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 “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.

Comments Off on Water: It really does a body good!

Water: It really does a body good!

August 13th, 2011 by

This summer has been extremely hot and humid in the Athens, GA area, and we are nowhere near the end of it yet. The entire nation has been experiencing exceptionally high temperatures. In this weather it’s easy to get dehydrated. Easier than you think.

Mild dehydration in adults occurs when the body has lost about 2% of it’s fluid–that can happen easily in this weather if one is not paying attention to the signs and symptoms.
Typically, with mild dehydration the symptoms are:
1. Thirst
2. Loss of appetite
3. Dark colored urine
4. Muscle weakness or fatigue
5. Head rushes
With more severe dehydration, when the body has lost about 5% of it’s fluid, the symptoms get worse:
1. Increased heart rate
2. Increased respiration
3. Decreased sweating
4. Decreased urination
5. Increased body temperature
6. Extreme fatigue
7. Severe muscle cramps
8. Nausea
9. Headache
10. Tingling in arms and legs.
The more severe the dehydration, the more severe the signs and symptoms become. When the body has lost about 10% of it’s fluid the severity of dehydration could be fatal and is, at the least, an emergency situation.

This type of acute dehydration is more common in the elderly than in younger adults, however, there is a second type of dehydration that is far too common in young adults and middle-age adults. Chronic dehydration is more common than you might realize and many of you may recognize the symptoms of this less obvious form of dehydration as your own.

Chronic dehydration has a long list of possible symptoms including, but certainly not limited to:
1. Fatigue
2. Constipation
3. Low or high blood pressure
4. Joint pain
5. Eczema
6. Little or no thirst
7. Heartburn
8. Headaches
9. Dry skin
10. Dark (vs. Clear) urine
If you think, after reading this list, that you could be chronically dehydrated, commit to a trial of drinking an adequate amount of water daily for one month and see how many symptoms improve. I think you’ll be pleasantly surprised! Keep reading.

Below, I’ll answer some common questions about rehydration, but first, let’s take a look at why water is so important to us and how it functions in our bodies. First, it’s important to realize that our bodies are Between 55% and 78% water, depending on size. Our brains are right at 90% water, muscles are about 75% water, blood comes in at 83%, and our bones at 22% water. The water in our body functions to regulate our body temperature, transport nutrients and oxygen into cells, protect and moisturize our joints, and moisten the air in our lungs. Above and beyond these essential roles, water also helps our organs absorb nutrients better and helps with metabolism and detoxification. Without water we would die; With a deficit of it, we can not experience optimal health. So what is a deficit, and how much water do we need. I’ll answer that and other questions below.

Common questions regarding water and proper hydration:
Q: Is thirst a good indicator of when I need to drink water?
A: Thirst doesn’t develop until body fluids are already depleted well below the level needed for optimal functioning. If you are thirsty, your cells are already dehydrated. The best way to ensure optimal hydration is to drink plenty of water throughout the day.

Q. How much water do I need to drink each day for optimal hydration?
A. Most of us have heard that 8 glasses of water per day is the magic number, but it’s not hard to see that we are not a one-size-fits-all population. A 120 lb. female athlete, a petite eighty two year woman, and a 200 lb. man who works outside in Athens, GA during the summer clearly need different amounts of water. A better way to determine how much water you really need is to divide your weight by half–the answer you get is, approximately, the number of water ounces you need to drink daily under normal conditions. Clearly, you will need to adjust depending on the temperature, the humidity, how often you exercise, and how intense your work-outs are. There are other factors that come into play as well, including your basic physiology; however, the variables mentioned above are the most important ones to consider when determining optimal water intake. Some training athletes, for example, will need as much as one ounce of water per pound of body weight for optimal hydration.

Q. Do water based beverages such as coffee and tea count toward my water intake for the day?
A. While an occasional glass of iced tea may help hydrate you in the moment, don’t count on these caffeinated beverages to replenish you body fluids. It’s true that these beverages are water based, but the diuretics contained in these caffeinated drinks actually flush water out of the body. Other beverages that act as diuretics include sodas and alcoholic beverages. The fact is, what our bodies need most is pure, clean water.

Q. What type of water should I be drinking?
A. A comprehensive answer to this question is beyond the depth of this blog, however, the following information might help you decide. For those that have specific health needs and can afford the added cost, deep spring water, glacial water, and natural mineral water are ideal choices. Filtered municipal (tap) water is also good. Reverse osmosis (RO) filtration is one of the best types as it removes chemicals, chlorine, heavy metals, most microbes, and more. There are many different types of filtration systems from whole house RO systems to kitchen sink systems to basic water pitcher filters. Of course they vary greatly in quality and price. Most importantly, don’t let cost get in the way of staying well hydrated for optimal health. Rehydration can come straight from the tap. It should be noted, while considering cost, that some bottled water, including Aquafina and Dasani are simply purified tap water. That isn’t necessarily a bad thing, but something worth considering.

Q. When should drink water?
A. The best answer is: all day long. Start the morning off with a glass of water–before any other morning beverage. Always drink water before and after meals to help with digestion. Drinking water after exercise is something most of us know to do, but hydrating your tissues before a work-out is just as important. Keep a bottle (a recycled glass bottle or lidded jar works great!) beside you while you are working or studying and sip it frequently. Trying to stay hydrated by gulping down your optimal amount of water in the early to late evening, before bed, isn’t going to work! Changing your habits will!

HERE’S MY CHALLENGE: figure out how much water is right for you, using the weight calculation and physical activity and heat considerations. Drink that amount every day for one month, making sure you drink it slowly, throughout the day. Let us know how you feel at the end of one month. Keep a simple journal regarding symptoms such as fatigue, body aches, headaches, congestion, dry skin, constipation, and joint pain.
My guess is that we will all be pleasantly surprised!

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

Comments Off on local farms–great produce

local farms–great produce

July 20th, 2011 by

Last night I went to see the movie, Farmageddon. Wow! What an eye opener. If you haven’t seen it, put it on your list! If you are interested in the locally grown movement, your right as a citizen to buy your food from a local farmers’ market, and assuring the availability of organic produce and organic, pasture raised meats and dairy, this movie is a must see.

After the movie I thought a long time about how lucky we are here in the Athens, GA area. We have easy access to locally grown and organic, nutrient dense fruits and vegetables, meats, and dairy. I realized how important it is to continue to support the efforts of our small farmers and organizers who make these foods available to us.

I did some research and these are some of the things I learned:

1. The average grocery-store food travels about 1,500 miles and takes up to 7 days to arrive on the shelf. Out-of-season produce can travel several thousand miles farther and take even longer. The longer a fruit or vegetable sits after harvest, the more degraded the nutrients are.

2. The average carrot has traveled 1,800 miles before making it to a dinner table.

3. Eggs from pasture-raised poultry contain 400% more omega 3 fatty acids (the good stuff!) than those from factory-farmed poultry. They contain 40% more vitamin A.

4. Pasture-raised chickens have 30% less saturated fat and 28% fewer calories than their factory-farmed counterparts.

5. Over 75% of U.S. corn is genetically engineered. It has been estimated that over 70% of all processed foods on the supermarket shelves, from crackers to sodas and beyond, contain genetically engineered ingredients.

6. Buying locally grown, organic food is a sure way to avoid genetically engineered food.

Be a locavore! Support your local farmers at our farmers’ markets on Saturdays 8:00-noon at Bishop park on Sunset Dr. and on Tues. afternoons 4:00-7:00 at Little Kings on Hancock, or in downtown Watkinsville on Saturdays from 8:00-1:00. There are many other small farmers markets in the surrounding areas.

For more information regarding “locally grown” visit these websites: (we have a local chapter!)