Homeopathy First Aid

April 28th, 2015

Here is a list of remedy descriptions I often share with patients to use as a resource at home.  These remedies can be purchased in potentized preparations at our local health food stores.  I typically recommend a 30 C or 200 C potency for a home first aid kit.

Arnica Montana

It is ideal for the aches with bruises and sore muscles. Arnica is especially suited when the skin color turns black and blue. It is perfect for bumps on the head and other parts of the body.

Belladonna

A very common fever remedy. Extreme heat and redness, often intense and throbbing pain. Typically red, flushed face, especially right sided. It comes on quickly and progresses rapidly, a sudden attack. No thirst with the fever.

Chamomilla

A common children’s remedy for colic and teething, but also ear infections, fever, etc. A chamomilla child is sensitive and irritable, almost besides themselves with pain. The children are whiny, restless, and impatient. They don’t want to be spoken to or touched. Often point at something they want and when given it will through it away. Chamomilla children can also be red and hot, like Belladonna, but typically it presents on both cheeks of the face with Chamomilla. Typically the only thing that calms the child is being held and carried about the room.

Drosera

A common cough remedy. A cough that comes on at night as soon as the child’s head hits the pillow. A cough in prolonged and periodical fits of rapid, deep, incessant barking and choking. Sounds like a loose cough, but nothing comes up. The cough is typically better when the child sits up in bed.

Hypericum

An excellent first aid remedy for injury to the nerves, especially localized to the fingers and toes. Perfect for fingers slammed in the door, toes stubbed on walls and doors. An intense, extreme pain. Hypericum may also be indicated for insect stings and bites as well as burns on the fingers and toes – if the pain is intense.

Ledum

Ledum is a first aid remedy for puncture wounds produced by sharp-pointed instruments. An injury that requires ledum is typically purple, puffy, and cold… may feel numb. Even though injury feels cold to the touch, it is better with cold applications and worse with heat. One should strongly consider ledum for insect bites and stings in areas other than fingers and toes. Ledum can also facilitate the removal of foreign bodies stuck in the skin, like splinters, ingrown hairs, etc.

Coffea Cruda

Sleeplessness with nervous agitation and restlessness. Difficulty falling asleep or back to sleep because of an active mind. Restless sleep. Inability to fall asleep due to excessive caffeine intake.

Nux Vomica

A broad acting remedy especially suited to digestive disturbances (nausea and vomiting) following over indulgences in food and/or drink. Head pain as if head was beaten with an axe and extreme tension in forehead. A Nux Vomica patient is very irritable with heightened senses, can hardly bear noises, odors, bright light, etc. Generally want to be left alone to sleep it off.
Homeopathic Dosing Instructions: Take 3-5 pellets every twenty to thirty minutes for a few hours. If symptoms do not begin to subside after three doses of a given medicine, it most likely is not the best suited remedy for the patient.

All descriptions of these common remedies are synthesised from the Concordant Materia Medica, by Frans Vermeulen.

If you are interested in purchasing any of these remedies call Dr. Swanz at 812-716-4325.

Tags: , , , ,
Posted in Homeopathic Medicine, Naturopathic Medicine |

Invest In Your Health

February 20th, 2015

When my wife Robin and I applied for supplemental life insurance we answered numerous questions regarding our health and lifestyle. I informed the interviewer that I have an annual exam with my primary care doctor and also see a naturopathic physician, an acupuncturist, and a chiropractor. The interviewer questioned my need for a chiropractor. I told him that I feel better overall and my physical performance and capabilities improve when I visit my chiropractor regularly. I see my chiropractor to feel better, not because I feel bad. I invest in my health and have a team that supports me to cultivate and achieve my goals.

Our current medical system revolves around diagnosis and treatment, not prevention. It addresses issues after they have arisen, neglecting approaches that may thwart the onset. This woeful paradigm is locked in place by corporate interests that legislate against any change threatening the financial bottom line of their companies. The institutions that should be encouraging preventative healthcare – medical establishments, pharmaceutical industries, insurance agencies – will not begin to acknowledge or change practices because of the financial interests at stake. These industries have increased profits when the consumer is chronically ill. Plain and simple, the financial health of the business trumps the health of the consumer. We no longer can depend on our “healthcare industry” to keep us healthy. The ball is in our court and we have to change the way we play the game.

If we focus on maximizing our own health and the health of our family, this change will spread into our surrounding community. You can use your consumer dollars to do several things to align with a “preventative healthcare” mindset. Now is the time to invest in your health.

  • Shift your insurance coverage to a Health Savings Account. Use your HSA money to see a naturopathic physician, a chiropractor, an acupuncturist without the constraint of an insurance plan that won’t cover preventative care practitioners.
  • Invest more money on fresh vegetables and fruits from the local farmer’s market to consume at home. You pay the local farmer or you pay the local pharmacist, it is up to you.
  • Spend time being physically active. Direct your recreational budget towards businesses that engage your body. Don’t spend money at the movies, instead take the kids to the zoo and walk around.
  • Stop purchasing products from companies that lobby against the interests that matter to you – things like: mandatory GMO labeling, avoiding big business “organic” producers, avoiding monsanto and companies that support monsanto, protecting our bees, etc. I recommend visiting www.buycott.com to download the offerred app to your smartphone. You can scan barcodes on products you are purchasing to see if they come from manufactures that are aligned with your ideals.

Substantial change begins with basic steps. Remember, preventative healthcare is often more simple and less costly than curing or treating disease.

~Dr. Swanz

Tags: , , ,
Posted in Homeopathic Medicine, Naturopathic Medicine, Nutritional and Lifestyle Support/Modification |

Homeopathic Remedies for Grief and a Broken Heart

December 18th, 2014

My wife’s grandmother passed away on Christmas Eve morning last year. It was sudden although not unexpected. Grandma Jean had been in a nursing home with advanced alzheimer’s for the past couple of years. Her memory had declined to the point where every visit was heart wrenching because there was no recollection of the times past. Grandma Jean’s quality of life had diminished greatly. She didn’t suffer with pain and her passing was very quick. It was made easier for the family because everyone knew Grandma Jean would be celebrating Christmas (her most favorite time of year) in a better place.

Often an unexpected loss can cripple us emotionally and physically, locking us into patterns of sadness and anger. Grieving is a normal part of the loss experience. Whether a loved one dies or a relationship ends, grief will come whether we want it to or not. If we get stuck in our grief, it often will manifest in physical symptoms. When we are stuck, I believe homeopathy can play a significant role in moving past the emotions and the feeling of being trapped. I want to share three of the most commonly used remedies in my practice for grief and the traits that indicate which remedy will be best for a particular situation.

Ignatia – Ignatia is indicated when there has been a sudden and extreme change in the emotional state, the change is often to: sadness, disappointment, or anger. Consolation can lead to even deeper feelings of despair, although the Ignatia patient is typically better from affection. An Ignatia person will appreciate and possibly seek out hugs in their state of loss. Ignatia patients will generally control their emotional outbursts or limit them to small expressions. They may sigh repeatedly and involuntarily as they attempt to contain their emotional distress. Ignatia grief often manifests in the throat, the crying that is being contained feels stuck like a lump in the throat. I will often think of Ignatia for patients that developed pathology around their throat area (thyroid issues, sore throats and difficulty swallowing) after a loss. Ignatia patients are generally better from physical exertion and exercise.

Natrum Muriaticum (Nat. Mur.) – Nat. Mur. is indicated when the loss manifests in a state of silent grief for the individual. The individual often seeks solitude and desires to process the loss alone. Often the individual will carry a feeling of guilt, whether or not they actually had anything to do with the loss. Nat. Mur. individuals also generally are worse from consolation. Unlike Ignatia individuals, Nat. Mur. individuals are not better from affection. “No hugs, please leave me alone.” The Nat. Mur. person will often dwell on what happened and compound their grief and guilt around the situation. This silent rumination often progresses to a feeling of anger over what happen. Nat. Mur. individuals may play sentimental music over and over again to dwell in their loss. Even when surrounded by loved ones in a time of grief, a Nat. Mur. person feels alone and isolated. Nat. Mur. individuals often will crave salt and may state that they do or believe they would feel better at the beach.

Staphisagria (Staph.) – Staph. is a grief remedy that is indicated when the patient is stuck in a state of sadness and anger with the anger being the primary manifestation. Staph. individuals may try and suppress the emotions which will only compound the pain ultimately resulting in an emotional explosion at some slight trigger. The individual may throw or strike at things in uncontrolled rage and will often feel that they are out of control. This may be a slightly more common response in children after a loss, although adults that feel wronged may have a similar expression of their grief. Think loss of a relationship where one individual was unfaithful to the other. Staph. individuals also seem to be tired all the time from trying to contain the emotional upheaval and often a nap may make them feel worse.

These descriptions are only a glimpse into the characteristics of these three remedies I may use for loss and heartache with my patients. The dosing instructions for the patient are to take 3 to 5 pellets every twenty to thirty minutes for a few hours. If symptoms do not begin to subside after three doses of a given medicine, it most likely is not the best suited remedy for the patient. I do want to stress that there are other remedies (nearly 100) that can be helpful for grief. I would recommend that if you or a loved one is struggling after a loss please seek the help and guidance of a trained professional or group that can support you in this time of need.  The website http://www.griefshare.org/ allows you to enter your location and find a nearby group of others that have lost loved ones. As with many other instances where we struggle, there is no need to journey through grief alone.

~Dr. Swanz

Tags: , , , , , ,
Posted in Homeopathic Medicine |

Homeopathy at Home

August 15th, 2012

Homeopathic First Aid Kit
Here is a list of remedy descriptions I often share with patients to use as a resource at home. These remedies can be purchased in potentized preparations at our local health food stores. I typically recommend a 30 C or 200 C potency for a home first aid kit.

Arnica Montana
It is ideal for the aches with bruises and sore muscles. Arnica is especially suited when the skin color turns black and blue. It is perfect for bumps on the head and other parts of the body.

Belladonna
A very common fever remedy. Extreme heat and redness, often intense and throbbing pain. Typically red, flushed face, especially right sided. It comes on quickly and progresses rapidly, a sudden attack. No thirst with the fever.

Chamomilla
A common children’s remedy for colic and teething, but also ear infections, fever, etc. A chamomilla child is sensitive and irritable, almost besides themselves with pain. The children are whiny, restless, and impatient. They don’t want to be spoken to or touched. They often point at something they want and when given it will throw it away. Chamomilla children can also be red and hot, like Belladonna, but typically it presents on both cheeks of the face with Chamomilla.
Typically the only thing that calms the child is being held and carried about the room.

Drosera
A common cough remedy. A cough that comes on at night as soon as the child’s head hits the pillow. A cough in prolonged and periodical fits of rapid, deep, incessant barking and choking. Sounds like a loose cough, but nothing comes up. The cough is typically better when the child sits up in bed.

Hypericum
An excellent first aid remedy for injury to the nerves, especially localized to the fingers and toes. Perfect for fingers slammed in the door, toes stubbed on walls and doors. An intense, extreme pain. Hypericum may also be indicated for insect stings and bites as well as burns on the fingers and toes – if the pain is intense.

Ledum
Ledum is a first aid remedy for puncture wounds produced by sharp-pointed instruments. An injury that requires ledum is typically purple, puffy, and cold… may feel numb. Even though injury feels cold to the touch, it is better with cold applications and worse with heat. One should strongly consider ledum for insect bites and stings in areas other than fingers and toes. Ledum can also facilitate the removal of foreign bodies stuck in the skin, like splinters, ingrown hairs, etc.

Coffea Cruda
Sleeplessness with nervous agitation and restlessness. Difficulty falling asleep or back to sleep because of an active mind. Restless sleep. Inability to fall asleep due to excessive caffeine intake.

Nux Vomica
A broad acting remedy especially suited to digestive disturbances (nausea and vomiting) following over indulgences in food and/or drink. Head pain as if head was beaten with an axe and extreme tension in forehead. A Nux Vomica patient is very irritable with heightened senses, can hardly bear noises, odors, bright light, etc. Generally want to be left alone to sleep it off.

Homeopathic Dosing Instructions: Take 3-5 pellets every twenty to thirty minutes for a few hours. If symptoms do not begin to subside after three doses of a given medicine, it most likely is not the best suited remedy for the patient.
All descriptions of these common remedies are synthesised from the Concordant Materia Medica, by Frans Vermeulen.

If you would like to order an excellent homeopathy first aid kit to have on hand at home, I suggest the Washington Homeopathic 50 Remedy 200 C kit. It is what I keep at home for my family.

As always if you would like more information regarding homeopathy or homeopathic first aid kits please call me at 812-716-heal (4325).

Posted in Homeopathic Medicine |

Docere – Doctor as Teacher

May 1st, 2012

The word “Doctor” has its root in the Latin word “Docere” meaning teacher. Historically doctors have embraced this aspect of their profession. Spending time with patients, explaining the diagnosis, discussing treatment options, and just catching up, would all be part of a regular appointment.  Times certainly have changed. Now a visit to a conventional doctor’s office consists of a wait lasting longer than the actual appointment and face time with the doctor seldom lasting more than 10 minutes. Unfortunately because of the hurried appointment questions are often left unsaid and the result is a patient population feeling isolated, confused, and scared.

The doctors, pressured by insurance quotas and limited by the insurance billing options, are rushed and restricted.  This system we are stuck in now is no more the doctors fault than it is the patients.  Ultimately, both sides are left longing for something more. Just a little more time, a little more listening, a little more understanding, could go a long way towards patients that are happy and hopeful about their health.  I can assure you first hand as a doctor, sleep comes easier when there is a certainty that each patient was given all the opportunity needed to ask questions; and to have options and risks explained.  Doctors want to spend more time with patients, answer questions, and truly do recognize the value in this interaction.

Here are 4 steps patients can take to help ensure that their time in the doctor’s office is useful and efficient?

  1. Write down and bring a list with your questions to the appointment. – It is too easy to forget what we wanted to ask when things are already feeling rushed.  Let the doctor know that you have questions with you before the appointment begins so that you don’t catch her off guard as she is walking out the door.
  2. Bring a friend or family member with you to your appointment. – This individual acts as your personal health advocate.  Make sure they know in advance what questions you want to ask during the appointment.  Also be certain that they have a notepad and a pen to take notes during the visit so that the patient doesn’t have to remember every detail of what the doctor says.
  3. Try and schedule your doctor appointments early in the morning. – This allows you to have face time with the doctor before the day is already running behind schedule.  Typically individuals are more alert and productive during the first 4 hours of a work day.
  4. Don’t come to the appointment with a stack of printouts from the internet for the doctor to look over. – The doctor’s time is valuable and in order to help them help you, limit your questions to 3 or 4 specific topics that you have worked up before the appointment.

Becoming proactive regarding the medical decisions that affect your life is the first step towards achieving health and vitality.  By embracing this opportunity for personal empowerment, you can change the interactions that you have with your doctors in order to better feel heard and understood.  This will lead to greater health.

Posted in Homeopathic Medicine, Naturopathic Medicine |

Poultices Part 1 – Home Healing from the Kitchen

March 21st, 2011

A poultice is a topical application to the body to create a specific healing response. It is a simple technique that can be incredibly effective when the proper substances are applied in the appropriate manner. It is an economical approach that often utilizes foods/medicines that are already in the kitchen. Poultices involve few other materials and can be used in a pinch alone or in conjunction with conventional or alternative treatments.

 

The procedure for preparing a poultice is rather simple and relatively the same regardless of the substance applied:

 

Grate, chop, dice, muddle, etc. the substance and wrap it in a cheese cloth. If the substance is a grain or some other dry material, it may need to be combined with water to create a paste. Position the cheese cloth directly over the area for treatment and cover with a piece of plastic wrap and then a towel or other article of clothing to hold the application in place. The duration of treatment is typically 20 to 30 minutes. Remove the application immediately if there is any stinging, burning, etc. Depending on the applied substance, there may be varying degrees of redness during and following a treatment.

Following is a list of the frequently recommended poultices.

Bran Poultice – Make a paste with hot water and bran, apply as hot as can be tolerated. Used for inflammation, strains, sprains, and bruises.

Cabbage Poultice – Use raw or cooked cabbage. A cabbage poultice has a warming, detoxifying, and stimulating effect. Apply over varicose veins, shingles, eczema, gout, and rheumatism. A cabbage poultice can also be applied to the lower abdomen to promote pelvic circulation and dissolve small fibroids and cysts in pelvic cavity. It also can be used over the liver to support detoxification.

Carrot Poultice – Grate the carrot and place in a cheese cloth. Carrot poultices are ideal for sore throats and swollen glands. Place the poultice directly over the throat and wrap with a scarf (orange preferably).

Dandelion Poultice – Use dandelion root, leaves and flowers. A dandelion poultice is fantastic for skin disorders such as acne, eczema, itchy and dry skin, psoriasis, and rashes.

 

Poultices are simple, cost effective, procedures for supporting the body’s healing response. When utilized with other immune supports and healing techniques, poultices can speed up recovery time, decrease discomfort and pain, and encourage rest while healing. Consider using a poultice the next time you need a little extra healing boost.

Posted in Homeopathic Medicine |

Winter Immune Supports

January 12th, 2011

It’s that time of the year again. The time of the year when children’s noses start running and parent’s stomachs start aching. While it may seem like the cold air brings on the various winter ailments, there is actually a known seasonal correlation with illness and immune function. We will look at how common issues such as vitamin D deficiency, increased stress, poor dietary choices, and decreased glutathione production can affect our susceptibility to illness during the winter months.

Vitamin D deficiency is common in our society. It seems like every week there is a new study correlating vitamin D deficiency with a different chronic or acute illness. This tendency towards deficiency becomes even more prevalent in the winter when the daytime sun is lower in the horizon and hence the rays that support vitamin D conversion in the skin are diffused on the approach through the atmosphere. This decrease in our vitamin D levels in the winter has been proposed as a causative factor for the seasonal association of RSV, Cold and Flu, and other winter illnesses. I personally supplement with 2000 to 4000 IUs of vitamin D3 during the winter and I make sure my daughters get 1000 IUs every day.

In addition to Vitamin D, there is another key nutrient that can play a pivotal roll in our winter immune function. That nutrient is N acetyl cysteine, an amino acid precursor to glutathione. Glutathione is vital for our health due to its ability to decrease oxidative damage and to neutralize free radicals. The formation of glutathione happens primarily in the liver and glutathione is a key component of our body’s detoxification process. In addition glutathione is important for our body’s immune response and cellular repair mechanisms. Glutathione is a vital component in some capacity for nearly every system in the body and when we are missing the nutritional precursors, our overall functioning decreases and susceptibility to illness increases.

Unfortunately most individuals, and doctors for that matter, are completely unaware that acetaminophen affects the production of glutathione in the liver. So taking any product with acetaminophen to address the pain and/or fever that often accompanies an illness will actually decrease our body’s own capacity to fight it. In cases where something is absolutely required for pain or fever, I recommend ibuprofen or naproxen for my family. But before that is even necessary, one can start taking N acetyl cysteine to increase glutathione production. N acetyl cysteine also has a unique action helping to liquefy mucus, so it is an ideal support for sinus infections and those nagging coughs where there is thick mucus stuck in the chest that just won’t come up.

Stress and increased cortisol levels are another concern that will suppress the body’s immune function. In general the hustle and bustle of the holidays creates stress in our lives which then increases our cortisol levels. We must be proactive in creating stress relief and healing opportunities for ourselves. Take time to find space for meditation, relaxation, and prayer during the winter months. At least once a day decompress and focus on the many things you have to be grateful for during the seasons. A simple and effective exercise is to take a deep inhalation through the nose, hold for a few seconds and release back through the nose. Wait a few seconds and then repeat. This cyclical deep breathing practice will help shift the body from a stress response into a more relaxed and healing state.

The dietary choices we make during the holidays are often times a great departure from our normal food consumptions. These drastic changes can lead to varying degrees of digestive disturbances that can create GI flora imbalances and an immune system that is susceptible to infection. Because our gut functions as a first line of defense against foreign pathogens, multiple studies have shown an increase in immune function from probiotics. Probiotics are live microorganisms that help to rebalance the bacteria in our digestive tract. Taking a broad spectrum probiotic supplement at the first signs of a GI disturbance can help support the digestive process and avoid the potential decrease in immune function from a GI flora imbalance.

I will also often suggest some of the standard herbal immune stimulants when individuals aren’t feeling well or have recently been exposed to someone known to be suffering with a cold or flu. These herbs are best to be used for short periods of time to help rev up our immune response in acute situations. They should not be used throughout the winter due to their immune stimulatory effect. If we are constantly sending a message that our body should be fighting an infection even when we are not sick, then when we do get sick it will be much more difficult to mount an adequate immune response. The herbs I typically will recommend include: Echinacea, Goldenseal, Garlic, Grapefruit Seed Extract, Osha root, Shitake and Maitake mushrooms, Elderberry, and Astragalus.

Finally I want to share an incredibly easy and effective way to support our body’s healing abilities through the application of water, known as hydrotherapy. This is an approach I share regularly with patients. This at home immune support technique is called “Wet Socks” and should be considered at the first sign of any illness. The instructions are listed below. Peace and health to everyone this holiday season.

WET SOCK TREATMENT

The wet sock treatment is best if repeated for three nights in a row, or as instructed by your physician. It can also be used as a prevention technique at the first signs of impending illness.

Indications: Sore throat or any inflammation or infection of the throat, neck pain, ear infections, headaches, migraines, nasal congestion, upper respiratory infections, coughs, bronchitis, and sinus infections. Through the increased circulation in the lower extremities this technique can also support healing of injuries, sprains, strains, and muscle soreness in the legs.

Materials:

1 pair white cotton socks

1 pair thick wool socks or thick polar fleece socks

Towel

Warm bath or warm foot bath

Procedure:

1. Take a pair of cotton socks and soak them completely with cold water. Be sure to wring the socks out thoroughly so they do not drip.

2. Warm your feet first. This is very important as the treatment will not be as effective with cold feet. Warming can be accomplished by soaking your feet in warm water for at least 5-10 minutes or taking a warm bath for 5-10 minutes. If you feet are naturally warm, you do not need to soak or heat externally.

3. If wet, dry off feet and body with a towel.

4. Place cold, damp wet socks on feet. Cover with thick wool socks. Go directly to bed. Avoid getting chilled.

5. Keep the socks on overnight. You will find that the wet cotton socks will be completely dry in the morning.

Effects of the Wet Sock Treatment: This treatment acts to reflexively increase the circulation through the legs and decrease the congestion in the upper respiratory passages, head, and throat. It has a sedating action and many patients report that they sleep much better during the treatment. This treatment is also effective for pain relief and increases the healing response during acute infections.

Posted in Homeopathic Medicine |

areas of practice

connect with dr. swanz

the latest from dr. swanz on facebook

Join us on Facebook

the latest from dr. swanz on twitter

Join us on twitter