Lisa Sharkey: Yes I admit it. I live in fear. I'm a mom. Don't we all worry, even when there's nothing to worry about? Now I have a new reason to panic: SWINE FLU! The World Health Organization says we're at Level 5, which means they predict we're in for a full-blown pandemic that shows no sign of being short-lived. What's a worrywart like me or you to do?
In times of stress, what gets me through are the natural healing remedies I've been using for more than fifteen years. I have relied on complementary and alternative medicine with tremendous success. When I ran the medical news department of "Good Morning America" for the first half of this decade, I always relied on top medical experts for help in sorting through all sorts of stories and also produced many segments on alternative medicine, which Americans spend billions of dollars on each year.
What can I do to keep my family safe? How can I boost our immune systems now, and what complementary medicines can I begin taking immediately, regardless of whether or not I ever come in contact with the dreaded Swine Flu?
Dr. Joseph Mercola, who has the world's most popular natural health online newsletter, www.mercola.com, says he's never seen so much online traffic, with his visitors all clamoring for this information.
He told me how we can begin to protect ourselves now without drugs or needles.
Here are his tips:
Dose up on D
First of all, Vitamin D is essential. Dr. Mercola says it is the "single most important action you can take." Mercola urges folks to have their levels of Vitamin D monitored and to get on an appropriate supplement as soon as you can. He believes Vitamin D deficiency is the single biggest culprit of the flu situation altogether. If you do come down with symptoms and have not been on Vitamin D, Dr. Mercola suggests therapeutic doses of up to 50,000 units a day for up to three days during the worst of it.
Cut out the sweets
This bit of advice makes good sense one hundred percent of the time, but it is particularly true when it comes to battling a virus. Don't make your body a trans fat and processed food hotel, as unhealthy organisms won't want to check out. Fill it instead with fresh organic fruits and vegetables. Unprocessed foods rule. Common-sense healthy eating is kind of obvious, but use this swine flu alert as an alarm clock to wake up and strengthen your resolve.
Rest is best
Now is not the time to skimp on sleep. Being a well-rested human is essential to fighting any bug that comes your way. Take Omega 3s like Krill Oil. Top docs have been saying this for years and if you have not listened before, try listening now.
It may seem as obvious as the vigilant hand-washing recommendation. Hospitals and doctors' offices are where the sick people are, and if you want to steer clear of Swine Flu, try to stay away from those places where germs are known to gather unless you have no choice. This common-sense advice is for healthy folks who do not need medical attention.
Another well-known alternative medical expert, Dr. Leo Galland, the author of Power Healing, www.mdheal.org, has decades of experience in this area of healing adults and children. Dr. Galland gave me what he sees as the single best nutritional immune booster shown to actually help people avoid being infected with influenza.
Dr. Galland recommends:
American Ginseng (Panax Quinquefolius) 200 milligrams twice a day.
Dr. Galland agrees with Dr. Mercola about vitamin D, and suggests at least
1000 IU a day of vitamin D3 and about 25 milligrams a day of zinc.
If homeopathy is your preference, remedies that homeopaths who have been treating similar kinds of flus have used successfully in the past are Gelsemium, Eupatorium Perfoliatum, and Phosphorus.
These are classic flu remedies prescribed for all the aches and pains and lifeless feelings one gets with an illness of this sort. Remember, when using homeopathic remedies, which are available online or at many local drug stores and health food stores, you are advised to cut out coffee, stop using products that contain camphor or mint, and avoid eating an hour before and an hour after taking your remedy. The National Center for Homeopathy has a very interesting take on the Swine Flu that's worth reading.
If you are more of a physical type and want to boost your immunity through yoga, here are some poses suggested by my personal phenomenal yoga teacher, Antonia Katrandjieva, whose website www.yogaglobe.com will show you what the asanas look like so you can make sure you are doing the poses correctly.
Halasana -- all plough variations -- massages the internal organs, stimulates the spinal nerves, and brings increased blood supply to the region, nourishing many essential internal organs
Pashimottanasana -- Head-to-toe pose, the full sitting-forward bend -- massages all the inner organs, stimulates and tones the digestive organs, and detoxifies the body
Sarvangasana -- Shoulder Stand -- as the chin presses on the throat, it brings a rich blood supply, the thyroid gland is massaged and brought to its proper level of activity, which encourages deep abdominal breathing and promotes blood circulation
Balasana -- Child's Pose variations -- massages the inner organs, stimulates glandular secretion
Bhujangasana -- baby cobra and all cobra variations -- the arching of the spine stimulates the thymus gland and boosts the immunity of the body, increases flexibility of the spine, rejuvenates spinal nerves, and brings a rich blood supply
Sirsasana -- Headstand -- reverses the flow of gravity, allows the hypothalamus to secrete hormones, and stimulates total glandular secretion, boosts the immunity by catalyzing the thymus gland functions
Ustrasana -- Camel -- opens the heart, expands the lung capacity, and stimulates the thymus gland, strengthens the back
Matsendrasana -- fish pose -- opens the thoracic spine, stimulates the thymus, thyroid, and parathyroid glands, and expands the lung capacity
Antonia says these postures are the so-called "King's Asanas" and they are the 8 key asanas that promote full glandular secretion and are a must for a strong immune system.
Antonia is also an expert in reflexology, which is something that's fun and easy to do with your children, and if they are a little older, to teach them to do it themselves.
Reflexology on the foot
There are three points: at the crease of the big toe, the space between the big toe and the metatarsal, the central point on the inner side of the arch, which are also immune boosters and kidney detoxifiers, and at the very center of the sole, this is the main regulatory point which governs all the other reflex zones and directly stimulates the hypothalamus to secrete hormones, and thus strengthens the entire body.
Reflexology on the face
The next immune booster is part of the facial reflexology -- the point between the upper lip and the nose needs to be pressed firmly for 5-10 seconds, and then the hollow point slightly above the chin, and also two points at the base of the inside of the eyebrows.
The next significant immune shot is massaging the ears, starting from the inner base up and then from the upper point down, then pulling the soft part of the ear in all directions to increase blood supply.
Tapping with your fingers
Another beneficial tip is tapping -- especially tapping the space between the heart chakra and the throat chakra, tapping gently and doing three sets of 28.
So now that I've gotten you busy checking out all of these ideas for getting healthy, you might just want to check out my new book, DREAMING GREEN: Eco-Fabulous Homes Designed to Inspire, which you can order through my website.
|Lisa Sharkey is Senior Vice President and Director of Creative Development for HarperCollins Publishers Worldwide. Sharkey also served as Senior Producer for ABC's Good Morning America. Lisa and her husband, architect Paul Gleicher, completed one of the country's first total Eco Houses, a "green" brownstone in Manhattan where they reside with their three children. They are the authors of Dreaming Green: Eco-Fabulous Homes Designed to Inspire and have a web site DreamingGreenBook.com|