Friday, January 29, 2010

Ancient Walking to Primal Rhythms Community Wellness Workshop at ACHS on February 22

Great news! Randy Eady will be at the American College of Healthcare Sciences campus on February 22 to lead us through a workshop, Ancient Walking to Primal Rhythms. Eady is a board-certified rehabilitation counselor and therapeutic program coordinator.

Ancient Walking to Primal Rhythms uses a holistic approach to improve range of motion in walking, strength, flexibility, and proper movement alignment. The result of years of clinical research by the National Institutes of Health and the Oregon Research Institute, this program offers an easy-to-learn form of tai chi focused on building core muscle strength, body symmetry, and enhancing the integration of the body’s three organic balance centers.

This ACHS community wellness event is free to attend, but space is limited. RSVP to (503) 244-0726 or email

Here are the event details: Monday, February 22, from 11 am-1 pm. American College of Healthcare Sciences, 5940 SW Hood Ave., Portland.

If you can't attend in person, no worries! We will record and post the workshop presentation to our YouTube channel, ACHStv.

We look forward to seeing you on campus!

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

ACHS is gearing up for Better Living Show at the Expo Center March 26-28

American College of Healthcare Sciences (ACHS) is gearing up for the 2010 Energy Trust Better Living Show at the Portland Expo Center March 26-28. The College, exhibiting for their second year, will have new this year interactive holistic health presentations and lifestyle displays, as well as holistic health experts and ACHS faculty and staff on hand to speak with attendees about holistic living.

ACHS is based in the John’s Landing area of Portland and is one of the first accredited, online colleges to offer degrees, diplomas, and career training certificates in complementary alternative medicine. Founded in 1978, the College is committed to providing “leadership in holistic health education through comprehensive professional online and on-campus education and high-quality natural products with a commitment to sustainable practices and principles.”

By connecting with Oregon’s communities, and healthcare professionals and students, ACHS “fosters competence, professionalism, and cooperation in holistic healthcare and works to preserve and share knowledge in natural medicine.”

ACHS is an approved member of Green America’s Green Business Network, “the nation’s leading non-profit educator on socially and environmentally responsible consumption and investing,” and personally sources organic and sustainably wildcrafted herbs and essential oils for the Apothecary Shoppe College Store as part of their sustainability pledge. In addition, ACHS includes developing research about native plants and sustainability in their courses; maintains an on-campus botanical garden, which preserves local plant and animal life; and hosts monthly community wellness events featuring topics like seed starting, organic gardening, plant identification, wildcrafting, and making natural products. ACHS’s full sustainability pledge is available online at under About ACHS.

To learn more about sustainable living and holistic health, visit ACHS at the Better Living Show, booth 811, March 26-28, 2010, at the Portland Expo Center, 2060 North Marine Drive, Portland, OR 97217. Admission is free. For hours, a list of scheduled presentations, and information about parking, visit

For more information about holistic health courses and community wellness events from American College of Healthcare Sciences, visit:

ACHS hires Amy Swinehart and Roberta Gamache as Assistants to the Registrar

Amy Swinehart (pictured far right) and Roberta Gamache have been hired as Assistants to the Registrar for the American College of Healthcare Sciences. ACHS is based in the John’s Landing area of Portland, Oregon, and is the only accredited, fully online college offering degrees, diplomas, and career-training certificates in complementary alternative medicine.

Swinehart, who had previously worked for the ACHS Student Services and Admissions Deparments for about ten years, and Gamache, who has several years’ experience working in the service industries, will job-share the Assistant to the Registrar position. Assistant to the Registrar works with current ACHS students to help them meet their financial and educational goals.

“I became familiar with holistic health while assisting prospective and current students during their studies with ACHS,” Swinehart said. “Our students are working hard to enhance or further their holistic health knowledge in order to assist others in leading natural, healthy lives. I am proud to, again, be a part of this college and look forward to reconnecting with the students, assisting them in any way with their current and/or future goals with holistic health.”

Swinehart graduated with a BA in Sociology from Washington State University in 1995, when she relocated to the Portland area. Gamache relocated to Portland more recently in 2008 to be closer to her family.

“Holistic health has been a way of life for me personally,” Gamache said. “Having grown up with illness, I learned early on to take care of myself through diet and exercise, to get to the root of the real problem. This being the case, I am very excited to work in the holistic health field, to help ACHS students gain knowledge and a career for their future.”

For more information about holistic health courses and community wellness events from the American College of Healthcare Sciences, visit:

Monday, January 25, 2010

CDC Guidance for Relief Works and Others Traveling to Haiti

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) have posted new information for relief workers and others traveling to Haiti as part of the relief and recovery efforts.

Before leaving for Haiti, the CDC recommends vaccination for Hepatitis A, Typhoid, and Hepatitis B. If you are not sure about your vaccination status, it is best to check with your primary care physician before traveling.

In addition, the CDC website states that "there will be almost no infrastructure support available for Haiti for the immediate future. Relief workers, volunteers, and other travelers will need to be self-sufficient." Pack the following supplies:
  • Food and water sufficient for the length of your stay.
  • Soap and an alcohol-based hand cleaner (containing at least 60% alcohol)
  • Insect protection: insect repellent and a bed net. (For information about natural insect repellents, click here)
  • Medications: antimalarial pills, medications for the treatment of traveler's diarrhea (e.g., loperamide and an antibiotic), personal prescriptions (including extras), any preferred over-the-counter medications, and copies of all your prescriptions.
  • An extra set of prescription eyeglasses and/or contacts.
  • Water purification tablets (iodine or chlorine), bleach, or a water purifier.
  • Persons with pre-existing health conditions should consider wearing an alert-bracelet and make sure this information is on a contact card in their wallet or travel documents. A contact card should include the following information:
    • Name and contact information of U.S. family member or close contact.
    • Name and contact information of U.S. healthcare provider.
    • Pre-existing health conditions and treatment.
  • Personal Protective Equipment: safety glasses or goggles, work boots, leather gloves for physical labor, rubber gloves for handling blood or body fluids, surgical masks, hard hat, ear plugs, N-95 respirators for those who are fit-tested.
  • Due to severe damage to health facilities and shortages of medical supplies, carry a first aid kit for your own protection. Minimum suggested contents:
    • Bandages (roller, adhesive, triangular)
    • Sterile gauze pads
    • Disposable gloves
    • Scissors
    • Tweezers
    • Cold compress
    • Antiseptic wipes
    • Antibiotic ointment
    • Hydrocortisone ointment
    • Commercial suture/syringe kits to be used by a local health-care provider. These items will require a letter from the prescribing physician on letterhead stationery. Pack these items in checked baggage, since they may be considered sharp objects and confiscated by airport or airline security if packed in carry-on bags.
    • (For information about essential oils first aid travel kits, click here)
For more information about how to protect yourself in Haiti, including information about how to protect yourself from injury, stress, and infection, read the full-length article on the CDC website:

Use Your VA Education Benefits for an In-Demand, Satisfying Career

Over the next decade, the healthcare industry is expected to grow more than any other industry. There are more opportunities than ever to help people by providing person-to-person support that promotes sustainable health and wellness. In specific, the healthcare industry is experiencing a growing demand for specialists in aromatherapy, herbal medicine, massage, chiropractic, nutrition, wellness coaching, and acupuncture to work with physical therapists, doctors, and dieticians, among others.

The opportunity to help people find wellness and balance, is relatively unlimited. For many military servicemembers and spouses, it is this pride in helping others that attracted them to the military. A career in holistic health is an opportunity to find new ways to help other.

To read the full-length version of this article, which originally appeared in the 2010 Veterans Education Guide, download it as a PDF here: (This ACHS article starts on page 76 of the Guide.)

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Med Students Say Conventional Medicine Would Benefit by Integrating Alternative Therapies

The findings of a new study published January 20, 2010, in the online issue of Evidence-based Complementary and Alternative Medicine found that three-quarters of medical students asked felt that conventional, Western medicine would benefit from integrating more CAM therapies and ideas.

This study is reportedly the largest national survey of its kind. Researchers from UCLA and UC San Diego, including experts in the fields of CAM, integrative medicine, Western medicine, medical education, and survey development, assessed their results based on 1,770 surveys.

Though researchers found that medical students supported the importance of CAM and alternative medicine, some obstacles that could prevent future doctors from recommending these treatments were also identified. According to the findings (as reported on esciencenews):
  • 77 percent of participants agreed to some extent that patients whose doctors know about complementary and alternative medicine in addition to conventional medicine, benefit more than those whose doctors are only familiar with Western medicine.
  • 74 percent of participants agreed to some extent that a system of medicine that integrates therapies of conventional and complementary and alternative medicine would be more effective than either type of medicine provided independently.
  • 84 percent of participants agreed to some extent that the field contains beliefs, ideas, and therapies from which conventional medicine could benefit.
  • 49 percent of participating medical students indicated that they have used complementary and alternative treatments however few would recommend or use these treatments in their practice until more scientific assessment has occurred.
To read the full-length article with commentary from the researchers involved, visit:

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Clearing Clutter for Holsitic Health Featured on NAHA Aromatherapy Blog

"Clearing Clutter for Holistic Health," originally featured in the National Association for Holistic Aromatherapy (NAHA) January newsletter, is now available on the NAHA blog as an E-News Going Green article as well.

Here are a few of the aromatherapy tips featured in the article by ACHS President Dorene Petersen:

1. Peppermint (Mentha piperita) essential oil has been shown to repel mice, so put cotton balls soaked in peppermint oil in areas where you suspect a mouse problem. (Avoid placing the cotton balls in areas that are accessible to children and pets).

2. Check your oils. While some oils like Vetiver (Vetiveria zizanoides) will last for years if stored correctly, others (like the citrus oils) will begin to oxidize after a few months. (It is best to store your citrus essential oils in the fridge.) If you've taken the time to train your olfactory memory, you may be able to discern when your oils are past their best. No need to throw them out: Use them to clean the house! (But avoid skin contact as oxidized citrus essential oils can cause irritation.) And don't use them to wash the dog: Fido's skin is sensitive too!

3. Aromatherapy baths are an effective relaxation activity, and also a great reward for accomplishing a goal. To create a soothing aromatherapeutic bath, try a blend of Geranium (Pelargonium graveolens), Lavender (Lavandula angustifolia), and Rose (Rosa damascena).

To read the full-length article, including tips for clearing clutter and promoting optimum health, check out the National Association for Holistic Aromatherapy blog here:

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Relief Efforts in Haiti: How to Help

A brief report posted to the World Health Organization website today says that "quickly delivering and coordinating life-saving care" to Haiti is "an immediate priority." Several major healthcare facilities have been damaged or destroyed, many people have yet to be recovered from the rubble, and several survivors have incurred serious injuries.

Here is a list of organizations supplied by The Washington Post where you can donate to specific relief efforts:

United Nations Central Emergency Response Fund (CERF)
Mercy Corps
Save the Children
International Red Cross
World Vision
Catholic Relief Services
International Medical Corps
Network for Good
Operation USA
Operation Blessing International
Convoy of Hope
The Global Syndicate
Beyond Borders
Community Coalition for Haiti
International Orthodox Christian Charities
Baptist World Aid
Doctors Without Borders
Habitat for Humanity
Action Against Hunger
Direct Relief International
B'nai B'rith International
Bright Hope
Hope for Haiti
American Jewish World Service
World Relief
American Friends Service Committee
Food for the Poor
CHF International
The Lambi Fund of Haiti
Islamic Relief USA
United Way Worldwide
International Organization for Migration
Food for the Hungry

In addition, there are several organizations accepting donations via text message. They include:
  • Text the word "Yele" to 501501 to donate $5 on behalf of the Yele Haiti Foundation, founded by Haitian musician Wyclef Jean.
  • Text the word "Haiti" to 85944 to donate $5 on behalf of the Rescue Union Mission and MedCorp International.
  • Text the word "Haiti" to 25383 to donate $5 on behalf of the Internal Rescue Committee.
  • Text the word "Haiti" to 864833 to donate $5 to United Way Worldwide's disaster fund.
  • Text the word "Haiti" to 90999 to donate $10 on behalf of the American Red Cross.
  • Text the word "Haiti" to 45678 (in Canada only) on behalf of the Salvation Army in Canada.

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Colloidal Silver Banned Throughout the European Union

As of January 1, 2010, colloidal silver has been banned throughout the European Union. Colloidal silver can no longer be sold as a nutritional supplement in any health food store in the EU, and could, according to health freedom reports, meet a similar fate in the U.S. The health blog Colloidal Silver Secrets is expected to post a report on this ban, including information from European health freedom groups, soon.

According to the National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine (NCCAM) website, colloidal silver is typically marketed as a dietary supplement and consists of "tiny silver particles suspended in liquid." Silver has a medicinal history dating back centuries, though, according to NCCAM, "modern drugs have eliminated most of those uses." A handful of prescription drugs containing silver are still available, such as silver nitrate, which can be used for prevent conjunctivitis in newborn babies and certain skin conditions.

Colloidal silver is usually taken by mouth, although there are forms that can be sprayed, applied directly to the skin, or injected into a vein. However, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) "does not consider colloidal silver to be safe or effective for treating any disease or condition." To learn more about dietary supplements and their regulation, check out the NCCAM Using Dietary Supplements Wisely page.

For more information about colloidal silver and health freedom, check out the article "Silver--Safe, Effective, Dangerous to Big Pharma" featured on the Health Freedom USA website.

We'd love to hear your thoughts and reflections about this ban. Please take a moment to post a brief comment. Thanks!

Image ©, Donall O Cleirigh,

Monday, January 11, 2010

ACHS is now participating in Portland Composts!

The ACHS offices and Apothecary Shoppe College Store are now participating in Portland Composts!, a program through the Portland Bureau of Planning and Sustainability. Portland Composts! is a voluntary program, which will allow ACHS to keep their food wastes like food scraps and food-soiled papers out of the landfill, and to instead to keep wastes like food scraps and food-soiled papers out of the landfill and to help make nutrient-rich compost instead.

Where will the waste go for composting? It will be sent to the Cedar Grove Composting facility in Maple Valley, Washington, and the bagged compost will be available for purchase at Portland-area home improvement stores.

Click here for more information about the Portland Composts! program, FAQs, and a complete list of what can be composted:

Friday, January 8, 2010

ABC teams with Healing Quest to create new segments about popular herbs

The American Botanical Council (ABC) has teamed up with Healing Quest to record segments for "Herbal Insights." Healing Quest is a public television show co-hosted by Olivia Newton-John featuring interviews with Mark Blumenthal, Deepak Chopra, MD, Andrew Weil, MD, and Marianne Williamson, among others.

The "Herbal Insights" segments are scheduled to run throughout the year. To find out when "Herbal Insights" will be aired near you, contact your local PBS station.

The first seven segments of "Herbal Insights" will profile the popular herbs chamomile (Matricaria recutita), peppermint (Mentha x piperita), ginger (Zingiber officinale), licorice (Glycyrrhiza glabra), marshmallow (Althaea officinalis), senna (Senna alexandrina), and slippery elm (Ulma rubra) bark.

To watch a Healing Quest segment featuring ABC Founder and Executive Director Mark Blumenthal, click on the link:

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

ABC's Mark Blumenthal Clarifies Ginkgo Study on Health Talk Radio Show

The American Botanical Council (ABC) released a statement yesterday announcing that Mark Blumenthal, ABC founder and executive director, has "been working to publicly address misconceptions about ginkgo, resulting from a recent high-profile study."

Blumenthal was recently interviewed by Dr. Ronald Hoffman for the show Health Talk. During the interview, Blumenthal talked about a study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA), which "reported that a leading ginkgo extract did not reduce cognitive decline in older adults. Blumenthal pointed out that this study had many significant limitations, and he highlighted some of the many positive studies indicating ginkgo's effectiveness."

Here is a link to the press release the American Botanical Council sent out addressing the "limitations" of the JAMA study:

Blumenthal's interview is available for download as a podcast here:

ACHS donates to Oregon Food Bank to help combat local hunger

In this past year, Portland, Oregon, home of ACHS, has experienced increased demand for food donations. Like many cities in the U.S., people have been displaced by economic challenges and to maintain good health, need a stable food source for themselves and their families.

To help battle hunger in our local community, ACHS collected canned food at some of our 2009 Open House events, in our Apothecary Shoppe College Store, and from our faculty and staff. All donations were deposited with the Oregon Food Bank to help feed families during the holidays.

But hunger knows no season. The Oregon Food Bank, and similar organizations, need donations year-round to help support the health and vitality of your local community. We encourage you to seek out the local food bank or donation center in your community and see what kinds of donations they are in need of. Maybe you could organize a New Year food drive in your neighborhood, among your co-workers, or even just among your friends and family. Every donation helps to make a difference.

You can use this link to find a food bank in your community:

Image (c)

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Clearing Clutter for Holistic Health

We know that health and wellness are the result of several elements: a good diet, plenty of clean water, regular exercise, and fresh air. Herbs, essential oils, and other dietary supplements help us deal with life's challenges. There are, however, many less-than-obvious influences in our everyday environments that can negatively affect our health, too. Clutter, for example. Collecting stuff, the intent to clear out stuff, and the seemingly unavoidable procrastination to "get the job done" can all be a real drain on your energy.

Here are some ideas to help you de-clutter and improve your health in 2010.

1. Share what you no longer need:

This is the perfect time of year to clear out everything from those two most-used rooms in the house: the kitchen and bathroom. Over the course of the year, perhaps you have changed your mind about what you want to put in your body (and on it)? If you're reading this, you probably know that parabens are best avoided in our skin care products, but do you have some lurking in your bathroom[1]? If you have unopened paraben-free products that you do not need, you may want to donate them to charity; many women's shelters welcome unopened self-care products. Otherwise, dispose of paraben-containing products by composting them, rather than washing them down the drain, as it seems there are some bacteria that can break down parabens into less harmful products; then recycle the containers. (Remember, if you use natural skin care products, their storage life is often shorter than products preserved with synthetics, so go through your stash and dispose of anything that is past its use by date.)

Now to the kitchen: Clear out any food items that are past their expiration date. Compost the contents and recycle the containers. Any products that you are not likely to eat, but are not expired, can be donated to charity; your local food bank is crying out for donations at this time of year.

Aromatherapy Tip: Peppermint (Mentha piperita) essential oil has been shown to repel mice, so put cotton balls soaked in peppermint oil in areas where you suspect a mouse problem. (Avoid placing the cotton balls in areas that are accessible to children and pets).

2. Try the 1-2-3 Box Approach:

Set up three large-sized boxes. Label one box as Throw Out (items that are worn out or broken), one as Give Away (items that you will donate, sell, or recycle), and one as Keep. Then, go room-by-room and be systematic; work your way completely through one room before you begin the next. Once you have completed a room, seal the Throw Out and Give Away boxes, and place them by your front door.

Aromatherapy Tip: Check your oils. While some oils like Vetiver (Vetiveria zizanoides) will last for years if stored correctly, others (like the citrus oils) will begin to oxidize after a few months. (It is best to store your citrus essential oils in the fridge.) If you've taken the time to train your olfactory memory, you may be able to discern when your oils are past their best. No need to throw them out: Use them to clean the house! (But avoid skin contact as oxidized citrus essential oils can cause irritation.) And don't use them to wash the dog: Fido's skin is sensitive too!

3. Set goals, not resolutions:

For many people, making New Year's resolutions seems like "the right thing to do." Often our resolutions are good ideas, but really big and overwhelming ideas, too. So this year, try setting goals instead. Goals have measurable results and they require a plan. For example, you could make the resolution to Get In Shape This Year...OR, you can set the goal to improve your health this year by drinking 8 glasses of water a day, eating 5 fruits and vegetables a day, and completing one hour of relaxation-promoting activities every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday. When goals are realistic and clear, they are more easily accomplished, which feels great! Remember, you can always set additional, more challenging goals if and when you want to.

Aromatherapy Tip: Aromatherapy baths are an effective relaxation activity, and also a great reward for accomplishing a goal. To create a soothing aromatherapeutic bath, try a blend of Geranium (Pelargonium graveolens), Lavender (Lavandula angustifolia), and Rose (Rosa damascena).

[1] In vivo and in vitro studies have confirmed the ability of parabens to pentrate human skin intact and to be absorbed. The health risks from aggregate use of body care products containing parabens have been shown to include increased incidence of female breast cancer, interference with male reproductive functions, and increased development of malignant melanoma. Therefore, where possible, it is recommended to eliminate use of paraben-containing products. Darbre PD & Harvey PW. Paraben esters: review of recent studies of endocrine toxicity, absorption, esterase and human exposure, and discussion of potential human health risks. J Appl Toxical. 2008 Jul;28(5):561-78.

* This article originally appeared in the NAHA January ENews.
* Image (c)