Living Well Blog: Saratoga's Holistic Health Forum


By now, many of you are aware of the important implications that the critters that live in and on our bodies have on our health. Thankfully, we have influence in the population of bugs and creepy crawlers that will live in our cavities. This is through our lifestyle choices. In fact, a few recent studies have reported on these amazing interactions between our non-human inhabitants and our health, what we eat, and the resultant messages they send to our genes!!

In other words, our "buggies in our bellies" influence how our internal and external environment shape our genetic expression and, furthermore, we can impact which buggy friends we live with. This is what I call the study of microbiome (the genetics of the population of our own microbe population) epigenetics (epi= "above", genetics- "genes").


Here's some of these exciting research studies for you to ponder:


Food, Bugs, and You

As mentioned, studies have indicated that diet is one thing that can rapidly change the composition of belly bugs and this can modulate our wellness in many ways- in humans and animals. For this reason, many integrative doctors have changed the phrase, "You are what you eat" to "You are what your gut bugs eat."

Eurekalert just recently reviewed a study indicating how this may be so. Researchers were able to determine a dietary link to what mice ate and the metabolites produced by their gut microbes. These belly bug byproducts resulted in changes in gene expression throughout their body:

You are what you eat, the old saying goes, but why is that so? Researchers have known for some time that diet affects the balance of microbes in our bodies, but how that translates into an effect on the host has not been understood. Now, research in mice is showing that microbes communicate with their hosts by sending out metabolites that act on histones--thus influencing gene transcription not only in the colon but also in tissues in other parts of the body. The findings publish November 23 in Molecular Cell.

As you may expect, the quality of the food counted:

Furthermore, they found that mice given a Western diet didn't produce certain metabolites at the same levels as mice who ate the healthier diet. "We thought that those metabolites--the short-chain fatty acids acetate, propionate, and butyrate, which are mostly produced by microbial fermentation of fiber--may be important for driving some of the epigenetic effects that we observed in mouse tissues," Denu says.

The next step was to connect changes in metabolite production to epigenetic changes. When they looked at tissues in the mice, they found differences in global histone acetylation and methylation based on which diet the mice consumed. "Our findings suggest a fairly profound effect on the host at the level of chromatin alteration," Denu explains. "This mechanism affects host health through differential gene expression."

Another recent study looked at the macronutrient content using a model of 25 different diets in rodent experiments. The researchers then determined the potential effect of each component on their microbiome. These results could provide further clues on additional ways that dietary choices modulate our own microbe community.


Microbes-Immune-Gene Interactions

From a series of three related papers, Science Daily reported on other specific environmental, genetic, and microbe factors that impacted immune response in humans. This gene-microbiome-immune connection was summarized as follows:

A study led by investigators at Massachusetts General Hospital (MGH), the Broad Institute of MIT and Harvard, and two academic medical centers in the Netherlands has begun to elucidate how differences in the gut microbiome -- the microbial population of the gastrointestinal tract -- affect the immune response in healthy individuals. The study is one of three related papers published in this week's issue of Cell, the other two looking at genetic and environmental influences, as part of the Human Functional Genomics Project (HFGP).

"The underlying premise of the HFGP is that the immune system is a perfect target for studying human variation and the intersection of genes and the environment," says Ramnik Xavier, MD, PhD, chief of the MGH Gastrointestinal Unit, an institute member at the Broad and a principal investigator of the HFGP. "We know that some people are more susceptible to infections than others; some develop autoimmune diseases while most don't. In these studies we wanted to see how genes affect the immune system, how environmental factors affect susceptibility and in this investigation, whether and how the gut microbiome influences the immune system's response to various pathogens."


Summary and Conclusion

We are host to many critters that live inside and on our bodies. These little guys interact with our cells and modulate responses that impact our health in many ways. New studies are showing that what we feed them effects the signals they give to our cells and can potentially alter the response of our genes. Furthermore, the more researchers study gut bugs, the more evidence we have that what we generally consider to be part of a healthy diet- fibers, veggies, and whole, unprocessed foods- creates healthy bodies. However, now we are learning this may be related to the responses of our non-human inhabitants and their signaling to all the body's systems.

For more information and to learn some quick tips on how to treat your critters well, click here.

I have another blog on my homepage that you can read here. This week: The connection of smell and pain.


Happy Thanksgiving week everyone!!

Below are some of my favorite blogs from this month. They are short and sweet and provide you with some more tips from different authors' viewpoints. You may want to bookmark this page and come back to it throughout the week for a "sanity check-in."


7 Habits for a Happy, Healthy Holiday Season (Chopra Center)

- For those doing the meal prep work, don't forgot to check out the "Doing Something Special for Yourself" section! In fact, I'm going to even provide it below. I believe this is too important and too often overlooked- that those who take care of others often neglect themselves!

As you're running from one thing to the next, it can be easy to forget that in order to care well for others, you need to take care of yourself first. Treat yourself to something special this holiday season, honoring who you are and showing that you are worth your own time and energy.

Try one of these kind gestures to yourself in the midst of the rush:

  • Stop and buy yourself a favorite coffee or tea in the middle of errands
  • Get home an hour early and enjoy a cup of tea or hot cocoa by a fire
  • Try a fun, new restaurant alone or with a close friend
  • Turn off your phone for an entire morning or afternoon (let your loved ones know ahead of time)
  • Explore a holiday flea market for fun gift ideas
  • Schedule a massage
  • Get a pedicure
  • Take a yoga or meditation workshop


11 Strategies for Getting Through the Holidays Without Weight Gain  (Washington Post)

- For those who want practical, no-nonsense, simple strategies to keep hunger and wandering hands-to-mouth at bay, this is a good quick-read. The suggestions are simple. For example, one tip is to eat a little bit of something prior to your turkey day gathering. This is so you won't be starving on arrival and apt to eat everything that doesn't run off your plate! In fact, there is evidence that if you aren't used to fasting, the "save up for one meal" approach could backfire. Other good tips include drinking water and loading up on veggies!


9 Ways To Avoid Holiday Season Weight Gain (BrainMD)

 - For those who want some additional tips from a brain expert, this article is for you! After all, our brain is what makes us follow through with healthy food choices, when it's balanced! Below is one of my favorite tips. It's a good reminder to enjoy the moment!

Try to remember that the holiday season is about more than just food. Make socializing, rather than food, the focus of the event. Next time you go to a holiday party, make it your goal to have a conversation with each person and take time to admire the decorations. If there is entertainment, be sure to enjoy it.


8 Tips to Keep Your Clients Following Their Nutrition Plans (the NDDC)

- For those who want the emotional aspect and a doc's perspective on what works, you will love this one!


Thanksgiving Meal Makeover: Ingredient Swaps to Make Your Holiday Healthier (Chopra Center)

- For those who want a healthier Turkey Day this year and are overwhelmed with details, check this out!


Supplementing for Success

-Add Probiotics on the Side of Your Turkey for Blood Sugar Balancing

-4 Tips For a Happier & Healthier Thanksgiving & How Genuine Essential Oils Can Help - okay, this is my blog from last year, but it offers some additional digestive advice so you can keep your tummy happy if a little indulging is on your list...


Check out my homepage for more resources, tips, and recipes for a healthier, happier, saner holiday season!! Many blessings and gratitude to you all!


For many, the words "aromatherapy" and "essential oils" conjure up images of a relaxing spa message or a room emitting a musky fragrance from an incense burner in the corner. However, this perception of essential oils as being used for soothing, enhancing well-being, or as a safe alternative to toxic compounds, doesn't go far enough. They are much more powerful!

The University of Maryland's Complementary and Alternative Medicine Guide reports that over 6000 years ago, essential oils were "being used for spiritual, therapeutic, hygienic, and ritualistic purposes." In fact, the authors state, "Aromatherapy did not become popular in the United States until the 1980s. Today, many lotions, candles, and beauty products are sold as 'aromatherapy.' However, many of these products contain synthetic fragrances that do not have the same properties as essential oils." (I expanded on the history, science, and applications of ancient aromatherapy in my article on Thieves™ essential oil, which you can access here.)

Furthermore, the National Association for Holistic Aromatherapy (NAHA) writes on their website:

Aromatherapy, also referred to as Essential Oil therapy, can be defined as the art and science of utilizing naturally extracted aromatic essences from plants to balance, harmonize and promote the health of body, mind and spirit.  It seeks to unify physiological, psychological and spiritual processes to enhance an individual's innate healing process.

It was the French perfumer and chemist, Rene- Maurice Gattefosse, who coined the term "aromatherapie" in 1937 with his publication of a book by that name. His book "Gattefosse's Aromatherapy" contains early clinical findings for utilizing essential oils for a range of physiological ailments. It seems vital to understand what Gattefosse's intention for coining the word was, as he clearly meant to distinguish the medicinal application of essential oils from their perfumery applications.

So we can interpret his coining of the word "Aromatherapie" to mean the therapeutic application or the medicinal use of aromatic substances (essential oils) for holistic healing. As the practice of aromatherapy has progressed, over the years, it has adopted a more holistic approach encompassing the whole body, mind and spirit (energy).

WebMD goes far enough to say that oils can be used as a treatment, which is an FDA no-no claim for distributors of essential oils!


Healing at Your Nose

Thankfully the perception that volatile scents are mostly for beauty, fragrance, and relaxation is being expanded to include their therapeutic applications, with a little help from marketing. states, "A form of alternative medicine, aromatherapy is gaining momentum. It is used for a variety of applications, including pain relief, mood enhancement and increased cognitive function." (Interesting on how an ancient medicine that has been around for thousands of years is considered an "alternative.")

Earlier this week, I released an article describing how essential oils can support us in stressful times, through multiple mechanisms. As explained in a previous blog, essential oils are synergetic and very versatile in how they enhance our wellness. "...essential oils have much more applications beyond soothing effects and smelling pretty. Essential oils don't just impact our sense of well-being, but can impact many pathways at once.5,8,11 This means a pleasant scent doesn't just have effects on calming our brain, but can also affect our hormones, neurotransmitters, and stress response, making their impact profound and holistic."

In fact, one article in Current Drug Targets discussed the molecular pathways modulated by essential oils as follows, "In the current study, the effectiveness of aromatherapy for alleviating psychiatric disorders was examined using data collected from previously published studies and our unpublished data. A possible signaling pathway from olfactory system to the central nerve system and the associated key molecular elements of aromatherapy are also proposed."


My Clinical Experience

I was just sent a question from a wonderful newbie if essential oils could harm the gut microbiome. Here was my response:

"There is evidence the oils positively influence the belly bugs and support digestive health as they kill bad critters. Essential oils are also antioxidants and immune balancers. This means they don't only get rid of the bad bugs, they support our bodies as they do it! Initially, someone could experience a "die off response" causing gas and bloating; however, this is usually temporary as the body's belly ecology rebalances. In this case, you may want to support the digestive tract and make sure the gut lining is intact to prevent discomfort. Peppermint can also be helpful as a digestive tonic."

Recently, a few of my clients have had some digestive distress or microbe infections. The response I get after I suggest oils is the same, "those oils are something! I felt better in a day! Even though symptoms took a little while to go away, the well-being was there immediately and I could feel my body get stronger."

Yup, that's our oils folks!! How grateful are we all for this!! Have a beautiful weekend and don't forget to use those tips in my stress blog as needed.

Click here to read my latest blog, "Five Tips to Support You Through the Holidays, Political Havoc, and Hormones."

You can begin using essential oils, and become a member of my team, for whole body wellness by contacting me here.


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This material is for information purposes only and is not intended to diagnose, treat, or prescribe for any illness. You should check with your doctor regarding implementing any new strategies into your wellness regime. These statements have not been evaluated by the FDA.






Welcoming with Gratitude the Gifts of November!

This is one of my favorite months of the year.  Besides gaining one hour of sleep, November contains a holiday dear to my heart, Thanksgiving. This sacred day to me represents a time when loved ones all gather together "to share in the year's harvest" and give thanks for all our blessings. The presents received are not material, but in the presence of those who surround us and the memories we share of those special people who have touched our lives in passing.

Having gratitude is not just a "Pollyanna" emotion, it's a profound healing expression. Scientists have researched the wellness benefits of cultivating gratitude. These include associations with well-being, less visits to physicians, better relationships, as a motivator of actions, improved sleep, and cardiovascular health.

Still, holidays can also be stressful if we get lost in the business of prepping or caught up in unhealthy family dynamics. Furthermore, November is also the time when one of the most heated, debated, and internationally-emotionally charged American elections comes to a close. I have provided a blog on how to mitigate the stress of the election and holidays on my homepage here.

Now, I want to provide you with an overview of some of my favorite essential oils for preparing me for a peaceful and happy holiday season.

Gratitude in a Bottle

These precious oils not only support our bodies but they also balance our emotional health as well. Furthermore, inhaling these sacred scents can tame cravings which can mitigate the fat gain that tends to occur with the Turkey Day feast.

Here is a list of my top five essential oils for upcoming holy and family celebrations:

Sacred Frankincense: This oil is a rare species of frankincense that is grown and distilled in Oman. It has many health benefits to support our body, mind, and spirit through the holiday season that are too long to list. Click here for Part I and Part II of my series on "What's so Sacred About Frankincense."

Frankincense: What better way to begin the month of thanks with the "gifts of the season," including another species of frankincense and myrrh essential oils? Click here to learn more about frankincense and how it differs from sacred frankincense.

Myrrh: Click here to learn more about the underappreciated "sidekick" to frankincense and how it can be used to support the immune system and brain.

A Blend of Christmas Spirit™:  This is a blend of Orange, Cinnamon, and Spruce essential oils. I love to diffuse it in my home as soon as the cold air hits. The smell provokes happy memories of holidays and reminders of the sweet-smells of the season of giving! Click here to learn more about Christmas Spirit.

Peppermint Oil: A perfect remedy for the gastrointestinal discomfort that can occur with consuming too many "treats."  Visit my essential oils database to view all five articles on peppermint.

If you want to learn more about essential oils and their uses, view my full database here and sign-up for my essential oil weekly E-blasts. If you want to work with my oil team members and myself, make sure you contact me here.

Happy oiling!


P.S. I'd love to tweet with you here.

Join my Facebook group to learn more about all topics related to health!

This material is for information purposes only and is not intended to diagnose, treat, or prescribe for any illness. You should check with your doctor regarding implementing any new strategies into your wellness regime. These statements have not been evaluated by the FDA.





According to LiveScience, the origin of Halloween is still up for debate. In the article "History of Halloween", the author writes:

Halloween, also known as All Hallows' Eve, can be traced back about 2,000 years to a pre-Christian Celtic festival held around Nov. 1 called Samhain (pronounced "sah-win"), which means "summer's end" in Gaelic, according to the Indo-European Etymological Dictionaries. [13 Halloween Superstitions & Traditions Explained]

Because ancient records are sparse and fragmentary, the exact nature of Samhain is not fully understood, but it was an annual communal meeting at the end of the harvest year, a time to gather resources for the winter months and bring animals back from the pastures. Samhain is also thought to have been a time of communing with the dead, according to folklorist John Santino.

"There was a belief that it was a day when spirits of the dead would cross over into the other world," Santino told Live Science. Such moments of transition in the year have always been thought to be special and supernatural, he added.

Halloween provides a safe way to play with the concept of death, Santino said. People dress up as the living dead, and fake gravestones adorn front lawns -- activities that wouldn't be tolerated at other times of the year, he said.

But according to Nicholas Rogers, a history professor at York University in Toronto and author of "Halloween: From Pagan Ritual to Party Night" (Oxford University Press, 2003), "there is no hard evidence that Samhain was specifically devoted to the dead or to ancestor worship. 

Beyond the debate of Halloween's origin, there is also the concern by some on the focus of evil. Furthermore, on my homepage blog, I discuss another potential apprehension of falling into treats and sugar addiction, which you can read here.

However, the focus on the days of treats and tricks doesn't have focus on either side of the food extremes of avoidance or binging. Furthermore, there is more to reflect upon than scary and evil games. Chopra Center lists six reasons. These include: getting outdoors, community involvement, embracing creativity, treats (and how to get healthful trades), celebrating giving and receiving, and captivating imagination!

I love the ending to this blog, it states:

In the end, just remember not to make your parenting feel like policing of their loot. Teaching them to learn their own healthy habits is more empowering than having them strictly follow your candy rules. And talking about it opens great dialogue about health and balance.

A night of costumes, candy, and children doesn't have to be a nightmare. It is all in your perspective.


Some Tasty Treats for Happy, Healthy, Little Tummies and Adult Bellies

Speaking of creativity, you can catch the ways you can make Halloween treats "good" from the Young Living blog. There's time before the youngsters head out. The latest Grow! Magazine writes:

Give the kids a break from sugary candy with these health-conscious alternatives! Our fun recipes for a Fruit Spider, a peanut butter and apple Ogre's Overbite, and an essential oil-infused Witch's Brew are delightful and seasonal--without all the added sugar!

Here's another oily resource for you on essential oils that support a healthy blood sugar level. Some oils that have been studied include lavender, cinnamon, Korean pine, lemon balm, as well as others. This is just in case a bite or two of sugar does pass those healthy lips!


What to Do if You Can't Stop the Hand-to-Mouth Shoveling?

(1) Here's a list of resources for educating yourself on food addiction.

(2) Here are some simple tips from my blog on Natural Path:

  • Know if You're a "Moderator" or "Abstainer"
  • Exercise
  • Use Stress Reduction and Mindfulness
  • Support Brain Balance (balance the different areas of the brain by using specific nutrients to target imbalances and support neurotransmitter balance through hormonal modulation, microbiome health, blood sugar balance).
  • Modulate Mood and Emotions with Essential Oils
  • (I also just wrote a blog on how aroma modulates appetite and hunger)

Click here to read more

You can also watch the two part video with Dr. Amen on my homepage


Have a safe, happy, and healthy Halloween everyone!! Thanks for being a "treat" in my world in so many ways!!


Disclaimer: This information is applicable ONLY for therapeutic quality essential oils. This information DOES NOT apply to essential oils that have not been tested for purity and standardized constituents. There is no quality control in the United States, and oils labeled as "100% pure" need only to contain 5% of the actual oil. The rest of the bottle can be filled with fillers and sometimes toxic ingredients that can irritate the skin.

This material is for information purposes only and is not intended to diagnose, treat, or prescribe for any illness. You should check with your doctor regarding implementing any new strategies into your wellness regime. These statements have not been evaluated by the FDA.

While I was doing some digging for the second part of my series on quality of essential oils on my homepage, I discovered a list of amazing abstracts on essential oils from the 2016 International Symposium of Essential Oils*.  

This sent me to explore my find of the 183-page list of exciting research. I reviewed some of the abstracts on quality already on my blog, including the one which caught my attention on analyzing the different constituents found in various species of cinnamon essential oils. (pg 63) I also made note of some other topics I thought were interesting. I have listed them below:

Essential oils and physiology: This abstract explored the effect of odor stimulation on physiological measurements of the autonomic nervous system response (pg 46)

Sandalwood oil's calming effect on smokers and nonsmokers (pg 141)

Essential oils' vapor effect for inhibiting a respiratory pathogen (a, pg 49)

Respiratory health: The effect of thyme oil (thymus vulgaris) inhalation on rodents in protection of airway inflammation (pg 52) and cinnamon reducing airway "hyperresponsiveness" in rodents (pg 67) (I wrote more about the health aspects of diffusing essential oils on this blog here.)

A model study showing that Eucalyptus globulus has an insignificant effect on beneficial bacteria but influences the killing of a pathogen (pg 140). This is good news for gut health!

Synergism with compounds in essential oils and antibiotics (pg 138)

The use of grapefruit oil for decreasing appetite in rodents and lavender appearing to stimulate it. (pg 24) I have written previously on the effects of aroma on appetite. It is quite a complex interaction that involves the odor itself, hunger, taste, emotions, and the physiological effects of the essential oil. Here are my thoughts on this study:

This may be due to the nervous system responses to the scents. For example, grapefruit can be stimulating, whereas, lavender is calming. When the body is relaxed, in this case by smelling, lavender it may assist with the beginning stage of digestion. However, I could not access the entire paper to fully determine the mechanisms and see the correlations with humans. The study was meant to test how these two oils modulated blood flow to the skeletal muscle. The researchers found that lavender did enhance blood flow.

Now, I don't think this means that lavender will be an "appetite stimulant", but it may help rats that are in a cage and stressed relax and gobble more.

I hope you enjoying taking a dive into some of the up-to-date research on essential oils. As you can see, essential oils have many wellness uses. Remember to use them safely and responsibly. You can learn more about these plant secondary metabolites on my database of essential oils here.

*note, pages are by PDF reading, NOT pages of abstracts

*Please review the abstracts and articles for specific brands and methods on oils used in studies to determine quality control. Not all studies use the same brand of oils or methods to distill their own. This can result in differences in outcomes.



Essential oils used in aromatherapy: A systemic review. Asian Pacific Journal of Tropical Biomedicine. August 2015.

2016 International Symposium of Essential Oils Book of abstracts.pdf

My interview on essential oils for the Healthy Gut Thinner You Summit was just released. You can find out how to access it and get some additional resources on essential oils quality here.

Since I covered essential oils for the main page blog, my favorite topic, I thought I'd cover some more updates on some of the articles I've been reading about healthy bellies and gut bugs.


Your Heredity Influence of Your Microbiome

The first study was really cool and reported on Science Daily on October 3rd. It discussed how our microbiome was influenced by our genetics! Here's the excerpt:

Our genes determine to some extent which bacteria live in our intestines. Studies on human twins and experimental work with animals have both confirmed that our microbiome is partly hereditary. But so far, there was only limited information about the host genes that affect the microbiome. Now a new study has associated genetic loci and specific genes in human DNA to bacterial species and their metabolic signatures. (

Still, remember nature versus nurture is always at play and we can modulate and optimize our belly bugs with lifestyle choices, most importantly a healthy diet. Here's a link to other factors.


Probiotics, Fiber, and Peppermint Helpful for Bowel Disorders

A recent analysis of various natural modalities to support bowel disorders found evidence for several therapeutic interventions that were natural. Here's the abstract that includes my two favorite things:

Functional bowel disorders (FBDs), mainly irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) and functional constipation (FC, also called chronic idiopathic constipation), are highly diffused worldwide. Inflammatory bowel disease (IBD), including ulcerative colitis and Crohn's disease, although less common, has a strong impact on patients' quality of life, as well as is highly expensive for our healthcare. A definite cure for those disorders is still yet to come. Over the years, several therapeutic approaches complementary or alternative to traditional pharmacological treatments, including probiotics, prebiotics, synbiotics, fiber and herbal medicinal products, have been investigated for the management of both groups of diseases. However, most available studies are biased by several drawbacks, including small samples and poor methodological quality. Probiotics, in particular Saccharomyces boulardii and Lactobacilli (among which Lactobacillus rhamnosus), synbiotics, psyllium, and some herbal medicinal products, primarily peppermint oil, seem to be effective in ameliorating IBS symptoms. Synbiotics and fiber seem to be beneficial in FC patients. The probiotic combination VSL#3 may be effective in inducing remission in patients with mild-to-moderate UC, in whom Escherichia coli Nissle 1917 seems to be as effective as mesalamine in maintaining remission. No definite conclusions can be drawn as to the efficacy of fiber and herbal medicinal products in IBD patients due to the low number of studies and the lack of RCTs that replicate the results obtained in the individual studies conducted so far. Thus, further, well-designed studies are needed to address the real role of these therapeutic options in the management of both FBDs and IBD. (;jsessionid=D72AEB8F83C317107EDBB8C79E32A32E.f03t04)



Intestinal Diversity and Allergy Risk Linked in Children

The theme of the summit was that having a healthy gut means a healthy body. Here's a study that demonstrates how a belly full of good bugs influences asthma and allergy risk in the young:

Children who develop asthma or allergies have an altered immune response to intestinal bacteria in the mucous membranes even when infants, according to a new study. The results also suggests that the mother's immune defense plays a role in the development of asthma and allergies in children. (


You can also learn how essential oils support your gut health more here. Happy and health guts to you all!

Did you know that your fillings could be affecting your health?  The University of Georgia's website recently reported, "Dental surface restorations composed of dental amalgam, a mixture of mercury, silver, tin and other metals, significantly contribute to prolonged mercury levels in the body, according to new research from the University of Georgia's department of environmental health science in the College of Public Health. This research, which analyzed data from nearly 15,000 individuals, is the first to demonstrate a relationship between dental fillings and mercury exposure in a nationally representative population."

According to Ecotoxicology and Environmental Safety, "The potential adverse health effects of mercury from amalgam and bisphenol A (BPA) from composite resin have been significant concerns. It is unclear whether dental restorative materials significantly contribute to mercury or BPA levels. The purpose of this study is to use NHANES data including 14,703 subjects (2003-2004: n=7514; 2011-2012: n=7189) to examine the association between Dental Surface Restorations (DSR) and blood total mercury (THg), inorganic mercury (IHg), methyl mercury (MeHg) and urinary BPA through the stratification of covariates and multivariate analysis."

This is a "big win" finding for advocates of Mercury Free Dentistry. The study's results indicate  levels of elevation of both forms of mercury in the blood of subjects with mercury fillings. This provides further ammunition that mercury in the mouth is not inert, a controversial subject in the dental industry for years.

Adding fuel to the fire, a related study on the negative impacts of mercury in the body reported that it may trump exercise benefits. This trial, published in Environmental Health Prospectives, was a cross-sectional association design of a population of 262 subjects. They had all been tested for prenatal methylmercury exposure and were analyzed at age 22 years. The researchers were seeking to find mercury's effects on memory and processing in association with exercise. The authors stated, "Higher aerobic capacity was associated with better performance in short-term memory and processing speed. However, prenatal methylmercury exposure seemed to attenuate these positive associations."

This is concerning, because exercise has been shown in many studies to support brain health and provides a simple intervention for potentially preserving cognition. In fact in a new study, with 12 master athletes, researchers showed that after just 10 days of exercise cessation there were changes with less blood flow to the brain. Thankfully, the short-term effects didn't seem to effect cognition, as based on a verbal fluency test. Translation of this study's results could be limited to a specific population, but it is intriguing in providing evidence of how moving the body effects blood flow to the brain. Long-term this could have profound implications, especially if one combines inactivity with mercury exposure.

You can read one of my previous posts on the mouth-body health link here.  Then click here to continue reading about the concerns I have with mercury-filled mouths and some helpful solutions. Knowing about the problem isn't enough, it's best to protect your body and health with support so that you can live your best life!


I just recently returned from a magical 4-day training and retreat on essential oils. I witnessed first-hand the seed-to-seal process and what it takes to make quality, therapeutic oils. You can read more about that here.

Essential oils are often misunderstood and I recently blogged to my essential oil subscribers some of the major myths circulating the web regarding essential oils. Below is the full E-blast for your reading pleasure and some additional bonus updates on lavender.


Fact or Fiction?

We live in a time where it's especially hard to shift through and determine facts from myths. This is due to the explosion of websites and the ease of anyone now being able to set up a professional looking blog. However, "a blog does not an expert make."

It's important to look for references and use your own experience before taking someone else's opinion to be fact, especially if their points are highlighted with tempting tech glitzes. Unfortunately, some "experts" may really have nothing more than their opinion and sales pitches to support their own bottom line. Many do not have the education and expertise needed for truly helping or educating someone. In fact, even with research studies, statistics and headlines can be manipulated or misinterpreted to favor a writer's opinion, such as on the topic of supplements.

With essential oils, it's an absolute jungle out there!! Have you noticed?

Well, here's some good news for you today...

Take 20 minutes when you can and listen to (the very energetic and peppy) Lindsey Elmore, a pharmacist and expert in essential oils.  You'll be glad you did, because you'll get a summary of some of the most controversial issues in regards to using our favorite secondary metabolites.

She reviews the following myths and facts and I have provided you the references in my previous blogs:

  • The grapefruit oil controversy (I wrote about that here.)
  • The (un)link to lavender and breast swelling in boys (Again, here's my link.)
  • The cautions with wintergreen (She and I are on the same page.)


You can also check out my database for a whole series of articles on essential oils and safe use.

More Reasons to Love on Lavender

Now that you are confident that pure lavender essential oil will not make your son's breasts grow, I have even more reasons to love on this beautiful oil.

Recently, I was reading a blog on "7 Healing Uses for Lavender Essential Oil" on Green Med info. As I was cross-referencing some of the studies, a few "newbies to me" caught my attention.  I thought I had a complete geek-out from my previous blog here, but the wonders of lavender can never be fully explored in a lifetime. Here's what I learned...


Lavender and Calming- More Than One Explanation

If you read my blog on lavender, you probably vaguely remember how I explained that lavender has a relaxing effect on the brain. This makes it optimal for calming and decreasing stress. In a recent study, researchers determined that they didn't find specific cortisol (a hormone involved in the stress response) modulating effects with lavender. Rather, they felt that expectancy and pleasurable experience with the scent interacted with its pharmacologic properties to produce its relaxing properties. The researchers also concluded that although lavender may not be best for use with initial recall taks, it could help with post-stress performance of a memory task. Here is the abstract of the methods and conclusions:


Objective: Aromas may improve physiologic and cognitive function after stress, but associated mechanisms remain unknown. This study evaluated the effects of lavender aroma, which is commonly used for stress reduction, on physiologic and cognitive functions. The contribution of pharmacologic, hedonic, and expectancy-related mechanisms of the aromatherapy effects was evaluated.


Methods: Ninety-two healthy adults (mean age, 58.0 years; 79.3% women) were randomly assigned to three aroma groups (lavender, perceptible placebo [coconut], and nonperceptible placebo [water] and to two prime subgroups (primed, with a suggestion of inhaling a powerful stress-reducing aroma, or no prime). Participants' performance on a battery of cognitive tests, physiologic responses, and subjective stress were evaluated at baseline and after exposure to a stress battery during which aromatherapy was present. Participants also rated the intensity and pleasantness of their assigned aroma.


Results: Pharmacologic effects of lavender but not placebo aromas significantly benefited post-stress performance on the working memory task (F(2,86)=5.41; p=0.006). Increased expectancy due to positive prime, regardless of aroma type, facilitated post-stress performance on the processing speed task (F(1,87)=8.31; p=0.005). Aroma hedonics (pleasantness and intensity) played a role in the beneficial lavender effect on working memory and physiologic function.


Conclusions: The observable aroma effects were produced by a combination of mechanisms involving aroma-specific pharmacologic properties, aroma hedonic properties, and participant expectations. In the future, each of these mechanisms could be manipulated to produce optimal functioning. (Chamine Irina and Oken Barry S. The Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine. September 2016, 22(9): 713-721. doi:10.1089/acm.2015.0349.)


Interestingly, in another recent study, which was single-blinded, an effect of lavender essence on modulation of cortisol and stressful feelings in candidates for open-heart surgery was shown. I did mention in my geek-out blog a combination of lavender and rosemary did as well.


So, what's the verdict?


It appears that all of these studies have some confounding biases and limitations; however, one thing IS clear. Regardless of how it does it, lavender tends to be relaxing for most people, which is probably why it has a reputation for its soothing action. Furthermore, the quality of the essential oil and the constituents present would affect the results obtained from sniffing a bottle of lavender oil, and not all oils are the same. Therefore, it's important to not only choose your right oil for you, but to choose the right company for quality.


Happy and safe oiling to you all! Let's all continue to share our true experiences with the oils and the research and facts and mitigate those scary myths!




In one of my latest E-Blasts to my essential oil followers, I highlighted why I was going crazy over an essential oils blend, Thieves® . I've been obsessing on this blend and researching it for some time now.

It's important to note that this company doesn't contain the only formulation of this ancient blend. You can read the full background in a recent article that was posted on Ben Greenfield's website here.

Below are some of the resources mentioned in the E-blast and a few of my own. I think, after reading this, you'll see why it's one of my favorite oils for diffusing and using on a daily basis.

Why I'm Going Thieves® Crazy:

1. Diffusing Power!

Of Microbes: Did you know that Thieves® was studied in vitro to inhibit unwanted microbes in the environment? Here is the link to the blog that summarizes this study and provides the reference. I also reported on a recent in vitro study that demonstrated how clove oil was among several oils to have protective effects on lung cells exposed to pollution.

Of Mold: A case study supported how the blend of Thieves® essential oil worked well in suppressing mold spores from a water damaged building. Here is an excerpt from my blog:

In fact, in 2005, Edward Close, PhD, a mold remediation consultant, performed a third-party sampling for mold in an apartment complex that had been evacuated related to a flooding. The new buyer had hired an expert to remediate it using a hospital disinfectant; however, Dr. Close's sampling from that treatment showed mold was still present. When Dr. Close diffused Young Living Thieves® Blend under the same controlled conditions, he had amazing results.

There were 10,667 stachybotrys mold (a form of toxic mold) spores identified in a per cubic meter area and after diffusing Thieves® essential oil for 48 hours, Dr. Close found only thirteen stachybotrys remaining. In a sample of sheetrock of 75,000 stachybotrys mold spores and after 72 hours of diffusing, no stachybotrys mold spores remained. Furthermore, the mold did not re-establish itself because the Thieves® continued to work for hours after diffusing (23).

This link further discusses the power of using essential oils for defending the body against unwanted mold spores and supporting the lungs, including the oils of cinnamon and clove found in Thieves®.

2. The Concept of Synergism!

On my essential oils database, I provide resources for learning more about the individual oils of rosemary, clove, cinnamon, eucalyptus, and lemon. Click on the individual oils and you'll see why the blend is so powerful.

3. Versatility!

This product page posts all the products that contain this wonderful oil blend found in one click! Learn all about its uses, including its benefits for safe cleaning and personal care.

4. DIY's Galore

Click here to read some helpful DIY's and tricks that you can use with this or your favorite similar essential oils blend!

Happy oiling!


 You can learn more and join my team of essential oils support here.

Disclaimer: This information is applicable ONLY for therapeutic quality essential oils. This information DOES NOT apply to essential oils that have not been tested for purity and standardized constituents. There is no quality control in the United States, and oils labeled as "100% pure" need only to contain 5% of the actual oil. The rest of the bottle can be filled with fillers and sometimes toxic ingredients that can irritate the skin.

This material is for information purposes only and is not intended to diagnose, treat, or prescribe for any illness. You should check with your doctor regarding implementing any new strategies into your wellness regime. These statements have not been evaluated by the FDA.

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Reisa Mehlman

As a New York State Licensed Aesthetician, New York State Licensed Nail Specialist, and the Director of Living Well Healing Arts Center & Spa, Reisa combines her love of spa services and healing arts to achieve optimum skin and nail health, create greater overall wellness and bring forth our optimal, individual beauty.

"I believe that the day spa should be an instant getaway; a place that is quiet without being stuffy, relaxed, elegant and yet entirely comfy. You should feel warm and welcome, surrounded by people who care about you and what they are doing. This is the environment we strive to create at Living Well Healing Arts Center & Spa. Here, you are never just the "next" number; we allow ample time for your services, offer a flexible schedule and can be reached after hours. After all, to me, spa craft is not really a business, it's a lifestyle." Read more...

About Dr. Sarah Lobisco

Dr. LoBisco has been in holistic healthcare for over 10 years. She became interested in holistic medicine when she was able to heal two herniated discs through nutrition, yoga, supplementation, and chiropractic. She has mentored with holistic practices throughout New York, Vermont, and Connecticut. In addition to her Naturopathic and Functional Medical training, Dr. LoBisco has extensive training in a variety of healing modalities, including therapeutic essential oils, nutraceuticals, herbs, whole food supplements, nutritional medicine, and mind-body therapies. She is a graduate of the accredited, four year post-graduate program in Naturopathic Medicine at the University of Bridgeport in Connecticut. This program includes clinical rotations and a demanding scientific curriculum in integrating conventional and natural medicine. Dr. LoBisco holds her license from the state of Vermont.

Dr. LoBisco has completed her postdoctoral training as a certified functional medicine practitioner. She is also certified in Applied Kinesiology and holds a BA in psychology from SUNY Geneseo. She has contributed as an item writer for the North American Board of Naturopathic Examiners (NABNE)and has several articles that have been published in the Naturopathic Doctor News and Review Digest (NDNR) and the Townsend Letter, both physician- based journals. Dr. LoBisco is also a hired speaker on integrative medical topics for medical professionals.

Dr. LoBisco currently incorporates her training in holistic medical practices and conventional medicine through writing, researching, private practice, and through her independent contracting work for companies regarding supplements, nutraceuticals, essential oils, and medical foods. She has a small, private wellness consultation practice through telephone and Skype. Dr. LoBisco also enjoys continuing to educate and empower her readers through her blogs and social media. Her new book, BreakFree Medicine, is now available on Amazon and through Barnes & Noble. Please inquire here for more specific information.

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