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Thrive Health Blog

Reduce Stress Undercover!

Stress and anxiety are at an all-time high amongst American adults. For many, medical treatment is not a financially feasible option. For others, they seek solace through more “natural” paths of treatment. In addition to other non-medicinal forms of anxiety reduction, some people are actually finding stress relief under the covers…


Blankets Aren’t Just for Babies


Many parents reap great success from swaddling their newborn infants. Taking a blanket and tightly (not too tightly!) wrapping the baby’s body from chest-to-toe may allow him to sleep better. It is thought that creating pressure and providing that “snug” sensation encourages the natural production of sleep-related chemicals.


A similar effect can be generated from using a weighted therapy blanket. Many children on the Autism spectrum benefit from using weighted blankets. Their anxiety levels often decrease; one reason could be from the increased production of oxytocin.


Oxytocin is produced and released into our body (brain) when we hug one another. The gentle pressure sensation from a weighted blanket can mimic a hug or a cuddle, helping to reduce blood pressure and stress responses. Consequently, cortisol levels can also decrease, leading to an increase in serotonin production.


Can a Weighted Blanket Help Me?


Research published in the Journal of Psychiatric Services showed that over 8 million people in the U.S. suffer from some form of intense stress. In the study out of New York University’s Lagone Medical Center, the stress was defined as a mental health issue, aptly named serious psychological distress (SPD). Other findings in the study revealed about 10% of those Americans suffering from SPD could not afford psychiatric medications.


Alternate forms of treatment to reduce stress are always being sought. The three main priorities in obtaining a healthier, calmer body and mind are: a nutritional diet, exercise, and proper rest. But what if falling asleep and staying asleep all night are a tremendous challenge?


Sleep Tight!


Using a weighted blanket at night may promote better overall rest. Some attest that their children fall asleep more quickly and sleep for longer periods with a blanket. (By the way, a weighted blanket should be comfortable and not too restrictive. It should weigh no more than 10% of your body weight.)

You can do an Internet search for a multitude of different weighted blankets on the market for sale. Some are more expensive than others due to the materials they use. Some insurance plans may even cover a portion of the cost if the blanket is being used for medical reasons. A new Kickstart has been raising money for a “Gravity Blanket” and seems to have garnered a large following.


Various companies and studies will make claims about the stress-reducing benefits of sleeping with a weighted blanket. A 2014 study in the journal Pediatrics showed that use of a weighted blanket did not necessarily help children on the Autism spectrum sleep longer. However, when the children and the parents were given a choice to sleep with the weighted or regular blanket, they favored the weighted blanket by far.

For other articles that may help you sleep better, check out!



Neumann, ID. Cell Metabolism. Oxytocin: the neuropeptide of love reveals some of its secrets, 2007.





Shared Parenting and Happiness

Raising children together, when the tasks of childrearing are shared equally amongst the parents, makes for a happier couple, a new study reports.

Raising Rug Rats

Almost 500 couples were polled in regards to their level of happiness in their relationship and also how much they felt they contributed to raising the children. Over 70% of men and women agreed that when the chores of being a parent were shared equally, they felt satisfied in their union as a couple.

The Old Days

It used to be that men only participated a fraction in raising the kids. (This does not necessarily include making meals and doing laundry.) But now that both partners tend to work, the participation in childcare is more equal—especially when it comes to encouraging, playing, and disciplining.

The amazing thing is that even though these positive couples don’t necessarily report spending more time together, they are happier because they each feel an equal responsibility in caring for their joint offspring.



Is Your Spirit Healthy?

In Chile, a non-conventional form of healing draws a larger number of patients from far and wide.

Fair Treatment

Back in 1993, Chile passed an “Indigenous Law” that provided health care for the Mapuche people in Santiago. The government allowed recognition of traditional medical practices for the native peoples. Today, more and more non-indigenous people seek this special, ancient form of care.


The Mapuche medicine is based on finding the core of the illness. It includes massage, talk therapy, studying the pulse and urine quality, spirituality, and herbal concoctions. This health care is practiced in a hut by a machi, a spiritual healer.



Mini Medical Marijuana Manual

The debate about the merits (or disservice) of recreational marijuana use is worthy of continual exploration. The benefits of medical marijuana, however, are almost impossible to argue. Like any medicine, natural or synthetic, education, administration, and proper use need to be implemented. Let’s take a look at some helpful facts about medical marijuana…


Medicinal Properties

The Cannabis plant is a genus. The two most commonly grown are Cannabis Sativa and Cannabis Indica. They are two distinct species from the Cannabis family. Whether for recreation or medicine, different strains of marijuana are generally produced from those two species.

Both Sativa and Indica have varying amounts of THC and CBD. THC produces a more psychoactive effect; it is known more for affecting the “head.” CBD helps relieve the “body.” Alone, CBD does not have any psychoactive effect; it relaxes the body and aids with pain relief.

Depending on the degree of THC or CBD utilized in the formulation medicinal marijuana, it can help:


  • relieve nausea, help those going through chemotherapy
  • relieve pain from autoimmune diseases, migraines, arthritis, AIDS, among others chronic disorders
  • reduce spasms and seizures
  • reduce flare-ups for those with IBD and Crohn’s
  • stimulate appetite
  • reduce symptoms of anxiety, depression, and PTSD
  • relieve insomnia
  • and assist with other symptoms derived from many physical and mental afflictions

Marijuana Mixture

Different strains of marijuana can be created depending on the specie of cannabis used and the amount of THC or CBD a patient needs in the medicine. A simple, overall view of Sativa and Indica may look something like this:


  • The plant has long, narrow leaves, is not particularly dense, and grows taller than Indica.
  • Affects the mind more than the body
  • Has higher levels of THC
  • May be uplifting
  • Increase alertness
  • Encourage creativity
  • May increase energy


A strain formulated from Sativa may help those with anxiety, depression, ADHD, Alzheimer’s, and others.



  • The leaves are short and wide, and the plant appears bushy and dense
  • Affects the body
  • Increases physical relaxation
  • Relieves pain
  • Helps with sleep


A person suffering from insomnia, chronic pain, or an aversion to eating could benefit from a product containing more CBD, like Indica.

As mentioned, different formulations can be created depending on the type of “medicine” an individual needs.


Marijuana Methods

Medicinal marijuana can be administered in several different forms. It can be:

  • smoked
  • vaped
  • eaten
  • taken as a liquid
  • used in pill form


Not all states have approved marijuana as a legal medicine. As of June 2017, 29 of the United States, plus Washington D.C. have legalized it as a medical drug. Each state has its own laws regarding possession and use.

Common prescription drugs such as antidepressants and pain pills are given to patients every day—many times without thought to their efficacy, dangerous side effects, or potential for addiction.

There are numerous studies linking prescription pain pills (more specifically, opiates) to eventual heroin use. The opiate addiction in America has become an epidemic. According to the Center for Disease Control (CDC), the leading cause of unintentional death amongst Americans is prescription pill and heroin overdose.

According to the U.S. DEA drug sheet, “no deaths from marijuana overdose have ever been recorded” —something that may be worth food for thought and health. Choosing a course of action for your personal medical care should always be a decision you make with the consultation of your health practitioner, family and trustworthy friends. is here for you—hopefully to help inform and uplift with positive possibilities!






Do You Know What Your Health Score Really Is?

Health management is not only about your overall physical wellness. It is about your overall well-being. What does that mean? Glad you asked! This means that you should focus on:

  • Mental, emotional, and your physical well-being
  • Measuring your relationships
  • Social connections
  • Goals
  • Financial security

Once you can identify your health score, then you will know where you fall short and make improvements. In so doing, you will become the ideal version of who you should be.

Blood Pressure and BMI

Your health score will include your blood pressure reading and your BMI (body mass index). These are the two most important health scores to a healthier lifestyle. When you know these numbers, you can determine whether you are healthy or not.

In addition to your BMI and blood pressure, you should also be aware of your diabetes and apnea health scores.


Let’s talk about your BMI first. Now, don’t be scared. It is not all that complicated and once you can keep it under a certain number, you will be fine. Your BMI is calculated using your height and weight. Your body fat is taken into consideration. If you have a score below 25, it is a good BMI score – anything above that, you are heading for unhealthy choices and serious health issues. You can discuss this with a healthcare professional to come up with a plan that will reduce that number.

Blood Pressure

Having high blood pressure is a serious health risk. As blood continues to circulate throughout your body, your blood pressure is measured as a result of what is found on the walls of your arteries. You risk having a heart attack or stroke if you have a high blood pressure reading. Initially, your doctor can prescribe medication to reduce your blood pressure.

Be advised…However, after that, try to reduce your sodium intake, start physical exercise, and make this a lifestyle.

Risk of Diabetes

Diabetes is one of the killer diseases that have inflicted so many people. Whether it is Type 1 or Type 2 diabetes, it is a health risk. You should change your diet considerably once you receive a diagnosis of diabetes.

Be aware…Do you know your health score when it comes to diabetes? Did you know that high blood pressure (hypertension) and high cholesterol are contributing factor to the risk of diabetes?

Risk of Sleep Apnea

Sleep apnea affects many people around the world. It is particularly unhealthy because it disrupts your sleep. The body is deprived of oxygen and that is dangerous while sleeping.

Be aware…Sleep apnea can result in severe fatigue, hypertension, heart disease and stroke. Do you know how bad yours is?

Make Changes

It is best to know your health scores because then you will start on a life of optimal health. Therefore, get regular exams from a doctor. Improve your scores by eating healthy and including exercise into your daily life. Fresh fruits and vegetable consumption will help to reduce your BMI. Exercise does the same and you only need half an hour/three times per week to start. If you smoke, it might be time to stop smoking.

Did you know…

Smoking is the number one cause of developing lung cancer, sleep apnea, and high blood pressure?

If your health score is low, it is time to ramp it up by following the advice given here. You should definitely take it seriously. Your life depends on it.


Make Like a Tree and Learn

Thinking Outside the Classroom

It’s a sad fact: Most children don’t spend enough time outside today. Between schools cutting recess and physical education programs to computer and video game dominance to safety issues, there are a number of reasons why our kids don’t go outside as much. But a new program is trying to reunite children with the outdoors with school gardens.

Learning and Growing

Studies show that children who spent more time outside, either by taking walks or by observing their surroundings and environment, not only enhance their creativity but also perform better in school. School gardens have also boosted engagement in children who typically don’t participate in classroom settings.

Going Green

Only approximately 27 percent of schools have a school garden. But they have slowly picked up popularity over the last fifteen years, and many teachers are even adapting their lesson plans to include sessions in the school garden.


Tired of Feeling Tired? Here’s Your Vitamin!

There are several vitamins that our bodies cannot produce naturally. It’s only through diet (or supplement) that we can receive certain nutrients that we need. If you’re feeling super tired, day in and day out, it’s possible you are Vitamin B12 deficient.

B Aware

The B vitamin family is essential to our well-being, especially our moods and energy levels. Many of the B’s we have to get from food or supplement sources; they’re not manufactured naturally within our body. Even if you’re eating marginally well, it’s not uncommon to be deficient in particular B vitamins.

In the U.S. it’s estimated that over 30% of adults do not meet their vitamin B12 needs. Some common symptoms of B12 deficiency are:

  • tiredness
  • lack of motivation
  • brain fog
  • moodiness

More severe symptoms are:

  • muscle weakness
  • jaundice
  • numbness in hands or feet
  • anemia (low red blood cell count)
  • memory changes
  • poor balance

The Vegan Dilemma – to B or not to B?

There are a plethora of B vitamins available in fruits and vegetables. As for vitamin B12, there are only trace amounts found in Nori and a couple of other plant-based foods. B12’s primary source is from animal products.

For the most part, if a vegan wants to fulfill his B12 daily requirement, he will need to take a small supplement. Some vegans, however, don’t feel the need to supplement, and that is personal choice. Regardless, the body doesn’t store B12 very long, so whether you’re eating animal products or taking supplements, it is recommended to refuel daily.

Vegetarians, on the other hand, can gain their vitamin B12 from milk, cheese, or eggs. Poultry eaters and pescatarians can derive their nutrient source from turkey, chicken, and many types of fish. And of course, true carnivores can get their B12 fill from red meats.

Avoiding B12 Deficiency

A healthy diet (or utilization of supplements) should insure a proper intake of vitamin B12. However, there are other conditions that can cause a greater deficiency or decrease absorption of the nutrient. Some of these include:

  • Various autoimmune conditions. Certain cells (Parietal cells) in our stomach produce hydrochloric acid. If the Parietal cells are compromised from the autoimmune disease, they cannot separate B12 molecules from other dietary molecules.
  • Leaky gut syndrome. Any condition that weakens the stomach lining, such as: H. pylori, gluten intolerance or sensitivity, parasites, or bacterial infections—these all compromise the absorption of vitamin B12 (and other nutrients.)
  • Acid blockers and other heartburn medications. Over-the-counter and prescription pills that “help” with heartburn and GERD, interfere with the absorption of vitamin B12 (and other vitamins as well.)

If you’re concerned that you may be vitamin B12 deficient, speak to your health practitioner about availability of blood tests or an intracellular B12 test. In the meanwhile, you can be proactive by eating a healthy diet, getting rest, and, of course, daily exercise. All of these combined can help you regain your strength, energy, and peace of mind.

For other articles on up-to-date health and wellness topics, check out !





Can Aspirin Thwart Colon Cancer?

A newly published study confirms that a low-dose of aspirin daily over a five-year period significantly reduces the chances of getting colorectal cancer.

“Take Two Aspirin And…”

The Danish study followed 113 participants. Taken consistently for at least five years, one or two baby-aspirin lowers the risk for colon cancer. There have been studies about long-term use of ibuprofen as well, but the dosage amount and the time necessary for effectiveness has not been established.

Doctors Orders

The aspirin in the study was given by prescription from doctors. No over-the-counter drugs were used. This is an element that needs consideration before the public decides to self-medicate.

Although this is great news for those who may be prone to getting that form of cancer, there are risks associated with prolonged use of aspirin. Side effects can include bleeding in the stomach. Only a physician can inform and help you make a decision if one risk outweighs another.