Natural Medicine Georgia Health Healthcare Acupuncture Naturopath

Natural Medicine Georgia Health Healthcare Acupuncture Naturopath

Natural Medicine Georgia Health Healthcare Acupuncture Naturopath

Oconee Natural Healthcare

Dr. Wyler Hecht, N.D., L.Ac.

Comments Off on Chronic indigestion and heartburn

Chronic indigestion and heartburn

December 16th, 2011 by

Chronic Indigestion and Heartburn
Taking a closer look

Wyler Hecht, N.D., L.Ac.

December certainly brings out delicious, decadent food! With the cheer, good will, and festive celebration, some will end up with the not-so-welcome holiday bonus of indigestion and heartburn. The more smorgasbord parties we attend, the more likely we are to leave with a night of discomfort ahead. Symptoms of indigestion include belching, feeling unusually full or bloated, and possibly heartburn–a gnawing, and often times, burning pain between the navel and the base of the sternum. Occasional indigestion is usually not a concern, but if symptoms become chronic, especially if heartburn is a recurring symptom, it is important to find the cause and take steps to fix it. Chronic heartburn can be a sign of underlying health concerns, and, if left untreated, can cause additional problems.

To better understand heartburn it is important to understand how the digestive system works. Think of your gastrointestinal track as a long tube that starts at your mouth and ends at your anus. When food enters the mouth it is shuttled through the tube–first through the esophagus, then into the stomach, the small intestine, and finally, the large intestine. In order to properly digest food so that its nutrients can be absorbed through the lining of the tube, the complex digestive process must work well throughout the entire tube. As food is broken down into its nutritive components, muscular valves close off different portions of the tube while chemical processes of metabolism are carried out at each stage. A common problem area lies between the esophagus and the stomach, at the lower esophageal sphincter (LES). The LES opens to allow chewed food to pass through to the stomach, and closes to prevent reverse movement. If this valve loses muscular integrity, stomach acid, important for the digestive processes in the stomach and small intestine, can reflux backwards into the esophagus causing heartburn.

The acidic environment of the stomach plays a critical role in protein digestion, killing harmful bacteria, stimulating the release of pancreatic enzymes, and in the absorption of key nutrients, including minerals, important for bone health, and vitamin B12, important for nerve function. The acidity of the stomach fluids also signals the LES to close properly thus preventing reflux. If we understand the importance of stomach acid it is easy to understand why blocking it with a drug might not be the best way to treat the problem. While reaching for an antacid several times a year is an acceptable quick fix for occasional indigestion, prolonged use can cause more serious digestive disorders and increase the risk of diseases such as osteoporosis, food poisoning, and bacterial infections in the stomach and small intestines.

There are numerous causes of chronic indigestion, acid reflux, and heartburn, and the causes vary from one person to another. Most causes can be remedied without drug therapy. If you have been on acid-manipulating medications for longer than 2 months I encourage you to seek help in finding and treating the cause of your symptoms. Your long-term health may depend on it.

Comments Off on Cold LASER LLLT


December 6th, 2011 by

As many as of you know, we spent the month of November “test driving” a low-level laser for musculoskeletal pain. The results we had, after treating a dozen people 5 times each, were outstanding. We were blown away to be honest. Many of these patients were combining acupuncture and low level laser, but trust me, we took on some very difficult cases to do this evaluation. Out of the dozen, two had a negligible response (including me!). The research shows that somewhere between 15 and 20% do not respond to low level laser treatment. Six out of the 12 had “remarkable” results. Remember, this is just 5 treatments. And the remaining 4 people had “good” results. Good enough that all 4 are anxiously awaiting the arrival of our purchased low level laser equipment to continue treatments. We had simply leased some equipment for evaluation purposes for the month of November.

Over the past few weeks I have done a tremendous amount of research regarding low level lasers. I have spent hours reviewing the literature, reading clinical trials and speaking to other physicians who use LLLT. I never thought I would know so much about what used to be known as cold laser therapy. After all, I use a radio, a telephone, and a computer and while I’m competent to use them, I can not explain how they work! When we began to see such impressive results, I began to look for answers to many questions I was having. I wanted to understand what was going on physiologically and biochemically to speed healing so dramatically, and I also wanted to understand the very discrepant literature and pricing on the various equipment available.

There are so many devices on the market all of which claim to be the best for one reason or another. The marketing information can be maddening as much of the information from one company is contradicted be the next. The price variance is staggering, and it becomes clear with diligent research that some of the added cost can come from non performance based variables. I want to be able to offer low level laser treatment that has a clinically proven track record, that is FDA approved, and that my patients can afford. It will be here by the week’s end!

The following is a synopsis of what I think will matter most to you- the basis of LLLT. How it works, is it effective, has it been studied in clinical trials, are there side effects, etc.

I. What is a low level laser (LLL)?
First of all, any laser is simply an amplification of light. High level lasers are an amplification of light which is thermal (heat producing) and is often used in surgery to “cut” or “ablate” tissue. Low level laser, however is an amplification of light from the low or cold end of the light spectrum (anywhere from visible red to near infra-red wavelengths).

II. What is low level laser therapy (LLLT)?
LLLT refers to applying a low level laser to tissue for the purpose of healing.

III. How does it work?
When the light penetrates the surface of the skin it travels deeper to the underlying tissues. The cells convert the light energy to chemical energy to promote healing and pain relief. Research shows us that LLLT:
1. increases production of natural endorphins which decreases pain.
2. decreases the production and release of inflammatory biochemicals.
3. enhances lymphatic drainage and increases circulation.
4. relaxes muscle fibers of both smooth muscle and striated muscle.
5. stimulates fibroblastic and osteoblastic activity which speeds bone repair.
6. produces antiviral activity (can be used effectively for herpes zoster (shingles)).
7. increases the production of ATP inside the mitochondria
8. stimulate nerve regeneration.

IV. What can LLLT treat?
LLLT has been clinically proven as an effective adjunct treatment for acute and chronic musculoskeletal conditions such as tendinitis, bursitis, sprain/strain, carpel tunnel, etc, acute and chronic wound healing, and smoking cessation. According to non-published clinical trials and anecdotal data, LLLT can be used for much more.

IV. Are there any adverse effects?
While the use of LLLT is fairly new in the U.S., Europe other countries have been using this therapy for over 25 years. There are over 1500 published studies on the use of LLLT. NOT ONE adverse effect of LLLT has been recorded. However, please note, some patients will experience a temporary, short-lived increase in pain. This temporary increase in pain that only some experience is due to an increase in circulation. When the circulation is increased in tissue that has been deprived of adequate oxygen for weeks or months, the toxic byproducts of metabolism are increased for a brief time. Drinking lots of water is always encouraged!

IV. Are these devises FDA approved?
Not all devises have been cleared by the FDA. The device we will have in our clinic is FDA approved, has been studied in several very large clinical trials. Feel free to ask us for any details.

V. Are there contraindications?
While there are no regulated contraindications LLLT will not be used in our clinic in the following situations for lack of long-term data:
1. over the abdomen of a pregnant woman
2. directly over a pacemaker
3. directly over a cancerous tumor (While the research clearly demonstrates that LLLT does not accelerate the growth of cancerous tumors, and in some cases, many reduce in size, we do not feel there has been enough research in this field to warrant taking risks with our patients).

PLEASE call us if you have questions regarding this information or you would like to know more. If you have concerns about your condition and the possible treatment with LLLT, we are happy to discuss it with you. As always, we really do have your health in mind.

Comments Off on “Detox” is the word.

“Detox” is the word.

September 11th, 2011 by

“Detox” is the word!

And what a loaded word it is! There are thousands of detoxification products sold in health food stores and on the internet and hundreds of different detox protocols that claim to be the best. There is hardly a day that goes by that I don’t get asked about a “detox”. Any plan worth following however, is not going to be found in a box or a bottle. Any protocol that will significantly lower one’s toxic load will be a comprehensive, step by step endeavor that combines dietary restrictions, various home healthcare practices, nutritional supplements that aid in detoxification, and thoughtful avoidance of toxins. The latter is the topic of this blog and really is the linchpin of keeping our bodies as clean as possible.

Sadly enough, it is not at all possible to be toxin-free in the world we live in. In fact, in a study published in 2005, toxic chemicals were found in 10 out of 10 umbilical cord blood samples from neonates born in the United States. In this day and age, in an industrialized nation, we are born with a toxic load as these fat soluble chemicals cross the placental barrier from mother to fetus. As we grow we continue to accumulate toxins from the foods we eat, the air we breath, the water we drink, and the products we use in our daily living. Some exposure is unfortunately beyond our control; however a great deal of our exposure to toxins can be avoided. I’m going to focus on that which we can control, and, in this blog specifically, I will focus on avoiding exposure in the home.

While we can not control the air we breath outside of our homes, we can certainly and significantly decrease the toxic load of the air inside. We spend many of our waking hours in our homes and we sleep in our homes, so keeping the environment inside toxin-free is a great place to start. The most common sources of toxins inside the home are from cigarette smoke, air fresheners, dry-cleaning chemicals from clothing, cleaning products, and from materials that off-gas or evaporate toxic chemicals into the air (carpets, vinyl flooring, mattresses, furniture made from particle board or treated wood, and paints, varnishes, glues, etc.). Combustible materials (oil, gas, kerosene, wood), pesticides, and biological contaminants such as molds and mildew contribute to indoor pollution as well.

There are many ways to avoid these household toxins. Some steps are easy–you can start with them today–and some are more comprehensive. The following list can help guide you toward a short-term plan and a long-term plan to lower the toxic load in your home. Every step you take will pay off in terms of your health.

1. Do not allow smoking inside your home. At least 69 chemicals found in cigarette smoke are known to cause cancer. Even brief exposure to second hand smoke can jeopardize your health and the health of your children and pets. This is an easy one–zero tolerance.

2. Educate yourself about the dangers of household cleaning products. Most commercial cleaning products contain solvents, surfactants, and volatile organic compounds (VOC’s) that can cause or contribute to asthma, allergies, headaches, and rashes. Some of the chemicals found in cleaning products have been linked to heart disease and cancer. Buy non-toxic, environmentally friendly cleaners or make your own using vinegar, water, boric acid, and baking soda. Check the links below for recipes.

3. Commercial air-fresheners have been linked to an increased risk of infant diarrhea, headaches, and, surprisingly, an increased risk of depression. Long-term health hazards are suspected but are not well elucidated. Instead of using commercial air-fresheners, try one of the following non-toxic alternatives:
* Place dried lavender, cloves, orange peels, or cinnamon sticks in a shallow bowl in any room.
* Use your favorite essential oil in a diffuser.
* Dissolve some baking soda in hot water, add a squeeze of lemon juice or a few drops of vanilla extract and use in a spray bottle. The baking soda will neutralize most any odor.
* Light a fragrant candle made of beeswax or soy.

4. Dry cleaners use a chemical called perchloroethylene or PERC. The National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences states that, “short-term exposure to PERC can cause adverse health effects on the nervous system that include headaches, incoordination, dizziness, and fatigue. Long-term exposure can cause liver and kidney damage.” PERC is also a probable carcinogen. If you are lucky enough to live in an area with a “green” dry cleaner please use their services. Check to see if your cleaner offers PERC-free services. If you need to continue to use regular dry-cleaning services, it is best to leave your freshly cleaned clothes to off-gas in the garage or on a patio or porch for a day or two before bringing them inside and certainly before wearing them.

5. If you are in the market for new furniture or are considering a remodel job for your home, it is prudent to be aware of the health hazards linked to building materials, cabinetry, and furniture. PVC, benzene, acrylates, isocyanates, formaldehyde, ethylene glycol ethers, toluene–the list goes on. These are just a few of the myriad toxic chemicals found in adhesives, particle board, paints, upholstery, carpet, etc. Many of the chemicals used in these building materials are known to be extreme health hazards and are known carcinogens. Tips on avoiding toxins in building products could be an entire blog, but there are some fabulous books and websites available on “greening” your home and using toxin-free building supplies. Refer to the links and resources at the end of the blog.

6. When using paints, varnishes, stripping agents, or glues inside the home, make sure you ventilate the area well. All of these products contain toxic chemicals with known health risks. Look for paints and other finishes with low-VOC or zero VOC on the label. Never store opened paints and varnishes inside the home.

7. Pesticides used in the home are another significant source of toxic exposure. Pick up a can of ant killer or wasp spray and read the ingredients. These chemicals are not only poisonous for the pests, but they wreak havok on human health as well. There are a number of non-toxic ways to keep insects and other pests out of your home and garden using ingredients such as boric acid, soap and water, diatomaceous earth, essential oils, etc. Some of the best information I’ve seen can be found at

8. Most household plastics (plastic wrap, baggies, plastic storage containers, water, soda, and juice bottles, etc.) are a special concern. These plastics contain phthalates and bisphenol A (BPA) both of which disrupt the endocrine system in humans. BPA mimics estrogen and has been linked to breast cancer, prostate cancer, male infertility, and developemental problems in infants and children. Phthalates block testosterone, increasing the risk of reproductive health in men and women. The most significant risk is seen in pregnant women and nursing infants as these hormone disrupting chemicals cross the placental barrier and are found in breast milk. Avoid using plastic when possible, and opt, instead, for glass storage containers, recycled glass bottles or BPA-free metal bottles for water (these can be found at most sports stores and health food stores), and wax paper instead of plastic wrap.

The EPA has stated that indoor air is more polluted than outdoor air and is among the top five risks to public health. Some researchers estimate that indoor air is as much as 5 times more polluted than the air outside. Every step we take to minimize toxins in our home is important to our health and the health of those we love. Hopefully this blog has shed some light on the subject, offered some useful pointers, and motivated you to learn more. Below are some web sites and books loaded with well researched information and ways to “green” the inside of your home. Knowledge is power. Be proactive!
Eight Weeks to Women’s Wellness by Marianne Marchese

Yours in health,
Wyler Hecht, N.D., L.Ac.