PTSD Treatment Options

PTSD treatment options to support your optimal health… naturally

With the world in topsy-turvy, it seemed appropriate to write this post to support the global community, especially those who may be triggered, or retriggered with trauma throughout the COVID-19 lock-downs.

Whilst ~75% of the population will experience a traumatic event throughout their life, ~ 12% of the Australian population will go on to develop PTSD.

Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) is a mental health condition that is triggered by experiencing or witnessing a life-threatening event such as:

    • Natural Disaster (eg. Tsunami, Bushfires)
    • Terrorist Attack (eg. September 11, 2001)
    • Public Violence (eg. January 2017 Melbourne Car Attack)
    • Being Threatened with Death
    • Torture
    • Miscarriage
    • Birth Trauma
    • Still Birth
    • Childhood Abuse
    • Sexual Abuse
    • Domestic Abuse
    • Emotional Abuse
    • Divorce / Separation
    • Death or Loss of a Loved One (eg missing persons)
    • Cancer diagnosis
    • Motor Vehicle Accident*
    • Botched Medical Treatment
    • Failure to Recover from a Medical Condition
  • *Serious accidents are one of the leading causes of PTSD in Australia.

    Though PTSD can occur in anyone, there are people who are exposed to trauma as part of their job, and are thus more at risk. 

      • Defence Force
      • Fire Fighters
      • Police Officers
      • Paramedics
      • Emergency Workers
      • Social Workers
      • Healthcare Workers

      Though people who had an adverse childhood experience (ACE), which includes things like violence in the household, substance abuse, socio-economic strains, absence neglectful parents etc. are more likely to suffer with PTSD in later life.

    Symptoms of PTSD

    •  
    • Re-experiencing the event through flash-backs or night-terrors
    • Avoidant behaviour (not to recreate the traumatic experience)
    • Hypervigilance
    • Insomnia
    • Low mood / Depression
    • Difficulties regulating emotions; Aggression / Emotional Outbursts
    • Substance Abuse
    • A sense of numbness 
    • Detachment
    • Social withdrawal
    • Increased “risky” behaviour

     

  • PTSD is a complex issue, and whilst it technically can’t be diagnosed until 3 months after a traumatic event (prior to which it would be considered acute stress response), it may not present for decades after the event. 

    PTSD is not weakness, and the sooner that treatment is sought, the better.  Unresolved traumatic stress can lead to changes in the brain.  In fact, for this reason, some specialists consider PTSD to be a brain injury, not just a psychological disorder.

    The amygdala in our brain, the area responsible for survival responses fight / flight / freeze becomes heightened and can become enlarged.

    The hippocampus in our brain, the area responsible for processing events and giving context, can become overwhelmed and even shrink in size – making it very difficult for the person to function optimally, even when they are in a safe environment.

    PTSD treatment options

  • Pharmaceutical interventions are currently considered the preferred first-line therapy by most medical practitioners for other mental health conditions, but for PTSD, psychotherapy is the preferred treatment.

    And thanks to research into neuro-plasticity, there is hope for improvement for those who have PTSD.

    If you feel very distressed at any time after a traumatic event, talking to your doctor or other health professional is a good first step. 

    Naturopathic Treatment – PTSD Treatment Options

    For those of you seeking Natural Health Support, as a Naturopath, I offer treatment from a holistic perspective and use the “wrap around” care model:

    Image supplied by Metagenics Institute

    Together, we can look at your support network, your lifestyle, your sleep onset and maintenance, your nutritional status, exercise routine… I may prescribe nutraceuticals and / or herbal extracts to support your sympathetic and parasympathetic nervous system.

    We can also look at energetic modalities including flower essences. Below are 5 possible Australian Bush Flowers that I might recommend with your PTSD treatment options:

    Fringed Violet

    This flower is used for all types of shock; especially in those that have a delayed reaction and when shock is stored in the tissues for weeks or years after the event. This flower is also useful for those who have suffered abuse, for those who are open to being drained by others or allow themselves to take on others problems/worries. This is also used for any damage to the aura that has been caused by anaesthetic, traumas, drugs etc.

    Fringed Violet flower actions:
    • Heals the damage to the aura by realigning body after the shock.
    • Removes the effects of recent or old distressing events.
    • Prevents one being thrown off balance by external events.

    Sundew

    This flower is useful for those that have responded to a shock or traumatic experience by disassociating from the present.

    Sundew flower actions:
    • Gives one attention to detail and make decisions.
    • Helps one be grounded and focused.
    • Enables one to be interested in the present.
    • Helps one return to the physical.

    Sunshine Wattle

    This flower is for who may:
    • believe their hard times of the past will continue, and that life is a struggle.
    • have an expectation of a grim future.
    • have feelings of unworthiness.

    Sunshine Wattle flower actions:
    • helps one accept the joy and beauty of the present.
    • gives one optimism for the future.
    • supports one with finding excitement in the present and future

    Grey Spider Flower

        •  

    This flower is for use with fear, particularly for extreme terror that comes on suddenly as a reaction to something horrible. This could be a life threatening fear; of death or of losing one’s identity. This flower is also useful when panic has spread throughout a community such as natural disasters and wartime. Also good for nightmares, especially night terrors in children.

    Grey Spider Flower actions:
    • Releases deep fears and terror.
    • Gives one faith, calmness and courage.

    Sydney Rose

    Individually, this flower is for people who feel separated, unloved or deserted

    Sydney Rose flower actions:
    • Allows one to feel safe and at peace in the realisation that we are all of one love energy.


    Alongside the above PTSD Treatment Options, we can also use Kinesiology to access your subconscious and find out what your body most needs to support its own self-healing process.

    As a Naturopath and Kinesiologist with a special interest in supporting clients in overcoming trauma, I offer support in person or virtually.

    Please feel free to contact me if you have any questions, or book in for a consultation when you feel ready to.

    I look forward to meeting you.

    Yours in Health,

     

 

 

  • Sarah the Naturopath and Kinesiologist

    References:

    Beyond Blue – Types of Anxiety, PTSD

    Psychology Studio – Phillip Lathopolous, Clinical Psychologist, Psychotherapist and EMDR Practitioner

    Metagenics Institute – Overcoming Trauma Using Therapies That Remodel Neurobiology

Raw Beetroot Mud Cake Recipe

Decadent and Rich, a guilt-free recipe to rival any traditional chocolate mud cake

The real deal, made by yours truly and garnished with some maraschino cherries … ♡ ♡

Energy dense, packed with nuts, cacao and beetroot this RAW vegan delight was so easy to create! Rather than going down the sugary, buttery, flour-ey (is that a word?) path, I urge you to try this mouthwatering recipe. You can thank me later!

Inspired by Paleo Chef star Pete Evans, who was himself inspired by the fabulous Dr Libby, for the base. Then inspired by Whole foods Chef Cynthia Louise for the to die for Sweet Chocolate Icing, you really can’t go wrong…


What you’ll need for the Base:

Photo by Monika Grabkowska on Unsplash

300 g (2 cups) activated Macadamia Nuts (soak raw nuts in water overnight then rinse well)
15 Dates
40 g (¼ cup) Dried Cranberries
70 ml (1/3 cup) Maple Syrup
3 Beetroots, peeled and grated
200 g (2 ¼ cups) Shredded Coconut
4 tablespoons Raw Cacao Powder
4 tablespoons Carob Powder
1 Vanilla Bean, split lengthwise and scraped or Splash of Vanilla Essence
2 tablespoons Almond Meal

What you’ll need for the Sweet Chocolate Icing:

150 g (1 cups) activated Macadamia Nuts (soak raw nuts in water overnight then rinse well)
140 ml (2/3 cup) Maple Syrup
½  cup water
½  cup Raw Cacao Powder
Pinch of Salt
1 Vanilla Bean, split lengthwise and scraped or Splash of Vanilla Essence
250g Cacao Butter melted (this is the winning ingredient!)

Method for the Base:

Process the nuts to the consistency of bread crumbs, then add the dates, cranberries, and maple syrup and process until smooth.

Add the grated beetroots, coconut, cacao powder, carob powder, vanilla, and almond meal and blend until well combined and even in texture.

Line a 20cm cake tin with baking paper and press the mixture down into a solid base.

Place the cake tin into the freezer for 40 minutes to firm up.

Method for Sweet Chocolate Icing:

Combine EVERYTHING except for the Cacao Butter and blend until a creamy smooth consistency is formed.

Turn the blender down and add in the melted Cacao Butter until it’s combined (~ 5 seconds). OR if you’re like me and use a Nutribullet for the first step, just mix the Cacao Butter in by hand until it looks nice and glossy.

Pour the Icing over the Base and allow to firm up in the fridge.

You may want to garnish your cake with marachino cherries, extra beetroot or chocolate shavings… whatever takes your fancy!

Enjoy your raw vegan treat!

“it was the ideal birthday cake. You’d easily pay $5+ dollars for a small slice at a fancy café”

The Birthday Boy 😋

Notes:

This recipe is pure genius – with no actual cooking you really can’t go wrong!

Some of the ingredients may be a little hard to get your hands on and you may need to source them from a quality Health Food Store – Ironwood Cottage at Sandgate is my go to for all things organic and quailty.

If you have some items in your pantry but not everything, you can always swap them out. Consider using dried blueberries or currents in place of the cranberries. Or Flaxseed Meal in place of the Almond Meal. Or Cashews in place of the Macadamias. My first attempt I used MCT oil instead of Cacao Butter and I can tell you now this is NOT a good idea unless you want icing that melts everywhere… whoops! Coconut oil may be a more suitable alternative.

Get in touch!

I’d love to hear how you go with creating this cake and whether you enjoy it as much as my family did?

Take photos and make sure to tag @naturologystudio and #naturologystudio

Yours in Health,

 

 

Sarah the Naturopath, Kinesiologist and Healthy Food Purveyor

10 things you should know about Food Compatibility Testing

Compatibility Testing is something I recommend most clients** go ahead with when their symptoms are chronic and vague, and there are a number of reasons for this.

1. It takes the guess-work out of what YOU should be avoiding

Your body is unlike any other body that comes into my office, and needs to be treated as such. The “usual suspects” that typically adversely affect our health and promote inflammation include:

    • Gluten
    • Wheat
    • Dairy
    • Eggs
    • Nuts
    • Shellfish
    • Soy
    • The list goes on…

Imagine cutting all of those out one at a time? It’s not easy, especially when it can take weeks for the effects of removal to be noticed.  Doing this test allows us to view over 600 products that may be causing you grief and stops the blanket approach to natural health advice.

nut intolerance

I could say Almond Milk is going to be better for you than Cows Milk due to the reduced inflammatory factor; but if you’re incompatible with Almond Milk I’ve now possibly made your symptoms worse.

2. You have a list of EXACTLY what you can have #guiltfree

The results of this test may indicate that cows milk is a problem, but lactose free cows milk is OK. Or that chicken is a problem, but turkey is OK.

Unlike blood-spot allergy/intolerance testing which test for certain foods, the Compatibility Test looks at combinations of foods which opens up your options. You may be instructed to remove chickpeas – but hummus may be fine.

Fruit intolerance

Thank you OPTIONS! 

3. It’s non-invasive and pain-free

Unlike allergy and intolerance testing, there’s no need to draw blood. This test requires a small sample of hair. Or if hair is not an option (e.g. bald or baby), a sample of saliva can be taken.

4. It gets results 

You can expect to start seeing and feeling results within 4 weeks. By the end of 6 months, your body will of had a chance to heal enough so that we can re-test and find out what is appropriate to re-introduce.

You do need to stick to the list as closely as possible.

The first time I did a re-test, I was shocked to read all of the symptoms that I listed at the beginning. None of them existed any more!

fitness

5. You will have more energy

For those of you who feel that “this is as good as it gets” or that the way you feel is “normal for your age” (sound familiar?)

After a month of this protocol you’ll realise that you were running on only a few cylinders and now have access to more energy than you realised possible.

promotion

6. Your skin will reflect your inner world

One of the most obvious benefits is your skin clearing up #hellogorgeous

7. Save money not buying unnecessary supplements

If you continue to consume foods or use products that you are incompatible to, it’s more than likely your symptoms will persist.

Rather than supplementing with heavy duty supplements and/or powerful liquid herbal medicines, I prefer to see how you respond this protocol first.

8. You may find it hard (to start with)

For many (including myself the first time) it can take time to make the recommended dietary changes. Perhaps your favourite items have shown up? (For me it was chicken and eggs – I had just made a beautiful organic chicken bone broth). Don’t beat yourself up if it takes you a few weeks to get started.

As time goes on, you’ll start to feel the difference and find it easier to stick with. The trick is embracing the list of alternatives AND knowing that it’s not forever.

You will likely find that in 6 months time you no longer miss those items that you struggled to let go of! I can safely enjoy chicken now, but choose to avoid it for other reasons and honestly don’t miss it.

As your Naturopath, I can support you as best I can and even offer Kinesiology balances to look at underlying resistance patterns.

It is also really important that you get your family on-board as a support crew.

healthy family

9. Sometimes you may feel worse before you feel better

Also referred to as a “healing crises”. As our bodies start to function more optimally at a cellular level, toxins and past trauma may start to release. 

If you’re experiencing extreme reactions, please contact your practitioner ASAP but if they’re mild, be comforted and trust that this soon will pass. 

emotions

10. You’ll embrace a new way of life

The natural way #letfoodbethymedicine 

You may find that potato crisps are OK for you… this does NOT mean that you should enjoy crisps as a main source of food daily! It is still important that you eat a rich, colourful variety of vegetables, fruit, protein, oils and whole-grains.

Book in with me to receive a variety of Gluten-Free / Dairy-Free / Refined-Sugar Free  meal ideas to get you started.

healthy food

 

Summary

It can be hard to start, but the results truly speak for themselves.

**If your reactions to foods are more intense (eg – hives breaking out quickly) – it may be more appropriate to consider IgG food intolerance testing.  Intolerances are an immune response that can occur relatively quickly (anywhere up to 24 hours) and are greater than that of incompatible foods.  You would then avoid intolerant foods alongside the incompatible foods.  Intolerance testing can be done in clinic, or posted to your address to complete at home with a virtual consultation to go through the results.  Learn more

Do you feel like you’re making all the right healthy choices, but still aren’t feeling well? Perhaps it’s time to look into your own unique Compatibility Testing

READY TO START?

Your personalised report will be available within 7-14 days of receiving hair sample (instructions will be emailed to you).

Payments are accepted via PayPal:

Test Option

 

Learn more about what is tested and how the test works here

Yours in Health,

 

 

Sarah the Naturopath & Kinesiologist

sandgate naturopath

 

 

Guilt Free, Moist & Tasty Banana Bread

Dairy Free / Gluten Free / Refined Sugar Free / Preservative Free

A super simple fruity Banana Bread recipe that the whole family will enjoy. So easy, your kids will love helping you make this!

If you’ve come to see me you’ll know that I promote REAL food – that is non-packaged, real foods that have grown naturally and provide you a wealth of health benefits. Choosing to go gluten, dairy and sugar free reduces inflammation, thereby reducing pain. Optimal health can be restored by choosing a variety of fresh vegetables, fruit, whole-grains, healthy fats and lean protein sources daily.

Inspired by Eat Drink Paleo’s “I can’t believe it’s Paleo” Banana Bread (click here) I made a few tweaks to make it simply perfect.

Give it a go and let me know what you think?

You’ll need:

  • Loaf Baking Tin
  • Coconut Oil and Non Stick Baking Paper (for greasing and lining the tin)
  • 3 Eggs (free range)
  • ​Pinch of Salt (celtic sea salt or himalayan rock salt are ideal)
  • ​2 ripe Bananas (peeled and mashed)
  • 1 tablespoon Manuka Honey
  • 1 teaspoon Vanilla Essence
  • ​2½ tablespoons Coconut Oil (in liquid form, melt down if required) 
  • 2 tablespoons Shredded or Dessicated Coconut 
  • 125 grams Almond Meal or LSA Mix (1¼ – 1½ cup) – you can always use the excess nuts from creating your own almond milk
  • 1 tablespoon Coconut Flour (or 2 tablespoons of Tapioca Flour)
  • 1 teaspoon Ground Cinnamon
  • Pinch of Nutmeg (optional dependent on your taste)
  • 1 teaspoon gluten free Baking Powder
  • 3 tablespoons chopped Walnuts
  • 7-10 chopped Apricots (or sultanas)
  • 3 chopped prunes (optional)
  • Handful chopped dried blueberries or apples (optional)

Method:

  • Preheat oven to 180°C . Grease the loaf tin with coconut oil and line the bottom with non-stick baking paper.
  • Place eggs with a pinch of salt in a large mixing bowl and whisk until thick and foamy.
  • Add the wet ingredients; mashed banana, honey, vanilla essence, and coconut oil and mix together until well combined.
  • Add the dry ingredients; almond meal, baking powder, coconut flour, shredded coconut, cinnamon, and nutmeg and mix together well.
  • Fold in walnuts and dried fruit to the mix.
  • Pour the batter into the prepared loaf tin.
  • Smooth the surface and sprinkle extra chopped walnuts on the top.
  • Bake for 45-60 minutes on the middle shelf. Insert a sharp knife or skewer into the centre to see if it comes out dry, in which case it’s done. Remove from the oven and let it cool for 5–10 minutes before removing from the tin; this will ensure a crisp outside and moist centre. Cover with a towel if leaving overnight. 
  • Voila!  Keep in sealed container in fridge then serve as is, or toast and smother with some butter. Yum 🙂

Kimchi Fermented Delight!

Hopefully you’ve heard all about the gut-brain connection and the importance of beneficial gut-bacteria for your immune system, mood, and overall vitality? Fermented foods such as kim-chi are excellent sources of probiotics including Lactobacillus plantarum and Leuconostoc mesenteroides. In fact, one sample of kim-chi has isolated over 900 strains of lactic acid bacteria!

Lactobacillus Plantarum

I like to call pro-biotics “pro-life” as they have a beneficial effect on our entire well-being. Lactobacillus plantarum has been shown to aid digestion, protect the gastrointestinal tract, reduce inflammation and build a healthy immune response. It is a powerful tool for adhering to the gastrointestinal wall and thus crowding out non-beneficial pathogens. It acts as an antioxidant with anticancer, anti-inflammatory, antiobesity and antidiabetic properties.

Like a lot of nutritional science research, we continue to find that traditional, ancient recipes have beneficial outcomes for overall health. This Korean side-dish has evidence of use going all the way back to 37 BC.

Ingredients:

Fermenting vegetables:

  • Half a wombok cabbage, chopped into 8 pieces
  • 1 bunch of spring onions chopped into 1 inch pieces
  • 4 carrots
  • 2 teaspoons of quality salt (celtic sea-salt or himalayan pink salt)

Paste:

  • 2 Nashi Pears
  • 1 small Chinese Radish
  • 1 whole knob of Garlic
  • 2 inch piece of Ginger
  • 2 tsp of Chilli powder and/or Cayenne Pepper (to taste)
  • Splash of fish sauce

Other:

  • 1 heaped tablespoon of ground Glutinous Rice Starch
  • 1/2 cup of water
  • LPRA vegetable culture (starter culture probiotic)

Method:

  1. Sprinkle your vegetable mix with salt and rub in until juices start to run, then allow to sit.
  2. Blend all of the Paste ingredients listed above to create a fine consistency – the smell is intense!
  3. Vigorously stir the Rice Starch and 1/2 cup of water on low heat until it turns white – it should create a thick consistency and bubble while being stirred.
  4. Mix in your chosen vegetable culture and the blended Paste ingredients to the Rice Starch.
  5. Cover the vegetable mix with the paste.
  6. Place all into a fermentation jar or crock, remembering to release any gas build-up daily (if you’re using closed jars).
  7. Fermentation will take approximately 1 week. Once ready, store in a sealed jar in the fridge for up to 1 month.

Serve as a side-dish with scrambled eggs, Asian or rice dishes, yum!

I personally use the Fermentation System with Airlock available through Green Living Australia. They also sell at Redcliffe Markets on a Sunday.

Fermentation Kit

Cheers to your best gut health!

 

 

Sarah the Naturopath & Kinesiologist