Stressed? Learn How It Impacts Your Health and How to Cope

Join the AANMC and Brad Lichtenstein, ND, BCB-HRV for a webinar focused on how stress impacts the body and natural ways to cope.

Stressed? Learn How It Impacts Your Health and How to Cope

The impacts of stress can ripple through our health by influencing all aspects of our mind and body. NDs help patients identify stressors, teaching them simple techniques to manage stress, and how to avoid situations that may lead to negative impacts on health and well-being.

Join the AANMC and Dr. Brad Lichtenstein to:

-Learn about the body’s natural response to stress
-Identify ways to minimize your stress
-Hear about a patient case managed with naturopathic medicine

Become the Doctor You'd Like to Have

Learn more about becoming a naturopathic doctor. Receive information from one of our 8 accredited schools across the U.S. & Canada.

Stressed? Learn How It Impacts Your Health and How to Cope

Naturopathic physicians aim to treat the cause of disease. Stress is an easy target as an underlying cause, yet every stress and stress response is different.  The impacts can ripple through our health by influencing all aspects of our mind and body. NDs help patients by teaching simple techniques to manage stress and how to identify it and avoid situations that will have negative impacts on our health and well-being. ND students find many of these useful for helping during school as well.
During this webinar you will:
-Learn about the body’s natural response to stress
-Identify ways to minimize school stress
-Hear about a patient case that was successfully managed with naturopathic medicine

*Webinar does not qualify for CE

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To view the archive of past webinar recordings, please click here.

About the Presenter

As a licensed naturopathic physician in private practice and a professor at Bastyr University for over two decades, Dr. Brad Lichtenstein has helped people embody the lives they want to live. His approach integrates naturopathic medicine, mind-body medicine and biofeedback, depth and somatic psychology, Eastern contemplative practices, yoga and movement, and end-of-life care. He serves as an Attending Physician for the Mind-Body Medicine and Chronic Pain Clinics at the Bastyr Center for Natural Health and has a strong clinical and teaching focus on developing psycho-emotional-spiritual health while dealing with chronic, life-challenging illnesses. His approach to care was profoundly shaped by his participation in a joint research study between the University of Washington and Bastyr University where he provided over 500 guided meditations to hospice patients.

Dr. Lichtenstein has written many publications, including articles in Unified Energetics, STEP Perspective, Caregiver Quarterly, Naturopathic Doctors News and Review (NDNR), and the Huffington Post, and has contributed a chapter on Mind-Body Medicine and Men’s Health in Integrative Men’s Health. He continues to present nationally on a wide array of topics including mindfulness and meditation as a healing modality, determining the appropriate mind-body technique for healing, and the use of breathwork, HRV and biofeedback to increase resiliency. He hosts monthly Death Cafes around the greater Seattle area, and has led countless Advanced Directives parties, encouraging people to become more comfortable with the inevitable reality that faces us all, and to discuss preparation for the future, should one no longer be able to make decisions for oneself.

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*The information you submit in this registration will be used to inform you of updates to this event and will enroll you in the AANMC newsletter. The AANMC values your privacy. Please see how we protect your data in our privacy policy .

Do You Have the Mind of an ND?

Naturopathic medicine is gaining attention in the media as people seek out alternative routes to solving their health problems. But it is also getting more attention because of the opportunities that it provides people for career paths. Regulated naturopathic healthcare is attracting more and more potential students to the field because of the flexible schedules and opportunities to make a difference in the community that come with this area of medicine. Could naturopathic medicine be the right path for you? If you are considering this exciting area, here are a few things you need to know about what makes for a great naturopathic doctor.

Do you have the heart and mind of an ND?

Do you want to shape the future of healthcare?
Do you want to spend time getting to know your patients in order to treat their whole self?
Do you believe nutrition and exercise are important for a healthy lifestyle?
Do you recognize the importance of treating both the mind and body?
Do you recognize the role stress plays into a patient's healthcare?

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A Holistic Approach

One of the main tenets of an ND’s practice is taking a holistic approach to treating patients. NDs treat the whole person, looking at how different systems and ailments are interconnected. In addition, NDs are more likely to take a team approach to treatment, looking at a variety of causes for health problems with help from many specialties.

Nutrition and Exercise

An important feature of an ND’s work is the reliance on nutrition and exercise to promote a healthy lifestyle. Naturopathic doctors are often called upon to act as educators, teaching their patients how to take care of themselves by showing them what they should and should not eat and how they can best exercise.

Mind-Body Connection

NDs look to treat both the mind and the body. Many naturopathic medical clinics feature ways of treating not only physical ailments, but mental and spiritual problems as well. These can include treatments for PTSD at veteran’s clinics or domestic abuse centers as well as providing safe spaces for migrants and the LGBTQ community.

Stress Management

Naturopathic medicine takes a proactive approach to health care, noting the importance to prevent ailments before they occur. Recognition of the role of stress in illness and teaching patients lifelong skills in stress management is core to naturopathic treatment plans. Mind-body medicine approaches are tailored to the individual patient in order to mitigate tension before it impacts our health.

Natural Approaches and Herbal Medicine

If you are thinking about becoming a naturopathic physician, you will need to become knowledgeable in natural approaches to treatment. NDs make it a point to seek out the gentlest treatments for their patients, reserving more invasive methods as a means of last resort. Herbal medicine is a key tool in the naturopathic tool belt. NDs honor cultural botanical medicine practices with modern advances in botanical research.

We’ve talked about the various areas licensed naturopathic physicians need to know in order to be a great ND and there are a few common characteristics of successful naturopathic medical students :

• Strong academic background
• Excellent communicators
• Socially conscious
• Passionate for disease prevention
• Inquisitive and excited to find the root cause of illness
• Recognizes the power of a holistic approach to patient care

All of these characteristics will help lead you into a rewarding career in the exciting field of naturopathic medicine. Find out exactly what the path to a career in naturopathic medicine looks like for you by visiting

Why Your Heart Health Matters

Doctor drawing ecg heartbeat chart with marker on whiteboard

Heart disease is the number one cause of death for men and women, and kills more people yearly than all of the forms of cancer combined. Approximately 92 million people either have some form of heart disease or are recovering from a stroke. In addition, over 1/3 of American adults have high blood pressure, which puts them at a high risk for developing heart disease. How do you ensure that you do not become a statistic and wind up a victim of a heart attack or stroke?

Healthy Eating

Focused nutrition is the place to start when getting your heart health under control. Naturopathic medical schools and clinics have long used patient education as a means of encouraging people to eat healthier. The Canadian College of Naturopathic Medicine (CCNM), features a healthy-foods cafeteria to help serve and educate people on what healthy eating looks like. Similarly, the National University of Health Sciences is showing its commitment to nutrition by hosting a first-of-its-kind conference to focus on trends and research in nutrition.

Naturopathic Doctors receive advanced training in nutrition to better help their patients. Some NDs choose to specialize in this area. When it comes to eating healthy, here’s what you need to do:

Fruits and Vegetables

healthy eating, diet and weight loss, detox . dumbbells, kiwi and a bottle of water

It may sound cliché, but the most important dietary change for your cardiovascular health is to increase your intake of fruits and vegetables. Research has shown that heart disease risk decreases with more produce consumption.

Fruits and vegetables are high in fiber and antioxidants and help protect the heart in multiple ways. Fiber helps with detoxification, lowers cholesterol, and lowers glycemic load by slowing absorption of sugars. Antioxidants prevent inflammation before it can even start. In general, the more colorful the fruit or vegetable, the more antioxidant power the fruit or vegetable is going to have. The same pigments that give plants color, act as antioxidants in your body. Eating a rainbow – having some red, orange, yellow, green, and blue fruits and vegetables in your diet every day is a great place to start.

Trans Fats

In the early 1900’s manufacturers found they could process vegetable oil in a way that made it solid. This increased its shelf life and let it be marketed as a healthy replacement for butter. In the 1950’s it was discovered that this solidified vegetable oil, often marketed as margarine, contained a substance called trans fat that was formed during processing. By the 1980s and 90s it was becoming clear that these fats had serious negative health effects and increased the risk for heart disease. Food labels are required to list the amount of trans fat in the food or product and some grocery stores, cities, and even countries have decided to ban trans fats entirely. This year, partially hydrogenated oils, a main source of trans fats, were officially banned as an allowable food ingredient by the FDA. To stay away from trans fats, stay away from highly processed pre-packaged foods, and read the labels. By law the amount of trans fat has to be listed.


We generally eat around double the amount of salt that we should. This increases the risk for high blood pressure and heart disease. If you are looking to spice up your foods, use natural spices like garlic and ginger and decrease the amount of salt you use. Garlic can lower blood pressure and ginger decreases inflammation. By using spices, not only can you cut down on your salt intake, but the spices themselves can have beneficial effects for your heart and cardiovascular system.


Because alcohol can be addictive and interact with medications this is something you’ll want to discuss with your doctor before considering.
Studies have shown the benefits of moderate alcohol consumption to heart and cardiovascular health. The key is moderate consumption which means 1-2 glasses of wine per night. These same studies show that excessive alcohol consumption, meaning 3 or more glasses, has negative affects throughout the body including the heart. A standard serving of wine is 5oz. There are right around 25oz per bottle of wine, so a good measure of consumption would be making sure a bottle of wine lasted 4-5 days.

Meal planning

One of the best tips for eating healthy is to plan your meals. Clear your pantry of everything that is unhealthy and then sit down and plan what meals you will cook at home. From there, you can restock your cupboard with better food choices. The Mediterranean Diet is a good place to start if you need a source for recipes. By eating out less, you can control what’s in your meals and the portion size as well.


Besides eating well, staying active is an important part of being healthy. One of the major principles of . So, while you may be eating healthy, it is still necessary to do other things, like exercise. Here are a few things to think about:

• Walk—Using a FitBit or some form of pedometer can help you record your steps during the day. This will help you track how active you are. Try walking in place at your desk, parking at the end of the lot so you have to walk farther, and taking the stairs whenever possible. All of these things will help you move and exercise throughout the day.
• Be Reasonable—Many people create a plan to work out every day for an hour. This can be unrealistic and discourage you if you don’t hit your goal. Instead, start with something small like 20-30 minutes per day, three times a week.
• Get Your Heart Pumping—Exercise is great, but if you really want to get your heart healthy, you have to make it work. This means taking part in aerobic exercise designed to raise your heart rate such as running/jogging, swimming, and bike riding as well as aerobic exercise classes. Talk to your healthcare provider about what your heart rate goal should be.


The last of the big three that can have an impact on your life and health is stress. Stress can increase blood pressure and inflammation, increasing the riskAlone and sad female in her city apartment. for heart attacks and strokes. Naturopathic medicine looks at health holistically, integrating stress management techniques like meditation and acupuncture. Traditional naturopathic therapies such as hydrotherapy can help boost the immune system and promote relaxation. Here are a few techniques that you can start today to help with stress:

• Write About the Stress—One important idea is to keep a journal that can help you deal with stress. Writing about the things that are causing emotional upset and how you are feeling has been shown to reduce stress and improve health outcomes for a number of conditions. The general recommendation is to give yourself 15 minutes to write your innermost thoughts and feelings down on paper. The only caveat is that if you’ve just gotten over a traumatic event then immediately writing about it can make things worse. If you’ve experienced a major trauma, make sure you talk to a healthcare provider if you’re going to start journaling.
• Practice Gratitude – At first practicing gratitude can sound really cheesy. You mean I should be thankful for my chair, my shoes, and my dinner plate? Yes! We usually focus on what we lack. Gratitude short circuits that process and helps us be thankful for what we have. Clinical trials support how effective it can be to reduce stress and help with conditions like anxiety and depression. Practicing gratitude can be as easy as before going to bed writing down 3 things that you are grateful for that day. It might be the worst day ever, but you probably have a bed to sleep in, a pillow, 4 walls and a roof over your head. Maybe you don’t, but you heard a song that day you enjoyed or tasted some good food. Try it for a week and you’ll start to notice your stress level decrease and more joy come into your life.
• Get Rest—Many people are irritable and stressed out because of lack of sleep. Eating well and exercising will help provide a deeper and more restful sleep. Giving yourself at least an hour before bed without looking at a screen and minimizing light in your room can also improve sleep quality. The blue light from electronic devices alters the way melatonin, the main hormone of sleep, is produced. Finding a way to naturally get the sleep you need every night is a good way to help reduce your stress levels.

Leading a healthy and active lifestyle by eating well, exercising, and using regular stress management exercises will help you keep your heart healthy. In naturopathic medical school, students become experts in helping their future patients meet these goals. If you need more guidance on heart health tips seek out care from the clinic at one of the naturopathic medical schools or contact your local naturopathic provider.

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Keep Your Heart Healthy at the Office


Learn More About Becoming a Naturopathic Doctor

Click below to receive information from the seven accredited naturopathic medical schools across eight North American campuses!

Naturopathic Approaches to Stress Management

Don’t Let Stress Derail Your Holiday Season

Learn how to prevent and manage stress with simple and effective naturopathic approaches.

The holiday season is supposed to be a time of joy, family, giving, and compassion…but unfortunately, it’s all too easy to let stress take control during this incredibly busy time of year


According to a poll by the American Psychological Association, more than eight out of ten people anticipate a stressful holiday season. Whether you’re fretting about your gift list, entertaining guests, or travel plans, it’s important to find ways to manage your stress levels so you can have a healthy and happy holiday.

“Don’t let stress solutions stress you out,” says Dr. JoAnn Yanez, the executive director of the AANMC. “Find fixes that are easy to implement, leave you recharged, and lighten your load.”

Naturopathic medicine can help individuals prevent and manage stress and improve overall wellbeing.

holiday-to-do-list-revisedStress occurs when an event triggers a stress response, which is often referred to as the fight or flight response. There are many ways that the body will try to bring itself back into balance, and different people respond differently to the same stress stimuli.

Stressors can be anything from work, finances, relationships, lack of sleep, lack of exercise, lack of nutrients, and exposure to environmental toxins.

“As a certified mindfulness practitioner, I stress (no pun intended) the undeniable relationship between our emotional and mental health and that of our entire being,” Dr. Jennifer Botwick, clinical adjunct faculty at the University of Bridgeport, says.

“The relationship between diet, physical activity and stress is a deeply interconnected cycle. When we are stressed, most people tend to crave and indulge in more quick fixes. Most people can recognize this, but not break the cycle,” Dr. Lindsay Chimileski, from the University of Bridgeport, explains.

Diet and nutrition play a large role in the body’s stress levels.

“Stress often leads people to reach for the most convenient food, one that normally does not have much nutritional value (which is in and of itself a stressor). This just makes things worse, as the body needs good nutrition to balance the effects of the stress response,” Dr. Emma Norton, an assistant professor at Bastyr University, says.

“Without good nutrition and in the presence of chronic stress, the body is destined for a variety of stress related problems.”

“Stressful times are more physiologically demanding, so you need more nutrients (vitamins and minerals) during this time. You can’t always avoid the situations that your body will perceive as stressful. You can, however, provide the body with proper nutrition through dietary choices that will enable the body to balance the nervous system faster and with less anxiety or responsiveness,” she explains.

“You need more protein, more healthy fats, more B vitamins, more vitamin C, and more magnesium. The focus of the diet should be a whole food plant based diet, not necessarily vegetarian, but containing most of the calories from plant sources, because they are the highest in the micronutrients we so desperately need when we are stressed,” Dr. Norton says.

Dr. Chimileski adds, “Eating in a rush is one of the most important, almost silly, self-imposed health issues of our time. Everyone’s digestion is compromised because they cannot find the time in the day to sit down and chew their food; let alone shop, prep, and cook good meals. It physically stunts our digestion.”

Exercise and physical activity are also linked to stress levels.

Mature couple walking through snow“When you exercise, your body makes chemicals called endorphins, which act as your body’s natural opiates, making you feel good, thus counteracting the stress and anxiety that people feel when under stress,” Dr. Norton says.

“Lack of exercise and “play” time can contribute to stress because for most people exercise and fun activities can diffuse stress.”

“Physical activity helps to bring us out of our heads and into our bodies,” Dr. Chimileski says. “Instead of the constant rolling mental to-do list. It also trains our minds and bodies to work through stressful situations.”

Of course, mental habits contribute significantly to stress levels.

Woman enjoying the warmth of the winter sunlight on a forest wearing a red overcoat

“Mental habits like overthinking or thinking that there is nothing you can do to change the problem can really make a stressful situation much worse,” Dr. Norton explains.

“Self-sabotaging, overcommitting and having unrealistic expectations are also major contributors to stress, which are within our control,” Dr. Chimileski adds. “By being loving and kind with ourselves and making the time for self-care, we enter into all activities of the day in a better mindset and more able to deal with whatever curve balls are thrown at us.”

“Overcommitting and self-shaming for only finishing 99 of the 100 things on the to do list is so unnecessary. There are many sources out there on the power of saying no and not agreeing to do things that you either can’t or don’t want to do. You can take control of your day this way,” she says.

These naturopathic doctors shared their tried and tested tips to prevent and manage stress.

Approaches to managing stress vary greatly, but they all are rooted in the naturopathic principle of treating the cause.

According to Dr. Norton, approaches can include: “lifestyle education on proper whole food nutrition, encouraging adequate rest and exercise, testing for and treating nutritional deficiencies, testing for and correcting hormonal imbalances, mind body techniques to promote a positive mental attitude and increase activity of the parasympathetic nervous system, botanical and nutritional supplementation to support the nervous system and adrenal glands, constitutional homeopathy that focuses on treating the whole person, hydrotherapy techniques aimed at promoting relaxation and increasing parasympathetic tone and physical medicine techniques that encourage proper spinal alignment and muscle tone.”

Dr. Norton recommends the following preventive stress tips:

  • Get enough sleep and relaxation time
  • Spend time around the people that support you and bring you joy
  • Seek out places that make you feel grounded and in control
  • Use simple techniques like diaphragmatic breathing to calm the mind and allow for a positive mental attitude

Dr. Emma Norton

“Find something in your day to bring you out of your head,” Dr. Chimileski says. “This can be something big or small – a yoga pose between clients, squats before the shower, prepping a lovely meal, going for a walk outside, doing or seeing some art, laughing, loving.”

Dr. Chimileski recommends physical, herbal, and mental techniques:

  • Fun physical activity that uses multiple parts of the brain: yoga, qi gong, dancing, hiking
  • Acupuncture to balance the body
  • Herbs used in daily life to bring individuals to the present moment: adaptogen herbs to strengthen and balance stress response, herbal nervines and teas to wake up senses, improve digestion, and calm nerves
  • Chew your food thoroughly before swallowing
  • Mindfulness, meditation, and grounding exercises like positive affirmations and mantras
  • Making time for art
  • Don’t be afraid to ask for help
  • Say no to requests that are not going to be beneficial to your health or stress level
  • Journal three things that made you happy each day
  • Use an app that promotes mindfulness, encourages stretch breaks, or sends positive reminders
  • Set goals that are achievable and simple, and celebrate small successes

Dr. Botwick recommends self-care:

  • Remember to breathe
  • Be mindful
  • Cultivate self love
  • Stay present

She also relies on whole foods, anti-inflammatory foods, regular physical and mental health exercises, cranio-sacral therapy, acupuncture, massage therapy, and reiki.

Dr. Jennifer Botwick

This season and all year long, naturopathic doctors work with individuals to prevent and manage stress in order to help them live happy and healthy lives.

Interested in a career that combines stress management and naturopathic medicine?

Getting free information from our accredited campuses across North America is your first step toward a new and exciting career.