Understanding the Habits of Happy People – Finding Your Own Personal Happiness

There is an increasing body of scientific evidence supporting gratitude, resilience, and positivity on long-term outcomes of illness and quality of life. Burnout and stress are on everyone’s mind now across all the health fields. Additionally, conditions like pain, anxiety, and depression can all benefit from a holistic, mind-body approach. One practice that can have a resounding impact on mental health, stress prevention and overall well-being is the art of mindfulness. Join AANMC executive director – Dr. JoAnn Yanez to learn how to take time for self-care with a few short mindfulness exercises that will help you embrace the present and live your best life.

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Nine Tips to Stay Healthy During the Winter

When the weather turns colder, many people end up catching colds. While seasonal illnesses are not primarily related to the temperatures outside, there are a number of wintertime factors that can weaken our immune system defenses like close quarters, drier and recycled air. Luckily, there are plenty of treatments naturopathic doctors employ to fight viruses and bacteria without resorting to pharmaceuticals.

We asked naturopathic doctors to share their advice on how to best beat colds and flus through the use of naturopathic remedies.

The first line of defense to keep from getting sick is avoiding common risk factors.

It may sound obvious, but the biggest risk factor is being around others who are sick.

“Aside from living in a bubble, taking precautions to stay away from actively sick people, and frequent hand washing are most effective. Most cold and flu viruses are transmitted through respiratory droplets, so if you see someone coughing and sneezing, try to stay away.”

JoAnn Yanez, ND, MPH, CAE

Executive Director, Association of Accredited Naturopathic Medical Colleges

In addition, excessive stress and other unhealthy habits put you at a greater risk of getting sick.

“Most of the patients who get sick in the winter are those who have lifestyles that are compromised in some way – including poor sleep habits and too much stress. This is particularly noticeable when a person is trying to push through an intense time. Their higher-than-normal cortisol levels keep any illnesses at bay while they neglect sleep and self-care, and then when the event is over (or they simply can’t keep up the pace), they come down with something hard. I encourage all my patients to make sure they set healthy boundaries for themselves, keeping the basics in place.”

Leslie Solomonian, ND

Associate Professor, Canadian College of Naturopathic Medicine

Being indoors during the cold weather also increases your chances of catching something.

​“It’s important to be vigilant about symptoms. The indoor environment has recirculated and heated air, which carries more particles that can irritate the eyes, nose, and throat. The drier winter air can also compromise the natural mucus barrier. Those are the portals through which the typical winter cold or flu virus enters the body. Pay attention to these areas! If they begin to itch, tickle, or start to discharge mucus, that is when we must act to prevent or slow viral infection.”

John Furlong, ND

Adjunct Clinical Faculty, University of Bridgeport School of Naturopathic Medicine

In addition to avoiding risk factors, there are a number of preventative health practices that can boost your immune system and keep you healthy.

“Our bodies’ immune systems function best when we give them room to work. That means making sure we’re getting optimal sleep, keeping our stress at bay, exercising and eating a balanced diet rich in antioxidants and flavonoids,” Dr. Yanez explains.

Here are nine of the top habits you can try to prevent illness:

1. Hydration

“I drink half of my weight in ounces of water. Take your weight, divide it in half, and then divide it by eight to get the number of cups needed on a daily basis. If you think it’s too much, you can substitute some herbal tea for water. Some people need to doctor their water up with electrolytes like Himalayan salt, lemon, or frozen fruit help with the taste. If you’re dehydrated or you don’t absorb water very well (i.e. if the water goes right through you and you urinate pretty quickly after drinking water), then adding salt or lemon can be helpful.”

Rosia Parrish, ND

Graduate, Bastyr University

2. Nutrition

Dr. Solomonian recommends eating lots of fruits and veggies, healthy fats, adequate protein, fiber, and minimal simple sugars.

“Avoid sugar, candy, or pastry binges, especially around holidays!” Dr. Furlong adds.

3. Sleep

“I try to sleep at least eight hours a night, and when I need a reset, I may stay in bed for at least ten hours per night, even if not all of those hours are sleep-filled. Healing occurs in the restful and sleep state, and it is very important for the innate capacity of the body to heal to kick in,” Dr. Parrish says.

With the onset of shorter days, Dr. Furlong recommends, “sleep a bit more than usual. Going to bed earlier matches the earlier sunsets.”

4. Hygiene

“It can’t be said enough—wash your hands. Good old soap and water are more than effective,” Dr. Yanez urges. “Saline rinses with a neti pot can also be helpful during the height of flu season to keep the respiratory passages clear.”

Dr. Furlong adds, “use a (-) ion generator in your office or at your desk. This keeps the air more like outdoor air and decreases particles and droplets in the air.”

5. Exercise

Dr. Solomonian says it’s important to get sufficient moderate to vigorous physical activity. Ideally, that means 30 to 60 minutes per day, but at a minimum, it should be 150 minutes per week.

Dr. Furlong adds that outside exercise is even better. “Get outdoors for a bit, regardless of the weather! There is no bad weather, just bad clothes!”

6. Sweat

“My clinic offers infrared sauna therapy in addition to constitutional hydrotherapy, and we also suggest patients take Epsom salt baths with two cups of Epsom salts per bath.” Dr. Parrish says.

7. Mindfulness and Meditation

Dr. Parrish practices deep breathing daily. “Meditation relaxes my mind and decreases cortisol that contributes to the fight-or-flight stress response,” she says. “Meditation also helps fight off sickness or prevent it altogether because prevention of illness and healing happens in a restful state.”

8. Self-Care

Managing stress with self-care is crucial, according to Dr. Solomonian. “It could be meditation, dancing, yoga, time with loved ones, seeking opportunities for laughter, expressing gratitude…whatever is most important for you!”

9. Supplements

Dr. Furlong recommends elderberry, vitamin C, Zinc lozenges, vitamin A & D gel caps, Oscillococcinum, Echinacea, Goldenseal, or Oregon Grape fluid extract. Dr. Solomonian adds that “immunomodulating and adaptogenic herbs can help (think Astragalus, Ganoderma, Codonopsis, etc.), and some supplements may reduce the likelihood of illness (eg. zinc, vitamin D, vitamin C), but it’s tough for these strategies to make up for a poor lifestyle.”

If you do come down with something, naturopathic treatments can help soothe symptoms and hasten recovery.

“The key is to start natural therapies at the first signs of feeling unwell,” Dr. Yanez says. “Often during the season, I start taking elderberry – especially if there are bugs going around. I will up vitamin C to bowel tolerance, grab some zinc lozenges, and start with any antiviral herbs I may have on hand. I always have garlic at home and usually elderberry syrup, so these are often a quick go to. Garlic soup, garlic tea, and raw garlic in things like guacamole, hummus or tabbouleh are easy ways to hide copious amounts of the herb otherwise known as the ‘stinking rose.’ If I remember, I will also incorporate a contrasting hydrotherapy bath before bed. I’ll start out in a hot tub and then jump in a cold shower, and if time allows, repeat. Always end on cold for the best circulatory response. Then sip on ginger tea and wrap up in bed for a good night’s sleep.”

“We use lots of different naturopathic treatments to recover from illness,” Dr. Parrish says. “From prescribing vitamin C, zinc, vitamin D, and vitamin A to boost the immune system, to prescribing products like Acute Immune and Chronic Immune, usually depending on severity and longevity of symptoms or how lab results pan out.”

“My favorite approaches to illness (mostly the common cold) include rest, fluids (teas, broths, smoothies), and hydrotherapy,” Dr. Solomonian says. “I’m a big advocate of ‘magic socks,’ steam inhalations, and nasal irrigation. Because acute illnesses (again, mostly the common cold) can manifest in different ways, I find herbs the most helpful next tier to address the individual symptoms. Simple formulas can be made with immunostimulants like andrographis and elderberry; antimicrobials like hydrastis, thymus, salvia; demulcents like ulmus and honey; and anti-tussives like thymus and honey. Since most viruses induce a low or no fever, warming herbs can help—think ginger, or cinnamon. If the fever is higher (like with the flu), diaphoretics might be better—I like yarrow and nepeta.”

“Obviously, if you have any odd or allergic reaction to any of the recommended substances, do not take,” Dr. Furlong warns. “Herb quality varies tremendously and discount brands may not work at all or may have allergic substances in them. If you have rapid development of breathing problems (wheezing, asthma, can’t-get-a-breath feeling), chest pain, or pressure with fever or other acute symptoms, see your doctor immediately.”

NDs not only recommend these naturopathic remedies to patients–they rely on them to treat their own illnesses as well.

“I wouldn’t recommend them if I didn’t do them,” Dr. Parrish says.

“I use these myself one or two times a year when I feel the beginning symptoms,” Dr. Furlong says. “I find they often stop the virus completely, leaving me with nothing more than one day of a runny nose. Even if I’ve waited a bit too long, they shorten the symptoms and make them less severe.”

“As a mom of a young child who is constantly bringing home the bug du jour, it can be challenging to not get sick,” Dr. Yanez says. “I do my best to stay up on rest and good food and have plenty of antiviral herbs around for when the germs arrive.”

“Healthy lifestyle is really important for me,” Dr. Solomonian says. “It drives my kids nuts, but these pillars—nutrition, sleep, exercise, and stress management—are strongly emphasized in our household. Stress management is probably the thing I tend to neglect the most…a symptom of our busy, modern lifestyle…but I’m working on it. And I try to heed the reminders that the universe gives me to take better care of myself. If I feel like I’m coming down with something, I get on the herbs right away, and the nasal irrigation. And my kids are the first to ask for (and remind me of) magic socks when anyone gets ill. Fortunately, none of us gets hit very often or very hard, so I guess we’re doing something right!”

“It’s normal for most people to get a cold once or twice a year, but by keeping up with the basics, the frequency, intensity, and duration of the illness is likely to be less,” Dr. Solomonian says.

Click here to find an ND near you in the US and Canada.

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Put Your Health First with These Naturopathic Resolutions

After the holiday presents are unwrapped and the New Year’s glitter settles, the reality of a fresh start hits us. The new year offers limitless possibilities and new beginnings, how do we make the most of it? As you find yourself considering your vision for the year, where does your health fit into the equation? Doctors, professors, and other experts in the field of naturopathic medicine believe that setting wellness-driven resolutions will help you reach your full potential this year. Here are nine naturopathic new year’s resolutions you should consider adopting.

Resolution #1: Focus on the best ‘now’ possible

“Naturopathic medicine is about listening to your body and being in tune with the changes that need to be made to bring about health, wellbeing, and balance. Don’t wait to make a change that needs to be made—start today.”

One resolution that can have a resounding impact on health and wellbeing is the art of being present.

Mindfulness and being in the moment is a powerful tool for the following reasons:

  • It allows us to fully engage and focus on the opportunities in front of us.
  • It minimizes the stress that comes with the ‘what ifs’. We don’t have power to change the past—our power is in the now.
  • It minimizes the stress that comes from worrying about the future.
  • It allows for better connection with our body and environment.

When we are fully present and in tune with our body, we can better understand the root cause of an issue and the impact of any one thing on us.

I think of mindfulness like a muscle—the more we practice, the stronger and more natural we get at it.

4 Short Mindfulness Exercises

1.Mindful bites

Use the daily opportunity of eating to practice mindfulness! Take first couple of bites of any meal or snack you eat, and focus on the full experience—from the smell of the food, and how you feel as you anticipate eating, through to the textures and sensations as you eat. Apply gratitude to the nourishment and support it gives you to create a strong and functional body. Are the food choices we are making moving us closer or farther away from our health goals?

2. Too much screen time?

Give your brain a break! Instead of reflexively going to a device in the five minutes between meetings, or while waiting for something, try looking out your window and focusing on nature. Use mindfulness to give your brain a break rather than filling up every tiny space in your day by automatically reaching for a screen.

3. Scan your body

Scan your body, top to bottom for any sensations of discomfort or tension. Try softening any sensations of discomfort by breathing into those spaces, and filling them with healing light. Next, scan your body for areas of peace and relaxation.

4. Do one action mindfully

If none of the above work for you, pick one thing you do daily and choose to do it mindfully – paying attention to each step in the process and doing it all without judgment.

Wishing you all peace in the New Year.

JoAnn Yanez, ND, MPH, CAE

Executive Director, Association of Accredited Naturopathic Medical Colleges (AANMC)

Resolution #2: Make self-care non-negotiable

“The best resolution is to commit to listening to and honoring your body’s needs. The work that we do as NDs requires an ability to be fully present with our patients, which becomes quite difficult if we don’t first take care of ourselves. Put another way, the more we can love and respect ourselves, the better we can help our patients do the same. In reality, this isn’t a resolution at all (everyone knows that most people give up on their’s within a few weeks, anyway) but rather a decision to make self-care non-negotiable.”

Robert Kachko, ND, LAc

2020 President, American Association of Naturopathic Physicians (AANP)

Resolution #3: Reflect on what you need in order to practice to the best of your ability

“My practice is focused primarily on supportive cancer care. I remember a patient asking me several years ago, ‘What is it you would most like to do right now?’  I answered that I would like to ski in the mountains of British Columbia for the first time. She replied, ‘Then what is stopping you? We will always think we’re too busy, or it’s too expensive, or some other excuse we tell ourselves. There will always be a reason not to. But I promise you that you will not regret it when you’re there, or when you look back on your life.’

Practicing naturopathic medicine takes a lot of work, compassion, focus and integrity. In order to practice to the best of our abilities and truly love the life we live, we must support ourselves by spending time with loved ones, being in nature or however we best recharge – what would you most like to do in 2020? “

Mark Fontes, ND

Chair, Canadian Association of Naturopathic Doctors (CAND)

Resolution #4: Enjoy nature, find time for self-reflection

“With so much chaos in the world and a global sense of being overwhelmed, my new year’s resolution is to spend more time in silence and reflection and enjoying nature. My goal is to practice the art of intention and to remind myself (and my patients) every day of the power of the mind and the ability of the mind to heal. I am excited about the possibilities!”

Iva Lloyd, BScH, BCPP, ND

President, World Naturopathic Federation

Resolution #5: Don’t bite off more than you can chew, know when to say ‘no’

“My resolution is to not bite off more than I can chew! That relates to all aspects of life. Choosing healthy food portions, healthy work life balance, and sometimes saying ‘no’ to what seems like an important new endeavor to get involved in. There are so many opportunities to participate in with inspired, capable people doing good work! My goal is to keep laser-focused on the priorities I set out for me, in the year ahead.”

Michelle Simon, PhD, ND

President, Institute for Natural Medicine

Resolution #6: Don’t put off healthy habits

“My resolution is to develop one new habit that is good for my health that I’ve put off and stick with it, and to rekindle one interesting hobby—perhaps playing music.”

Fraser Smith, MATD, ND

President, Assistant Dean, Association of Accredited Naturopathic Medical Colleges (AANMC), National University of Health Sciences

Resolution #7: Make time for yourself

“Clear the mind and make time for self:

  • On New Year’s Day, spend at least two hours reflecting on how to incorporate some small, healthy habits into your lifestyle.
  • Spend at least one day away each year with no television, phone, or distractions; this was a common practice by beloved Maya Angelou.
  • Dedicate at least 10 minutes a day to meditation, prayer, or mantras.
  • Spend time in nature for 10 minutes a day or at minimum once a week (e.g. walking and observing your surroundings and the environment).

Be clear on your goals:

  • Write down one to two health goals for the year and look at them each day. Place these goals in a prominent place to be reminded daily (e.g. next to your nightstand, bathroom mirror, etc.). Reminders and reinforcements are key to resolutions.
  • Profess your goal out loud. Sharing with others helps to create accountability.

Be reasonable and love yourself:

  • It’s important to make baby steps towards your goals and also to be kind to yourself if you make a mistake or are not on track. Slander towards oneself is a self-defeating affirmation that makes it more difficult to reach your goal. Reflect, review, reaffirm, make a plan, and move on!
  • Remember that life is a marathon not a race; thus the small incremental health steps you make daily are much more impactful than short-term gains.”
Jaquel Patterson, ND, MBA

2019 President, American Association of Naturopathic Physicians (AANP)

Resolution #8: Resolve not to make resolutions! 

“Resolve not to make resolutions! Rather, make the effort to improve your ability to set health related goals and achieve them. In practicing sports medicine, it has become apparent that those with effective goal setting skills, generally speaking, have improved long term athletic success and in doing so have inadvertently learned the art of resiliency.

How are these athletes any different from you and I? There are two factors at play. They are highly motivated to achieve performance and also excellent at defining performance indicators (through goal setting) that allow for successful outcomes. However, not only do their goals fit the principles of ‘SMART’ goals (i.e. specific, measurable, achievable, realistic, and timely), but athletes tend to add to their goal setting technique.

Many successful athletes have a training log. This tactic forces a goal to be recorded. In doing so, the athlete has established a contract with themselves, resulting in accountability, which helps drive improvement in performance.

Another key benefit of logging information is that it allows for the ongoing evaluation of a goal. An athlete’s training journal provides a way to review historical change and more clearly identify key challenges that may be barriers to success. These challenges can then be addressed quickly, leading to more timely success in goal achievement.

The final aspect that athletes take into consideration is a factor of reality when participating in sport—injury. Physical performance can be considerably influenced through the process of injury and subsequent therapy. As such, the willingness to have reversibility of goals allows for the unexpected in life to occur, while concurrently building the resiliency that is required to reset a training plan and, subsequently, build a new set of ‘SMART’ goals.

By engaging yourself in three additional goal setting tactics (recording, ongoing evaluation, and reversibility) you are positioning yourself for ongoing success, not only at the start of a new calendar year, but consistently over the course of life.”

Lowell Greib, MSc, ND, CISSN

Past Chair, Canadian Association of Naturopathic Doctors (CAND)

Resolution #9: Be mindful, every day

“Practice 10 minutes of meditation every day.”

Joshua Goldenberg, ND

President, GastroANP

Resolution #10: Prioritize family

“In this day and age, the speed and reality of our day-to-day lives just seems to get faster each day—email, social media, or the logistics of family schedules—all pulling us away from the most important things in life: quality time with family and self-care.

This year, I resolve the following: to make the health and well-being of my family the priority.  To commit to regular meditation and nature time, self-care, and humor with my family every day. I resolve to make the health and well-being of my family and myself the top priority—before the Facebook feed, the online games or apps, the endless email, or the to-do lists that just get longer. Set it all aside and laugh and give health to yourself and to your family. Breathe life into that dream and vision for yourself. Take the plunge with me!”

Tabatha Parker, ND

Board President, Executive Director , Natural Doctors International, Academy of Integrative Health & Medicine

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The Ultimate Naturopathic Travel Kit

Never leave home without these key items that will keep you healthy while you’re on the road.

For many, the holiday season means it’s time to hit the road to visit far-flung family and friends. Though reuniting with loved ones is wonderful, the long trips can be exhausting, both physically and mentally. While you’re away from home, your body is working twice as hard to cope with circumstances that are outside your daily routine, from dehydration and dietary changes to lack of sleep and stress. This can often result in catching a cold or coming down with something even worse.

To stay healthy and fend off illnesses while traveling, let naturopathic medicine be your co-pilot. We asked several naturopathic experts to explain why travel often makes us sick, reveal how to avoid catching a bug, and share the items that are always on the packing list for their holistic travel kit.

Travel can wear down your immune system for a number of reasons.

During a trip, the risk of getting sick increases greatly because of the close contact with people and bacteria.

“Our odds of being exposed to different pathogens increase tremendously. Pathogens could also be waterborne such E. coli and dysentery; insect-borne such as Lyme and malaria; and food-borne such as salmonella.”

Simona Ciobanu, ND

Graduate, National University of Health Sciences

Lack of sleep—whether it’s caused by an early morning wake-up call or a trip across time zones—can also weaken your defenses. “Without adequate rest, the body loses precious time involved in regenerating and restoring itself,” says Dr. Nazanin Vassighi.

When flying, the recirculated air in plane cabins often has lower oxygen and humidity concentrations. Dr. JoAnn Yanez calls it the “perfect storm for germs to take hold.” It can also dehydrate you quicker, which can make you feel tired and can compromise your ability to flush pathogens from your mucus membrane.

In addition, it’s easy to make poor nutrition choices when you’re out of your normal routine. “Grabbing processed foods to eat on the run so you can catch that flight, or over-indulging in foods you are not typically used to consuming can compromise your gastrointestinal health and deny your body and immune system the nutrients needed to keep infection at bay,” Dr. Vassighi says.

Avoiding these travel pitfalls is challenging, but it can be done if you take extra precautions and plan ahead.

“It goes without saying that basic hygiene practices such as frequent hand washing and keeping hands away from our mouth, nose, and eyes become even more important than usual,” Dr. Ciobanu says.

On an airplane, disinfecting your tray table is always a good idea. “Let’s face it, your tray table has likely been touched by many passengers who probably don’t have ideal hand hygiene. Clean hands and a clean eating surface are extremely important in preventing foodborne illnesses! I disinfect my tray table and armrests before I even sit down on the plane.”

Taylor Arnold, PhD, RDN

Assistant Professor of Nutrition, Southwest College of Naturopathic Medicine

When you arrive after changing time zones, Dr. Vassighi recommends melatonin to reset your body clock. “When we travel eastward, we lose time and therefore affect our body’s natural circadian rhythms of sleeping and waking. Taking several milligrams of melatonin (1 to 5 mg) the first night of your travels in the new time zone will ensure not only a good night’s rest, but re-trains your body to adapt its circadian rhythm to your vacation location so you can avoid feeling jet-lagged for the remainder of your trip,” she says.

“Before you hit the sack, get plenty of sunlight at the new destination to not only train your body to stay awake when it thinks it should be sleeping, but give an added benefit of Vitamin D production which is also an immune system enhancer,” she adds.

“Dehydration can be mitigated by drinking plenty of water before, during, and after travel. “Seltzer or flavored water is another good option, as is tea. Avoid alcohol and caffeine, as those are further dehydrating, and limit sodium intake.”

JoAnn Yanez, ND, MPH, CAE

Executive Director, Association of Accredited Naturopathic Medical Colleges

Do some research ahead of time to plan your meals for the duration of your trip. “Hotels or rentals with a kitchenette are ideal, because they allow you the flexibility to prepare meals on the road,” Dr. Arnold says.

Plus, always travel with healthy snacks. “This will help you avoid snacking on convenience food, which can be loaded with salt, saturated fat, and other additives. Bring fruit or pre-cut and bagged veggies for your travel days, but make sure to research TSA rules, because they always seem to change! Bringing instant oats is a great way to save money and have a fiber filled breakfast before starting your day,” she adds.

“Increase your veggie intake and decrease the sugar. Oftentimes we are tempted to ‘cheat’ on our vacation or see travel time as a special occasion to indulge in foods we don’t normally eat. Ensuring at least three to five servings of veggies and fruits a day near the beginning of your travel will contribute antioxidants and vitamins necessary for strong immunity. Sugar is notorious for decreasing our immune response so try to avoid large doses. Moderation is always key.”

Nazanin Vassighi, ND

Assistant Professor , Bastyr University - California

If you plan to dine out, look for healthy meal options at your destination. “Look for naturally colorful, plant-based meals with minimal added sugars.  Check the nutrition information online, as menu titles can be deceiving,” Dr. Arnold says.

“Know where your food is coming from and do research about foodborne illness at your destination,” she says. “Are you traveling to a place where street food is off limits?  How about a place where you might need to bring your own water to a restaurant? The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has an app called “Can I Eat This?” that will help you determine if a food is likely to be safe based on the region and type of food.”

“Avoid eating foods that are easily contaminated—water, ice, fruits and vegetables that need to be rinsed in water—especially if traveling to locations where this could be an issue,” Dr. Yanez says.

The best way to fend off illnesses while traveling is to carry a kit full of natural remedies and treatments. Here are the top items to include:

  • High-potency multivitamin and mineral formula – “This provides me with those good complex nutrients my body needs to function at optimal speed,” Dr. Ciobanu says.
  • Vitamin C – “For several days before your departure date, take 500mg to 1000mg Vitamin C daily,” Dr. Vassighi says.
  • Vitamin D – “On travel days or on the day before travel, I usually double my dose of Vitamin D for a little extra boost. Be careful with taking more than 2000 IU/day for an extended period of time without consulting your doctor,” Dr. Arnold says.
  • Zinc lozenges – “I like to have zinc lozenges on hand for getting sick on the road. Zinc works best when taken at the very first sign of a cold or scratchy throat,” Dr. Arnold says.
  • Antiviral herbal formula – “Different supplement companies have their own formulas, so my best advice is to find one that works for you. My favorite ingredients to look for are herbs such as Echinacea, Astragalus, Andrographis, and Sambucus, along with extra vitamins and minerals such as Zinc, Vitamin A, and Vitamin C. When they are put together they make a powerful antiviral combination which stimulates the immune system and increases the production of pathogen fighting lymphocytes and natural killer cells,” Dr. Ciobanu says.
  • Probiotics – “A good probiotic formula to look for is one that contains a number (at least eight) of different strains of these gut-friendly bacterias. Probiotics are phenomenal at supporting the immune system, aiding proper digestive function, fighting food-borne pathogens, reducing gut inflammation, and eliminating toxins from our systems. They may aide greatly in cases of constipation and diarrhea, especially those associated with travel,” Dr. Ciobanu says.
  • Digestive enzymes – “These can greatly alleviate bloating, gas, and other digestive complaints associated with poor digestion while traveling and indulging on new foods,” Dr. Ciobanu says.
  • Homeopathic remedies – “Homeopathy is one of the most powerful tools in naturopathic medicine because of its safe and gentle action on the body. I will usually bring either a pre-made kit that can be purchased online, or a few remedies on hand in case illness strikes,” Dr. Vassighi says.
    • Dr. Ciobanu also always travels with a homeopathic kit. Here are her top 10 remedies:
      • Arnica montana – traumas, bruises, soreness, aches.
      • Arsenicum album – food poisoning scenarios involving diarrhea, vomiting, chilliness.
      • Belladonna – high and sudden intense fevers. Dilated pupils, redness, heat with no sweating.
      • Ferrum phosphoricum – high fevers with chills, rosy cheeks; may not act or feel acutely sick.
      • Nux vomica – digestive upset due to overindulging in foods or alcohol; headaches, constipation.
      • Aconitum napellus – any physical or emotional ailments from sudden fright or getting chilled.
      • Cantharis – sunburns, UTIs with scalding and bloody drops of urine.
      • Cocculus indicus – motion sickness, jet lag, time zone changes, insomnia.
      • Ledum – insect bites or blunt trauma, relieved by cold application.
      • Apis – insect bites, hives, allergic reactions; with swelling, redness and heat; relieved by cold.
  • Water bottles – “Always have a spare BPA-free filter bottle on hand. In addition, bring a BPA-free collapsible water bottle for day trips to avoid carrying a big and bulky empty water bottle by the end of the day. Filter bottles are great to keep if you run out of water. If you ever need to drink tap water or from a drinking fountain, having a filter water bottle is a nice way to clean your water and improve the taste,” Dr. Arnold says.
  • Woolen socks – “Warming sock therapy is a great way to decrease fever without using medications and to decrease areas with congestion, such as sinuses or lungs. Before bed, begin by placing your feet in a tub of hot water for 5-10 minutes. Then rinse a pair of cold cotton socks in cold water, wring excess water out as completely as possible, and place on your feet. Next, pull a pair of woolen socks over your cold wet socks on your feet, and head to bed. While you sleep, your body will begin the process of bringing increased circulation and warmth to your feet, drying the wet socks while the wool acts as an insulator. This process of hydrotherapy stimulates the immune system by the pumping action of the blood to the extremities and back to the heart, which is effective as a potent fever-reducer,” Dr. Vassighi says.
  • Healthy snacks – Dr. Arnold recommends portable fruit (like bananas, oranges, and apples), pre-cut and bagged veggies, and granola bars with low added sugar and high fiber.
  • Fiber supplement – “Many people have trouble with constipation when traveling. A fiber supplement, like psyllium husk, is a great, natural way to help with this. Make sure you are drinking enough water to avoid making the constipation worse,” Dr. Arnold says.
  • Tea bags and travel mug – Herbal, green, and medicinal teas are all good choices. Sleep blends and constipation blends can be especially useful. Most airport coffee shops will fill up your cup with hot water if you ask nicely. Some airports also have hot water dispensers.

As with any supplements or remedies, consult with a naturopathic doctor before making drastic changes to your regular routine. Click here to find a naturopathic doctor in the US or Canada. When you plan ahead and have the right naturopathic tools in your travel kit, traveling doesn’t have to result in illness.

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Introduction to Naturopathic Medicine

Introduction to Naturopathic Medicine

Want to learn what NDs do? Join AANMC executive director – JoAnn Yanez, ND, MPH, CAE for an introductory course on the foundations of naturopathic practice, how to become an ND, career options, and how NDs help patients harness their innate power to heal themselves.

Learn More About Becoming a Naturopathic Doctor

Receive information from the accredited schools of your choice located across North America!