Posts

the patient’s guide to:: dysautonomia

dysautonomia- a disorder of autonomic nervous system (ANS) function that generally involves failure of the sympathetic or parasympathetic components of the ANS.

 

A little known term, dysautonomia is a series of symptoms that almost every person I work with experiences often. Generally, patients will feel weak, faint, dizzy, and have tachycardia for no apparent reason. They may feel the sensation of their heart pounding, sweat too much or not at all, and be sensitive to light, sounds and crowds. Most describe it as a feeling of sudden overwhelm from stimuli and notice that they withdraw from those around them and their own bodies in an attempt to cope. Extremely high or suddenly low blood pressure are common. One common form of dysautonomia is POTS. (See my post on managing POTS holistically here.) Because of these symptoms, which can result in seizures, fainting or temporary paralysis, many find themselves scared to leave the house. 

It’s important to know with dysautonomia that you CAN heal from it. Correcting the confused signals between brain and nervous system takes a little time, but is relatively simply- once you have all the information you need. The majority of ANS disorder folks find that removing triggers, implementing grounding and soothing techniques, as well as using aids such as essential oils and functional neurology rehab helps tremendously. People with POTS can attempt therapies such as tilt table therapy with a qualified practitioner and recover in as little as 6 or 7 sessions. Learning how to breathe properly and use tricks such as ice cubes under the tongue, peppermint oil and sour candy all have the potential to restart your ANS and get you out of fight/flight/stuck mode. Strength building exercises in your quads and abdomen work to allow the nervous system signals to be transmitted properly as well.

ANS disorders are healed by increasing oxygen to the brain (breathing properly, essential oils), regulating blood sugar and mineral levels (ensuring a constant source of fuel to the brain) and repetition (giving the brain a mirror to copy, allowing it to mimic the correct brain wave pattern to do things like walk or multitask, until it produces the correct form itself). Expect a brain map procedure first to allow your doctor to gather as much info as possible about which parts of your brain are over and under performing; from those results they will put together a series of therapy based exercises for you to work on together. Stick with it– it is so worth it, I promise. If you need help finding an experienced practitioner, please email me for some recommendations.

Have you healed from an ANS disorder? How did you do it?

magic juice:: what it is + how it changed my life

I often get asked what my secrets to healing were. If it is one thing I wish everyone knew about, it is celery juice. Adding in this one simple thing changed me forever! It has been over a year since I began drinking it daily and I can’t go a day without it. (Seriously. My juicer recently died and it took a month to be replaced. I did the blend and strain method instead but didn’t get nearly enough of my magic juice that way! I was a very grumpy person that month.)

The perfect blend of minerals and electrolytes in celery make this a necessary component to your staple diet—especially if you have POTS. Each client I work with gets the suggestion of adding celery juice to their diet because all of those who are chronically ill are mineral deficient. Every single metabolic and cellular process in our bodies require minerals to be performed. It can be very difficult to keep track of all the supplementation you need each day, but juicing is an easy way to start the day off on the right foot. If you don’t have a problem with oxalates, this is a safe and easy change to incoporate.

 

Celery juice can help alleviate:

-heart palpitations + skipped beats

-headaches (often because headaches stim from dehydration)

-frequent urination (from stressed kidneys that are overworked. The kidneys are the balancing organs of the body; if something is out of whack, the kidneys are working to put everything back to right.)

-dehydration, preventing POTS episodes

-body temperature regulation

-dizziness (again, from dehydration and stressed kidneys) and too low blood pressure

-near syncope symptoms

-brain fog

-inner trembling, shivers or chills

…and so much more!

 

In the morning, we wake up from sleep already in a dehydrated state. Our cortisol levels are high and our bodies need to adjust to being awake as we begin to move throughout our day. All of this is extremely stressful to our nervous system and kidneys when we are chronically ill—even more so if we aren’t getting quality sleep! And yet this cycle repeats every day, depleting us even more. If we aren’t taking enough minerals in, we can not produce things like energy, mental clarity, stamina and mood stabilization. Hence why celery juice in the morning is so crucial—it brings in added nutrients at the exact right time we need it, allowing our bodies to sustain us throughout the rest of the day.

A lot of you may notice that your dysautonomia symptoms are worse during the morning,

 

when you are dehydrated, over stimulated, stressed or very tired. This is another time you can turn to celery juice. The effect takes place within minutes versus waiting for a pill to take effect. Many people will start with 8-16 ounces in the morning and add more to a smoothie or mixed vegetable juice in the evenings to get ready for quality sleep. Experiment and see for yourself what your body likes.

You may be thinking, “Ew, celery!” Don’t let that stop you! The juice tastes like salt water. As you make drinking it a habit, the salty taste disappears. The closer to water it tastes, the better your internal mineral levels are. I love that I can have a measuring tool for what my body needs. If your morning juice tastes extremely salty to you, consider adding another glass later in the day. Likewise, for anytime you are extremely symptomatic, recovering from a detox session or POTS-y.

What do you think? If you give it a try, let me know how it goes! Send me an email at lisa@abundantlifeandwellness.org!

the patient’s survival guide to:: syncope

Syncope, or fainting, can be one of the most terrifying symptoms you may feel while battling an illness. It is often the sign of the brain not getting enough oxygen, which results in fainting or near fainting. The tunnel vision, cold sweat and temporary paralysis can leave emotional scars. Syncope often hits suddenly and quickly, and leaves us in fear of leaving our safe spaces.

My goal as your health coach is to improve your quality of life with your illness by providing you with the right information for your bio individuality and your diagnosis. Syncope can appear differently in people but it does have a basic outline:

+a sudden loss or near loss of vision, strength in the body and ability to talk

+clamminess or a cold sweat

+pins and needle feeling in limbs or even the entire body

 

Other symptoms can present as well but these are the three usual symptoms.

If syncope or near syncope keeps rearing it’s ugly head at you, scope out this checklist and see if you can narrow in on the possible trigger. Then, email me for a consult and find out how to eliminate this issue for good! Knowing your trigger(s) is key in order to fix it. I find that doctors don’t talk often about this issue (“panic attack” anyone?) and this issue is a very common goal I work on with my clients.

possible near syncope triggers::

+as a pain response to any type of physical or emotional event (you may feel other adrenaline related symptoms if this is the case)

+hypoglycemia or ingestation of too much sugar. Balance that blood sugar!!

+DEHYDRATION. Your kidneys balance your body’s overall mineral levels. If you are chronically ill, you are in a constant state of mineral depletion. Make sure to drink your fluids and to include the proper electrolytes and minerals with them!

+a sudden change in blood volume. Were you constipated for several days and finally able to move your bowels? Did you have eat a large meal quickly? Experience loose stools or diarrhea in the past couple of days? Chug a ton of liquids? All of these events are known to trigger syncope episodes within 48 hours of happening. (fun fact:: this is the most common cause of POTS symptoms!)

+heat intolerance, too much sweating — even hours after coming inside.

+not exhaling as you change positions, allowing gravity to suck the oxygen out of your brain too quickly. Make this a habit!

I’ve had numerous syncope episodes during my years of Lyme disease and the POTS life. All of this info was gathered from my personal experience and the education of my doctors. I love teaching on this topic because the truth it, it is actually quite easy to correct this issue, but the process looks different for everyone. I encourage you to get in touch and schedule an intensive with me to come up with a plan of action for you, especially if you have POTS!

Hope this helped! Leave your comments and questions below!