Stressed Out

“Clear Cut Connection Between Stress and Heart Disease”

One of the foundations for holistic health care is in truly understanding the effects of stress in our lives.

No matter how many vitamins and herbal remedies we take, no matter how many miles we jog, and no matter how many fruits and vegetables we eat, stress is the first and foremost detriment to our health, a silent threat to us all.

Stress-related diseases have reached epidemic proportions.

A.  According to he American Psychological Association, stress alone causes each American worker to miss an average of 16 days on the job every year.


B.  Ken Pelletier, in his research on stress as a serious health hazard, feels that the leading cause of mortality has shifted from the infectious illnesses that were prevalent at the beginning of the 20th century to the stress-induced illnesses of the 21st century. These chronic and lifestyle-related illnesses now account for the majority of recorded deaths.

Nobody can claim immunity.  Stress disorders are based upon a slow accumulation of psychological and physical intensity throughout one’s entire life.

The most negative result of excessive stress is the effect it has on a person’s immune system.

  • Stress is now being implicated in the pathogenesis of cancer and other dysfunctions related to auto-immune diseases, such as chronic fatigue, fibromyalgia and asthma.
  • The primary reason for the high correlation between many diseases and stress is simple: our bodies’ protective systems-which can fight off invasion from irregular and abnormal cancer cells, simple bacterias and many viruses-are so compromised, they simply fail to do the job.


The Effects of Stress are Physical.

  1. The voluntary nervous system sends messages to your muscles to get ready for a fight. In response to this immediate tension, the autonomic nervous system, which maintains involuntary body function, will prepare you for this fight by sending extra blood to your muscles.
  2. Your digestion will immediately slow down along with your mental sharpness and may organ functions.
  3. There are also hormonal changes that occur under stress and will produce hypersensitive effects on the body.
  4. In essence, your body becomes a walking war machine preparing for attack while shutting down many other vital organ functions.

How much stress each person can handle depends upon her ability to cope with the physical, mental and emotional changes that occur with stressful situations.


Stress is seriously linked to specific illnesses, as research now demonstrates. The truth of the matter is simply that nobody really functions well for long in overload mode. The body becomes insensitive to the effects of overloading and cannot handle it without some serious side effects.

  • Even with all of our medical advances and technological superiority, we have not realistically dealt with the serious effects of stress.
  • We have identified stress as a very important component in many illnesses and diseases but we have yet to call it what it truly represents-a disease itself.

* If we were to truly address the problem of stress things would look      different.

First, money for research would be appropriated for prevention.

Holistic research, and identifying the specific stresses related to each disease. By the time it can be seen on a mammogram, a bone scan, or chest x-ray, it has already become dangerous. Medicine in the future will have to move towards identifying problems much earlier.


Second, our educational institutions would look different.

We would be working daily to teach our children to meditate, to integrate stress reduction activities into their lives such as yoga, and relaxation exercises.  To teach our children early in life to recognize and deal with all levels of stress would be a true gift.


Third, our workplace environments would look different.

Short lunches, intense schedules, addictions to the 60-hour work week, and little if any down time within our actual work day are now normal. A powerful tool for any work center would be to include specific stress controls within the actual work day.

  • Twice a month offer a 15 minute on-site chair bodywork sessions
  • Relaxation room with music for breaks
  • 3 p.m. daily, everyone should stop and do 10 minutes of deep conscious breathing.
  • Have vitamin C, ginger root, or Echinacea drinks instead of soft drinks in the vending machines.


Let’s start looking into the Holistic and Preventive healthcare choices and steps to take that will be effective in recognizing and reducing the stress in your life. The journey of a thousand miles begins with the first step. Every step counts and awareness is a giant leap to understanding how we can heal ourselves

Mary Jo Ruggieri, PhD, RPP, HHP


Healthy Tidbits

Meditation Reduces Blood PressureAccording to the archives of Internal Medicine, 2006, 166:1218-24, patients who used the mantra-based transcendental meditation dramatically reduced their blood pressure. The results of this study suggest a strong link between the mind and especially stress and metabolic processing, which includes high blood pressure, high cholesterol and insulin resistance.



*Time to start taking 15 minutes per day for deep breathing and slow meditation. See our mind, body, spirit section of this newsletter.


Garlic Reduces Cardiovascular Stress


Can you believe garlic can:

  • Regulate blood pressure
  • Improve immune functions
  • Thin blood (naturally) to prevent strokes
  • Lower fats in the blood to prevent heart disease

Hippocrates, father of modern medicine, used garlic as a common healer for infection and pain. According to Patrick Quillin, though garlic has been used for at least 4,000 years as a primary healing agent, only recently have skeptics dropped their sarcasm as over 2,000 scientific research articles now point toward the near-miraculous healing powers of this humble little vegetable.


How to Garlic Yourself

  1. If you do not like the smell that lingers, get Kyolic tablets, which consist of aged deodorized garlic.
  2. Fresh cooked cloves: Bake cloves in a ceramic dish with olive oil. Do not peel-it will taste great!
  3. Make a syrup: Put 8 oz. of crushed garlic in a jar. Fill with equal parts of apple cider vinegar and distilled water. Let stand for 4 days. For colds or infections, take 1 teaspoon 3 times per day with meals.
  4. Inhalant: Take minced garlic and a teaspoon of apple cider vinegar. Add this to 1 pint of boiling water. Inhale the mist (be careful not to get too close to the steam).

Garlic can also be used externally as a poultice, an insecticide in your garden, and an insect repellent.


Reference: Amazing Honey, Garlic & Vinegar, Patrick Quillin, PhD, RD, CNS; 1996 Leader Co. Inc.

Bodywork: Immediately Reduces Stress


Polarity Therapy, Massage, Elemental Reflexology, Acupressure and any form of  bodywork will reduce stress, relieve pain, and reduce levels of stress related chemicals such as cortisol and noradrenaline. Endorphins are induced during bodywork which decreases anxiety.


Bodywork stimulates blood circulation and improves oxygen and nutrients to body tissues. It also helps improve lymphatic circulation which flushes away waste products.


“Bodywork is a nearly perfect therapy because it taps into the body’s natural ability to heal itself, often eliminating the need for medication.”




Stress is in the Breath!

  • Breathing is the number one survival tool, of higher rank than water, food and exercise.
  • When you experience Stress your breath rate will double.  If you can consciously reduce your breath rate to 8-10 breaths per minute, you control your life and the circumstances you find yourself in.
  • Do long deep breathing for survival and reducing stress.

Lets Meditate: The 4/4 Breath for Energy      

What It Will Do For You                                                          

It will help you combat fatigue and emotion. It will relax and energize you. It can rejuvenate your spirit, and help you avoid possible painful injury.


How To Do It


  • To do this, sit straight in a chair or cross-legged on a flat surface.
  • Place the palms together at the center of the chest with the fingers pointing up.
  • Focus at the brow point with eyelids lightly closed.
  • As you inhale, break the breath into 4 equal parts (like sniffs). As you exhale, break the breath equally into 2 equal strong exhales (push out breathe).

On each part of the inhale and exhale, pull the navel point in slightly. One full breath cycle (in and out) takes about 7-8 seconds. Continue powerfully for 3 minutes. (If your mind has a lot of anxiety or confusion, add to the breath mentally the mantra SA-TA-NA-MA on the inhale and WAHE GURU on the exhale.) Then, inhale deeply and press the palms together with moderate force for 10-15 seconds. Exhale and relax.


(Do not drive immediately after this meditation.)


Reference: Survival kit, Meditations and Exercise for Stress and Pressure of the Times by Yogi Bhajan, complied by S.S. Vekram Kaur Khalsa, edited by Mary Jo Ruggieri, (Hari Kaur)


>Holistic Health Research

Making Sense of Supplement News


Study results published this fall made headlines when they reported that neither vitamin E nor C supplements protect against cardiovascular disease in older men.  Seems like a cut and dried conclusion, but it might not be.


The American Association for Health Freedom (AAHF) and its international affiliate, the Alliance for Natural Health (ANH), have pointed out flaws in the study design and the involvement of three of the world’s largest drug companies,  BASF, Wyeth and  DSM.

Read more of their analysis and learn why the traditional scientific model doesn’t always work for supplements. 

It’s important to read from a variety of sources for balanced information.


Heidi Beke-Harrigan MLS, APP or


Herbal of the Month

Solomon’s Seal

The Perfect Companion for Bodyworkers and their clients!!An herb that is widely found in our North American woods, and has been in use on this continent for hundreds of years by Native Americans, and then by Westerners. It is also found in Europe, China, India.

In the language of Herbal Energetics, Solomon’s Seal is Sweet, Cooling, and Moist.
This means Solomon’s Seal is:

  • anti-inflammatory
  • alleviates inflammations and other irritations of connective tissues.
  • alleviates pain
  • soothes injured muscles
  • nourishes dry, brittle, tending to break tissues and bones

It is particularly effective for:

  • sports injuries
  • acute injuries related to tendons, joints, ligaments
  • loose/stretched tendons
  • muscular/skeletal problems
  • bruises
  • cartilage injuries
  • arthritis related pains and aches
  • broken bones (internally/externally)
  • Inflamed mucous membranes
  • Osteoporosis
  • Repetitive injury problems like:
    • tennis elbow
    • carpal tunnel
    • frozen elbow

In the age old honored Doctrine of Signatures, Solomon Seal root looks like bones, joints, knuckles, & vertebrae, which makes it effective for all of the above issues.

As an added extra benefit, Solomon’s Seal also seems to help with menstrual cramps, and it is known to be a good supplement for infertility and impotence!

Solomon’s Seal can be taken internally as a:

  • tea (3-4 cups a day, one teaspoon per boiling cup of water)
  • tincture ( 10-15 drops twice a day, or as per directions on bottle)

and externally as a:

  • salve
  • herbal oil

Please consult your healthcare practitioner for any questions regarding the above information.

Charoula Dontopoulos,
Certified Herbalist


The information in this email is for educational purposes only.  This information is not intended to diagnose, treat illness or prescribe any type of medication or treatment.  For medical needs, we recommend consulting your Medical Doctor, Dietitian or Mental Health Practitioner.