Mind Over Medicine – Lissa Rankin Book Launch

Lissa gave regular readers of her blog the opportunity read the first excerpt of ‘Mind Over Medicine’ by Lissa Rankin MD available to buy from a link on her blog.

I thought that everyone with an interest in healing (themselves or others) would be interested in her book, the subjects talked in the excerpt I read are; The placebo effect and its physiology, spontaneous remission from cancer, healing and belief. That was only a short extract!

Can’t wait to read the whole thing!

http://lissarankin.com/an-eggy-book-launch-happy-birth-day-mind-over-medicine?inf_contact_key=c0c764d605a6c01aaca9c07c0aa6fa3b21abd769dc36d07e70955d70cdb7a98e

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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 and massage

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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The Heart of Music

 

Thanks Aelana for this really interesting harp music therapy programme that looks at the relationship between the heart and music.

The site contains an interesting vimeo from the Institute of Heart Math about the heart and music.  Good information on using biofeedback to train heart rate variability, and induce relaxation and healing in the body.

When we lose consciousness or die, the hearing is one of the last senses to go.

Maybe this is why music is so sacred.

This also spreads light on why chanting is so healing.

When we chant or sing we are soothing our hearts! 🙂

Harping Heals

Harp playing relaxes, energizes, soothes, and heals the youngest of children and oldest of adults.

    • Releases emotional pain
    • Improves short-term memory and attention span
    • Increases social interaction
    • Builds self-esteem
    • Relieves stress

 

http://www.harptherapyinternational.com/

http://www.heartmath.org/

The Five Essentials … For Health & Happiness – Guest Blog

I would like to thank fredphillips.wordpress.com for this guest blog post, which shows, that we humans are not so different; and if you ask the universe (or the internet) you will find people out there who you have a lot in common with. 🙂 thanks fred!

There are five things that are essential for our health and happiness. I call these, oddly enough, The Five Essentials. Catchy, eh?

We are in the midst of enormous suffering on the planet. Rates of disease are spiraling upwards. Bullying is an epidemic, especially in our schools.  Regional and domestic conflicts abound. Many magnificent species are disappearing, or at the risk of disappearing, from the planet.

I could go on and regale you with more depressing stuff, but I really don’t want you to stop reading.

The truth is (and I believe this with all my heart), there is a solution to all this misery and it has to do with … you guessed it  … The Five Essentials. So let’s get right to it. Here they are:

  1. To have an awareness of the truths of our existence
  2. To feel good about ourselves
  3. To heal our emotional pain
  4. To eat and drink healthy stuff
  5. To get active

Let’s briefly examine each of these essentials to see what they’re all about. (Yes, I know, a couple of them are rather self evident.)

1. To have an awareness of the truths of our existence:

Understanding the truths of who we really are and why we’re really here on the planet (there is little evidence to suggest it has anything to do with getting rich & famous) is critical if we have any hope of changing human behaviour. It certainly inspired me to change mine. I think if we knew for instance, that we live in oneness with God and everything else that exists, we would not treat each other the way we do. We wouldn’t start wars. We wouldn’t exploit the animal kingdom and we wouldn’t pollute. We would let go of fear. We would live with more compassion and love. We would be more altruistic. And we would be more humble.

If you want to know more, immerse yourself in spirituality. Talk to spiritual people. Read books by Eckhart Tolle, Caroline Myss, Wayne Dyer, Neale Donald Walsch and my own book, The History Teacher. Read my spiritual posts at fredphillips.wordpress.com.

2. To feel good about ourselves:

If we all felt good about ourselves … if we all felt lovable, worthy, good enough and empowered … again, we would not behave the way we do. We would not mistreat others. We would be more kind and forgiving. We would be more honest. We wouldn’t put people out of work. We would eat healthier foods.

If you want to change the way you feel about yourself, just be kind.

3. To heal our emotional pain:

We are a society full of unresolved emotional pain. We are loaded with anger, grief, shame, guilt and resentment. If we have any hope of creating peace on earth (one of the reasons we’re here), we need to release this pain. We need to transform it into something healthier and more positive.

If you want to heal your unresolved emotional pain, forgive who you need to forgive, apologize who you need to apologize to, cry if you need to and when you feel anger, scream into a pillow until you feel better.

4. To eat and drink healthy:

With all due respect to those who earn their living working in the fast food, junk food and processed food industries, if we really want to put an end to cancer and all other forms of disease, we need to eat better. We especially need to drastically reduce our sugar intake and eliminate artificial sweeteners and gmos. Why? Because this stuff acidifies our bodies and weakens our immune systems (80% of our immune system is situated in our gastrointestinal tract), leaving us susceptible to disease.

If you want to do one simple thing to improve your diet and your health, start eating fermented foods, especially, sauerkraut. It will put much needed healthy bacteria in your gut.

5. To get active:

As a whole,  we are far too sedentary and we’re paying a high price for it. Our bodies aren’t fit, leaving us vulnerable to stress and disease. We need to get active. I highly recommend martial arts or yoga, but if you do nothing else, go for a walk every day!

I believe in my heart that having an awareness of these Five Essentials, understanding  them and incorporating them into our daily lives will bring us peace of mind, joyful living and love (sign me up for that). They will bring us happiness (that too)!

The Power of Vulnerability – Brene Brown

I watched this talk this evening and have to admit that I laughed, probably a bit too loudly, through this very touching Ted talk re-blogged by Dr Frank Lipman.  I have seen it before from Be Well and Happy.

For all my fellow onions out there, I think this is a really important and not often enough discussed topic which has cropped up a lot recently (see links).

For everyone  this weekend please share Brene’s Talk  on vulnerability as an idea worth spreading.

 

http://bewellandhappy.wordpress.com/2013/01/10/brene-brown-ted-talk-on-vulnerability/

http://www.drfranklipman.com/brene-brown-the-power-of-vulnerability/

http://fredphillips.wordpress.com/2013/02/27/the-beauty-and-benefits-of-vulnerability/

Neurological Rock Stars 2 – Parkinson’s Nautrally blog by Fred Phillips

http://fredphillips.wordpress.com/articles/healing-parkinsons-disease-naturally/#comment-615

Please follow the link to Fred Phillips Blog, and inspiring story of treating parkinson’s nautrally. Fred has taken the time and care to write about how he is using diet, yoga, meditation and emotional healing to treat his Parkinson’s disease symptoms.

His diet advice in particular in relation to inflammation and the relationship between gut and immune system function are really useful (to me especially! 🙂 ).

Fred has a very good understanding of the physiology of the body and how it all inter-relates.

Fred has also written a book about healing.

Fred is also a KARATE TEACHER!!! 🙂

 

Insight into Stroke – Jill Bolte Taylor Ph.D.

S = SPEECH, or any problems with language

T = TINGLING, or any numbness in the body

R = REMEMBER, or any problems with memory

O =OFF BALANCE, problems with coordination

K = KILLER HEADACHE

E = EYES, or any problems with vision

Stoke is a medical emergency call 911 US or 999 UK

I first saw Jill Bolte Taylor on TED talks. I was captivated by her moving insight into how she as a neuroanatomist perceived the experience of having a stoke. How it had given her access to the right side of her brain.

Last week I was in a book shop and saw her book ‘My stroke of insight, A brain scientists personal journey’(1). I saw her name on the cover and immediately realising it was written by this lady from the TED talk I purchased the book.

There is something very reassuring about reading about other people’s brain experiences. It really helps to make sense of mine.

Having a person with intimate knowledge of the architecture of the mind, talk step by step through what parts stop working and how the symptoms are interpreted is very helpful.  It has assisted in my own understanding of what could possibly be causing changes in awareness and ability.

The most important part of the book for anyone to read and understand is about how she recovered.

Jill became a neuroscientist because her brother had schizophrenia. She wanted to understand why and I think also to see if there was a cure.

At 37 she had a stroke.

It took her 8 years to get back to where she was pre- stroke, the only brain cells that were completely destroyed by the stroke were her mathematics cells. Despite this she had to re-learn everything.

There were several parts of her recovery that resonated highly with me.

First, she emphasised how important it is to honour the body’s need to sleep and just sleep when she needs to.

Second, that one of her greatest lessons was how to feel the physical component of emotion.

Jill was experiencing sensory overload after her stoke. Everything was overwhelming, light, noise , other people.

Because Jill was recovering she was learning how to deal with these emotions for the first time and had to learn to choose how to deal with them. If she didn’t like the way it felt she chose not to let it back into her neural loops. She says paying attention to what emotions feel like has completely shaped her recovery. She realised she was in charge of how she chose to perceive her experience. Little Windmill posted a really good story about Alexander the great and a yogi and anger which illustrates this; http://littlewindmillyoga.com/2012/12/05/alexander-the-great-meets-a-yogi/

In relation to medication, post- surgery she had to take Dilantin for 2 years afterwards in case she had a seizure. Her biggest complaint about this was that she didn’t know what it felt like to be ‘me’ anymore and says that she is more sensitive to why some people would choose insanity over the side effects of antipsychotic medications.

Physically, she talks about the importance of exercising her muscle groups, walking , massage and acupuncture treatment which helped her to identify her physical boundaries. One of the side effects of her stroke was that she felt ‘fluid’ and very much a part of the universe.

The part of this story that is most important is that Jill shows you can recover from a stroke.

It is not necessary to experience a stroke to find inner peace. We can choose left or right brain talk, and although she acknowledges that in cases of serious mental illness this may not be possible, I am very much behind her on her mission that choosing inner peace is an idea worth spreading.

http://www.ted.com/talks/jill_bolte_taylor_s_powerful_stroke_of_insight.html

1)      http://www.mystrokeofinsight.com/

 

Consciousness – The lighthouse at the edge of the ocean

What is the mind’s eye?

What is consciousness?

Fire that starts with a spark and gathers momentum as the timber burns?

Water springing from the ground, running to a river that flows to the ocean?

Space? We look out at the stars and imagine how they run on forever.

The seat of the soul.

In the brain?

Reading books on mind, brain and matter, pondering ‘the depths’ with writers, philosophers and neurologists.

What is it that makes me, you and us?

Is there a switch that gets turned on and off? Does it all go dark when the lights go out? Who, why or what turns the lights back on again?

What lies beneath?

The subconscious is an amazing beast

Like a rare species it hides from you when you go to look for it, and rises up to bite you in the bum when you least expect it.

Dreams that alert us to areas of life that need attention.

Bodies that record without us realising.

A computer or a quantum force? How are we alive?

Is it the third eye? Is it the  Shen? Is it God, biology or physics?

Is it all of these things?

I am alive (Thanks Mum and Dad!)

Our bodies can create new life, new consciousness.

How?

I only hope that I never cease to wonder at how this can be.

When I stop to think that it really is a miracle that I am here at all.

How I hope that when it all stops I have thought, felt and been present for as much of the time as I am alive.

We are here for just a drop in the ocean of time, it would be a sad to miss a single moment.

Epilepsy in Chinese Medicine – ‘Towards a spirit of Peace’

‘Towards a spirit of peace’ is one of the most interesting texts I have ever read about epilepsy in the context of Chinese Medicine and is available on line. It is a work by an author named Subhuti Dharmananda, Ph.D. (see link below)(1).

This is NOT a text about epilepsy although it is covered, but rather it looks at a wider concept. The ‘Shen’ or ‘spirit’ in Chinese medicine and its embracing view of the body heart-mind in oriental medicine.

The ‘shen’ or ‘heart-mind’ is how I think about it in words, but mostly I would say ‘spirit of the heart’ is how I feel about it.

I feel that the role of the heart in Chinese medicine is seen as having a great deal to do with consciousness. From what I have read of Ayurveda it appears to be held as the same or similar.

In the west the heart is perhaps overshadowed by the brain’s electrical discharges, and the importance that is attached as the brain being the ‘hub’ of the body. (2)

The first chapter of this book goes to great lengths to explain the Shen, and so I will not go into it in depth, except to say that the heart is seen as ‘the Emperor’ in its role alongside the other organs of the body.

There are barriers that cause problems in understanding in relation to accessing information on Chinese medicine.

The Chinese language is written as ideograms, the sounds of the language all are totally alien to English language speakers. Variations in tone and pitch could be compared to learning to play a new musical instrument for the English tongue; a language that has you patting your head and rubbing your belly, and tap dancing all at the same time.

Then the philosophy, differences in thinking, the possible conflicts that arise from cultural, social, and religious beliefs.  The Great wall that surrounds China could be a metaphor for many barriers in understanding.

Why did I read this text?

The most beneficial part of my tai chi training by far has been in relation to training in awareness. Perhaps this is also called mindfulness? (3)

Without awareness I wouldn’t be able to feel seizures starting, I wouldn’t feel that my back hurts, my joints hurt and my belly is churning. Is my vagal nerve trying to tell me something? Is my anger or my fear or my grief making me ill?

I don’t know, but if I feel then I can try to understand.  If I am aware how I feel then perhaps I can change the emotion.

When I feel emotions, I am more likely to become ill, in particular if I don’t acknowledge them and where and how they have arisen.

This text talks about emotions in the context of ‘emotional equilibrium’ something I’m sure we all aspire to obtain but very, very few I suspect will achieve.

Even if we have fleeting glimmers of equilibrium, there may well be more emotional storms than sunny days.

Who feels good all the time anyway? Isn’t it part of being human to feel, in all the emotional colours?

My emotional storms are accompanied by lightening, this has given me extra motivation to want to look at how to heal them before they take a hold and turn into a thunderstorms.

It may be that describing it in words is not appropriate because it relates to feeling.

I don’t like being allergic to emotions.

The last time I cried for a day because I was sad, I had seizures for 2 days afterwards. I don’t know which is worse; crying because I am sad or the fact that if I cry then I’ll have a seizure.

Does this mean heart is broken?

I don’t think so, I still feel with my spirit the same as everyone else.

1)      http://www.itmonline.org/shen/index.htm

2)      http://www.wakingtimes.com/2012/09/12/the-heart-has-its-own-brain-and-consciousness/

3)      http://alysonyoga.wordpress.com/2012/11/04/whos-in-control-of-your-mind-one-benefit-of-mindfulness/

CHANGE – The Day My World Got Turned Upside Down! (in a good way)

At approximately 8 am this morning a minor miracle happened (no I didn’t give birth)…

…I actually got my legs over my head in an arm balance (called peacock!).

Actually, what happened was 2 yoga teachers saw me struggling because I have NO proprioception of my legs leaving the ground WHATSOEVER and they lifted my legs over my head towards the wall.

It’s amazing how when your head is underneath your legs it feels like you’re in free fall!!

Despite support the second that they got near the wall I starting squealing and they had to lift me down again, BUT for me this was BIG!!

The last time I got my legs in the air for a handstand was when I was 12.

I was in a gym class and I hadn’t learned to roll from a handstand safely, so I just went SPLAT! On my back and winded myself really badly.

I haven’t been able to go up (side down) in the world since!

I was totally put off and always stiffen up and my breathing goes out of the window!

Obviously, it’s probably going to be sometime before I can do this by my-self, but it goes to show how – I can change! 🙂

So happy! 🙂

Some people can travel the world, but I am really more than happy to travel all around my body. I feel so lucky that I have a chance to learn these things I always wanted to do.

Not a Peacock yet, but not Advanced Hedgehog Pose either!!!

https://epilepsymeandneurology.wordpress.com/2011/12/31/epilepsy-advanced-hedgehog-pose/

Thank you Lesley and Sue! (my yoga teachers)

And Alyson http://alysonyoga.wordpress.com/ nearly forgot you not there today!