What Does Normal Mean For You?

Scenario: You go into the medical office with health complaints. The practitioner orders lab tests, and prescribes medical treatment based on your results. Some of your complaints continue. But all your labs values are “normal,” how can that be? Who determines “normal,” and what exactly does that mean?

You will be surprised to learn that lab value normals are established independently of individual exams but through most laboratories establishing their reference ranges from a large population of people where detailed information on health status, stage of life (premenopausal vs. postmenopausal), and medications and hormones used is unknown, and therefore not taken into account. So is YOUR “normal” the real normal? Shocking isn’t it?

Wellness medicine is the new, old frontier. Practitioners can now integrate diagnostic tools with “old world” remedies and knowledge of natural medicine, combining this with nutritional counseling and herb therapy. The results are amazing in maintaining healthy bodies!

Natural medicine practice is at the basis that your normal is your normal. Testing involves most often saliva sampling at different intervals, muscle electro energy testing for evaluating how the body manages stress as opposed to looking at just deficiencies in blood or urine. Meaning the deficiencies present are not necessarily the beginning and end of the “dis-ease” of the body but a part of the full picture.

One example is the body’s use of hormones. Women’s bodies need progesterone for the mind to focus and calm anxiety. Post menopausal women naturally have lower levels and post hysterectomy (ovary and uterus removal) women have nearly none. It is common to see pre and post menopausal women prescribed drugs to calm anxiety, insomnia and depression. The current western medicine supports this because hormone levels in the blood are low and modern medicine is aware of changes in the reproductive cycle with aging thus supplement the deficiency only . But what if the horomone was replaced, or balanced naturally allowing the body to heal itself? This is possible with the guidance of a skilled practitioner and nutritional counseling, along with your willingness to determine what is right for your body type. There are varied responses to herbs and lifestyle changes requiring individual buy-in to ensure you receive the full benefit of returning your body to good health. Now we are encouraging you to do the research to find a practitioner and begin the conversation as to how you can use the earth to be healthier. To our example of hormonal changes in women, avoiding foods and herbs that increase estrogen production in your body is one simple way to balance low progesterone, there are many others.

The emergence of nutraceuticals is also a great way of balancing the body. It is interesting to note that each blood type has been proven to process nutrients differently. I told my mom that beets and me just were not compatible…thank goodness she knew best and ignored the manipulation of a kid not wanting to eat their vegetables. But, seriously, there are specifics that a reputatable wellness healthcare practitioner, or integrated medical professional can guide you through. So don’t be content with “normal” lab values and ranges not based on your specific body type and health needs. Seek more intimate knowledge about your body’s needs beyond deficiencies. By taking the integrated medical approach you will find balance and YOUR NORMAL!

Imani’s Secret Garden is a natural product line of essential oils, body oils moisturizers and so much more. (www.imanissecretgarden.vpweb.com) We are necessary because what we put on our bodies is as important as what we put in them. Thank you for reading, visit us today!





Some Is Always >Than None?

Do you remember as you grew older from your childhood you promised yourself how you would do this or that? But the closer we grow to maturity some things morph and others just fall away!

Exercise, completion of secondary education and beyond, even finding the perfect relationship lose steam for some of us. It seems that at some point we all recon with, “well ‘this’ is enough.” Our weight becomes OK where it is. Pursuit of higher education, a better career with more responsibility sidelines best made plans of progression toward more. Even the dreams of procreation for some transforms into become a great-aunt or mentor to an unrelated younger person.  Promises of maintaining health and our youthful bodies get lost in the sofa.

Once we recover from the guilt, shaming and other emotional penance we tend to ascribe to our lives, hopefully we come out onto the other side intact and at peace with what we can do better to achieve some form of progress in life. This attitude in opposition to focusing on how we fell short, missing the mark keeps the progress train moving forward.

Years ago I had the experience of attempting to shed weight. The plan was to eliminate all animal fat, processed sugar, and to implement a rigorous weight lifting plan rounded out by resuming my passion for cycling.

I started out of the proverbial gate like a dude on a mission. Eating my breakfast, power meal, fruit smoothie, meditation before work, bike ride to work and on with my day. As the weeks unfolded the motivation began to wane. Once confronted with the realities of family responsibility, stressors of work and my own desire to complete my lofty assigned goals weakened.

The occasional fresh-baked cookie or other sugar laden goods permeating the air around me distracted me from my once vigorous unequivocal resolve. These intruders taking root in my olfactory center  causing battling for my mind and planting doubt toward my success of my reaching my goal. Thoughts like you rode five miles today, what is a little cookie? You deserve it. Why not drive the automobile? You have kept up this journey, and deserve a day of malingering. I had began to fall out of balance.

Something  became better than nothing! Then it occurred to me. If my olfactory system is powerful enough to shift my focus with the smell of baked goods, what would deliberate stimulus with essential oils produce? I found out! Using lavender with my morning meditation for relaxation and focus helps me surmount the next challenge, mindless eating from impulse. Adding peppermint drops to my wrist, lava bracelet, and or showering with peppermint soap also quells the desire for nervous eating, specifically sugar cravings. I began to center myself again seeking to achieve more as my balance is restored.

Peppermint soap

Perspective is a wonderful thing. “A little Bit Of Soap,” by The Jarmels song lyrics was not enough to wash away the pain and memory of a broken heart. On the other hand The Archies lyrics of “Sugar Sugar” confirms the addictive nature of sugar, and its promises of “making your life so sweet!” In both instances “some” is problematic. Either too much in one scenario and not enough in the other.

Life dictates balance as the answer to sustained good stable health. Sugar is necessary for muscle use and energy production. But the natural unprocessed sugar suits our mind and bodies best. Cosmetics, and hygiene products also play a role in good health, herbs, other botanicals enter our body through our skin. A little bit of toxins can have an adverse effect on our general health. So in this instance some is not better than none!

Great Father’s day gift! Coupled with essential oil or perfumed oil, http://www.imanissecretgarden.vpweb.com , designed by The Manic Beader

Never settle for some peace or fragments of balanced health. Go for great health. In trying to acheive balance the very beneficial side effects are we tend to be healthier than had we not tried at all. In this instance some is always better than none. Be Well!


Before Yesterday Becomes Today…

Before Yesterday Becomes Today…We spend loads of time reading and researching new ways to be healthy. The intent seems to be in extending life with preserving a high quality existence. Essential oils, nutritional choices as the Paleo diet, vegetarianism, pescatarianism and yet many other methods we implement to preserve our good health. Is it enough?

What happens when despite our best efforts disease strikes? We question the betrayal of our bodies or the effectiveness of our methodology. Diabetes, cardiovascular disease,  and dementia are said to be hereditary. Are they really?

Environmental exposures to heavy metals is shown to cause cognitive decline in recent scientific studies by damaging brain cells. Current strategies used to detoxify patients are showing promise in treating Alzheimer’s disease, along with other dementias. Poor diet and obesity are known contributory factors to heart disease and diabetes. Correcting nutrition as a preventative action for both conditions and treatment for overall wellness is a newer practice.

What happens when despite our best efforts disease invades our lives and attempts to rob us of our future? Getting older increases the chances of developing fragility and loss of normal body functioning. Dementia is one of the most devastating conditions. Most of its victims are lost in the past, along with collateral damage to spouses, children, income, hopes and dreams.

As a primary caregiver to a parent with a cognitive decline, it is common to experience isolation and hopelessness. The thought of losing a loved one is unimaginable. To have a loved one that remains physically alive but cognitively impaired enduring brief windows of their former self requires a great capacity of hope, love, patience, planning, flexibility and selflessness.

Think of parenting your children, limit setting, safeguards in your home. Imagine your parent calling you dad or mom. To them and you time goes into reverse. As I think about this situation it strikes me as ironic that not only is time reverting cognitively for loved ones with this condition, but so does life. The smaller the social circle, and support system progress becomes regression.

Think about families with best made plans to retire. Selling your home and retiring somewhere warm and sunny. College funding for adult children along with retirement investing for maintaining your relaxed lifestyle. Without proper estate planning dementia related conditions can halt these strategies. The need for constant supervision, in-home or institutionalization can deplete any budget.

Stress is the number one factor in disease. The stress of losing independence coupled with the caregiving tasks that increase as conditions worsen risk the overall well-being of all concerned. Plan now for methods of spiritual wellbeing. Burning, diffusing essential oils like lavender, frankincense, eucalyptus, peppermint, orange or other relaxation inducing oils can restore balance and reduce stress. Exercising can help both de-escalate stress, mentally and physically. Create new memories as personality and behaviors change. Take care of both of you, by maintaining balance with baths using bath crystals with dead sea salts, infused with or without essential oils for aromatic therapy designed for mental and physical release and relaxation. Seek out wellness treatment plans with natural remedies for sleep, reduction of anxiety.

Think of the experience this way, we now have a chance to have a do over as yesterday is becoming today, but this time we are prepared.

Dedicated to all families surviving daily with dementia….

<a href=”https://dailypost.wordpress.com/prompts/lifestyle/”>Lifestyle</a&gt;

Lotions, Ointments And Creams Oh My!

What are the differences between lotions, ointments and creams? Confusing isn’t it? The answer: it is the proportion of lipid (oil) to water. The lipid content is lowest in lotions, intermediate in creams and highest in ointments, balms and butters. As a general rule the higher the lipid content, the greasier and stickier it feels and the shinier it looks on the skin. An added bonus, the greasier and thick the emollient, the better and longer it works but requires effort to apply. Ointments/butters, creams and lotion can be used to deliver medication topically (applying on skin) to effected areas or for daily use too!

Familiar examples of high content emollients (moisturizers) are Cocoa butter, Shea butter, Mango butter, and Brazilian Nut butter all found in Imani’s Secret Garden. Matcha Green Tea Butter and Lemon butter are thinner butters closer to silken consistency.  Imani’s 4 in 1 contain a mixture of several butters and natural oils for a perfect mix between natural butter and a high lipid content lotion without additives or water.  
Emollients are called moisturizers. Lotions, creams, ointments and bath/shower additives oil the skin to keep it supple and moist. Regular use of emollients is the most important part of the day-to-day skin care for people with eczema. If you have eczema, you should keep applying emollients every day, even when you do not have any areas of inflamed skin. The prevention of skin dryness can help to prevent eczema flare ups; by preventing the skin from becoming inflamed from a chronic dry state. Daily application of emollients helps in controlling balance in general skin moisture, minimizing the effects of aging or dry chapped skin  helping skin to appear healthier and more youthful from head to toe.
How do I choose?
Here are some general rules to consider:
Mild Skin Dryness
The type to use depends on the dryness of your skin, the area of skin involved and your preference. If you only have mild skin dryness and flare-ups of eczema do not happen often, then a lotion or cream may be a good choice for you. (Try Imani’s 4 in 1, or Matcha Green Tea Butter, Lemon Butter)
Moderate Skin Dryness
With moderate-to-severe dryness a thicker cream or butter is usually best. Creams are less messy but need to be put on more often than butters. (Try Imani’s 4 in 1, Mango Butter, Shea Butter, and Brazilian Nut Butter)
Varied Skin types and other areas
Hairy skin-lotion is often best for areas of hairy skin
Oily skin requires less emollient, thinner lighter formula
Broken or inflamed skin
Areas, if weeping like with eczema flares, a cream or lotion is usually best as ointments will tend to be very messy. (Check with your health adviser to ensure no infection is present and for suggestions and treatment.)
How do I use?
Keeping your product clean and free of debris is important to prevent contamination and potential infection. Thoroughly washing hands prior to or using a clean spoon or spatula to remove butters from jars and apply to clean skin is a habit to practice. You cannot overdose as emollients do not contain active medicines which pass through the skin.
  •   Many people mix and match different moisturizing types to suit their   needs and daily routine.
  •  Emollients should be applied by smoothing them into clean skin along the line of hair growth, rather than rubbing them in.
  • Sensitivity develops based on preservatives in moisturizers, i.e. fragrances and additives.
  • Apply moisture to the washed areas as soon as possible afterwards in addition to any other times that you use emollients.
  • Apply as often as needed to keep the skin supple and moist. This varies from person to person and from time to time in the same person, depending on how bad the skin dryness has become.
  • A good starting point is to apply 2-3 times a day but some people need to increase this to up to every hour if the skin is very dry.
  •  As a rule, butters/ointments need to be applied less often than creams or lotions for the same effect.

The Side Effects Can Be Deadly…

Remember the 2013 thriller Side Effects, directed by Steven Soderbergh? In the film a main character commits a murder under the influence of a prescribed mood stabilizer called an antidepressant. The actions are blamed as a side effect from the medication. Although the plot later reveals the extreme actions were feigned side effects the fact remains side effects can be deadly.

Exactly what are side effects? The answer is any reaction to a medication taken internally or used externally. They maybe an allergic reaction, or undesired consequences up to death. All drugs in the market place go through a vetting process called trials. Once the drug is determined to be effective against a disease through use with animals then humans the FDA provides approval.  The true test of a new medication can only be completely known once approved. Multiple groups of the population have various reactions developing the blueprints for expected side effects.

Even an over the counter medication like aspirin can cause side effects. The most common side effects of oral meds are stomach upset. External  use and internally  ingested medications can also cause rashes. Still others include drowsiness to the more serious side effect of death. One might wonder, “should I really take a substance that has the effect of making me more acutely ill?”

The drug approval process is predicated on the benefit outweighing the risk. Well let’s see… the chance of my early demise pales in comparison to any benefit gained from a prescribed drug for me. How does one stay healthy and avoid side effects? The answer for me is described as alternative medicine. Essential oils are from botanical (plant life) origins, distilled, mainly as the method of extraction of the essence of the plant. Oddly these are the same source as medications in the initial phase of manufacturing.

My choice to adopt a lifestyle incorporating natural substances directly from the earth as a preferred method of wellness affords me the ability to avoid side effects associated with manufactured pharmaceuticals.  Pills often contain fillers, and other chemical compounds minimizing the original botanical. The additional additives also increase the likelihood of allergic reactions to the drug. In contrast the most reported reaction to essential oils are minimal as skin irritation at the topical site of application.  I certainly can live with that. The delivery methods are aroma therapy of the botanical essence via a diffuser  for treatment of various conditions and related symptom control. Topical application is an additional method and can result in local skin irritation at site of application. These methods seem the more desirable if there exists a choice in the matter of treatment methods.

Essential oils harness the therapeutic essence of the botanical of their origin. Plants are potent and should be used under the supervision of a qualified aroma therapist in treating disease. The earth has all that we need. It is necessary to educate ourselves of all options for wellness. Make learning and wellness a lifetime endeavor.






Standing On Your Own

Sometimes standing on your own can make you feel so small in a very large world.

Decades ago I adopted a lifestyle designed to support and maintain wellness. Nutritionally, what I put into my body and what I placed on my body made me an outsider.
I formed Imani’s Secret Garden to build a community of support for standing against the grain of processed “everything.”
The earth provides naturally for our wellness.
Using essential oils as opposed to chemicals made to treat disease, or botanicals for skin moisturizing makes some stand out in their decision-making.  Using butters for skin care, aromatherapy for the mind are meant to encourage a healthier approach to living. Being a part of a community that thrives on health and wellness mentally, physically, and spiritually reduces the feeling of isolation. Visit our online store to join our community! You can find us at:https://squareup.com/store/imanis-secret-garden
Be well,