Monday, September 29, 2008

2 Little Steps to Less Stress

Relief from stress doesn't have to mean downing a drink or popping a pill. It can be as safe and simple as taking a deep breath.
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

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Eating Dark Chocolate Daily Helps Hearth Stay Healthy

Dark chocolate is a natural remedy that tastes good and is good for you, but more isn't better unfortunately.
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

The Link between Bras and Breast Cancer

Is there really a link between tight-fitting bras and breast cancer? Medical researcher Syd Singer says the case is "open and shut."
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

How Your Thoughts Affect You Physically

The sexual response that results from reading an erotic book is an example of how our thoughts and feelings can affect us physically. Deb Shapiro, author of Your Body Speaks Your Mind, gives an exercise to help you observe the physical effects in your body of different situations, thoughts, or feelings. Understanding how you hold issues or feelings in your body will enable you to focus on their release.
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

Mouthwash or Hogwash?

Experts argue that not only is a mouthwash useless, but it can also be harmful to your health.
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

Five Surprising Benefits of Massage

We know a massage feels good, but it can have a host of therapeutic advantages, too.
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

The Healing Power of Music

It's long been known that listening to music can ease stress, but scientists are discovering that it has a powerful effect on pain, immunity, and even recovery from heart attacks.
... 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