Tag Archives: Stress

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Yoga for a Quiet Mind

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Treadmill Vs. Downward Dog

Adapted from “The Doctor Will See you Now”, See original article here.

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As popular as it has become, yoga still doesn’t get the respect it deserves. It is a serious exercise regimen and every bit as good for the heart as other forms of exercise, according to a recent analysis.

And because yoga is a lot less boring than riding a stationary bike, it may even be better than typical exercise when it comes to good heart health.

The authors of the analysis looked at 32 randomized controlled trials of how yoga affected risk factors for heart disease such as high cholesterol or high blood pressure.First, the researchers reviewed trials comparing people who used yoga as a form of exercise to people who did not exercise. Yoga participants had lower body mass index (BMI), blood pressure (both systolic and diastolic) and cholesterol (both LDL and total) and had higher HDL (good) cholesterol.

They also had lower triglycerides and heart rate, and were more likely to lose weight during the trial. In fact, the only outcomes recorded where yoga did not lead to measurable improvements were fasting blood glucose and glycosylated hemoglobin.

In trials comparing yoga’s effects to the impact of other types of aerobic exercise, such as cycling or brisk walking, the results were even simpler: there was no significant difference between yoga and other exercise.

The researchers caution that many of the trials were of rather short duration and had small numbers of participants, so it’s possible that the results of larger or longer trials might be different.

Yoga may even have an edge over traditional forms of exercise. It tends to be more acceptable to patients with physical disabilities, including people with joint pain, heart problems and the elderly. It also requires no special equipment and can be performed.

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The study is published in the European Journal of Preventive Cardiology.

 

 

..either alone at home or as a part of a class.

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Fight the effects of stress with Adaptogens

Article reprinted from: Mother Earth Living

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Stress
We all have it, we all complain about it, but we also all downplay the affect it has on our health and well-being. Small amounts of stress are motivating and propel us in a forward motion allowing us to be inspired and passionate. Large amounts of stress, such as family emergencies or financial burdens, are also a part of life and can’t always be avoided. Our body has an incredible ability to change how it functions under stress in order to protect us and then it quickly recovers from the event allowing us to rest and come back to a normal state of functioning. When stress goes on too long, and the body does not have a chance to recover, we begin to feel illness and dis-ease.

Adaptogens are an elite class of herbs that are superstars at helping the body to handle stress, recover from stress, and improve our stamina, focus, and vitality. These herbs are our “stress relief” herbs because of their ability to always bring the body back to a state of balance. If something

in the body is functioning in a hyper or hypo state, adaptogens bring these functions back in alignment.

For an herb to be classified as an adaptogen it needs to meet a few requirements:

  1. The herb must be non-toxic to the recipient.
  2. An adaptogen produces a non-specific response in the body- an increase in the power of resistance against multiple stressors including physical, chemical, or biological agents.
  3. An adaptogen has a normalizing influence on physiology, irrespective of the direction of change from physiological norms caused by the stressor.

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Many herbs meet some of these requirements, and have adaptogenic properties, but only a few are truly considered adaptogenic herbs. Here are a few adaptogens that I regularly use in practice:

  • Eleuthero (Eleutherococcus senticosus) is a mild adaptogen that enhances stamina and speeds recovery; excellent for athletes. It also enhances immune function and rebuilds white blood counts which is helpful for individuals recovering from serious immune depletions. This also a great herb for the “wired and tired” individual normally referred to as Type A personality.
  • Rhodiola (Rhodiola rosea) is an herb I use with people who suffer depression and depletions of the immune system. Rhodiola supports various endocrine glands and is useful for men and women who experience conditions related to glandular function deficiencies.
  • Astragalus (Astragalus membranaceus) has a protective energy that helps prevent illness. This herb is useful for people who get sick often and it also prevents immunosupression caused by chemotherapy. Astragalus enhances the inner strength of individuals receiving cancer therapies allowing them to respond better and to recover more quickly. Astragalus is also very useful for sweating conditions such as night sweats during menopause.
  • Ashwagandha (Withania somnifera) is believed to give its users the stamina and strength of a stallion enhancing vigor and sexual prowess. Sign me up! Along with it’s use as an aphrodisiac it has endocrine system benefits specifically with the thyroid and adrenal glands. This herb is also useful for anxiety, fatigue, cloudy thinking and insomnia due to stress.
  • Licorice (Glycyrrhiza glabra) this herb is most useful for those with adrenal fatigue and insufficiency. I add this to formulas for people who wake up tired, feel exhausted throughout the day, and have elevated cortisol levels. This herb is also useful for inflammatory bowel conditions and ulcers. It is also a great synergistic herb, which means that it just makes other herbs work better when placed together in a formula. There is some concern about using this herb with those suffering from hypertension because of its ability to raise blood pressure.
  • Schisandra (Schisandra chinensis) Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) considers schisandra berries the “five flavors fruit” because each of the flavors are present in the berry (sweet, sour, bitter, pungent, and salty). Because it has all of the flavors it has benefits for the five yin organs: liver, kidneys, heart, lungs, and spleen.

There are many more adaptogenic herbs, I have just chosen to highlight the ones I regularly use in practice. Most individuals today are suffering from some type of stress-related condition so it is no surprise that adaptogenic herbs most always make it into one of their recommended herbal formulas. Choosing an adaptogen that is just right for your unique needs is important, although you will experience positive benefits from choosing any one of them.

Please ask if you have questions or want to know is an adaptogen is right for you.

ARTICLE WRITTEN BY: KRIS VAUGHAN

References:
Winston, D., Maimes, S. “Adaptogens:Herbs for Strength, Stamina, and Stress Relief” Healing Arts Press 2007

Hershoff ND, A., Rotelli ND, A. “Herbal Remedies” 2001

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October 16 – World Spine day!

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Scientists say they already know how to reduce cancer deaths by half

Scientists say they already know how to reduce cancer deaths by half

No treatment required.

 

In fact, it wouldn’t take any drugs at all. All we need to do is get people to follow the recommendations that doctors have been making for decades: don’t smoke, drink moderately, maintain a healthy weight, and exercise regularly.

At least, that’s the message from a new study that looked at the lifestyles of more than 100,000 doctors and nurses in the US.

 

This study made it clear right up front – lifestyle alone is never going to stop all cancers. Unfortunately, a lot of the time, the disease strikes totally at random, and it can happen to even the healthiest of people.

But the new study serves as a reminder that while we often focus all our money and effort on new treatments, there are already proven ways to reduce people’s risk of developing cancer.

“Even while we’re making new discoveries, that shouldn’t stop us from acting on the knowledge we already do have.”

So is the prevention issue really that cut and dry?

While the occasional study might find something random, the reality is that the vast majority of research is on the same page when it comes to risk factors for cancer – cigarettes, too much alcohol, obesity, and a lack of exercise are all bad.

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(And that’s not to mention sun exposure, because this specific study only looked at carcinoma – which are most cancers except brain and skin cancers.)

To figure out just how much of a risk living an ‘unhealthy’ lifestyle really is, Mingyang Song and Edward Giovannucci from Massachusetts General Hospital looked at data on taken from a range of long-term studies on doctors and nurses in the US.

 

After looking at cancer rates, they found that up to 80 percent of lung cancer could be put down to lifestyle, as well as more than one-fifth of colon cancer, pancreatic cancer, and kidney cancer cases.

When they applied those rates to the rest of the US population, they found that between 41 and 63 percent of cancer cases could be preventable, as well as 59 to 67 percent of cancer deaths.

That’s a pretty huge if you consider the fact that despite countless promising new treatments, we’re still no closer to a ‘cure’ for cancer – the more we learn about the disease, the more complex we realise it is.

“These findings reinforce the predominant importance of lifestyle factors in determining cancer risk,” the researchers write in JAMA Oncology. “Therefore, primary prevention should remain a priority for cancer control.”

From Science Alert.  Click here for full article.

 

Healthy sleep

Sleep may make you feel better, but its importance may also go beyond just boosting mood or banishing under-eye circles.

The American Thoracic Society (ATS) has just released new guidelines on sleep.

“Sleep plays a vital role in human health, yet there is a lack of sufficient guidance on promoting good sleep health,” said Sutapa Mukherjee, PhD, the chair of the committee that produced the statement, in a press release.

According to the statement, poor sleep — defined as less than six hours or more than nine hours of sleep a night — may lead to health problems. These health problems may include less efficient immunity to disease and memory loss. Consistent poor sleep may also increase the risk of death, according to the statement.

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Many people don’t know how important sleep is when it comes to health, and many people don’t get the right amount of sleep, Dr. Mukherjee and team wrote. Children and teens also need different amounts and types of sleep than adults, and many don’t get the sleep that helps them function best.

The authors noted that children need to be taught that it’s important to go to bed on time, and that they should be allowed to sleep until they wake up naturally.

The authors called for more education on sleep hygiene and noted the need for doctors to encourage proper sleep without the use of sedatives. Doctors also need to be more aware of sleep disorders, such as insomnia and obstructive sleep apnea (OSA), according to Dr. Mukherjee and colleagues.

This statement was published June 15 in the American Journal of Respiratory and Critical Care Medicine.

The American Thoracic Society funded this research.

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