Inhale. Exhale. Ahhh…
“This is the first moment in weeks I’ve had to take a breath,” my sister declared the other day, exhaling loudly. She’s juggling an out-of-work husband, a job she hates, and the care of our 80-year-old mother. Her remark struck me so resoundingly, like a bell ringing to highlight something profoundly true for us all, perhaps, because a client had said something similar to me just a few hours earlier. “I just need some room to breathe,” said Jackie, a mother of three with a full-time job as a school principal.
Breathing room. It’s a metaphor for something we all could use more of: some space in our lives—space to catch up with ourselves, to regroup, to metabolize whatever we’ve been going through so we can know how we feel and what to do next.
Pausing to breathe is more than a metaphor, however. Consciously taking a few deep breaths is actually the quickest way to experience the body’s relaxation response. Read more
Monday, September 29, 2008
Wednesday, September 24, 2008
A small square of dark chocolate daily protects the heart from inflammation and subsequent heart disease, a new study of Italians suggests. Milk chocolate might not do the job.
However, this guilty pleasure has a limit. Read more
Monday, September 22, 2008
If you didn't burn yours in the 'Sixties, you might want to put it away now. "Bras cause breast cancer. It's open and shut," says medical researcher Syd Singer.
The Singers became breast cancer sleuths in 1991. On the day Soma discovered a lump in her breast, the husband-wife team was studying the effects of Western medicine on Fijians. In the shower, Syd noticed that Soma's shoulders and breasts were outlined by dark red grooves. He remembered a puzzled Fijian woman asking his wife about her brassiere: "Doesn't it feel tight?"
"You get used to it," Soma had replied.
Could bras be constricting breast tissue, Syd wondered, hampering lymph drainage and causing degeneration? Read more
Saturday, September 20, 2008
Did you ever wonder how the power of your thoughts can affect your body? Dr. Bernie Siegel, the author of Love, Medicine and Miracles, was giving a talk to a room full of skeptical doctors when he brought out a copy of Lady Chatterly's Lover and proceeded to read the most erotic part. As he put the book down he said, "Just as reading a book can stir our sexuality, so you can see how our thoughts and feelings can affect us physically." The doctors were immediately convinced!
There is now a whole new science called pschonueroimmunology exploring just that: the relationship between the psyche or mind, the nervous system and the immune system.
This exercise helps you understand how your own mind and body work together. Over the next week, practice watching the physical effects in your body of different situations, thoughts or feelings. Observe yourself, your reactions and your body. As you do this, you will begin to see how closely all the different parts of your being, both physical and psycho/emotional, are interwoven. Read more
Thursday, September 18, 2008
Waking up with the unpleasant hum of dog breath is far from uncommon. Whether it is the after-effects of a curry, or a more lingering problem of sewer-scented oral odour, around 95 per cent of Britons suffer bad breath at some time in their lives. Such is the social embarrassment that £350 million a year is spent on products that promise to sweeten breath. But is it money well spent? An increasing number of medical experts think not, with some going as far as to caution that swilling with a mouthwash can cause more problems than it purports to cure. Read more
Tuesday, September 16, 2008
The newest cure-all may be an ancient one: simple touch. The Chinese have been using massage for all kinds of medical conditions for centuries. Now, Western research is confirming that massage isn't just for muscle pain. One of the most surprising findings: massage may help premature babies gain weight. When Tiffany Field, a professor of pediatrics, became a new mother, she massaged her premature infant daughter and was so impressed with the results she later founded the Touch Research Institute (TRI) at the University of Miami School of Medicine. Massage, it turns out, may boost immunity and help people with a range of conditions from premenstrual syndrome to high blood pressure. It also seems to help soothe pain from arthritis, burns and even surgery. Here are five surprising facts about massage from the research findings at TRI and elsewhere that you can put to use: Read more
Monday, September 8, 2008
... Evidence is growing that music can have a beneficial effect for patients. Researchers have been looking for effects in conditions as varied as stroke, autism, heart problems, mental health, depression, pain, fractured limbs, Alzheimer's and lung disease. Piped music has been used to ease anxiety before operations, and harp music to reduce pain after surgery, with some research suggesting it can be as effective as the sedative Valium. Read more