Contents (click for article)
- Wellness Components – Attitude: Meditation Medication for Stress
- Wellness Components – Professional Healthcare: Brain Gym
- Column – Sam Benjamin, MD New This Issue
- Questions & Answers
- Reader Comments
Wellness Components – Attitude: Meditation Medication for Stress, by James Ford, ThD
Stress emerged as a plague in the 1990′s, impacting every aspect of life, work and health. Stress is the natural physiological reaction designed to enable we humans to survive in a life-threatening emergency. However, in our modern fast-paced society, the mind-body misinterprets experiences and overreacts producing headaches, muscle tension, sleep disturbances, fatigue, lowered immunity to colds and flu, anger, burnout and a host of other symptoms. Science is daily confirming what we all know in our gut – stress destroys our health!
Stressful thoughts and emotions produce a cascade of hormonal changes shifting the body into survival readiness called fight or flight. We don’t die from bills, traffic, relationships and other constant stressors but our body stays alert and ready just in case. Such chronic stress unbalances the natural healing capacity of the body and leads to fatigue and vulnerability to disease. That’s the bad news!
Now for the good news!
We can do much to make ourselves more stress resistant – not stress free, but able to resist the nasty results of too much stress for too long. That which counterbalances stress is deep relaxation. It is so simple that we underestimate its power to heal. Meditation is medicine. Deeply quieting the mind decreases heart rate, oxygen consumption, metabolism rate, muscle tension and other markers associated with the fight or flight stress reaction. Our culture has long undervalued quiet. We have become human “doings” so busy in our lives and minds. The small voice within sometimes reminds us to relax, but we seem to have no time and perhaps have even forgotten how. Trying to relax only makes us more tense.
True relaxation is a matter of letting go. The Chinese call this actionless action. Meditation is simply practicing how to let go of the musings and regrets of the past and of the worries of the future and to “be here and now.” Just sitting quietly in a comfortable position quickly demonstrates how much our mind jumps and leaps forward and backward thereby missing the only moment we truly possess – now!
To begin this healing pathway, simply close your eyes and draw your attention inward to the breath, noticing the coolness of the inhaled air and the warmed air of the exhalation. Or if you like, observe the rise and fall of your abdomen. Let your awareness be anchored to this natural process. It is amazing to see how quickly our attention strays to the past or the future. It is like an undisciplined child who can’t seem to sit still. The mind leads and the body seeks desperately to follow. We may feel impatient, or bored or a failure at this simple task. Think of the parent who lovingly guides their excited child through the zoo, allowing it to explore where it will and then bringing it back to the path so they can see everything there is to see.
This is how you meditate!
Simply sitting quietly, noticing where your mind strays when it loses its anchor and then gently, non-judgmentally and patiently coming back to observe the breath. It is not stopping the mind from thinking – that would be impossible! When the distracting thoughts do come to mind, we learn to acknowledge them and let go of them. It is an adventure in exploring who we are at the deepest levels. It teaches us to be grounded and anchored within, not buffeted by every disturbing thought and emotion. Begin by sitting for ten to fifteen minutes with no goal or expectation. Simply practice sitting in this way daily for two to three weeks. This is how we learn to appreciate the power of the medicine of mediation.
Click title for full article to learn some of the mechanics of meditation.
Also see the eGuide Meditation chapter.
Wellness Components – Professional Healthcare: Brain Gym, by Debi Peterson, BA and Jan Butler, MBS
Brain Gym® is a highly effective system targeted at activities that prepare any learner for specific thinking and coordination skills. Brain Gym is based on over 25 years of research, used in more than 20 countries, and is endorsed by the National Learning Foundation. Brain Gym grew out of the studies started in 1969 by Dr Paul Dennison, who was looking for ways to help people who had been identified as learning disabled. Dr. Dennison discovered how to adapt the body’s movements to stimulate the brain at even the most advanced ages.
Brain Gym is based on four concepts:
- Physical movement stimulates the brain. The 23 Brain Gym movements are designed to activate such functions as communication, comprehension, memory and organization.
- Stress inhibits learning. Brain Gym movements encourage the learner to use the whole brain, thereby relaxing the fight or flight response in favor of keeping the memory and reasoning centers of the brain switched on.
- Brain Gym movements release learning blocks by activating the whole mind-body system.
- Noticing becomes a personal feedback loop. The learner takes responsibility and control of his own learning by noticing what works and what doesn’t as a particular skill is being mastered. The learner can enhance noticing with Brain Gym movements to improve performance, thus increasing self-esteem.
Brain Gym has been proven effective with students, executives, athletes, teachers, artists, and doctors. Brain Gym offers several areas of exploration such as the fields of education, business, athletics, dance, as well as a new program in “Mental Fitness Plus for Seniors.”
Click title for full article to read about three Brain Gym examples.
Column – Sam Benjamin. MD (Send comments for Dr Benjamin to us)
This is the first installment of a column by Dr Sam Benjamin, a pioneering holistic MD in New York and Arizona, working side-by-side with other pioneers such as Andrew Weil, MD. He spent a number of years working in international health then later in private practice. Following that, he worked with managed care insurance companies. For the next sixteen years, he developed the Arizona Center for Health and Medicine in Phoenix for Catholic Health Care West. Most recently, he was recruited to the State University of New York at Stony Brook School of Medicine where he runs the new Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine.
I have been committed my whole professional life to the concept that individuals have the right to make decisions with regard to their bodies and their own health. It has been a difficult road returning to New York after 16 years in Arizona. New York, medically at least, seems stuck in time with physician-centered rather than patient-centered care. The resistance to me has been personal at times, and the price that I have had to pay with my health and the stress in my household has been heavy. More about this later.
In order to insulate myself and my family financially from the painful misfortunes of academic and institutional politics, I began Mariposa Botanicals. My friend, Andrew Weil, MD, agreed to help formulate the products with me. He has been a wonderful help as we have developed extraordinary production methods as well as independent testing methods before and after production. Sadly, the nutritional supplement business is rife with people who claim to make high quality products, but, in fact, are panning off goods with little if any potency and with the possibility of contamination.
Mariposa makes herbal products, vitamins and soon functional foods. The main thing, perhaps is the incredible quality, bioavailablity and convenience since the contents are produced in no more than two pills a day, are individually wrapped and do NOT require refrigeration. Please visit our web site to get specific product information. The suggested retail pricing is for consumers only. The wholesale pricing for professionals and providers of CAM services is available by at my office email or by calling directly to Mariposa: 888-521-5551.
At any rate, I am delighted to be writing regularly for the 21st Century Wellness eLetter. I am always looking for cleeagal relations, and because I think that we are all interconnected, I want to I can give and get support from kindred souls.
My very best to new friends. Sam Benjamin
Questions & Answers (Email your questions to us at Info@CompWellness.org)
Healthcare in the year 2000 and beyond will be as much prevention and preparation as it will be responding intelligently to symptoms. Building strong body systems involves learning some new ways to deal with old problems. Here are some straight-forward answers to typical and complicated medical problems.
Note: Additional help is offered to those who subscribe to the 21st Century Wellness eLetter.
Deep Tissue Videos – Debbie, LMT – March 20th
I am looking for videos on deep tissue massage techniques. Any suggestions?
From a SavvySearch for “Deep Tissue Video” we arrived at 4 sources: [list]
Chelation Therapy – Dorothy K – March 20th (via phone)
Need information on Chelation Therapy in lower Manhattan
Call the Friends of Chelation at 760-416-2013. Also ask about and research oral Chelation Therapy as a lesser-expensive but slower alternative.
Lymph System Massage - Hubbard – March 21st
I live in … Idaho. I am interested in [practitioners] you are aware of for lymph system massage. I would also like to know if there are things I can do myself to help the lymph system drain. Or where I can learn more about this. Thanks.
You have found the MLD chapter – an excellent method, as is exercise. There are some things you can do for yourself – a practitioiner can teach you. Unfortunately, I do not know of lymph practitioners in Idaho, so you will need to rely on websites. Some sites (from SavvySearch are (see Vodder School – 2nd entry – for some therapists near your state): [10+ sites]
NET/Kinesiologist – Grace H – March 21st
I am looking for a NET/Kinesiologist in the Cincinnati vicinity. … By the way, you have created a very informative and great website for people into holistic natural alternatives. Thank you.
The easiest way to find a practitioner is to go to EarthMed. The results are for Kinesiology: [1 practitioner], Net: none in your area. Try searching for “NET or Kinesiology” using the “Search WebSites” section near the upper left of the website – the majority of the entries are on the first page.
Uterine Fibroids - Teri C – March 23rd
Would like physician/pharmacist referral for the Phoenix/Scottsdale area. Thank you.
The easiest way to find a practitioner is to go to EarthMed.
High Blood Pressure – John – March 22nd
I live in Fort Wayne, IN 46815 and would like to know if a toxic colon can cause high blood pressure in which the doctors can’t find a reason for?
Where is the nearest colon therapist in Indiana?
The easiest way to find a practitioner is to go to EarthMd.com.
NET Practitioner – Debby W – March 27th
I am interested in a NET practitioner in the Sarasota, Venice, Englewood area of Florida. Any information would be appreciated. Thanks
You can call 800-638-1411 – NET, Inc – and obtain a referral.
Deep Tissue Videos – Debbie, LMT – Weiserdeb@aol.com – March 20th
I am looking for videos on deep tissue massage techniques. Any suggestions?
From a SavvySearch for “Deep Tissue Video,” we arrived at 4 sources: [list]
Reader Comments (Email your comments to us at Info@CompWellness.org)
Insider Writing – Sam Benjamin, MD – March 28th
I run the Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine at Stony Brook School of Medicine. I am also the Medical Director of Mariposa Botanicals. Dr Andy Weil and I design nutritional supplements and soon functional foods at mariposa. I have developed all of the new testing that you probably have heard about. I like your site, and I would like to participate. [I’d like to] talk about all of the resistance that I am getting from the other medical doctors here at Stony Brook? Can I mention what we are doing at Mariposa? I look forward to your response and congratulations with the site!
It is great to see a CAM department growing in a medical school. Yes, please write for our eJournal and our eLetter – it’s your call on what you want to expose in your writings about the med school. Since you and Dr Weil are developing the Mariposa Botanicals products, I fell comfortable having you mention their development, their mission and their application. I was impressed with your Open Letter on the Mariposa site.
See Dr Benjamin’s column, above, which came out of subsequent conversations to this email exchange.
News (Email news leads to us at Info@CompWellness.org)
For this issue, see the latest news articles at EarthMed Headlines
Announcements (Email press releases and replies to us at Info@CompWellness.org)
NFTA and AFPA form Partnership to Promote Quality Education & Training. The National Fitness Therapy Association (NFTA) announced the forming of a partnership with American Fitness Professionals & Associates (AFPA) to promote the importance of education, training and professionalism in the delivery of Post Rehabilitation Fitness Therapy and Preventive Health Care Services. AFPA now joins a select group of fitness professionals and fitness facilities throughout the country providing quality fitness services and programs. NFTA is a nonprofit accrediting association for fitness professionals and fitness facilities based in Denver, Colorado. AFPA is an international CEC provider, and certification and training organization based in Ship Bottom, New Jersey. NFTA also sponsors Professional Trainers Network of America.
US National Cancer Institute, NCCAM, and Center for Mind-Body Medicine, CMBM, June 9-11, 2000, Arlington VA. “Comprehensive Cancer Care 2000: Integrating Complementary & Alternative Therapies,” is advertised as the only national conference providing the latest authoritative information on complementary and alternative therapies (CAM) for cancer for oncologists, other practitioners, and people with cancer. Contact CMBM, Phone: 301-353-1807 Fax: 301-353-1808.