Posts Tagged ‘hydrotherapy’

ebook bundle fund raiser

On September 11, 2017 we lost our home due to flooding from Hurricane Irma. On that same day I also lost my herbal teaching facility and apothecary from where I run the Black Creek Center for Herbal Studies.

Because of the kindness and support of friends and family we have been able to build a small home and resume our lives, finding our new normal. However, a year and four months later my teaching facility still sits as a gutted relic of my past endeavors.

This facility is where I did conduct all of my business, give classes and consultations and housed all of my herbs and apothecary supplies. The loss was immense and it has now left me without a viable source of income.

With a new year upon us I have decided its time to breath new life into my teaching facility but I need your help. As an herbalist and educator I have spent countless hours compiling information and teaching others about the benefits of medicinal plants. In order to raise money to rebuild the center I would like to offer you some of my E books that I have created over the years.

Within this bundle I am including information that will not only help you gain a better understanding of medicinal plants but also tend to acute conditions that might arise and improve your overall health.

This bundle contains 6 Ebooks with over 300 pages of insightful information and a wonderful Bonus gift just for you.

If you have been looking for a way to help those who have been severely impacted by recent natural disasters please know that all of the proceeds received from this sale will go towards rebuilding The Black Creek Center for Herbal Studies.  Your support is greatly appreciated.


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If your like me it doesn’t matter how hard you try to make the holiday season relaxing and stress free sometimes “stuff” happens.  However, there are a number of ways to help prevent, manage and combat the effects of stress.


What is Stress?

Any demand placed on the body, whether it is physical or emotional initiates a physiological response. The adrenal glands handle the physiological responses to stress by preparing the body for, “fight or flight”. The hormones that are released will then trigger responses in the body such as increased heart rate, increased blood pressure, constriction of blood vessels, and release of glucose into the blood stream for energy.

Consider the burden placed on the body when we are exposed to constant stress. These physiological reactions occur over and over again putting a huge strain on vital organs and the body as a whole.

Physical symptoms associated with stress:


Digestive problems.

Muscle tension and pain.

Sleep disturbances.


Chest pain, irregular heartbeat.

High blood pressure.

Weight gain or loss.

Asthma or shortness of breath.

Skin problems.

Decreased sex drive


Emotional symptoms associated with stress:

Moody and hypersensitive.

Restlessness and anxiety.


Anger and resentment.

Easily irritated and “on edge”.

Sense of being overwhelmed.

Lack of confidence.


Urge to laugh or cry at inappropriate times.


Other symptoms associated with stress:

Memory problems.

Difficulty making decisions.

Inability to concentrate.


Seeing only the negative.

Repetitive or racing thoughts.

Poor judgment.

Loss of objectivity.

Desire to escape or run away.

Eating more or less.

Sleeping too much or too little.

Isolating yourself from others.

Neglecting your responsibilities.

Increasing alcohol and drug use.

Nervous habits (e.g. nail biting, pacing).

Teeth grinding or jaw clenching.

Overdoing activities such as exercising or shopping.

Losing your temper.

Overreacting to unexpected problems.


Tips for dealing with stress:

Well balanced diet

Avoid tobacco

Limit alcohol use

Regular exercise

Practice stress management techniques

Quality sleep

Commit to leisure time


Nourish the Body:

When under stress the body is depleted of certain nutrients.  In particular the water soluble vitamins B and C are the first to be depleted.  The B vitamins are essential for nourishing the nervous system.  When deficient we are more prone to the effects of stress.  Vitamin C is essential to immune health.  When under stress and depleted of this essential nutrient we set the stage for immune deficiency which makes us more vulnerable to a host of conditions.

By eating an abundance of nutrient rich foods we help protect our bodies from the detriments of stress.  Leafy green vegetables and grass-fed meats provide our bodies with essential nutrients.  Foods which are processed/refined and loaded with sugar and refined oils deplete our bodies of essential nutrients.

Foods such as grains, dairy, some fruits and nuts may initiate an immune response which puts a strain on not only the digestive and nervous system, but the system as a whole.  By eliminating foods which are not tolerated it can be beneficial in re-establishing a healthy internal environment and thus reduce the additional stress placed on the system. 

Because we don’t always eat the way we know we should there are times when we may need to supplement the diet.  However, keep in mind that nutritional supplements do not take the place of a healthy diet and are exactly what they say, “supplements”.

Vitamins and Minerals – all are important, especially B-complex, vitamins A, C, D & E

Phytonutrients – coenzyme Q10, DHEA

Amino Acids – all, especially essential amino acids

Essential Fatty Acids – DHA and omega-3

Antioxidants – vitamin E, coenzyme Q10, selenium



Skullcap (Scutellaria spp.) is an herb that calms the nerves and helps promote sound sleep.

Milky Oat Seed (Avena sativa) is an herb that will nourish and tonify your nervous system.

Valerian (Valeriana officinalis, Valerianaceae) is used for sleeping disorders, restlessness and anxiety.

Eleuthero (Eleutherococcus senticosus) also called Siberian ginseng is an adaptogenic herb and is often used medicinally to combat fatigue and stress.

Kava Kava (Piper methystiam) Recent clinical studies have shown that the herb kava is a safe non-addictive anti-anxiety medicine, and is as effective as prescription anxiety agents containing benzodiazepines such as valium.

Chamomile (Matricaria recutita) is used for insomnia and anxiety and helps to relax and tone the nervous system.

Passion Flower (Passifora incarnate) has a sedating effect on the central nervous system and helps to promote restful sleep.

Wild Lettuce (Lactuca virosa) helps to calm an overactive nervous system, is an antispasmodic, and helps with insomnia and restlessness.

Lavender (Lavandula officinalis) is a tonic for the nervous system and helps to promote restful sleep.

Wood Betony (Stacyhs officinalis) indicated for stress and tension associated with overthinking.

Peach Leaf (Prunus persica ) Nervous stomach and overstimulation.

Ashwagandha (Withania somnifera) an adaptogenic herb which may help to increase stress tolerance and decrease nervous irritability and exhaustion. 

Bitter Herbs (Dandelion greens, gentian, chamomile) indicated for irritability, Stimulate digestion, decrease sluggishness, and have a “grounding effect”


Additional Tips:


Breathing Exercises

Exhale deeply, contracting the belly. 

Inhale slowly as you expand the abdomen.

Continue inhaling as you expand the chest.

Continue inhaling as you raise the shoulders up towards your ears.

Hold for a few comfortable seconds

Exhale in reverse pattern, slowly. Release shoulders, relax chest, and contract the belly.



Progressive Muscular Relaxation

Progressive Muscular Relaxation is useful for relaxing your body when your muscles are tense. First, tense up a group of muscles so that they are as tightly contracted as possible. Hold them in a state of extreme tension for a few seconds. Then, relax the muscles normally. Then, consciously relax the muscles even further so that you are as relaxed as possible.


Yoga Asanas

Asana is defined as “posture;” its literal meaning is “seat.” Yoga asanas are a technique for retraining the muscles to be able to relax. Many asanas or poses are aimed at improving the blood circulation and functioning of specific organs in your body.


Guided Imagery

In this technique, the goal is to visualize yourself in a peaceful setting.

Lie on your back with your eyes closed.

Imagine yourself in a favorite, peaceful place. The place may be on a sunny beach with the ocean breezes caressing you, swinging in a hammock in the mountains or in your own backyard. Any place that you find peaceful and relaxing is OK.

Imagine you are there. See and feel your surroundings, hear the peaceful sounds, smell the flowers or the barbecue feel the warmth of the sun and any other sensations that you find. Relax and enjoy it.

You can return to this place any night you need to. As you use this place more and more you will find it easier to fall asleep as this imagery becomes a sleep conditioner.


Soaking in a neutral bath (96 – 98 deg F) for 30 – 60 minutes may help to decrease nervousness, depression and agitation.

Massage Therapy

Studies suggest that, “even a simple 5-min hand or foot massage, can be useful in lowering a patient’s perceived level of stress”, and that massage can help to lower blood pressure and physical strain.

Disclaimer: The information presented in this is for informational, reference and educational purposes only and should not be interpreted as a substitute for diagnosis and treatment by a health care professional. Although, the information presented herein is based on material provided by researchers and sources deemed reliable, we do not presume to give medical advice.
Anyone wishing to use this information should share it with his or her health care provider before embarking on any therapeutic program. It is your responsibility to discuss any alternative or natural remedy with your health care provider before using it as it may harm rather than benefit. Many medical doctors are not acquainted with alternative remedies and natural healing methods. Share this information with them so they may learn, too, or find a practitioner who is familiar with them.

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My son recently had an encounter with a nettle plant.  After the initial sting had passed I really didn’t think too much about it as he never belabored over the pain or even mentioned any more about it.  However, the next day after returning home from school he showed me his ankle which had become quite swollen, was very red and radiating intense heat.  It appeared as though he had developed cellulitis in the area of the sting.

For those of you who may not be familiar with cellulitis it is an infection of the skin caused by bacteria (usually strep or staph).  The area affected becomes extremely inflamed, red, and warm to the touch.  Cellulitis can be potentially dangerous as the infection can move into the blood and lymph rather quickly.

Although over twenty-four hours had passed before I realized that my sons brush with nettles had developed into cellulitis there was no indication that it had spread beyond the area.  Because of the heat and inflammation the first thing that popped into my mind was to apply something cool to the area.  I am a firm believer in the healing power of hydrotherapy and use it often for various conditions. 

I ran a long sock under cold tap water, rang it out and applied it to his leg.  I also applied a dry cloth over the wet cloth and secured it around his ankle.  As a preventative I gave him a dose of Echinacea tincture and had him lay down on the couch for a rest.  With in no time the wet cloth was extremely warm so I removed it and reapplied the cool water application.  We continued the process for the rest of the evening and by morning it was at least 50% improved.  By the end of the next day the swelling had almost gone, most of the heat had dissipated and it was almost back to normal.  I did continue with the Echinacea, but my instincts tell me it was the hydrotherapy applications that did the trick.

I absolutely love the fact that something you can do at home which doesn’t cost you a dime can be such a wonderful healing tool.  Although I have used and been exposed to numerous exotic and imported herbs I am always humbled by what I find in my own back yard or kitchen cabinet.

Now granted I may have just caught the cellulitis early before it had the opportunity to spread.  Although there is the possibility that the cellulitis may have subsided on its own without any treatment what so ever.  However, it is my impression that the hydrotherapy helped facilitate the healing process.

This information is merely observational and should not be construed as giving medical advice.  Like I mentioned before, cellutlits can be potentially dangerous and may need to be attended to by a professional health care practitioner. 

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Hydrotherapy is a traditional technique which uses water applications to help restore vitality and remedy pain. Most traditional cultures use some form of hydrotherapy when treating disease.

We all know the benefits of taking water internally; we have to have water to survive. Topical applications of water can also be beneficial. Although cold water will initially slow circulation it can be applied in a manner that will stimulate vitality and increase blood flow to an area.

The temperature of the human body is regulated and adjusted within a few degrees of an average normal temperature. When cold is applied to the body an initial reaction of stimulation occurs. However, in an effort to achieve homeostasis or balance the body will try to reestablish its normal temperature. Circulation will increase to the area and bring blood with oxygen and nutrients. This in turn will enhance local immunity.

Benefits of Cold Water Applications:

• Initially acts as a stimulant, but then conveys a tonic effect.

• Acts to reduce pressure and inflammation.

• Stops bleeding when applied close to the source of bleeding.

• May help to reduce the pain associated with sprains or injured joints.

• Will help to take the heat out of a burn or scalded area.

• May be employed as a life saving measure in the case or heat or sun stroke until emergency personnel arrive.

• A palliative remedy for hemorrhoids.

Benefits of Warm Water Applications:

• Acts initially to excite the system and then becomes a depressant.

• May help relieve the discomfort of rheumatism.

• In cases of hyperacidity a warm cloth can be placed over the stomach to reduce the flow of stomach acid.

• Hot baths may be beneficial for conditions such as cystitis, colic, gallstone and kidney stones.

• May be beneficial for conditions such as suppressed menstruation and painful menstruation.

• Increases elimination by promoting perspiration.

First aid techniques using hydrotherapy:

Bruises – Run a cloth under cold tap water, wring it out and apply it to the bruised area. Apply a dry towel or wool scarf over the wet cloth. Allow the cloths to stay in place until they become warm and then repeat the procedure several times per day.

Cuts and Scrapes – Allow the area to bleed briefly which will flush out and cleanse the wound. The area should then be run under cold water for approximately two minutes and then apply a compress. Once the compress is in place follow the same procedures as with bruising.

Burns – To help remove the heat and pain associated with a burn run the area under cold water for approximately ten minutes. Apply a compress as mentioned above, but do not allow it to dry out. If the compress does dry out do not try to remove it but instead soak the area in cold water.

Bleeding – apply a cold compress as close to the area or organ as possible to stop bleeding. According to herbalist James Green a cold compress may be applied to the upper portion of the back to stop a nose bleed or relieve nasal congestion.

Strep/Sore throat, swollen lymph nodes or Cough – apply a cold compress around the neck. Make sure that the compress does not lay directly on the back of the neck but closer to the hair line. Wrap the compress in a wool cloth or scarf and leave in place until it is warm or dry. Repeat this procedure several times a day.

Nervousness, Agitation and Depression – Soak in a neutral or warm bath (96 – 98 deg F) for approximately 30 – 60 minutes

Hydrotherapy may be employed as a full or sitz bath or applied to specific areas with compresses. Alternating the application of hot and cold water acts as a gentle massage. Keep in mind that there are contraindications and warnings associated with hot and cold applications for people with various health conditions. Speak with a trained professional before employing extreme variations of hot or cold therapies.


Bergner, P. (2001), Folk remedies database. Bergner Communications. Boulder, CO.

Green, J. (2000), The herbal medicine makers handbook. Crossing Press. Berkeley, CA.

Mitchell, S. (2001). A practical guide to naturopathy. Custom Publishing. Columbus, OH.

Mcfaden, B., Oswald, F. (1900) Fasting, hydrotherapy and exercise. Berner Mcfaden. London

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