Monthly Archives: July 2014

The Value of Traditional Tibetan Medicine in the 21st Century

Updated 7/26/2014 and 7/28/2014.

 

 

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A major flaw in modern Western Medicine is its focus on diagnosing illnesses and then treating them with pharmaceuticals or surgery rather than on the prevention of diseases – maintaining health. We hear procedures such as mammograms and colonoscopies being referred to as ‘preventative’ when their function is really to diagnoses a disease process already under way.

 

Disease: an impairment of the normal state of the living animal or plant body or one of its parts that interrupts or modifies the performance of the vital functions, is typically manifested by distinguishing signs and symptoms, and is a response to environmental factors (as malnutrition, industrial hazards, or climate), to specific infective agents (as worms, bacteria, or viruses), to inherent defects of the organism (as genetic anomalies), or to combinations of these factors. (Merriam-Webster, 2014)

Put in simpler terms: disease = dis-ease.

 

 

 

HealthVsDisease

 

In the practice of modern medicine, we are mostly viewed as our symptoms, not as a whole system that has become out of balance. We are largely treated by specialists for the  various symptoms of our imbalance – a dermatologist for our skin problems, an ENT for our allergies, a rheumatologist for our arthritis, a cardiologist for our heart problems, a gastroenterologist for our digestive issues, a urologist for repeated urinary tract infections, mental health practitioners for our emotional problems … and many more specialties and sub-specialties.
Physical illness in the body and emotional well being have unfortunately come to be seen as separate.

 

 

 

HEALTH
HEALTH

 

 

If we truly want to be and feel healthy – and greatly reduce the cost of our health care system, we would do well to get re-acquainted with some of the ‘primitive’ healing modalities which emphasize balance in the whole system.

 

 

 

Modern Western Medicine - Traditional Folk Medicine
Modern Western Medicine – Traditional Folk Medicine

 

 

 

 

 

 TRADITIONAL TIBETAN MEDICINE

 

Tibetan medicine considers diet, nutrition, behavior and life-style as essential elements of successful treatment.
Tibetan Medicine considers diet, nutrition, behavior and life-style as essential elements of successful treatment.
Tibetan Medicine, one of the world’s oldest healing traditions, has been practiced for more than four thousand years in Tibet and the Himalayan region. Tibetan Medicine, called Sowa Rigpa in Tibetan, means the knowledge and science of healing. Sowa means to heal the imbalanced and Rigpa means the knowledge or science of a particular subject. Sowa Rigpa is regarded as one of the most important sciences in Tibet. (Tibetan Wellness & Healing Center)
Tibetan Medicine is a fully holistic system, highly esteemed throughout Asia for its subtle and accurate diagnoses and effective treatment. It focuses on treating the root causes of symptoms unique to each person and seeks to restore a healthy balance to body and mind – in contrast to Western Medicine’s focus on alleviating the discomfort caused by the symptoms. Tibetan Medicine recognizes how combinations of dietary, psychological, lifestyle and environmental factors can cause imbalances in the body and mind, what many call the ‘body-mind’.
Tibetan sages integrated the finest elements of Indian Ayurvedic, Chinese, Persian, Mongolian and indigenous Tibetan systems of medicine into a unique medical science evolving over centuries.
Tibetan Medicine can be used alone or in conjunction with Western Medicine.
Channels in Tibetan medicine
Channels in Tibetan medicine

 

PRINCIPLES OF TIBETAN MEDICINE (Tibetan Wellness and Healing):
The fundamental principle of Tibetan Medicine is that the body, the disease, and treatment, all share common principles and are comprised of the five elements, earth, fire, water, air and space. This approach recognizes that every thing in the universe – plants, animals and human beings (including all our body tissues, internal organs, skin, skeletal system and even emotions) are composed of these five elements.
Each one of them plays a major role, both individually and in combination, in all matter. The five elements maintain reciprocal relationships. When they are in balance, the  result is a healthy body, speech and mind.
However, if any one of these elements becomes out of balance – in excess, deficient or disturbed, not only does the affected element manifest disharmony but it also  causes the rest of the elements to lose their balance and manifest particular syndromes or symptoms.
Since each individual disease is caused by disharmony or disturbances in one of the five elements, the treatment principle is to balance the elements through diet according to an individual’s constitution and behavior, utilize herbs, and other accessory therapies such as blood letting, Mey-Tzar (Tibetan moxa), external therapy (heat or cold), natural or medicinal bath, enema, and Ku Nye (Tibetan Massage).

 

 

 

 

Map of Ancient Tibet
Map of Ancient Tibet

 

 

 

The Tibetan Plateau, home of many herbs and rare plants used in Tibetan Medicine
The Tibetan Plateau, home to many herbs and rare plants used in Tibetan Medicine

 

 

 

 

TRADITIONAL TIBETAN MEDICINE – AN OVERVIEW (International Academy for Traditional Tibetan Medicine, 2007)

Traditional Tibetan Medicine (TTM) is a natural and holistic medical science, which addresses the individual’s needs of body, mind and spirit, in an integrated way. Dating back to antiquity, TTM has a genesis, history and development of its own, rooted in the Tibetan landscape, the indigenous culture and the spirit of the Tibetan people.

Traditional Tibetan Medicine contains a comprehensive philosophy, cosmology and system of subtle anatomy with associated spiritual practices.

The study of TTM contains a wealth of knowledge on anatomy and physiology, embryology, pathology, diagnostics and therapeutics, including a huge herbal pharmacopoeia and a large variety of external therapies which are little-known in the Western world.

Despite being one of the world’s most ancient healing systems, Traditional Tibetan Medicine continues to be effectively practised in contemporary society. Modern research is now confirming the extraordinary benefits of this ancient knowledge.

The aims of TTM are two-fold:

  • Preventive aspects: Prevention of illness through correct lifestyle and diet are fundamental to TTM. In this modern age, most chronic diseases arise as a result of imbalance of mental attitude, incorrect lifestyle and incorrect diet. Diabetes and cardiovascular disease are well-known examples of this.
  • Curative aspects: Once imbalance arises, overt disease becomes manifest. It then becomes necessary to re-create balance through working on the underlying causes and effects. This means, in the first instance, attending to dietary and lifestyle factors, and then secondly making use of herbal therapies and external therapies.

What is meant by Balance and Imbalance?

Balance refers to harmony between body, energy and mind. Of these, energy is the most important, as it is the vital link between body and mind. When this vitalising energy becomes imbalanced, the physical body and the mind also lose their balance resulting in ill-health.

Good balance results in a healthy body, a clear calm mind, and abundant energy.

Imbalance arises as the effect of negative causes. In TTM, negative causes are classified as primary or secondary. Primary causes always arise from negative or destructive mental attitudes such as anger or aggression; lust, unhealthy attachment or desire, and ignorance. Secondary causes are the perpetuating factors such as incorrect diet and life style, or acute precipitating factors.

 

 

THE TIBETAN MEDICAL PHARMACOPEA

In the Tibetan pharmacopea, natural herbs, plants and wild-flowers are employed for their therapeutic effects. A variety of mineral and a smaller number of animal-derived substances are also used. Many of these substances can be found all over Asia; however some specific, particularly powerful herbs and minerals are found only on the Tibetan high plateau. Due to the pristine nature of this environment, the ingredients of the Tibetan Materia Medica is particularly pure.
Tibetan medicines are formulated according to two guiding principles – Taste and Potency. Doctors examine the tastes of substances and compound a combination of medicines. Each substance of the Materia Medica has a natural potency which is independent of taste and services to guide the compounding. Using ancient texts and generations of Tibetan Medical recipes, Tibetan doctors are still producing both of these types of medicines.
A simple remedy might contain 10 substances, whereas a more complex formula might contain as many as 70 ingredients. Remedies may be given as pills, powders, decoctions, concentrates, creams or lotions.
There are approximately 500 medicinal formulae currently in common usage. These remedies have the function of restoring the balance of the three Humors. Scientific studies are now demonstrating the efficacy of these Tibetan formulae. (International Academy for Traditional Tibetan Medicine, 2007)

 

 

 

A Tibetan Medical Apothecary
A Tibetan Medical Apothecary

 

 

 

Examples of Tibetan Medicines
Examples of Traditional Tibetan Medicines: The medicines are made according to an age-old tradition, which follows strict methods and uses sophisticated processing techniques.

 

 

 

 

 

BODIES IN BALANCE

 

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If you’re in the New York City area and interested in learning more about what  ancient, traditional medicine has to offer us today, I highly recommend a visit to The Rubin Museum’s exhibit Bodies in Balance: The Art of Tibetan Medicine before it closes on September 8, 2014.
Here’s information about the exhibit.

 

The Rubin’s website also has an interesting interactive section about Tibetan Medicine in the 21st century. See:

Exhibition Preview Video

Are You In Balance? Take the Quiz:  According to Tibetan medical knowledge, the human body is composed of three forces (called nyepas in Tibetan) that are responsible for physical and mental well-being. Maintaining the balance of these forces ensures good health. To discover a patient’s dominant force or forces, a Tibetan doctor would perform a variety of diagnostic procedures, including an interview and observation of the body.
Take this quiz to answer a sampling of the questions a Tibetan doctor might ask you to determine your dominant force or forces. For each of the questions select the responses that best apply to the way you feel. For some questions more than one response may be possible, and you can select all of the responses that apply. If no responses apply, you can skip the question.

Nourish, Practice, Know:  A series of events and workshops that explore the power of food, contemplative practice, and life-long learning to help us balance our bodies.  Through outings to Jackson Heights kitchens, yoga and meditation classes, and our signature conversation series, we will hear from ethnobotanists, Tibetan doctors, chefs, aromatherapists, and others about the path to wellness.

Tibetan Medicine in the World Today : Tibetan medicine has long been practiced far beyond the Tibetan Plateau. As early as the seventh century, hagiographic accounts of the practice’s beginnings recall an international gathering of eminent physicians from India, China, and Persia that provided the initial momentum for its emergence. The term used for Tibetan doctors in many regions (amchi) is a Mongolian word and a Tibetan pharmacy relies extensively on raw ingredients not found on the Tibetan Plateau. Basic ingredients used in the majority of Tibetan formulas, such as chebulic and beleric myrobalan and the Indian gooseberry, as well as many other highly valued materials are not native to Tibet and have to be imported from other climate zones.
We invite you to explore the videos and photos gathered on this site to see how Tibetan medicine has continued to spread across the world, namely how it is practiced today throughout Asia, Europe, and North America.

 

TIBETAN MEDICINE IN THE MODERN WORLD
Here’s some information from the Rubin Museum’s website about the current study and practice of Tibetan Medicine in countries around the modern world:
PADMA, INC.:  A Swiss pharmaceutical company called Padma Inc. now  produces registered Tibetan pharmaceuticals according to Western standards of pharmaceutical safety and efficacy. The company was established in 1969 by a Swiss businessman and a Polish doctor of Buryat origin. The first two products registered under Swiss law were based on formulas from Aginsk Monastery in Buryatia.

 

 

PADMA Circosan is a medicinal product produced in Switzerland according to a proven recipe of Tibetan medicine. This product is used for disorders with symptoms such as; tingling sensation, formication, feeling of heaviness and tension in the legs and arms, numbness of the hands and feet and calf cramps. According to the tradition of Tibetan medicine, the product has circulation-stimulating and anti-inflammatory effects and antibacterial properties in respiratory-tract infections. This is due to the multi-target concept of the formula with its many active substances.
PADMA Circosan is a medicinal product produced in Switzerland according to a proven recipe of Tibetan medicine. This product is used for disorders with symptoms such as; tingling sensation, formication, feeling of heaviness and tension in the legs and arms, numbness of the hands and feet and calf cramps.
According to the tradition of Tibetan medicine, the product has circulation-stimulating and anti-inflammatory effects and antibacterial properties in respiratory-tract infections. This is due to the multi-target concept of the formula with its many active substances.

 

 

Aginsky Datsan of Buryatia in 1914.
Aginsky Datsan of Buryatia in the Amur Basin of Eastern Siberia, 1914.

 

ROYAL EDINBURGH BOTANICAL GARDENS: The  Royal Edinburgh Botanical Gardens has a horticulture training aimed at helping Tibetan doctors face the challenge of cultivating medicinal plants that are quickly disappearing from the Tibetan Plateau. One of these plants is the blue Himalayan poppy, a plant that also grows in Scotland.

 

Himalayan Blue Poppy
Himalayan Blue Poppy

 

 

SHANG SHUNG INSTITUTE SCHOOL OF TIBETAN MEDICINE:  Originally established in Italy in 1989 by Chögyal Namkhai Norbu, the Shang Shung Institute School of Tibetan Medicine launched a branch in the United States in 1994 in Conway, Massachusetts. The Institute offers public programs to “deepen the knowledge and the understanding of the Tibetan cultural traditions in its religious…and medical…aspects in order to contribute to the…preservation of this culture.” The school is the first in the United States to offer a four-year curriculum in Tibetan medical practice.

 

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There’s also an excellent – and beautiful –  book based on the exhibit, Bodies in Balance: The Art of Tibetan Medicine, edited by anthropologist Theresia Hofer, curator of the Bodies in Balance show.
From the preface to the book:

Tibetan Medicine had likely been the most complete, codified, and learned medicine that existed prior to the development of conventional Western biomedicine. It contained the knowledge of Ayurvedic and Chinese medicine concepts, complementing them with indigenous diagnostic and therapeutic methods and practices.

… The exhibition is entitled Bodies in Balance, which suggests that the major aim of Tibetan medicine is to heal the sick and suffering by restoring a lost balance, mentally and physically. This implies that behind the symptoms of disease there can be a wide variety of causes for the imbalance.

… The state of the mind is as important as that of the body when healing is concerned, a holistic view that transforms the scope of diagnosis and treatment.

– Jan Van Alphen, Director of Exhibitions, Collections and Research, Rubin Museum of Art

 

 

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The book is available at the Rubin and also from Amazon.

Bodies in Balance: The Art of Tibetan Medicine is the first comprehensive, interdisciplinary exploration of the triangular relationship between the Tibetan art and science of healing (Sowa Rigpa), Buddhism, and the visual arts. This book is dedicated to the history, theory, and practice of Tibetan medicine, a unique and complex system of understanding body and mind, treating illness, and fostering health and well-being. Rooted in classical Indian medicine, Sowa Rigpa has been influenced by Chinese, Greco-Arab, and indigenous medical knowledge and practices and further developed within the context of Buddhism in Tibet. It adapted to new geographic, socio-cultural, and medical environments on the Tibetan Plateau, the Himalayas, and Mongolia and survives today as a living medical tradition whose principles are at the heart of many complementary therapies now widely used in the West. (Amazon, 2014)

 

 

 

Tenzin Nambul checking a patient's right and left pulses
Tenzin Nambul checking a patient’s right and left pulses. Pulse reading is a very important and complex method of diagnosis in Tibetan Medicine. It is done differently from other oriental traditional medicines. There are two major aspects of Pulse Diagnosis: Pulse reading to establish the individual’s underlying typology and Pulse reading to ascertain pathology. (International Academy for Traditional Tibetan Medicine, 2007)

 

Tibetan Medical Painting
Ancient Tibetan Medical Painting

 

 

The Tibetan Medicine Buddha: The "Atlas of Tibetan Medicine" or "Tibetan Medical Thanka" is preserved in the Museum of History in Ulan-Ude in Eastern Siberia.
The Tibetan Medicine Buddha: The “Atlas of Tibetan Medicine” or “Tibetan Medical Thanka” is preserved in the Museum of History in Ulan-Ude in Eastern Siberia.

 

 

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TRADITIONAL TIBETAN MEDICINE’S PRINCIPLES ARE WIDELY USED AS  COMPLEMENTARY THERAPIES IN THE WEST – YOU’LL RECOGNIZE SOME OF THEM

 

 

 

Hot Stones
Hot Stone Therapy

 

 

 

Acupuncture
Acupuncture: The knowledge of Tibetan acupuncture was lost for many years. Tibetan acupuncture differs from Chinese acupuncture. (International Academy for Traditional Tibetan Medicine, 2007)

 

 

 

Tibetan Massage: Ku Nye is the traditional Tibetan Medical m Massage can be used for the  prevention of disease as well as to treat disease.  Specific acupressure points and meridians are used as well as the specific therapeutic herbal oils. (International Academy for Traditional Tibetan Medicine, 2007)
Tibetan Massage: Ku Nye is the traditional Tibetan medical
massage used for the prevention of disease as well as to treat disease.
Specific acupressure points and meridians are used as well as specific therapeutic herbal oils. (International Academy for Traditional Tibetan Medicine, 2007)

 

 

 

Tibetan Moxa: Moxibustion is a heating therapy utilizing the herb leontopodium which is dried, crushed and formed into a cone that is burned and applied over specific points in order to provide heat. This is one of the most important external therapies used for cold conditions - such as digestive problems, poor circulation and dull pain. Specific points are used for different conditions. There are 20 different types of moxibustion in Tibetan Medicine, each using different materials. (International Academy for Traditional Tibetan Medicine, 2007)
Tibetan Moxa:  Moxibustion is a heating therapy utilizing the herb leontopodium which is dried, crushed and formed into a cone that is burned and applied over specific points in order to provide heat. This is one of the most important external therapies used for cold conditions – such as digestive problems, poor circulation and dull pain. Specific points are used for different conditions. There are 20 different types of moxibustion in Tibetan Medicine, each using different materials. (International Academy for Traditional Tibetan Medicine, 2007)

 

 

 

Vibrational Sound Therapy: Tibetan Singing Bowls
Vibrational Sound Therapy: Tibetan Singing Bowls: Here’s a video of a Tibetan Singing Bowl Meditation

 

 

 

Spices Used in Tibetan Medicine
Healing Spices Used in Cooking

 

 

 

Cupping Treatment
Cupping Treatment

 

 

 

Tibetan Yoga
Tibetan Yoga

 

 

 

Tibetan Meditation
Tibetan Meditation

 

 

 

 

OTHER TRADITIONAL MEDICAL SYSTEMS

There are many other traditional medical systems that developed around the world before the advent of modern medicine. They also regarded the mind and body as one and focused on healing imbalances in the system.
Some examples:

 

TRADITIONAL CHINESE MEDICINE
Traditional Chinese Medicine
Traditional Chinese Medicine
Aspects of Traditional Chinese Medicine are acupuncture, Chinese herbology, massage, exercise and nutritional therapy. Traditional Chinese Medicine is a 3000 year old tradition still used today by a quarter of the world’s population. It is based on the concept of Qi (pronounced chee) – the life force or vital energy. Qi is the animating force that serves to warm us, protect us from external pathogenic factors, promote the functions of the body and hold our organs and tissues in place.
As with Traditional Tibetan Medicine, the goal of Traditional Chinese Medicine is to guide the body back into balance. Traditional Chinese medicine is holistic, treating the whole person (mind, body, spirit), not just the illness. (San Francisco Natural Medicine, 2009)

 

 

 

AYURVEDA

 

Ayurvedic Principles
Ayurvedic Principles

 

Ayurvedic Healing, the science of life, is a system of therapies developed in India over 3,000 years ago and still practiced today. It’s concepts of health and disease include the use of herbs, nutrition, acupressure massage, Yoga, Jyotish (Vedic astrology), and panchakarma cleansing (a cleansing and rejuvenating program for the body, mind and consciousness, known for its beneficial effects on overall health, wellness and self-healing). (The Ayurvedic Institute, 2011)

 

 

SHAMANISM

 

Shamanism is a term used to describe “energy medicine” around the world. Shamans are individuals within a tribe, village or region who assist people in assist people in their community with matters of health -  physical, psychological or pertaining to the larger questions of life.
Shamanism is a term used to describe “energy medicine” around the world. Shamans are individuals within a tribe, village or region who assist people in assist people in their community with matters of health – physical, psychological or pertaining to the larger questions of life.

 

Shamans are wise healers, medicine men or women who possess deep knowledge of the preparation and uses of healing plants. They use this knowledge in conjunction with the forces of nature to effect cures. Unlike the focus of Western Medicine, from the shaman’s perspective, medicine is more about healing the person than curing a disease.
Shamans in the jungles of Amazonia and elsewhere around the world have passed their wisdom of the medicinal value of indigenous plants down from one generation to the next.
The Amazon, the world’s largest tropical forest, is home to a quarter of earth’s botanical species – as well as to hundreds of Indian tribes whose medicinal plants have never been studied by Western scientists.
A fascinating introduction in the ancient wisdom of shamans is Mark Plotkin’s Tales of a Shaman’s Apprentice: An Ethnobotanist Searches for New Medicines in the Amazon Rain Forest.
Aspirin, the world’s most widely used drug, is based on compounds originally extracted from the bard of a willow tree. More than a quarter of our pharmaceutical drugs contain plant compounds. Western Medicine, now faced with the health crises of AIDS, Alzheimer’s disease and cancers, has begun to look to the healing plants used by indigenous peoples to try to develop new pharmaceuticals. 
Plotkin is an ethnobotanist and plant explorer, an expert on rainforest ecosystems, an active advocate for rainforest conservation, and also quite a good writer.
I also highly recommend an award-winning documentary film about Plotkin’s adventures with shamans in the Amazon: The Shaman’s Apprentice: the search for knowledge in the Amazon rain forest. It’s 54 minutes long.

 

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MORE RECENT ALTERNATIVES TO MODERN WESTERN MEDICINE

 

HOMEOPATHY

 

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Homeopathy is a system of medicine that treats the individual with highly diluted substances, given mainly in tablet form, with the aim of triggering the body’s natural system of healing. Based on their specific symptoms, a homeopath will match the most appropriate medicine to each patient.
The principle of treating “like with like” dates back to Hippocrates (460-377BC) but in its current form, homeopathy has been widely used worldwide for more than 200 years.
It was developed by a German doctor, Samuel Hahnemann (1755-1843), who was shocked by the harsh medical practices of his day (which included blood-letting, purging and the use of poisons such as arsenic) and looked for a way to reduce the damaging side-effects associated with medical treatment. (Society of Homeopaths, 2014)
Hahnemann Hospital in Philadelphia was founded in 1885 to teach homeopathy to American students. It is now a center for Western Medicine.

 

 

REFLEXOLOGY
Reflexology Chart: Soles of the Feet
Reflexology Chart: Soles of the Feet

 

Reflexology, or zone therapy, is an alternative medical practice involving the application of pressure to the feet, hands or ears with specific thumb, finger and hand techniques.  Reflexology is based on a system of zones and reflex areas that reflect an image of the body on the feet and hands to effect a physical change on the corresponding part of  the body.
Practices resembling reflexology have been documented in the histories of China and Egypt.
Zone therapy was introduced to the United States in 1913 by William H. Fitzgerald, M.D. (1872–1942), an ear, nose, and throat specialist, and Dr. Edwin Bowers. It was modified in the 1930’s and 1940’s by Eunice D. Ingham (1889–1974), a nurse and physiotherapist.  Ingham mapped the entire body into “reflexes” on the feet renaming “zone therapy” as reflexology. Modern reflexologists use Ingham’s methods or similar techniques developed by the reflexologist Laura Norman. (Wikipedia, 2014)

 

 

QUANTUM HEALING

 

 

Human Energy Field
Human Energy Field
Quantum Healing evolved from the scientific principles of Quantum Physics.
Everything in the universe is made up of only matter and energy. Matter describes the physical things around us: our earth, the other planets, the atmosphere, trees, water, our bodies, etc.
Matter is actually energy condensed to a slower vibration that converts it to a more visible state.  Instead of disappearing after the conversion, energy particles continually transform in a never-ending process.  All reality exists on a subatomic level. 

Even the Greeks had already conceived the atomistic nature of matter and the concept was raised to a high degree of probability by the scientists of the nineteenth century.  But it was Planck’s law of radiation that yielded the first exact determination – independent of other assumptions – of the absolute magnitudes of atoms. More than that, he showed convincingly that in addition to the atomistic structure of matter there is a kind of atomistic structure to energy, governed by the universal constant h, which was introduced by Planck.– Albert Einstein

 

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In the early 1900’s, theoretical physicist Albert Einstein postulated a formula of relativity, E=mc², in which E=energy. m=matter, and c²=the speed of light multiplied by itself.
This formula states that the mass of a body is a measure of its energy content – ie,  that mass and energy are two forms of the same thing. In the right condition (the near-to-light speed), mass can turn into energy and energy can turn into mass.

 

Albert Einstein
Albert Einstein
This relationship applied to our bodies and energy forms the basis of Quantum Healing.
All our physical and emotional difficulties have a counterpart in our energy system – and they can be treated at that level. The focus of Quantum Healing is on correcting the flow of blocked energy or energy that is out of harmony. This addresses the cause of the difficulty, not just its effect.
This kind of healing holistically transforms the cause. Most other approaches only try to treat the symptom.
A good introduction to Quantum Healing is The Living Matrix: A Film on the New Science of Healing. Here’s its trailer.

 

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REFERENCES

Ayurvedic Institute. (2011). See:  https://www.ayurveda.com/about/index.html

Becker, G. (2010). The Living Matrix: Film on the New Science of Healing.  See: http://www.amazon.com/Living-Matrix-Film-Science-Healing/dp/B002GZFG4W

Hofer, T. (2014). Bodies in Balance: The Art of Tibetan Medicine. See:  http://www.amazon.com/Bodies-Balance-The-Tibetan-Medicine/dp/0295993596/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1406126359&sr=8-1&keywords=bodies+in+balance

International Academy for Traditional Tibetan Medicine. (2007). Traditional Tibetan Medicine – An Overview.  See:  http://www.iattm.net/uk/faculties/ttm-intro.htm

Merriam-Webster. (2014). Disease.  See:  http://www.merriam-webster.com/medical/disease

Plotkin, M.J. (1993). Tales of a Shaman’s Apprentice: An Ethnobotanist Searches for New Medicines in the Amazon Rain Forest. Penguin Books.

Miranda Productions. (2001). The Shaman’s Apprentice: The Search for Knowledge in the Amazon Rain Forest. Film.

Rubin Museum of Himalayan Art. (2014). Bodies in Balance: The Art of Tibetan Medicine. See:  http://www.rubinmuseum.org/nav/exhibitions/view/2349

San Franciso Natural Medicine. (2009). Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM)
& Acupuncture.  See:  http://www.somaacupuncture.com/chinese-medicine.html

Society of Homeopaths. (2014). What is Homeopathy?  See:  http://www.homeopathy-soh.org/about-homeopathy/what-is-homeopathy/

Tibetan Wellness & Healing Center. (no date). See: http://www.tibetanhealth.com/tibetan-medicine.html

Wikipedia. (2014). Reflexology.  See:  http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Reflexology#History
© Copyright 2014 Joan Rothchild Hardin. All Rights Reserved.

 

DISCLAIMER:  Nothing on this site or blog is intended to provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.

 

 

Probiotics for Your Gut and Your Mood

 

 

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Need more evidence that what goes on in your gut greatly affects what happens in the rest of your body? Here’s information recently reported in the scientific journal Gastroenterology demonstrating that our gut bacteria play an important role in our emotional responses.
Dr. Kirsten Tillisch, Associate Professor at the Oppenheimer Family Center for Neurobiology of Stress, David Geffen School of Medicine at the University of California, and a group of other researchers there investigated whether consumption of a fermented milk product containing probiotics (FMPP) would affect activity in brain regions that control central processing of emotion and sensation.
The researchers divided the 36 healthy female participants into three groups. One group received a placebo twice daily for four  weeks. A second group received an unfermented milk product twice daily for four weeks. The third group received a fermented milk product containing various kinds of probiotics twice daily for four weeks.
The FMPP given to the third group contained Bifidobacterium animalis subsp Lactis, Streptococcus thermophiles, Lactobacillus bulgaricus, and Lactococcus lactis subsp Lactis.
At the beginning of the study and again at its end, all participants underwent a Functional Magnetic Resonance Imaging (fMRI) study of their brains to measure both resting brain activity as well as how the brain responded to an emotional event, such as seeing pictures of angry or scared people.
Results showed that a four-week intake of a fermented milk product containing probiotics positively affected mid-brain activity in regions that control central processing of emotion and sensation. (Tillisch, 2013)
In other words, the brains of the women who consumed the fermented, probiotic-rich milk product became smarter and happier in just four weeks!

 

 

probiotics

This important study is the first to show that changes in human gut bacteria can have a profound effect on how the brain interprets the environment.
As reported in Medscape Medical News, Dr. Cameron Meier, Professor of Medicine, Physiology and Psychiatry at UCLA’s School of Medicine commented on the study, stating:

The knowledge that signals are sent from the gut microbiome to the brain and that they can be modulated by dietary changes will hopefully lead to more research aimed at finding new strategies to prevent or treat digestive, mental and neurological disorders.

 

 

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Previous research has shown that the gut microorganisms of laboratory rats can be manipulated, causing the animals to become either timid or aggressive. This information has profound implications about our modern diet as well as our generally aggressive over usage of antibiotics which kill good bacteria along with the pathogenic ones living in our guts.
The Standard American Diet (SAD),  consisting mostly of foods poor in probiotics, and decades of physician-prescribed over use of antibiotics along with the heavy load of antibiotics fed to animals we eat and the products made from them,  contribute to the increased rates of depression, anxiety and attention deficit problems that are rampant in modern Western societies. (HealthFreedoms.org, 2014)

 

 

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It’s time to concentrate on repairing our damaged guts with probiotics to restore our health.

 

 

 

Kefir and Live Culture Yogurt - Fermented Milk Products
Kefir and Live Culture Yogurt – Fermented Milk Products

 

 

KEFIR

Sour, fermented milk products such as yogurt, kefir, and labne (kefir cheese) have been consumed for centuries to improve vitality and health. Hippocrates, the Greek physician born in 460 BC and the father of modern medicine, used liquid whey to strengthen immune resistance.
Kefir, a fermented milk product derived from globules of bacteria and yeast known as “grains,” has a long history in Eastern Europe, Russia, and the Middle East. The word kefir is derived from the Turkish word meaning good feeling – a good description for what fermented milk does for the entire body.
Elie Metchnikoff
Elie Metchnikoff
More than a century ago, Nobel Prize winner Elie Metchnikoff, a Ukranian biologist, zoologist and protozoologist best known for his pioneering research into the immune system, suggested that yogurt contributed to the 87 year average lifespan of Bulgarians. He hypothesized that the consumption of live lactic acid bacteria in yogurt suppressed the multiplication of putrefactive bacteria in the large intestine.

The dependence of the intestinal microbes on the food makes it possible to adopt measures to modify the flora in our bodies and to replace the harmful microbes by useful microbes.

(Metchnikoff, 1907)

His hypothesis has been borne out by modern research.

 

 

 

Probiotics in Kefir
Probiotics in Lifeway’s Kefir

 

I strongly concur with adding kefir and yogurt to your diet for their useful microbes – gut friendly probiotics.
You’ll find kefir in the dairy section of many food stores. The plain version is healthier than the flavored kinds, which contain added sugars. And organic is preferable to non-organic (made from GMO milk).
If you’re buying yogurt, make sure it contains “live cultures” or you won’t get much probiotic benefit from it. The yellowish liquid on the top of the yogurt is the liquid whey. Again, plain is healthier than the flavored versions containing added sugars and organic is preferable to non-organic (GMO).
You can also easily make your own kefir and yogurt, preferably from organic milk.

 

 

Making Kefir at Home
Making Kefir at Home

 

 

Yogurt strains like Viili and Matsoni are cultured at room temperature, eliminating the need for a yogurt maker. Cultures for Health offers an abundance of yogurt starters.
Homemade kefir contains a wide variety of strains, including the four strains of probiotic used in the UCLA study: Bifidobacterium animalis, Streptococcus thermophiles, Lactobacillus bulgaricus, and Lactococcus lactis. Once you have the starter grains, also available at Cultures for Health, you can culture your milk for years to come. (HandPickedNation.com, 2013)

 

 

 

 

WISDOM FROM HIPPOCRATES, GREEK PHYSICIAN WHO LIVED 460-377 BC – THE FATHER OF MODERN MEDICINE

 

 

hippocrates-quote 

 

 

 

Quotation-Hippocrates-comfort-cure-Meetville-Quotes-186199

 

 

 

images-4

 

 

FOR MORE INFORMATION, SEE:

THE GUT- BRAIN AXIS

THE GUT MICROBIOME – OUR SECOND GENOME

SUPER IMMUNITY

PREBIOTICS & PROBIOTICS

KEFIR

SACCHAROMYCES BOULARDII

THE STANDARD AMERICAN DIET (SAD)

GENETICALLY MODIFIED ORGANISMS – OUR FOOD

THE AMERICAN GUT PROJECT

CONCLUSIONS

 

 

 

REFERENCES

Cultures for Health. A online source for many food culture starters.  See:  http://www.culturesforhealth.com/

Handpickednation.com. (2013). Fermented Milk: For the Gut and the Brain. See:  http://www.handpickednation.com/fermented-milk-for-the-gut-and-the-brain/

HealthFreedoms.org. (2014). New Study Shows How Gut Bacteria Affect How You See the World.  See:  http://www.healthfreedoms.org/new-study-shows-how-gut-bacteria-affect-how-you-see-the-world/

Metchnikoff, E. 1907. Essais optimistes. Paris. The prolongation of life. Optimistic studies. Translated and edited by P. C. Mitchell. London: Heinemann, 1907.

Tillisch, K. et al. (2013). Consumption of Fermented Milk Product With Probiotc Modulates Brain Activity. Gastroenterology, 144:7, 1394-1401.  See:  http://www.gastrojournal.org/article/S0016-5085(13)00292-8/abstract

 

 

 

© Copyright 2014 Joan Rothchild Hardin. All Rights Reserved.

 

DISCLAIMER:  Nothing on this site or blog is intended to provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.

Climate Change Impacts Allergies and Asthma

 

 

images

 

 

Extreme weather events, from coastal flooding, intense heat, record amounts of rainfall in some areas and historic droughts in others, are becoming increasingly common as the Earth’s average temperature rises. The World Meteorological Organization has linked some of 2013’s most extreme weather events – think back to Typhoon Haiyan in the Philippines as well as flooding in central Europe and record high temperatures in Australia, Asia and Africa to human-induced climate change. “There’s been a general disruption of nature,” says Kim Knowlton, a senior scientist in the Natural Resources Defense Council’s health and environmental program. In may, the U.S. Global Change Research Program (GCRP) released a comprehensive report on the impacts of climate change. It bluntly states: “Over the last 50 years, much of the United States has seen an increase in prolonged periods of excessively high temperatures, more heavy downpours, and in some regions, more severe droughts.”

– Claire Cagne, Wild Weather & Our Allergies, Allergic Living, Summer 2014

 

This is very bad news for people with allergies and asthma – more moisture and higher temperatures mean increased levels of mold, pollen and air pollution.
Temperatures across the U.S. are projected to increase anywhere from 5-10  degrees Fahrenheit by the end of the century so the challenges we encounter from climate change are likely to get worse. (Gagne, 2014)

 

 

 

 

allergies

 

AIR-BORNE ALLERGENS ARE EXPECTED TO INCREASE

According to the EPA’s report on climate change and air-borne allergens, A Review of the Impact of Climate Variability and Change on Aeroallergens and Their Associated Effects (EPA, 2011):
  •  Aeroallergens include pollens, which can be produced by weeds, grasses and trees,   as well as molds, dust particles, ash and indoor allergens.
  • Aeroallergens such as dust, ragweed, pollen and molds impact half of all Americans.
  • Treatment for allergies in the US costs $21 billion annually.
  • Three major allergic diseases have been associated with exposure to aeroallergens: hay fever, asthma and eczema.  Collectively, these three allergic diseases rank sixth for annual expenditures among chronic health conditions in the United States.
  • Beyond the direct cost of medical care are the indirect, but substantial, costs associated with lost time at work, school and play.
  • Increases in temperature, carbon dioxide and precipitation will cause the proliferation of weedy plants that are known producers of allergenic pollen.  Higher levels of CO2 in the atmosphere act as a fertilizer for plant growth.  Warmer temperatures and increased precipitation will cause some plants to grow faster, bloom earlier and produce more pollen.
  • Climate-related temperature changes are expected to increase the potency of airborne allergens, increasing the concentration of pollen in the air, the length of the allergy season and the strength of airborne allergens.
  • Climate change will allow allergen-producing plant species to move into new areas.
  • Wind-blown dust, carrying pollens and molds from outside of the United States, could expose people to allergens they had not previously contacted.  Exposure to more potent concentrations of pollen and mold may make current non-sufferers more likely to develop allergic symptoms.

 

 

Wildfires in Colorado, 2012
Wildfires in Colorado, 2012

 

 

Drought in California, 2014
Drought in California, 2014

 

 

 

 

 

HEAVIER, MORE FREQUENT RAINS PRODUCE MORE MOLD

 

 

Flooding from Super Storm Sandy, 2012
Flooding from Super Storm Sandy, 2012

 

Molds can cause serious health problems in susceptible individuals. Here’s information from the New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene on the city’s health crisis following Hurricane Sandy (RebuildAdjustNY.org, 2013):
  • Toxins produced by mold, known at myotoxins, can cause headaches, nausea, loss of appetite, fatigue, inability to concentrate and memory loss.
  • Chronic exposure to mold can lead to permanent lung disease
  • According to the Institute of Medicine, “There (is) sufficient evidence to link indoor exposure to mold with upper respiratory tract symptoms, cough, and wheeze in otherwise healthy people.”
  • According to a World Health Organization-cited study, building dampness/mold increases the occurrence of respiratory and asthma-related health incidents by 30-50%.
  • A second study estimated that 21%of the cases of asthma in the United States could be attributable to dampness and mold in housing, for a total annual national cost of $3.5 billion.
  • Sandy-impacted neighborhoods are especially vulnerable to health effects from mold.
  • According to then Mayor Bloomberg, 70,000 – 80,000 homes suffered water damage due to Hurricane Sandy.
  • About 180,000 – 210,000 New Yorkers could be currently exposed to Sandy-related mold.
  • Mold is especially dangerous for 45,000+ children under the age of 5 and senior New Yorkers who are considered highly vulnerable to mod-related ailments.
  • Mold is especially dangerous for individuals suffering from asthma and other respiratory ailments.
  • Sandy-affected neighborhoods reported more than 30,000 asthma-related emergency room visits between 2008 and 2010.
  • Children and seniors comprise about 25% of the population in Sandy-affected neighborhoods.
  • Asthmatics comprise more than 25%of the Sandy-affected neighborhood of Red Hook, Brooklyn.

 

 

Mold growth inside a home after Hurricane Sandy
Mold growth inside a home after Hurricane Sandy

 

Mold damage is not always as easy to detect as in the photo above. It can be growing inside walls or behind wallpaper so not necessarily be visible.
Mold growing behind wallpaper
Mold growing behind wallpaper
And dead mold spore can still cause allergic reactions in some people so killing the mold may not be sufficient – it must also be removed. (EPA, 2012)

 

 

 

 

SO HOW CAN WE REDUCE OUR CHANCES OF INCREASED SUFFERING FROM ALLERGIES AND ASTHMA?

 

 

immune-response

 

We know that 80-90% of our immune system resides in the mucosa of our guts. An unbalanced, impaired gut microbiome produces chronic inflammation in the body. Over time, this inflammation produces autoimmune conditions (such as allergies and asthma) – as well as gum disease, repeating UTIs, heart disease, nail fungus, some cancers, and much more.
Mast cells located in our skin, connective tissues, and the mucosal linings of our stomachs and intestines, are an essential part of our immune defenses. These unique cells are tasked with activating the immune system to defend us from harmful invaders.
In people with allergies, the immune system misidentifies innocuous substances as dangerous pathogens and sends out mast cells to combat them – as if Attila’s Huns were at the gate and needed to be attacked at all costs, even to the point of destroying the body in the process.
The real solution for both allergy and asthma sufferers isn’t just treating the symptoms but working to restore the health of the friendly bacteria living in the gut with the goal of normalizing the immune system. A healthy, balanced gut immune system will stop producing inflammation and allow a return to health.
As climate change exposes us to increasing numbers of molds and other allergens, we’re all going to need immune systems that are up to dealing with the challenge.

 

 

Boost-Immunity-Healthy-Smoothies

 

 

 

For more information on allergies, asthma, autoimmune conditions, the role of inflammation in these problems, and how to strengthen your immune system, see:

GUT SYMBIOSIS VS DYSBIOSIS

INFLAMMATION

ALLERGIES

AUTOIMMUNE DISORDERS

ASTHMA

SUPER IMMUNITY

PREBIOTICS & PROBIOTICS

SACCHAROMYCES BOULARDII

KEFIR

THE STANDARD AMERICAN DIET (SAD)

HOW TO REVERSE AUTOIMMUNE DISEASE

ADDICTIONS – GLUTEN

GENETICALLY MODIFIED ORGANISMS – OUR FOOD

TRANSFER FACTOR

 

 

 

REFERENCES

Cagne, C. (2014). Wild Weather & Our Allergies. Allergic Living, 4:2, 32-37.

EPA. (2012). A Brief Guide to Mold, Moisture, and Your Home: Hidden Mold. See:  http://www.epa.gov/mold/hiddenmold.html

RebuildAdjustNY.org. (2013). Mold: NYC’s Health Crisis Post-Sandy. See:  http://www.rebuildajustny.org/wp-content/uploads/2013/04/Resource-Post-mold-remediation-Sandy-Mold-Health-Fact-Sheet2.pdf

U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. (2011). Allergies Getting Worse? See: http://www.epa.gov/research/gems/scinews_aeroallergens.htm

 

 

 

 

© Copyright 2014 Joan Rothchild Hardin. All Rights Reserved.

 

DISCLAIMER:  Nothing on this site or blog is intended to provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.

 

 

The Standard American Diet (SAD)

What a McDonald's Commercial Should Look Like
What a McDonald’s Commercial Should Look Like
I decided to return to the subject of the Standard American Diet after seeing this comedian’s skit “What a Chicken McNuggets commercial would look like if McDonald’s were being honest”.

 

 

This is the Standard American Diet – aptly abbreviated as SAD – shown as a pie chart:

 

SAD-pie-chart1

 

 

Here’s another way of looking at the Standard American Diet – as percentages of calories derived from plant, animal and processed foods:

 

 

 

Standard American Diet as Percentages of Calories Consumed
Source: USDA Economic Research Service, 2009

 

 

 

 And the SAD as represented in another pie chart – this one showing the number of calories we get from various sources:

 

 

standard-american-diet2009

 

 

No matter how the Standard American Diet is represented, it’s clearly bad news for our health.

 

the-soda-pop-board-of-america-1950s

 

 

The Standard American Diet is how the vast majority of Americans eat.  It is characterized by high intake of sweets, animal products, cooking oils, high-fat and processed  foods. People living on SAD have a higher incidence of  heart disease and cancers. (Fuhrman, 2011) (Hardin, 2013 -a)
It is well known that factory farmed and processed foods are more likely to cause illness than organically grown, unprocessed foods. Yet 90 percent of the American food budget is spent on processed and fast foods.  (Schlosser, 2001)

 

 

 

sad-american-diet-is-made-for-warehouse.preview

 

 

The Standard American Diet is high in refined sugars and red meat, both of which severely acidify the body, producing inflammation – the gateway to many serious ailments. An overly acidic diet is at the core of many symptoms such as fatigue, digestive imbalances, emotional imbalances and anxiety. Adding foods to our daily diet that alkalinize the blood, urine and saliva can help restore balance and health again. (Hardin, 2014 -a)

 

 804-health-food-choices-95

 

 

We all know that adult and childhood obesity has become a serious health issue in the US and elsewhere. Beginning in the 1950′s, when calorie-dense/nutrient poor foods and beverages started becoming standard fare in this country, the number of people consuming the Standard American Diet has steadily risen – much to the detriment of both our microbiota and our overall health. (Hardin, 2013 -c)

 

 

Evolution-of-Obesity

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

THE NITTY GRITTY ON CHICKEN MCNUGGETS

 

McDonald's Chicken McNuggets
McDonald’s Chicken McNuggets

 

Chicken McNuggets, introduced by McDonald’s in 1983,  consist of small pieces of processed chicken meat that have been battered and deep fried.
As of October 9, 2010, the ingredients in McDonald’s Chicken McNuggets within the United States are as follows (Wikipedia, 2014):

Chicken, water, salt, sodium phosphates.

Battered and breaded with bleached wheat flour, water, modified food starch, salt, spices, wheat gluten, paprika, dextrose (sugar), yeast, garlic powder, rosemary, partially hydrogenated soybean oil and cottonseed oil with mono- and diglycerides, leavening (sodium acid pyrophosphate, baking soda, ammonium bicarbonate, monocalcium phosphate), natural flavor (plant source) with extractives of paprika.

Fried in vegetable oil (canola oil, corn oil, soybean oil, hydrogenated soybean oil with TBHQ and citric acid).

Dimethylpolysiloxane is added as an anti-foaming agent.

Chicken McNuggets’ ingredients can vary outside the US.

 

 

 

282040_4787232683081_1779435292_n-300x282

 

 

 

Nutritional value in 10 pieces of Chicken McNuggets – not including sauce (McDonalds, 2014):
Chicken McNuggets
Nutritional value per 10 pieces (162 g) No sauce
Energy 440 kcal (1,800 kJ)
Carbohydrates 30 g (10%)
Sugars 0 g
Dietary fiber 2 g
Fat 30 g (44%)
Saturated 5 g (25%)
Protein 22 g
Vitamins
Vitamin A equiv. (0%)0 μg
Vitamin C (2%)2 mg
Trace metals
Calcium (2%)20 mg
Iron (8%)1 mg
Sodium (60%)900 mg
Other constituents
Energy from fat 270 kcal (1,100 kJ)
Cholesterol 65 mg (22%)
May vary outside United States.
Percentages are roughly approximated using US recommendations for adults.

 

 

This list doesn’t even include the sauce! The second-most plentiful ingredient in the McDonald’s Sweet Chili Sauce shown below is sugar. The whole ingredients list for this sauce is:

Water, Sugar, Distilled Vinegar, Cayenne Peppers, Modified Food Starch, Salt, Garlic Puree, Dried Red Peppers, Sodium Benzoate (Preservative)

(McDonald’s 2014)

 

 

McDonald's Sweet Chili Sauce for Chicken McNuggets
McDonald’s Sweet Chili Sauce for Chicken McNuggets

 

And … you can be sure the ingredients in Chicken McNuggets, their various sauces and the other items on the McDonald’s menu aren’t organic so you’re getting a good dose of genetically modified organisms with each serving.

 

 

Seven Side Effects of Soda
Seven Side Effects of Soda

 

 

In case you’re interested in looking at what’s in other McDonald’s dishes, here’s a list of ingredients published by McDonald’s: McDonald’s USA Ingredients Listing for Popular Menu Items.

 

 

Our Western Diet - SAD
Our Western Diet – SAD

 

 

 

See INFLAMMATION to read more about how the Standard American Diet adversely affects  our health.

 

 

FOODS-THAT-CAUSE-INFLAMMATION

 

 

See GENETICALLY MODIFIED ORGANISMS – OUR FOOD  for more information on the problems with consuming genetically engineered foods.

 

images-1

 

 

 

 

how_to_avoid_gmo_foods1

 

 

 

 

warning3

 

 

 

 

REFERENCES

Fuhrman, J. (2011). Super Immunity: The essential nutrition guide for boosting your body’s defenses to live longer, stronger, and disease free.

Hardin, J.R. (2013 -a). Intriguing Facts About the Gut and Brain.  AllergiesAndYourGut.com. See: http://allergiesandyourgut.com/the-gut-brain-axis/intriguing-facts-about-the-gut-and-brain/

Hardin, J.R. (2013 -b). Inflammation.  AllergiesAndYourGut.com. See:  http://allergiesandyourgut.com/symbiosis-versus-dysbiosis/inflammation/

Hardin, J.R. (2013 -c). Weight and Food Intake Regulation. AllergiesAndYourGut.com.  See:  http://allergiesandyourgut.com/symbiosis-versus-dysbiosis/weight-and-food-intake-regulation/

Hardin, J.R. (2014 -a). Umeboshi Plums – Tasty and Alkalinizing. AllergiesAndYourGut.com.  See:  http://allergiesandyourgut.com/2014/04/16/umeboshi-plum-vinegar-tasty-alkalinizing-food/ “Umeboshi Plums – Tasty and Alkalinizing

Hardin, J.R. (2014 -b). Genetically Modified Organisms – Our Food. AllergiesAndYourGut.com. See: http://allergiesandyourgut.com/?s=genetically

HealthFreedoms.org. (2014). WHAT A MCDONALD’S COMMERCIAL SHOULD LOOK LIKE. See: http://healthfreedoms.org/2014/07/08/what-a-mcdonalds-commercial-should-look-like/

McDonald’s. (2014). McDonald’s USA Ingredients Listing for Popular Menu Items. See:  http://nutrition.mcdonalds.com/getnutrition/ingredientslist.pdf

Schlosser, E. (2001). Fast Food Nation: The dark side of the all-American meal.

Wikipedia. (2014). Chicken McNuggets. See: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chicken_McNuggetsChicken McNuggets

 

 

© Copyright 2014 Joan Rothchild Hardin. All Rights Reserved.

 

DISCLAIMER:  Nothing on this site or blog is intended to provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.

 

No Bad Bruising After a Nasty Fall

Updated 7/6/2014, 7/25/2014 & 1/30/2015.

 

9092096-businessman-falling-down-the-stairs

 

No, I didn’t fall down the stairs like the unfortunate man in the photo above – but I certainly did splat face down onto the floor in my own apartment a week ago. I was holding the phone in my left hand and running to answer the doorbell when I apparently tripped over the edge of a small carpet. I suspect my cat had flipped it over while she was racing around that morning and I didn’t notice it since my eyes were on the doorbell intercom screen.
At any rate, I landed gracelessly and heavily on both knees, elbows,  hands, upper chest, and chin – causing me to bite my upper lip in the bargain. But I didn’t let go of the phone so the poor woman on the other end heard me go down – and heard whatever utterances I made in the process.
As I was lying there, the ad, “Help! I’ve fallen and can’t get up!’ flashed through my mind. It turned out I was able to push myself up to standing, tell the woman I’d  call her back and answer the bell.
Fortunately, my chiropractor had time to squeeze in an appointment a few hours later. She got my skeleton more or less back into alignment – not fun. Then the only way I was able to get off the chiropractic table, where she had me lying face down to work on my back, was to ooze slowly onto the floor and pull myself up from there. Definitely not fun.
According to bone scans a few years ago, my osteopenia has become osteoporosis so a fall like this might have had serious consequences.
In the past, whenever I’ve fallen or bumped myself, colorful bruises going from blue and red to yellow and green have always resulted.
OK. That’s the background of why I’m writing this blog post. It’s what happened after the fall that has amazed me and will likely interest you.

 

 

 

 

bruises_by_freakmo_sfx-d60zc2z

 

 

bruise01

 

 

 

 

WHY BRUISES FORM AND HOW THEY HEAL

Reprinted from Bruises: Causes and Treatments by Sarah Winkler (1998-2014)

Bruising appears when tiny blood vessel, or capillaries, break due to a blow to the skin. The appearance of a bruise changes over time, and you can tell how old a bruise is and where it is in the process of healing by observing its color. Generally, your skin should look normal again in about two to three weeks after an injury.

  • When a bruise is brand new, it will appear reddish due to the color of the blood that leaked from the capillaries under the skin.
  • At one to two days old, a bruise will take on a bluish or purple color. The swelling at the site of the bruise will cause oxygen to be cut off, and hemoglobin, the substance that carries iron in your blood, will turn blue.
  • At six days old, a bruise will turn a greenish color as the hemoglobin breaks down and the area begins to heal itself.
  • At eight to nine days old, a bruise will then turn yellow or brown. This is the final stage in the body’s re-absorption of the blood.

 

 

 

 

 

Arnica montana (Credit: Köhler–s Medizinal-Pflanzen)
Arnica montana
(Credit: Köhler–s Medizinal-Pflanzen)

 

 

ARNICA

After I’d scraped myself off the floor and dealt with the postman, I immediately started taking Boiron’s homeopathic Arnica montana pellets – five pellets dissolved under the tongue 3X/day.

 

306960075134

 

I also started applying arnica externally to the bruises where the skin hadn’t been broken – sometimes my old favorite, Nelson’s Arnica Cream,

 

nelsons-arnicare-arnica-cream-30g__50175_zoom

 

 

and other times MJ’s Herbals’ Arnica Salve.

 

812dxejbV3L._SY355_

 

 

Arnica montana, a European daisy-like mountain plant also known as leopard’s bane, wolf’s bane and mountain tobacco, has been used for centuries to heal bruises, sprains, sore muscles, muscle spasms, arthritis and joint pain. It comes in the form of homeopathic ointments, creams, gels and salves to be applied externally to areas with unbroken skin; homeopathic pellets to be taken internally; and tinctures to be used in compresses. (Weil, 2014) (Wikipedia, 2014)

 

 

 

 

PROBIOTICS FROM SUPPLEMENTS AND FERMENTED FOODS

 

bacteria

 

I’ve been taking probiotics and other high quality supplements for several years now to keep my gut microbiome – and everything else – healthy. Apparently I’ve been successful:  My last thermography report showed only a slight amount of inflammation in my digestive tract and elsewhere, a huge improvement from where I started.
Currently, I’m taking:
  • Flora Synergy (Energenix)                                          5 2x/day before meals
  • Catalyst-C (Energenix)                                                 1 3x/day before meals
  • Saccharomyces boulardii + MOS (Jarrow)          1-2 3x/day after meals
  • Transfer Factor Plus (4Life)                                       1-2 3x/day before meals
  • Coral Legend Plus (Premier Research Lab)        1 2x/day before meals
  • Phyto Cal-Mag Plus (Energetix)                               3 @ lunch/3 after dinner
  • Allicidin (Premier Research Labs)                           2 2x/day after meals
  • D3 5000iu (Metagenics)                                               1x/day
  • Ostera (Metagenics)                                                      1x/day
  • Super Omega-3 Fish Oil Concentrate                    1 2x/day                                                            1,000mg soft gels (Carlson)
NOTE: This is the right combination of probiotics and other supplements for me. That doesn’t mean it’s what would be good for you.

 

I’ve also been eating more cleanly – no gluten, more greens, more healthy saturated fats (from animal and other sources – such as coconuts), fewer unhealthy fats, less refined sugar, fewer processed foods, more organic foods, fewer GMO foods and products. And I’ve included fermented foods such as kefir and real sauerkraut in my diet and started taking a juice-based supplement called Jusuru Life Blend (more on it below).

 

To read more about probiotics, see Prebiotics and Probiotics.
To read more about the probiotic yeast Saccharomyces boulardii, see here.
To read about kefir, see Kefir.

 

 

 

 

LIQUID BIOCELL LIFE   (Jusuru, 2013)

After the fall, I increased my daily dose of Liquid BioCell Life (formerly called Jusuru) from 2 ounces 1X/day to 2 ounces 2X/day to promote healing in my ribs, cartilage and the areas of soft tissue damage.
Liquid BioCell Life is an innovative, well-researched and tested, juice-based neutraceutical that promotes joint, skin, cardiovascular and cellular health. Research on fruit-derived polyphenols has demonstrated their antioxidant and anti-inflammatory benefits, neutralizing the free radicals that cause cell damage.
Jusuru, the company name, comes from the Japanese word meaning, ‘To live!’
Liquid BioCell Life contains:
  • BioCell Collagen®
  • Resveratrol
  • Antioxidants

 

 

BIOCELL COLLAGEN®

BioCell Collagen contains Hydrolyzed Collagen, Hyaluronic Acid and Chondroitin Sulfate, ingredients that have been shown in clinical trails to:
  • Promote skin firmness, resilience and hydration
  • Promotes joint lubrication and improves joint mobility
  • Reduce stiffness and discomfort
  • Rebuild cartilage and connective tissue
  • Help retard the overall aging process
  • Improve eye health
  • Nourish the scalp for healthier hair
  • Strengthen nails
  • Improve gum health by strengthening gingival fibers that attach the teeth
HYDROLYZED COLLAGEN
  • The most abundant protein found in joint cartilage and the dermis of the skin
  • Provides the structural framework for connective tissues to keep skin firm and resilient, and joints active and fluid
HYALURONIC ACID
  • The gel-like substance that holds cells together
  • A molecule that helps provide hydration to skin and lubrication to joints
  • Found anywhere there is moisture in the body

 

CHONDROITIN SULFATE
  • A naturally occurring protein
  • Gives cartilage its amazing shock-absorbing properties
  • Fills the ground substance in skin dermis

 

 

 

RESVERATROL

  • A potent antioxidant found in the skin of red grapes that makes red wine good for you
  • Each 2-ounce dose of Jusuru Life Blend contains the same amount of resveratrol as 4 bottles of red wine
  • “The French Paradox” explains why the French are heart-healthy and age gracefully

 

 

 

ANTIOXIDANTS

  • Antioxidant health benefits delivered via 13 superfruits – blueberry, mangosteen, açai berry, noni, red grapes, maqui, strawberry, apple, nopal, jujube, gogi, cranberry and pomegranate
  • Neutralizes free radicals to start the chain reaction toward improved health

 

I can attest that the juice is delicious tasting! It has also been most helpful in healing my colon from the nasty Clostridium difficile infection I battled in 2010.
See the Jusuru Life Blend Product Fact Sheet for a list of research reports on the supplement.


 

 

WOBENZYM® N

 

 

wobenzym-n1

 

 

When I spoke with David Miller, MD, one of my trusted health advisers,  six days after the fall, he approved of what I was doing and taking to recover from my injuries. He also suggested adding another supplement, Wobenzym® N – a combination of enzymes that’s especially good for promoting bone, tendon and muscle healing. It’s a German product that’s been around for 50 years.
The dose Dr Miller recommended for me is five tablets 2-3 hours after dinner or 45 minutes before a meal.

 

 

 

ABOUT WOBENZYM N  (Douglas Laboratories Canada, 2008) (Garden of Life, 2014)

 

Wobenzym N is a systemic enzyme formula containing a synergistic combination of plant-based enzymes, pancreatic enzymes and antioxidants. It was first introduced in Germany in the 1960’s. Its powerful yet delicate enzymes are contained in a vegetable-based enteric coating to ensure they reach the small intestine intact. The enzymes then get absorbed from the small intestine into the blood stream.
Wobenzym N:
  • Provides clinically demonstrated relief from everyday aches, pains and muscle soreness due to everyday activity and injuries
  • Promotes increased flexibility and mobility
  • Supports joint and tendon health
  • Maintains and supports a balanced immune system
  • Promotes health blood circulation
  • Supports health aging
  • Works holistically — throughout the entire body

 

 

BENEFITS OF THE ENZYMES IN WOBENZYM N
Enzymes are fascinating essential biological catalysts involved in almost every single process in the body. They initiate millions of chemical reactions every second in the human body. It is easy to see why supplementing with systemic enzymes can have far-reaching benefits to the human body.
The enzyme blend in Wobenzym N contains the following, clinically studied enzymes: pancreatin, papain (papaya extract), bromelain (pineapple extract), trypsin and chymotrypsin (pancreatic enzymes). Each of these is a protease – meaning they break down proteins. The formula also contains the antioxidant flavonoid rutin.
This supplement provides systematic enzyme support to assist the body’s various regulatory and communication systems, especially the immune system. As I’ve stressed throughout this site, a balanced immune system is necessary for good health. In order to make sure that the systemic effect of the enzyme support succeeds, active enzyme molecules must be available in the small intestine for absorption.

 

WHY THE ENZYMES NEED TO BE TAKEN ON AN EMPTY STOMACH
Wobenzym N is best taken on an empty stomach – at least 30 minutes before a meal or at least two hours after the last meal of the day – to maximize its absorption from the small intestine into the blood stream.
For the enzymes to function properly, the supplement should be taken with a glass of water at room temperature or below. If it’s taken with a warm to hot liquid such as coffee or tea, the enteric coating on the tablets may become compromised, interfering with the enzymes’ reaching the small intestine. Taking it with milk may disturb the absorption of the enzymes within the small intestine.

 

 

Wobenzym-N Ingredients List
Wobenzym-N Ingredients List

 

 

For more information on Wobenzym-N, see Douglas Laboratories – Canada’s Fact Sheet and  Garden of Life.

 

 

 

THE HEALING THAT HAS AMAZED ME

During this past week since I fell, I’ve seen only a tiny, pale blue bruise on one leg – and that little one disappeared after a day. The tips of both elbows are bright red but have never turned any other color. I continue to be sore, swollen in the damaged places and stiff in the knees but the heavy bruising I was expecting never materialized. I figured this all was either a sign of something dreadful – or a very good sign.
The second night after the fall, when the tissue swelling had gone down a little on the side of my chest that had taken the brunt of the fall, I realized there was also some sharp pain underneath so had chest X-rays the following day – which revealed small fractures in the 6th and 9th ribs on that side. Four X-rays of my injured left hand didn’t reveal any breakage.
My health adviser,  David Miller, MD, gave an interesting explanation for why I’ve had no visible bruises anyplace on my body from that major fall: He says it’s because all the probiotic and other supplements I take regularly, plus the Jusuru drink supplement I’ve been taking the last few months, have gotten my circulatory system into great shape, allowing the blood that escaped from the damaged capillaries to get quickly and efficiently re-absorbed by my body. The homeopathic Arnica montana I’ve been taken internally and the arnica salve and cream I’ve applied externally since the fall have helped too. He expects my ribs to heal quickly. (Miller, 2014) Given what’s happened already – and what’s not happened,  I do too.

 

 

 

Pain-Scale

 

 

I’d rate the pain resulting from this fall as 3.5 at its highest and most of the time as around 2. Using Kristin Prevallet’s techniques as described in her book Visual Comfort: Pain Management and the Unconscious Mind, I’ve been able to get it to 0.5 much of the time – ie, I’m not much aware of it.
For more on Kristin’s techniques, see Visualize Comfort.

 

 

 

 

 

june-july_stump

 

 

UPDATE A MONTH AFTER THE FALL

July 8th:
About two weeks after the fall, to further support healing, Dr Miller suggested I increase my dose of Wobenzym N for five days, from 5 tablets before bedtime to 10 tablets 45 minutes before breakfast + 10 tablets 45 minutes before dinner or at bedtime – and then return to 5 tablets before bedtime.
July 11th:
City MD, where I had the chest and hand X-rays a few days after the fall, made a follow-up appointment for me with a hand surgeon. She said she couldn’t tell what she needed to know from those four X-rays of my hand so did five more, looked at the area with ultrasound, and fit my hand with a splint to immobilize the possibly broken thumb. She also ordered two MRI’s so she could see if there was perhaps a bone chip or ligament damage around the thumb or in the wrist.
The splint was a mixed blessing – it gave my thumb and wrist a rest but pressed right on the exquisitely painful area.
July 16th:
The MRI’s told the hand surgeon that there were no broken bones or bone chips, the tendons were unharmed, but there was considerable arthritis in that thumb (from an old repetitive strain injury) and a large fluid-filled cyst at the joint in my left thumb that was causing swelling, pain, and impeding usage – a result of the fall.
She used an U/S machine to locate the cyst and give a cortisone shot right into it. Not fun – but the swelling and pain did recede and gave me back the use of that hand.
She also cut the splint down and made it looser in the area of the cyst. I only wear the splint now when I’m in a situation (such as on the subway or in a crowd) where my hand might get bumped.
July 23
This is the most interesting experience so far in my efforts to heal from the fall:
I saw a chiropractor who works mostly with energy to heal the physical body and soothe the energy stored in the body from past traumas.
These are the healing modalities he uses:
Applied Kinesiology, Total Body Modification (TBM), Matrix Energetics + Garcia Innergetics (Quantum Physics-based energy work), Yuen Method (energy-based work), Eyelight Therapy, Natural Healing Systems, Graston (myofascial technique used by pro and college sports teams), Theta Healing (energy-based work focused on flipping belief systems), NET (Neuro-Emotional Technique), The Sedona Method, Sat Nam Rasayan (yogic healing), Cold Low Level Laser therapy, Activator, and other modalities + techniques he’s created on his own. He also draws upon his knowledge as a certified Kundalini Yoga instructor, certified
Sedona Method coach, Neurolinguistic Programming (NLP) practitioner, and Kabbalah Student.
I had some quite vivid dreams that night – not nightmares. In the one I remember, my left leg from ankle to just above the knee was covered with vivid red and blue bruises. Supposedly they were an aftermath of the 6/25 fall but even in the dream I knew they weren’t really there.
I felt very good the following day – barely aware of my fractured ribs, the residual swelling in my left thumb area was gone, and I generally felt lighter in my body and mind.
There was also lots of peeing going on yesterday & today – releasing of toxins.
While I’m certainly not glad to have fallen and incurred these injuries, I am glad for what I’ve learned during the healing process this past month.

 

 

 

healing-beach-help-it

 

 

 

REFERENCES

Douglas Laboratories – Canada. (2008). Wobenzym-N.  See:  http://www.wobenzym.ca/facts.cfm

Garden of Life. (2014). Wobenzym-N. See:  http://www.gardenoflife.com/Products-for-Life/Immunity-Support/Wobenzym-N.aspx

Hardin, J.R. (2013). Kefir. AllergiesAndYourGut.com.  See: http://allergiesandyourgut.com/superimmunity/kefir/

Hardin, J.R. (2013). Prebiotics and Probiotics. AllergiesAndYourGut.com.  See: http://allergiesandyourgut.com/superimmunity/prebiotics-and-probiotics/

Hardin, J.R. (2014). Saccharomyces boulardii. AllergiesAndYourGut.com.  See: http://allergiesandyourgut.com/superimmunity/saccharomyces-boulardii/

Hardin, J.R. (2014). Visualize Comfort. AllergiesAndYourGut.com.  See: http://allergiesandyourgut.com/2014/06/30/visualizing-comfort/

Jusuru. (2013). Jusuru Life Blend™ Product Fact Sheet. See:  http://www.jusururesources.com/Product%20Materials/Jusuru_ProductFactSheet_USA_v01_Sep2011.pdf

Miller, D. (2014). Personal communication.

Prevallet, K. (2014). Visualize Comfort: Pain Management and the Unconscious Mind (Book 3, v.1).  Wide Reality Books: NYC.

Weil, A. (2014). Herbal Remedies – Arnica. See:   http://www.drweil.com/drw/u/REM00027/Arnica-Dr-Weil-Herbal-Remedies.html

Wikipedia. (2014). Arnica montana. See:  http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Arnica_montana

Winkler, S. (1998-2014. Bruises: Causes and Treatments. HowStuffWorks.com.  See: http://health.howstuffworks.com/skin-care/problems/beauty/bruise1.htm

 

© Copyright 2014 Joan Rothchild Hardin. All Rights Reserved.

 

DISCLAIMER:  Nothing on this site or blog is intended to provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.