Archive for the ‘Dr. Greg Eckel’ Category« Older Entries |
Monday, November 2nd, 2015
Any quick Internet search on men’s health will lead one to believe that prostate health and libido are the top health concerns out there for men. The actual short list is much different — consisting of heart disease, cancer and unintentional injury. That list is not too sexy and won’t sell many magazines.
Yet, those are the key elements we know affect men’s health most directly. So, in honor of supporting men’s health as we move into the holiday months, I will attempt to cover a man’s approach to healthy aging — which includes the sexy (and the not-so-sexy). Here is my general approach & some of my favorite tips.
Starting with unintentional injury, the risks associated with physical labor, chores, driving and casual sex come to mind. I encourage you guys to use your seat belts, drive within the limits, (never mind how tempting it is to drive like an Indy racecar driver) follow safety precautions while doing maintenance around the house and practice safe sex. Seems pretty straighforward, right?
On to cardiovascular disease, in which the mainstream media has us convinced that cholesterol levels are the key to good outcomes. My typical recommendations start with changes to your diet and exercise to bring down cholesterol levels but I recommend the focus to be on simple carbohydrates rather than cholesterol intake. While it is important to look at the quality of fat in your diet, rarely does lowering your fat intake have any appreciable effect on cholesterol levels. We will always look to the amount of triglycerides in your blood work (carbohydrates break down into fatty acids, which then become triglycerides) as these are what become your cholesterol of tomorrow.
Now another not-so-sexy one — diet. It plays such a crucial role in your health, that at Nature Cures Clinic we address all patients’ nutritional intake and make specific recommendations from this evaluation.
One huge area that goes often overlooked for men is hormone balance. It is very evident that women go through menopause as they age; but we men also go through a similar change called andropause. Testosterone therapy has become more in vogue as the baby boomers participate in more health care and are looking to increase their quality of life as they age. Testosterone is well known for its effect on libido. It is also very beneficial in preventing cardiovascular disease, improving muscle mass and strength, maintaining stronger bones, and improving mood, memory and cognitive function. Not only that, it has also been shown to improve prostate function. So no male workup (over 40 years old) is complete without an evaluation of hormone balance. It really is necessary to test hormone levels before embarking on any treatment regime with bio-identical hormones.
This leads us into prostate health. Most men will develop prostate issues over their lifetimes. On autopsy of men over 80 years old, there was a high presence of prostate cancer — though the cancer was not the cause of most mens’ deaths.
Vitamin D is a great marker of prognosis of prostate health. In research, men with adequate levels of vitamin D had better outcomes than men who did not have adequate amounts of vitamin D in their system. At Nature Cures Clinic, we do run a prostate specific antigen (PSA) test — a general test to screen for prostate cancer. This test is fraught with issues and it’s not definitive — think of it more as just a screening test, albeit the best we have at the moment. If you have a high PSA, this leads to more blood work. What happens to most men with a high PSA is the recommendation of a biopsy of the prostate to see if there is cancer there. This is not always to the best way to go. If you or a loved one find yourself in this situation please call us and get some information. Know you have some options.
Lastly — drum roll — libido. When all of the above aspects are addressed you have a higher likelihood of a healthy libido. Still, an often-overlooked aspect of a healthy sex life is intimacy. Yes, intimacy. It puts you in a vulnerable and open space with your loved one. This has the aspect of enhancing your sex life as a way to share more of your true self with your partner. This can be a very powerful way to enhance your sex and love life. I invite you to step out of the confining box of malehood and explore this aspect of closeness with those that matter most in your lives.
Men’s health is health. The physiology and biochemistry of the body responds well to correct diet, exercise, and specific nutrients and botanicals. We strive to individualize our treatments to each person.
With cardiovascular disease, cancer and unintentional injuries being the top three issues for men, popular media and most men focused on libido and prostate health, this leaves us with a beginning place to enrich our lives and optimize our health. To the journey!
Tuesday, June 11th, 2013
June is National Men’s Health Month. You’ll be seeing a lot about prostates and low libidos, as if that’s all there is to us(!)….there are of course more complexities to men. We often hear about menopause for women as they age, as a natural and celebrated change. Men too go through this change, it’s called “andropause” (dictionary.com states “also called: male menopause the period, usually occurring between the ages of 45 and 55, during which a man’s testosterone levels may fall, leading to a reduction in vigor and sexual drive”). Hormone changes – mainly in testosterone (and slightly estrogen metabolism) – are effected by stress. And, I think we can all agree that once we reach middle age there have been a few stresses along the way! There is a simple test we run in the office as a screening, which will determine if you need to have a further, more comprehensive work up.
Symptoms of irritability, fatigue, joint aches, low libido, and erectile dysfunction all may be attributable to a decrease in testosterone. This and other hormone imbalances can create insomnia and sleep disturbances which could mean stress hormones, like cortisol, may become out of balance.
This month we are offering a hormone panel for men that will include testing for DHEA, Androstenedione, Testosterone, Dihydrotestosterone, Estrone, Estradiol, and Progesterone. To get a comprehensive evaluation you may want to add some blood work to check out heart health, thyroid function, and prostate health. We are able to comprehensively screen for many of these imbalances and correct the underlying imbalances to help restore your body back into balance.
I have heard from many men, for whom we have balanced their hormones, comment about less joint pain and irritability, more energy and vigor, and a healthier sexual response. We use bio-identical hormone replacement therapy when appropriate. When I started medical practice 12 years ago, I didn’t use bio-identical hormones…I thought, what are we doing, this is a natural change, why do we need to replace hormones? One of my mentors, Dr. Jonathon Wright, the father of bio-identical hormones, commented to me that death too is a natural process, do you promote that in your practice as well? There is definitely a continuum in hormone use and not the starting point, though when needed they can change your life! If you, or the men in your life are experiencing any of the symptoms above, it may mean there is a hormone imbalance happening. Now is the time to get it checked out! Call the clinic at 503-287-4970 and schedule your appointment today. (If you’d like to talk about your health concerns, please call and schedule a complimentary consult to discuss with a doctor at the clinic).
Monday, June 10th, 2013
Do you suffer from insomnia? Here is an article Cure Insomnia Naturally by our own Dr. Greg Eckel published in this month’s edition of the Health Journal.
Friday, November 30th, 2012
by Anne Carruth, Licensed Acupuncturist
10 bucks says your body needs help detoxing.
How could it not? Our food and water are laden with hormones and chemical by-products. The air we breath is discolored by pollutants. Our homes are “cleaned” with products requiring rubber gloves for safe handling. We slather our bodies in lotions, soaps, and shampoos made of substances we can’t pronounce. And as our little organs run a rat race managing this toxic load, what do we do in return? We stay up late, skip meals, load up on caffeine to face our stressful lives, hit the drive-thru, nuke a Lean Cuisine, spend sedentary HOURS in front of our computers and TVs, and pop pills when our bodies cry out for help. In short, we continually consume and expose ourselves to toxins, and lead lifestyles that impair many of our natural detoxification pathways. An essential part of any healing process is reducing the body’s toxic load, and what better way to do this than by indulging in some acupuncture.
1. Because acupuncture addresses Qi flow and movement within the body, it affects how toxins are moved in and out of our systems. For example, a sluggish intestinal tract allows toxins to hang out in your body longer than they should. Acupuncture can target this weakness, and encourage your intestines to get moving. Thus, acupuncture can be used to focus on and support those body systems that aren’t pulling their weight in the detoxification process.
2. If you’ve ever done a cleanse or detox diet, you probably know that unpleasant side effects often pop up as your body purges toxins. Headaches, fatigue, irritability, flu-like symptoms…all are normal indications that your body is cleansing itself, yet they make the process pretty miserable. Acupuncture is fantastic for reducing such symptoms, and making detoxification more comfortable.
As you embark on your cleansing journey or New Year’s resolutions, be mindful of the toxic load your body encounters each day. Consider incorporating acupuncture into your detox plan. I can’t think of a more self-indulgent, yet powerful, means of enhancing detoxification and your overall health.
Thursday, August 30th, 2012
The air is starting to change, that bit of chill at night, the long warm days….it’s my favorite time of year actually. As things start to settle down after the summer frenzy, I start to turn my eyes towards the fall. This is a great time of year to reset your goals and priorities that may have slipped a bit (or disappeared in the rush of summer fun!).
Perhaps one of your goals or wishes is to get healthier. The word “doctor” comes from the Latin word docere, which means teacher. Our medicine is a different type of medicine that isn’t fear-based or parental. There is no ‘right’ way of doing things. There is only your way of doing them. If you are a smoker maybe you’ve tried to quit before, or want to quit now. We can support you through any phase. We want to meet you where you are, educate you about what is going on with your body with your lifestyle and help you make informed choices of which way to go now.
As a student, I did clinical rotations through PAHC (Portland Area Health Clinic) a facility that helped people get off of drugs (heroin, nicotine, alcohol, etc.) among other things. Having this knowledge, I’ve incorporated several very effective techniques for supporting patients through transitions such as these into our clinical practice. The Five Needle protocol is a piece of what we do here at Nature Cures to help aid the body with release of endorphins that affect the brain and reduce cravings, improve mood and energy.
Through the years I have found that the physical addiction is the easier aspect of helping patients stop smoking. In addition to the 5 NP as mentioned above we also use herbs, vitamins, physical medicine; you get the picture, lots of ways to support you in your health goals!
It’s often the routine that is the harder aspect to get out of – we are creatures of habit after all! We have a very effective 5 week program for smoking cessation that addresses both the physical and emotional aspects of smoking. We can also support you where you are and make sure your vitamin and mineral intake are what they should be. Research shows that vitamins, minerals and micronutrients are deficient in people that smoke.
So, whether a full blown cleanse, behavior change, or support for where you are, we have you covered here at Nature Cures Clinic. Schedule today to get back on track, let us help you achieve your health goals!! Happy Fall!
Thursday, May 17th, 2012
Dr. Greg Eckel discuss the spring allergy season, why some people suffer worse than others, and strategies you can use to cut down on your springtime suffering.
Listen to the Allergies HealthChat Podcast
Thursday, August 18th, 2011
Nature Cures Clinic physician
I have been researching fibromyalgia for the last 13 years. My mother had it, and as any son would want to help his mother out, I really was looking for ways to decrease her pain. I have come to understand fibromyalgia to be a very complex pattern for those suffering from it. In assessing sleep, levels of toxicity, hormone balance and meningeal compression, we can arrive at a comprehensive treatment plan that has the best chance of relieving one’s pain and suffering.
Sleep and Fibromyalgia
Sleep is a huge component to correct, as it’s the time of rest and regeneration. The body can heal itself and/or have some respite from the day. I start here with patients. Often times patients with fibromyalgia are on multiple pharmaceuticals for sleep and are still experiencing difficulty getting and staying asleep. We will use Chinese herbs, magnesium and amino acid blend, just to name a few, to help correct the imbalances that have led to sleep issues. This is step one in treating fibromyalgia.
Toxicity and Fibromyalgia
The body stores toxins in its fat. Perhaps it’s a protective mechanism, to store these toxins out of circulation. Through cleansing the connective tissue and the the liver we help clear these toxins out, which in turn helps tune down the nervous system and thus helps at relieving pain. All of my patients are on a liver cleanse at least once a year. Personally, I tend to do 2-3 cleanses a year. We are all exposed to over 80,000 chemicals a week here in the US. Most of those have never been tested as far as the safety of those chemicals in our bodies.
Stress, Hormones and Fibromyalgia
Stress has a huge impact on patients. Stress flares symptoms for patients by increasing inflammation in the body. Acupuncture treatments put patients into a parasympathetic (rest and regenerative state). We also work on mental emotional states, deep breathing, meditation, and mindfulness techniques. Diet can have a huge impact on stress as well. All of my patients have a comprehensive diet analysis and meet with my holistic nutritionist.
When someone has been in a lot of pain over time, their hormones can become affected. The pain triggers a stress response, which affects the adrenal gland (the major stress response hormones come from there), which can in turn affect thyroid function and estrogen, progesterone and testosterone. This rarely gets addressed conventionally. Through correcting hormone imbalances we have a better chance at correcting the imbalances that have led to the chronic pain pattern.
The Neurological Relief Technique
A new technique we have incorporated into treatment is the neurological relief technique (NRT). This is a great technique when it works and through a free test we can see if it will work. If the result is positive, you know with greater certainty the technique will be beneficial. There are multiple causes of meningeal compression — stress, trauma and environmental toxicity to name a few. The meninges compress the nerves at the level of the foramen magnum (where the spinal cord enters the skull) causing pain on the nerves (hence the patterns of pain associated with fibromyalgia). The NRT has been a great addition to how we treat patients with fibromyalgia. This component is also why pain medications don’t correct any dysfunction in the body, as they don’t do anything for this component that a lot of patients have.
Of course there are some very specific nutrients we can use depending on what the root causes of the fibromyalgia are. It is through the comprehensive evaluation — looking at all of these aspects of the patient — that we find good success at relieving pain and suffering.
If you know of anyone suffering with this condition, please have them call our clinic and ask for a complimentary consult with me. During the consult, we will go through the neurological relief technique test and see if we could help them.
Image courtesy Menage a Moi
Tags: chronic pain, Dr. Greg Eckel, fibromyalgia, hormone, neurological relief technique, sleep, toxicity
Posted in Articles by our Providers, Dr. Greg Eckel | Comments Off on Fibromyalgia: Naturopathic Treatment Approaches
Sunday, April 3rd, 2011
by Dr. Greg Eckel
Nature Cures Clinic physician
Did you know you could see a naturopathic physician as your doctor after an accident? The personal injury protection (PIP) that we all must carry by law for our auto insurance in Oregon covers this service. This portion of your insurance covers your care no matter who was at fault. It is there to get you better. Insurance companies would rather you not.
All too often I see patients who have never been the same after an accident. Unfortunately, I see them years after their accident. I’ll hear “yeah, my back/neck has been hurting me for X amount of years.” You insert the time frame, 5, 10, 15 years.
The typical ER department is not set up to handle the intricacies of a motor vehicle accident. Perhaps muscle relaxants and or pain medications are prescribed. These do stop the signal to the brain, but do nothing to repair the inflammation or tissue damage the body has endured.
When you are in an accident adrenaline surges. This hormone is released when the body is stressed. This hormone keeps you alive. Cortisol, epinephrine (adrenaline), and nor-epipinephrine (nor-adrenaline) are the three hormones released in the fight or flight response. I often counsel patients to give themselves a week or two to settle down post accident to really see what happened to their body after an accident because of this response.
Even low-impact collisions (less than 6 mph) can have lasting negative consequences. If there was no vehicle body damage, the force of the collision traveled through your body. Newton’s third law in motion physics states, that for every action in the universe there is an equal and opposite reaction. The force of impact does travel through your body. Many studies show the impact of 6 M.P.H. cause tissue damage.
I recently wrote an article about treating patients in chronic pain. We at Nature Cures Clinic are one of a limited number of centers around the country that have been trained in a new neurological relief technique that is helping many people finally get relief from their pain. Whether you have recently been in an accident or have been suffering from chronic pain, (or know someone that has been) please give us a call to schedule a complimentary consult.
I encourage you if you or someone you know has been in an accident to get checked out thoroughly by a physician at Nature Cures so we can best assess you and the status of your body. You don’t want to be the patient years later telling us I’ve never been better since that accident.
Image courtesy Jason Rojas
Saturday, January 15th, 2011
Click “read more” to access this podcast.
Dr. Greg Eckel discusses the naturopathic approach to stopping addictions & bad habits.
Listen to: HealthChat: Habits & Addictions
Sunday, August 1st, 2010
Summer First Aid podcast
Dr. Greg Eckel give you some ideas and tips for dealing with bumps, bruises, scrapes, and sunburns during the active summer months, and give you a list of things to include in your summer first aid kit. View the video version of this podcast at the Nature Cures Clinic video page.
Sunday, June 27th, 2010
Wednesday, February 17th, 2010
Congratulations to Nature Cures Clinic’s Dr. Greg Eckel for his recent appointment to the Oregon State Board of Naturopathic Medicine. Dr. Eckel was confirmed in the Oregon State Senate on February 10th. He was chosen for his leadership and excellence in the field of naturopathic medicine. (more…)