Category Archives for Holistic Nutrition

Mental Health and Nutrition

 

“I haven’t had an anxiety attack in months. I’m completely off my antidepressants, which I 100 percent attribute to diet and lifestyle changes.” – Jane Green

We love hearing stories like these, where behavior changes are made to improve diet and lifestyle and positive results are clearly seen. While everyone is different and there is no one size fits all approach, research has shown the many benefits of diet and lifestyle changes for mental health. mental health

Fueling the body with nutrient dense foods supports enzyme function and serotonin levels (the happy hormone). Reduction of sugar intake improves mood and energy, while an abundance of sugar has been found to decrease a protein called brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF), which is connected to anxiety and depression. Consider one study showing the benefits of reducing sugar intake.

In 2017 a study showed those who ate 67 or more grams of sugar (17 teaspoons) had more anxiety and depression. Those who had less than 40 grams of sugar (10 teaspoons) exhibited less anxiety and depression. Reducing sugar in the diet can be difficult at first with symptoms of headaches, feeling tired, and flu-like symptoms. It’s the body’s way of detoxing.

Nutritional counseling can be a great addition to traditional therapy such as cognitive behavioral therapy. Diet and lifestyle is an important part of self-care and self-love, which is key in cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT). We are all worthy of self-care and incorporating tasty, nutritious foods is a great self-care habit to form.

Increasing healthy habits and reducing unhealthy ones can seem difficult at first, and does take a bit of discipline and behavior change. If you are interested in professional support in making positive changes to support your mental wellness, contact us today for a free consultation! mental health

About Makin Wellness

Founded in 2017 , Makin Wellness is Pittsburgh’s premier therapy & coaching centers located in Downtown Pittsburgh and Downtown New Kensington. The company’s mission is to help people heal and become happy again.  Makin Wellness specializes in depression, anxiety, addiction, trauma, medical marijuana assisted treatment and relationship counseling.

The Psychology of Food

We eat. We work. We eat. We play. We eat. We sleep. And we eat. It’s clear to see the significant role food plays in our lives. Our culture plays a large role in our beliefs around the foods we eat. Best of all, food brings us together. What determines what we eat? More importantly, what determines how we feel about the foods we’re eating?

food
Food has long been used as a way to make meaningful connections with others. The way we think about our food is developed as early as childhood. The way our body metabolizes food is dependent on our thoughts about food. Consider the way our limbic system works. The limbic system is responsible for regulating emotions and physiological functions like hunger, thirst, temperature, heart rate, and blood pressure. Therefore our thoughts in relation to our food transfers this information into physiological responses.

food
According to the Institute for the Psychology of Eating, if we’re thinking positively about our food choices, the body can better metabolize the foods and better provide needed nutrients. However, if we’re thinking negatively about our food choice, our body may not metabolize the food as efficiently, causing it to stay in the digestive system longer, possibly diminishing healthy gut bacteria and release toxins into the bloodstream.
Positive mindset is key in relationship our eating habits. If we want to receive the full nutritive power of our foods, it is vital to think positive about the foods we are eating. Instead of shaming yourself after indulging in a dessert, try incorporating positive self-talk by saying something like, “Ill be sure to take a walk and make healthy choices for my next meal.” Instead of negative self-talk, staying positive will help our mind and body move toward positive change.
Making a Diet and Lifestyle Transition
Food preference is an interwoven sense of our identity and culture. Making changes to our food choice can be difficult and even scary, in that we don’t want to lose this sense of identity and connection to culture. The good news is, taste is acquired. Transitioning to a new way of eating can be accomplished through a personalized plan, customized to your food preferences and lifestyle. Simple meal planning, food journaling, an other measurable tools can be used to effectively transition. food

If you’re interested in working with a nutritionist to support your diet and lifestyle, contact us at Makin Wellness for a free 15 minute consultation!

About Makin Wellness

Founded in 2017 , Makin Wellness is Pittsburgh’s premier therapy & coaching centers located in Downtown Pittsburgh and Downtown New Kensington. The company’s mission is to help people heal and become happy again.  Makin Wellness specializes in depression, anxiety, addiction, trauma, medical marijuana assisted treatment and relationship counseling.

Anxiety & Medical Marijuana

“Our anxiety does not come from thinking about the future, but from wanting to control it.” – Kahlil Gibran

As human beings, it is natural to feel anxious when leaving our comfort zones. Pushing through our anxiety though, is what helps us to grow as individuals. Finding effective tools to manage anxiety, including preventative measures, is key to reaching our full potentials. When worry seems to take over day to day living, this may be a sign of an anxiety disorder. Read more about anxiety disorders here. While prescriptions medications are often used to treat anxiety disorders, they do not come without side effects. Holistic therapy and other natural treatment options are a safe alternative to prescription medications. anxiety

Health secretary Rachel Levine approved Turetts and anxiety as qualifying conditions for medical marijuana as of July 20th. Included anxiety conditions are generalized anxiety disorder, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD), separation anxiety, social anxiety, agoraphobia, and other phobias.

Medical marijuana is not recommended to treat children, adolescents, or pregnant women with anxiety disorders due to brain and fetus development. Long-term overuse of medical marijuana can cause issues with cognition and memory loss, and the risk of psychological dependency. For best results, it is recommended to incorporate traditional or alternative therapies, and lifestyle changes during medical marijuana treatment. anxiety

Research has shown positive results with medical marijuana being used to decrease and manage anxiety, since the body’s endocannabinoid system appears to play an important role in response to stress and anxiety.

A study conducted by Washington State University showed a decrease in stress, anxiety, and depression with the use of medical marijuana. Both men and women reported a decrease in all three symptoms. Women reported higher reduction in anxiety.

According to the Alcohol and Drug Abuse Institute, THC, the main active ingredient of cannabis, “appears to decrease anxiety at lower doses an increase anxiety at higher doses.” Individual responses differ and there are a variety of factors to take into consideration when treating anxiety with medical marijuana. THC in combination with CBD oil can enhance benefits and reduce unwanted effects, including psychoactive affects of THC. The best approach is to start at a low dose, and monitor your bodies response. anxiety

Talking with your physician and a trained therapist can provide the needed support when deciding the right treatment for you. Makin Wellness is happy in supporting you through a natural, holistic approach to wellness, including cognitive behavioral therapy, nutritional counseling, aromatherapy, and other natural treatment options. Contact us today for a free 15-minute consultation!

About Makin Wellness

Founded in 2017 , Makin Wellness is Pittsburgh’s premier therapy & coaching centers located in Downtown Pittsburgh and Downtown New Kensington. The company’s mission is to help people heal and become happy again.  Makin Wellness specializes in depression, anxiety, addiction, trauma, medical marijuana assisted treatment and relationship counseling.

 

Cannabinoids: A New PTSD Treatment Paradigm

The PTSD treatment paradigm, currently reliant on a spectrum of medications, has been increasingly challenged for the dependence it facilitates and its artificial approach to healing a complex, integrated system. Emerging from this has been a cry for increased research on holistic alternatives, namely cannabis and/or CBD use. Legal complications have tied up the field for a while but new research should be emerging soon as a Phase 2 study on the safety and efficacy of smoked marijuana for PTSD symptoms in US veterans is completed. cannabinoids

 

In the meantime, The Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine recently published the first study investigating the clinical effects of CBD for people with PTSD. It does need to be supported by randomized, controlled studies, as it was performed on a small sample of 11 patients who were also exposed to psychiatric medications and psychotherapy at the same time, but it is an optimistic opening for this field of research.

 

Over the course of 8 weeks, the study participants took CBD orally (either in pills or a liquid spray) once or twice a day. They completed the PTSD checklist (PCL-5) at the beginning of the study and again after 4 weeks and 8 weeks. The PCL-5 assesses symptom severity on a scale of 0 to 4, which allowed the researchers to study both the overall impact as well as the effect on specific symptoms.cannabinoids

 

The average baseline score for the participants was 51.82, which then dropped to 40.73 after 4 weeks and 37.14 after 8 weeks, showing an overall decrease in the severity of symptoms. Of the 11 participants, 10 experienced a decrease in their score by the fourth week, with an average of a 21% drop. While 3 of the 11 participants experienced increases in their symptom severity (an average increase of 8 points) from weeks 4 to 8, 10 of the 11 still experienced an overall decrease from the baseline, with an average of a 28% drop.

 

One of the symptoms most impacted by the study was sleep. Of the participants who responded to the question assessing “repeated, disturbing dreams of the stressful experience” with a score of 3 or higher, 50% reported an improvement in their nightmares. In all participants, 38% remarked improvement in the quality of their sleep. Other symptoms for which participants expressed benefits were anxiety, focus, and mood.

 

While more clinical studies are necessary to investigate the intricate effects of different types, dosages, frequencies, and conditions of cannabis usage on PTSD symptoms, this research sits on a strong foundation of theory. In fact, we are beginning to understand that there are innate systems in the body designed to respond to compounds found in cannabis as well as to regulate symptoms associated with PTSD.

 

The connection between PTSD symptoms and the effects of cannabis seems to be based on the compound anandamide – the “bliss molecule”. Anandamide is an endocannabinoid, meaning that it is produced internally (“endo”) and stimulates a system of cannabinoid receptors in the body. These receptors, along with the cannabinoids that stimulate them, comprise the endocannabinoid system, which maintains homeostasis through regulating appetite, immunity, memory, mood, motor control, pain, reward, fertility, and temperature regulation. Interestingly enough, there are compounds in cannabis with similar structures that can also trigger cannabinoid receptors in the body. THC, responsible for the “high” associated with cannabis, activates the same receptors as anandamide.

 

As we currently understand it, there are two cannabinoid receptors in the body – CB1 and CB2. CB1 receptors are mostly found in the brain and central nervous system and mediate emotional learning, stress adaption, and fear extinction. These receptors are understimulated in those with PTSD, for their signaling “deactivates traumatic memories and endows us with the gift of forgetting”.  cannabinoids

 

The use of phytocannabinoids like THC and CBD to stimulate CB1 receptors shows promise in balancing the endocannabinoid system and restoring its ability to regulate fear, anxiety, and joy. By allowing the system to have breaks from the constant stress it finds itself in when experiencing PTSD symptoms, cannabis use can reeducate the body to respond to stress as it does to acute stress. While endocannabinoids are broken down under chronic stress, under acute stress they are actually released to allow for return to baseline stress levels. What this means in terms of concrete response to symptoms, only the clinical trials will tell us, but there is reason to believe that cannabis users will become better equipped to respond to the stressors and symptoms that come with PTSD. cannabinoids

 

Although alternative treatments like CBD and medical marijuana still need conclusive evidence, our current approach to PTSD treatment has also yet to show any meaningful, consistent impact. In fact, PTSD United has shown that “in the past year alone the number of diagnosed cases in the military jumped 50%”. Many movements have emerged to raise awareness and funding for the cause, but, as organizational theorist Kenichi Ohmae recognized, “rowing harder doesn’t help if the boat is headed in the wrong direction.” The structure toward which this increasing energy is being devoted must be willing to evolve. We must seek new methods, challenge our current understanding, and form a more nuanced approach to treatment that includes a variety of techniques and is responsive to individuals and their unique needs. We will never know what could be achieved unless we open our minds and try it.

 

“If you want something you have never had, you must be willing to do something you have never done.” – Thomas Jefferson

 

About Makin Wellness

Founded in 2017 , Makin Wellness is Pittsburgh’s premier therapy & coaching centers located in Downtown Pittsburgh and Downtown New Kensington. The company’s mission is to help people heal and become happy again.  Makin Wellness specializes in depression, anxiety, addiction, trauma, medical marijuana assisted treatment and relationship counseling.

 

Alex Brooks, Psychology Intern

Makin Wellness

Overcoming Oxidative Stress

Given the amount of psychological and physiological stress to which many of us are exposed, it’s no shock that dis-ease runs so rampant in our population. What is often puzzling, however, is from where exactly these conditions emerge and what we can do to combat them without combing every part of our lifestyle and environment. One process that can explain both is oxidative stress, the imbalance between free radicals and antioxidants. Since it is dependent on these two forces, it has the potential to be both degenerative and restorative. Understanding of this process provides insight both into the danger of excessive free radicals in the body as well as to the healing powers of antioxidants. oxidative stress

 

Oxidative stress refers to the overabundance of free radicals, unchecked by antioxidant levels. The danger of this imbalance is that free radicals are highly reactive molecules. Because they have an unpaired valence electron, they travel the body searching for an electron with which to pair. However, they often achieve this stability by pairing with an element in an already stable compound, leaving that compound as a free radical itself. This process is called oxidation – free radicals oxidize compounds in the body. It is the same process by which metal rusts and becomes brittle and by which fruit browns and loses nutritional value.

 

Free radicals are produced naturally by the body through functions like breathing and digestion and even serve a constructive role when in balance, acting as a part of the immune system. However, they are also produced by exposure to radiation, pollutants, medications & antibiotics, overtraining, emotional & physical stress, and dietary factors (like oxidized fats, processed sugar, pesticides, herbicides, and additives). When unchecked, free radicals will damage DNA, cell membranes, lipids, and enzymes. By this process, oxidative stress leads to an array of diseases such as diabetes, atherosclerosis, inflammation, high blood pressure, heart disease, neurodegenerative disease, cancer, and aging.

 

The hero of the story is the antioxidant. Antioxidants donate electrons to free radicals, stabilizing them and terminating this otherwise lengthy and exhausting process. Some antioxidants are produced by the body, but there is a large dietary burden to consume plants that produce antioxidants of their own. Of highest importance are vitamins A, C, and E, as well as beta-carotene, selenium, zinc, and more. These are plentiful in the following sources, some combination of which is absolutely necessary for human vitality:

  • berries
  • grapes & red wine
  • citrus fruits
  • dark leafy greens
  • broccoli, carrots, tomatoes, and all brightly colored fruits and vegetables
  • olives
  • fish (primarily cold-water fatty fish) and nuts
  • green and white tea
  • cocoa
  • ginger, turmeric, cinnamon, oregano, rosemary
  • onion, garlic

 

For those of you that feel constant fatigue and poor recovery, it may be as simple as this: you may not have enough warriors fighting for you! Nourish these antioxidant warriors with lifestyle choices like eating high-antioxidant foods, exercising (without overdoing it), watching out for exposure to harmful chemicals (and, if you can’t, following a protocol like the heavy metal detox), and getting plenty of sleep. So treat yourself to some red wine, chocolate, and a summer nap and listen to the balance it brings.

 

About Makin Wellness

Founded in 2017 , Makin Wellness is Pittsburgh’s premier therapy & coaching centers located in Downtown Pittsburgh and Downtown New Kensington. The company’s mission is to help people heal and become happy again.  Makin Wellness specializes in depression, anxiety, addiction, trauma, medical marijuana assisted treatment and relationship counseling.

 

Alex Brooks, Psychology Intern

Makin Wellness

Summer 2019 Wellness Trends

Summer is a season full of energy, abundant activity, and of course, increased heat! In reaction to heat, the body may sweat to maintain normal body temperature. Staying hydrated and protecting yourself from too much sun exposure is necessary in preventing irritability, sunburn, or more serious conditions like heat exhaustion. summer

Whole foods like cucumber, celery, and pineapple help keep the body hydrated with their natural water content. Summer foods such as watermelon, tomatoes, bell peppers, and papaya help to naturally protect the skin from UV-rays. Celery juice is the latest trend to stay hydrated, improve liver function, reduce free radicals, and increase energy!

Nourishing the gut with a proper balance of protein, fiber, and carbohydrates is vital to immune health, weight, and disease prevention. Improving gut health is still a trend in 2019, and rightfully so. Gut health is essential to balancing hormones in charge of mood, hunger, sleep, and stress. Simple ways to boost gut health include cutting back on highly processed foods, eating nutrient dense whole foods, and prioritizing stress reducing techniques.

Eliminating inflammatory foods like gluten and dairy has also been a large trend in 2019. This comes as no surprise with inflammation being the root cause of many chronic conditions. Incorporating anti-inflammatory foods can help to reduce inflammation and reduce risk of disease. Popular foods like fresh ginger, turmeric, walnuts, spinach, and kale all help to reduce inflammation. Staying hydrated, reducing stress, and regular physical activity are others important ways to reduce symptoms of inflammation.

Camel milk is another wellness trend with its ability to improve cholesterol, lower blood sugar, and decrease insulin resistance. Camel’s milk has shown to be beneficial in reducing free-radicals and works as an anti-inflammatory.

IV drops are also gaining popularity in wellness routines. Nutrients are better absorbed as they’re delivered intravenously since they bypass the body’s digestive system. IV infusions aid in boosting immunity, improving digestion, muscle recovery, and enhancing your skin’s glow. Vitamins, minerals, and amino acids can quickly get into the bloodstream through IV at increased levels. This on-the-go treatment has been used by functional MD pioneer Frank Lipman for nearly 20 years, and is becoming more popular as a quick fix.

Being mindful our bodies needs is essential to wellness. No one else can tell you how you’re feeling. Being in tune with your body and listening to your intuition will help you to be more aware of your bodies unique needs. Mindful, or intuitive eating is simple eating when you’re hungry, and stopping when you’re full. This ensures you’re getting what you need, and avoids emotional eating. Mindful practices help promote sustainable wellness and longevity.

Summertime is the perfect season to detox and incorporate other natural approaches to wellness, helping your body function at its best. To receive support with a holistic approach to reach your summer wellness goals, contact us today at Makin Wellness to speak with our Holistic Nutritionist and receive a free consultation! summer

About Makin Wellness

Founded in 2017 , Makin Wellness is Pittsburgh’s premier therapy & coaching centers located in Downtown Pittsburgh and Downtown New Kensington. The company’s mission is to help people heal and become happy again.  Makin Wellness specializes in depression, anxiety, addiction, trauma, medical marijuana assisted treatment and relationship counseling.

Laura Stewart, B.A., CHN

Holistic Treatment for “Summertime Blues”

“Keep your eyes lifted high upon the sun–and you’ll see the best light in everyone.” – Tess Guinery

Summertime is full of outdoor activities, spending time with friends, cookouts, and more. Planning a weekend getaway or other summer events may be on your bucket list. While many find this season to be an exciting time of year, others may find themselves dreading the change of pace. Large crowds, extra socialization, and pressure to have that “summer body” may leave some feeling discouraged with unmet expectations of how things “should be.”

Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) is common in the fall and winter months, but may also present itself in summer months. Anxiety about events in large crowds, or depression over unmet expectations may result from increase in activity during the summer. Medication is often prescribed for depression and anxiety, yet natural, holistic treatment options are also available! holistic treatment

Focus on Your Diet

Low levels of serotonin can increase the chance of developing depression. While antidepressants may normalize serotonin levels, simple diet change can help to increase serotonin levels. Avoiding excess caffeine and sugar is essential. Eating foods with protein, healthy fats, fiber, and greens work to improve mood, energy, and overall wellness.

Soak up the SUN!

Spending 15-30 minutes in the sun each day is the best way to get vitamin D, helping to boost mood and immunity. Remind yourself that it is good for your health if you find yourself struggling to get motivated. Grab an all natural sunscreen, sunhat, and spend a little time outdoors each day. Doctors are even treating depressed patients with a light box, or good ol’ natural sunlight.

Get Moving

Taking time to stretch in the morning is a great way to start your day. Deep breathing while stretching has shown to reduce anxiety, anger, and depression. Exercise releases endorphines, also known as “feel-good chemicals” which act as a natural antidepressant.

If you are interested in support with holistic treatment options, Makin Wellness offers a natural, holistic approach incorporating individualized, customizable therapy, nutritional counseling, aromatherapy and other holistic treatment options. Contact us today for a free consultation and start your wellness journey today! holistic treatment

About Makin Wellness

Founded in 2017 , Makin Wellness is Pittsburgh’s premier therapy & coaching centers located in Downtown Pittsburgh and Downtown New Kensington. The company’s mission is to help people heal and become happy again.  Makin Wellness specializes in depression, anxiety, addiction, trauma, medical marijuana assited treatment and relationship counseling.

Daily Affirmations for Stress Management

“Being in a positive state of mind is more important than you might think, as the mind cannot be creative in a negative state. New ideas, thoughts and inspiration will only take place when the mind is positive.” – Joe Hinchliffe

Positive words of affirmation are often used in relationships. Friendships, intimate relationships, and parent-child relationships all need positive words of affirmation. Daily affirmations like, “I love you,” “I appreciate you,” “I believe in you,” and “I’m so thankful to have you” are all positive ways to strengthen relationships. Why is it easier to say those words to others, yet more of a challenge to affirm ourselves? daily affirmations

Often times, it is thought of as conceited when saying something positive about oneself. So, to avoid appearing like a braggart, one may use daily affirmations to promote positive thought processes. Simply stating things like “I am grateful for this day,” or “I am starting this day with an open mind, and looking for the good,” are examples of daily affirmations that can be used to crowd out negative thinking and promote positive mindset.

Writing out goals and then stating “I am….” followed with the things you would like to see happening in your life, can help bring them to fruition. For example, stating “I am going to study for my test and prepare in a timely manner,” can be used to promote efficiency and productivity.

New academic research shows positive affirmations lower stress levels in high-stress situations – with higher success rates in those who use positive affirmations versus those who don’t. Our thoughts create feelings, feelings create behaviors, and behaviors create thoughts. Positive thinking promotes more positive behaviors and outcomes.

Daily affirmations can help reduce stress, anxiety, and depression by rewiring negative thought patterns and replacing “I can’t” with “I can” – turning fears and doubts into confidence and certainty. Affirming what you want, instead of what you don’t want allows you to focus your energy on those things and move in the direction you would like your life to go. In turn, flooding your mind with positive thoughts and affirmations, leaves less room for negative thought patterns. daily affirmations

Makin Wellness offers holistic therapies to promote positive mindset. If you would like support with daily affirmations, contact us today for a free 15-minute consultation!

About Makin Wellness

Founded in 2017 , Makin Wellness is Pittsburgh’s premier therapy & coaching centers located in Downtown Pittsburgh and Downtown New Kensington. The company’s mission is to help people heal and become happy again.  Makin Wellness specializes in depression, anxiety, addiction, trauma, medical marijuana assited treatment and relationship counseling.

Herbal Remedies for Cognitive Function

Cognitive decline and neurocognitive disorders may be the result of aging, head injury, or other medical conditions. Alzheimer’s and dementia have been associated with high cholesterol, inflammation, hypertension, high body mass index, and diabetes.

Anxiety, depression and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) have also been reported as risk factors of dementia and cognitive decline. The hippocampus (the memory center of the brain) can shrink from high blood pressure. And since higher blood pressure is linked to cognitive decline, taking measures to eat well and reduce stress is essential.

Poor nutrition, head injuries, and vitamin B12 deficiency may also cause memory and other cognitive issues. Foods such as grapes, blueberries, and beets support brain cell connection and function. Spinach, broccoli, and other cruceferous vegetables are beneficial for reducing inflammation and improved arterial function.

Stress-reducing activities, adequate sleep, and exercise are all necessary in preventing cognitive decline. In today’s busy world, it can at times be difficult to find the time to get all the nutrients and exercise our bodies need. Simple herbal remedies and supplementation can be a helpful aid.

Best Brain Boosting Herbs and Supplements

Aromatherapy – a 2009 study was done with Alzheimer’s patients, consistently administering rosemary and lemon essential oils in the morning, and lavender and orange in the evening. The oils showed a positive effect on psychological and behavioral symptoms, as well as improved cognitive function. Rosemary oil has clinically shown to improve cognition and memory. Melissa oil has also been used in patients with Alzheimer’s and dementia to aid in anxiety and insomnia. cognitive function

Sage – Sage has been identified as one of several herbs that may aid Alzheimer’s patients. A study published in 2003 in Pharmacology, Biochemistry, and Behavior indicated sage to possess memory boosting properties. Sage can be added to chicken, soups, or taken in tea form.

Turmeric – Turmeric is known for its anti-inflammatory properties. Research suggests it may prevent break down of nerve cells in the brain boost overall brain function.

B Vitamins – In a study of elderly men and women, it was found that a B-complex supplement prevented decline in participants ability to plan, prioritize, and organize. Those taking B-complex with Omega-3 supplements had the best results. Taking a high potency supplement is best.

Ginkgo – Two recent medical journals confirmed extracts of Ginkgo biloba can improve cognitive function and memory in people with dementia.

MMJ and CBD oil – Medical marijuana and CBD oil have shown to be beneficial in patients with alzheimer’s and dementia, improving cognitive function, symptoms of aggression, improving sleep, and other physical and emotional benefits. cognitive function

Makin Wellness offers a holistic approach to wellness with holistic treatment options including stress relief techniques, aromatherapy, supplementation, and nutritional counseling. Contact us today for a free consultation!

About Makin Wellness

Founded in 2017 , Makin Wellness is Pittsburgh’s premier therapy & coaching centers located in Downtown Pittsburgh and Downtown New Kensington. The company’s mission is to help people heal and become happy again.  Makin Wellness specializes in depression, anxiety, addiction, trauma, medical marijuana assited treatment and relationship counseling.

Disclaimer:

Getting an evaluation at Makin Wellness does not guarantee you will have or be diagnosed with PTSD or Opioid Use Disorder . We are able to provide ongoing treatment in all of our offices and via telepsych.   For those struggling with Opiate Use Disorder, you may qualify if conventional therapeutic interventions are contraindicated or ineffective, or for which adjunctive therapy is indicated in combination with primary therapeutic interventions. We are not certifying physicians for medical marijuana in the State of PA.  We are able to evaluate, diagnose and provide treatment for mental health and addiction conditions.  If you fit criteria for PTSD or Opioid Use Disorder , you would still need to see a certifying physician after the evaluation in order to get your medical marijuana card. Cannabis is still considered illegal under federal law. Please refer to the Pennsylvania Department of Health  or contact us if you have any additional questions.

Gardening for the Mind

“To plant a garden is to believe in tomorrow.” – Audrey Hepburn

Spending time in nature is like a gift that keeps on giving. Whether in your own backyard, or visiting a local public garden, you’re sure to experience nature’s countless benefits to the mind and body. The healing power of nature has proven to aid in mental health, reducing symptoms of anxiety, depression, and PTSD.

The warmth of the sunlight, the fresh smell of plants and flowers, and a gentle breeze, all provide a sensory experience that brings us back in tune with our minds and bodies. We feel grounded and part of something larger than ourselves.

Gardening provides a unique therapeutic experience in its positive affect on the brain. The physical activity of gardening boosts neurotransmitters like dopamine and serotonin, helping reduce anxiety and depression. Spending time in green spaces has shown to be a healing aid in attention deficit disorders, grief, and even chronic illness. Nature offers a hope, giving new perspective through the anticipation of change and growth. gardening

Sunlight exposure stimulates serotonin, which is responsible for regulating mood, memory, and impulse control. Simply taking a walk outside may reduce levels of depression and fatigue, boost mood, and improve self-esteem.

The Science of Gardening

May gardening, or “horticultural therapy,” be a good option for mental health interventions? Grounding techniques are used as a way to detach from emotional pain by becoming more in tune with the senses. Doctors and therapists have noted how gardening promotes both a grounding and sensory experience, encouraging mindfulness, and helping to reduce stress by decreasing cortisol levels (the hormone released when under stress). gardening

Scientists proved the positive affects of gardening on our state of mind in a 2016 study, comparing gardeners to non-gardeners. Outcomes of those who had their own garden or helped in community gardens showed these results:

  • Less anxiety
  • Reduced depression
  • Increased quality of life
  • Improved sense of community

Another study showed positive effects of soil bacteria and the brain. Mice who were inoculated with soil bacteria had an increase in serotonin (the happy hormone). With the brain and gut being in constant communication, the state of our gut microbiome is largely related to the state of our mental health. In short, spending a little time in the dirt (with its beneficial bacteria), may positively impact our state of mind!

Gardening also provides a feeling satisfaction through cultivating and preparing our own food. This gives a rewarding sense of accomplishment and connection to the world around us.

Try visiting a local Pittsburgh garden, or start your own and experience the healing power of nature! Phipps Conservatory offers gardening classes and its partnered with Grow Pittsburgh, which offers gardening resources and workshops. In the words of William Shakespeare, “One touch of nature makes the whole world kin.” gardening

About Makin Wellness

Founded in 2017 , Makin Wellness is Pittsburgh’s premier therapy & coaching centers located in Downtown Pittsburgh and Downtown New Kensington. The company’s mission is to help people heal and become happy again.  Makin Wellness specializes in depression, anxiety, addiction, trauma, medical marijuana assited treatment and relationship counseling.

 

 

 

 

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