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Your Companion in the Pursuit of Holistic Health & Well-Being

We are a collective of holistic health professionals and individuals passionate about integrating the best of traditional wisdom and modern science.

Whether you're a practitioner looking to elevate your career or an individual seeking a proactive approach to health, our annual membership has got you covered.

Our membership is designed to empower both professionals and individuals alike.

It offers a unique platform to broaden your understanding, connect with like-minded peers, and stay ahead of the curve in the world of holistic health.

Whether you're a seasoned professional or a health enthusiast, don't miss this opportunity to enhance your skills, expand your horizons, and make a positive impact on your health and those around you.

Ready to embark on this transformative journey?

Sign up for our annual membership today and open the door to a wealth of knowledge and resources.


The Educational Platform that will Transform your Practice

Alliance & Collaboration:

IHHA serves as a comprehensive consortium uniting educators, professionals, practitioners, businesses, and advocacy groups, all focused on propelling the fields of holistic healthcare and integrative medicine forward.

Events & Conferences

IHHA orchestrates retreats and conferences which act as dynamic platforms for sharing current information, fostering networking, and strategizing, all aimed at empowering authentic public health education and proactive disease prevention.

Education & Content

IHHA aims to manage clinical research into alternative healing methods and strives to create a regulatory authority for the naturopathic community. This initiative is contingent upon securing additional funding.

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The IHHA is an outstanding resource that has transformed my learning experience. The variety of topics is truly remarkable and it ensures there is something for everyone.

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The instructors are industry experts and professionals who possess a deep understanding in their fields. Their expertise and passion just shine through in their teaching, making the learning experience engaging, informative, and enjoyable!

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Welcome to the International Holistic Health Alliance!

Combined 75+ years

Clinical Experience

Discounts & Community

Over 100+ Hours of

Clinical Pearls

Real World Application

We are a collective of passionate professionals dedicated to the advancement and integration of holistic health. As the board, we'd love to introduce ourselves and share our individual journeys that have culminated in this mission:

Dr. Jeff Essen is our esteemed President and Co-Founder. An accomplished Naturopathic Doctor, he wears multiple hats as a Holistic Healthcare Practitioner, Certified Gluten-Competent Practitioner, and Nutritional Therapy Practitioner. His commitment to holistic health is exemplified at the Whole Life Clinic PMA in Rosemount, MN, where he extends his expertise in autoimmune disease, digestive issues, and functional hormone support. Leveraging advanced biofeedback and therapy devices, he consistently guides patients towards holistic well-being.

Dr. Abdel Alkhalouf, our Director of Research and Science, brings a depth of knowledge from his academic roots in southern Florida. With a PhD in Nursing Science and a Master’s of Science in Acute Care, he has enriched minds as a university medical adjunct professor before branching into the natural health realm in 2013. His contributions extend to the creation and co-ownership of Feel Good Forever (FGF, USA), a pioneering dietary supplement company.

Starla Weichman, our backbone as the Director of Finance and Communication, has clocked over 13 transformative years in the natural health industry. A Board Certified Holistic Health Practitioner, she continuously dives deep into learning, evident in her active participation in webinars and seminars. Starla's hands-on approach is further witnessed at Be Healthy Naturally in Ottumwa, IA, where she delves into biofeedback testing and PEMF therapy.

Lastly, meet Tracy Abraham, our Director of Strategic Development and Education. With accolades as a Board-Certified Holistic Health Practitioner and Lyme Specialist, Tracy amplifies health outcomes at Amplify Health & Wellness in Appleton, Wisconsin. Specializing in Bioenergetic Screenings, PEMF Therapy, and Lyme Disease, she is a beacon for those seeking comprehensive health solutions.

Together, we embody the spirit of the IHHA, driven by a unified goal to uplift and advocate for holistic healthcare. We warmly invite you to join our journey, to learn, grow, and redefine health with us.

Your IHHA Family,

As Seen In:


Here's What You Get Inside the Annual Membership:

Continuous Learning:

Gain access to a rich library of resources, including webinars, online courses, and exclusive research papers.

Stay informed with the latest trends, learn new techniques, and deepen your knowledge.

Community and Networking:

Connect with a global community of holistic health professionals and health-conscious individuals.

Share ideas, learn from others' experiences, and build valuable relationships.

Exclusive Discounts:

Enjoy exclusive discounts on our workshops, conferences, and certified courses.

Explore new learning and wellbeing opportunities without breaking the bank.

Profile Listing (for Professionals):

Increase your visibility and reach with a profile listed in our searchable directory of holistic health professionals.

Let clients find you easily and expand your clientele.

Member Support:

Benefit from our dedicated member support.

Whether you have a question, need some advice, or are looking for collaborations, our team is here to assist you.

Shape the Future of Holistic Health:

Join us today and become an integral part of a movement that's shaping the future of holistic health.

We believe that by sharing our knowledge and passion, we can create a healthier, happier world.

Join the IHHA Annual Membership to access a world of holistic health expertise. Connect with professionals, enjoy exclusive discounts, and empower your well-being journey with our vast resources.

Annual Membership Value = $599


Hurry, Limited Time Offer! Secure Your Spot Now!

Our Mission:

to enlighten people about the myriad benefits of holistic health and to nurture collaboration amongst professionals, to usher in a transformative wave of change.


Why An Alliance?


After a century of naturopathic and allopathic medicine being marginalized in US Medical practice, the moment for their reintegration is now.

How do we navigate the challenges obstructing this integration?

By rallying together, unifying our voices, our teams, our vision, and our collective efforts!


(Bridging Four Corners of Holistic Healing)

Cover image of a serene bedroom setting, symbolizing the holistic healing power of sleep.

Restful Rhythms:  The Symphony of Sleep

October 12, 202313 min read

“Sleep is the golden chain that ties health and our bodies together.” - Thomas Dekker

Hey there, cherished community of The International Holistic Health Alliance!  We get it, life is busy. Between work, family, personal goals, and those Netflix marathons, sleep sometimes takes a backseat. But, did you ever stop to ponder just how profound an impact sleep has on our overall well-being? Today, we're diving deep into the rejuvenating world of sleep – not just from a health angle, but touching its cultural, emotional, and societal layers as well. After all, holistic health is all about the whole, right?

 When Your Body Whispers, "I Need Rest!”

Cell Regeneration: Crafting the Body's Masterpiece

Just as a master artisan meticulously carves, molds, and perfects their craft through the night, our body too engages in an intricate dance of restoration when we're immersed in sleep. When the world goes silent and our consciousness retreats, the body becomes a bustling workshop of cell regeneration and muscle repair.

During the deepest phases of our sleep, especially in the slow-wave sleep, a series of biochemical and physiological processes kick into high gear. The bloodstream sees an influx of growth hormones, which play a pivotal role in repairing and building tissues. This hormone aids in the recovery of muscles that may have been stressed or damaged during the day, ensuring we wake up feeling refreshed and not sore from the previous day's activities. Furthermore, sleep provides an optimal environment for protein synthesis, a fundamental building block process that's essential for almost every cellular function. This cellular rejuvenation helps maintain the skin's elasticity, repairs the day-to-day micro damages we accumulate, and ensures our organs function optimally [^1^].

Immune System's Secret Weapon: The Sleep Shield

Have you ever noticed that during periods of inadequate sleep, you're the first one to catch a cold when there's a bug going around? There's a reason for that. Sleep is the unsung hero of our immune defense mechanism. Our immune system relies on sleep to produce and distribute the white blood cells and antibodies that fight off infections, bacteria, and viruses. When we deprive ourselves of adequate rest, the production of these protective agents drops, rendering our defense mechanism weakened. This, in turn, makes us more susceptible to illnesses and prolongs recovery time. Simply put, by skimping on sleep, we're unintentionally lowering our shields, making it easier for illnesses to breach our defenses [^2^].

The Waistline Alarm: Sleep's Link to Weight

Tempted to pull an all-nighter or binge-watch your favorite series till dawn? Your waistline might not be too thrilled. Surprisingly, there's a significant correlation between sleep and weight management. When we're sleep-deprived, our body undergoes a hormonal upheaval. The hormone leptin, which signals to our brain that we're full, sees a dip, while ghrelin, the hunger-inducing hormone, rises. The result? Increased appetite and, specifically, cravings for foods rich in fats and sugars.

Moreover, a tired mind is less motivated to make healthy food choices or engage in physical activity. Combine increased unhealthy cravings with decreased motivation, and it's a recipe for weight gain. So, those late-night snack binges and the subsequent weight gain might not just be about willpower; it could be your body responding to a lack of restorative sleep [^3^].

By giving sleep the attention and respect it deserves, we're not just investing in rest — we're bolstering our body's innate ability to heal, defend, and maintain balance.

 Beyond the Physical: Mind and Emotions

Your Memory's Best Friend: The Nighttime Librarian

Have you ever tried cramming information late into the night, only to find that after a good night’s rest, the concepts seem clearer? Or, have you experienced the sensation of waking up with sudden clarity on a problem you've been mulling over? This is sleep doing wonders for the way you think and recall.  It’s particularly boosting your memory consolidation.

During REM (Rapid Eye Movement) sleep, our brain becomes a diligent librarian, sifting through the vast volumes of information and experiences we've gathered throughout the day. These "books" of daily experiences are sorted, indexed, and placed on the right "shelves" of our neural network. This process, known as memory consolidation, is crucial for learning and retaining information. Essentially, while we're off in dreamland, our brain is working hard, transferring short-term memories to long-term storage and forging neural connections that help us recall and build upon past experiences [^4^].

Emotion Central: The Inner Therapist

You know those days where everything feels emotionally amplified, where a minor inconvenience might feel like a major catastrophe? Often, a look back at your sleep pattern might reveal the root cause. Sleep, especially the REM phase, is instrumental in regulating our emotional responses.

During REM sleep, our brain processes emotional experiences, which can help in diffusing negative emotions and enhancing positive ones. Think of it as nighttime therapy. The amygdala, the brain's emotional response center, becomes more active. With the prefrontal cortex, which manages our rational decisions, being less dominant during this phase, the amygdala gets a chance to "process" emotions without judgment. This can lead to a more balanced emotional state upon waking. So, prioritizing REM sleep is akin to giving your mind a spa day, helping it rejuvenate and recalibrate [^5^].

Hello, Creative Genius: The Muse in REM

In the stillness of the night, when the world fades and dreams take center stage, our mind gets busy connecting dots in ways our awake selves might never think of. This unfiltered, unrestricted neural activity during sleep can lead to bursts of creativity and innovation upon waking.

Sleep encourages associative networks within the brain to make more random connections, and it's often within these random connections that creative insights lie. A well-rested brain is more fluid, more adaptable, and hence, more capable of 'out-of-the-box' thinking. It’s no surprise that many artists, scientists, and thinkers have claimed their Eureka moments came after a refreshing sleep [^6^].

When we begin to understand these intricate processes happening within our sleeping brains, it's evident that sleep isn’t merely a shutdown or pause mode; it’s an active, vibrant, and essential phase of our daily lives. Prioritizing sleep is, in essence, prioritizing our cognitive growth, emotional balance, and creative prowess.

Sleep's Impact on Daily Functioning

Sleep isn’t just about recovery; it's integral for our day-to-day functionality. Let’s take a closer look at how a good night's sleep (or lack thereof) can influence our daily lives.

Productivity and Concentration Boost:  A restful night isn’t just refreshing; it’s instrumental for our cognitive abilities. Have you ever noticed after a great night’s sleep you're more focused and can complete tasks more efficiently? There’s science behind that. Sleep has been directly linked to various cognitive functions, including concentration, productivity, and cognition [^7^].

Lowered Risk of Chronic Illnesses:  Regular sleep deprivation can lead to serious health conditions such as obesity, heart disease, and diabetes. When we sleep, our bodies regulate the release of certain hormones that manage stress, metabolism, and inflammation. Consistent disruptions in this cycle can increase susceptibility to these conditions over time [^8^].

Improved Athletic Performance:  For our sporty friends out there, sleep might be your secret weapon. Longer sleep has been shown to enhance athletic performance. This includes better speed, accuracy, mental well-being, and overall physical health [^9^].

Nutritional Choices and Cravings:  Ever had those late-night sugar cravings after a bad night’s sleep? Sleep plays a pivotal role in regulating hunger hormones, leptin, and ghrelin. When we're sleep-deprived, ghrelin (the hormone that signals hunger) goes up, and leptin (the hormone that signals fullness) goes down. This imbalance can lead to increased cravings for unhealthy foods, particularly those high in sugar and carbs [^10^].

Incorporating sleep into our daily regimen is more than just a passive activity; it's an active contribution to our overall well-being. By valuing sleep, we are choosing clarity of mind, better health, peak performance, and better nutritional choices for the day ahead.

In Our Society, Together

Decision-making on Point: The Mind's Guiding Compass

In the vast expanse of our daily lives, we're constantly at crossroads — needing to make decisions, both minor and significant. From choosing the day's meals to making crucial professional decisions, our ability to assess situations and decide effectively can shape our lives. Now, have you ever noticed that after a restless night, even the smallest decisions can seem overwhelming?

Sleep is not just about physical restoration; it's intricately linked with our cognitive functions, particularly decision-making. A well-rested mind can process information more efficiently, weigh pros and cons effectively, and foresee potential outcomes with greater clarity. On the flip side, sleep deprivation can impair our judgment, make us susceptible to biases, and reduce our ability to assess situations objectively.

Several studies suggest that sleep enhances problem-solving abilities, with the REM phase playing a pivotal role in integrating new information with existing knowledge, thus aiding better decision-making. In essence, communities where individuals prioritize sleep are likely to witness more calculated, rational, and effective decisions. A society that rests well is essentially equipping itself with a compass that points towards progress [^11^].

Harmonious Vibes: The Emotional Tuner

Imagine waking up feeling irritable, and as the day progresses, every interaction seems like a strain. The common thread linking these feelings? Possibly a night of poor sleep. Just as a musical instrument needs tuning to produce harmonious melodies, our emotions too need the tuning that only sleep can provide.

Sleep acts as an emotional regulator, ensuring we respond to daily interactions and stresses with balance and poise. Especially during REM sleep, our brain processes and regulates emotional experiences, leading to a more stabilized mood during our waking hours. When our emotional responses are in harmony, our interactions with others become more positive, leading to healthier, more fulfilling relationships.

A lack of sleep, conversely, can heighten emotional reactions, leading to increased irritability, reduced patience, and a propensity for conflict. This can strain personal relationships and even professional interactions. By prioritizing sleep, we're not just taking care of our physical health but also ensuring our emotional responses are in tune, fostering harmonious relationships and creating an environment of mutual understanding and respect[^12^].

As we understand these nuances of sleep's impact on our cognitive and emotional health, it becomes evident that sleeping well isn't just a personal benefit. It has broader societal implications, fostering communities that think clearly, decide wisely, and interact harmoniously.

Nature's Gentle Reminder

Dancing to Nature's Rhythm: The Symphony of Circadian Rhythms

The world around us operates in rhythms and cycles, from the predictable rise and set of the sun to the waxing and waning of the moon. Deep within us, we have an innate timekeeper, known as our circadian rhythm, that mirrors these external rhythms. It's a beautiful dance of synchronization that has evolved over millennia.

Our circadian rhythm is a roughly 24-hour internal clock running in the background of our brain, specifically the hypothalamus. It dictates our sleep-wake cycles, feeding times, hormone release, and more. This rhythm is influenced by external cues, the most prominent being light and darkness. When it starts to get dark, our eyes signal to the hypothalamus to release melatonin, a hormone that makes us sleepy.

When we honor and prioritize our natural sleep patterns – sleeping when it gets dark and waking with the light – we're aligning ourselves with the Earth's rhythms. This alignment is not just poetic; it has tangible health benefits, from improved sleep quality and mood to better cognitive functions and metabolic health. In essence, by respecting our circadian rhythm and sleeping in accordance with nature’s cues, we are harmonizing our internal world with the external, embodying a deeper connection with the Earth [^13^].

Seasons and Sleep: Earth's Lullaby through the Year

Have you ever noticed how during certain times of the year, especially in the heart of winter, there's an urge to cozy up and sleep a bit more? Or how during summer nights, sleep might elude you a bit? This isn't mere coincidence; it's a reflection of our deep-rooted connection to the planet's cycles.

Seasonal changes have a profound impact on the amount of daylight we're exposed to, and in turn, this affects our internal clocks. Winter, with its shorter days and longer nights, naturally encourages our bodies to rest and rejuvenate more. This doesn't mean we need to hibernate like some animals, but the slight lethargy or desire to sleep a bit longer is our body’s way of conserving energy and staying in tune with the world outside.

Summer, with extended daylight, can sometimes delay melatonin production, leading to later sleep onset. The effects of seasons on our sleep aren't just limited to these simple changes; they can manifest in more complex ways, such as Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD), where individuals might experience depressive symptoms during specific times of the year.

By understanding these connections and adjusting our routines – maybe with light therapy during winter or blackout curtains during summer – we can navigate the seasonal impacts on our sleep more gracefully, embracing the planet's rhythm and our body's natural responses [^14^].

It's truly fascinating to see how our individual existence is so beautifully intertwined with the vast, rhythmic dance of nature. By honoring this connection and aligning our habits accordingly, we can achieve a sense of balance, both internally and externally.

 So, dear community, next time you consider swapping sleep for one more episode, or just 'pushing through' – remember that sleep is your holistic ally. Let's cherish it, respect it, and most importantly, enjoy it!

With warmth and well-rested vibes,

Your International Holistic Health Alliance Family



[^1^]: [Van Cauter, E., Leproult, R., & Plat, L. (2000). Age-related changes in slow-wave sleep and REM sleep and relationship with growth hormone and cortisol levels in healthy men. JAMA, 284(7), 861-868.]

[^2^]: [Besedovsky, L., Lange, T., & Born, J. (2012). Sleep and immune function. Pflugers Archiv-European Journal of Physiology, 463(1), 121-137.]

[^3^]: [Spiegel, K., Tasali, E., Penev, P., & Van Cauter, E. (2004). Brief communication: Sleep curtailment in healthy young men is associated with decreased leptin levels, elevated ghrelin levels, and increased hunger and appetite. Annals of Internal Medicine, 141(11), 846-850.]

[^4^]: [Stickgold, R. (2005). Sleep-dependent memory consolidation. Nature, 437(7063), 1272-1278.]

[^5^]: [Walker, M. P., & van der Helm, E. (2009). Overnight therapy? The role of sleep in emotional brain processing. Psychological bulletin, 135(5), 731.]

[^6^]: [Cai, D. J., Mednick, S. A., Harrison, E. M., Kanady, J. C., & Mednick, S. C. (2009). REM, not incubation, improves creativity by priming associative networks. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 106(25), 10130-10134.]

[^7^]: [Lim, J., & Dinges, D. F. (2010). A meta-analysis of the impact of short-term sleep deprivation on cognitive variables. Psychological bulletin, 136(3), 375.]

 [^8^]: [Cappuccio, F. P., D'Elia, L., Strazzullo, P., & Miller, M. A. (2010). Sleep duration and all-cause mortality: a systematic review and meta-analysis of prospective studies. Sleep, 33(5), 585-592.]

 [^9^]: [Mah, C. D., Mah, K. E., Kezirian, E. J., & Dement, W. C. (2011). The effects of sleep extension on the athletic performance of collegiate basketball players. Sleep, 34(7), 943-950.]

 [^10^]: [Taheri, S., Lin, L., Austin, D., Young, T., & Mignot, E. (2004). Short sleep duration is associated with reduced leptin, elevated ghrelin, and increased body mass index. PLoS medicine, 1(3), e62.]

 [^11^]: [Killgore, W. D. (2010). Effects of sleep deprivation on cognition. Progress in Brain Research, 185, 105-129.]

[^12^]: [Anderson, C., & Platten, C. R. (2011). Sleep deprivation lowers inhibition and enhances impulsivity to negative stimuli. Behavioral Brain Research, 217(2), 463-466.]

[^13^]: [Foster, R. G., & Wulff, K. (2005). The rhythm of rest and excess. Nature Reviews Neuroscience, 6(5), 407-414.]

[^14^]: [Rosenthal, N. E., Sack, D. A., Gillin, J. C., Lewy, A. J., Goodwin, F. K., Davenport, Y., ... & Wehr, T. A. (1984). Seasonal affective disorder: a description of the syndrome and preliminary findings with light therapy. Archives of general psychiatry, 41(1), 72-80.]

International Holistic Health Alliance (IHHA)Holistic HealingRestful RhythmsSleep BenefitsCell RegenerationImmune DefenseWeight ManagementLeptin and GhrelinMemory ConsolidationEmotional RegulationREM SleepCognitive GrowthCircadian RhythmsSeasonal Sleep PatternsMelatoninSleep DeprivationDecision-makingNature's RhythmEmotional BalanceNutritional ChoicesAthletic PerformanceChronic IllnessesSleep QualityProductivity and ConcentrationDaily Functioning

Tracy Abraham, BCHHP

**About Tracy Abraham:** Tracy Abraham stands at the crossroads of holistic health and innovative educational strategy. As the Director of Strategic Development and Education for the International Holistic Health Alliance, she plays an instrumental role in promoting a comprehensive approach to health and well-being on a global scale. Tracy's expertise is not only rooted in theory but also backed by a wealth of practical experience. She is a Board-Certified Holistic Health Practitioner and a Certified Bioenergetic Technician, uniquely positioning her at the intersection of traditional and emerging healing modalities. Diving deeper into the world of specialized care, Tracy's accolade as a Board-Certified Lyme Specialist bears testament to her dedication towards combating complex and often misunderstood ailments. Beyond her professional achievements, Tracy's passion for health and wellness is evident in her role as President of Amplify Health & Wellness, based in Appleton, WI. Through this platform, she channels her knowledge, experience, and commitment to empowering individuals to lead healthier, more harmonious lives. When engaging with Tracy's work, one is sure to find a blend of ancient wisdom and modern science, harmoniously working together to amplify well-being.

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Frequently Asked Questions

What is included in my annual membership fee?

Your annual membership provides a wealth of benefits designed to support your growth in holistic health. Here's what's included:

- Continuous Learning: You'll have access to a comprehensive library filled with webinars, online courses, and unique research papers. This helps you stay updated with current trends, hone your skills, and broaden your expertise.

- Community and Networking: Become part of a global network of holistic health experts and enthusiasts. This platform allows you to exchange ideas, gain insights from peers, and cultivate meaningful connections.

- Exclusive Discounts: Save money on our workshops, conferences, and accredited courses. This makes pursuing further learning and wellness opportunities more affordable.

- Profile Listing (for Professionals): Enhance your professional reach with a profile in our searchable directory. This feature makes it easier for potential clients to find and connect with you.

- Member Support: Whenever you have questions or need assistance, our dedicated support team is ready to help, whether it's for advice, queries, or potential collaborations.

- Shape the Future of Holistic Health: By joining, you play a pivotal role in a movement dedicated to the evolution of holistic health. Together, with shared knowledge and enthusiasm, we aim to foster a healthier, more joyful world.

Bonus for New Members:

1. Receive a Bio-energetic/Hair & Saliva Screening valued at $300, overseen by Master Technician and Naturopath Jeff Essen.

2. Enjoy 1 Hour of Business Coaching worth $200, with the option to choose either Starla Weichman or Tracy Abraham.

Will my card be automatically charged?

Yes, your card will be automatically charged for your membership renewal. However, to ensure transparency, you will receive an email reminder one week in advance notifying you of the upcoming charge. This gives you ample time to review and manage your membership details if needed.

Will I be notified that my membership is due?

Yes, you will receive an email notification one week in advance informing you that your membership is due for renewal. This reminder ensures you're aware of the upcoming automatic charge and gives you the opportunity to manage your membership details as necessary.

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