August 2, 2021 by Dr. Bridget Williams 0 Comments

To Wind Down, Listen Up: All About Sound Therapy

There’s something so calming about a quiet spring evening: the birdsongs, the rustling of budding leaves in the wind as crickets chirp across the grass. Walking outside, closing my eyes, taking some deep breaths, and really listening to the sounds around me are all it takes for me to find myself feeling more relaxed. 

 

While taking in sounds to decompress may feel like a natural instinct, there’s an emerging science behind it. Although sound has been used as a therapeutic tool for millennia (think Tibeten singing bowls), the benefits of sound therapy continue to be studied. While scientific research can be a slow process, people across the planet are experimenting on their own with sound therapy and reporting positive benefits for relaxation and mental health. Interested? You can try yourself with simple exercises at home.  

 

Autonomous Sensory Meridian Response (ASMR)

 

Whispering voices, soft repetitive sounds, definitive textures: ASMR videos channel soothing stimuli, seeking different “triggers” for relaxation. Some people who experience ASMR describe a tingling sensation beginning in the scalp and flowing down the spine. Many others who do not experience a physical reaction nevertheless find the trigger sounds deeply relaxing. 

 

And what are these sounds? They can be anything from the clicking of fingernails running over the bristles of a plastic hairbrush, to the white noise of a hairdryer, to soft human whispers (painter Bob Ross’ shows are an ASMR trigger for some). Video role plays of relaxing experiences – such as a visit to a salon – are also popular. Whether you prefer visual or auditory stimuli for sleep, searching YouTube for ASMR videos is a good place to get started: from there you can see what soothes you. 

 

Guided Meditation

 

The benefits of meditation for mental and physical health are well-documented. From stress-reduction to improving overall well-being, bringing meditation into our regular routine can help us approach our lives more calmly and thoughtfully, as well as improve relaxation. Yet beginning a meditation practice is difficult for many people. Living in this age of constant stimulation, finding quiet focus often feels challenging; so much so that many people abandon the practice before experiencing the benefits. 

 

Guided meditation is a great way to experience the benefits of meditation, and it’s also great for beginners. An experienced practitioner will talk you through a routine that often involves bringing awareness to every part of your body. Most guided meditations also offer positive ideas, affirmations,  and visualizations in order to improve your mindset. Since most of us are used to listening, having a voice to focus on can be easier than starting with another form of meditation practice. 

 

Ready to get started? Very Well Mind recently put together a list of the six best guided meditations of 2021, each with a slightly different focus, so you can start with what you need most. 

 

Binaural beats

 

Nothing better tests the theory that soundwaves can change brainwaves than binaural beats. Think of them as a sound wave frequency shortcut for your brain. By playing slightly different low and mid-low frequency sound waves in each ear through headphones, your brain will “tune” to a new frequency. As Psychology Today explains it:

 

If your left ear receives a 300-hertz tone and your right ear receives a 280-hertz tone, your brain will process and absorb a 10-hertz tone. That’s a very low-frequency soundwave—one you can’t actually hear. But you don’t need to hear the sound for your brain to be affected by it.

 

In other words, listening to binaural beats tricks your brain into experiencing new soundwaves that many find beneficial and relaxing. According to Healthline, for the practice to work, the soundwaves must be less than 1000 Hz, and they must be no less than 30 Hz apart. Some scientists believe the soundwaves can slow the brainwaves themselves, leading to a state of calm. 

 

The internet offers lots of binaural beats at the proper frequencies. You might want to start with this Spotify playlist. 

 

 

As the world around us slowly begins opening up and we find ourselves with more daily activities—more daily noise—taking time to find quiet for ourselves and our well-being becomes even more important. Hopefully, this list will give you some ideas to try!

Have questions about sound therapy or other types of mental health therapy? Make an appointment with Green Harvest Health today.

April 13, 2021 by Dr. Bridget Williams 0 Comments

Ohioans With Epilepsy Discover Positive Impact of Cannabis

Ohioans With Epilepsy Discover Positive Impact of Cannabis 

Epilepsy is one of the 22 qualifying conditions for which patients in Ohio can now consider medical marijuana as part of their treatment plan. When surveying Ohio patients with epilepsy, several confirm they are indeed finding improved relief with cannabis over their previously prescribed pharmaceuticals.

About Epilepsy 

Epilepsy affects more than 50 million people worldwide. One of the most common neurological disorders, epilepsy is defined by brief surges of uncontrolled electrical activity in the brain, also known as seizures, which can result in unintentional changes in behavior, movement, muscle tone and states of awareness. 

Although some patients with epilepsy are able to notice patterns and therefore can recognize which triggers to avoid, seizures are not predictable. Since they can happen anywhere at any time, these patients might also develop physical injuries such as bruises, cuts, burns, broken bones, and head trauma during a seizure. Additionally, anxiety and depression can develop due 

to the uncertainty of when the next one will occur and the lifestyle changes that accompany this lack of predictability. 

Up to 40 percent of people with epilepsy do not respond to traditional medication regimens. Therefore, new ways to treat epilepsy are desperately needed. This is more likely when the person with epilepsy has additional needs, such as autism and intellectual disability. 

Even those who have had success with pharmaceuticals express concern about the long-term effects of chronic anti-epilepsy drug use. Most medications meant to control seizures can cause drowsiness or dizziness, especially at the beginning of therapy. These medicines can also induce suicidal thoughts or actions, and/or bring on or worsen depression

What Ohio Patients Are Saying About Cannabis for Epilepsy 

Bill M., a Columbus patient with epilepsy, has found that cannabis manages his pain better than his prescriptions did: “My seizures are idiopathic and also fairly controlled with most common meds. I just didn’t like the meds I was given. (Dilantin and Lyrica.)” 

Bill explained that he could go years between his seizures, but he had several from 1999 to 2016. “With doctors not knowing a cause, I finally figured I have never had one when I was under 230 lbs, so I’ve mainly kept my weight below 215 for years. Finally when medical cannabis became legal I got it. I would add some higher CBD strains to the mix, but they weren’t as satisfying for pain relief. So I would do one high CBD flower strain a week until some of the concentrate cartridges became available. They come in higher CBD and THC mixtures, so while I prefer flower, I use these just a few times a week and I’m seizure free for 5 years now.

Another Ohio patient, Kelly M., said she was able to discontinue the use of her epilepsy prescription medications because medical marijuana helps her manage her epilepsy better than ANY of the prescription drugs she’s been on for over a decade. Like many 

patients, she hopes that with federal legalization on the horizon, insurance companies might eventually cover her medical marijuana for her epilepsy. 

“I think insurance should be paying for all of it, ” Kelly said. “Since starting medical marijuana, I also eliminated my thyroid meds, Xanax, and blood pressure meds because all those health issues went away with the use of this plant for me. Meanwhile my insurance company saves thousands each month because I’m not in the hospital anymore and I don’t need two thousand dollars of prescriptions anymore. I would think for them the cost of me on cannabis would be a lot less.” 

We do Cannabis Differently! 

Our goal at Green Harvest Health is to help our patients reclaim their wellness. Not all epilepsy conditions are responsive to medical cannabis. However, even if medical cannabis “only helps” with the physical and mental discomfort of this disorder and doesn’t contribute to managing the occurrence of actual seizures, this still can be incredibly beneficial to the patient and their loved ones. 

There is undeniable evidence to suggest that cannabinoids, especially CBD, can reduce the number of seizures. In fact, the FDA felt there was enough evidence to approve Epidiolex, an oral CBD solution, for the treatment of two types of epilepsy in 2018 and the Ohio Medical Marijuana Control Program has allowed it as one of only 22 qualifying conditions. You can read more on the Epilepsy Foundation’s website

Want to learn more about treating epilepsy with cannabis? If you’re curious about discussing cannabis, including cbd, as part of your or a loved one’s treatment plan, schedule an appointment with Green Harvest Health today.

March 15, 2021 by Dr. Bridget Williams 0 Comments

Are You Sleeping?

 

I believe “Frère Jacques (Are You Sleeping)” was the first song that I learned on the recorder in the 3rd grade.  I was so excited to play the little plastic instrument! I loved making noise and turning it into notes and music! “Are You Sleeping?” is a nursery rhyme, but these words plague 50-70 million US adults which identify with having a sleep disorder.  Insomnia or inability to sleep is the most common sleep disorder. 30% of adults report short term issues and 10% report chronic insomnia.

I approach all my patients with these same words, “Are You Sleeping?”, My philosophy is if you are sleeping well then everything gets a little better.  Counter to that, if you are not sleeping it can have a significant impact on your health. It can cause memory issues, lack of alertness, car accidents and relationship stress as well. In the long term, a lack of quality sleep can lead to high blood pressure, obesity, impaired immunity and possible heart attacks. Though we get more or less sleep at different stages of our lives, a minimum of 7 hours of sleep a night is recommended.

Chronic sleep deprivation can even affect your appearance as well. Missing out on sleep can lead to premature wrinkling and dark circles under the eyes. Research has also shown a link between lack of sleep and an increase in the stress hormone, cortisol, in the body. Cortisol can break down collagen, the protein that keeps skin smooth.

Cannabidiol, also known as CBD may help with sleep. CBD is a non-euphoric causing active compound in cannabis and hemp plants. It interacts with the Endocannabinoid System which helps the body maintain balance and stability. A 2019 study published in The Permanente Journal looked at patients with anxiety and experiencing poor sleep. Each was given a 25mg CBD capsule daily. In the first month, 66.7% of the subjects reported better sleep.  Look for full spectrum CBD products.  The synergistic effects of CBD with the other active compounds called cannabinoids can bring added benefits and higher quality of sleep. CBD has also been found to help regulate cortisol levels, decreasing our stress hormone which can support but at high levels can also cause havoc on the body as well. 

Make sleep a prioirty in an effort to reclaim your wellness. Talk to your cannabinoid doctor about adding CBD to your regimen. National Sleep Awareness Week is March 14-20, 2021. It is a weeklong celebration of sleep health.  To learn more go to: https://www.thensf.org/sleep-awareness-week/

February 15, 2021 by Dr. Bridget Williams 0 Comments

Don’t Delay Preventative Care

 

February is Children’s Dental Health Awareness Month. It is a big reminder to make sure you are getting your children (and yourself) to your regular dental appointments for proper dental hygiene and care. As soon as we think we may be coming out of the restrictions and difficulties of COVD-19 we enter a new phase of new strains, vaccine limitations or abrupt outbreaks. COVID-19 delayed preventative care and maintenance appointments for many. Although understandable, this has had a great effect on our health. Millions of people have been prevented from undergoing routine screenings, such as mammography, colonoscopies, and lung imaging. Data from an electronic medical records vendor Epic, found that appointments for breast, cervical, and colon cancer screenings fell by 86% to 94% in March 2020 compared with rates in the previous 3 years.

Dental care is the most common chronic childhood disease and continues into adulthood. Among US adults, 2011–2014 national data indicate that 32.7% had untreated dental caries. Populations vulnerable to COVID-19, including those in low socioeconomic groups, minority groups, older adults, low-literacy individuals, those in rural areas, and the uninsured are also at increased risk for oral disease and associated systemic health problems. 

We certainly are in unpredictable times, but we have to consider what we are doing productively with the time we have. I have many patients that have put their lives on hold waiting for this pandemic to be over.  They have become more isolated than needed because they refuse to use online connection apps like Zoom, they have been laid off and refuse to seek other work because they refuse to wear a mask and have gained considerable weight due to lack of activity.  They refused to continue life under “new rules” and that also means avoiding in person doctors’ appointments.  

COVID-19 has had an incredible impact on all of us. Whether grieving the illness and deaths of loved ones or grieving the loss of our previous lives. Let us be mindful to not let the health of ourselves and our children suffer due to preventable illnesses. To learn more about Children’s Dental Health Awareness Month and their 2021 Campaign, ”Water, Nature’s Drink!” please go to: ADA.org/CDHAM

November 6, 2020 by Dr. Bridget Williams 0 Comments

Dropping The Medications

Dropping the Medications

 

I know few people that actually like taking medications. Most worry about the taste, the timing, the idea of putting a little pill in your body and not quite sure what it may or may not do.  To be compliant, you have to stay on a schedule with your medications and of course most worry about the SIDE EFFECTS!  

 

Whether it is somnolence or flatulence, the unpredictable nature of medications can be unnerving.  According to the National Institutes of Health, ⅓ of Americans seek alternative forms of medical treatment. This includes anything from fish oil, chiropractors, melatonin to cannabis. Is the goal to abandon pharmaceutical medications all together?  For some yes. For others they simply want options. I have never seen patients more angry when another doctor has told them they will be on certain medications for the rest of their lives. 

 

Options and alternatives do exist in some cases. Fish oil is the most common natural product taken by children and adults. 7.8% used it in 2012 that is up from 4.8% in 2007.  Many do so to avoid cholesterol medications.  In a study conducted by Brightfield Group and HelloMD, 42% of CBD users said they stopped using traditional medications like Tylenol pain relievers or prescription drugs like Vicodin and had switched to cannabis instead.  These are only two examples of how consumers are switching to alternative treatments. I hear it every day in my family medicine and cannabis offices.  But doing it safely is key.

 

When choosing to switch from pharmaceutical medications to alternative options there are a few things to consider:

1- Stopping medications to an alternative option still means you have to engage in that alternative option regularly.  Many patients are disappointed when they choose cannabis over traditional medications and they think they can use the cannabis as needed. If you are choosing an alternative treatment it has to be a regular part of your daily schedule just like a pharmaceutical drug.  Irregular or haphazard treatment of your condition can not only be irresponsible, but dangerous. 

 

2- When stopping a pharmaceutical and starting an alternative treatment, reduce medications gradually.  It takes time for CBD or cannabis to get a therapeutic level that you can depend on.  Do not stop your traditional medicine cold turkey.  As you reach your therapeutic goal with CBD, slowly wean off your prescribed medications under the guidance of your physician. 

 

3- All medicines are a tool to help you reach your goals, utilize multiple tools to be successful. CBD or cannabis is a tool, not a cure. With any treatment you should engage other healthy tools to find balance.  Consider healthy eating, exercise, reiki, massage or restorative practices like yoga.  One of these is great but together they work synergistically to help you soar!

 

4- Most importantly, stopping medications can be dangerous.  Only change your medication regimen under the guidance of a physician. Explain your goals and dedication to a healthier and more natural lifestyle. Not all medications can be replaced with alternative options, so keep an open mind to the right treatment that keeps you safe and alive, no matter what the source may be.  

 

Have questions or would like to suggest a subject for my next column? Please email me at  DrBridget@greenharvest.health

Dr. Williams is a Board-certified family physician, cannabinoid physician and life coach. She is the owner of Green Harvest Health Clinics and GHH CBD Medicinals. Learn more at www.greenharvest.health.

October 17, 2020 by Dr. Bridget Williams 0 Comments

October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month

I have two very good friends in the throes of a breast cancer diagnosis. One is at the very beginning. The cancer was just revealed to her two weeks ago and the other is one year out from a unilateral mastectomy and riding the roller coaster of subsequent mammograms, MRIs, and biopsies with the fear of cancer being found in the other breast.  Cancer is never easy no matter which end you are on.  There are so many life changing decisions that must be made and the oncologist always insist you keep your life as normal as possible.  But it is not normal. 

Most oncologist support the use of cannabis for an adjunct to traditional treatment.  One of my friends is choosing Rick Simpson Oil as her treatment and is foregoing chemotherapy. The other friend uses Full Spectrum CBD and surgery (radiation and chemo were not an option).

Wherever you may lie in the midst of a cancer diagnosis, as the patient or the supporter, please know there are options. Please know there is support. Credible research has found cannabis to decrease cancer cell spread, growth and blood supply.  (https://integrativeonc.org/news/research-blog/277-does-cannabis-cure-cancer).  It can also make life more comfortable regarding controlling neuropathic pain, increasing appetite and decreasing nausea. Look to see which options are right for you and your family and know we at Green Harvest Health are here to support you as cannabis advocates, physicians and friends.

Green Harvest Health offers Medical Life Coaching.  We are an adjunct to your medical team, help you choose the right cannabis option of you, support you and your family during the struggle and will communicate with your physicians. Don’t hesitate to reach out to see how we can serve you!

Be the support and advocate that you need…Reclaim Your Wellness!

If you have questions, please give our office a call at 614-636-5003 or 440-226-3398, or email us at doc@greenharvest.health

Dr. Bridget