As we head into the dog days of summer, I hope this note finds you out and about...traveling, hiking, swimming, kayaking, barbequeing. Taking some time to unplug from the usual routine, all the demands and pressures we often feel obligated to pay attention to. A time to deeply relax and perhaps come back to our usual circumstances with fresh sight, insights, energy. I hope you take full advantage of this time to revitalize yourselves and create a better work-play balance...to experience the joys and lightness that life can bring as long as we allow space for it.
Wishing you continued health and happiness -
Funda M. Gulmen, N.D., M.S. - Naturopathic Physician
2505 Main Street, Suite 224
Stratford, CT 06615
Integrating both traditional (nutritional counseling, herbal medicine, homeopathy) and modern therapies (pharmaceuticals, radiological imaging, minor surgery), Dr. Funda M. Gulmen is a licensed naturopathic physician who offers natural medicine for the whole family - children, seniors, men and women - through her private practice in Stratford, CT.
Additional services include: stress management, mind-body medicine, therapeutic movement, lifestyle counseling, cleansing programs, food allergy/lab testing, supplement reviews, annual physical exams, yoga/meditation instruction, Reiki and integrative medicine seminars/publications.
- Accepting Anthem Blue Cross/Blue Shield, Aetna, CIGNA and ConnectiCare healthcare plans -
Chronic disease not so chronic after all
A gentleman came to the office with a history of ten years of gastric reflux. Since he had so much irritation in his stomach he lived with a very limited diet...had not eaten a tomato (one of his favorite foods) in years. He had gone through rounds of several medications but they only had a limited benefit for him. We talked about how to change the diet (although it was already quite limited) to allow his digestive track to heal. I also gave him a combination of nutritional and herbal supplement to decrease inflammation in the gut and make it stronger so he had more resiliency. Unfortunately, his story is not unusual...I am always amazed at the endurance patients have. I have had other patients with gastric reflux who call me because they wake up in the middle of the night with chest pain wondering if they are having a heart attack. With this combination of treatment, the fellow was able to expand his diet and "eat like a normal" person within four months of his first visit. In the case of reflux, sometimes it is also important to do food allergy testing or treat general allergies. If someone has chronic nasal congestion, the post nasal drip can drop into the stomach and cause irritation. For instance, I had an 8-year old boy who would get such severe nasal congestion he would vomit quite often. After treating his allergies with therapeutic nutrition and supplements he is able to enjoy playing soccer with his friends again. Sometimes the reason why people only get partial results when treating medical issues is because they are not addressing the root cause or have not considered options that improve tissue integrity rather than just manage symptoms temporarily. Various treatment options can be used simultaneously to help someone recover.
While many people come to yoga because they see it as a way to "stretch and relax", it has the potential to be a lot more. It is not only about twisting your body into funny shapes but the transformative process of being able to do such poses and the inner qualities you radiate once you are there. To go from being someone on the street to someone who can do viparita dandasana (see picture above) with grace (in body, mind and spirit) you need to be able to trust, be open, be courageous...mostly with yourself. Yoga literally means "union"...and in class we practice bringing mind, body, heart and spirit together. When we do this in life (not just on the mat) anything is possible. The physical practice of yoga, or asana, is only one of the eight limbs of yoga practice. In the original "Yoga Sutras" text which was written centuries ago to explain the philosophy, process and benefits of yoga, only mentions two lines about the physical practice..."it should be steady and comfortable." Below is an outline of the eight limbs of yoga. If you are interested in reading more, I would suggest either the "Yoga Sutras of Patanjali" by Satchidananda or "The Essential Yoga Sutras" by Geshe Michael Roach.
The Eight Limbs of Yoga
1) Yama - ethical observances such as "non-violence"
2) Niyama - self-discipline such as self study
3) Asana - physical postures
4) Pranayama - breathing practices
5) Pratyahara - withdrawl of the senses
6) Dharana - concentrating the mind
7) Dhyana - meditation
8) Samadhi - union
Doctor as Teacher:
In order to increase people's awareness of how they can take better care of themselves and achieve better health, Dr. Gulmen gives seminars to the local community. Recent presentations she has given include:
- speaking to a group at Weight Watchers
who were interested in learning more about how yoga and natural medicine can help with weight loss.
- Dr. Gulmen was invited to speak again to a retirees' group at St. Joseph's Church
in Stratford, CT.
- The National Organization for Women
also had a health seminar in New Britain, CT for its members and invited Dr. Gulmen to speak about yoga and natural medicine for stress.
If you know of a group or organization that could benefit from knowing more about natural medicine and/or yoga, Dr. Gulmen is available to create a seminar to address their particular needs and concerns. For a list of previous seminars, please visit: www.naturesourcecare.com/seminars.
Lighter Summer Fare
Italian House Salad
- 4 cups of your favorite salad greens (romaine, argula, etc.), washed and chopped
- 1 small red onion, quarter and thinly sliced
- 1 red bell pepper, small diced
- 1 can quartered artichoke hearts, drained
- 4 tablespoons olive oil
- 2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
- 2-4 tablespoons grated parmesan cheese
- Toss vegetables with olive oil and vinegar. Sprinkle cheese on last so it doesn't clump. I learned how to make this salad during one of my first jobs in high school at a Italian restaurant. Still gets compliments.
- 4 cups sliced nectarines
- 1 cup sliced strawberries
- juice of one lemon
- 1 cup whole wheat flour (or gluten-free equivalent)
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 2 tablespoons butter
Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Mix fruit with lemon juice and place in baking pan. Pulse the butter and other dry ingredients in a food processor until you have a coarse meal. Sprinkle the meal evenly over the fruit and place in oven for 35-40 minutes. Can serve with ice cream varieties or I like to make cinnamon whip cream (whip one small container of whipping cream with 1 tablespoon of agave nectar and 1/2 teaspoon of cinnamon). This recipe is nice to use with fruit that may be a little too ripe for eating, so no need to add sugar. Can substitute peaches for nectarines and blueberries/raspberries for strawberries.
Another way I like to use fruit that is a little too ripe to eat but still good is to throw it in a blender and make a beverage from it.
- 1 cup fruit (peaches, mangoes, nectarines, watermelon, honeydew, strawberries, etc - choose your favorite, mix and match)
- 1 cup of water
- 3 - 5 ice cubes
Just blend and drink - keep it simple :)
Rose hips tea is an easy way to add more vitamin C into your diet while also hydrating at the same time. Vitamin C is an important antioxidant and immune system booster. Taking vitamin C in food or tea form also tends to be much easier on the digestive system. Rose hips does not have a strong flavor and so is easy to blend with other teas. Since rose hips are high in bioflavonoids, they also help with allergies as these help build stronger mucous membranes in the respiratory system providing a greater line of protection from allergens. Rose hips can also be used as a laxative on occasion, gentle enough even for children. To prepare tea, boil 1 teaspoon of rose hips seed powder per 1 cup of water (8-10 oz) with the lid on the pot. Because rose hips is a denser part of the plant, this brew must be boiled for 10-20 minutes (decoction method) to extract the medicinal properties. Limit intake to 1-2 cups per day.
Rose hips tea for
vitamin C and allergies
"Mindful Flow" - ongoing yoga classes
Mondays, 6:30 - 7:30p
Thursdays, 7:30 - 8:30p
Saturdays, 10 - 11:30a
In addition to these public classes, private yoga instruction can also be scheduled
. For class details and yoga updates, please visit: www.naturesourcecare.com/yoga
. Student/senior rates available. New students, please arrive 15 minutes early to register.
(free and open to all - bring a towel or mat for practice)
Saturday, July 20th 10 - 11:30a
"Yoga - Starter" series
4 Tuesdays in Sept, 7:30 - 8:30p
(Sept 3, 10, 17, 24)
Fee for the series - $40
This series is intended to introduce yoga fundamentals so people new to yoga feel more comfortable taking other yoga classes. Please call 203.895.5534 to register and reserve your spot.
Classical homeopathy for sunburns: Cantharis
I have found that the remedy Cantharis 30C is particularly effective with relieving sunburns. It is easy to take with you when traveling, perhaps more so than aloe vera gel. Dosing with the remedy 2 - 3 times a day helps the burning and discomfort while also helping to decrease redness.
One way to keep cool during these warmer days of summer is to place a cool compress on the back of the neck. This can also be an effective way of helping certain types of headaches as it helps to balance blood flow to the head. Another way to keep cool (or handle headaches) is to place the cool compress on a hand or foot. These parts of the body have reflex points which also affect blood flow to the head. Typically only a 2-5 minute application is needed to feel some relief. As always, be cautious with anyone who has heart issues, cold allergy, asthma, is already overstimulated or is pregnant.
Keeping a Cool Head