Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Different yet the same

Take some time today
to celebrate your uniqueness
while honoring our Oneness.

~Theresa Rose

Friday, December 25, 2009

Rekindle your spirit

A recipe from the Institute of HeartMath
to rekindle your
spirit for the holidays:


Into your heart, pour generous quantities of love and
care. Stir gently and sincerely. If the mixture is lumpy,
add compassion and forgiveness and continue stirring ’til
the lumps are dissolved. You may find bubbles of hope
rising to the surface. Taste-testing at this point is
encouraged. Although you will find the mixture already
flavorful, you can enhance it by adding appreciation.
Appreciation for the qualities of your heart, for friends
and family, or for this special time of year are all excellent
flavor choices. Garnish with a sprig of joy and serve in
large spoonfuls to everyone you meet this holiday season.


"The holidays are a good time to renew your heart connection with people. Make that your focus and priority. Spend more time enjoying people and their holiday spirit and it can help rekindle your holiday spirit. A great way you can enjoy more of the holiday spirit is by keeping your focus on genuinely appreciating and caring for others. Ask yourself each morning, "Who can I show a little more appreciation to, or who can I express more genuine care for today?" It can be as simple as opening the door for someone or telling people that you appreciate them. Genuine gestures of care and appreciation are often remembered long after the holiday glitter is gone. You’ll find this is a fun gift for others and a big gift to yourself."

– Excerpts from Tips To Prevent Holiday Stress And Avoid Faking The Holiday Spirit article,
Huffington Post Dec. 2009 by Doc Childre and Deborah Rozman, Ph.D.

Friday, December 11, 2009

Be mindful about your "bad" habits

I thought you might enjoy these remarks by Theresa Rose, after the rather heavy downer about sugar I posted today! jd

If you have a particular vice -- smoking cigarettes, drinking wine, eating chocolate, watching reruns of
Beverly Hills 90210 -- I encourage you to perform them consciously. Sure, some of our choices are healthier than others, but don't let anyone or anything convince you that you are wrong, weird, or broken because you do them. You aren't; you're only human. Perform every activity guilt-free, even the so-called "bad" ones. Just consider the reasons why you have chosen to do them.


Theresa Rose, Daily MoJo 12/11/09
Serious Mojo Publications | P.O. Box 390373 | Edina | MN | 55439

Sugar Overload at the Holidays??

Understanding How Sugar Kills
Dr Clark Store and Self Health

Sugar is everywhere around us, in every festivity such as Christmas.

It’s common for a person to consume 150 lbs of sugar in one year. The more sugar we eat, the sicker we get. Soon, sugar becomes a necessity and we do everything to get it. Many of us are sugar addicts, a socially accepted addiction.

Eating too much sugar, in different ways causes diseases such as coronary artery disease. It causes constant lower back pain as it depletes minerals in our body. Too much sugar causes us to lose minerals such as calcium, magnesium and others that are needed for good bone health.

Here is how it works
Minerals empower enzymes stored in your body. When the minerals are out of balance the enzymes can’t fully digest the food you eat. Dr. Nancy Appleton, a leading health advocate and author of numerous books and DVDs on sugar, claims “You may cause mineral imbalances by eating too much sugar”. As stated on her great documentary Sweet Suicide, “Eating too much sugar throws our minerals out of balance and this robs our enzymes the ability to break down the food into nutrients. So particles of undigested food pass through our intestinal walls to the blood stream, where they don’t belong. They body sees them as toxins and summons the immune system to send out white blood cells”. Our body is not designed to be fighting emergencies all the time!

So, if we keep consuming a lot of sugar, our blood cells simply give up. Our immune systems become depressed from fighting sugar-toxins in the blood and our body becomes toxic throughout. In this way we are leaving the door open for diseases such as diabetes, arthritis, obesity, chronic back pain, mental illness and heart disease to come in.

Sugar can even give rise to cancer, according to many doctors. Oxygen, which the body needs to have to stay healthy is reduced by depleted minerals. Without oxygen body fluids and organs become acidic and cells ferment the sugar lodged in the system resulting in cancer. Otto Warburg, Nobel Prize winner in 1930 and 1934 stated “The cause of cancer is the replacement of the respiration of oxygen in normal body cells by the fermentation of sugar”. I can "hear" you say it! “I will substitute sugar with healthy organic agave, maple syrup or honey”. Sorry! It will still have undesireable effect. They are less processed (less toxic) and assimilate slower but that’s about it. The best thing you can do is to eat less sugar, even if you eat purer and slower assimilating sugar!

Dr. [Hulda] Clark did not come out with clear guidelines on how much sugar is OK to consume, but she was adamant about securing sugar from countries other than the US. She used stevia, agave, raw sugar and maple syrup. She used sugar very sparingly. The average person eats 41 teaspoons (or 201 grams) of sugar per day. The nutritional fact boxes indicate how much sugar is in products, unfortunately though it is stated in grams when most of us think in terms of teaspoons.

Remember this: 4 grams = 1 teaspoons Max 8 grams = 2 teaspoons

Dr. Nancy Appleton warns that more than 8 grams or two teaspoons in the blood system at any given time begins affecting mineral balance and our ability to digest even healthful foods. So imagine the harmful effects of drinking an 8 oz glass of cranberry juice delivering 41 grams, more than 10 teaspoons of sugar. Now calculate how much sugar you ate for breakfast!

If you want to slow down your addiction to sugar consider chromium, to curb your appetite for sugar. Niacin may also help both your cardiovascular system and your craving for sugar.

from www.DrClarkStore.com, Dec. 2009 Newsletter

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Gratitude for Inspiration

I am grateful for inspiration in all its forms.
I honor those people who challenge me
to be a better person.
I seek out those books, songs, blogs, classes
and performances that light a fire underneath me.
I fill myself with passion, joy, and creativity.
I am grateful for inspiration.

Serious Mojo Publications | P.O. Box 390373 | Edina | MN | 55439

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Meditation and Cardiac Benefits


November 20, 2009, 12:47 pm

Can Meditation Curb Heart Attacks?

Richard Patterson for The New York Times Recent research suggests transcendental meditation may be good for the heart.

When Julia Banks was almost 70, she took up transcendental meditation. She had clogged arteries, high blood pressure and too much weight around the middle, and she enrolled in a clinical trial testing the benefits of meditation.

Now Mrs. Banks, 79, of Milwaukee, meditates twice a day, every day, for 20 minutes each time, setting aside what she calls “a little time for myself.”

“You never think you’ve got that time to spare, but you take that time for yourself and you get the relaxation you need,” said Mrs. Banks, who survived a major heart attack and a lengthy hospitalization after coronary artery bypass surgery six years ago.

“You have things on your mind, but you just blot it out and do the meditation, and you find yourself being more graceful in your own life,” she said. “You find out problems you thought you had don’t exist — they were just things you focused on.”

Could the mental relaxation have real physiological benefits? For Mrs. Banks, the study suggests, it may have. She has gotten her blood pressure under control, though she still takes medication for it, and has lost about 75 pounds.

Findings from the study were presented this week at an American Heart Association meeting in Orlando, Fla. They suggest that transcendental meditation may have real therapeutic value for high-risk people, like Mrs. Banks, with established coronary artery disease.

After following about 200 patients for an average of five years, researchers said, the high-risk patients who meditated cut their risk of heart attacks, strokes and deaths from all causes roughly in half compared with a group of similar patients who were given more conventional education about healthy diet and lifestyle.

Among the roughly 100 patients who meditated, there were 20 heart attacks, strokes and deaths; in the comparison group, there were 32. The meditators tended to remain disease-free longer and also reduced their systolic blood pressure by five millimeters of mercury, on average.

“We found reduced blood pressure that was significant – that was probably one important mediator,” said Dr. Robert Schneider, director of the Institute for Natural Medicine and Prevention, a research institute based at the Maharishi University of Management in Fairfield, Iowa, who presented the findings. The study was conducted at the Medical College of Wisconsin in Milwaukee, in collaboration with the institute.

An earlier study of high-risk Milwaukee residents, many of them overweight or obese, also found transcendental meditation, along with conventional medications, could help reduce blood pressure. Most of those in the study had only high-school educations or less, about 40 percent smoked and roughly half had incomes of less than $10,000 a year.

The participants found transcendental meditation easy to learn and practice, Dr. Schneider said.

“Fortunately, it does not require any particular education and doesn’t conflict with lifestyle philosophy or beliefs; it’s a straightforward technique for getting deep rest to the mind and body,” he said, adding that he believes the technique “helps to reset the body’s own self-repair and homeostatic mechanism.”

Dr. Schneider said other benefits of meditation might follow from stress reduction, which could cause changes in the brain that cut stress hormones like cortisol and dampen the inflammatory processes associated with atherosclerosis.

“What is it about stress that causes cardiovascular disease?” said Dr. Theodore Kotchen, associate dean for clinical research at the Medical College of Wisconsin. “Hormones, neural hormones, cortisol, catecholamines — all tend to be elevated in stress. Could they in some way be contributing to cardiovascular disease? Could a reduction in these hormones with meditation be contributing to reduction in disease? We can only speculate.”

Another recent study focusing on transcendental meditation, published in The American Journal of Hypertension, focused on a young healthy population. It found that stressed-out college students improved their mood through T.M., and those at risk for hypertension were able to reduce their blood pressure. Dr. Schneider was also involved in that study, which was carried out at American University in Washington and included 298 students randomly assigned to either a meditation group or a waiting list.

Students who were at risk of hypertension and practiced meditation reduced systolic blood pressure by 6.3 millimeters of mercury and their diastolic pressure by 4 millimeters of mercury on average.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

11 foods that lower cholesterol

Changing what you eat can lower your cholesterol and improve the armada of fats floating through your bloodstream.

In with the good
Different foods lower cholesterol in various ways. Some deliver soluble fiber, which binds cholesterol and its precursors in the digestive system and drags them out of the body before they get into circulation. Some give you polyunsaturated fats, which directly lower LDL. And some contain plant sterols and stanols, which block the body from absorbing cholesterol.

Oats. An easy first step to improving your cholesterol is having a bowl of oatmeal or cold oat-based cereal like Cheerios for breakfast. It gives you 1 to 2 grams of soluble fiber. Add a banana or some strawberries for another half-gram. Current nutrition guidelines recommend getting 20 to 35 grams of fiber a day, with at least 5 to 10 grams coming from soluble fiber. (The average American gets about half that amount.)

Barley and other whole grains. Like oats and oat bran, barley and other whole grains can help lower the risk of heart disease, mainly via the soluble fiber they deliver.

Beans. Beans are especially rich in soluble fiber. They also take awhile for the body to digest, meaning you feel full for longer after a meal. That’s one reason beans are a useful food for folks trying to lose weight. With so many choices — from navy and kidney beans to lentils, garbanzos, black-eyed peas, and beyond — and so many ways to prepare them, beans are a very versatile food.

Eggplant and okra. These two low-calorie vegetables are good sources of soluble fiber.

Nuts. A bushel of studies shows that eating almonds, walnuts, peanuts, and other nuts is good for the heart. Eating 2 ounces of nuts a day can slightly lower LDL, on the order of 5%. Nuts have additional nutrients that protect the heart in other ways.

Vegetable oils. Using liquid vegetable oils such as canola, sunflower, safflower, and others in place of butter, lard, or shortening when cooking or at the table helps lower LDL.

Apples, grapes, strawberries, citrus fruits. These fruits are rich in pectin, a type of soluble fiber that lowers LDL.

Foods fortified with sterols and stanols. Sterols and stanols extracted from plants gum up the body’s ability to absorb cholesterol from food. Companies are adding them to foods ranging from margarine and granola bars to orange juice and chocolate. They’re also available as supplements. Getting 2 grams of plant sterols or stanols a day can lower LDL cholesterol by about 10%.

Soy. Eating soybeans and foods made from them, like tofu and soy milk, was once touted as a powerful way to lower cholesterol. Analyses show that the effect is more modest — consuming 25 grams of soy protein a day (10 ounces of tofu or 2½ cups of soy milk) can lower LDL by 5% to 6%.

Fatty fish. Eating fish two or three times a week can lower LDL in two ways: by replacing meat, which has LDL-boosting saturated fats, and by delivering LDL-lowering omega-3 fats. Omega-3s reduce triglycerides in the bloodstream and also protect the heart by helping prevent the onset of abnormal heart rhythms.

Fiber supplements. Supplements offer the least appealing way to get soluble fiber. Two teaspoons a day of psyllium, which is found in Metamucil and other bulk-forming laxatives, provide about 4 grams of soluble fiber.

Out with the bad
Harmful LDL creeps upward and protective HDL drifts downward largely because of diet and other lifestyle choices. Genes play a role, too — some people are genetically programmed to respond more readily to what they eat — but genes aren’t something you can change. Here are some steps you can take:

Saturated fats. One way to lower your LDL is to cut back on saturated fat. Try substituting extra-lean ground beef for regular; low-fat or skim milk for whole milk; olive oil or a vegetable-oil margarine for butter; baked fish or chicken for fried.

Trans fats. Trans fats boost LDL as much as saturated fats do. They also lower protective HDL, rev up inflammation, and increase the tendency for blood clots to form inside blood vessels. The Institute of Medicine recommends getting no more than two grams of trans fats a day; less is even better.

Weight and exercise. Being overweight and not exercising affect fats circulating in the bloodstream. Excess weight boosts harmful LDL, while inactivity depresses protective HDL. Losing weight if needed and exercising more reverse these trends.

Copyright 2009 by Harvard University. HEALTHBEAT 10-27-09

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Pumpkin Recipes!

Enticing Pumpkin Recipes from this week's My Vegetarian Times


Morning Pumpkin Coffee Cake

Bake a breakfast treat that looks and tastes like fall.

http://www.vegetariantimes.com/recipes/9935?section=

Savory Pumpkin Quiche

Try this easy, healthful recipe out on kids—they'll love it.

http://www.vegetariantimes.com/recipes/9933?section=

Pumpkin-Coconut Bisque

Taste how well pumpkin goes in a curry-based soup that gets its creaminess from coconut milk.

http://www.vegetariantimes.com/recipes/9240?

Spicy Fall Stew Baked in a Pumpkin

Wow guests with this meal-in-one recipe that makes pumpkin the focal point of a meal.

http://www.vegetariantimes.com/recipes/10829?section=

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Young May Outgrow Bipolar Disorder

Young Adults May Outgrow Bipolar Disorder

30 Sep 2009

Bipolar disorder, or manic-depression, causes severe and unusual shifts in mood and energy, affecting a person's ability to perform everyday tasks. With symptoms often starting in early adulthood, bipolar disorder has been thought of traditionally as a lifelong disorder. Now, University of Missouri researchers have found evidence that nearly half of those diagnosed between the ages of 18 and 25 may outgrow the disorder by the time they reach 30.

"Using two large nationally representative studies, we found that there was a strikingly high peak prevalence of bipolar disorders in emerging adulthood," said David Cicero, doctoral student in the Department of Psychological Sciences in the College of Arts and Science and lead author of the paper. "During the third decade of life, the prevalence of the disorder appears to resolve substantially, suggesting patients become less symptomatic and may have a greater chance of recovery."

By examining the results of two large national surveys, MU researchers found an "age gradient" in the prevalence of bipolar disorder, with part of the population appearing to outgrow the disorder. In the survey results, 5.5 to 6.2 percent of people between the ages of 18 and 24 suffer from bipolar disorder, but only about 3 percent of people older than 29 suffer from bipolar disorder.

"Young adults between the ages of 18 and 24 are going through significant life changes and social strain, which could influence both the onset and course of the disorder," said Kenneth J. Sher, Curators' Professor in the Department of Psychological Sciences and co-author of the study. "During this period of life, young adults are exploring new roles and relationships and begin to leave their parents' homes for school or work. By the mid 20s, adults have begun to adjust to these changes and begin to settle down and form committed relationships."

Researchers predict the prevalence of the disorder also could be affected by brain development, particularly the prefrontal cortex. The prefrontal cortex, the very front part of the brain, is thought to control perception, senses, personality and intelligence. In particular, it controls reactions to social situations, which can be a challenge for people with bipolar disorder.

"The maturing of the prefrontal cortex of the brain around 25 years of age could biologically explain the developmentally limited aspect of bipolar disorder," Cicero said. "Other researchers have found a similar pattern in young adults with alcohol or substance abuse disorders."

While some scholars suggest that the difference could be due to discounting factors such as early mortality, the sheer number of those who are recovering rules out this possibility, Sher said.

The study, "Are There Developmentally Limited Forms of Bipolar Disorder?" was published in the Journal of Abnormal Psychology. It was co-authored by Cicero, Sher and Amee Epler, a doctoral student in the Department of Psychological Sciences.

Source:
Kelsey Jackson
University of Missouri-Columbia

Article URL: http://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/165712.php

Main News Category: Bipolar

Also Appears In: Neurology / Neuroscience, Psychology / Psychiatry,

Let life happen... R.M. Rilke

"Let life happen to you.
Believe me: life is in the right, always."

- Rainer Maria Rilke

Friday, September 18, 2009

A Year of Guided Meditations, Daily Om Offering

Daily Om's A Year of Guided Meditations: the collection is a series of 52 guided meditations featuring profoundly positive principles and ways of becoming your highest self. Every week for a year, you will receive a new guided meditation spoken in a soothing voice along with a beautiful musical background and stunning video images of a nature. These high-powered Be-Attitudes are ideals and values to strive for. Each meditation is about a minute long and is spoken in the I AM tense with the understanding that as you repeat it or internally absorb it along with the spoken word, you are coming that much closer to actualizing the idea within you, in the present tense, at this moment. By speaking as if you are already embodying the principle, you are not waiting for it to manifest at a future time and it can truly manifest within you – in the Now.

This is offered with a sliding fee as low as $10! And there are numerous *free* offerings when you enroll in the course.

Link:
A Year of Guided Meditations

Monday, September 7, 2009

New Evidence, the Body Glows


The human body literally glows, emitting a visible light in extremely small quantities at levels that rise and fall with the day.

Past research has shown that the body emits visible light, 1,000 times less intense than the levels which can be seen with the naked eye. In fact, virtually all living creatures emit very weak light.

To learn more about this faint visible light, scientists in Japan employed extraordinarily sensitive cameras capable of detecting single photons. Five healthy male volunteers in their 20’s were placed bare-chested in front of the cameras in complete darkness in light-tight rooms for 20 minutes every three hours.

The researchers found the body glow rose and fell over the day, with its lowest point at 10 AM and its peak at 4 PM, dropping gradually after that. These findings suggest there is light emission linked to the body clock, most likely due to how metabolic rhythms fluctuate over the course of the day.

Faces glowed more than the rest of the body. This might be because faces are more tanned than the rest of the body, since they get more exposure to sunlight.


Sources:
PLoS One July 16, 2009; 4(7): e6256 [Free Full-Text Article]


Saturday, September 5, 2009

In Memory of Dr. Hulda Clark

I just received this notice via email. Dr. Hulda Clark is the author of the alternative health classic, The Cure For All Diseases: "All diseases have simple explanations and cures once their true cause is known. Doctor Hulda Clark explains the causes of both common and extraordinary diseases and gives specific instruction for their cure through natural remedies and an electrical device you can build at home." [Amazon.com]


From: "Dr Clark Store and Self Health"

In Memory of Dr. Hulda Clark

We just received word that Dr. Hulda Clark passed away peacefully in her sleep September 3, 2009.

Since she had retired and closed her clinic last fall she has spent much time with her family.

We will certainly miss Dr. Clark both as a friend and researcher who gave so much of her self to so many.

A website is being setup in memory of Dr. Clark where people may leave their thoughts and experiences to share with all.

Further information will be posted at that website next week:

www.InMemoryOfDrHuldaClark.com

For her family and many close friends our condolences and thoughts are with you.

Our address: 1055 Bay Blvd, Ste A
Chula Vista, California 91911

Chico: Labyrinth Walk

Labyrinth
Labyrinth Walk
Free Introductory to Women’s Groups
Explore the many uses of the labyrinth
for personal guidance and healing.
Chico Community Labyrinth Project
will have information and displays.
Bring a friend and share in this opportunity to learn more about the women’s groups offered.
Sunday, Sept. 13th 2:00 – 5:00 pm at the WhiteLotusCenter
370 E. 9th Ave. (corner of Laburnam and 9th Ave) 530-345-6087

Life is Grace...

Listen to your life.
In the boredom and pain of it,
no less than in the excitement and gladness:
touch, taste, smell your way
to the holy and hidden heart of it,
because life itself is grace.
- Frederick Buechner
SBNR.org via Facebook


Monday, August 24, 2009

PTSD Linked to Heart Disease in Iraq, Afghanistan Veterans

According to a study published in August in the Journal of the American Medical Association and reported in Reuters Health Online, the veterans returning home from Iraq and Afghanistan with posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and other mental disorders have a greater risk of heart disease. The link between military-related PTSD and heart disease has been made before, but this is the first time an association has been made with veterans of the current conflicts. In examining behaviors of veterans, the researchers found those with PTSD and other mental disorders such as anxiety disorder are twice as likely to be tobacco users, a well-known risk behavior.

Reuters Health Online article...

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Healthier Cake contest winners

Let Them Eat (Healthier) Cake

By Tara Parker-Pope, 8-18-09, NY Times Blogs (Well)

The American Cancer Society recently asked baking and pastry students at the Culinary Institute of America to reinvent the birthday cake using better-for-you ingredients.

Alexandra Mudry won for her makeover of a red velvet cake.

The winner was a healthful twist on the red velvet cake, created by Alexandra Mudry, a former actress from Pleasantville, N.Y., who will graduate from the school in October. The recipe cuts back on the sugar, eggs, oil and butter in the traditional version, substituting roasted beets, dried cherries, applesauce and whole grain flour to boost the nutrient content. Ms. Mudry’s New Red Velvet Cake, which is filled with chocolate ganache and topped with cream cheese frosting, is now the official cake of the American Cancer Society’s “More Birthdays” campaign.

Recipes from the other four finalists include:

Chocolate Raspberry Cake: Runner-up Arthur Battistini, from Middleboro, Mass., reduced the calories and boosted the beta carotene and flavonoid content in making his chocolate raspberry cake.

Blueberry Dream Cake: Finalist Tamara King, a former banking industry worker and a native of Harrod, Ohio, made her cake with whole-wheat flour, applesauce and blueberries, which are rich in antioxidants.

Chocolate Cake: Finalist Laura Sansone, a native of Boonton, N.J., who will graduate from C.I.A. in February, created an egg-free applesauce version of the traditional favorite.

Gluten-Free Angel Food Cake: Finalist Lorraine Tran, originally from Garden Grove, Calif., created a gluten-free cake filled with a yogurt-berry mousse.

Click here for the recipes:

Let Them Eat (Healthier) Cake By Tara Parker-Pope -c. NY Times Blogs, 8-18-09

Fibromyalgia and Traumatic Stress connections


Question:
I'd like to ask Belleruth about the seeming correlation between trauma and fibromyalgia in women. Has there been any research into this?

Answer:
Mary, I write about this in Invisible Heroes. At the time of publication there were only 2 studies published, showing the link between fibromyalgia and traumatic stress – for men or women, although either condition hits more women than men. Now there are too many studies to count, but you can start with a recent article by some Italian researchers, Stisi et al, titled Etiopathogenetic mechanisms of fibromyalgia syndrome. Robert Scaer was on to this years ago, and wrote about it in The Body Bears the Burden. But the short answer is YES, there is a big, fat correlation.

Here is an explanatory (or at least I hope so) excerpt of the relevant material from my book (and for those of you who have the book, it’s in Chapter 5, The Physical Effects of Trauma, pages 78-80.

Chronic Pain Conditions
This constant activation of the alarm state leads to an accumulation of metabolic waste products in the muscle fibers, and the release of kinins and other chemical pain generators in the tissue, resulting in myofascial pain and the appearance of those seemingly intractable chronic conditions such as fibromyalgia, chronic fatigue, irritable bowel syndrome, chronic headache, TMJ and more.

And because these conditions are generated in the brain stem and the motor reflex centers in the spinal column, and routed through a perturbed, automatic, arousal circuitry, peripheral forms of treatment provide only temporary relief. Constantly activated by everyday sensory cues, normal muscle movement and spontaneous memories, symptoms grow and become more and more entrenched over time. In other words, this is one nasty gift from the kindled feedback loop that, if not interrupted, will just keep on giving.

Our epidemiology research has already shown us an astounding percentage of people with baffling chronic pain conditions and “functional” diseases that have no obvious causes, who have been found to have prior histories of severe trauma. Probably if we could tease out the subset of traumatized people who experienced substantial dissociation during their trauma, and a truncated freeze response in the midst of it, we might find closer to one hundred percent suffering from posttraumatic stress. Unfortunately for them, they are often assumed to be malingering or engaged in attention-seeking behavior for neurotic reasons, instead of suffering from a very serious, self perpetuating condition with a potentially worsening trajectory.

Included in this group of maligned and misunderstood patients would be scores of people suffering from pelvic and low back pain, orofacial and myofascial pain, genito-urinary and abdominal pain; interstitial cystitis; and the previously mentioned headache, fibromyalgia (FM), chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS), and reflex sympathetic dystrophy (RSD); irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), inflammatory bowel disorder (IBD), multiple chemical sensitivity (MCS) and migraine.

Thanks for asking. Too many people still don’t know about this connection.
All best,
Belleruth Naparstek

http://belleruthnaparstek.com/ask-belleruth/is-there-a-connection-between-fibromyalgia-and-traumatic-stress.html busy

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Workplace Yoga And Meditation Lowers Stress

Yoga and Meditation at Work reduces stress and improves sleep, what a concept. This study uses a modified-version of Mindfulness-based stress reduction (MBSR) as developed by Jon Kabat-Zinn.

Workplace Yoga And Meditation Can Lower Feelings Of Stress

05 Aug 2009
Twenty minutes per day of guided workplace meditation and yoga combined with six weekly group sessions can lower feelings of stress by more than 10 percent and improve sleep quality in sedentary office employees, a pilot study suggests.

The study offered participants a modified version of what is known as mindfulness-based stress reduction (MBSR), a program established in 1979 to help hospital patients in Massachusetts assist in their own healing that is now in wide use around the world..

In this context, mindfulness refers in part to one's heightened awareness of an external stressor as the first step toward relaxing in a way that can minimize the effects of that stress on the body... [cont.] http://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/159817.php

This work was supported by the National Institute of Health-funded General Clinical Research Center at Ohio State..

Co-authors of the study are Janet Buckworth of the College of Education and Human Ecology and William Malarkey of the College of Medicine, both at Ohio State..

Source: Ohio State University

Article URL: http://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/159817.php

© 2009 MediLexicon International Ltd

Thursday, August 6, 2009

Herbal formulas show inverse risk for breast cancers

This is an interesting German study, with over 10,000 post-menopausal women. While no study is ever the final word on any topic, it is encouraging to know there is some basis to support the use of herbal preparations for post-menopausal symptoms with an inverse risk for breast cancer; contrasted by the body of work that seems to show higher risk of breast cancers in women who have used HRT (hormone replacement therapy). jd

Findings: Every use of HEP (Herbal Preparations) was inversely associated with invasive breast cancer in a dose-dependent manner. Classes (formulas) of HEP did not differ significantly (in outcomes). Risks for invasive ductal and combined lobular/mixed/tubular tumors were similarly reduced by any HEP use but not for in situ (pre-existing) carcinomas. There were no substantial differences in associations of HEP use by estrogen receptor status and progesterone receptor status of the tumor.

Interpretation: Our findings support the hypothesis that HEP use protects from invasive breast cancer in postmenopausal women. Among conceivable modes of action, those independent of estrogen-receptor mediated pathways seem to be involved (i.e., cytotoxicity, apoptosis). (Cancer Epidemiol Biomarkers Prev 2009;18(8):2207-13)
Edited by jd for readability.

The Use of Herbal Preparations to Alleviate Climacteric Disorders and Risk
of Postmenopausal Breast Cancer
in a German Case-Control Study
Nadia Obi, Jenny Chang-Claude, Jurgen Berger, Wilhelm Braendle, Tracy
Slanger, Martina Schmidt, Karen Steindorf, Wolfgang Ahrens, and Dieter
Flesch-Janys
Cancer Epidemiol Biomarkers Prev 2009;18 2207-2213
http://cebp.aacrjournals.org/cgi/content/abstract/18/8/2207?etoc

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Listening...

Listening is perhaps the most critical skill taught to Whole Health Educators, and it is a skill that requires constant attention and practice. The moment I take my listening skills for granted, I have lost a gift given by a friend, client or stranger. Co-mmunication requires two distinct forms of attention: giving and receiving. If we try to do both at the same time (now fondly labeled as multi-tasking) we risk real traffic congestion in the brain, and we risk losing valuable information that might just change a person's life (ours, another's, or both!). Enjoy this write-up on the value of listening by Linda from Spirituality and Health. Jan

Soul: Listen Up!


The dictionary lists the word “listen” as a verb - reminding us that listening is an active process and asks us:
1) to give attention with the ear; attend closely for the purpose of hearing.
2) to pay attention; heed, obey,
3) to wait attentively for a sound. (Dictionary.com)

Probably the most interesting thing I noticed about these definitions is that all three contain the word “attention.” So, of course, I had to look up that definition, and there I found words like “attentiveness,” “concentration,” “consideration,” “heedfulness,” “observant care,” and “mindfulness.” Teachers and professionals in a wide variety of areas such as leadership, management, and conflict resolution, often describe techniques like “focusing attention on” or “attending to the speaker fully” to be able to absorb the information being shared. They also describe specific tactics to improve listening, such as waiting for the speaker to finish, and listening without thinking about other things, formulating your response, or judging what the speaker is saying.

(Sheryl McGavin, certified instructor, international speaker and examiner for The Upledger Institute, with a private practice in Palm Beach, Florida.) It occurred to me that if we were able to really listen to others, and be observant and attentive, concentrating on what was being said without wandering off in another direction or anticipating our own response, maybe we could also begin to really listen to our own inner voice and be present to it. We could begin to honor it and give it the consideration it deserves. Are we really listening in the full sense of the word? It’s amazing what you can get from a simple reading of the dictionary!
Your Weekly Soul/Body Connection®
August 5, 2009
www.Spirituality-Health.com

linda@spiritualityhealth.com

Saturday, July 25, 2009

Hexane solvent used in most Soy food extraction

...and one more from the Organic Consumers Assn.

Food Toxins 101: An Intro to Hexane

At seven cents per pound, hexane is currently the dominant extraction solvent for soy products. Whether you're eating Boca burgers, firm tofu, partially hydrogenated soybean oil, granola crumbs for texture, or Silk soy milk, hexane likely played a role in the extraction process. Hexane was formerly used as a cleaning agent for removing grease in the printing industry as well as a solvent for rubber cement, but now it's showing up in many so-called "natural" and even "made with organic" soy foods.

Monsanto Lobbyist in Charge of Food Safety?

July 22, 2009 from: Organic Bytes, a publication of Organic Consumers Association

Don't Let Obama Put Monsanto Cheerleaders in Charge of Food Safety

The Obama Administration is putting two notorious biotech bullies in charge of food safety. Former Monsanto lobbyist Michael Taylor has been appointed as a senior advisor to the Food and Drug Administration Commissioner on food safety. And, rBGH-using dairy farmer and Pennsylvania Agriculture Secretary Dennis Wolff, is rumored to be President Obama's choice for Under-Secretary of Agriculture for Food Safety. Wolfe spearheaded anti-consumer legislation in Pennsylvania that would have taken away the rights of consumers to know whether their milk and dairy products were contaminated with Monsanto's (now Eli Lilly's) genetically engineered Bovine Growth Hormone (rBGH).

and that's not all folks....

Organic Dairy Farmers Tell Vilsack to Crack Down on Aurora & Horizon's Factory Farm Dairy Feedlots

Last week, USDA Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack spoke at the La Crosse, Wisconsin County Fair. Nearly 200 organic farmers showed up to protest. The farmers, organized by the Cornucopia Institute, rallied to convince Vilsack to take action against factory farms that are saturating the market with fake organic milk, like Aurora and Horizon (Dean Foods). One farmer shouted a question to the Agriculture Secretary, asking when the USDA will take action against organic lawbreakers. "I commit to you that we will enforce the rules," Vilsack responded. The OCA is working hard to make sure this is true.

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Be Patient...

"Be patient toward all that is unsolved in your heart.
And try to love the questions themselves."


- Rainer Maria Rilke

Photo, c. 2009 - Jan Davies

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Depression Counseling reduces cancer inflammation

This small study has found some connections between treating depression and reduction of inflammation, a condition known to have a promoting impact on cancers and a negative effect on health in general. Nice piece of body-mind connection science! JD

A Psychological Intervention Reduces Inflammatory Markers by Alleviating Depressive Symptoms: Secondary Analysis of a Randomized Controlled Trial Lisa M. Thornton , PhD, Barbara L. Andersen , PhD, Tammy A. Schuler , MA, William E. Carson III, MD

Address correspondence and reprint requests to: Lisa M. Thornton, PhD, E-mail: thornton.84@osu.edu.


Abstract

Objectives: To test experimentally whether a psychological intervention reduces depression-related symptoms and markers of inflammation among cancer patients and to test one mechanism for the intervention effects. Depression and inflammation are common among cancer patients. Data suggest that inflammation can contribute to depressive symptoms, although the converse remains untested. Methods: As part of a randomized clinical trial, newly diagnosed breast cancer patients (n = 45) with clinically significant depressive symptoms were evaluated and randomized to psychological intervention with assessment or assessment only study arms. The intervention spanned 12 months, with assessments at baseline, 4, 8, and 12 months. Mixed-effects modeling tested the hypothesis that the intervention reduced self-reported depressive symptoms (Center for Epidemiological Studies Depression scale, Profile of Mood States Depression and Fatigue subscales, and Medical Outcomes Study-Short Form 36 Bodily Pain subscale) and immune cell numbers that are elevated in the presence of inflammation (white blood cell count, neutrophil count, and helper/suppressor ratio). Mediation analyses tested whether change in depressive symptoms, pain, or fatigue predicted change in white blood cell count, neutrophil count, or the helper/suppressor ratio. Results: The intervention reduced significantly depressive symptoms, pain, fatigue, and inflammation markers. Moreover, the intervention effect on inflammation was mediated by its effect on depressive symptoms. Conclusions: This is the first experiment to test whether psychological treatment effective in reducing depressive symptoms would also reduce indicators of inflammation. Data show that the intervention reduced directly depressive symptoms and reduced indirectly inflammation. Psychological treatment may treat effectively depressive symptoms, pain, and fatigue among cancer patients.

Published online before print July 21, 2009
Psychosom Med 2009, doi:10.1097/PSY.0b013e3181b0545c

© 2009 by American Psychosomatic Society


Sunday, July 12, 2009

Excuses, excuses, excuses...!

Excuses exposed! The humorous yet revealing truth of how we live in a world filled with, "How do I get out of this one!?" Read it, if only for the great excuses given as examples, LoL... or maybe to become aware...

Divine Abundance- Excuses Begone!
Transcript for July 12, 2009 By Ian Lawton

Sunday, June 28, 2009

Plant-Based Whole Foods Living blog

This looks to be a handy Blog for those of us who keep meaning to make our lives more plant-based diet friendly. As the author Karen Miller states, it is about the nutrition, not labels like vegan or vegetarian...

Plant-Based Whole Foods Living

She pursued this direction after fighting breast cancer over the last year, and subsequently reading many books addressing nutrition, health and fitness, seeking lifestyle changes to support a disease free future.

This well thought out blog includes recipes, hints, information, and resource links. You can even join a Recipe Club for $4/month that includes a binder. I think Karen has created a user friendly, and inviting resource for anyone looking to comfortably and easily expand their plant-based diets.

Monday, June 22, 2009

Notes On Solstice by Liana Carbon

Did you celebrate the Summer Solstice over the weekend? As you know, the Summer solstice is the time of year when the sun is at its greatest distance from the celestial equator. The summer solstice was celebrated when the sun reached its most northerly position.

Did you know that it is known by many names? Alban Heflin, Alben Heruin, All-couples day, Feast of Epona, Feast of St. John the Baptist, Feill-Sheathain, Gathering Day, Johannistag, Litha, Midsummer, Sonnwend, Thing-Tide, and Vestalia, among others.

Most people around the world have observed spiritual and religious seasonal days of celebration during the month of June, many of which are linked in some way to the summer solstice.
Solstice SunOn this day, typically June 21st, the daytime hours are at a maximum in the Northern hemisphere, and night time is at a minimum. It is officially the first day of summer. It is also referred to as Midsummer because it is roughly the middle of the growing season throughout much of Europe.

In pre-historic times, summer was a joyous time of the year for the indigenous people who lived in the northern latitudes. The snow had disappeared; the ground had thawed out; warm temperatures had returned; flowers were blooming; leaves had returned to the deciduous trees. Some herbs could be harvested, both for medicinal and for other uses. Food was easier to find. The crops had already been planted and would be harvested in the months to come. Although many months of warm even hot weather remained before the fall, they noticed that the days were beginning to shorten, so that the return of the cold season was inevitable.

This time of year, between the planting and harvesting of the crops, was the traditional month for weddings. This is because many ancient peoples believed that the "grand (sexual) union" of the Goddess and God occurred in early May at Beltane. Since it was unlucky to compete with the deities, many couples delayed their weddings until June. June remains a favorite month for marriages today. In some traditions, newly wed couples were fed dishes and beverages that featured honey for the first month of their married life to encourage love and fertility. The surviving vestige of this tradition lives on in the name given to the holiday immediately after the ceremony: The Honeymoon.

In Ancient China their summer solstice ceremony celebrated the earth, the feminine, and the yin forces. It complemented the winter solstice which celebrated the heavens, masculinity and yang forces.

Ancient Pagans celebrated Midsummer with bonfires. "It was the night of fire festivals and of love magic, of love oracles and divination. It had to do with lovers and predictions, when pairs of lovers would jump through the luck-bringing flames. It was believed that the crops would grow as high as the couples were able to jump.

Many of our North American tribes celebrate the summer solstice as well.
  • The Natchez tribe in the southern U.S. worshiped the sun and believed that their ruler was descended from him. Every summer they held a first fruits ceremony. Nobody was allowed to harvest the corn until after the feast.
  • Males in the Hopi tribe dressed up as Kachinas, the dancing spirits of rain and fertility who were messengers between humanity and the Gods. At Midsummer, the Kachinas leave the villages to spend the next six months in the mountains, where they were believed to visit the dead underground and hold ceremonies on their behalf.
  • Native Americans have created countless stone structures linked to equinoxes and solstices. One, called Calendar One, is in a natural amphitheatre of about 20 acres in size in Vermont. From a stone enclosure in the center of the bowl, one can see a number of vertical rocks and other markers around the edge of the bowl. At the summer solstice, the sun rose at the southern peak of the east ridge and set at a notch at the southern end of the west ridge. The winter solstice and the equinoxes were similarly marked.
  • The Bighorn Medicine Wheel west of Sheridan, WY is perhaps the most famous of the 40 or more similar "wheels" on the high plains area of the Rocky Mountains, most of which are located in Canada. At Bighorn, the center of a small cairn, that is external to the main wheel, lines up with the center of the wheel and the sun rising at the summer equinox. Another similar sighting cairn provides a sighting for three dawn-rising stars: Aldebaran, Rigel and Sirius. A third cairn lines up with fourth star: Fomalhaut.
The Summer Solstice is regarded as a time for purification and renewal of the self. Because it celebrates fertility, the growth of seeds planted in the spring, Love is to be celebrated now as well. For couples, it's important that you remember the bonds of love that brought the two of you together in the first place. For those who are single, it's just possible that you will findi your true love is on the horizon!

If you haven't already celebrated, it's not too late. Do a simple-earth honoring ritual. It can be as simple as going outside and offering a simple prayer of gratitude for the fruits (gifts) of your life, and for the turning of things, the sacred cycles of our life.

Dancing is a wonderful way to honor the bright Summer sun at the Summer Solstice - and of course, at any other time too!

© 2009 Dr. Liana L Carb√≥n & Sun Sister Publications.
All Rights Reserved.

Institute of Shamanic Wisdom, Inc.
www.shamanicwisdom.com

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Emotional Hair Trigger, Often Misread

NYTimes.com
June 16, 2009
Personal Health
An Emotional Hair Trigger, Often Misread
By JANE E. BRODY

In the popular 1999 movie “Girl, Interrupted,” Winona Ryder portrays a young woman who tries to commit suicide, then spends nearly a year in a psychiatric hospital with a diagnosis of borderline personality disorder.

The film, based on a 1993 memoir by Susanna Kaysen, was gripping. But experts say it oversimplified this common yet poorly understood mood disorder.

Georges Han, a recovered patient now studying at the University of Minnesota for a Ph.D. in psychology, describes borderline personality disorder as “a serious psychiatric disorder involving a pervasive sense of emptiness, impulsivity, difficulty with emotions, transient stress-induced psychosis and frequent suicidal thoughts or attempts.”

Moods can change quickly and unpredictably, behaviors can be impulsive (including abuse of alcohol or drugs, reckless driving, overspending or disordered eating), and relationships with others are often unstable. Many patients injure themselves and threaten or attempt suicide to relieve their emotional pain.

People with the disorder are said to have a thin emotional skin and often behave like 2-year-olds, throwing tantrums when some innocent word, gesture, facial expression or action by others sets off an emotional storm they cannot control. The attacks can be brutal, pushing away those they care most about. Then, when the storm subsides, they typically revert to being “sweet and wonderful,” as one family member put it.

In an effort to maintain calm, families often struggle to avoid situations that can set off another outburst. They walk on eggshells, a doomed effort because it is not possible to predict what will prompt an outburst. Living with a borderline person is like traversing a minefield; you never know when an explosion will occur.

A Misleading Label

The name of the disorder was coined in the 1930s, in a misleading reference to the border between neurosis and psychosis. Experts say it has nothing to do with either condition.

Rather, affected individuals seem to be born with a quick and unduly sensitive emotional trigger. The condition appears to have both genetic and environmental underpinnings. Brain studies have indicated that the emotional center of the nervous system — the amygdala — may be overly reactive, while the part that reins in emotional reactions may be underactive.

As children, people who will develop the disorder are often “hyperreactive, hypervigilant and supersensitive,” Valerie Porr, a therapist in New York, said in an interview. Typically they receive a host of misdiagnoses and treatments that are inappropriate and ineffective.

“Some children need more than others in learning to regulate their emotions,” said Marsha M. Linehan, a psychologist at the University of Washington who devised the leading treatment for borderline disorder.

“These kids require a lot of effort to keep themselves emotionally regulated,” Dr. Linehan said in an interview. “They do best with stability. If the family situation is chaotic or the family is very uptight, teaching children to grin and bear it, that tough kids don’t cry, these children will have a lot of trouble.”

Even in a normal family, such children need extra help. Dr. Linehan told of one mother who said: “I was an ordinary mother, and my child needed a special mother. I took training and became the special mother he needed.”

Borderline personality disorder afflicts about 2 percent of the general population, according to the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual, and it is twice as common as a much better-known disorder, schizophrenia. (Other studies suggest the prevalence is as high as 6 percent.) Many borderline patients hurt themselves, and 10 percent die by suicide.

Yet as common and serious a problem as it is, Dr. Linehan said that patients often have difficulty getting the help they need — partly because therapists tend to regard borderline patients as manipulative and demanding of an inordinate amount of time and attention.

Ms. Porr, a social worker who specializes in helping families of borderline patients, said therapists with traditional analytic training often provide ineffective treatment, then experience feelings of failure and frustration. Psychotherapeutic drugs have not been effective in controlling the disorder. As a result, 70 percent of these patients drop out of traditional treatments, Ms. Porr said.

Ms. Porr tries to help families learn to handle the problem and not make it worse. She said in an interview that families need to understand why borderline patients act and react the way they do, then respond in ways that validate the patients’ feelings and help them regain and maintain emotional control.

Treatments That Can Help

Experts say that even suicidal patients are unlikely to benefit from the kind of extended hospitalization depicted in “Girl, Interrupted.” More often, a few days in the hospital should be followed by psychotherapy directed at helping them learn to live more effectively with their cognitive misinterpretations and emotional instability.

Dr. Linehan practices dialectical behavior therapy, the only therapy that has been demonstrated to be effective in a number of randomized clinical trials. She said two other approaches, called mentalization and Stepp, were also likely to be helpful.

Dialectical behavior therapy, a derivative of cognitive behavior therapy, helps patients identify thoughts, beliefs and assumptions that make their lives challenging and then learn different ways of thinking and reacting.

In effect, Dr. Linehan tells patients, “Your problem is that you don’t know how to regulate yourself, and I can teach you how.” She said thousands of therapists have been trained in dialectical behavior therapy, and many others practice it without special training.

But the value of the therapy can be thwarted if patients return to an environment that misunderstands them. Thus, Dr. Linehan said, it is important for others to recognize that people with borderline personality disorder are genuinely suffering. “They are in excruciating pain that is almost always discounted by others and attributed to bad motives,” she said.

The idea is “to validate the person’s emotional reactions, to say, ‘I understand how you feel,’ to pay attention, not to the situation, but to the emotion behind it,” Dr. Linehan said.

Alan E. Fruzzetti, a psychologist at the University of Nevada, said that families have to learn how to “soothe themselves, to realize that though the situation is awful, not to blame or be judgmental of the person but to see the person as also suffering.”

Reacting in a nonloving way magnifies the trauma tenfold, he said in an interview, adding: “You may have to leave a bad situation, but you must come back in a loving way, maybe say something like, ‘That blowout yesterday, I really want to understand your experience.’ ”

Therapists trained in dialectical behavior therapy can be located through the Web site www.behavioraltech.org.

Copyright 2009 The New York Times Company

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Daily OM: Ocean Meditation

June 5, 2009
Waves of Healing

Like us, the sea is ever-changing. And, like us, the earth’s vast oceans appear at a distance to be stable and homogeneous. But beneath the mask of solidity that both we and the sea wear, there lies unpredictability, sensitivity, and power. There is much we can learn from the ocean, representative as it is of our inner landscapes. The rough sounds of the sea’s waves are spiritually soothing, and its salt can purify our physical selves. Yet not everyone has the luxury of living by the shore or even visiting the coastlines where water and land meet. The ocean, however, exists in our conscious minds, put there by images we have seen and descriptions we have read. Wherever we are, we can access that mental image and use it as the starting point from which we can help to heal our emotions by meditating on the sea.

To begin, gather together any ocean artifacts you may have on hand. Seashells, a vial of sand, beach glass, stones rubbed smooth by the pounding surf, or a recording of ocean sounds can help you slip more deeply into this meditation, but they are not necessary. Sit quietly and visualize the ocean in your mind’s eye. Allow all of your senses to participate in your mental journey. Feel the tiny grains of sand beneath your feet and the cool spray of mist; hear the sea’s rhythmic roar as the waves meet the beach and retreat; smell the tang of salt in the air. Watch the sun’s rays play over the ocean’s surface, creating shifting spots of teal, cerulean, cobalt, and green. Don’t be surprised if you see dolphins or whales frolicking in the waves—they are there to assist you. Spend a few minutes drinking in the ocean’s beauty and appreciating its vast splendor.

Once you are fully engaged with the setting before you, visualize yourself sitting on the beach, facing the ocean, and watching the waves advance and retreat. As each new wave of seawater approaches, imagine it carrying healing energy toward you. The magnificent ocean in your thoughts is sending you light and love while the sun supports your healing efforts and Mother Earth grounds you in the moment so healing can occur. When you feel you are finished, grant the ocean your earnest gratitude for the aid it has given you. Thank the sun, the sand, and any other elements of your visualization that offered you guidance. Perform this meditation daily or monthly in order to rid yourself of negativity and reestablish emotional equilibrium. Just as the ocean’s tides sweep the shores free of detritus, restoring balance, so can the waves in our mind’s eye cleanse our souls of what no longer serves us.

Marcia Kearl Johnson Daily Om, June 5, 2009 Facebook Delivery

Friday, May 29, 2009

America's Fittest Cities, surprise!?

No surprise to see the west coast cities listed here... what shocks me is that Wash. DC is #1. Is the capital really shaping up? Not from what I have seen via the media, that's for sure... jd


Which City Is America's Fittest?

Nation's Capital Is Fittest City in U.S., According to American College of Sports Medicine By Miranda Hitti
WebMD Health News

May 26, 2009 -- Washington, D.C., tops the American College of Sports Medicine's new list of America's fittest cities.

The list is based on personal factors -- including the percentage of residents who smoke, are obese, get regular physical activity, eat at least five servings of fruits and vegetables per day, and have conditions such as diabetes and heart disease -- and on local resources, such as parks, farmers' markets, number of primary health care providers, and crime rates. Data came from sources including the CDC, U.S. Census Bureau, U.S. Department of Agriculture, and the nonprofit Trust for the Public Land.

Here is how the cities ranked:

  1. Washington, D.C.
  2. Minneapolis-St. Paul
  3. Denver
  4. Boston
  5. San Francisco
  6. Seattle
  7. Portland
  8. San Diego
  9. Austin, Texas
  10. Virginia Beach, Va.
  11. Hartford, Conn.
  12. Sacramento, Calif.
  13. San Jose, Calif.

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Low Vitamin D & Cancer

New Model Of Cancer Development: Low Vitamin D Levels May Have Role

ScienceDaily (May 26, 2009) — In studying the preventive effects of vitamin D, researchers at the Moores Cancer Center at the University of California, San Diego, have proposed a new model of cancer development that hinges on a loss of cancer cells' ability to stick together. The model, dubbed DINOMIT, differs substantially from the current model of cancer development, which suggests genetic mutations as the earliest driving forces behind cancer.

"The first event in cancer is loss of communication among cells due to, among other things, low vitamin D and calcium levels," said epidemiologist Cedric Garland, DrPH, professor of family and preventive medicine at the UC San Diego School of Medicine, who led the work. "In this new model, we propose that this loss may play a key role in cancer by disrupting the communication between cells that is essential to healthy cell turnover, allowing more aggressive cancer cells to take over."

Reporting online May 22, 2009 in the Annals of Epidemiology, Garland suggests that such cellular disruption could account for the earliest stages of many cancers. He said that previous theories linking vitamin D to certain cancers have been tested and confirmed in more than 200 epidemiological studies, and understanding of its physiological basis stems from more than 2,500 laboratory studies.

"Competition and natural selection among disjoined cells within a tissue compartment, such as might occur in the breast's terminal ductal lobular unit, for example, are the engine of cancer," Garland said. "The DINOMIT model provides new avenues for preventing and improving the success of cancer treatment."

Garland went on to explain that each letter in DINOMIT stands for a different phase of cancer development. "D" stands for disjunction, or loss of intercellular communication; "I," for initiation, where genetic mutations begin to play a role; "N" for natural selection of the fastest-reproducing cancer cells; "O" for overgrowth of cells; "M" for metastasis, when cancer cells migrate to other tissues, where cancer can kill; "I" refers to involution, and "T" for transition, both dormant states that may occur in cancer and potentially be driven by replacing vitamin D.

While there is not yet definitive scientific proof, Garland suggests that much of the evolutionary process in cancer could be arrested at the outset by maintaining vitamin D adequacy. "Vitamin D may halt the first stage of the cancer process by re-establishing intercellular junctions in malignancies having an intact vitamin D receptor," he said.

According to Garland, other scientists have found that the cells adhere to one another in tissue with adequate vitamin D, acting as mature epithelial cells. Without enough vitamin D, they may lose this stickiness along with their identity as differentiated cells, and revert to a stem cell-like state.

Garland said that diet and supplements can restore appropriate vitamin D levels, and perhaps help in preventing cancer development. "Vitamin D levels can be increased by modest supplementation with vitamin D3 in the range of 2000 IU/day," he noted.

The researchers noted that many studies show an apparent beneficial effect of vitamin D and calcium on cancer risk and survival of patients with breast, colorectal and prostate cancer. However, there are some studies that have not found such benefit, especially when taking smoking, alcohol and viruses into account. While more research needs to be done, Garland recommends that individuals should have their vitamin D level tested during an annual check up.

Garland and his colleagues have published epidemiological studies about the potential preventive effects of vitamin D for some two decades. Last year, his team showed an association between deficiency in sunlight exposure, low vitamin D and breast cancer. In previous work, they showed associations between increased levels of vitamin D3 or markers of vitamin D and a lower risk for breast, colon, ovarian and kidney cancers.

Other authors on the study include Edward D. Gorham, Sharif B. Mohr and Frank C. Garland, UC San Diego.

University of California - San Diego (2009, May 26). New Model Of Cancer Development: Low Vitamin D Levels May Have Role. ScienceDaily. Retrieved May 26, 2009, from http://www.sciencedaily.com­ /releases/2009/05/090522081212.htm

Monday, May 18, 2009

A Response to the Bishops' Statement on Reiki

Though somewhat lengthy, I recommend this article on Reiki in response to a doctrine issued by U.S. Catholic Bishops on March 25, 2009. The article includes an articulate and accurate description of the history of Reiki as well as providing examples of scientific studies that have been performed. jd

The International Center for Reiki Training

A Response to the Bishops' Statement on Reiki
by William Lee Rand

On March 25, 2009, U.S. Catholic bishops issued a statement advising Catholic hospitals, health care facilities, and Catholic chaplains not to support the use of Reiki sessions. The statement was issued by The Committee on Doctrine, United States Conference of Catholic Bishops and titled: “Guidelines for Evaluating Reiki as Alternative Therapy.”

The statement was based on research the committee had done over a period of several months involving information found on the Internet and in Reiki books. Based on these sources, they concluded that Reiki came from Buddhist texts and has a religious basis; that Reiki healing energy is directed by human thought and will; that Reiki is not validated by scientific studies and has no scientific explanation, and that Reiki is not accepted by the medical community.

When considering the value of the bishops’ statement, it’s important to note the sources they accessed. Much of their research came from information published on Internet Web sites. Overall, the Internet isn’t a good source of factual information because there is no requirement that information published there be checked or approved for accuracy. Anyone can set up a Web site and publish anything they wish. What often happens is that authors of sites copy from each other, so if inaccurate information is published on one site, it can easily spread to many sites across the Internet. If one makes use of the Internet for research, one must use a developed set of selection criteria that limits one to only the most respected and reputable Web sites. Otherwise, one runs the risk of accepting rumor and misinformation as fact.

This is especially true for Reiki Web sites. Reiki information has been riddled with inaccurate ideas from the beginning of its practice in the West. Many Reiki practitioners, teachers and authors fail to check the accuracy of the information they base their teaching and writing on, and this has had a detrimental effect on the quality of information published both on the Internet and in Reiki books.

The best information on Reiki comes from those who have researched the history and practice of Reiki professionally by conducting research in Japan, reading original documents, and interviewing members of the founding Reiki organization in Japan. If the bishops who wrote the statement on Reiki had interviewed several of these experts, they would have realized that much of the published information on Reiki is inaccurate, and they would have had accurate, verifiable information on which to base their conclusions.

Origin of Reiki
One of the stories told by Mrs. Takata about the origin of Reiki indicates that the founder, Mikao Usui discovered the secret of Reiki n Buddhist texts.1 This story has been repeated over and over in Reiki classes, on Internet Web sites and in many Reiki books. Yet we know this isn’t true. For many years, Mrs. Takata was the only source of information about Reiki for those in the West, and most practitioners accepted her statements without question. Language, cultural, and organizational barriers in Japan made research difficult for those who wanted to learn more about the origins and practice of Reiki. It wasn’t until the end of the 90’s that a few researchers were able to make breakthroughs.

Researchers, including Toshitaka Mochizuki, Hiroshi Doi and Frank Arjava Petter, made contact with the original Reiki organization, discovered Mikao Usui’s grave, translated the story of Reiki inscribed on his memorial stone, and uncovered an original document written by Mikao Usui about the nature of Reiki. These sources indicate that Mikao Usui wasn’t seeking to discover a method of healing, but that the ability to heal came to him spontaneously during a spiritual experience on a sacred mountain. Furthermore, in his Reiki Ryoho Hikkei (Reiki Healing Art Handbook), Mikao Usui states: “My Usui Reiki Ryoho (healing art) is original, never before explored, and incomparable in the world.” These facts indicate that Reiki couldn’t have come from Buddhist texts, nor could it be connected to any religion or belief system. In addition, Japanese Reiki Masters who have knowledge of Buddhism have indicated that they can find nothing from Buddhism in the practice of Reiki and that Reiki is religiously neutral.2

The Nature of Reiki Healing
One of the first things I noticed after I took my first Reiki class and began to practice Reiki is that Reiki healing energy directs itself. I was unable to direct it with my mind or will and realized this wasn’t necessary as Reiki had its own form of guidance that was superior to my own. This experience has been verified by other professional Reiki practitioners and forms the basis of one of the important keys to using Reiki: If you want Reiki to provide the best healing experience, it’s necessary for the practitioner to set their own desire, will and ego aside, and allow the Reiki energy to guide itself.

Scientific Explanation for Reiki
There is a scientific explanation for Reiki that is based on scientific studies and factual information. This explanation has been presented as a testable hypothesis by James Oschman, Ph.D.

Dr. Oschman is a scientist with a conventional background who became interested in the practice of energy medicine. Through research, he discovered a number of important scientific studies that point to a scientific basis for energy medicine based on the laws of physics and biology. These findings are discussed in an interview, “Science and the Human Energy Field,” published in the Winter 2002 issue of Reiki News Magazine.

The electrical currents that run through every part of the human body provide the basis for Dr. Oschman’s hypothesis. These currents are present in the nervous system, organs, and cells of the body. For instance, the electrical signals that trigger the heartbeat travel throughout all the tissues of the body and can be detected anywhere on the body.

Ampere’s law indicates that when an electrical current flows through a conductor, an electromagnetic field is produced that reflects the nature of the current that created it. Tests with scientific instruments indicate that electromagnetic fields exist around the body and around each of the organs of the body, including the brain, heart, kidneys, liver, stomach, etc. The heart has the strongest field, which has been measured at a distance of 15 feet from the body.

The fields around each of the organs pulse at different frequencies and stay within a specific frequency range when they are healthy, but move out of this range when they are unhealthy. The hands of healers produce pulsing electromagnetic fields when they are in the process of healing, whereas the hands of non-healer do not produce these fields. When a healer places his or her hands on or near a person in need of healing, the electromagnetic field of the healer’s hands sweeps through a range of frequencies based on the needs of the part of the body being treated. Faraday’s law indicates that one electromagnetic field can induce currents into a nearby conductor and through this process, induce a similar field around it. In this way, a healer induces a healthy electromagnetic field around an unhealthy organ, thus inducing a healthy state in the organ. A detailed explanation of this hypothesis, including descriptions of the scientific studies, diagrams, and references is presented in the interview mentioned above.

Acceptance by the Medical Community
Although Reiki is not universally accepted within the medical community, many medical professionals, hospitals, and healthcare facilities recognize its benefits and accept it as an adjunct therapy. In Holistic Nursing, A Handbook for Practice, Chapter 2 “Scope and Standards of Practice,” the American Holistic Nursing Association (AHNA) lists Reiki as an accepted form of treatment.3 In addition, according to the American Hospital Association, in 2007 Reiki was offered as a standard part of patient care in 15% or over 800 hospitals across the US.4 Doctors have recommended Reiki to their patients for amelioration of various health-related conditions. Surgeons make use of Reiki practitioners prior to, during, and following surgery. As an example, Dr. Mehmet Oz, one of the most respected cardiovascular surgeons in the US, uses Reiki during open-heart surgeries and heart transplants. According to Dr. Oz, “Reiki has become a sought-after healing art among patients and mainstream medical professionals.”5

Ethical Implications
To refuse Reiki treatment to patients that request it creates an ethical issue. According to the AHNA statement in response to the bishops’ statement, the practice of holistic nursing is not subject to regulation by the Catholic church and it would be an ethical violation for a member of the AHNA to withhold Reiki treatment from a patient who requests it; this includes those working in Catholic hospitals.

Scientific Studies
There are a number of reputable scientific studies that provide evidence that Reiki is therapeutic. These studies can be found by using one of the professional medical databases such as PubMed or Cochrane Collection.6 Studies meeting medical and scientific standards are usually published in peer-reviewed journals. There are over 20 such studies on the therapeutic value of Reiki. A review of some of these studies, “An Integrative Review of Reiki Touch Therapy Research” by Anne Vitale, Ph. D., can be found at http://www.nursingcenter.com/pdf.asp?AID=732068. While the Reiki studies conducted to date are preliminary in nature, they do provide support for additional studies.

One well-designed Reiki study is “Autonomic Nervous-System-Changes During Reiki Treatment: A Preliminary Study.”7 Forty-five subjects were assigned randomly to three groups. One group received no treatment, another received Reiki treatment by experienced Reiki practitioners, and the third group received sham treatment by a person with no Reiki training who used the same hand positions as those receiving real Reiki.

Measurements were made of heart rate, cardiac vagal tone, blood pressure, cardiac sensitivity to baroreflex, and breathing. Heart rate and diastolic blood pressure decreased significantly for those receiving Reiki, but not for those receiving sham Reiki, or no treatment. This study indicates that the body does respond to Reiki energy and that this response isn’t purely psychological. It also indicates a potential therapeutic effect for Reiki.

“Reiki Improves Heart Rate Homeostasis in Laboratory Rats”8 is another valuable study. The value of using animals in this type of study is that they are not affected by belief or skepticism regarding Reiki. In addition, highly accurate telemetric implants were used to transmit the biometric data. White noise was used to increase the heart rate of three implanted laboratory rats. The rats were treated by a Reiki practitioner and by a sham Reiki practitioner prior to being exposed to white noise and after exposure. The procedure involved the practitioner directing their hands toward the caged rat at a distance of four feet. The rats that received Reiki experienced a significant reduction in heart rate, both before having their heart rates elevated by white noise and after, whereas those treated with sham Reiki did not. This is one of the most rigorous Reiki studies to date and demonstrates that Reiki reduces the heart rate in both stressed and unstressed animals and promotes homeostasis, both of which promote healthy heart function.

Reiki is practiced by followers of many religious traditions. Although some practitioners integrate Reiki into their existing religious beliefs, Reiki is not a religion, doctrine, or dogma. Reiki is grounded in the principle of compassionate action, which is common to all religious traditions. While each religion has the right to create its own rules, it’s within the nature of human dignity and free will for each person to decide which path to follow and what activities are appropriate for them.

1 Paul David Mitchell, The Blue Book, revised edition for The Reiki Alliance (Coeur d'Alene, Idaho: 1985), page 13.

2 Personal communication with Japanese Reiki practitioners Hiroshi Doi and Hyakuten Inamoto.

3 page 56.

4 http://www.usatoday.com/news/health/2008-09-14-alternative-therapies_N.htm and www.reikiinhospitals.org

5 http://healthcare-research.suite101.com/article.cfm/reiki_in_hospitals

6 http://www.pubmedcentral.nih.gov/ PubMed is the U.S. National Institutes of Health (NIH) free digital archive of biomedical and life sciences journal literature. http://www.lib.umb.edu/node/1353 The Cochrane Collection provides access to a collection of databases, which focus on the effects of health care and evidence based medical practice.

7 Nicola Makay, M.Sc., Stig Hansen, Ph.D., and Oona McFarlane, M.A., The Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine, Volume 10, Number 6, 2004, pp. 1077–1081. This study is also discussed in “The Science of Reiki” by Nicole Mackay, Reiki News Magazine (Summer 2005).

8 Ann Linda Baldwin, Ph.D, Christina Wagers, and Gary E. Schwartz, Ph.D., The Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine, Volume 14, Number 4, 2008, pp. 417–422.

William Lee Rand is president of the International Center for Reiki Training and executive editor of the Reiki News Magazine. He has studied with five Reiki teachers, including two from Japan, and has made three trips to Japan to research the history and nature of Reiki. Rand has practiced Reiki since 1981 and has taught full time for 20 years.

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