Thursday, April 29, 2010

ACHS is Now the Only U.S. Accredited School Approved as an IIPA Sanctioned Program

The American College of Healthcare Sciences (ACHS) has been approved as a sanctioned school by the International Iridology Practitioners Association (IIPA), making ACHS the only U.S. accredited school approved by IIPA with a sanctioned program. ACHS is accredited by the Distance Education and Training Council, a U.S. Department of Education and Council for Higher Education Accreditation recognized accrediting agency.

“We’re very proud our Certificate in Iridology Consulting program has been approved by IIPA,” says ACHS President Dorene Petersen. “IIPA maintains the utmost integrity, professionalism, and certification and standards, and provides a wonderful opportunity for iridology professionals to learn from, and exchange information worldwide. IIPA’s sanctioning of our Certificate program gives ACHS students even more confidence in their training and professional goals, and provides a strong connection to an outside organization with almost 30 years’ experience in the field.”

About Our Program
Graduates of the Certificate in Iridology Consulting will be able to implement tools for increased health and well-being and a more natural, balanced way of life. Graduates learn the techniques and theory of iridology, analyzing the iris of the eye in relation to the body's health. Graduates also have a comprehensive understanding of anatomy and physiology and holistic clinical correlates.

The Certificate in Iridology Consulting also provides training in how to legally and successfully operate a consulting practice, including how to create lifestyle plans to support optimal health. Graduates will be able to successfully operate a consultancy by implementing clinic management tools, including case taking, ethics, and informed consent.

>> For more information about the American College of Healthcare Sciences, request more information here:

>> To read the full press release, go to and click on News and Events:

Friday, April 16, 2010

ACHS Vintage Logo Apparel now available!!

ACHS Vintage Logo Apparel now available!!

We are proud to launch our vintage apparel line in celebration of 32 years of dedication to excellence in holistic health education. The original ACHS logo was created by our President and Founder Dorene Petersen and a local artist on Waiheke Island, New Zealand in 1978. It was inspired by Dorene's love for the old world apothecary and all that nature's bounty has to offer.

All ACHS apparel is printed locally and sustainably on 100% American made merchandise in support of keeping America working and thriving. We sourced a local screen printer who uses soy-based inks and sustainable practices to produce these truly one-of-a kind pieces.

Order your ACHS vintage t-shirts and aprons here:

The ACHS Team with DETC Outstanding Graduate Pat Reder in Del Mar

Our team just got back from the DETC conference in Del Mar, California. Here's a great picture of ACHS's 2010 DETC Outstanding Graduate Pat Reder with her son, Seth (far left), who traveled from Los Angeles to record Pat's speech! ACHS College President Dorene Petersen is on the far left and SVP Erika Yigzaw is between Pat and Seth.

Pat is a Registered Nurse and Holistic Health Practitioner. She has worked as a registered nurse for about 30 years, including critical care and emergency and trauma medicine. She has always had an interest in holistic health because she feels there is “a need for an integrative approach between allopathic and holistic healthcare practices.” That is why Reder chose to enroll in ACHS’s Holistic Health Practitioner Diploma program, which she completed in December 2009, in addition to a Certificate in Nutrition, Bodycare, and Herbalism.

Each year the Distance Education Training Council asks their accredited institutions to select exceptional distance education graduates for recognition. Award winners must meet select criteria set for academic records and the quality of their contribution to their chosen profession in specific, and society in general. Outstanding Graduates are featured in the DETC Outstanding Graduate brochure and on the DETC website.

You can read more about Pat's work with holistic health and wellness here:

Friday, April 9, 2010

ACHS learning vacation—Mediterranean Holistic Cuisine—offers unique combination of expert, hands-on instruction and relaxation

Sun-kissed isles and tantalizing cuisine, holistic nutrition learning vacations from the American College of Healthcare Sciences (ACHS) offer full immersion and an authentic Greek isle experience. Through engaging hands-on study you’ll learn the many health benefits and cooking techniques of the Mediterranean diet during ACHS’s Mediterranean Holistic Cuisine Summer Session in Greece 2010 hosted by acclaimed chef and author Susan Belsinger and renowned holistic health expert and ACHS President Dorene Petersen, June 26-July 2, 2010.

Mediterranean Holistic Cuisine Summer Session in Greece 2010 is a stimulating learning vacation and provides the unique opportunity for you to learn something new while having an out-of-the-ordinary experience: an educational adventure with a vacation pace.

“Participants at our Mediterranean Holistic Cuisine Summer Session,” says ACHS President Dorene Petersen, “not only get some much needed relaxation in a beautiful Greek island setting, but they also get to learn and experience well-researched holistic nutrition guidelines for how to start improving optimal health and wellness. The Mediterranean diet has been shown to have many health benefits, including lowered risk of death from heart disease and cancer, and is focused on simple ingredients people can use to cook with everyday, like fresh fruits and vegetables, tree nuts, whole grains, and olive oil, a healthy fat.”

“Plus,” Petersen adds, “ACHS’s Mediterranean Holistic Cuisine Summer Session is a seven-day learning vacation, so participants are immersed in the island of Syros and learn how to identify and harvest wild, edible plants, and to use them in delicious Mediterranean menus. Participants start using the health tools they are learning about while on vacation, which makes the transition back to everyday cooking easier and more appealing.”

Participants stay in the Abela Villa on the island of Syros, receive 3-4 hours of daily hands-on culinary and meal preparation instruction, and three meals a day prepared with fresh, local ingredients. For more information about educational credit, pricing information, and to book your next adventure, call ACHS at (503) 244-0726 and ask to speak with an ACHS Admissions Advisor, or send an email to

>> Read the full press release about ACHS Mediterranean Holistic Cuisine Summer Session here.

>> Read the Alliance of Natural Health article, "The Mediterranean Diet--Can it help you live longer," here.

Thursday, April 8, 2010

Vitamin B6 in the Regulatory Arena

By Dr. Arianna Staruch, ACHS Academic Dean

On April 6, 2010, there was an alert released by the Alliance for Natural Health that stated “A natural form of the vitamin, Pyridoxamine, was recently yanked off the market by the FDA. Why?”

The “why” seems to be about who gets to control the money gained from selling a product, which puts the supplement industry at odds with the drug industry. This fight over pyridoxamine is an example of this struggle that has the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in the middle.

Let’s clarify this issue. According to the Linus Pauling Institute: “There are three traditionally considered forms of vitamin B6: pyridoxal (PL), pyridoxine (PN), pyridoxamine (PM). The phosphate ester derivative pyridoxal 5'-phosphate (PLP) is the principal coenzyme form and has the most importance in human metabolism.”[1]

Pyridoxine is the natural form of the B6 vitamin and PLP is the active form. The FDA has been reviewing the status of the pyridoxamine form of the vitamin since 2005. A petition, submitted on behalf of BioStratum, Inc., requesting the removal of dietary supplements containing the drug pyridoxamine was first submitted to the FDA on July 29, 2005.

BioStratum is the manufacturer of Pyridorin, a form of pyridoxamine dihydrochloride that was submitted as the subject of an Investigational New Drug (IND) Application filed with the FDA in 1999 as a potential therapeutic agent to slow or prevent the progression of diabetic neuropathy. It was granted fast-track status in 2002. A phase II trial was started that was expected to lead to the approval of this drug by 2005 or 2006. This current action by the FDA may reflect the completion of these studies and the impending approval of the drug.

BioStratum claims that after they released the data from their phase II trials, supplement manufactures began marketing pyridoxamine as a dietary supplement, and that pryridoxamine was never marketed as a dietary supplement before the compound was part of the Pyridorin IND filing. They further state that existing dietary ingredients must be chemically altered by sophisticated multi-step synthetic processes to produce pyridoxamine. This is why they petitioned the FDA to list pyridoxamine as a drug and not as a dietary supplement.

One of the supplement companies selling 100mg pyridoxamine directed consumers to a website that made specific health claims that “pyridoxamine may be useful in treating diabetic retinopathy.” This is clearly in violation of FDA regulations that say that dietary supplements can only make structure function claims, not health claims.

Another problem is that pyridoxamine can have potential side effects, and as part of an investigational drug study, its use should be monitored by a physician. When BioStratum analyzed the 100mg product from the supplement company, it found that some of the capsules contained up to 140mg of pyridoxamine, and also contained up to 8.3% impurities. (Drugs and supplements manufactured according to Good Manufacturing Practices (GMPs) would never be allowed to have this level of contamination.) This could further exacerbate side effects.

In September 2005 the Council for Responsible Nutrition, a leading trade association representing dietary supplement manufacturers and ingredient suppliers, contested BioStratum’s petition stating that pyridoxamine is one of the two natural forms of B6 found in animal products used as human food. They also stated that pyridoxamine is on a list of dietary supplements marketed prior to 1995 and the passage of the DSHEA. This Natural Products Association (formerly the National Nutritional Foods Association or NNFA) list included Pyridoxine ketoglutarate. BioStratum countered in September of 2005, saying that pyridoxamine was not marketed as a dietary supplement until after July 1999, and the NNFA list was never verified by any agency. In addition, they say that pyridoxaime can be metabolized in vivo to the active form of PLP, but that it is not the natural form of the vitamin, which is pyridoxine. However, a dietary supplement fact sheet on B6 produced by the Office of Dietary Supplements of the National Institutes of Health (NIH) listed pyridoxamine as one of the three major chemical forms of B6 in 2002.

Further, Jarrow Formulas began marketing “Pyridoxall with pyridoxamine”. The label lists pyridoxamine 50mg 2500% DV, pyridoxine 5mg 250% DV, and pyridoxal-5-phosphate 250% DV. The abbreviation “DV” refers to the Daily Value found on the NIH vitamin Fact Sheet for B6 from 2002. The RDA for B6 is 1.3-1.7mg and the Upper Tolerable Limit (UL) is 100mg. Above 100mg can cause reversible nerve damage.

The public should be involved in the decisions being made by the FDA. If you want to continue to have access to specific products sold by supplement manufactures, then add your voice to the FDA debate. Understand the issue and the players involved and know that both sides do have a financial interest in the debate.

If you would like to review the FDA document for yourself, click here for the link.


Have You Heard? 30-Day Sit Spot Challenge

One of our workshop presenters, Randy Eady, shared this information about the 30-Day Sit Spot Challenge with us, and we thought you might enjoy it too!

The 30-Day Sit Spot Challenge takes place April 10-May 10 and "is a way for you to connect with the depth of the natural world through one spot in the nature," according to the Wilderness Awareness School website.

From the American Wilderness School website:

What is a Sit Spot?

The Sit Spot is an age-old practice of going to one spot in nature over a long period of time, making observations of what happens in nature at its baseline state. It is essential for it to be close to your house and have a feeling of safety. It is ideal to for it to be as wild as possible, but many people have sit spots in their back yards.

How does it work?
It's simple: You will go to your Sit Spot for at least 20 minutes per day for the entire 30 days.

Do I have to go to the same Sit Spot every day?
No. While it is ideal to go to the same spot every day it is not necessary. If you need to find a new spot while you are away from your normal Sit Spot find a spot that is as wild as possible and sit there.

For more information about the 30-Day Sit Spot Challenge, click here.

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Tips for the Working Aromatherapist: National Association for Holistic Aromatherapy

"Starting a business that involves aromatherapy as part of your business model is exciting as well as overwhelming," says Rose Chard in her article "Tips for the Working Aromatherapist" on the National Association for Holistic Aromatherapy (NAHA) blog. "Exciting because a growing number of people are looking to take more control of their well-being. Overwhelming because it is often difficult to know how to start an aromatherapy business--there is no set model to follow. However, this is a growing industry so it is an excellent time to add aromatherapy to your current business or to begin one based on aromatherapy. Here a few tips to help you along the way."

Do not assume that your clients will know the basics of aromatherapy, Chard suggests. Rather, rely on your expert education and the industry's ethical standards to meet your customer's needs. "A great number of people still do not understand the difference between an essential oil and fragrance oil," chard says, or "how to distinguish a true aromatherapy product by reading a label or that essential oils have uses other than aromatic pleasure. These people need you. And as an aromatherapist, you should recognize your role in proper education of the principles of aromatherapy for those that want and need that education."

Chard also suggests that working aromatherapists:
  • Be specific about what they offer
  • Start small and build
  • Offer quality
  • Decide on the business's demographics
  • Be proud to promote the benefits of aromatherapy
  • Charge to reflect the value of services and products offered
To read the full-length NAHA blog, click here.

For expert advice about the business of aromatherapy, check out "The Business of Aromatherapy: American College of Healthcare Sciences," an interview with ACHS President Dorene Petersen on the Essential U blog.

Click here to read "The Business of Aromatherapy."

New Study Suggests A Minimum One-Hour Workout May Be Necessary

New research suggests that older women who are at a healthy weight may need a minimum of one hour of moderate activity per day to stay in shape. Women who are overweight may need even more exercise to "avoid gaining weight without eating less," according to the CBS News article "Study: 1-Hour Workouts Needed to Fight Fat."

The study's results, which appear today, April 7, in the Journal of the American Medical Association, is "based on 34,079 non-dieting middle-aged women followed for about 13 years. The women gained an average of almost 6 pounds during the study." Only women were included in the study and "researchers from Harvard's Brigham and Women Hospital said it's uncertain whether the results would apply to men."

To read the full-length article on the CBS News website, click here.

To watch "The Early Show" CBS News Medical Correspondent Dr. Jennifer Ashton talk about this study and how you can include more exercise in your everyday routine, click on the video link below.

ANH Alert: Protect Your Right to Natural and Bio-available Vitamin B-6

Alert: Protect Your Right to Natural and Bio-available Vitamin B-6

The Alliance for Natural Health has posted an alert about a potential ban on vitamin B6. As reported on their website, the pharmaceutical company BioStratum wants sole use of pyridoxamine, a natural form of the vitamin, in a drug. "The company filed a so-called citizens petition," according to ANH-USA, "and the FDA agreed. [...] You might ask: how can Pharma take a supplement off the market and claim exclusive use of it as a prescription drug? The FDA does not presently feel obligated to answer the question."

Vitamin B6 is water-soluble and part of the vitamin B complex. Pyridoxal phosphate (PLP) is the active form and is essential for many in the human body. PLP plays a part in amino acid metabolism, gluconeogenesis, lipid metabolism, neurotransmitter synthesis, histamine synthesis, hemoglobin synthesis and function, and gene expression. Vitamin B6 is also important "for the prevention of cancer and the prevention and treatment of seizures, anemia, mental disorders including schizophrenia, carpal tunnel syndrome, and other conditions."[1]

A B6 deficiency can manifest in symptoms like seborrhoeic dermatitis-like eruption, atrophic glossitis with ulceration, angular cheilitis, conjunctivitis, intertrigo, and neurologic symptoms of somnolence, confusion, and neuropathy. [2]

"Unfortunately," ANH-USA says, "this isn’t all the bad news about vitamin B6. All forms of B-6, natural or synthetic, must be converted to P5P, another natural form, for the body to use it. Another drug company, Medicure Pharma, wants sole use of P5P and so has petitioned the FDA to ban its use as a supplement as well.

"Medicure has yet to market a drug made from P5P, but wants the ban to take place now. And never mind that any individual unable to convert synthetic B6 to P5P would have to rely solely on Medicure’s product to stay alive."

If you have yet to send a message to the FDA, you can send one here.

Read more about the potential FDA ban on the Alliance for Natural Health website here.

[2] Andrews' Diseases of the Skin, 10th Edition, Elsevier.

Monday, April 5, 2010

Thyme and Cinnamon Essential Oils May Be Effective Alternative to Antibiotics

"Essential oils could be a cheap and effective alternative to antibiotics and potentially used to combat drug-resistant hospital superbugs," according to the article "Essential Oils to Fight Superbugs" on the ScienceDaily website.

The research for this study was led by Professor Yiannis Samaras and Dr. Effimia Eriotou from the Technological Educational Institute of Ionian Islands, in Greece, and presented at the Society for General Microbiology's spring meeting in Edinburg. Samaras and Eriotou tested the antimicrobial activity of the essential oil from eight plants, from which they found thyme (Thymus vulgaris) essential oil to be the most effective; thyme essential oils "was able to almost completely eliminate bacteria within 60 minutes."

Cinnamon (Cinnamomum zeylanicum) essential oil was also found to be effective, and both cinnamon and thyme essential oil "were found to be particularly efficient antibacterial agents against a range of Staphylococcus species. Strains of these bacteria are common inhabitants of the skin and some may cause infection in immunocompromised individuals."

"The Greek team," according to ScienceDaily, "believes essential oils could have diverse medicinal and industrial applications. 'The oils--or their active ingredients--could be easily incorporated into antimicrobial creams or gels for external application. In the food industry the impregnation of food packaging with essential oils has already been successfully trialed. They could also be included in food stuffs to replace synthetic chemicals that act as preservatives,' they said."

To read the full-length article on the ScienceDaily website, go to:

*This information is for educational purposes only. It is not intended to treat, diagnose, heal, or prevent disease. You should always consult with your primary care physician or naturopathic doctor before making any changes to your health and wellness routine.

Herbman Garden Project Teaches People about Medicinal Properties of Herbs and Cultural Uses

Have you heard about the Medicinal Herbman? We're just learning about it too! The Herbman varies in size and travels widely; he is always stretched out on the ground, which is how he teaches people about the herbs he grows.

Intrigued? The Medicinal Herbman is a project that uses a large, human body-shaped garden to teach people about the medicinal properties of herbs and their cultural uses. The Medicinal Herbman is part of the Medicinal Herbman Cafe Project from Earthscape, a Japanese landscape design team, which also includes an herbal cafe. The Herbman and the cafe travel to different locations as part of their goal to teach the public about herbs.

"In order to help illustrate herbs’ healing properties, the Earthscape team designs Herbman’s body as a map of herbs for treating specific bodily ailments," according to HerbalEGram. "When the project visited the Echigo-Tsumari region of Japan, for example, Geranium thunbergii, which is thought to aid digestion, was planted in the stomach area and Chinese mugwort (Artemisia argyi), which is thought to relieve shoulder stiffness, was planted in the shoulder area, said Nozomi Kobayashi, Earthscape’s public relations director (e-mail, February 22, 2010)."

The Medicinal Herbman Cafe Project visited three locations during the 2009 calendar year, and all of the proceeds from the Medicinal Herbman's cafe are used to build playgrounds and schoolyards in developing countries. According to the project's website, "Herbman in thinking about his next destination as he prepares for his trip in the early spring."

To learn more about this herbal medicine education project, check out the full-length article by the ABC's HerbalEGram, "Traveling Medicinal Herbman Garden Project," here:

Learn more from the Medicinal Herbaman Cafe Project website here:

Image (c) 2010 Medicinal Herbman Cafe Project: