1. PTSD eased with essential oils

    Could you be healed... by a smell?

    You don't have to be a battle-hardened combat vet to face post-traumatic stress disorder.

    It could happen to ANYONE who's faced a health crisis... even you.

    Studies show 80 percent of women with a breast cancer diagnosis suffer from post-traumatic stress, along with nearly 25 percent of heart attack and stroke survivors.

    Many of them don't even realize they have the condition.

    They KNOW they're suffering from anxiety, fear, panic, sleep disorders, nightmares, and more... but they THINK it's a normal part of a big health scare.

    It's common, but it's not normal -- and you can turn it around naturally, as new research finds a safe and effective way to ease the worst of PTSD.

    And it'll cost you $10 or less!

    Essential oils don't get a lot of respect from the mainstream. They're associated with "New Age" shops and healing crystals.

    But the scents given off by essential oils can cause real and lasting changes in the brain.

    One of the most pleasant of all is orange essential oil, and the new study on mice shows how this fresh citrus scent can do more than give your home a nice smell.

    It can block the stress response and help you overcome the worst of PTSD.

    The mice in the study were conditioned into PTSD by being given a shock to the foot after a certain sound was played. After a while, the sound alone would cause the mice to freeze in fear. (You can see why they didn't do this test on humans).

    Eventually -- after the shocks stopped -- the mice would slowly figure out it was safe to stop freezing in response to the sound.

    But mice exposed to the scent of orange essential oil were less likely to freeze in the first place, and learned more quickly to stop freezing after the shocks were gone.

    It wasn't just a change in behavior. It was a change in BRAIN, as the immune cells linked to PTSD dropped off dramatically and they had a lower expression of the gene linked to the condition.

    This was a study of mice, not people.

    But orange essential oil is already known to have a calming effect on the human brain. If you want to test it out for yourself -- whether you have PTSD or not -- you can pick up some orange oil online for just a few bucks.

    The best way to use it is with a diffuser.

    Don't stop there.

    If you're having stress from a health scare, consider other nondrug treatments including calming herbal remedies and homeopathic therapies.

    And whenever you're feeling overwhelmed, don't forget the most calming treatment of all: prayer. A few moments in the presence of God can often put things in perspective.

  2. Sleep medications can enhance bad memories

    The nightmare of sleep medications

    Picture this: You're lying awake at night, unable to sleep because of some bad memories. Eventually, you're so tired and miserable that you do something you know you shouldn't.

    You pop some sleep medications.

    The drug does its job and you fall asleep. But the next day, you face the same problem all over again -- and this time, it's even worse as you just can't seem to shake those bad memories.

    Your doctor might blame an overactive mind or some kind of psychological problem and send you off to see a shrink who'll give you even more drugs.

    But in reality, it's possible this whole vicious cycle is actually being caused by sleep mediciations.

    It's a little ironic, since sleep medications are linked to memory loss. But one new study finds a popular sleep medication may also enhance certain memories -- just not the ones you'd like to keep around.

    In a series of experiments, volunteers were shown good, bad and neutral images before taking a drug with zolpidem, the active ingredient in medications such as Ambien. When they woke up, they were tested -- and it turned out they were much more likely to remember the emotionally negative images.

    This isn't just coincidental. The researchers behind the study in Journal of Cognitive Neuroscience say it's because of how the drug affects what's known as "sleep spindles."

    Those are little bursts of brain activity that collect your emotional memories as you sleep. Zolpidem appears to alter those spindles so they soak up memories with negative emotions.

    That's bad news for anyone -- but it's a nightmare for patients with sleep disorders caused by post-traumatic stress disorder and similar conditions.

    On the other hand, as far as side effects go, this is hardly the worst these drugs can dish out, since sleep medications have been linked to an increased risk of everything from dementia to death.

    And those are risks you just don't have to face.

    Many sleep disorders are caused by nutritional problems, hormonal imbalances, lifestyle issues or all of the above. Work with a holistic doctor to identify that cause and correct it naturally.

    (For some, insomnia can come from a surprising source that you're literally carrying around with you every single day. Click here to find out what it is.)

    In the meantime, there are safe short-term solutions that can help you get to sleep tonight -- including melatonin, GABA, theanine and Inositol.

    If you're in the Southern California area, I can help with both the short-term battle and the long-term solution. Contact my clinic at 1-855-DOC-MARK for more information or to make an appointment, and never suffer another sleepless night again.

  3. Post-traumatic stress of heart attack and stroke

    Heart attack and stroke can leave behind more than just physical damage. They can also cause post-traumatic stress disorder, which can increase your risk of death later.
  4. The battle against PTSD

    Veterans who suffer from post-traumatic stress disorder are routinely pumped full of antipsychotic drugs. And as most of them will tell you (in language I can't use here), those drugs aren't doing a darn thing for them.

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