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Location: Southlake, TX

Eileen Silva, Ph.D., N.D., CTN, is a doctor of Natural Health and Naturopathy, in Southlake, Texas, with a practice in metabolic health, weight, and body balancing. She has been treating patients and teaching workshops on integrative medicine for over 18 years. Eileen has appeared on TV and radio talk shows coast-to-coast, lectured extensively, and has developed a breakthrough technology, colored bar-graph, computerized body analysis program. Her newly-released book, A HEALTHIER YOU, joins her best-selling, FAT CHANCE AT LAST! ---HOW TO GO BEYOND WILLPOWER, in offering lifestyle changes for better health results. As CEO of Hegan Center, Eileen has trained and certified medical doctors and chiropractors for almost a decade. Her innovative wellness techniques have been used to help thousands of individuals achieve weight loss and better fitness. Eileen's programs have also brought enhanced energy, weight balance, and longevity to professionals in corporate wellness programs. Eileen is an active member of the American Naturopathic Medical Association, the American Holistic Health Association, and the Health Sciences Institute.

Monday, October 31, 2005

How to Survive the Flu & Cold Season Without a Flu Shot © Dr. Eileen Silva

For a number of years now, many people have rushed down to the doctor’s office or a clinic, and gotten a flu shot annually to prevent the onset of the flu. While that tactic was not without some risk of exposure to illness or contamination, most people felt that the positive outweighed the negative when getting the immunization.

But if getting a flu shot is not an option, are there effective ways to prevent common virally transmitted illnesses . . . and if so, what are they?

Here are 11 excellent tips for staying healthy this winter:

· Drink 8 or more glasses of pure water per day to detoxify your system and help maintain good oxygenation.
· Eat a healthy diet, which includes at least 8 servings of colorful vegetables and fruits.
· Take a good natural vitamin/mineral support system product, as recommended by the American Medical Association for “chronic disease prevention.”
· Keep your system in an alkaline range. When you spit into a paper cup and dip a test strip of pH paper into your saliva first thing in the morning, before you have had anything to eat or drink, you should be 7.0 on the color chart. This will not only help you avoid flu and colds, but it will also be a good anti-cancer regimen, as cancer always strikes those with an over-acid pH system.
· Exercise regularly, which helps oxygenate the body, improving your energy levels and helping over-all body systems (like elimination) function better.
· Get plenty of sleep and make sure your children do as well.
· Wash your hands thoroughly with each bathroom use, as well as any time you have touched germ-laden objects (like doorknobs or telephones). It is a great idea to carry sanitized wipes so that before or after you handle anything which is likely to be contaminated, you can be safe rather than sorry.
· Avoid the use of unnecessary prescription and over-the-counter drugs to help maintain a more alkaline system.
· Manage stress.
· Use a maintenance parasite-controlling protocol in a sensible way to help the system maintain a good flora balance.
· Lose unnecessary weight. Remember, the same healthy choices that help you keep your weight under control, also help you feel better, and help you become a disease fighter instead of a disease magnet.

Finally, your grandmother was onto something with that chicken soup theory: non-substantiated research does show that chicken soup seems to help with weakened immunity. Chicken soup is particularly helpful if you have it in place of heavy foods that bog your system down. If getting a flu shot is not an option for you, follow the above wellness regimen and snuggle in for a healthy winter with a big pot of Grandma’s chicken soup.

Please feel free to contact Dr. Silva’s office here at The Hegan Center through her email link or website link listed under her profile on the Baby Boomer’s Blog if you have suggestions or requests for topics you would like to see covered in future blogs on this site. Dr. Silva would be glad to address your questions.

Monday, October 24, 2005

The Air of Home © Dr. Eileen Silva

With the coming of autumn and winter, we begin to spend more time indoors, shutting doors and windows against winter’s chill. Unfortunately, we don’t realize that the air in our homes is constantly under attack, and without the stabilization and freshness of outside ventilation in winter, it becomes, not only stuffy and stale, but downright dangerous. Many unnoticeable factors contribute to this toxic air.

Consider a quiet room with peaceful music playing, soft candlelight, and fragrance soothing the air. Sound inviting? Unfortunately, candles, especially if they are scented, release toxic soot, carcinogens, and even lead (from wire wicks), that flood the air with enough pollution to ruin computers and furnishings, as well as affect breathing. For people with asthma, lung, or heart disease, the damage is even more pronounced. Fragrance oil candles and container candles don’t burn cleanly and are even more dangerous than open-flame candles. If you must burn candles, choose unscented candles with no petroleum products and wire-free wicks. For aromatherapy, choose diffusers and enjoy cleaner air.

Another unsuspected source of air pollution is the family pet. Pet dander (skin flakes) is a nearly invisible pollution that your pet releases as it grooms, releasing dander and proteins from saliva into the air. Bath pet frequently, using dander-reducing shampoo and follow up with an anti-dander spray. Dust home surfaces and vacuum frequently. Use a vacuum that does not release dust back into the air. It is wise to wear a dust mask when cleaning. A clean pet and a dust-free home will help both pet and family to be healthier.

Speaking of dust, it contains another invisible pollutant that invades every home . . . microscopic bugs called dust mites. Feasting on shed human and animal skin cells, these fecal-producing dust mites thrive in warm and humid places like beds, furniture, and carpets. Allergies and asthma testing proves that 80% of patients test positive to dust mites. To make your home safer from these unwelcome guests, vacuum and dust thoroughly, weekly, with a vacuum that filters dust and does not allow it back into the air. Using hot-water washing and high-heat drying, launder all bedding weekly. Don’t forget to launder stuffed toys as well, and avoid non-washable stuffed toys. Use anti-allergen covers on bedding, even box springs, and place High-Efficiency, Low-Pressure air filters on heating units and air conditioners. Dehumidify the air, including closets and cabinets, to between 30-50%.

Another benefit to dehumidifying the home is that lower humidity helps control yet another elusive air pollutant . . . mold. Flourishing in humid spots like damp basements, refrigerator drip pans, air conditioners, garbage pails, shower stalls, and closets, mold is a common allergic trigger. At least once a quarter, clean drip pans to prevent refrigerator fan from blowing mold spores into the air. Eradicate visible mold with non-toxic cleaning products, and use HEPA filters in air and heat systems. Use exhaust fans in kitchen and bathroom and open windows on low humidity days to refresh household air.

Besides the kitchen drip pan, other home furnishings contribute to unsafe air. Dust and clean heating units and oil burners, checking for foreign objects in heating elements. Avoid kerosene space heaters. Keep chimneys clean and steam clean carpets. Even new carpets and upholstered furniture pose a danger from out-gassing (gases released from heat), as does painting, solvents, sealants, etc. Be sure to obtain good ventilation when using these products. Be aware that ventilation brings its own set of problems, one of which is pollen. Install filter screens over windows to avoid as much pollen as possible from entering home.

In addition to cleaning, ventilating, and filtering, there is another, much more pleasant, way to clean the air in your home . . . houseplants. Not only to they contribute to the humidity balance and oxygen level of the home, but they clean pollutants, gasses, and toxins out of the air. A plant for every 10 square yards of floor space will both cleanse and beautify your home. Plants should be away from drafts and placed in appropriate lighting for their requirements. Ten of the most effective at ridding the air of off-gassed chemicals and contributing to humidity levels are: Areca palm, Reed palm, Dwarf date palm, Boston fern, Janet Craig dracaena, English ivy, Australian sword fern, Peace Lily, Rubber plant, and Weeping fig. Some of these can even survive in dark corners, as they originated in shady tropical forests.

Taking these safety precautions and adding houseplants to assist you in the ongoing battle against toxic air in your home will help you protect your family and add to their comfort. As you and your family snuggle in for the winter, you can have the satisfaction of knowing that you will be breathing safer, fresher air.

Monday, October 17, 2005

Seasonal Affective Disorder © Dr. Eileen SilvaN.D.

Does winter mean depression, weight gain, and a tired, listless existence for you? The good news is that there are bona fide reasons for these issues, and there is something you can do to overcome them. In fall and winter months, especially January and February, the amount of natural light that you absorb decreases in both intensity and duration each day. These seasonal variations of natural light can contribute to a mood disorder caused by a biochemical imbalance in your hypothalamus (due to the shortening of daylight hours and the lack of sunlight in winter) that causes you to experience depression and causes your biological clock (circadian rhythm) to be out of step with your daily schedule, especially if you are a younger person and especially if you are a woman (70-80% of women suffer from this disorder).

You need at least 20 minutes a day of natural light directly on the retina of your eye without glasses or windows blocking the light. When the retina of your eye absorbs natural light, electrical impulses move along your optic nerve to your brain and your hypothalamus, pineal gland, and pituitary gland. Here your body uses it to activate neurotransmitters that turn on many of your hormonal systems, including the metabolism, reproductive functions, and your internal biological clock.

Due to the diminished hours of daylight and winter weather inhibiting your outdoor activities, your body will produce less Serotonin, a hormone your brain secretes in response to light triggers, which affects your wakefulness and elevated mood. Because of the increased amounts of darkness, your body increases production of Melatonin, a sleep-related hormone secreted by the pineal gland in your brain, which causes your body to feel sleepy and groggy. This is the same hormone that triggers hibernation in mammals.

Symptoms you may experience with seasonal affective disorder include: regularly occurring symptoms of depression in winter with excessive eating, sleeping and weight gain during the fall or winter months, craving for sugary and/or starchy foods, feelings of fatigue and inability to carry out your normal routine, misery, guilt and loss of self-esteem, hopelessness, despair, apathy, irritability and desire to avoid social contact, tension and inability to tolerate stress, decreased interest in sex and physical contact, desire to oversleep and difficulty staying awake. You may also exhibit a weakened immune system in winter with more vulnerability to infections and illnesses.

There are natural ways you can combat this disorder. Eating a reasonable amount of complex carbohydrates (fruits, grains, potatoes, etc.) can provide chemical stimulation your serotonin levels, elevating your mood. Eating a balanced healthy diet helps you fight depression and build up your immune system. To diminish your symptoms of depression and to ward off winter weight gain, take regular outdoor exercise in winter. Both the exercise and an increase in the amount of time that you spend in natural light will contribute to better health and an elevated mood. An hour’s walk in winter sunlight is roughly as effective as sitting two and a half hours under bright artificial light. For mild symptoms, it may help you to spend time outdoors and to arrange your home and workplace to receive more sunlight. Eat lunch or breakfast on the porch, walk to the corner market, walk your dog, and sit by an open window to increase the amount of natural light your body receives.

If you have a more serious case, doctors may prescribe phototherapy or bright light treatments, but this light must be at least ten times brighter than natural domestic lighting and your doctor should monitor this treatment. Tanning beds are not good sources because of harmful UV rays that damage your eyes and skin. By recognizing that you can avoid Seasonal Affective Disorder by making sure you do get your natural sunlight, you may avert the seasonal blues.

Thursday, October 06, 2005

Winterize your Skin © Dr. Eileen Silva

Email: Phone: 1-817-424- 5204

When the first cold front hits, it reminds us that the days of sunshine and rosy cheeks may be fading fast. The good news is that you can protect and keep healthy-looking skin year-round by eating a healthy diet, drinking plenty of water, and by maintaining a moisturizing routine. Each season has its own peculiar effect on skin, but winter requires drastic measures to keep your skin from drying out and looking older. When winter cold and winds begin to prowl, it’s time to turn on the humidifier and switch to your emollients and vitamin rich skincare products that moisturize and protect your skin against temperature changes and chafing.

Stock your facial pantry with nutrient-rich body butters and creams, but before you apply them, exfoliate to create soft, supple skin. Use exfoliating bath gloves with your favorite body bar or shower gel to gently stimulate the skin and wash away dead cells. Switch to a natural loofa for elbows, knees, and feet to smooth even the roughest places.

Treat yourself to a sugar scrub once a week before you shower. The sugar acts as a defoliant to "polish" the skin, and the oils are great for locking in moisture. For your face, select a facial scrub like apricot, oatmeal, or sea kelp to gently massage in a circular motion and splash rinse to prevent scratching. Just after your bath or shower and before you go to bed, luxuriate your skin with body butter, paying close attention to elbows, knees, and heels.

In the morning before applying makeup and at night after removing makeup, apply a light and easily absorbed daily moisturizer to clean, dry face, preferably an oil-free formula with SPF protection so as not to clog pores or block out oxygen to skin. Consider a vitamin-packed facial cream that contains alpha beta hydroxyl acid to help reduce wrinkles and lines and produce youthful, fresh-looking skin.

Vitamins help in the battle against winter damage to skin. Take a multi-vitamin, eat a healthy diet, drink at least eight glasses of water a day (avoid excessive caffeine and alcohol, which lower body fluid levels), and moisturize every morning and evening. Choose vitamin-rich products without alcohol, menthol, or acid compounds that absorb your natural oils. Vitamin A helps prevent sun damage, C and E heal wounds, and D helps stave off skin damage and signs of aging. Wear sun block. Exfoliate every two to three weeks to prevent infection, blackheads, and acne. If you must soak in the tub (baths break down body oils), add bath oils or whole milk to the water.

Taking these precautions against winter’s onslaught will protect and nourish your skin, keeping the largest organ in your body healthy and beautiful.