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I talk a lot about hair tissue mineral analysis (HTMA) (affiliate link) because it has literally changed my life.
I really wish I'd known about this test years ago — I would have saved a ton of time and money and may have actually been able to avoid some of the chronic health problems I am now facing. 🙁
Oh well. Hindsight is always 20/20, eh?
My Health Journey
When I first started on my health journey back in 2012, I did make some progress. I lost some weight and I was feeling better (but never great). And dammit, I want to feel great!!
But, I plateaued in 2013 and was never able to get over the hump. I stayed stalled out for about a year, before learning about HTMA. During my plateau:
- My weight loss stalled out (and I actually gained back some weight due to stress — BOO!).
- Low-carb, high-fat was not working for me anymore, which was majorly frustrating because it always had in the past.
- My stress levels continued to rise as I worked a job I was not happy in and dealt with the death of a loved one. My ability to deal with stress, big or small, was pretty much zilch.
- I was having lingering adrenal and Hashi's symptoms and I suspected my adrenals were slowly crashing (but didn't know what to do about it).
- I didn't feel happy with my health or my life.
- I was dealing with regular anxiety and more melancholy-ness than I'd like.
I thought maybe this was as good as it was going to get. I worked with a variety of practitioners from an ND to a couple of MDs to a chiropractic neurologist. They were all able to help me to a point but none of them were able to get me over that plateau.
There was obviously some things that I needed to figure out. Somehow I needed to take a deeper look at what was happening in my body and try a different approach.
True healing takes a combination of mind and body work. I knew that I had mental and spiritual areas that needed work, but I really felt like there was so much more going on at a cellular level that I could not see (and no one seemed to be able to help me with).
I just didn't know how to fix it or what path to take. So, I spent a lot of time just ignoring it and focusing on work. Because ignorance is bliss, right? 😉
Then, in the middle of 2014, I started talking to Lydia about my challenges and she encouraged me to do the HTMA testing.
I was a bit skeptical, but after a couple months of thinking about it, I decided, “What the heck!” Let's give it a go!”
So, I did and it has been THE BEST decision I've ever made for my health.
In this video, I discuss my experience so far with HTMA. I will continue to do some video updates as I continue along my journey.
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How HTMA Has Changed My Life
I am confident that there is more positive changes happening on a cellular level in my body than I am aware of, but here are a few of the noticeable benefits that I have seen since November when I first started doing the HTMA testing:
- Better ability to handle stress. This is HUGE for me! I am writing a separate blog post all about this.
- Better focus and clarity (less brain fog). I have always had the typical hypo/Hashi's fog and brain fatigue. I notice that while I still have some fogginess, that my clarity and focus is SO much better than it was a year ago.
- Less anxiety and fear. I have always dealt with some chronic anxiety and fear. Even when things are going good, there was always a low-level anxious feeling that I'd have.
- Better monthly cycles with very little (if any) pain (super unusual for me). Read this post where I talk about how minerals changed my cycle within just a week of starting them.
- More stable energy throughout the day. I don't feel as fatigued as I used to and feel more even-keeled throughout the entire day.
- Less hair loss and faster growth. Woot! This is huge! Read this post about my struggles with hair loss.
- Less ridges in my nails and faster growth. My nails seem to grow overnight now. I feel like I am cutting them all the time. It's kind of annoying, but I can't complain.
- Better skin on my feet. Not sure if this is related, but around the time I started on the minerals, I noticed the skin on my feet improving. I won't go into details, but the skin on my feet was getting really weird (and gross) over the last year and I could not figure out why. Whatever is causing the improvement, I'll take it!
- Better libido. Yeah, like so many people with hypothyroidism and/or Hashimoto's, my libido was less than stellar. I am happy to report that while I am not acting like a spring chicken, things are much improved. <3 🙂
A Look At My HTMA Tests
I have taken two HTMA tests and will be taking my third at the end of May. Here is a look at my test results from the first two tests.
While I can't really go into a ton of detail as to what all of these mineral readings and ratios mean (because that would be far too long of a blog post), I wanted to share them with you so that you could get a feel for the info that is provided on them. You can also see some of the improvements between test 1 and test 2.
Keep in mind that a lot of this will read like mumbo-jumbo, which is why Lydia creates a detailed (and VERY easy to understand) report based on your labs. So, you don't have to be a doctor or have a science degree to understand them. She does the hard work for you.
Another important thing to keep in mind is that as the mineral ratios shift in the body, you may experience some “getting worse before you get better” stuff.
For example, between test 1 and test 2, my adrenals took a hit. I knew something was happening in my body around the first of the year, but I didn't understand what was going on until we did my re-test in February. We saw that I had had some inversions and that my oxidation rate had moved from mixed to slow.
How Many More Tests Will I Take?
Like I mentioned above, I have taken two and will be taking my 3rd at the end of May. I decided back in November 2014 that I would commit to a year of this and see where I was at.
Considering the positive results I am seeing, and our goal to start a family sooner rather than later, I think I will continue to do the focused testing and subsequent protocols for much longer. I even convinced the DH to do it with me. We just got his results back and he started on his supplement protocol this last week.
Also, I am getting my amalgam fillings (I have 3 small ones left) removed at the end of May 2015, so we will be monitoring things closely after that to see how that affects my mercury levels. As you can see, my mercury levels went up between the first and second test, but that is actually a good thing, as it means the body is starting to move those heavy metals out and hopefully replacing them with minerals.
One note regarding the amalgam removal. I am happy to report that I am not stressed or worried about the procedure at all. That lack of stress alone shows how well the mineral balancing protocol is working — if this had been on my plate a year ago, I would have been a bundle of nerves. There is a reason that I have not tackled amalgam removal until now. I literally was not able to handle it before. The mere thought of doing it created so much anxiety and fear that I was never able to commit.
That, my friends, is major progress! 🙂
The whole experience so far has been so eye-opening and exciting for me. I am FINALLY starting to see some great results and look forward to my progress over the next year.
Why Work With Lydia on HTMA
I think it is really, really important to find a practitioner that you resonate with, as it will hinder your healing journey if you and your practitioner don't mesh well. So, I encourage everyone to do their research, contact practitioners, and find someone who really gives you a warm fuzzy feeling.
I am all about having a team of people helping me heal. And I like feeling warm and fuzzy. 🙂
There are a number of qualified practitioners out there offering HTMA services. The only person I have ever used is Lydia, which is why I am recommending her. She and I hit it off years ago and have remained friends and colleagues ever since. She's my #1 cheerleader when it comes to health and she has helped me in more ways than I can count, both physically and mentally.
I have also had the opportunity to interact with some of Lydia's clients via her private Facebook group and I can see every day how she is changing the lives of so many people.
Most places that offer HTMA tests just give you your results and send you on your way to figure it all out. Can you say overwhelm and frustration?
The thing I love about working with Lydia is that you get such focused, dedicated support. You don't have to figure it out all by yourself. Trust me. I've spent countless hours trying to figure things out on my own — frankly, it's easier to have help!
Here's what you get with Lydia's HTMA package:
- The HTMA test kit (you collect the hair sample and send it off).
- Copies of the lab reports.
- A detailed report that breaks down your test results and explains what each ratio means in amazing detail.
- A complete supplement and detox protocol designed for your specific biochemistry.
- A complete dietary game plan also designed for your specific biochemistry.
- A one-on-one consultation with Lydia to go over your results, your protocols, and your questions.
- Email newsletter with regular inspiration, motivation, and info to help keep you focused on your protocols and healing your body.
The biggest thing I can stress is that you're not alone here. You have the support and expertise of practitioner who is dedicated to helping YOU live a more vibrant life. You can just focus on healing and not have to stress out about researching and translating your own test results.
If you have been considering HTMA, then I encourage you to learn more about it on Lydia's site here.
Learn more about HTMA and Lydia's test here. (aff. link)
Now, For The #1 Complaint I Get
Anytime I post about HTMA and how it's helping me, I get a lot of complaints about the price. I want to address that here, so I hope you'll read on.
Complaint: The test is so expensive!!!!
Well, folks, that depends on what you view as expensive.
Price is very much subjective. It really depends on what your health goals and priorities are.
We really need to get out of the mindset in this country that (a) our health is not worth spending money on and (b) that paying out of pocket for testing is a bad thing.
If you want to get real results with your health, then you're most likely going to have to look outside what your insurance covers.
I am far from being wealthy, but for me personally, the price of this test and supplements is tiny compared to what I have spent on other testing that has come back inconclusive. I have spent hundreds, if not thousands, of dollars over the years for tests that have not helped me at all — a total waste of money.
Western medicine has completely failed me when it comes to treating my chronic health problems.
These hair tests are the FIRST time that I am actually seeing some amazing results. I am really excited about finally regaining my health and for the first time in years, I actually have HOPE. I have not felt hopeful about my health is several years.
Also, there is A LOT of value in the support and customized protocols that you get from the practitioner you work with on this. You don't just take a test and get sent on your way (like a lot of other testing sites). You get a lot of information, including customized plans, direction, coaching, etc. to ensure that you are achieving the health goals that you want.
All in all, it really comes down to what your priorities are and what your goals are for healing.
I have to budget for these types of tests. They are not something that I can just afford to do on a whim. That goes for all the testing I get right now because I pay for it all out of pocket.
That said, for me, these costs are so small in relation to the amount of information I am getting — and the positive results I am seeing from the customized protocols.
Also, to put things into perspective, I have a friend who recently had to pay over $1,000 (yes, you read that right) out of pocket for one single medical test (which didn't even end up giving her that much info). Now THAT is expensive!
It would be so awesome if this kind of testing was covered by insurance, but alas, we live in a system where alternative methods (that are SO much more effective than Western medicine) are not covered under our traditional insurance plans.
In all honesty, HTMA and the supplements I take are what I consider my health insurance. These are the things that are going to keep me well as I age — not going to my MD's office
Healing and testing takes time and dedication. Not everyone is ready to jump off into a new test or a new way of thinking at the same time. That is why Lydia and I are dedicated to providing as much information as we can to help you make educated decisions about your health and well-being.
Here are some additional resources for you:
- Here is a detailed article about what a hair analysis game plan entails.
- Here is the direct link to the HTMA test and more info on that (aff. link).
- Here is my full library of mineral related articles on this site.
- Here is Lydia's full library of HTMA and mineral articles on her site.
Also, make sure you tune into The Vibrant Health Podcast which goes live every week on Tuesdays. We are so excited about this podcast as it gives us a new outlet to provide you with important information that affects your health and the health of your loved ones.
Our goal is to empower you and to also take away the fear surrounding health, testing, supplementation, etc.
Remember, YOU ARE NOT ALONE!
I will continue to write about my experiences, as well as create new videos for you guys so that you can follow my experiences as I continue to heal. Stay tuned for that!
Now, I need YOUR help! I will be putting together a separate post of FAQs about HTMA, so let me know if you have anything you want me to address! Leave a comment below!
Support Your Stress Response, Adrenals, Thyroid, and Whole Body Through Herbs
When it comes to supporting overall wellness, herbs are a great tool to have in your toolkit, especially those who may be dealing with chronic illness of some type. Since 2009, when I started this site, I have met thousands upon thousands of people through my work and by far, the #1 health complaints are:
- adrenal fatigue (or adrenal dysfunction of some sort) (click here to read all of my adrenal health articles)
- thyroid disorders (hypo-, hyper-, or autoimmune) (click here to read all of my thyroid health articles)
Because of this, I wanted to add in a section into this post about the benefit of using herbs with chronic illness. Adaptogens are by far one of the most used herbs when it comes to working with people who have low energy, fatigue, and overall imbalance in the endocrine system (thyroid, adrenals, and blood sugar).
While the benefits of adaptogenic herbs extend far beyond just supporting that one system, this tends to be one of the main reasons people turn to adaptogenic herbs in the first place. That said there are a lot of other herbs out there that offer amazing support for the body, especially those dealing with chronic illness which is why I wanted to share this section today.
If you are dealing with any type of chronic illness, I'm sorry to break it to you, but caffeine may not be your best friend. 🙁 While you can find lots of info online in both the pro- and the anti-coffee camps, the fact of the matter comes down to the fact that are a lot of people dealing with chronic illness, especially thyroid and adrenal problems, that simply cannot tolerate coffee and caffeine.
While those with sluggish adrenal glands tend to feel run down and in need of a regular pick-me-up (like coffee and other caffeinated beverages), in the long run, caffeine can do more harm than good while you are healing. I go into the “whys” around caffeine and your adrenals in this detailed post here. In addition to the caffeine, there are other constituents, molds, and mycotoxins that can show up in coffee that some people find they react to and can further exacerbate the toxic load on the body.
When I was diagnosed with autoimmune disease and adrenal fatigue, one of the first things that had to go was coffee. In addition to dealing with these issues, we suspected that I was having some detox pathway sluggishness so we wanted to also focus on supporting the liver and lymph systems. Most people who are dealing with chronic illness are also going to have issues with detoxification of the body, which is why herbs can play such an important role.
To be honest, I never drank coffee because of the caffeine. I drank coffee for the taste and aroma, as well as the emotional experience I felt to my morning cup of joe. For me, it was a ritual that I looked forward to every day (and sometimes multiple times a day). Whether I was brewing it at home or going to my local coffee shops, the experience was one that I clung to tightly.
But, when I was faced with new health struggles, I knew I had to do whatever I could to support my body and give it the tools it needed to heal. Giving up coffee and caffeine was one step in this direction.
And it sucked.
I turned to the coffee substitutes on the market in a desperate attempt to recreate the ritual I had grown so fond of, but nothing ever tasted the way I wanted it to. Nothing ever gave me that same experience that my cup of “real” coffee did. I knew there had to be something better, but I simply could not find it on my health food store's shelves.
Necessity is the mother of invention so that is why I created my own coffee substitutes. They were made with organic, sustainably harvested herbs with zero grains, zero gluten, and zero caffeine. Just herbs.
Herbs that not only tasted delicious but supported my body's function, like liver detox, bile production, digestion, etc. All of the herbs used in my “coffee” blends have been used for thousands of years to support the body's normal functions and help everything work a little better — something we all need in today's toxic world! (psst, dandelion is one of the herbs!)
When it came to creating these blends, if I could get something to not only tasted amazing (and helped me recreate my dearly loved ritual), but also did amazingly supportive things for my body, then it's a no brainer!
I sold these pre-made blends on Etsy for awhile and the demand was more than I could keep up with. People literally LOVED these blends and were stunned at how much like coffee they actually tasted. Customers who had been dealing with a variety of chronic illnesses had given up coffee to heal their bodies, but like me were deeply missing their morning cup of joe ritual.
After careful consideration and work with some highly experienced advisors, I decided to stop selling the pre-made blends and instead share my proprietary recipes in the form of an eBook. That way I could arm people with the knowledge and recipes they needed to make their own caffeine-free, gluten-free, grain-free blends in the comfort of their own home.
That is why I created the best-selling DIY Herbal Coffees eBook: A Complete Guide To Making Delicious Herbal Coffees to Support Healing & Stress Relief.
Now in its second edition, this ebook features:
- All of my proprietary herbal blend recipes to you can craft a homemade herbal cup of “coffee” at home.
- A ton of researched information about coffee's impact on the health of those dealing with issues like adrenal fatigue, blood sugar dysregulation, autoimmune disease, thyroid disease, and any other chronic illness.
- Information about all of the herbs used, why I selected them, how to source them, how to prepare and store you “coffees”, and much more.
- Access to your own personal coffee shop where I show you how to recreate your favorite coffee shop drinks and pastries with wholesome, nourishing real food ingredients. No junk here. Only real food.
This book truly is a comprehensive guide to supporting your health, reducing your stress, and bringing a little something special back into your healing journey. You can learn more and download your own copy of this revolutionary wellness guide here, or simply click on the image below.