Published on Thursday, 25 February 2016
''By changing our minds, we may be able to change our health'' , says Becca Levy, lead author of a study and an associate professor of epidemiology at the Yale School of Public Health. Levy's study adds weight to the evidence that a more positive mind-set could make us more resilient in measurable ways. Also, Eric Loucks, an assistant professor of epidemiology at Brown University, has shown that with more ''mindful dispositions'' -- which might be be best defined as having an awareness of what you're thinking and feeling in the moment -- have significantly less body fat and also score higher on markers of heart health, compared to their peers.
It's now known that even at the cellular level, stress seems to affect health; chronic stress has been shown to harm DNA by shortening its Telomeres, the protective caps on the ends of the chromosomes. In another study last year, Louck discovered that people with higher mindfulness scores were 86% more likely to have good overall cardiovascular health. His team also plans to study whether mindfulness interventions will help people stick to doctor-recommended health regimes to get better outcomes.
It is now clear that stress accelerates biological aging......while the opposite seems to be true. Studies by Elissa Epel, a professor at the Department of Psychiatry at the University of California, San Francisco, have shown that mindfulness meditation can reduce stress and prevent people from ruminating in negative emotions, and some forms of meditation practice can even slow the biological signs of aging by stabilizing those Telomeres. Turns out your parents were right when they told you not to sweat-the-small-stuff.
If meditation continues to be a practice that eludes you, it may be more valuable to incorporate the lessons of the practices -- like trying one's best to focus on the present moment -- into daily life. ''What matters most is having you viewing stressful events as ephemeral, rather than reflecting weaknesses and failures in us, and having the ability to recover quickly from stressful things when they happen,'' Epel says. A little mindfulness can go a long way indeed. NOTE: (Please refer to a previous Health Tip of mine in June last year on a very good course on Mindfulness.)
Published on Tuesday, 26 January 2016
I'm not talking about tearing yourself away from a Netflix binge to get enough sleep. Recent research has pointed out a common evening habit that could be bad for our physical and mental health......it's the giving in to the midnight munchies!
We're no strangers to waking up in the middle of the night and finding ourselves in the kitchen, digging around for a snack. There's a reason the fridge seems to beckon when we should be in bed. In May 2015, researchers at Brigham Young University found that while images of high calorie foods generated spikes of brain activity in the morning, the neural response is lower in the evening. Those foods aren't as visually rewarding at night, making us more likely to consume more of them to get the feeling of satisfaction.
Actually, eating when we should be sleeping might not be good for our brains, the research In December, 2015 from the University of California, Los Angeles found. When one group of mice -- who are nocturnal animals usually eat throughout the night -- was fed between 9pm and 3am and another group was fed between 9am and 3pm, the snackers who ate when they should have been sleeping (during the day) had shorter bouts of sleep and performed worse on memory tests.
It's still too soon to tell whether humans, not mice, will definitely experience the same negative effects from eating when they should be sleeping, but some research already supports it. Also, nighttime eating predicted weight gain in one 2008 study, while another published in 2013 found overweight and obese people who ate their major meal after 4pm lost less weight than those who ate their main meal before 4pm -- even when they ate and exercised the same amount. If you have a light meal, not less than 2 hours, before bedtime should carry you over till breakfast very nicely.
Published on Friday, 04 December 2015
Patients who suffer from Sciatica are at risk for developing muscle weakness. A recent British study found that patients with Sciatica had decreased muscle mass, also known as muscle atrophy.
Muscle atrophy occurs in people that have a restricted range of motion due to an injury or medical condition. A developing atrophy can further reduce muscle strength and mobility. In patients with low-pain, weakened muscles can cause patients to compensate in other ways leading to further injury.
That's why it's important to seek treatment for Sciatica before it worsens. Chiropractic treatment addresses the cause of Sciatica - like disc herniation or trauma that misaligns spinal bones pinching the sciatic nerve. Chiropractors adjust and realign the spine to reduce the pressure on the Sciatic nerve, and in doing so, significantly relieve the pain.
This also applies to the elderly. Many studies have found that chiropractic care is an effective treatment method when dealing with a number of spine-related issues. The American Chiropractic Association even lists a number of research studies on their website that show that it is a valuable treatment method for easing (not only Sciatica but also sometimes completely resolving) back pain, neck pain, headaches, and more.
Published on Monday, 23 November 2015
Research is mounting that a natural, potent source of stress relief is right in front of your nose. New science is showing that slowing down and deepening your breathing can have profound effects on well-being. I have come across this very effect with my studies of Mindfulness. Amazing outcomes from such a simple method.
Breathing slowly helps you take in more oxygen. In one study, brief breathing exercises done several times each day increased oxygen consumption by 37%! It also activates areas in the brain connected with anti depressive activities. Deep breathing exercises have been shown to help control blood pressure, improve heart rate, make arteries more flexible and activate the parasympathetic nervous system, which traps down the body's fight-or-flight response to stress.
When people with insomnia practiced slow, even breathing for 20 minutes before going to sleep, they awoke up fewer times during the night. In randomized controlled trial, just this year, healthy women who did 8 weeks of twice-weekly breathing exercises significantly reduced anxiety (but not in the control group.)
Here's the Method:
1 ) Sit in a position that is comfortable enough......to sustain for a few minutes of alternate-nostril breathing. (Sitting in a chair is just fine.)
2) Make a ''Hang 10'' sign (photo above) with your right hand. Hold your right thumb over your right nostril to plug it closed. Inhale slowly through the left nostril until your lungs are full. Hold for 4 seconds.
3) Release the right nostril and plug the left with the pinkie. Slowly exhale. Once you've exhaled fully, inhale through the right nostril to repeat on the other side. Do about 4 rounds on each side -- or more if your have time.
Published on Tuesday, 27 October 2015
I believe every medical doctor should be telling parents to give their children vitamin C when they get vaccinations. In addition to vitamin C's antitoxin properties (for example, its ability for neutralizing the toxic nature of mercury in all its forms). Thomas Levy, MD, says ''there is another compelling reason to make vitamin C an integral part of any vaccination protocol; Vitamin C has been documented to augment the antibody response of the immune system.''
As the goal of any vaccination is to stimulate a maximal antibody response to the antigens in the vaccine while causing minimal to no toxic damage to the most sensitive of vaccine recipients, there would appear to be no medically sound reason not to make vitamin C a part of ALL vaccination protocols. Ideally, the vitamin C would be given prior to vaccination and continue afterwards for optimal antibody stimulation and toxin protection. It would be best to dose for three to four days before the shot(s) and continue for at least two to three following the shot.
Over forty years ago it was recognized that giving infants doses of vitamin C stopped them dying from complications of inoculations. Dr Levy recommends ''infants under 4.5 kgs can take 500 mg daily in some fruit juice, while babies between 4.5 and 9 kgs could take 500 mg to 1000 mg total per day, in divided doses. Older children can take 1000 mg daily per year of life in divided doses. As for the kind of vitamin C to give little ones, a mixture of about 80% ascorbic acid crystals buffered with 20% calcium ascorbate powder in juice is fine and with infants, give it to them using a dropper.''
To avoid vaccine reactions and side effects its logical to give vitamin C prior to, during and afterwards to a point of saturation. Getting their dose of C as often as every hour until they get gassy, a telltale sign that they are getting adequate amounts. The goal is to get them to a point just before ''bowel tolerance'', or loose bowels.You wait until there is a rumbling tummy or loose stool. Once that point is reached you throttle back the dose.and give less the next day. This takes a little practice, but realize you're not hurting the child with extra C. It is a very, very safe and effective vitamin. You'll have peace of mind by being prepared the next time your child is due for a vaccination.
Published on Monday, 21 September 2015
It's never too late to learn something new. So you would think we'd have learning down pat, but in fact some of the most common techniques are pretty useless (see below). So, what's the best way to go about it. The good news is that I can share some of the secrets of successful learning, no matter what your age or ability, so they can work for you.
Older adults have morning brains. A study on a group of people aged between 60 and 82 found they were better able to focus and ignore distractions, and did better at memory tests, between 8:30 am and 10:30 am than between 1 pm and 5 pm . In fact, MRI scans revealed that in the afternoon, these people's brains were ''idling'' - they had switched to the so-called default mode, associated with daydreaming. In younger adults, by contrast, ares related to the control of attention were still very active right into the afternoon.
However, to get the most from their efforts, younger people can time their learning, too. Another study found that 16-17-year-old girls performed better on tests of factual memory if they studied the material at 3 pm rather than at 9 pm, but acquired skills involving movements faster if they practiced in the evening. ''The results suggest it might be better to use the afternoon for studying languages, and the late evening for playing piano or other musical instrument,'' says Christoph Nissen at the University of Freiburg in Germany.
Why should timing matter you ask? We know that sleeping after learning a new fact or skill helps consolidate memories. Nissen suspects that the ''critical window'' between learning and sleep is shorter for movement-related learning than for other types of memory. Whether adults can benefit as much as teenagers from these ''windows'' isn't clear. ''There is evidence that adolescents have a higher capacity to learn - and they sleep better,'' he says.
What Doesn't Work: Highlighting & Underlining -- Re-Reading Important Texts -- Keyword Mnemonics -- Copying Your Notes - - Summarizing the Material -- Elaborate Mental Imagery -- Personalized Learning Styles
Published on Monday, 24 August 2015
I've come across this little home remedy a few times over the last few years and thought I bring it to those who haven't heard of it before. The origin of the gin-soaked raisins cure is shrouded in urban legend. Some kinds of pain that have been relieved or eliminated after taking the gin-soaked raisin formula include migraine headaches, gout and arthritic pain.
Many so-called experts will tell you this is nothing but a placebo effect, but any herbalist can easily spot the science behind it. Gin is a spirit flavored with juniper berries, which are diuretic and depurative. Raisins also contain serveral anti-inflammatory compounds: ascorbic acid, cinnamic acid, coumarin, myricetin, quercetin and resveratrol. It would stand to reason that the alcohol in the gin would extract the medicinal compounds in he raisins, just as it does in other herbal tinctures.
1) Any brand of Gin that is flavored with juniper berries.
2) Empty a box (1 cup) of Golden Raisins into medium-sized bowel
3) Pour just enough Gin to barely cover the Raisins
4) Cover bowl with paper towel
5) Wait about a week to 10 days for Gin to evaporate
6) Eat only 9 Raisins a day to treat arthritis
7) Keep them in a jar on counter or in the refrigerator
Enjoy! Whatever your health motives are I will testify that these Raisins in Gin make a lovely nightcap.
Published on Wednesday, 29 July 2015
If I could tell you ONE thing that you could each morning right as you wake up to help your body eliminate toxic buildup, improve your digestion, stimulate your metabolism, and BOOST your energy, would you do it? Of course you would....and it takes less than 1 minute!
OK....immediately upon getting to the kitchen each day, squeeze about 1/2 to 1 full lemon (depending on the size) not bottled lemon juice, into a glass of warm or room temperature purified water. This is gentler on your body's digestive system first thing compared to ice cold water. I've found slicing the lemon into quarters before squeezing by hand is easier than squeezing halves.
The health promoting benefits of lemons are powerful. For centuries, it has been known that lemons contain powerful antibacterial, antiviral and immune boosting components. Lemons contain citric acid, magnesium, bioflavonoids, vitamin C, pectin, calcium and limonene, which supercharge our immunity so the body can fight infections. It is known that lemons are a great digestive aid by stimulating the release of gastric juices and a liver cleanser by assisting in detoxification.
Lemons are considered one of the most alkalizing foods you can eat. This may seem contradictory as they are acidic on their own, however, in the body lemons are alkaline. The minerals in lemons are actually what helps to alkalize the blood. Most people tend to be too acid (from eating too much sugar and grains), and drinking warm lemon water helps reduce overall acidity (even drawing uric acid from the joints).
Even just the scent of lemon juice has been shown to improve your mood and boost energy levels putting stress on the back-burner. That alkalizing effect not only reduces the pain and inflammation many people feel but encourages regular bowel movements as well as allowing urination to release toxins at a faster rate. These benefits improve your body's peak efficiency to face the day's challenges. All good reasons to add warm lemon water to your daily morning routine.
Published on Tuesday, 23 June 2015
I have recently started a DVD home-course produced by The Great Courses company to learn all about growing popularity of Mindfulness. My main desire is to use it to help many of my patients complement their renewed spinal correction and neurological function by further enhancing their path to well-being through meditation. Mindfulness meditation is based on the teachings of the Buddha is a non-judgmental awareness of sensation, feelings and states of mind.
Now, I read of an extraordinary development that offers hope for people suffering from memory loss or stress. Scientists, at Massachusetts General Hospital, monitored a group of meditators - who practiced mindfulness meditation - over eight weeks. Images of the group's brains were taken before and after the two-month study. During the study, the meditators practiced mindfulness for 30 minutes a day. At the end of the eight weeks, the researchers noted increased grey-matter density in the hippocampus - an area of brain associated with learning and memory - and in brain structures that relate to self-awareness, compassion and introspection. Amazing!
I am also aware that mindfulness meditation can reduce chronic inflammation, which plays a key role in a range of health problems, from heart disease, arthritis and asthma. This technique - which focuses attention on the breath, body sensations and thoughts - is one of the most effective ways to reduce inflammation that is associated with psychological stress. It looks to be an effective alternative to drugs in people, say researchers from the University of Wisconsin-Madison.
Mindfulness has been tested against other alternatives to reducing stress, such as nutrition, physical activity, balance, and music therapy. In an experiment, all the approaches mentioned above reduced stress to some degree, but mindfulness meditation was the only one that also lowered inflammation associated with stress. I'm looking forward to implementing this mindfulness course so I can broaden the help to my patients so they too can change the positive physical makeup of their brains through Buddha's method of focus and attention.
Published on Sunday, 31 May 2015
Commercials have touted that "Milk does a body good,'' but a new study shows it may be too much of a good thing. Swedish researchers found that instead of helping lower the risk of bone fractures, drinking a lot of milk didn't lower the risk and actually increased the dying. Quite a shocking finding!
The lifestyle habits of more than 61,000 men and women were examined. They were tracked over a 20 year period. Women who drank more than three glasses of milk a day had not reduction in hip fractures, but they had a higher death risk than those who drank less than a glass a day. Men also had a higher risk of dying.
The study showed a link between milk intake and biomarkers of oxidative stress and inflammation, perhaps triggered by the milk sugar called galactose. However, high intakes of fermented milk products with low lactose content, including yoghurt and cheese, were associated with a reduced risk of fractures and mortality, especially in women.
''Our results may question the validity of recommendations to consume high amounts of milk to prevent fragility fractures,'' the researchers wrote. ''The results should, however, be interpreted cautiously given the observational design of our study, but the size of the study brings with it facts that can't be ignored.''
Other studies have also questioned the wisdom of drinking milk to prevent fractures. One larger study of 100,000 men and women published in JAMA Pediatrics found no evidence of a link between milk and hip fractures. Other research studying nutrients in milk, such as calcium and vitamin D (which is often added to milk), haven't found that either has an effect on the risk of fractures.