| Hypno-Reiki: A Way to Let Go of the Pain
Are you suffering? “Chronic pain is a problem that has reached near epidemic proportions,” said Edward Covington, M.D., director of the Chronic Pain Rehabilitation Program at the Cleveland Clinic. “The ‘can do, can cope’ spirit of Americans can lead to untreated chronic pain, which has a severe impact on people’s work, personal relationships, hobbies, and even sex, and can greatly diminish their quality of life. In addition to physical disability, it may also lead to irritability, anxiety, or depression.”
Do you endure discomfort to the point that it is affecting the way you live your life? Are you sick and tired of conventional methods of pain management? Are you taking pills that aren’t effective? Is your medication creating negative side effects? Are you ready to try something new? Perhaps it is time to consider an integrative approach to healing… a new way based on ancient methods. Are you aware of Hypno-Reiki?
Hypno-Reiki is a combination of two powerful methods of healing, Hypnosis and Reiki. Each method has proven to be effective, but when used together, the modality has great potential. Hypnosis is a deep state of relaxation, or altered state of consciousness created by focused attention. For thousands of years, it has been used as an effective method for relief of physical pain and discomfort. In the hypnotic state, we are open to positive suggestions and imagery which will create change. It is an ideal time to implement other therapeutic modalities, such as Reiki, because our whole system is primed to healing. Reiki, a healing practice originated in Japan, is a non-invasive, gentle modality which translates to “spiritually guided life force energy or universal healing energy”. It helps the body’s natural ability to heal itself though the flow and focusing of energy.
The Center for Disease Control reports in 2002 that 62% of U.S. adults had used some form of Complementary and Alternative Medicine (CAM), often in conjunction with other alternative and conventional medical treatments. The 2007 National Health Interview Survey, which included a comprehensive survey of CAM use by Americans, found that “people use Reiki for relaxation, stress reduction, and symptom relief, in efforts to improve overall health and well-being. Reiki has been used by people with anxiety, chronic pain, HIV/AIDS, and other health conditions, as well as by people recovering from surgery or experiencing side effects from treatments.”
Hypnotherapy can help with the perception of pain, by changing the expectation. In studies about how the human brain and nervous system work, Dr. Kenneth Casey, a professor of neurology at the University of Michigan and a neurology consultant to the VA Health Care System in Ann Arbor states that “the brain has mechanisms to directly control what we feel, it actively controls the flow of sensory information that results in our perceptions.” In fact, key regions of the brain appear to react as much to the expectation of pain as much as they do to actual painful stimulation. The mind can alter the feeling of pain by substituting another feeling such as heat, tingling, numbness. It can also divert the location of pain to another body part, thereby allowing relief. In a January 5, 2004 article by Benedict Carey, The Los Angeles Times reports “the brain can virtually shut down pain signals when preoccupied.”
At that point, the body’s energy system is aligned with thoughts of health and wellness. The body-mind connection is fully functioning while in the state of hypnosis. The mind doesn’t know the difference between what is imagined and what is perceived as reality. When Reiki is administered to someone in the hypnotic state, the benefits are magnified. The healing power of life force energy is added and the whole body becomes at peace.
Though Reiki may be an unfamiliar term and may sound "new-agey," the effectiveness of this ancient treatment has been shown. The International Journal of Behavioral Medicine reviewed 66 clinical trials on biofield therapies. It was concluded that there was strong evidence that biofield therapies such as Reiki help reduce the intensity of pain. Julie Kusiak, MA, a Reiki practitioner in the integrative medicine department at Beaumont Hospital in Royal Oak, Michigan, states, "Recent studies on Reiki therapy reflect a broad spectrum of its benefit for pain relief.” Examples cited were decreased anxiety and pain, lower fatigue, reduced depression and better quality of life.
Hypnosis and Reiki create profoundly relaxing effects, which make the combination of Hypno-Reiki even more effective for the treatment of anxiety, stress and pain. Hypno-Reiki complements any other form of medical treatment, as there are no contraindications. There is a long history of both scientific and anecdotal evidence to support the use of behavioral and relaxation approaches to treat chronic pain. The American Hospital Association President and CEO Rich Umbdenstock stated, “Complementary and alternative medicine has shown great promise in supporting and stimulating healing. It’s one of the many tools hospitals look to as they continue to create optimal healing environments for the patients they serve.”
Much research concludes the effectiveness of hypnosis as an alternative method of healing. Scientific American Mind’s (July, 2005) article titled “The Truth and the Hype of Hypnosis” which stated that “hypnosis has been shown to be a real phenomenon with a variety of therapeutic uses- especially in controlling pain.” The article further cites a meta-analysis published by the International Journal of Clinical and Experimental Hypnosis which found that “the pain relieving effect of hypnosis is often substantial, and in a few cases the degree of relief matches or exceeds that provided by morphine.”
In Biofield Therapies:A Best Evidence Synthesis,a systematic review examined 66 clinical studies and found “equivocal evidence for biofield therapies’ effects on fatigue and quality of life for cancer patients, as well as for comprehensive pain outcomes and affect in pain patients, and for decreasing anxiety in cardiovascular patients”. Currently, there is a peer review method for analyzing the state of scientific studies done on Reiki programs in hospitals and clinics. The process is rigorous, impartial and incorporates the best practices for scientific review. Dr Mehmet Oz is a proponent of Reiki and is often quoted as saying, “Reiki has become a sought-after healing art among patients and mainstream medical professionals.”
According to a 2008 American Hospital Association survey, 84% of hospitals indicated patient demand as the reason for offering Complementary and Alternative Medicine services because of “clinical effectiveness”. Simply stated, it works.
More and more, science tells us that the condition of our body is directly related to our positive thoughts of wellness or our negative thoughts of stress, anxiety and pain. Thoughts are energy. Thoughts create. Your body is a manifestation of the thoughts of your sub-conscious mind. You have the power to change the way you think and to change the way you feel. There is an unlimited supply of “spiritually guided life force energy” available to you to help create your natural state of being, which is a state of well-being. If you are suffering, you can give yourself permission to let go of the pain. You can change your expectations and move toward a better, more joyful life. Perhaps Hypno-Reiki is the way to do it!
Patricia Lynn Belkowitz, C.Ht., EFT-CC, and Claire Staffa, RM, HM
Patricia Belkowitz is a clinical Hypnotherapist focusing on health and wellness. Claire Staffa is a certified Reiki Master specializing in balance, harmony, and assist the body to heal itself. They practice together at Dr. Sharon Norling’s Mind Body Spirit Center in Westlake Village. For more information about Patricia go to www.TheMindMatters.com and to find out about Claire, visit www.HarmoniousReiki.com or log on to www.TheMBSC.com.
| BPA in Food Packaging Study
What happens when you try to get BPA out of your diet? The Breast Cancer Fund and Silent Spring Institute enlisted five families to participate in a study of BPA and phthalate exposure from food packaging to find out. The results were published in Environmental Health Perspectives (March 2011).
For three days, they provided fresh food—not canned or packaged in plastic—to each family. They avoided canned foods and drinks and meals prepared outside the home.
The effect was significant. While the families were eating fresh food, their BPA levels dropped an average of 60 percent.
The takeaway: you can reduce your BPA exposure by cooking fresh foods at home, avoiding canned foods, choosing glass and stainless steel food and beverage containers, and not microwaving in plastic.
BACKGROUND: Bisphenol A (BPA) and bis(2-ethylhexyl) phthalate (DEHP) are high-production-volume chemicals used in plastics and resins for food packaging. They have been associated with endocrine disruption in animals and in some human studies. Human exposure sources have been estimated, but the relative contribution of dietary exposure to total intake has not been studied empirically.
OBJECTIVES: To evaluate the contribution of food packaging to exposure, we measured urinary BPA and phthalate metabolites before, during and after a “fresh foods” dietary intervention.
METHODS: We selected 20 participants in five families based on self-reported use of canned and packaged foods. Participants ate their usual diet, followed by three days of “fresh foods” that were not canned or packaged in plastic, and then returned to their usual diet. We collected evening urine samples over eight days in January 2010 and composited them into pre-intervention, intervention, and post-intervention samples. We used mixed effects models for repeated measures and Wilcoxon signed rank tests to assess change in urinary levels across time.
RESULTS: Urine levels of BPA and DEHP metabolites decreased significantly during the fresh foods intervention (e.g., BPA geometric mean 3.7 ng/mL pre-intervention and 1.2 ng/mL during intervention; MEHHP geometric mean 57 ng/mL vs 25 ng/mL). The intervention reduced geometric mean concentrations of BPA by 66% and DEHP metabolites by 53-56%. Maxima were reduced by 76% for BPA and 93-96% for DEHP metabolites.
CONCLUSIONS: BPA and DEHP exposures were substantially reduced when participants’ diets were restricted to food with limited packaging.
| LUNAFEST Seeking Films by Women
LUNAFEST is a traveling film festival of notable and award-wining short fils by, for and about women. Films tour 150+ venues and screen in front of 20,000 people across the US and Canada.
Established in 2000, LUNAFESTpromotes women filmmakers, raises awareness for women’s issues and support women’s nonprofit organizations. To date, Lunafest has raised over $575,000 for local women’s community nonprofit organizations.
They are looking for films By, For & About Women at LUNAFEST.
LUNAFEST is looking for films by amateurs, students and aspiring indi filmakers. We are seeking a diverse range of films which embody the unique, touching and inspirational forles of women in our local, national and international communities. We are especially thrilled to receive animated, documentary, international and humorous pieces.
Short films must be 20 minutes of less and directed and/or produced by a female. There is no limitation based on the year of production. Winning filmmakers are awarede $1,000 cash!
100% of LUNAFEST porceeds go to non-profit organzations – 15% are donated to the Breast Cancer Fund, the leading national organziation focused on preventing breast cancer before it starts, and 85% to local women’s nonprofits.
Submit your film postmarked by April 1, 2011 through withoutabox or online at LUNAFEST.
Submit your film, Share your story, Support local communities.
Host a LUNAFEST in your community!
For more information, please contact:
Suzy Starke German
LUNAFEST Program Manager
| Breathing Basics By Andrew Weil, MD
Breathing: Basic How-To's
At the very center of our being is rhythmic movement, a cyclic expansion and contraction that is both in our body and outside it, that is both in our mind and in our body, that is both in our consciousness and not in it. Breath is the essence of being, and in all aspects of the universe we can see the same rhythmic pattern of expansion and contraction, whether in the alternating cycles of day and night, waking and sleeping, high and low tides, or seasonal growth and decay. Oscillation between two phases exists at every level of reality, even up to the scale of the observable universe itself, which is presently in expansion but will at some point contract back to the original, unimaginable point that is everything and nothing, completing one cosmic breath.
Breathing is a natural object of meditation. By putting attention on your breath, you will change your state of consciousness, begin to relax, and detach from ordinary awareness. Many systems of meditation use focus on breath as the main technique. In the Buddhist and yogic traditions are many examples of people who reached enlightenment by doing nothing other than paying attention to the rising and falling of their own breath. In this sort of meditation you can try to experience the dimensionless point between inbreath and outbreath and to glimpse enlightenment in that space. You can come to know reality itself as an eternal oscillation between being and nonbeing. All this is possible from experiencing breath, which is the mystery of being unfolding right in front of our noses, connecting us to the universal rhythm.
If today you can be aware of breathing for 10 seconds more than you were yesterday, you will have taken a measurable step toward enlightenment, will have expanded your consciousness, furthered communication between mind and body, become a little more whole, and so improved your health. While diet and exercise are important, they are not the sole determinants of health. People who eat excellent diets and exercise faithfully are not always healthy, but the likelihood of being a healthy person who does not breathe well is slim.
When learning how to breathe, begin by closing your eyes for a few minutes. Practice moving your breath. Keep your back straight. Begin with a deep, audible sigh, then quietly inhale and see how slow, deep, quiet and regular you can make your breathing and still have it feel perfectly comfortable. You should feel that you are getting enough air with no sense of not getting enough air. Do this for at least eight breaths, then open your eyes and breathe normally. This is a simple exercise but an effective one, and you should do it whenever you can.
Next, pay attention to your exhalation. If you watch people breathe, you will see that most of them use effort to inhale but none to exhale. Exhalation is usually passive and takes less time than inhalation. When you breathe this way, you do not move nearly as much air in and out of your lungs as you can. The more air you move, the healthier you will be, because the functioning of all systems of the body depends on delivery of oxygen and removal of carbon dioxide. To get more air into your lungs, concentrate on getting more air out of them by attending to exhalation.
At the end of a normal breath try squeezing more air out. You will be using your intercostal muscles to do this, and you will feel the effort as they compress the rib cage. Try to make your exhalation as long or even slightly longer than inhalation. Whenever you think of it, practice this technique of extending exhalation and developing your intercostal muscles.
| Reduce Stress by Writing About Your Fears
| SEATTLE (AP) — A simple writing exercise can relieve students of test anxiety and may help them get better scores than their less anxious classmates, a new study has found.
The report in Friday's edition of the journal Science says students who spend 10 minutes before an exam writing about their thoughts and feelings can free up brainpower previously occupied by testing worries and do their best work.
"We essentially got rid of this relationship between test anxiety and performance," said Sian L. Beilock, an associate professor in psychology at the University of Chicago and co-author of the study with graduate student Gerardo Ramirez.
Psychologists, educators and parents have known for a long time that the way students perform on a test does not necessarily indicate what knowledge they bring to the table. Test anxiety is fairly common in classrooms, especially in the United States because of its "increasingly test-obsessed culture," Beilock said.
Test anxiety can lead to poorer grades and lower scores on standardized tests and college entrance exams, which can condemn talented students to inferior colleges.
Laura Brady of Basking Ridge, N.J., had a high level of test anxiety as a student. She remembers walking out of a linear algebra study session in college because she thought she was having a heart attack.
She called her mother, who helped Brady, 44, talk her way through her anxiety: "I'm sure she said stuff like, 'At the end of the day, does it matter how you do on this test?'"
Although the attorney still experiences some anxiety before entering a courtroom, she says talking to herself before the trial helps her deal with her nervousness. With her three young sons, she emphasizes effort over achievement.
"That's a struggle I have constantly because there was so much emphasis on achievement in my childhood," Brady said, adding she believes our education system's emphasis on testing has led to much anxiety in the classroom.
The University of Chicago researchers found that students who were prone to test anxiety improved their test grades by nearly one grade point — from a B-minus to a B-plus, for example — if they were given 10 minutes before an exam to write about their feelings.
The researchers tested their hypothesis with college students in a lab setting and with high school students in the classroom, by first gauging the level of test anxiety and then offering the writing intervention to some students.
The researchers believe worrying competes for computing power in the brain's "working," or short-term, memory. If working memory is focused on worrying, it can't help a person recall all the information his brain stored in preparation for the test. It also affects the working memory's ability to stay focused.
Beilock said the idea for the writing exercise came from the use of writing to combat depression.
Expressive writing, in which people write repeatedly about a traumatic or emotional experience over several weeks or months, has been shown to decrease worrying in people who are depressed.
Beilock believes this research is applicable to all kinds of performance anxiety — from giving a speech to interviewing for a job.
"There's a lot we can do to change how we think about the pressures and thus how we perform," she said.
Beilock's book on related research, "Choke: What the Secrets of the Brain Reveal About Getting It Right When You Have To," was published in September by Simon and Schuster.
Beilock and her lab are among the leaders in research on the causes of choking under pressure and what might help relieve it, said Art Markman, professor of psychology at the University of Texas at Austin.
Markman said this report does a good job of taking theoretical research and applying it in an actual classroom.
"This outcome is exactly what her previous work would predict, but going from laboratory studies to more realistic settings is a bridge that is often difficult to cross," said Markman, who does not have any connection with Beilock's report.
The next stage of the research project, which is supported by a grant from the National Science Foundation, will involve a look inside the anxious brain to see how it changes during stressful situations, Beilock said.
She also hopes to develop more interventions to help people perform better during stress. Her lab is looking at how awareness of stereotypes affect the way people perform, such as women and math phobias.
A big believer in getting science out to people who can use it, Beilock said the writing interventions don't require a lot of time, money, resources or training. She hopes parents, teachers and students will start using them right away.
"There's a lot of pressure put on students to perform at high levels. Parents and teachers can do a lot to either increase or decrease the pressure they feel," she said.
| Midlife Crisis Begins in Kindergarten
Midlife Crisis is the term we use to indicate a trauma experienced in the middle years —usually having to do with the question, “What am I doing with my life?” There are stories of extreme reactions that all of us have heard: like the guy who is a doctor, quits one day, and goes to live in the woods; as well as less dramatic cases like the financial consultant who enters the ministry.
There is nothing wrong with changing careers. But we don’t say midlife celebration, we say midlife crisis! Crisis, because this time is often associated with feelings of unhappiness and confusion. Some people choose to “run away.” Others are afraid to change anything, then feel for the rest of their lives that they have been short changed. These are the people who say in later years, If only . . . , I missed my chance to . . .
And, so, we have books such as Do What You Love, The Money Will Follow by Marsha Sinetar, How To Find Your Mission In Life by Richard Bolles, Life Launch by Hudson and McLean . . . the theme being that if you knew what you were meant to do in the world, you would have a purpose, which leads to fulfillment, happiness, and good relationships.
How do we figure out our purpose? Look at your natural talents and interests, the books say. Many include self-assessments to help you figure out what you love, just in case you don’t know anymore.
When children start school they bring their natural talents and gifts with them. Instead of encouraging these, the first thing we do is teach them to put their interests on hold. We begin early the process of hiding the clues, the keys to our adult lives. We begin attaching labels: slow, average, ADD, LD . . . Years later the potential scientists or artists or teachers have the seeds buried so deeply they can no longer remember what set them on fire. And they need a book or a therapist to help them rediscover who they are.
I have a sign in my office which reads, “It is better to build children than repair adults.”
We need to pay attention to the child who needs to drum on the desk, the one who memorizes better when shooting baskets, the one who is interested in rocks. We need to stop labeling children as dysfunctional and start labeling the positives: keeps excellent rhythm, very coordinated, a whiz at the computer, great rapport with animals, natural comedian! Children who grow up learning about their own talents and styles become confident adults who achieve dreams and are enthusiastic about lifelong learning.
Remember the old saying, “An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure”? We can give children the right start by respecting each one’s unique learning needs. For those of us who are already grown up, see you at the book store!
© 1998-2010 by Mariaemma Pelullo-Willis
Awareness Integration Movement technique presented at Day of Renewal
Christine Cutbush and Jeni Winterburn will be presenting the Aim technique a the Day of Renewal on June 5th. Aim was designed to blend the gentle but profound awareness created in the Feldenkrais method with the ancient tradition of Yoga. Using Feldenkrais and Yoga strategies Jeni and Christine show students and Yoga teachers alike how to unlock habitual patterns of movement and reawaken the body’s natural alignment.
This extraordinary work is the culmination of decades of study and teaching both in Feldenkrais and Yoga therapies. The perspective is unique and thought provoking, supplying participants with tools for growth in their lives and in their yoga practice.
Movement beyond the mat.
Inspiring the body to open and creating an environment for change has been a theme that has woven itself through the teaching careers of both Jeni and Christine. These two senior teachers bring a wealth of knowledge to the mat, using self-discovery, humor and reflection they deeply deconstruct asana making this workshop suitable for all levels of students.
Destructive physiological habits form quickly and rob us of choice, this practice gives us back the ability to choose how we move, using a minimum of effort for maximum reward. Strategies shared in this AIM workshop go beyond the mat to support you in everyday life. Join us and experience Awareness, Integration and Movement in a workshop setting.
Because of their background and experience, Christine and Jeni are qualified to offer Yoga Alliance CEU’s towards RYT 200 renewal, any Yoga teachers that are interested in this work can earn up to 3 CEU units per 3 hour workshop.
Christine Cutbush, a Guild Certified Feldenkrais Practitioner®, yoga instructor, Bones For Life® teacher and a reflexologist brings a wealth of knowledge from over 20 years of experience helping people of all ages and abilities move more efficiently. She trained in many styles of yoga and has completed several yoga teacher training programs including John Friend’s first Anusara training and 3 years of Iyengar teacher training.
Christine has studied closely with international teacher Donna Farhi whose work is based on developmental patterns of human movement. Christine has combined the Feldenkrais Method® with yoga and teaches people how to safely deepen their yoga practice. She enjoys helping people enrich their lives by developing enhanced awareness
Jeni has been teaching people how to move for 27 years she is a registered teacher at the E-T- RYT500-hour level with Yoga Alliance and also holds a 200-hour teacher training credential with Kriya Yoga, Chicago. She is currently running two Yoga teacher training programs from her own Yoga studio in Simi Valley, California (Yoga Nook) educating teachers to RYT200 and RYT 500.
Her yoga background includes trainings with many well know teachers including Angela Farmer, John friend and Judith Lasater. Jeni felt a strong connection with Judith Lasater’s work and in 2009 worked very closely with Judith assisting and supporting her teaching in California, England, Ohio and at the Yoga Journal conference in Colorado.
Through her many years of experience Jeni has developed and teaches her own style of Yoga that she calls “Deconstruction” an eclectic mix of Hatha forms. She is excited and eager to bring A.I.M. into the yoga realm.
| Anti-Aging with Dr. Bunny Vreeland
By Dr. Bunny Vreeland
Latest scientific research shows that we can lower blood cholesterol, lower blood pressure, lower cortisol levels, and reduce risks of cancer, heart disease, kidney disease, diabetes and live longer. How, you ask? Simply by making a few lifestyle changes. Hypnosis can help make those changes easier.
Since it is your intention to grow younger and live longer, the most important thing you can do is to think younger.
Your mind controls your body … Your body mirrors your thoughts … it has no choice … Your mind, a field a thoughts and ideas … are the sole influence over the energy molecules in your body … and therefore a young mind will help you to transform your body into a younger
looking body …
In my ANTI-AGING Hypnotherapy sessions, I’m going to show you some very advanced tools you can use to slow down the rate at which you age. The more slowly you age, the more youthful you remain. This cannot only extend your life but also save you from suffering from “old age” disease and disability. It will also help you look and feel years younger.
When I talk on Anti-aging, I have learned to clarify one thing first. Anti-aging is not the same thing as life extension. Aging is the process by which you gradually weaken and lose function. Anti-aging seeks to understand this process and intervene to preserve youthful characteristics.
Welcome to my Eight Life Changing, Anti Aging Sessions:
1.The Dream of a Long Life
2. Mindfulness Meditation
3. Strengthen Your Immune System
4. Youthful Body
5. Think Younger
6. Self Love
7. Face Lift
8. Energize Your Body
To find out more or to set up an appointment for the eight sessions, email me at
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or call me at 805-984-1237.
| Low Cholesterol Increases Health Risks
By Dr. Sharon Norling
Originally published in Your Health Connection Magazine
While we hear a lot about low cholesterol levels being desirable, recent research shows that very low cholesterol levels (<160 mg.) may be just as unhealthy as very high cholesterol levels. Unfortunately, the dangers of abnormally low cholesterol (hypocholesterolemia) have been less well publicized. What we don't often hear is the important fact that cholesterol is vital to human life.
Abnormally low levels of cholesterol may indicate:
Similarly, patients with environmental illness often have low cholesterol, including those with sensitivity to foods, chemicals or frequencies like Wi-Fi. Infertility has been linked to low cholesterol.
- Hyperthyroidism, or an overactive thyroid gland
- Liver disease
- Inadequate absorption of nutrients from the intestines
- Poor metabolism
- Compromised health
What is Cholesterol?
Cholesterol is a waxy, fat-like compound belonging to a class of molecules called steroids. It's found in many foods, in your bloodstream and in all your body cells. If you had a handful of cholesterol, it might feel like a soft, melted candle. Cholesterol is essential for:
Cholesterol is made primarily in your liver (about 1,000 milligrams a day), but it is also created by cells lining the small intestine and by individual cells in the body. Very low cholesterol may mean your body is “shutting down.”
- Formation and maintenance of cell membranes (essential for life).
- Formation of sex hormones (progesterone, testosterone, estradiol and cortisol).
- Production of bile salts, which help to digest food.
- Conversion into vitamin D in the skin when exposed to sunlight.
Low cholesterol is not healthy. In 1990, an NIH conference concluded from a meta-analysis of 19 studies that men and, to a lesser extent, women with a total serum cholesterol level below 160 mg. exhibited a 10 percent to 20 percent excess total mortality compared to those with cholesterol levels between 160 and 199 mg., as cited in the journal Circulation (Meilahn, E., 1995).
In 19 large studies of more than 68,000 deaths, reviewed by Professor David R. Jacobs and his coworkers from the Division of Epidemiology at the University of Minnesota, low cholesterol predicted an increased risk of dying from gastrointestinal and respiratory disease. Professor Jacobs and Dr. Iribarren followed more than 100,000 healthy individuals in the San Francisco area for 15 years. At the end of the study, those who had low cholesterol at the start of the study had been admitted to the hospital more often because of an infection.
In Circulation, Iribarren et al. (1995) go beyond the usual classification of "low cholesterol" based on a single measure. Instead, they examined future disease risk according to whether cholesterol level was stable during a six-year period or whether low cholesterol resulted from falling blood cholesterol levels. Among nearly 6,000 healthy Japanese-American men enrolled in the Honolulu Heart Study, total serum cholesterol was measured at two time points, with mortality follow-up extending for up to 16 years. Results showed the expected association of elevated cholesterol with coronary disease. In addition, falling levels of cholesterol were linked to an excess risk of liver disease and cancer in particular.
According to Lewington, research into the causes of low cholesterol is relatively limited, but some studies suggest a link with depression, cancer and cerebral hemorrhage (Lewington, S., et al., Lancet [December 2007]) 1829).
A new study published in the American Heart Journal Circulation: Cardiovascular Quality and Outcomes, January, 2009 found that nearly two-thirds of patients admitted to hospitals for heart attacks and cardiovascular events had low LDL-cholesterol levels, indicating they were not at high risk for heart problems. Yet — in another extraordinary example of ad-hoc reasoning — the authors concluded that since most heart attacks occur in people with low cholesterol levels, this provided support for lowering the LDL-cholesterol goals even further! It is well known that 50 percent of patients who have a heart attack have normal cholesterol. Cardiovascular disease (CVD) is caused by inflammation. Therefore, it is a much better practice to eliminate inflammation than to lower cholesterol to an abnormally low range and increase health risks.
Cholesterol, contrary to current dogma, is an extremely important cell wall membrane fat. Not only is cholesterol a vital cellular molecule, it is a large part of us, as it occupies 30 percent to 40 percent of our cell wall membrane. The cell membrane is the structural skin surrounding the cell and the organelles in it. It is far more than an outside protective layer ― it is literally the essence of life! It is the lining of every nerve cell. It manages the production of energy as well as all of our senses. The liver alone has approximately 300,000 square feet of membrane (more than four football fields — 4.63 to be exact).
Cholesterol makes vital hormones such as the adrenal, our fight or flight hormones and our sex hormones, estrogen, progesterone and testosterone. It is important for the metabolism of fat-soluble vitamins, A, D, E and K, and is the precursor for bile acids which manages our fatty acid intake. Cholesterol supports a strong membrane structure which equates to a strong overall metabolism.
Most individuals with high cholesterol have a strong metabolism — and they know it. Airborne disturbances such as pollen with its potential for allergy have less impact on individuals with high cholesterol. In the American Journal of Medicine, Tierney et al. (2006) demonstrated low cholesterol was associated with mental capabilities from borderline intellectual functioning to profound mental retardation.
“Women who are having a difficult time with unexplained infertility often will have low cholesterol. As the diet is expanded to include essential fatty acids and Phosphatidylcholine (prominent in the cell wall) the hormones derived from cholesterol normalize and pregnancy rates have been shown to increase,” said Patricia Kane, PhD.
It may surprise you to know that our bodies make all the cholesterol we need. When your doctor takes a blood test to measure your cholesterol level, he or she is actually measuring the amount of circulating cholesterol in your blood (your blood cholesterol level). About 85 percent of your blood cholesterol level is produced by your body. The other 15 percent comes from an external source — your diet. Your dietary cholesterol originates from meat, poultry, fish, seafood, and dairy products. It's possible for some people to eat foods high in cholesterol and still have low blood cholesterol levels. Likewise, it's possible to eat foods low in cholesterol and have a high blood cholesterol level.
So, what do you do?
- Have a comprehensive lipid panel which includes cholesterol, LDL (buoyant and dense), HDL (HDL 2B), C-Reactive Protein, VLDL, homocysteine, and insulin.
- Test your red blood cell fatty acids. The Kennedy Krieger Institute — Johns Hopkins University is the premier fatty acid testing laboratory in the world.
Eat your way to health.
Since cholesterol comprises 30 percent to 40 percent of our cell wall “mem-Brain” which protects and manages critical metabolic functions, including mental acuity, sex, and reproduction, why would we want to dispose of so much of it? Life, health, and cholesterol are all about balance.
- Consume a diet of pure fats and oils. Support the health of your cell membrane with pure, unprocessed, organic oils in your diet. Liberal use of seeds, nuts, cold pressed fats, and oils is highly recommended with reduction of carbohydrate intake. Organic butter, cream, meat fats, and eggs contain essential fats and should be included in your diet. To cook foods at high temperatures such as when stir-frying or sautéing food, use coconut butter, avocado, or olive oil.
- Eliminate all chemically processed oils/fats. Partially hydrogenated or trans fats are toxic to the liver and brain, cause high cholesterol (LDL) and contribute to such difficulties such as fatigue, toxicity, neurodegenerative disorders, aging, hyperactivity, learning disabilities, mood disorders, immune abnormalities and cardiovascular disease. Essential fats found in pure, unprocessed fats and oils are crucial to all cellular function. Processed fats and oils must be completely avoided ― margarine, vegetable oil, canola oil, peanut butter, Crisco, commercial mayonnaise (Hellman’s, Miracle whip) and salad dressing.
- Eat certified organically-grown foods. At this time in history, we are under the greatest of pressures. Literally thousands of harmful chemicals are in the food, air, and water. Pesticides, herbicides, endocrine disruptors, dyes, chemicals, antibiotics, heavy metals, and hormone residues contaminate the food supply. Avoidance is the best way to protect yourself and your family from harmful toxins.
- Eat whole foods. Processed foods are manipulated and changed in a way to extend the shelf life of the food. They are less nutritious as many vitamins and nutrients are lost in the process. Stay as close to nature as possible in eating. If the bugs won’t eat it, we shouldn’t either.
- Eat pasture-raised meats, free range poultry/eggs and wild ocean fish. www.eatwild.com and www.themeatrix.com are good resources. Avoid farm-raised fish which are fed an unnatural diet of corn, soy, dog food and wastes and do not have the essential fats found in ocean fish. Fish to be consumed include wild Alaskan salmon and small body fish such as sardines. Obtain salmon, halibut, and tuna that are safe to consume from www.vitalchoice.com.
My thanks to Dr. Patricia Kane, a world expert on fatty acid metabolism and neurological disorders, for her contributions to this article.
Dr. Sharon Norling is the only physician in the U.S. nationally board certified in integrative medicine and medical acupuncture in her field. While teaching at the University of Minnesota Medical School, Dr. Norling had the opportunity to testify before the White House Commission on Complementary Alternative Medicine and co-author a textbook, Integrative Medicine. She offers specialized testing and advanced medicine approaches. Located at the Landing, 32123 Lindero Canyon Road, Suite 210 in Westlake Village, she can be reached at 818.707.9355.
| Being Single and Loving It
by Sherry Gaba
You may be a single woman by choice, a single parent, a single woman who has just been dumped or has done the dumping, or just someone that enjoys being a singleton. Whatever your circumstances are, being single is a time to celebrate and honor who you right at this very moment. It is a time to honor all of the opportunities that await you such as finding who your authentic self is. That’s right, take the mask off and enter the place of the un-known without being in fear. Only the un-known offers us infinite possibilities for future love if that’s what you want or maybe a trip to India, or perhaps taking that yoga class you keep putting off. Anything and everything is possible when you are single. Here are the 10 reasons why being single can be satisfying.
1. It is a time to be true to yourself and find out what really fulfills you. What is it that you really value and want out of your life?
2. It is a time to find out why you are here and what is your life purpose? What are you here to do on this planet and what is it that is meaningful to you?
3. It is a time where you have control over what you do and how you do it. There is no one looking over your shoulder telling you how to spend your money or where to take a vacation. You are on your own, and you can go anywhere your heart desires.
4. It is a time to develop yourself spiritually and take a look at your unique spiritual nature. You get to ask those existential questions such as what is a higher power. Is there something outside and separate from myself that is a silent witness to my life as it unfolds?
5. It is a time to figure out what it is I really want out of an intimate relationship? What is it I contribute to relationship? What is the nature and quality of the relationship I desire? What are the deal breakers in what is acceptable and unacceptable in a partner? You get to do the choosing rather than always waiting to be chosen.
6. It is a time to build your community and support. Invite someone for coffee, dinner, a walk, or a talk. Having a network of friends can be one of the most nurturing things you can do for yourself?
7. You get to dine wherever and whenever you want? You don’t have to cook for anyone or eat some strange type of delicacy just to please your partner.
8. You get to say NO NO NO and set clear boundaries for yourself. When you establish healthy boundaries, your self esteem sky rockets and you develop safety and trust in yourself and others because no one can overstep the boundaries you have created for yourself.
9. You learn how to be present in the moment without judging yourself or others harshly. You become consciously aware of the preciousness of each moment enjoying your sacred alones with complete joy and freedom.
10. You are accountable to no one but yourself. Once you learn to count on you, the possibilities are endless.
Being single is about reframing and redefining what being alone means. You no longer have to play victim to your singleness. If you are looking for true love, it magically comes to you without any effort because you radiate confidence, self assurance without neediness or desperation. This can be the time of your life if you believe it is…..re-discover the joyous space between what you were, what you are now, and what you are becoming.