Natural Approaches for Treating Infections for Yoga and Holistic Therapists
As a Yoga therapist and Holistic Health Practitioner one of the biggest issues my clients and I deal with is the issue of infections. What do we do with infections and how do we treat them and help the body to deal with them? This issue is considered to be one of the strongest arguments against nature-based complementary and alternative approaches, or the Achilles Heel of Natural medicine. I disagree with this assessment! There are many reasons to get off pharmaceutical-based antibiotic treatments and to consider natural approaches as the solution. The very word antibiotic means ‘against life!’ I want to share with you the recent true life story of a client of mine and some pro-life strategies for treating infections naturally.
This week a new client came into my office for a consultation. The initial complaint of this twenty nine year old woman, “Mary,” was a persistent infection on her thigh. After I did my usual due diligence and had her fill out the intake forms, I queried her story in more detail.
Two weeks ago this young mother noticed what looked like a small wound on her leg which was obviously infected. Mary did as she always did when she had a health or medical concern and called up the doctor. Though she had no major concerns, she made an appointment at the nearby clinic, assuming that they would give her a shot or some antibiotics and that would be that. She had a good job with benefits as an executive secretary so she knew the insurance would cover it. “No worries,” she told me.
Her visit to the clinic was short and uneventful. The office did their usual intake and took all her insurance information as she waited in the exam room. When the doctor came in he had her show him the infection site and told her “no worries, you probably scratched a mole or some such and it got infected.” The doctor wrote out a prescription for the first of what was to become a series of prescriptions and sent her on her way. Elapsed time with doc in office? Ten minutes.
Mary picked up the prescription on the way home and took her first dose. By the next day, she knew something was wrong. She woke up in the middle of the night feverish and sick with a terrific itching at the site of her infection. When she looked at it she saw that the center had grown to about the size of a quarter, it was red, inflamed and filled with puss and there was now a large angry rash spreading around the site that was the size of a dinner plate! She was terrified and immediately had her boyfriend rush her to the emergency room where they took cultures and told her it was a type of Staph infection.
With a second round of new antibiotics Mary went back home. The infection slowed, but by the end of ten days it was not resolved and she headed back to the clinic for round three! This time it seemed to do better for the first five days. Then Mary woke up one morning to find that the infection had returned and the surrounding rash had spread to her whole torso from knees to breast. What a fearful shock! In a second visit to emergency room, the doc suggested another round of antibiotics along with a round of tests for a heart murmur and an issue with her lungs...
When she called me she was frantic, anxious, and sounded defeated. Mary said she was “at her wits end,” no longer hopeful that she was going to recover and fearful of her continued deterioration. She spoke of the many possible outcomes (all bad) if her condition did not improve.
What a story! I went deeper and asked about her life and fears in general. I was curious to see what the state of her life was overall, mainly looking for any particular patterns from her past that could relate to her present health situation.
As it turns out, since her youth she had been having issues with recurring infections and had been hospitalized more than a few times. She had one kidney infection that was severe enough to warrant a long hospital stay. I also found out that Mary had been raped and sexually assaulted as a young girl. In the past year she went through a devastating divorce and custody battle. She described a life-long pattern of depression, anxiety and sadness severe enough to have been under psychiatric care and medicated.
In natural medicine we acknowledge that there are connections between our mental and emotional health and our physical health. Some modern scientific disciplines such as psycho-neuro-immunology share this insight but as a general rule it is not considered significant enough to ask important questions. In all of Mary’s visits over the years for issues with infection, yeast, candida etc. she stated clearly that I was the first counselor or health professional of any kind to ask about her emotional history concurrent with her health issues. It surprised her that I even asked.
Mary has also had issues with addictions to both alcohol and pain medications. In the treatment program she underwent for these, her sexual traumas and troubling repetitive strings of infections of unknown origins were not revealed or considered at all.
From the point of view of Naturopathy and Ayurveda everything is important and significant. A severe physical and or emotional trauma that affects a person such as a sexual assault can literally shut the immune system down. At the very least it can compromise the immune system for a period of time. Many types of infectious virus and bacteria live peacefully within us and pose no threat to us until a depressed immune system creates an opportunistic environment and the weakened system is exploited. What follows can look like explosive growth of the harmful entity, like a virus, bacteria, fungus, cancer etc.
When I considered her infection I not only could see the external symptoms of the infection, wound and rash but I could also see the environment in which they were propagating as if it was a vulnerable field being over grown with weeds, a field being exploited.
The next step is to recommend helpful strategies. These strategies would need to be holistic, taking into consideration more than the symptoms but the patterns of imbalance and life habits leading to the depressed immune environment which was able to host the various forms of assault the client was subject to.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention:
“Antibiotic resistance has been called one of the world's most pressing public health problems. Almost every type of bacteria has become stronger and less responsive to antibiotic treatment when it is really needed. These antibiotic-resistant bacteria can quickly spread to family members, schoolmates, and co-workers - threatening the community with a new strain of infectious disease that is more difficult to cure and more expensive to treat. For this reason, antibiotic resistance is among CDC's top concerns.
Antibiotic resistance can cause significant danger and suffering for children and adults who have common infections, once easily treatable with antibiotics. Microbes can develop resistance to specific medicines. A common misconception is that a person's body becomes resistant to specific drugs. However, it is microbes, not people, that become resistant to the drugs.
If a microbe is resistant to many drugs, treating the infections it causes can become difficult or even impossible. Someone with an infection that is resistant to a certain medicine can pass that resistant infection to another person. In this way, a hard-to-treat illness can be spread from person to person. In some cases, the illness can lead to serious disability or even death.” (http://www.cdc.gov/getsmart/antibiotic-use/anitbiotic-resistance-faqs.html)
What is an antibiotic resistant bacteria and where do they come from from?
“Antibiotic resistant bacteria cannot be controlled or killed by antibiotics. Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA or golden staph), vancomycin-resistant Enterococcus (VRE) and multi-drug-resistant Mycobacterium tuberculosis (MDR-TB) are serious public health problems. Avoiding unnecessary prescription of antibiotics can reduce antibiotic resistant bacteria.” (Better Health Channel:http://www.betterhealth.vic.gov.au/bhcv2/bhcarticles.nsf/pages/Antibiotic_resistant_bacteria)
According to Discovery Health, a bacterium can become resistant for three primary reasons:
- Taking prescribed antibiotics, however, not completing the treatment cycle. Your immune system might not be able handle the remaining infectious agents.
- Insisting on getting antibiotics from health providers to treat colds and flu’s! Antibiotics have absolutely no helpful benefit for fighting viruses. They are completely ineffective. The antibiotics cannot discriminate between good and bad bacteria and so kill the good bacteria along with the bad. Gut and intestinal flora necessary for digestion as example.
- Stockpiling and using either the wrong left over antibiotic or using old and expired drugs which may not work at all. (http://health.howstuffworks.com/human-body/cells-tissues/question561.htm)
According to Dr. Mercola’s website, “Agricultural Antibiotic Overuse has Created New Hard –to-Eradicate Human Disease” such as MRSA, an antibiotic-resistant bacteria form of Staph. He goes on to elaborate how this issue may be more deadlier than AIDS. (http://articles.mercola.com/sites/articles/archive/2010/12/28/fda-finally-reveals-how-many-antibiotics-factory-farms-use.aspx )
Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus is invasive and spreading in the US. According to one study 58.4% of all such infections were health care (hospital, medical clinics etc.) associated!
Between the public misuse, the massive agricultural misuse and the toxic environments of so-called medical facilities,there is an epidemic occurring, a literal nightmare of epic proportions relating to the increasing possibilities of spreading infectious diseases.
Antibiotics may suppress original symptoms of illness.
The over-use and misuse of antibiotics can cause problems, but there may also be issues with ANY use!
In an article published by Steven Horne titled “Fighting Infection without Antibiotics” he writes, “At the American Herbalist Guild 1997 symposium, Paul Bergner, N.D. and editor of Medical Herbalism, stated that he has not been able to find any convincing proof that antibiotics kill bacteria in living tissue. They do so in the test tube, but that does not mean they are doing it inside the human body. He suggested that antibiotics might just be suppressing symptoms of infection.” (http://www.webnat.com/articles/Antibiotics.asp )
The problem with antibiotics is that they are toxic and cause a fighting response from the body’s immune system! Once you take antibiotics your body actually stops fighting the original disorder in order to fight the new stronger threat. Once the antibiotics leave your system it shifts back to combat the original disease which has been in suppression but not cured. This explains why so many times symptoms of the original disease or infection continue to return long after the treatment ends.
HERING'S LAW OF CURE:
"All cure starts from within out, from the head down and in reverse order as the symptoms have appeared." (http://www.health-science-spirit.com/healingcrisis.html )
Possible connections between Infection/ Antibiotic use and Depression:
Do you or your client suffer from depression? If so, it could be linked to an amazingly long list of drugs including many used to fight infection and complications of infection. (http://www.medicinenet.com/script/main/art.asp?articlekey=55169 )
An example of drugs that can cause depression are Fluoroquinolone antibiotics such as Cipro andFloxin.
Antibiotics contribute to “Antibiotic Syndrome” including yeast infections.
Candida/ Yeast infections may contribute to Cancer!
Candida albicans is a parasitic yeast-like fungus that inhabits the intestines, genital tract, mouth, esophagus, and throat. Normally this fungus lives in healthy balance with the other bacteria and yeasts in the body; however, certain conditions can cause it to multiply, weakening the immune system and causing an infection known as candidiasis.
According to Cancer researcher Dr. Tullio Simoncini, “The fundamental reason and the motives that suggest a therapy with sodium bicarbonate against tumours is that, although with the concurrence of a myriad of variable concausal factors – the development and the local and remote proliferation of these tumours has a cause that is exclusively fungin."
Acidosis may contribute to Infections including MRSA!
Acidosis and Body PH may be a common link to infections.
All is not lost! What can we do? 10 Steps to Reduce, Avoid and Eliminate Infections.
1) Stay away from medical facilities. Do everything you can to stay out of and away from medical facilities and conventional treatment exposure and do not misuse antibiotics. This is where alternative therapies for health and wellness will save millions of lives. If you are going to make efforts for your self and your family to stay out of the conventional medical system that exposes you to these harmful infectious agents, you will need to have reasonable alternative choices. In all natural based therapeutic systems, sometimes referred to as Complementary and Alternative Medicine (CAM) (http://www.medicinenet.com/alternative_medicine/article.htm ) like Ayurveda, Naturopathy, TCM, Yoga and Thai Yoga Therapy, and SomaVeda™ Thai Yoga, prevention and health maintenance is the first line of defense.
2) Reduce your exposure to all toxins and build your protective defenses, immune system and health assets.
3) Stop over using antibiotics. Every time you consider taking an antibiotic consider that
a) there is a good chance it will not work anyway,
b) there will be an immediate and harmful effect on the positive, natural and healthy gut bacteria necessary for the digestion and assimilation of your food and the nutrients from your food. This becomes a source for other health concerns such as malnutrition, which can occur from incomplete digestion. There can be allergies and an increase of the severity of existing allergies. The proliferation of yeast and fungus like Candida Albicans can create cravings (pica) for carbohydrates and sugars. Long term and recurrent issues with weight, weight gain, obesity and difficulties of maintaining a healthy body weight can be symptoms of damage caused by antibiotics. If you have been using antibiotics to treat infections, immediately consider other less invasive alternatives and start repopulating your healthful bacteria by incorporating a good quality, live culture-based probiotic supplement.
4) Eat better quality foods. The easiest and most powerful thing you can do to initiate the proactive defensive strategy for fighting infectious diseases is to bring intention and discipline to your food and diet. I am not just referring to the basics of nutrition but a more fundamental approach. Before worrying about your vitamins and minerals consider eating foods which do not require the use of large amounts of antibiotics. That means consuming at least 3 to five portions a day of only organic, fresh, local, grass-fed, free-range meats (if you still eat meat). Organic food helps you avoid the pesticide residues and insures that you are getting the antioxidants, vitamins and minerals which protect the body against disease. If you are a vegetarian (and even if you are not!) consider eliminating all highly processed foods and any foods or additives made from Genetically Modified Organisms (GMOs).
5) Rotate the foods you eat! Eat less and eat the widest possible variety of healthy foods you can obtain. This stimulates your immune system and reduces the stress of possible allergens which can suppress immune system functions. A rotation meal plan can also assist in supporting your digestion and absorption of vital nutrients. Having a reasonable rotation of food in your diet is also helpful for many additional health issues including depression. Be sure to add herbs and spices to your food as many have natural antibiotic qualities such as Garlic, Basil, and Oregano.6) Get plenty of rest and exercise (yoga) daily! However, avoid excessive exercise as that can actually decrease your immune function.
7) Wash your hands. That means wash your hands several times a day, especially when doing “hands on” sessions, in public or visiting a medical facility.
8) Avoid and reduce stress any way that you can! Simply stated there is overwhelming evidence to support that stress, especially chronic or long term stress reduces your ability to fight or deal with infection and disease. Working on your self to resolve issues and concerns that stem from unresolved emotional issues is a huge priority. Organizing your life in a way that is more in harmony with the way you want to be and live is very helpful. Yoga, Tai Chi, Martial Arts, and Thai Yoga can be very helpful as well.
9) Give and receive regular Thai Yoga. It is important to handle the emotional energetic aspects which influence the inner environment that all infections propagate in. We address this by balancing the energy, releasing and dealing with negative emotional issues and cultivating a loving, compassionate, joyful and balanced inner state of being. We support this process with all of the technologies we have at our disposal such as SomaVeda Thai Yoga, and Tapping! Giving sessions is as good for the practitioner as for the receiver. Thai Yoga may affect and help bring balance to virtually every area of life mind, body and spirit. What is Thai Yoga? Where can I learn Thai Yoga?
10) Make a good nights sleep a priority. Not getting enough quality sleep leads to sleep deprivation. Since the most important cycle of regeneration and cellular recovery for your body happens when in a deep sleep you need to make sure you get some. Create a quiet, dark calm area to sleep in. Wear light blocking eye pads and or ear plugs if you need to. These actually can help quite a bit. I started wearing these while traveling in airplanes overseas... if they can help me sleep on a 747, then they can help me sleep anywhere!
Consider alternative, complimentary and natural approaches to conventional antibiotics:
a) Colloidal Silver: Colloidal Silver is a liquid ionic suspension of pure metallic silver. It is produced via the process of electrolysis, wherein pure silver particles in small parts per million are deposited in distilled pure water. The public or common use is controversial in western medicine even though western medicine does make much use of it in institutional applications. It is antimicrobial and is absolutely considered one of the most potent natural antibiotics recommended in natural medicine.
Ionic Colloidal Silver can be quite expensive to purchase retail, sometimes costing as much as 10 to 20 dollars per ounce! The very best way to obtain your Colloidal Silver for your personal or family use is to make it yourself. We recommend the Bob Peck Protocol and the SOTA Instruments units he approved for this purpose; SOTA Instruments Colloidal Silver maker, and or the Silver Edge Colloidal SIlver Maker.
b) Probiotics: “Unlike antibiotics, which means “to destroy life,” probiotics literally means “life giving.” In more practical terms, antibiotics destroy without prejudice — killing the bad bacteria that can cause infection, while also destroying the good bacteria that help fight infection. Probiotics, on the other hand, re-populate the good bacteria that can help kill the bad bacteria and fight infection.”
c) Healing Herbs and Spices: Garlic, Basil, Echinacea, Cat’s claw, Grapefruit seed extract, Elderberry extract, Goldenseal, Cranberry, Tea tree oil.
d) Use a Mushroom to fight infection! Maitake, "Turkey Tail" mushroom (Trametes versicolor), Reishi Mushrooms, Cordyceps sinensis as well as common garden, kitchen and wild edible varieties. Based on the principle that molds and fungus of different varieties actually fight each other!
e) Use Honey to fight infection! Honey has been used as a medicine to "cure" infection and to promote healing in addition to it's beneficial nutritional characteristics during most of recorded human civilization. Documents dating back as far as to 1700 BC have described it's use in treating wounds and burns for example. P.E. Lusby in a review article in the Journal of Wound, Ostomy and Continence Nursing (2002;29:295-300) stated that topical applications of honey was beneficialin these types of applications. In an article by Maureen Williams, ND she states "Honey prevents bacterial growth through its acidic pH and through the work of an enzyme that produces small amounts of hydrogen peroxide. Its ability to keep the area around a wound moist and protected promotes fast healing and prevents scarring."
Fighting Infection with Ayurveda
As stated by Ayurvedic VidyaDr. Satish Kulkarni, “According to western medicine, these conditions occur as a result of external factors like bacteria. However, ayurved believes that they occur as a result of internal imbalance or impurity which in turn occurs due to aggravation of the basic body constituents, especially that of the pitta constituent. This is the reason why ayurved mainly suggests performing panchkarma (cleansing procedures) for treating these conditions. They may not be as effective as antibiotics in acute conditions, but are found effective in chronic conditions or recurrences.”
He further recommends “ ayurved suggests detoxifying processes like virechan (purgation) and raktamoksha (blood letting) for infections. Treatment is both internal as well as external. In internal treatment, an anti-pitta diet is suggested. Avoiding excessive consumption of tea and coffee, avoiding oily and spicy food, stopping alcohol consumption, etc. are all an essential part of this treatment. Plenty of salads, sprouts, juice from bitter leaves (e.g. neem juice) and some astringents are recommended. Applying herbal packs externally helps in dissolving local infection or in processing suppuration...as well as use and ingestion of traditional plant based remedies such as “manjistha (rubia cordifolium), katuka (picrorrhiza kurroa), neem (azadiracta indica) haridra (curcuma longa, commonly known as turmeric), daruharidra (berberis spp., commonly known as barberry), etc.” (http://www.nzhealth.net.nz/ayurveda/infection.shtml)
Fighting infection with Homeopathy
Homeopathic remedies for fighting infection are based on supporting and activating our body’s natural immune system and natural resistance to infection and infectious agents. Common remedies include Belladonna, Ledum, Arsenucum, Hepar sulphuris, Mercury solubulis, Silica, and Sulphur. (http://www.alive.com/4536a12a2.php?subject_bread_cramb=227)
What was Mary’s final result? I recommended a combination of several of the above referenced wellness strategies including Thai Yoga, Tapping for her emotional issues, probiotics and that she self treat herself with the Beck Protocol (Ionic Colloidal Silver and Oxygenated Water). She was completely symptom free in five days! After three weeks of medical office visits and two emergency hospitalizations this is pretty well a miraculous recovery. It’s been six weeks now, she is back to work and no signs of recurence of her infection. It’s important to to relate that I did not recommend or treat her directly with any non-FDA approved products or procedures. I educated her on the best available options and she made her personal choices for self treatment, as is her right to personal determination of her health choices.
Remember that even healthy people fall ill occasionally. At the first sign of viral or bacterial infection, follow the advice above and start taking one of the natural remedies recommended above. They have been shown in practice and in clinical trials to help the immune system overcome infection without side effects.
The SomaVeda™ Thai Yoga outline or basic protocol described in this article is basically the same for many illnesses and imbalances.
Where can you gain professionally recognized training and certification as a Holistic Health Provider? Want to learn the ins and outs of natural remedies for infections and a host of other conditions? Consider joining the Thai Yoga Centers 2170 hour, HHP/ Naturopathic training program!
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All Information is provided for educational purposes only and not intended to be used for any therapeutic purpose, neither is it intended to diagnose, prevent, treat or cure any disease. Please consult a health care professional for diagnosis and treatment of medical conditions. No infection treatment products are sold from this website and every attempt is made to make statements which are unbiased and are solely in the best interest of the members, public and patient.While all attempts have been made to ensure the accuracy of this information. The author and ThaiMassage.Com does not accept any responsibility for any errors or omissions.
The information provided has not been reviewed by the FDA. The FDA specifically considers anecdotal information and or research to be unreliable and or non valid. Additionally the information provided in this article is educational and to some degree anecdotal and in no context or meaning is it implied by the author or the website that it be intended as a substitute for competent medical advise. Patients suffering from a severe medical condition are advised to consult with their physician.
Copyright© 2011, Anthony B. James CMT, ND, MDAM All rights reserved under International and Pan American copyright conventions. World rights reserved. No part of this book may be reproduced or utilized in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical, including photocopying and recording, or by any information storage and retrieval system, without permission in writing from the publisher. Inquires should be addressed to: Anthony B. James, CMT, ND, MDAM, 4715 Bruton Rd. Plant City, FL 33565 · http://www.ThaiYogaCenter.Com