the medical setting, we are looking at the degree to which you have been able to adapt to your medical condition. We take a look at things like your interactions with family and friends, your physical well-being, the activities you enjoy in your life, and your own perception of the state of your health.

That last one is crucially important. We know that your beliefs and attitudes about your underlying medical condition (such as diabetes, lupus, or HIV/AIDS) make a huge difference in your quality of life and your ability to deal with peripheral neuropathy symptoms.

Peripheral neuropathy is considered to be chronic pain. It’s not something that will come and go; people with peripheral neuropathy symptoms tend to experience them constantly. This kind of never-ending pain can be disruptive to your ability to work, your social life, your sleep routine, and your mental health. Many people with peripheral neuropathy become anxious or depressed due to their experience of chronic pain.

The Good News About Quality of Life with Peripheral Neuropathy

Let me share the good news about neuropathic pain. Although most nerve damage is permanent and there is no true cure for peripheral neuropathy, there are many things that you are able to do to improve your quality of life and regain close-to-normal functioning.

First, take good care of your feet, wear comfortable shoes and socks, and avoid going barefoot. Get foot massages to help reduce pain and improve your circulation. Call your doctor immediately if you notice any sore spots, blisters, or other issues on the soles of your feet.

Next, cut back on caffeine and nicotine. If you’re able to quit, do so! Nicotine has been shown to decrease your circulation, and caffeine most likely is making your peripheral neuropathy pain even worse.

Try to maintain an active lifestyle to the extent that is possible for you. Of course, you’ll need to check with your doctor or peripheral neuropathy clinician before beginning any exercise program. Exercise will improve your circulation, your mood, and your overall quality of life.

Finally, one of the most important changes you can make is to follow the NeuropathyDR® diet that provides everything your body needs to begin healing peripheral neuropathy. This is best undertaken under the supervision of a NeuropathyDR® specialist who can prescribe a custom treatment plan for your individual needs. To find a NeuropathyDR® specialist near you, click here.

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Neuropathy Self Care is Vital During the Holidays

Don’t Take a Vacation from Neuropathy Self Care During the Holidays!

The holiday season can be a stressful time for anyone, whether it’s the positive stress of gathering with loved ones or a more negative experience due to personal hardships. Of course, most of us have a mixed experience of both positive and negative stressors during the holidays.

When you are suffering from the discomfort of neuropathic pain, holiday stress can take an even bigger toll—not just emotional but physical. You’re likely to be feeling more fatigue or a chronic pain flare-up during this time.

It may seem that neuropathy self care is just another stressor during the holidays. Sticking to your at-home treatment protocol of a healthy diet, nutritional supplements, light exercise, and mindfulness practice may seem like an imposition or even just another thing on your rapidly growing to-do list!

But the truth is, the most positive step you can take to reduce neuropathy symptoms during the holidays is to prioritize your neuropathy self care above all else.

If you’ve already fallen off the wagon in terms of your neuropathy self care plan, then it’s important to realize that you don’t have to wait for a New Year’s resolution to get back on. You can start right now.

And if that feels too overwhelming, then remember that you can add in healthy habits just one at a time. Every small improvement will have a cumulative effect on your well-being and help reduce neuropathy symptoms.

Need a refresher about the basics of good neuropathy self care? Here are a few key elements of your at-home care to reduce neuropathy symptoms and holiday stress:

  • A diet focused on protein and vegetables, with fewer carbs and unhealthy fats
  • Good hydration with plenty of water
  • Light exercise as prescribed by your medical team or NeuropathyDR® clinician, possibly including stretching, yoga, or other low-impact activities
  • Relaxation exercises or meditation

Above all, try to maintain focus on the joys and pleasures of the holiday season and let go of any preconceptions about how things should go.

To read more about at-home neuropathy self care, take a look at our neuropathy “owner’s manual”: I Beat Neuropathy!

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The One Neuropathy Treatment Component You Shouldn’t Overlook

The Most Important Neuropathy Treatment Is Something That Is Totally Within Your Control: Your Daily Routine.

More than anything else that you can do in terms of neuropathy treatment, your daily routines are the foundation of your well-being. That’s true not only in the short term but looking at your long-term health prospects as well.

Have you ever truly considered the powerful impact of daily habits on your physical and emotional health?

What you do every day can strengthen your overall health in a systemic way. Or, with different choices, it can be at odds with your health goals and may possibly undermine any neuropathy treatment plan developed for you.

It comes as no surprise that your daily health choices include things like what you eat and drink, whether you use tobacco, and how much exercise you’re getting.

In addition, take a careful look at how you use your mind over the course of a day. Are you engaging in lots of passive activities, like watching TV? Or do you choose actively stimulating options such as meditation, reading, or creative acts such as knitting or woodworking?

In effective neuropathy treatment, these choices are extremely important—especially as you advance in age and face more health challenges.

And it’s not just what choices you make, but how regularly you implement them, that matters most. Healthy habits to support your neuropathy treatment plan need to be scheduled in as a regular part of your daily routine.

Here are some great neuropathy treatment components that can and should be scheduled into your daily routine:

  • Non-strenuous movement activities
  • Small, frequent meals and snacks to support a neuropathy diet
  • Supplements recommended by your NeuropathyDR® clinician
  • Other basic health supports like sufficient sleep and hydration

Sometimes, timing is everything. That’s why consulting with a trained neuropathy treatment professional is key to your long-term health.

Interested in a consultation with a NeuropathyDR® clinician in your area? Click here to find a trained neuropathy professional near you.

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Neuropathy Diet Essentials: What You Need to Know About Inositol

Don’t Overlook This Key Nutrient’s Impact on Your Neuropathy Diet!

Would you believe that 20 years ago, I was treating diabetic neuropathy with a specialized neuropathy diet? Then and now, one of the components of a therapeutic diet for neuropathy includes inositol.

Unlike vitamins (which have to be absorbed from dietary sources), inositol is one of a few substances that our own bodies can produce. We naturally synthesize inositol, a type of carbohydrate, from glucose.

The thing is, we don’t really make high enough amounts to be considered a therapeutic dose, so we have to supplement through dietary intake.

Why is inositol so important? In particular, why is it vital for people with neuropathic pain who need a healing neuropathy diet?

In short, this substance helps your body to lower cholesterol and break down fats. Inositol also has a positive effect on the way that insulin interacts with certain types of cells—which is why diabetic neuropathy sufferers need to know about this important supplement. If you’re dealing with diabetes and its side effects, you already know that insulin is a pancreatic hormone that has several vital roles in the body, including fat storage and control of blood sugar.

Other patients who have been helped by inositol include women with polycystic ovary disease (PCOD), as well as those with non-standard lipid profiles like those found in metabolic syndrome. In addition, mental health challenges like bipolar disorder and depression have sometimes been treated with inositol due to its known capacity to positively support brain function and nerve health.

For your neuropathy diet, some of the best sources of inositol include fruits, nuts, and several types of vegetables. Naturally, if you are struggling with neuropathy related to diabetes, you will need to limit fruit intake because of its sugar content.

Looking for more information about the effectiveness and format of the ideal neuropathy diet? Click here for I Beat Neuropathy, a comprehensive guide to self-treatment through diet and lifestyle changes.

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Neuropathy Treatments Can Be Supplemented with Creativity

Are You Surprised That Making Art Could Be a Supportive Addition to Your Neuropathy Treatments?

One of the most effective at-home neuropathy treatments can be done anytime, anywhere, and you don’t need special materials to do it. You don’t even have to have a special talent or training in art.

Making art can include everything from drawing or painting to collage, scrapbooking, or even flower arranging. The basic human drive to make art, going back to cave paintings many thousands of years ago, is simply about making things that are special and unique that have personal meaning or bring beauty into your world.

And as it turns out, making art is physically good for you! Creativity might even be the perfect way to supplement neuropathy treatments.

Even way back in 2008, the National Institutes of Health described in their newsletter that scientists had already begun studying how the process of making art can reduce stress, ease pain, and improve quality of life. Art therapy has been shown positive benefits with many medical and emotional issues, from trauma or depression to chemotherapy fatigue. In other words, creativity can be a great supplement to your other neuropathy treatments.

There are many options for making art besides drawing and painting, and anyone can do these relaxing creative activities without any special training or materials. Try one of these easy art options.

Magazine Collage Journal

Materials you’ll need:

  • Blank journal or spiral notebook
  • Magazine
  • Scissors
  • Glue

Flip through any magazine looking for images that speak to you. Perhaps they make you feel happy or excited, or they remind you of good memories. Choose three images to glue down to your journal page in any way that looks right to you. If you want, flip to a new page in your journal and write down your thoughts about the images you selected today.

Index Card Mandala

Materials you’ll need:

  • Index cards
  • Pencil
  • Small jar lid
  • Markers or colored pencils

“Mandala” is a Sanskrit word for “sacred circle.” Psychologist Carl Jung used to make a daily practice of creating mandala designs to help him process his ideas. Coloring mandalas has also been shown to be relaxing to your nervous system. All you need to do is find a small circular object, like a jar lid, and trace around it onto your index card. Now use markers, colored pencils, or crayons to fill in the circle with any shapes, colors, and lines that you want. If you prefer to color in larger and more elaborate mandala designs, you can find free printable mandalas online.

Blind Contour Drawing

Materials you’ll need:

  • A Sharpie marker
  • Blank paper
  • Willingness to try something new

Elizabeth Layton is famous for having become an artist at the age of 68, using a daily practice of making blind contour drawings to help her battle depression. “Blind contour” means that you will be drawing a continuous line without looking at the paper; instead, you focus your gaze on the object you’re drawing. The end result obviously won’t be a perfect drawing, but what’s important in this process is the experience of drawing. I recommend a Sharpie marker because there’s no temptation to erase or “fix” anything and you can concentrate on really seeing an object, rather than forcing your drawing to look a certain way. Try it for a few days and see how much fun it can be to create messy, process-oriented drawings!

Are you curious about how to add a creativity prescription to your neuropathy treatments? Talk with us about it at our Facebook page.

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How to Use Meditation for Chronic Neuropathy Treatment (Part 2): 5 Surprising Ways to Meditate

Chronic neuropathy treatment can be supported with meditation—and it doesn’t have to be fancy, structured, or even spiritual in nature. Here’s a list of 5 ways to begin a meditation practice today on your own, for free.

When you think of meditation, do you picture a very serene-looking monk sitting cross-legged on a cushion? Or maybe a young man or woman in yoga gear on a cliff by the ocean? Maybe you’ve heard that there’s only one right way to meditate, and you’d need to watch a DVD or attend a class to find out how.

But I have great news for you! The truth is that you don’t need a class, a DVD, or a perfect body to meditate. You don’t even have to sit on a cushion on the floor. Best of all, meditating is so easy, you can start today.

Here are 5 kinds of meditation that don’t require any kind of training. You can start with just 5 or 10 minutes each day.

1. Sitting meditation

Sitting doesn’t have to mean sitting on a cushion. You can sit upright in any chair that is comfortable for you. The key factor is in having appropriate posture. Think of your head as a balloon that is rising toward the ceiling on a string; let it float over your shoulders. Now think of having a strong, upright back and an open, receiving heart. Sit in this way for 5 to 10 minutes and just notice any thoughts or feelings that arise, like clouds floating by in the sky.

2. Walking meditation

This is a special way of walking that holds less danger of repetitive stress, because you won’t cover much ground in 5 minutes. It might more accurately be called balancing meditation. Simply slow down each step and notice every aspect of it: shifting your weight onto one foot, letting the other foot rise forward, contacting the ground, shifting your weight again. Then repeat on the other side. It’s just like walking, but at a glacial pace that allows you to really notice the sensations of movement and balance.

3. Meditating in bed

For those who find sitting or walking meditation too painful due to neuropathy symptoms, the wonderful thing to know about meditation is that you can do it in any position—even lying down. (The Buddha himself said so!) The key practice isn’t your body position, although it’s best to be in a posture that allows for effective breathing. Instead, the key is in noticing sensations and thoughts and simply allowing them to pass by without judgment.

4. Mindfully doing a creative act

Meditation doesn’t even have to happen in stillness. It’s possible to engage in a daily meditative practice involving any creative act, such as cooking or creating music. Again, the key to a meditative practice is in being fully aware in each moment of how you are feeling, what you’re thinking, and what judgments are arising about the situation. If you find that your attention drifts, just gently bring it back to this moment.

5. Mindfully completing any household chore

Finally, meditation works with any activity, regardless of its nature. The dullest of household chores can be a form of meditation if they are done mindfully—that is, with your attention on sensation and awareness. For example, when you are washing the dishes after dinner, spend those 10 minutes noticing how the soapy water feels on your hands and being aware of the pattern of your breathing.

Meditation of any kind can be an effective stress relief and a self-help supplement for your chronic neuropathy treatment.

Have you tried meditation? Talk with us about it at our Facebook page.

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Healing Chronic Disease with the Power of Positive Attitude

How to Transform Negative Self-Talk into Positivity for Healing Chronic Disease

The bad news: Negative self-talk can be very damaging to your health.

The good news: You can easily learn to transform negative self-talk into positive thinking that can actively help you in healing chronic disease, from diabetes to cancer.

What is negative self-talk? This is the term for the kind of demeaning, insulting, or belittling internal messages that we give ourselves when we are frustrated by our perceived failings. “I’m so stupid.” “I always mess up.” “Nobody could ever love me.”

These messages are so hurtful because they are based on labeling and judgment. They tell you that there is something wrong with you as a person. When your goal is healing chronic disease, negative self-talk tells you that instead of getting better, you ought to BE a better person.

You wouldn’t allow your best friend to talk this way to herself. It’s time to become your own best friend and intervene in negative self-talk. All you have to do is learn to break the pattern and replace negativity with truly healing actions that support you in healing chronic disease. Remember that healing begins from within, and you have total control over the mindset that is either helping or hurting your chance at optimum health.

Begin by simply noticing during the day when you use negative self-talk. Write down what the circumstances were, what you said or thought to yourself that was negative, and how those thoughts made you feel. Then, pick one recurring negative thought and decide how you will turn it around into a healing action.

For example, if you have noticed that you think to yourself “I’m such a klutz,” use this thought as a cue to notice what you need. The next time you catch yourself thinking about being a klutz, stop and say, “What do I need right now?” Maybe it’s a rest break, some water to rehydrate you, or a kind word from a good friend. Then take that healing action.

We think of negative self-talk as “automatic thoughts,” but the truth is that you can break the negative cycle and turn the negative into a positive. Let your negative thoughts be a signal that it’s time for a wellness check-in to find what your body needs right now. Soon, every moment will become a healing moment on the path to healing chronic disease.

Come take part in the ongoing conversation at our Facebook page!

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