Greetings in these unprecedented times. Firstly, I would like to explain my silence for the past several months. Hoosier Naturopath has been in the midst of a financial as well as leadership crisis for the past many months. We are in need of additional like-minded board members who are totally aligned with our statement of faith and vision so that we are equipped to move forward with our actionable plans. Though we have not yet emerged from either crisis, I have not been idle. I have been busy behind the scenes; continuing to learn, reaching out with invitations to join with us, broadening existing networks, developing relationships with national leaders in naturopathic medicine (both online and in person, thanks to my sister's generosity in funding trips), strategizing, and most of all praying and studying the Word to make certain our foundation is sure and solid.
My silence since this crisis began was from prudence. I and the HN board of directors have been praying for clarity - vertically and horizontally speaking. I was waiting for professional direction from our national association (the AANP) and to see what my U.S. and Canadian peers (many in the Seattle area and several who practice overseas) were experiencing in their clinics and their community work, what directives they were receiving from their regulatory bodies, etc. I now have spent hours in our professional Facebook groups and in phone calls and chats, and have attended several webinars (with more on the near horizon) which have offered my profession clear direction that will keep us out of legal trouble, yet allow us to offer assistance in this time of great need. The time is now. I will no longer be sitting on my hands. Carpe diem.
During this crisis, when the medical establishment is in overwhelm with limited tools, the vast majority of sufferers are being told to do "home care"; i.e. isolate yourself, clean everything in sight, and monitor your symptoms. And I encourage all of you to do just that - you can download a pdf of the Home Care instructions from the Indiana State Dept. of Health (ISDH) here. The rest of us in Indiana are under a stay at home directive.
But home care (in either case) can be so much more than the ISDH offers! On our website, I am/will be posting things you can do at home for yourselves and your families. This is supportive care for staying well, as well as symptomatic care for symptoms you may be suffering. These are simple but powerful offerings.
Let me be clear: this is neither prevention nor treatment of COVID-19. I am not offering advice nor am I recommending anything - I am educating you - and it is solely up to you to decide for yourself and your family what you choose to do or not do. Medical freedom.
Your body speaks to you by expressing symptoms. The naturopathic physician would say it is wise to listen to your body and to support it in its efforts to deal with its discomfort (translating to your discomfort!) without telling it to "shut up", so to speak, as would be done if you took a strong pharmaceutical drug (even over-the-counter drugs) to suppress the symptom. With supportive care, when the symptom is relieved it is because the cause of that symptom has been successfully dealt with by your body and not because the symptom was artificially and forcefully suppressed.
There is a time for suppression when loss of life is imminent. In our present situation, that time would not normally occur for those under ISDH home care instructions.
If you believe that now is the time to rally all the available medical troops to help in this pandemic situation, please read this official statement by the AANP and contact your legislators immediately.
Here is a post I made to comments during Governor Holcomb's Updates on COVID-19 Press Conference yesterday (live on Facebook):
NATUROPATHIC DOCTORS living IN INDIANA but HOLDING LICENSES IN OTHER STATES would be able to assist those under Home Care via Telemedicine. WILL YOU PLEASE LET US HELP?
--> You could post the same thing, replacing "US" with "THEM" every day that he does these live updates... I included the AANP link I gave you above.
I have posted some Home Care ideas under "Resources"; more are to come. May I suggest you begin with "Belly Breathing"?
Prayers and Blessings in the time of Pandemic,
Gail Littell, ND, LMT
(812) 755-6179 tel
(855) 883-9831 fax
Bringing Naturopathy to rural Hoosiers in service to God, nature, and man.
"...a simple agent such as water, which is cheap and easily available, is often neglected for a complicated system of therapy which is not so effective."
- J.S. Coulter
After using them, young children have lovingly dubbed these socks, “Magic Socks”, as have some adults I know! The traditional name of this home therapy, however, is “Warming Socks”. Now, before you envision your piggly wigglies being snuggled into nice toasty socks which were pre-warmed in your electric clothes dryer, oven or microwave, please allow me to wipe that image from your mind's eye. This is a therapy involving socks that are warm; however, the name can be a bit confusing because the socks are actually applied cold. The warming part of the therapy (hence the name) relies on utilizing a warming process supplied by your very own body.
Warming socks are useful in cases of colds, flu, sore throat, ear infection, headache, migraine, nasal congestion, coughs, sinus infection or in any inflammation/infection of the throat. The socks work best when they are used for three nights in a row - and at the first sign(s) of illness.
Here is the How-To:
* The warming socks duet (wet cotton covered by dry wool) will not result in your bed becoming wet.
Why the "warming socks" are useful:
This is how they work -
The cold causes an initial vasoconstriction (narrowing of blood vessels which slows blood flow). The body senses the cold and its effect so internal signals are triggered which initiate vasodilation (relaxation and widening of blood vessels) to increase blood flow to the feet to warm them. The heat begins to build up from the influx of blood and because the feet are insulated within the socks, but because the cotton socks are still wet, evaporative cooling begins to take place, bringing back the initial cold phase.
Thus the cold/vasoconstriction and warm/vasodilation phases continue to cycle back and forth until the cotton socks are completely dry. This is a beneficial cycle; it is a constant, gentle, self-modulating treatment with tonic effects on the body. This vacillation between the cool and warm temperatures is what leads to increased circulation (blood flow) to the feet and to a decrease of blood in the congested areas (the upper respiratory passages, head, and throat). It is a reflexive action by the body - an involuntary response to a stimulus. This increase in circulation, as well as the decrease in congestion, also allows the body to better deliver fighting members of its immune system army to the sites where they are most needed.
Reference: Wade Boyle, N.D. and Andre Saine, N.D. Lectures in Naturopathic Hydrotherapy. Eclectic Medical Publications. Sandy, Oregon 97055. Copyright 1988, Fourth printing 1995.
I’ve had the life-long habit of taking steps two at a time. I do it without even thinking. And I tend to walk fast as well; I’m so focused on my destination that I unconsciously lengthen my stride to eat up the intervening distance. These traits are not without their hazards. In trying my best to appear professional by upgrading my normal rustic attire, I have, more times than I care to admit, found myself mid-stride coming up short and having to pause momentarily to assess the situation (dang those straight skirts!) before continuing up the steps – hopefully in a more dignified manner.
My midwife friend tells me that expectant ladies purposely take steps two at a time in order to open the pelvis. You’re welcome for that random little tip – feel free to pass it on.
In my observations in life, I see people doing this all the time, this skipping steps. But more often than not, they are skipping not 1 or 2; they are skipping 3 or 4 or even 5 steps at a time – and we all know the face-planting disaster that can lead to. You may be wondering what on earth I am talking about when I say taking the steps 3, 4, even 5 at a time - and how is that even possible! Bear with me.
In naturopathic medicine, we have something called 'The Therapeutic Order’. Here is one pictorial that is in circulation amongst our naturopathic community:
“The therapeutic order is a natural hierarchy of therapeutic intervention, based on or dictated by observations of the nature of the healing process, from ancient times through the present. It is a natural ordering of the modalities of naturopathic medicine and their application. The concept is somewhat plastic in that one must evaluate the unique needs, and even the unique healing requirements, of the specific patient or situation, but in general the nature of healing dictates a general approach to treatment.” [61. Hippocrates. The genuine works of Hippocrates. Adams F, trans. Baltimore: Williams & Wilkins, 1939. 62. Zeff J, Snyder P. Course syllabus: NM51 71, Naturopathic clinical theory. Seattle: Bastyr University, 1997-2005.]
Zeff J., Snider P., Myers S. P. A Hierarchy of Healing: The Therapeutic Order. ResearchGate. December 2005. Available at: https://www.researchgate.net/publication/43328689_A_Hierarchy_of_Healing_The_Therapeutic_Order. Accessed April 22, 2019.
Now then, getting back to steps. My friend Christie Fleetwood, ND, RPh, likes to present The Therapeutic Order to her patients using stair steps. I liked that idea, a lot. So I made my own version:
The first step is 1. When you're out of sorts, where does your healing journey usually begin? Do you start at the bottom? Have you been skipping steps without thinking, as most of us do or have done?
Dr. Fleetwood's original stair steps version of The Therapeutic Order adds another dimension of thought. Here is what she hands to her new patients:
When we look at Dr. Fleetwood's version, we can see clearly that there are two ways of approaching treatment of disease…could there be two ways of thinking about disease - and health? What if there were basically two kinds of medicine...
Written while a student at naturopathic school...circa 2010
My Philosophy of Nature Cure
"If it had been a snake it would have bitten you!" How often have I heard this saying, especially from the lips of elderly friends and family members near my southern Indiana home, when something I was looking for had been right in front of me the whole time. So it often is with the simplicity of Nature Cure. Common elements are available to anyone who bothers to notice and put them to practical use. Kirchfeld and Boyd (1994) tell of the European healers who used water, loam, nourishing simple food, fasting, sun and air baths, rest in peaceful natural settings, herbs and physical gymnastics to facilitate healing. In America, manual manipulation of the body and homeopathy were united with these and naturopathy was born. The underlying theme in it all was simplification; turning away from suppressive drugs and ridding the body of excesses, both from external sources and internal ones. Henry Lindlahr, in his book, Philosophy of Natural Therapeutics, wrote:
Thus, the simple pioneers of Nature Cure laid the foundation...They...applied common sense reasoning to the solution of the problems of health, disease, and cure. They went for inspiration to field and forest...They studied the whole and not only the parts; causes as well as effects and symptoms...
Common sense reasoning is something I plan to use in my naturopathic practice. I haven't seen it used often in the medical world; for the sake of brevity, I will give but one example. An acquaintance related that a portion of one of her clavicles had been removed because the doctors had deemed it too long and therefore the cause of her musculoskeletal complaint, which incidentally was not subsequently relieved. How sad that a condition I regularly treated in my massage practice by simple stretching of the pectoral muscles had been so misconstrued by a team of medical professionals. Simple observation of the body in the whole would have provided guidance as to the nature of the problem.
Yet simple observation takes time and an eye practiced at looking at the whole. My aim is to be a country doctor; one who is not hurried. My desire is to use my background of mothering, massage therapy and farming as a springboard for attaining that practiced eye and applying common sense to my interactions with my patients. I learned from my experience as a farmer the value of using subtlety in working with animals. One cannot force or hurry them along. They must go at their own pace else they become nervous, tense, and unpredictable in behavior. But if one understands the creature's motivation and uses subtlety to manipulate surrounding conditions, one can get the animal to cooperate. There is a parallel, I believe, with the healing process of the human body.
Addressing attendees of the 2006 AANP Conference, Leon Chaitow, N.D., D.O. stressed the importance of not going too fast for the body when applying bodywork modalities. In my own work as a massage therapist, I have learned that a soft and gentle hand is allowed deeper access to the body's tissues than is a firm strong hand. If "hurried along" the body will inevitably stiffen its musculature into a protective armor, disallowing any meaningful therapy. As Dr. Chaitow noted, the practitioner should be observant and sensitive to the possibility that the body is neither ready nor capable of handling the release of certain tissues. In that case, a gently mobilization of the entire body, such as a nurturing general massage, is in order rather than a manipulation.
He also noted that Positional Release, where the therapist aids the patient in putting the constricted body part into a position of ease, will facilitate the release of the constriction and is something the patient can do at home. This teaching, this enabling of the patient to increase body awareness and facilitate their own restoration, is also a means to healing that I hope to utilize; for, as Henry Lindlahr noted in his book Nature Cure (1913), moving from illness to health requires effort on the part of the patient.
Yet the underlying premise of my practice will be, I hope, to help my patient reduce his overall efforts and simplify. At the AANP 11th Annual Convention, Walter Crinnion, N.D. (1996), on a humorous yet emphatic note, related that Dr. Harold Dick used to quip, "Supplements just plug 'em up!" I agree. Why add one more thing for the body to deal with when it is already heavily burdened with the toxic load of modern life or is suffering from a profound debilitated state? I certainly found this to be true in my personal healing journey. Simpler was better. The Nature Cure strategy will be the underpinning of my clinical approach. It is my observation that many people are ready for the process, or should I say de-processing! During my years in organic farming I saw a renewed interest in all things natural among the public, and in the latter years of my massage practice I saw a growing desire in patients to leave behind their drugs and cultivate their body-awareness. This is an encouraging trend for a future nature doctor.
I conclude my essay with the story of a desperate modern woman who turned to Nature Cure. Her first lupus attack ran uncontrolled for 18 months. Methotrexate to control the worst symptoms, as well as morphine for the debilitating pain, had been the 45 year old woman's medical treatment for years - until she hit the brick wall of cervical cancer. After a confirming second opinion on her cervical biopsy, the woman's oncologist told her she would die if she didn't have surgery; her other doctors told her that her body's immune response was so suppressed, she would die if she did. In relating the story, Paul Bergner, N.D. (1996) stated, "Meet the new American patient. Damned if you do and damned if you don't!"
What did the poor woman do? She prayed, received guidance to visit her local library (Houston, Texas) and subsequently read every book on herbs in that establishment. When those books were exhausted, she pursued the avenue of inter-library loans. Thus she continued for about 6 months until she had figured out a plan of action. She took herself off of her drugs - all of her drugs - and started taking high doses of carefully chosen non-suppressive herbs. She eliminated sensitive foods from her diet and had managed to cure herself of the cervical cancer by the time she consulted with Dr. Bergner. Long-distance, he helped her fine-tune her strategy. The woman soon entered a healing crisis of about 2 weeks duration, at the end of which she was able to reduce by 75% the herbs she was taking to manage her lupus symptoms. This is Nature Cure in the modern world; enable the patient (in this case the patient was self-enabled by desperation and guidance from her answered prayer), remove suppressive drugs, improve the diet, utilize herbs - simplify and heal.
Bergner, P. (1996). AANP 11th Annual Convention [recorded by Tree Farm Cassettes] Nature cure in the 1990's: Paul Bergner, ND, Moderator [Audiocassette]. (Sept. 4-8, 1996).
Chaitow, L. (2006). OAND 2006 Annual Convention held in Collingwood, ON, Canada What's wrong with naturopathic physical medicine? [CD] Toronto, ON, Canada (Oct. 21-22, 2006).
Crinnion, W. (1996) AANP 11th Annual Convention [recorded by Tree Farm Cassettes] Nature cure in the 1990's: Paul Bergner, ND, Moderator [Audiocassette]. (Sept. 4-8, 1996).
Kirchfeld, F., & Boyle, W. (2005). Nature Doctors: Pioneers in Naturopathic Medicine (2nd ed.). Portland, OR: NCNM Press.
Lindlahr, H. (1913) Nature Cure: Philosophy and Practice Based on the Unity of Disease and Cure. Chicago: Nature Cure Publishing Co. Retrieved Oct. 10, 2009 from http://www.soilandhealth.org/02/0201hyglibcat/0202hyglibcat.html
--> as of July 24, 2019 it is no longer available in html format. It can be accessed in pdf format here:
Lindlahr, H., & Proby, J.C.P. (Ed.)(1975). Philosophy of Natural Therapeutics (repr. 1993). Saffron Walden, Essex, England: The C.W. Daniel Co. Ltd.
Yes, you can make yogurt without a thermometer. How do I know? Because I've been doing it for over 40 years. And I'll tell you here, in a little while, how I've been doing it. It's true that yogurt "recipes" call for heating the milk to 180 degrees F, cooling it down to 110 degrees F, adding the starter culture and then maintaining a steady temperature while it incubates. And it's true that if the milk is too hot when you add the starter culture then you will be killing all those lovely bacteria that you had hoped would start reproducing. But have you ever wondered what the yogurt-making folks of times past did prior to the invention of cooking thermometers or even electricity? If you get to pondering the history of yogurt you may end up not feeling intimidated at all about NOT following a yogurt "recipe" to the T.
On their website, The Dairy Farmers of Canada state the following:
Yogurt is the most popular fermented milk in the world (1).The word yogurt or yoghurt or yoghourt is Turkish in origin. It is a tart, custard-like food made from milk that has first been heated and then inoculated with a bacterial culture; the bacterial action then curdles the milk (2).
There are benefits to fermenting milk. During the fermentation process the milk protein casein is broken down, which allows many people with milk intolerance to freely enjoy milk in the form of yogurt. Additionally, the active bacterial cultures, while turning the milk into yogurt, are producing lactase, the enzyme which allows us to digest the lactose (milk sugar) in milk (3,4). And did you know that during the fermentation process both the vitamin B and the vitamin C content of milk increase (3)? How cool is that? Yogurt is simply good food. The beneficial bacteria in yogurt, as well as the by-products they produce, such as lactic acid (from the breakdown of the milk sugar lactose), aid our bodies in the fullest possible digestion of the foods we eat plus protect us from infection-causing bacteria, including those that cause "traveler's diarrhea" (3). So you can see that our gastrointestinal (GI) system really benefits when we eat yogurt, which is great since our GI system contains nearly 70% of our entire immune system (5)!
So, on to the business of making yogurt. I won't be explaining the why, just the how. The KISS principle.
Types of milk easily obtainable in southern Indiana:
Here are the general directions of how I make my yogurt (yes, without a thermometer):
You can ferment your yogurt anywhere from 4-24 hours. It will usually coagulate within 3-4 hours, resembling the texture of custard. The shorter the fermentation time, the milder the yogurt and the fewer beneficial bacteria it contains. You might be interested to know that commercial yogurt is fermented for relatively short periods of time.
Why do I ferment my yogurt for 24 hours? Well, it gives the bacteria time to consume 100% of the lactose while they are reproducing. And reproduce they do - into incredibly high numbers. Yogurt made this way contains 3 billion cfu/ml so that in just 1 cup (236 ml) you'll get over 708 Billion beneficial bacteria; this is about 50 times as much as the typical 15 Billion in one capsule of a commercial probiotic (6). As you can see, 24 hour yogurt is a low-cost source of probiotic. Plus it is easy to digest, lactose-free, nutritious AND it tastes sooooo good!
Want a great yogurt maker?
If you'd like to make the 24 hour yogurt then you might like a yogurt maker like mine. I have been using a Yogourmet Electric Yogurt Maker for several years now (I purchased mine while I was in Canada for school). I love it and highly recommend it, especially if you are making the 24 hour SCD yogurt. Though the Yogourmet came with a thermometer, old habits die hard and the thermometer had been sitting unused in the drawer until I felt the need to verify temperatures for this article.
MAKING YOGURT WITHOUT AN ELECTRIC YOGURT MAKER OR A THERMOMETER
Since you may want or need to make yogurt without an electric yogurt maker, I'll explain what I have done over the past 40 years and sometimes still do. I've only owned my Yogourmet for the most recent 5 years or so out of the past 40 so when I say these are tried and true methods, I mean it ;>). Read on -
2 more ways to keep your yogurt cozy during the fermentation process:
1) In a gas oven with only the pilot light on; this is pretty straight forward. Just place your prepared milk with the starter culture into containers (wide-mouth quart canning jars work well as containers; don't fill them too full) and then into the oven with only the pilot light on. Just don't forget you are making yogurt and accidentally preheat the oven for a pot roast - oh my!
2) In a Styrofoam cooler (I use the thick-walled ones); I bring water to a boil and fill 1 or more quart canning jars (depending on the time of year), screw on the lids and place the jars inside the cooler along with the glass canning jar(s) of future yogurt. Again, don't fill your milk jars too full; you are fermenting, remember. Then I tuck wool sweaters or old towels around the jars in the cooler and replace the lid. If fermenting for a few hours or overnight, this should be sufficient, but if you are making 24 hour yogurt then you will have to renew the hot water in the jar(s) in the morning. I have my own system pretty much down pat since I heat with an indoor woodstove and the room temperature fluctuates quite a bit throughout the day and night. You will need to experiment with how many jars of hot water work best for your particular situation; with practice you'll get the hang of this method.
There is more of an art to using a Styrofoam cooler (or even a well-insulated cardboard box) versus a gas oven's pilot light. Too much heat will speed up the fermentation process and you may open your cooler to find a jar of separated curds and whey (don't ask me how I know this). No worries - it's still edible. Open the jars very carefully since it is likely that fermentation gases and some pressure has built up if the yogurt is "overdone" (again, personal experience). Pour off the whey and either drink it (rich in minerals), use it in cooking or use it as starter to make your own lactic-fermented vegetables. Sprinkle a little Celtic Sea Salt on the curds and enjoy. With too little heat your yogurt won't "make"; i.e. it will look like the regular runny milk you started with instead of custard. Give it to the cat or your neighborhood possum and try again with a new batch of milk OR turn it into acid curdled cheese. Here is one method; a short 2 minute long tutorial - "Make cheese using old milk" (video).
Enjoy your yogurt!
1) Sandor Ellix Katz. "Yogurt, an excerpt from 'The Art of Fermentation'". http://www.splendidtable.org/story/yogurt-an-excerpt-from-the-art-of-fermentation. 5 April 2016.
2) Random House Webster's College Dictionary. Random House, Inc. 1991.
3) Sally Fallon with Mary G. Enig, PhD. Nourishing Traditions. New Trends Publishing- second revised edition, 2001.
4) Dairy Farmers of Canada. "Yogurt". https://www.dairygoodness.ca/yogurt/ n.d. 3 April 2016.
5) G Vighi, F Marcucci, L Sensi, G Di Cara and F Frati. Allergy and the gastrointestinal system. Clin Exp Immunol. 2008, Sept;153 (Suppl 1):3-6.
6) "Yogurt - Why SCD Yogurt is so important".
http://www.breakingtheviciouscycle.info/knowledge_base/detail/yoghurt-why-scd-yogurt-is-so-important/ n.d. 4 April 2016.