Archive for the ‘Nutrition and Health’ category

Stand up for mental health!

August 4, 2014

i subscribe to an email newsletter from The Learning Strategies Corporation and i thought i’d share something they sent me a few weeks ago. Here’s their newsletter, then i’ll conclude with a comment below it:

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Welcome to Health Sparks
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How many hours did you spend sitting yesterday? Consider your drive to work, time spent at your desk, an afternoon meeting, gathering around the dinner table, and catching the nightly news.
For many, it adds up quickly. And it could be taking a toll on your mental and emotional wellbeing.
Your brain’s functioning depends on blood flow, which is decreased by prolonged sitting, says Linda Wasmer Andrews, author of the Encyclopedia of Depression, in an article published in Psychology Today. Andrews sites three recent studies that have assessed the psychological effects of sitting:
  1. In a study of over 3,000 government employees in Tasmania, Australia, those who sat over six hours each workday scored higher on the Kessler Psychological Distress Scale, which measures anxiety and depression experienced in the past four weeks, than those who sat less than six hours per day. The results were consistent, regardless of the participants’ activity levels outside of work.
  2. The American Journal of Preventive Medicine studied 9,000 women in their fifties and found those who sat seven hours or more per day and were otherwise physically inactive were three times more likely to suffer from depression than those who sat fewer than four hours per day. “The relationship between sitting and depression may be a two-way street,” says Andrews. Depression decreases a person’s energy and motivation, and prolonged sitting is likely to make it worse.
  3. Researchers from the Society of Behavior Medicine studied men and women to determine if time spent sitting outside of work—watching TV, using a computer, riding in a vehicle, and socializing—impacted mental wellbeing. For women, non-work hours spent sitting, regardless of which activity, had a negative effect. For men, only non-work hours spent on a computer had significant negative impact.
“Consider how you spend your free time: It’s important to make time for the gym or a regular run. But don’t count on even a daily half-hour of exercise to completely cancel out the unhealthy, unhappy effects of 11 hours in a chair,” says Andrews. “If you have a desk job, seek opportunities to add more activity breaks to your day.”
Even breaks as short as a minute can help.

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The more we learn about sitting, folks, the more we find how damaging it is to our health, and this study talks about its impact on our spirits. One thing i love about this is where it says “even breaks as short as a minute can help.  If you’re a client of an Egoscue clinic and you sit a lot for whatever reason, ask your therapist to give you a short menu to help counteract your sitting time. if i have a client, for example, who has a deskjob i’ll give them an “office menu” where i give them very short things they can do during their day to break up and counteract the limited motion patterns of extended sitting. Your therapist will be happy to give you one if they haven’t already.

 

So now that you’ve read this blog post, get up and move!

Are you ready to play?

January 28, 2012

When Pete Egoscue was doing his weekly radio show, one of my favorite questions he would ask callers was “What are you going to do for fun today?”

And it was really interesting to hear the comments. Some people had a ready response and you could hear the joy in their voice as they answered the question. Others were almost stunned, as if they had no idea what fun was or how to have it. Why do you think Pete asked that question?

From my perspective, it’s really important to find things in life that bring you joy, that help transport you into that place where time and “stress” doesn’t exist. Think back to the last thing you did that you would consider “playful”. Maybe it was playing with your kids or grandkids, maybe it was playing golf or tennis or basketball, or maybe going for a hike or a run around a beautiful lake or on a scenic trail. Maybe it was going into the backyard and playing with your dog. How did you feel? If you have some kind of pain issue you are working on, how did your pain feel when you were playing? I’ll bet you barely noticed it, or that at least it was diminished. How quickly did time pass by? Did it drag on, or fly? I’ll bet it flew for you.

Research shows that when we are playful, it doesn’t just help our mental health, it helps our physical health. Play triggers a series of biochemical responses that nourishes our adrenals, strengthens our immune system, lowers cortisol levels in the body, reduces inflammatory markers, and generates a host of other changes.

Now, a question. When you play, do you really play or do you use play as another opportunity to “grind”? I used to play golf regularly, but I realized I was never actually “playing” golf, I was “doing” golf, just grinding away, experiencing some satisfaction with good shots, and experiencing a lot of frustration on not so good shots. It never felt like play to me, so I laid it down and picked back up the game I really love, tennis. Most of the time, tennis DOES feel like play to me. But I need to be careful, especially when playing matches. The weight of expectation can lay heavy on my shoulders and sometimes I find myself getting tense and frustrated. “How could you hit THAT shot in that situation, are you an idiot?” Great self talk, huh? Sure sounds like playfulness, doesn’t it? Not!

So I found the advice in the email newsletter I got this morning to be right on point and I wanted to share it with you. I’m going to try out the techniques listed below and I encourage you to try them as well. Let’s put the fun back into our play. Now, what are YOU going to do to have fun today? Go play!

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Welcome to Health Sparks
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When was the last time you played playfully?

“Played what?” you might ask. “Tennis, cards, the guitar, a good crossword puzzle?”

Could be. It’s also possible to embody the spirit of playfulness while doing your job.

But when you’re playing with a grim determination to excel, you’re not being playful.

Playful: “liking play; prone to play, like a child or kitten; experimental; frolicsome,” says the dictionary. “Lighthearted, in the now, letting go of judgment, gently poking fun at oneself,” adds the spiritual master.

Experts agree that playfulness makes life better:

It is a sign of health among animals. Scientists say the healthier and safer the herd feels, the more they play.

Playfulness is one of the signs of a marriage that is likely to last, according to relationship researcher Dr. John Gottman. It can ease tension during times of stress.

“Playfulness motivates people to learn mathematics and makes them more likely to own what they learn,” says the National Centre for Excellence in the Teaching of Mathematics.

People who practice “laughter yoga” reduce their blood pressure as well as the stress they feel.

Finally, playfulness made the short list of the 24 most important human strengths identified by researchers in the Positive Psychology movement.
Are you ready to play?

Try these exercises from our Euphoria! personal learning course to move you into the safe, lighthearted space where playfulness thrives.

1) Take a deep breath and raise your shoulders up to your ears. As you exhale, drop your shoulders and make the sound “Ahhhhhhhh.”
Do it one more time. Feel as if you’ve let go of a large burden. You’re free. Let that feeling flow down through your body to the soles of your feet and out. Ahhhhhhhh.

2) Now gently smile, remember some experience that gave you great satisfaction, and make the sound “Hmmmm,” the sound we make when something is absolutely delicious.

Notice the breath deep in your belly. Put that smile in the corners of your eyes and the corners of your mouth, and make that happy hum again.
Feel the breath flowing in, through every part of your body, into your belly, expanding your lower abdomen. Then exhale, Hmmmmm, and feel the breath flowing out through every part of you, expanding your field of vision and your sense of possibility.

Now, ask yourself, “What’s the right way for me to add a dash of playfulness to my life right now?”

The answer is inside you.

Have fun!

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School lunches from around the world

January 18, 2012

Wow, check this out. Most of the rest of the world feeds their kids actual food. Look at the photos of school lunches from a variety of different countries. The USA is last.

We have to do better!

http://www.buzzfeed.com/mjs538/what-school-lunches-look-like-in-20-countries-arou

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Do cortisone shots make things worse?

January 16, 2012

I believe they do.

I’ve told clients before, inflammation is not the problem. What is causing the inflammation is the problem. Focusing on inflammation is like focusing on the red warning light on your dashboard telling you to check your engine oil. Well, how much sense would it make to put a piece of tape over the warning light so you couldn’t see it, thus declaring victory of the problem because now you can’t see that pesky warning light? Well the answer is obvious, it wouldn’t make much sense at all. You have done nothing to address the actual problem, right? The same holds true with inflammation. Let’s say you have tennis elbow, or maybe hip pain. From our perspective, you have those pains because your body has lost postural balance so those joints are incurring unacceptable amounts of ongoing friction as you use them. And guess what happens with you present a joint with constant, excessive friction? That’s right: inflammation. So now guess what happens if you inject the joint and chemically suppress the body’s ability to inflame the joint? Well, you’ll probably feel better for a short time, but the pain will almost invariably return, and when it does, it is often worse than it was before. Why? Because the joint IS worse! The friction was still present but you couldn’t feel it, so you did all those things that caused it to hurt before but now you didn’t get the pain signal that told you to stop running or playing tennis and the joint began to structurally degrade. Now the chemical wears off and, put simply, you’re screwed.

Now a new study has come out talking about the impact of cortisone on the healing process and guess what they’re finding? Those who get cortisone injections get to a point of complete recovery MUCH more slowly than those who do not get the injections. It would appear that cortisone actually impairs the body’s ability to repair and regenerate. You can read the study here.

Folks, if you hurt, stop chasing symptoms. Give us a call and allow us to help you figure out the core reason why you hurt, then let’s map out a plan to give your body precisely what it’s asking for so that it can heal itself and you can get back to doing all those things you love to do!

Don’t settle for a life of pain and limitation. 2012 can be a great year for you. It’s time to step up and get your body right! We look forward to partnering with you to help you become pain free in 2012!

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Heal Arthritis, Naturally!

December 21, 2011

My radio show tomorrow is going to be about something that afflicts millions of Americans: arthritis. If you want to find out how to heal arthritis naturally, don’t miss this episode. I’m going to have a special guest who will be discussing with me strategies for combining nutritional and supplement approaches with Egoscue to get superior results that allopathic medicine simply can’t match.

If you or someone you know has arthritis, give us a listen:

http://www.voiceamerica.com/episode/58361/heal-your-arthritis-naturally

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Required Reading About Flu Shots

December 6, 2011

I am not a fan of flu shots, to put it mildly. Here’s one good article on some reasons why it might make sense to avoid them:

http://www.bewellbuzz.com/headline/flu-shots-danger/

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The power of thankfulness

November 17, 2011

I get the weekly email newsletter from our friends at the Heartmath Institute. I’m a big fan of their work and their strategies for staying emotionally centered, especially during challenging times. As the American Thanksgiving holiday approaches, it’s easy to start thinking of the things for which we’re thankful, and no matter how challenging our present circumstances may be, we always DO have things to be thankful for. If you’re not sure what those could be, ask yourself this: are you breathing right now? Is your brain functioning enough for you to be asking yourself this question? Then be thankful for THAT! It’s a great place to start.

I enjoyed reading the newsletter below and thought it was some good, timely advice and I wanted to share it with you all. Enjoy!

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Thankfulness. Admiration. Understanding. Gratitude. These are all aspects of a powerful human emotion we call appreciation. Feelings like appreciation, care and forgiveness come from the depth of our being—from the core of the heart. They have a highly beneficial impact on body and mind. Science shows us when we feel appreciation all systems in the body, including the brain, work in greater harmony. A sincere feeling of appreciation has the power to change how we see our lives and the world around us.

Most know the importance of appreciation, especially this time of year when we gather around the turkey with family and friends. But what about all the other days of our lives? I know. Life is too complicated. There’s just too much to do. Besides, what is there to be thankful for when we’re dealing with tough issues like job security, relationships, finances or health?

Perhaps the real reason we reserve appreciation for our late autumn ritual and don’t apply it as much as we could, would or should is we forget. Or maybe we simply don’t have a practical way to do it. So, I’ll make it easy: Recall one thing in your life you take for granted and spend 30 seconds feeling appreciation for it. NOW!

Remember, it’s just about impossible to feel appreciation AND worry or anxiety or frustration, etc. at the same time. And that’s something to appreciate!

Here are some other ways you can add more appreciation to every day.

  • Every day tell someone—a friend, loved one or co worker—one thing you appreciate about them.
  • Find three things to appreciate about a tough situation you’re facing. I promise: # 2 and #3 are easier than #1!
  • On your way to work, appreciate the scenery. It sure beats worrying about all you have to do!
  • When you pick up the phone or answer an email, find one thing to appreciate about the person on the other end. You don’t always have to say it; feeling it is what’s important.
  • Once a week, take turns sharing what it is everyone appreciates about each other around the dinner table.
  • Make a list of all you appreciate about yourself.

Take care,
Kim Allen

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