Restoration Healthcare Blog

The Restoration Healthcare Blog

Here, you’ll find news from our office, insights and observations from trusted sources in health, profiles of Restoration Healthcare staffers, information about innovations in the effort to take back your own good health, testimonials from our clients, resources and recommendations of note, and more. Read a post or two and comment on anything that strikes a chord.

By: Restoration Healthcare 

When you discover that you’re suffering from an ailment that makes you lightheaded, nauseous, exhausted, headachy, or anxious — or all five — the last thing you probably want to hear is that there’s an exercise regimen that can help relieve those symptoms.

But what we’re talking about are symptoms associated with Postural Orthostatic Tachycardia Syndrome, or POTS. For the uninitiated, POTS is a condition in which much of your blood stays in the lower part of your body when you stand up, thus prompting the headaches, faintness, and other associated symptoms. Within minutes after getting on your feet, your heart starts pounding as your body frantically tries to pump blood to your brain and upper body.

And it’s why we recently published the Restoration Healthcare Postural Orthostatic Tachycardia Syndrome (POTS) Introduction and Exercise Guide, which we’re making available here as a free download (right click on the image below to download the guide).

Since its publication, we have been recommending our POTS Guide to our patients diagnosed with Postural Orthostatic Tachycardia Syndrome, as well as any of our patients who might be struggling to make it over the hump of getting started on the path to fitness. That includes new and postpartum moms, patients recovering from Lyme disease or exposure to toxic mold, and so on.

Feeling Conflicted About Exercise?

Starting a fitness program can often make you feel conflicted — you know that you won’t start to feel stronger and more energetic without exercising, but you really don’t feel like exercising when you’re weak and exhausted. This is especially true when you have a chronic illness that has sapped your strength and energy. You can start to feel like Superman or Superwoman in the presence of kryptonite. But it’s worse for you — you can’t just step away from a chunk of kryptonite to restore your vitality.

The not-so-secret solution is to ease into a workout regimen gradually — crawl, walk, then run — as you feel comfortable doing so. This approach is ideal, especially for people living with POTS.

About Our Postural Orthostatic Tachycardia Syndrome (POTS) Introduction and Exercise Guide

Our guide begins with a brief introduction followed by a short section on what POTS is, including insights into risk factors, diagnosis, and treatment. Although the treatment protocol varies for each patient, it involves medical treatment along with self-treatment — diet and lifestyle modifications and exercise.

Most of the guide is devoted to the POTS exercise program we recommend — a training program designed to build strength and endurance gradually over the course of eight months, or even longer if you prefer.

This eight-month program provides all the guidance you need, including the following: Continue reading…

By: Rebecca Maas Restoration Healthcare’s Health Coach

Change is scary, especially when your doctor or health coach says your plan of care includes adopting a healthier lifestyle. And nowhere is that more confronting than when it comes to the foods we eat.

As most any health coach will tell you from their own experience, breaking the news to someone that they need to drastically alter their diet is a tough sell. That’s why I often start off with the 80/20 rule.

According to that rule, 80 percent of consequences are attributable to 20 percent of causes. We can apply this principle to any attempt at self-improvement and conclude that making small changes in our lives can lead to big improvements.

Even better, when we make two or more small changes, such as cutting back or eliminating sweets and taking a brisk two-mile walk every day, we start to experience compounding benefits. And each benefit we experience serves as motivation to make additional positive changes in our lives.

The 80/20 rule is a great reminder that we shouldn’t, “let the great be the enemy of the good.” In other words, don’t let a pursuit for perfection discourage you from achieving less ambitious goals. Making positive changes — regardless of how small — is what really matters when we’re trying to improve outcomes, especially when we’re just getting started.

Our brains are highly adaptive. We can become accustomed to just about anything — even lifestyle changes — when we take a gradual and forgiving approach to achieving long-term success. Keeping a positive mindset and setting realistic objectives are essential for avoiding guilt, shame, and discouragement. Often the best approach is to make incremental changes, giving them time to become gradually hardwired into our brains.

Following the 80/20 Rule in Your Diet

The 80/20 rule is also known as the Pareto principle, named after esteemed economist Vilfredo Pareto. Having said that, the 80/20 rule for diet isn’t exactly what Pareto had in mind. Because — in the context of diet — the 80/20 rule means 80 percent whole foods and 20 percent prepared foods: Continue reading…

By: Restoration Healthcare 

You’ve probably heard the expression “You are what you eat.” Eat organic whole foods, and you’ll look and feel much better than if you consume a steady diet of junk food. But that’s not all. You also are what you think.

More and more studies are revealing the many health benefits of adopting a hopeful, optimistic mindset. Here at Restoration Healthcare, we believe so strongly that hope is key to optimal health that we include it in our mission statement — “To restore hope and optimize the body’s innate ability to heal from within through the compassionate delivery of functional medicine.”

To a certain degree, people are products of their environment, and in the modern world, the environment isn’t exactly conducive to optimal health. “Advances” in agriculture and food production have packed the grocery store shelves with unhealthy and often toxic foods. The news media deliver a steady stream of doom and gloom. And people are spending more time being passively entertained and less time engaging in fulfilling and rewarding physical activities and interpersonal relationships.

No wonder why our nation is getting sicker. No wonder why obesity, chronic pain, depression, and other chronic health conditions are on the rise.

The good news is that you have the power of choice. You can change your environment. You can choose to eat healthy foods; adopt a more hopeful, optimistic mindset; and engage in more fulfilling, rewarding activities.

Recognizing the Health Benefits of Hope and Optimism

Thanks in part to 17th century philosopher René Descartes, we tend to think of the mind and body as two distinct and separate entities. As a result, modern medicine has divided illnesses into two groups — mental (psychiatric) and physical (medical). What often gets lost in this split is the fact that what goes on in the mind affects the body and vice versa.

Case in point is the effect that hope and optimism have on a person’s physical health and well-being. (Hope is a wish for a better tomorrow. Optimism is the expectation of a better tomorrow.) Numerous studies draw a connection between hope/optimism and the following health benefits: Continue reading…

By: Restoration Healthcare 

To most, it’s no secret that we live in a toxic environment of our own creation. Toxins are in the foods we eat, the water we drink, the air we breathe, the clothes we wear, the homes we live in, the schools where we send our children, and our workplaces. There’s no escaping them.

Fortunately, our bodies have mechanisms in place to detox — to filter out and eliminate — these toxins. The bad news is, we may ingest such a high quantity of toxins that these mechanisms can’t keep up. In other words, we have more toxins coming in than going out. And if you’re wondering how this can happen, there are essentially three reasons:

  1. Overexposure to toxins
  2. Impaired ability to detox
  3. Combination of overexposure to toxins and an impaired ability to detox

Here at Restoration Healthcare, we have a number of diagnostic and treatment protocols in place to test for toxins and to enhance the body’s detox pathways. Although our detox protocol is individualized to each patient’s unique needs and plan of care, it almost always involves the use of one or more binders — chemical compounds to which toxins stick, making it easier for the body to eliminate them.

Understanding the Four Phases of Detox

To understand the role that binders play in the detox process, it helps to have a basic understanding of the four phases of detoxification: Continue reading…

By: Restoration Healthcare 

Probiotics get a lot of press coverage — and rightfully so. We couldn’t live without the healthy bacteria, yeasts, and other microorganisms that inhabit our guts. They break down and extract nutrients from the food we eat; strengthen our immune system; and supply essential vitamins, particularly B vitamins and vitamin K.

Probiotics also help us maintain a healthy weight; support brain and nervous system health and function; metabolize medications and other chemical substances; and keep populations of unhealthy (pathogenic) microorganisms in check.

Unfortunately, the delicate balance of microorganisms in the gut is disturbed by a variety of factors, including the Western diet (low in fiber and nutrients, high in sugar and processed foods), environmental toxins, and the overuse of antibiotics and certain hygiene products that kill off microbes (good and bad) indiscriminately. This imbalance of intestinal microbiota, technically referred to as dysbiosis, often triggers chronic inflammation and metabolic dysfunction.

What gets much less press coverage than probiotics are prebiotics — the fiber we consume but can’t digest — which promote the growth of beneficial microorganisms in our gut. Beneficial bacteria in the colon ferment soluble prebiotic fibers to produce short-chain fatty acids (SCFAs), which have been identified as powerful anti-inflammatory compounds. SCFAs, including acetate, butyrate, and propionate play an important role in maintaining a healthy gut by improving the integrity of the gut barrier, thereby preventing leaky gut. SCFAs, especially butyrate, also play an important role in modulating the immune response.

Thankfully, prebiotics are beginning to attract more attention. While the medical community has long recognized the health benefits of a high-fiber diet, it is just beginning to recognize the importance of fiber in restoring and maintaining a diverse and thriving community of healthy microorganisms.

As a result, our colleagues on the allopathic side of healthcare are starting to realize that taking probiotics isn’t enough. We need to feed those microorganisms, too, and fiber is their food of choice.

Feeding Microorganisms in Our Gut

You’ve probably heard the adage, “You are what you eat,” but in many ways you are what your microorganisms eat. If you’re feeding your microorganisms the Standard American Diet (SAD) — lots of fried and processed foods, sugar, and refined grains, and little in the way of veggies, nuts, legumes, whole grains, and fruit — then you’re nurturing the microorganisms that make you sick.

In medical terms, you’re creating an environment that’s vulnerable to small intestinal bacteria overgrowth (SIBO) — a population explosion of pathogenic microbes. SIBO can cause a host of symptoms, including: Continue reading…

By: Restoration Healthcare 

Thinking for a moment about sweating out your toxins, what do Turkish baths, Aboriginal sweat lodges, Scandinavian saunas, and hot yoga all have in common? That’s right — they all make you hot and sweaty. But after you shower, you feel refreshed, calm, alert, and energized all at the same time. Why? Maybe because sweating is one way your body detoxifies.

It’s fact that your liver, kidneys, colon, and lymphatic system dedicate their entire existence to filtering and eliminating toxins from your system, but your skin plays an important role in your body’s internal clean-up operations, too.

For thousands of years, people from cultures around the world have been sweating for good health and fitness — most of them not even understanding why they felt so much better after a good sweat. Now, with our Spring ’21 Detox starting in just a few short weeks (specifically on June 1st), you have the opportunity to join in this healthy tradition and reap the benefits of sweating out your toxins. And, thanks to this post, you’ll have a better understanding and appreciation of the role that sweating plays in your health.

Photo © by Hans Reniers on Unsplash

Note that sweating is an option for Spring ’21 Detox participants. Our medically supervised detox program targets the health and function of all your body’s detox pathways. But you may want to work up a sweat a few times during your 14-day detox to eliminate toxins that sneak past your primary detox pathways.

Getting Your Skin in the Game

Skin has been described as the body’s single largest organ, and it is truly amazing. It helps to regulate our body temperature, defends us from dangerous bacteria and other pathogens, keeps our internal organs and bodily fluids from spilling out and causing a huge mess, cushions any blunt force, and, with the help of our sweat glands, plays a supporting role in eliminating toxins.

Unfortunately, and unjustifiably, sweat has gotten a bad rap — so bad that many of us use  Continue reading…

By: Restoration Healthcare 

A lost ability to smell or a change in the way odors are perceived is called olfactory dysfunction (OD), which also significantly impacts the ability to taste. Reduction in the sense of smell is called hyposmia, and a total inability to smell is called anosmia. A complete inability to taste anything is called ageusia, which is rare.

Traditional treatment for olfactory dysfunction often focuses on receptors in the sinuses or on the tongue. In other cases, it involves olfactory retraining — which involves sniffing different scents daily to restore the pathways to the brain. You can think of olfactory retraining as physical therapy for restoring function to the nerves that carry signals from the olfactory receptors to the brain.

Unfortunately, these treatments don’t work for COVID-19-related olfactory dysfunction because the problem isn’t with the receptors themselves or the pathway that carries sensory information to the brain. The problem is found in the brain, so it makes sense that treatment needs to focus on diagnosing and treating issues associated with the brain.

(Above: Original image © Patrick J. Lynch, medical illustrator)

Bottom line? It’s not so much about treating taste and smell as it is about finding the underlying causes and treating them.

Tracking COVID-19’s Impact on Taste and Smell

The virus named “SARS-CoV-2” and the disease it causes, named coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19), affects everyone differently. At one extreme are patients who have no symptoms. In the middle, according to the Journal of Internal Medicine, about 80 percent of people infected with the virus have a mild reaction, and most recover within two weeks. At the other extreme are those who have a severe response and take about three to six weeks to recover. Some of these patients require hospitalization. Mortality rates vary greatly around the world, with the United States experiencing a case fatality rate of a little more than 2 percent, meaning two out of every 100 confirmed cases may result in death.

Approximately 10 percent of patients are long haulers, meaning their symptoms linger for months after they no longer test positive for the infection. The most common symptoms are cough, tightness in the chest, shortness of breath, headaches, muscle aches, diarrhea, brain fog, and fatigue.

In addition, nearly 86 percent of COVID-19 patients lose their ability to smell and taste totally or to some degree, with nearly 95 percent of those patients recovering these senses within six months of having the illness.

Exploring the Causes of Olfactory Dysfunction

Olfactory dysfunction can usually be traced back to one of the following common causes: Continue reading…