Tag Archives: prod-473285

  • Simple Steps to a Less Stressful Holiday

    Beautiful woman doing meditation.Don’t let your holiday to-do list take away from the joys of the season! Integrate a few simple practices into your day to ensure you stress less, stay healthy and feel rested.

    Take a few moments for yourself. Whether it’s a luxurious bath or just a quick nap, boost your relaxation quotient by setting a serene mood for a mini getaway. Light up a candle from Tru Melange that’s been infused with essential oils—especially calming oils like lavender, sandalwood and ylang ylang. Adding a few drops of the same essential oils to a diffuser can be even more powerful. We’re loving SpaRoom’s new Aroma Harmony diffuser, which also plays music via Bluetooth and displays different colored lights. Set it next to the bathtub for an instant spa!

    Don’t forget to exercise. A consistent exercise program helps the body improve its response to stress, and releases calming, mood-boosting hormones. Whether it’s a full yoga class or just a 15-minute walk, regular activity is vital to our physical and emotional health.

    Take comfort in soothing herbs. For extra-stressful times, support your system with WishGarden’s Deep Stress, a blend of calming herbs such as ginseng, skullcap and nettle leaf. Take it preventively throughout a stressful period, or just whenever you need relief from in-the-moment stress.

    Watch your diet. Eating lots of fruits and veggies—and restricting caffeine, alcohol and refined carbs—can go a long way toward nourishing the adrenal glands and supporting your body’s stress response, says Kate Brainard, ND. More specifically, she recommends increasing potassium, reducing sodium and adding in plenty of fruits, leafy green vegetables, whole grains and lean protein.

    Get adequate sleep. Sleeping well is vital to equipping your body to handle the stresses of the day. Unfortunately, stress is just the thing that can keep us up at night! That’s where herbs and other nutrients like melatonin, 5-HTP and L-theanine come in, since they can help calm the mind. In addition, herbs such as passionflower and valerian are soothing and relaxing to the nervous system. Kate recommends Natural Factors’ Tranquil Sleep (a blend of melatonin, 5-HTP and L-theanine), Deep Sleep by Herbs, Etc., or Bach’s Rescue Sleep.

    Ask a practitioner for customized advice for easing seasonal stress.

  • 5 Stress-Busting Strategies

    Stress. It’s a part of all of our lives, but when it gets out of control, it can wear us down physically, mentally and emotionally--and can have long-term effects on our health. Here are a few ways to help your body handle stress better.

    1) Calm your mind and body. Set aside at least 10 minutes a day to try and invoke a relaxation response (the opposite of a stress response) through breathing, progressive relaxation, meditation, self-hypnosis, biofeedback or even prayer. Close your eyes and breathe deep from your belly--in through the nose for 8 counts and out through the mouth for 8 counts.

    2) Exercise regularly. A consistent exercise program helps the body improve its response to stress, and releases calming, mood-boosting hormones. Studies have shown that those who exercise regularly are much less likely to suffer from fatigue and depression.

    3) Nourish your adrenals. Your adrenal glands produce stress hormones (such as cortisol), but can quickly become depleted when you’re experiencing chronic stress. Certain herbs called adaptogens can help to improve the function of your adrenal glands and boost your body’s natural stress response. Try adaptogenic formulas such as Vital Adapt by Natura, Cortisol Manager from Integrative Therapeutics or Adrenal Booster by Pharmaca.

    4) Watch your diet. Reduce the effects of stress with a few dietary changes:

    • Restrict or eliminate caffeine, alcohol and refined carbohydrates
    • Boost your potassium intake (avocado, bananas, potatoes and raw tomatoes)
    • Reduce your sodium intake, since too much sodium can put unnecessary stress on the body and play a role in cancer development and cardiovascular disease.
    • Support adrenal function with key nutrients such as vitamin C (citrus fruits, tomatoes, dark-green leafy vegetables), pantothenic acid (whole grains, legumes, salmon, broccoli), vitamin B6 (poultry, whole grains, soy), zinc and magnesium (whole grains, nuts, legumes)

    5) Get adequate sleep. If you have difficult sleeping, explore the herbs and natural substances that can help prepare the body for sleep. Ones to try: melatonin, which is your sleep/wake hormone, and 5-HTP and L-theanine that work to calm an active mind down for the day. In addition, herbs such as passionflower and valerian are soothing and relaxing to the nervous system. I recommend Natural Factors’ Tranquil Sleep (a blend of melatonin, 5-HTP and L-theanine), Deep Sleep by Herbs, Etc., WishGarden’s Sleepy Nights or Bach’s Rescue Sleep.

    Ask any Pharmaca practitioner if you need help coping with the stress in your life.

  • Get Serious About Sleep

    Good sleep is one of the most vital elements of good health—but for many of us, it can also be hard to find. Here, customers and Pharmaca staff tell us about their favorite sleep products, and Dr. Suen Sohn, former naturopathic doctor at our Oakland store, tells us about why these things work.

    “I take my magnesium/calcium/vitamin D supplement just before bedtime to help relax me and my muscles.”
    -Kim, customer, West Seattle Pharmaca

    “Magnesium can work as a muscle relaxer,” says Dr. Sohn. “So if tension is contributing to sleep problems, it can help people wind down and soothe any muscle aches.”

    L-Theanine is my favorite. There is no hangover, and I don’t feel that it ‘knocks me out.’ It is a more gentle choice for me.”
    -Kristin, customer, North Boulder Pharmaca

    “L-theanine is an amino acid derivative of green tea,” says Dr. Sohn. While it won’t put you to sleep, it can lessen any anxiety and “racing thoughts” that you have around bedtime.

    Kava really helps my body calm down after a long day running around.”
    -Sindy, Team Member, Pharmaca Home Office

    “Kava definitely has a bodily effect, as well as a mental effect, in producing calm,” says Dr. Sohn. “It makes some people feel drowsy, but it can also just help you relax.” She cautions that there are some liver toxicity issues with kava, however, so make sure you speak with a practitioner before taking it.

    “I like the Serious Relaxer by WishGarden Herbs. It’s relaxing for the muscles, and especially good when I overdo it with exercise. I need it to get my body to relax.”
    -Whitney, Team Member, North Boulder Pharmaca

    This herbal formula combines a number of useful elements, such as Valerian root, European Betony leaf, Passionflower vine, Scullcap leaf and Ginger Root.

    “For most people, the valerian will have a drowsy effect,” says Dr. Sohn. “Passionflower is often used in anxiety formulas and can be very relaxing. And ginger is a good circulatory enhancer. It can also be warming, which is good for tight muscles.”

    Depending on what keeps you up at night, Pharmaca practitioners can help you find the right path to better sleep. Dr. Sohn, for example, often recommends Sleepy Nights by WishGarden Herbs, or Natural Factors’ Tranquil Sleep, a blend of L-Theanine, Melatonin and 5-HTP. Come in to Pharmaca today to find your perfect sleep formula.

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