Sunflower Health & Wellness’ Unique Approach

Sunflower Health & Wellness, founded by Brenda Stephens, combines traditional medicine with complementary therapies to treat the whole person–body, mind, and spirit. SHWC takes a more holistic approach to caring for patients and requires the active participation of the patient towards their healing. Dr. Brian Paris sits down with Brenda Stephens to learn more about her unique practice.

Dr. Paris: Can you share the history of the creation of Sunflower Health & Wellness?

Brenda Stephens: I am a family nurse practitioner who provides primary care, as well as a certified clinical aromatherapist. I wanted to combine the two into one practice, so I started SHWC in October of 2014.

Dr. Paris: Does Sunflower Health & Wellness accept insurance?

Brenda Stephens: Yes, we accept most major commercial insurances like BCBS, Cigna, Aetna as well as Medicare & Medicaid.

Dr. Paris: What are integrative medical therapies?

Brenda Stephens: Integrative medical therapies combine traditional allopathic treatments with complementary alternative therapies to treat a number of different conditions.

Dr. Paris: What is a “green” patient?

Brenda Stephens: A “green” patient is one that is very concerned about their health & wellness, preferring to use alternative therapies as opposed to allopathic medicines.    

Dr. Paris: Our culture is riddled with chronic diseases like high blood pressure, diabetes, high cholesterol and obesity. How does your practice differ from the traditional approach to treating these common conditions?

Brenda Stephens: At Sunflower Health & Wellness, we approach chronic disease from three different perspectives: medical, nutrition and emotional. We aim to help patients find out why they are overweight and work towards solutions to help them lose that weight permanently.  

Dr. Paris: Our current nutritional paradigm is a major factor in keeping people sick, overweight and unhealthy. What is the underlying philosophy of your nutrition program and why does it work?  

Brenda Stephens: Our nutrition program is intended to be individual and focus on whole, natural foods that are healthy and appealing, which makes it much easier to stick to the program. We really work together as practitioners to help the patient on their weight loss journey, customizing our programs to help the patient reach their weight loss goals.

Dr. Paris: What other conditions do you treat at Sunflower Health & Wellness?

Brenda Stephens: We are especially interested in patients with insomnia, chronic fatigue syndrome and fibromyalgia which are all conditions that can be difficult to treat allopathically. We use essential oils, acupuncture, massage, nutrition counseling, reflexology and sometimes medications to treat these conditions.

Advanced Wellness Systems is dedicated to empowering patients to live more active and healthy lifestyles, regardless of where they are in their personal journey. Call (301) 710-9777 to schedule an appointment today.

6 Tips to Reduce Back Pain at Home

According to National Institute of Health, back pain affects 8 out of 10 people at some point during their lifetime. No matter when it appears or what may have caused it, back pain can be a real burden. Here are 6 simple tips you can use at home to relieve troublesome back pain quickly and effectively.

1. Work It Out

Often, when your back is in pain, the last thing you want to do is exercise. But certain exercises can actually reduce back pain. Adding yoga, pilates and core strengthening exercises to your workout routine will increase flexibility, balance and strength which, in turn will reduce back pain.

2. Use a Heating Pad or Ice Pack

Applying heat to your back can reduce pain, stiffness, cramping and muscle spasms, as warm temperatures loosen up the back muscles and relieve tension. Administer heat to your aching back with a hot compress, a dry or moist heating pad or with a hot bath. Ice tends to work better to reduce inflammation and swelling. A cold pack, iced towel/compress, or cool bath are all great ways to reduce back pain. But be sure to always wrap heating pads or ice compacts in a towel before use, as these treatments should never be applied directly to the skin.

3. Sleep With a Pillow Under Your Knees

Place a small pillow under the back of your knees to reduce stress on your spine and support the natural curve in your lower back while you sleep. By slightly elevating your legs as you sleep, you can greatly reduce pressure on your back.

4. Lose the Heels

Sorry, ladies. If you suffer from back pain, it’s time to say goodbye to your favorite pair of pumps. Comfortable, low-heeled shoes are your best bet for back pain prevention, as they reduce the strain on the back while standing. If you must wear heels to an event, consider swapping them with a non-heeled shoe on your way to and from the location.

5. Straighten Up

Good posture is key to both preventing and relieving back pain. Perform posture checks throughout the day and avoid rounding your shoulders, slouching, or bending sideways while standing.

6. Increase Your Vitamin D and Calcium Intake

Vitamin D and Calcium are essential for bone strength. Studies indicate that deficiencies of Vitamin D and Calcium lead to chronic pain in the lower back. So be sure to load up on plenty of  orange juice, dairy products, leafy greens, eggs and fish throughout the day to help reduce symptoms of back pain.

If you suffer from back pain, give us a call at 301-710-9777 to schedule an appointment today.

10 Tips for Better Sleep

Sound and steady sleep is essential for healthy functioning. However, over a third of adults do not get the recommended seven to nine hours of sleep each night, and an environment that is not conducive to sleep doesn’t help. Creating a peaceful and relaxing atmosphere is essential to maximizing your comfort and achieving sleep satisfaction.

These 10 tips will help you build the bedroom of your dreams and leave you counting down the hours until it’s time to hit the sheets.

1. Cool Down

Cool bedroom temperatures make for the most comfortable sleep. If the air in your room is too hot, it could interfere with your body’s natural nightly temperature dip and make you more restless through the night. Keep the temperature around 65 degrees.

2. Maximize Mattress & Pillow Comfort

Make sure your mattress is comfortable and supportive to avoid feeling stiff or achy. It doesn’t matter whether you like your pillows soft and fluffy or firm and supportive, be sure to replace pillows that have lost their shape.

3. Limit Light

Artificial light after dark sends stimulating wake-up messages to the brain, suppressing the production of the sleep-inducing hormone–making it more difficult to fall and stay asleep. Limit lamp light or use low-wattage, incandescent lamps as you prepare for bed.

4. Tuck Technology In For the Night

Our world revolves around technology, and unfortunately so do many people’s bedtime rituals. Keep electronics out of the bedroom or turn them off at least an hour before bed. Research shows that light from electronics disrupts sleep, as it sends alerting signals to the brain and delays the release of melatonin.

5. Declutter to Defeat Restlessness

A messy, cluttered room is likely to increase anxiety and restlessness, and consequently disrupt sleep. Create a clean space that promotes relaxation and peace by organizing your room and keeping it clean.

6. Design for Comfort

Arrange your furniture in a way that feels natural and visually pleasing to you. Choose wall colors that elicit a warm, calm aura. When decorating, choose artwork and decor that relaxes and soothes you.

7. Nix Night Noise

“Peak” sounds, like the slamming of a door or the honking of a horn, are likely to wake you up and interrupt your sleep cycle. White noise offers a solution to night noise by reducing the effect of sudden peak sounds. A sound conditioner, fan, or air purifier can be used to create a soothing auditory backdrop throughout the night.

8. Fresh Sheets for Better Sleep

Wash your sheets and pillowcases once a week with a fresh-scented detergent. Clean and pleasant-smelling sleep surfaces will make your bedroom more inviting.

9. Limit Food & Drink Before Bed

Never go to bed either hungry or stuffed. Avoid eating fried, fatty or spicy foods before bed as they often upset the stomach and are likely to disrupt sound sleep. Avoid alcohol several hours before bed too. Most importantly, stay away from caffeine after 2 p.m.

10. Don’t Exercise Before Bed

Though exercise during the day promotes a better night’s sleep, exercising in the three hours before you hit the sheets will keep you up for hours. Try to schedule your workouts earlier in the day for better sleep.

 

No Sleep? Big Problem.

Everyone needs sleep, as it’s just as important to your survival as food and water. But according to the National Sleep Foundation, few Americans are able to get the necessary amount of sleep.

People can be so busy that sleeping doesn’t even make it on their list of priorities. But whether you’re a college student, new mom or anything in between, getting enough sleep will make you a better you.

Sleep deprivation has a myriad of negative effects. It causes moodiness and sleepiness. Feeling sleepy during your day can lead to less productivity, because your attention, concentration and problem-solving skills are impaired. A lack of sleep also causes major health problems including weight gain, diabetes, heart disease, depression, high blood pressure, an overall weakened immune system and increased mortality.

Sleep needs depend on both a person’s lifestyle and health, so it’s important to figure out what factors are affecting your sleep when determining the amount of sleep necessary for you to function well. But for added help, just this year the National Sleep Foundation released an updated version of their recommended hours of sleep for every age group:

  • Newborns (0-3 months ): 14-17 hours each day
  • Infants (4-11 months): 12-15 hours each day
  • Toddlers (1-2 years): 11-14 hours each day
  • Preschoolers (3-5): 10-13 hours each day
  • School age children (6-13): 9-11 hours each day
  • Teenagers (14-17): 8-10 hours each day
  • Younger adults (18-25): 7-9 hours each day
  • Adults (26-64): 7-9 hours each day
  • Older adults (65+): 7-8 hours each day

Good night!