Wellness Warrior meets Wellness Warrior – Jess Ainscough interviews Lissa Rankin

http://www.thewellnesswarrior.com.au/2013/05/mind-over-medicine-my-interview-with-dr-lissa-rankin/

Two of my favourite wellness warriors get together to discuss Lissa Rankin’s new book ‘Mind over Medicine’.

Both of these ladies are very much on my page when it comes to health.

This interview is well worth listening to.

Important points raised during the interview are;
What does your body need to heal? What prescription does your body need you to prescribe for yourself? What would you do if you could do anything you wanted, to make yourself better?

– Leave your abusive relationship?
– Leave your horrible job?
– Go to college?
– Move countries?
– Get married?
– Do something you always wanted to do?
– Get a new job with a better employer? 🙂

Lissa’s idea about letting the patient write the prescription for themselves is really liberating.

In the context of epilepsy research I think it is relevant to the epilepsy research project what treatment would you prefer?:

http://www.epilepsy.org.uk/research/take-part/projects-you-can-take-part-in/patient-preferences-treatment-options

https://epilepsymeandneurology.wordpress.com/2013/05/20/national-epilepsy-week-19th-may-23rd-may-2013-what-treatment-do-you-prefer/

Nobody is the same, so everyone will need different treatment.

Healing is not neceserraly curing.

The moral of the story – Turn off your stress response, it could save your life.

I love epigenetics!

Breatharianism – Doctors are baffled and monitoring medical miracle

http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/8652837.stm
Sanjoy Majumder reports from Delhi
Extreme Meditation and Fasting have come to the fore in this news item from India a man ‘survives without food or water for decades’.
The Doctors in this Sterling hospital are baffled by a holy man who claims to have survived on no food and water for 70 years.
The Holy man is now under military and medical surveillance in hospital.
He claims that meditation and the power of his mind keep him alive. Doctors are already impressed because he has been in hospital without food for 108 hours already.
This is NOT one I would recommend you try at home, but it makes you wonder doesn’t it?

Heart, Brain and Out of Body

Now I know that people who read this blog are interested in some really diverse mind and body matters.

For whatever reason, one of the defining things about humanity is its infectious curiosity about the nature of existence and consciousness.

My recent readings around brain and heart have also included books by people on out of body experiences, epilepsy and spirituality.

Anything about these subjects is currently sparkly and eye-catching, so this week I was captivated by a BBC report on ‘The Lazarus Effect’. (1)

‘The Lazarus Effect’ (2) is a book about the heart and heart attacks, where new discoveries are changing the way that patients are being resuscitated.

When I was little, my mum had to go away to see my Granny after one of her many heart attacks.

Granny told mum that during the heart attack she was in a long tunnel, with what seemed to be a light at the end of it. Mum doesn’t know how long this experience lasted , but apparently Granny became aware that she may be very near leaving when she became conscious of people talking about how they had called my mum. My Granny thought that if my mum had been called then she would have to be there to see her. Somewhere in my Granny’s mind the seed of urgency to not slip away was planted. She came back to see my mum.

I was always really interested in this, and from reading around the subject I understand that a lot of people whose hearts stop report similar experiences.

‘Bringing people back from the Dead’, (1) BBC news report by William Kremer, links to a radio interview on the World service programme ‘Outlook’.  This programme was about Carol Brothers who had a heart attack and was resuscitated after 45 minutes of CPR.(3)

It interviews Dr Sam Parnia Director of resuscitation research in a New York hospital and author of ‘The Lazarus Effect’. Cooling the body from 37C to 32C causes Brain cells to remain intact for up to 8 hours before they begin to deteriorate. The tricky stages of resuscitation are when oxygen is reintroduced to the brain, the cells become inflamed and cause swelling in the brain. Cooling the brain down causes the brain to slow down to such an extent that people can look brain dead for a long time, but actually be in stasis. This means that resuscitating the heart has now been possible for up to 4 to 5 hours after the heart stopping.

In relation to out of body experiences, Dr Parnia has collected many examples of people’s OBE’s (out of body experiences ) which range from tunnels of light, relatives coming to meet them, reliving their lives, re-living events that inflicted pain on others. Dr Parnia says that often when the patient returns to consciousness they have determined to live their lives in a different, changed and often fearless way. He says he believes that most people experience these types of experiences but that they are unlikely to remember due to the brain trauma or inflammation wiping their memory.

Interestingly these experiences have different meanings in different cultures or religious contexts so are interpreted in the context of the beliefs of each individual.

‘Proof of Heaven’ by Dr Eben Alexander (4) is a neurosurgeon’s Journey into the afterlife.  Dr Alexander  contracted bacterial E. coli meningitis and was in a coma for 7 days. He was not expected to survive but against the odds he woke up to recount his journey (which was quite a trip!) in his book. Dr Alexander was a complete sceptic until he experienced this for himself.

‘The Body Electric’ by Robert O. Becker and Gary Selden (5) was published in 1985 and challenged the notions of mechanistic medicine, in particular in its views around regeneration. Within this book there is a chapter titled ‘The Lazarus Effect’. This chapter describes the discovery in 1973 that a Salamander can regenerate its heart if it is cut in half or wounded from 30% to 50%. Such a large wound sparks a massive healing response in the salamander. The findings were published in Nature in 1974.

The cover of ‘The Body Electric’ says the book ‘explores new pathways in our understanding of evolution, acupuncture, psychic phenomena and healing.’

Back to heart resuscitation.

So to summarise, the medical model is changing in relation to heart resuscitation, the cooler the better.

I leave you with the thoughtful CPR intervention skills of Vinnie jones and the question- have you ever had an out of body experience?

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ILxjxfB4zNk

1)http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/magazine-22154552

2)http://www.amazon.co.uk/The-Lazarus-Effect-Rewriting-Boundaries/dp/1846043077

3) http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/p016tn56 Outlook Carol Brothers ‘I was dead for 45 minutes’

4) http://www.lifebeyonddeath.net/

5) http://www.amazon.co.uk/Body-Electric-Robert-Becker/dp/0688069711

How your mind can heal your body – book review

I have been anicipating this post from Holistic yoga with Alyson for some time on the book by http://www.drdavidhamilton.com which I think is a great review of a book about ‘how your mind can heal your body’. Well worth checking out!

Holistic yoga with Alyson

bookcoverOver the winter new year break I received a pile of books from a friend who was having a clear out. One of them I read straight away: How your mind can heal your body by David Hamilton and I’ve meaning to blog about it for months because it’s very interesting, and has implications for our yoga practice, and our whole lives potentially.

At first glance my immediate reaction to the book and its title was ‘what nonsense’, but two things made me change my mind. One was that the title is a bit simplistic as the author does state several times that the mind can help heal the body and people should continue with their conventional medical treatment alongside adopting helpful mind-based approaches. The other reason was the extensive amount of research of human trials that he quotes that back up all his claims.

I think the book’s message…

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really interesting advanced cognitive neuroscience and application of gaming, mobile technology etc. Really cutting edge brain training!

Psyche's Circuitry

I just attended the second annual Entertainment Software and Cognitive Neurotherapeutics Society (ESCoNS) conference. Say that five times fast.  This conference brought together people in the gaming world with cognitive neuroscientists. I went because I’m developing (and testing) an app that I believe can help people reduce stress, worry, and anxiety in their lives. In addition to more deeply exploring how to make mental health truly fun, I felt that I was seeing the future of mental health unfolding before my eyes.

Gamifying mental health

Here are four ideas I think will change how the field of mental health will look in a decade (or less):

1. Mental health care WILL BE gamified. The mobile revolution and app zeitgeist have changed how we get things done. We want an app for everything because we want our life mobile and streamlined, and the minute we think we want to do something, we want…

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GREAT parkinson’s neuro recovery blog!

Kaitlyn Roland

This week kicked off brain awareness week… and the people over at sharpbrains.com debunked 10 myths around brain fitness… here are my 5 favourites!

Myth 1. Genes deter­mine the fate of our brains.

Fact: Life­long brain plas­tic­ity means that our lifestyles and behav­iors play a sig­nif­i­cant role in how our brains (and there­fore our minds) phys­i­cally evolve.

(we have some aspect of control and can create new neural pathways – say with exercise for brain change!)


Myth 3. Med­ica­tion is the main hope for cog­ni­tive health and enhance­ment.
Fact: Non-invasive inter­ven­tions can have com­pa­ra­ble and more durable ben­e­fits, and are also free of side effects.

(drug side effects are not necessary, but side effects – like endorphins – from exercise are encouraged!)

Myth 4. There’s noth­ing we can do to beat Alzheimer’s dis­ease and cog­ni­tive decline.
Fact: While noth­ing has been shown to pre­vent the pathol­ogy of Alzheimer ’s…

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Karate and Neurogenesis – Articles by Rob Nielson

Following through with the theme of neurogenesis and exercise for brain health and development; here are links to two excellent articles by program director and chief instructor of karate Rob Nielson at Cedar Ridge Academy Therapeutic Boarding school for troubled teens (1).

Karate is one of my favourite pass-times and I was very happy to read that it is being used in such a positive way to help young people.

1) Karate Black Belt Challenge Brain Development in troubled teens

Student Participation stimulates brain development (neurogenesis)

By Rob Nielson, Program Director & Chief Instructor

Helpful in disorders like Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD), anxiety and depression. Increases self-confidence and mindfulness,

http://www.cedaridge.net/karate-black-belt-challenge.html

2) Karate Black Belt Challenge for brain development in troubled teens – Part II

an Holistic approach to therapy at Cedar Ridge
Academy Therapeutic Boarding School for troubled teens

by Rob Nielson, Program Director & Chief Instructor

Relationships between being physically fit and mentally fit, karate for attention deficit, anxiety, drug issues, impulse control, aerobic exercise and brain health.

http://www.cedaridge.net/black-belt-challenge-therapy.html

 

1) http://www.cedaridge.net/quick-facts.html

interesting blog on brain injury – the post is relavent to neurology on lots of levels. Good links to sites.

Traumatic Brain Injury: Centre for Neuro Skills

Examining the influence of polymorphisms on TBI outcome has the potential to contribute to an understanding of variations in TBI outcome, aid in the triaging and treatment of TBI patients, and ultimately lead to targeted interventions based on genetic profiles.

Read article

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Neurofeedback and Optimal Brain Function

Thank-you to http://ahmritanaturalmentalhealth.wordpress.com/ for this very interesting guest post. 🙂

Neurofeedback is a treatment which has evolved from Biofeedback. Many of you would have heard about this concept:

“…is a process that enables an individual to learn   how to change physiological activity for the purposes of improving health and   performance. Precise instruments measure physiological activity such as   brainwaves, heart function, breathing, muscle activity, and skin temperature.   These instruments rapidly and accurately ‘feed back’ information to the user.   The presentation of this information — often in conjunction with changes   in thinking, emotions, and behavior — supports desired physiological   changes. Over time, these changes can endure without continued use of an   instrument.” Three   professional biofeedback organizations, the Association   for Applied Psychophysiology and Biofeedback (AAPB), Biofeedback   Certification International Alliance (BCIA), and the International   Society for Neurofeedback and Research (ISNR), arrived at a consensus   definition of biofeedback in 2008.Read more here

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Biofeedback

The concept of Biofeedback has been practised for time immemorial by Yoga and Pranayama students and masters. Here in the west it has developed to its current form since the late 50’s and was very popular in the 80’s. Since then it has sadly somewhat disappeared from the popular radar again, as do so many worthy and non invasive natural therapies. Mostly due to funding issues in the ever ongoing effort of pharmaceutical companies to suppress what would outshine their products.

But back to topic – Neurofeedback – “Neurofeedback is a type of biofeedback that uses electroencephalography or fMRI to provide a signal that can be used by a person to receive feedback about brain activity.”

Research so far has been working in particular to prove its worth as a treatment of epilepsy, autism, headaches, insomnia, addiction problems and more, but its benefits can be felt by anyone who has suffered an emotional trauma.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Neurofeedback

However, you do not need to be diagnosed with a medical condition to benefit from this treatment, as it is designed to optimize brain function.

Like many I became aware of the biofeedback movement in the late 80’s, but never did much with it. By chance a friend of mine gave me a rather large voucher for a bookstore in 2007. One of the titles I bought was:

“The Healing Power of Neurofeedback”, (2006), by Stephen Larsen Ph.D. Healing Arts Press.

Which humbly and quietly sat in my bookshelf for three years, until I was hunting for something new to read during semester break. What I found in this book had me totally spell bound, a treatment called LENS Technique, developed by Len Ochs.

http://www.ochslabs.com/

After several hours of googling, I found a practitioner in Melbourne, who had recently migrated from Germany. I booked myself in for six treatments, which was explained to me as a usual course of treatment. Even though, the cost was not outrageous, I could instantly see, that it would be out of reach of exactly the majority of the population needing it – no medicare funding!

At the time stress levels in my life were approaching frantic on the stress meter, due to work, study and family commitments. Sounds familiar doesn’t it? Well I was turning into a bit of a sleep deprived grouch 🙂

What I experienced even after the first treatment was sensational  (and lasting)– I became acutely aware of all the tension in my body; that I was holding a pen like a sword, my shoulders had taken up position at ear level and my breathing was shallow. By the time I got home after an hours city driving, I was in total and utter relaxation – of the ragdoll kind, but aware and alert, I felt fantastically at peace. I would recommend it to everyone!

Since, I found another practitioner of Neurofeedback – Dr. Shum, the Psychiatrist in Australia who has also helped develop Subconscious Freedom Technique

http://au.blurb.com/search/site_search?search=Subconscious+Freedom+Therapy

During LENS treatments you sit relaxed in a comfy chair, the practitioner connects several tiny electrodes and you can keep an eye on your heart and breathing rate on a screen. While treatment was going on I was watching a lot of David Attenborough nature documentaries, which I found helped the relaxation tremendously. At no point was there any discomfort or difficulty. The positive outcomes kept piling up, I was able to relax again, sleep better, manage my workload better and generally felt a fair bit more human friendly, which is a big plus when you work in Mental Health.

I would really like to encourage you to get the book, have a look at the websites and contact a practitioner in your area – no amount of me raving on about how greatly it helped me can substitute having your own experience.

Ahmrita’s blog is based at http://ahmritanaturalmentalhealth.wordpress.com/

for further information on nautral mental health many topics.

One Moment At A Time – What Is MBSR And Who Is Jon Kabat-Zinn?

Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction and Jon Kabat-Zinn(1) (2)

In search of mindfulness I have been following the progress of mindfulness teaching locally and have been pleasantly surprised recently with the numbers of classes advertised.

A couple of weeks ago I saw one that was titled ‘Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction’ and was intrigued.

Another article in January/February Scientific American Mind 2013 related to mindfulness; it is titled ‘Focus on Your-self to Alleviate Social Pain’. The article discusses the benefits of mindfulness for pain, stress, anxiety and depression, but also how a new study recently that has shown it reduces feelings of loneliness or social isolation. Mindfulness was also shown to reduce inflammation and the risk of heart attacks.

So where did all this research start and why is there so much interest in mindfulness for health?

Taking to you-tube (as you do) I came across this one titled ‘The Healing Power of Mindfulness’.(1)

It has sparked my interest in Jon Kabat-Zinn who talks about his life and how at college he was one of 5 students who went to see a monk lecture on this topic. During the lecture he describes how he had one of those ‘Ah-ha!’ moments as he realised that what he had just been taught to do should be something that everyone gets to learn in kindergarten.

‘Being in the moment’ sounds like something we all could benefit from, but how many of us are actually present without our mobile phone, computer, television or radio?

I am sitting here with the computer and a phone so I am clearly not a shining example of being present within myself just right now.

When do we ever switch off?

Something else I am interested in is the research into ‘neuroplasticity’.  Jon Kabat-Zinn studied molecular biology in 1971 at MIT.

In the film he talks about how studies have now gone on to show that not only is the mind plastic but so are genes, and he describes how the corrosive acid of stress wears down our DNA causing problems within the body. Mindfulness meditation research is showing that this can be stopped and reversed.

He has been teaching and studying the effects of mindfulness since 1979 and is Professor of Medicine Emeritus and founding director of the Stress Reduction Clinic and the Center for Mindfulness in Medicine, Health Care, and Society at the University of Massachusetts Medical School.

Although watching you-tube isn’t always a mindfulness practice, I was really relaxed and centered when I had finished watching, and participating at one point(audience participation!), spending time with this innovative out of the box thinker talking about his life’s work with mindfulness.

I hope you feel that you can take the time to watch him as well, and perhaps take away some of his mindful thoughts and experiences on the benefits of being present in the mind and body.

You come from nothing, you go back to nothing, it’s what you do in between that matters. Don’t you want to always be present?

(For people in the area there are some good classes advertised at the Treehouse if you are looking for a teacher http://www.treehousewales.co.uk/ )

1)http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_If4a-gHg_I

2)http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jon_Kabat-Zinn