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  • #142761
    Kol Drake
    Moderator

    WWTF #4 – Theory & Stuff has lots on what science and other ‘practices of the mind’ have to say about healing. Basically, they all say, do these things and let your body heal itself. Fine. I suppose this section *could* be considered ‘hands on’ BUT, I am not going to touch on any techniques using touch/hands… since that falls more under Reiki and other such practices… and there are plenty of sources to check out on those… so… not gonna happen here.

    Instead, I am going to dig out the latest stuff which gives practical advice and techniques that you can use to help your body heal itself. Right up front, I can say a good percentage of these will say, “Meditate!”, because there are tons of studies which show all the beneficial things that come with meditating regularly. So, again, ’nuff said.

    The other ‘thing’ most will be pointing out is — stress kills.
    Stress does tons of ‘bad things’ to your body… it’s why we stress relaxing and meditation here at the IJRS.

    — 95 percent of all illness is caused or worsened by stress. Low socioeconomic status is associated with poorer health outcomes and higher risk of death from all causes. This is not because of poor health habits, but because of feelings of powerlessness and loss of control. Stress is associated with high amounts of belly fat.

    — Stress hormones damage the hippocampus — the memory center in the brain — causing memory loss and dementia.
    In a study of people who volunteered to have cold viruses injected into their noses, only people with a high level of perceived stress got colds. Women with metastatic breast cancer survived twice as long if they were part of a support group.

    — Belonging to a group — a religious group, a bowling club, a quilting group — reduces risk of death from all causes and increases longevity, despite health habits.

    — In a study of doctors, those who scored high on hostility questionnaires had a higher risk of heart attacks than those who smoked, were overweight, had high blood pressure, or didn’t exercise.

    So… in a nutshell, stress kills in many different ways. Still — dead is dead and it would be a shame for any aspiring Jedi to fall over and take a dirt nap because of something as silly as stress. Lightsaber slicing off your head… job hazard but stress?

    Anyway, I hope to keep this stuff current (or as current as it can be) until something smarter (or better) comes along. So, get comfortable; relax and breathe and let’s see what we can do for our own well being.

    #185764
    Kol Drake
    Moderator
    6 Steps To Healing Yourself
    by Lisa Rankin, MD

    Take a moment and check in with yourself. How is your body feeling right in this moment? If you’re generally healthy, check in for subtle symptoms. Is your neck feeling tense? Does your lower back ache? Do you have a headache? Are you exhausted — again? Or perhaps you’re battling a more serious health diagnosis and you’re experiencing symptoms from your health condition.

    Whether you’re experiencing the nuisance of a minor physical symptom, the more concerning stress of a serious health condition, or simple curiosity about how you might maximize your vitality and longevity, I’m psyched to share with you something they never taught me in medical school.

    The Body Knows How To Heal Itself

    Your body is beautifully equipped with natural self-repair mechanisms that are under the influence of thoughts, feelings and beliefs that originate in your mind. It knows how to kill cancer cells, fix broken proteins, slow aging, eliminate toxins, fight infections, get rid of foreign bodies, and otherwise keep you healthy. Things go awry and disease manifests when these self-repair mechanisms fail to function properly.

    But here’s the kicker. Your nervous system has two operating systems — the “fight-or-flight” stress response dominated by the sympathetic nervous system and the relaxation response run by the parasympathetic nervous system. Only when your nervous system is in a relaxation response do your body’s self-repair mechanisms function!

    The stress response is there to protect you in case a tiger chases you. But these days, we are pretty safe from tigers, and yet our stress responses get triggered, on average, over 50 times per day. How? The amygdala in your lizard brains perceives negative thoughts, beliefs, and feelings, such as financial fears, relationship worries, work stress, loneliness, or pessimism, as threats equally scary as a tiger. Then BOOM. The scaredy-cat amygdala goes on red alert, and when this happens, our bodies can’t repair themselves. No wonder we get sick!

    #185765
    Kol Drake
    Moderator
    6 Steps To Healing Yourself – continued

    6 Simple Steps To Activate Your Body’s Self-Repair Mechanisms

    You don’t have to be at the mercy of your stress responses. As I teach in my new book Mind Over Medicine: Scientific Proof That You Can Heal Yourself, you can be proactive about activating your body’s natural self-healing. Try these scientifically-proven steps as a health prevention strategy or as treatment for any health condition you might be battling.

    Step 1: Believe You Can Heal Yourself

    Don’t believe that positive belief can cure the body? Think again! The medical establishment has been proving that the mind can cure the body for over 50 years. We call it “the placebo effect,” and it has been proven to cause resolution of symptoms — and real physiological change — in 18-80% of the patients in clinical trials who are treated with nothing more than sugar pills, saline injections, or fake surgeries.

    As long as you believe your condition is “incurable” or “chronic,” it will be. Don’t believe your health condition could possibly resolve? Check out the Spontaneous Remission Project, a compilation of over 3,500 case studies proving that spontaneous remission has been reported for just about every illness out there — Stage 4 cancers, HIV, diabetes, high blood pressure, thyroid disease, autoimmune diseases, even an untreated gunshot wound to the head!

    For my skeptical physician mind, reading through all these case studies was a paradigm shift. It’s kind of like the story of the 4-minute mile. Exercise physiologists used to think the body was physiologically incapable of running a mile in less than 4 minutes — and so no athlete ever did it. Then in 1954, Roger Bannister ran a mile in three minutes and fifty-nine seconds. Once that limiting belief was shattered, virtually every athlete that competes in a world-class event has run the mile in under four minutes. Today’s world-record time for the mile is 3:43:15, more than 15 seconds under 4 minutes.

    What if your belief that the body can’t heal itself is like the 4-minute mile? For some mind-blowing stories about how positive belief can radically affect your health, watch my TEDx talk —

    .

    >> Is There Scientific Proof That You Can Heal Yourself? <<

    Scientific data proves that once you believe healing is possible, it can be. So what do you believe?

    #185766
    Kol Drake
    Moderator
    6 Steps To Healing Yourself – continued

    Step 2: Find The Right Support

    To say that you can heal yourself is sort of a misnomer because the scientific data proves that, equally essential to positive belief is the nurturing care of a true healer, someone optimistic who shares your positive belief, includes you in true partnership, respects your intuition, cares for your wellbeing, and ensures you that you won’t be alone on your self-healing journey.

    Do you have the right healers on your health care team?

    Step Three: Listen To Your Body & Your Intuition

    Nobody knows your body better than you, not even a doctor. We doctors may know the arteries of the leg or the anatomy of your organs better than you, but you know what’s best for your own body better than anyone else. When my literary agent first read Mind Over Medicine, she said, “Lissa, before I read this book, I honestly thought my body was none of my business. Now I know better.”

    Yes! Your body is indeed your business. So listen to your intuition and trust what it tells you.

    Not in touch with your intuition? Then listen to your body, which is one vehicle your intuition uses to speak to you. If you have a physical sensation in your body — pain, tightness, nausea, clenching, dizziness — ask your body what it is trying to communicate to you. Then listen up! This is the voice of your inner wisdom and it will always lead you directly to your true north.

    #185767
    Kol Drake
    Moderator
    6 Steps To Healing Yourself – continued

    Step Four: Diagnose The Root Causes Of Your Illness

    Your doctor may give you one kind of diagnosis- migraines or irritable bowel syndrome or breast cancer, for example. But the kind of diagnosis I’m talking about gets at the root of what might have triggered stress responses in your body and deactivated your body’s self-healing mechanisms, thereby making your body vulnerable to illness.

    What aspects of your life are activating your stress responses? What relaxation response-inducing activities — like meditation, creative expression, laughter, engaging in work you love, massage, yoga, or playing with animals — have you been neglecting?

    Illness is often a wake up call, forcing us to get down and dirty with what’s really true in our lives. We can either play the victim or we can use illness as an opportunity to awaken.

    If you’re struggling with a physical issue, what might lie at the root of it? For more ideas about what might lie at the root of your illness, check out my TEDx talk >> The Shocking Truth About Your Health <<

    Step Five: Write The Prescription For Yourself

    This won’t be the kind of prescription you fill at a pharmacy, though it certainly may include elements of Western medicine. It’s more of a self-guided action plan intended to make your body ripe for optimal health and full recovery.

    So ask yourself, “What does my body need in order to heal?” Your Prescription may include diet changes, an exercise regimen, and a conventional medical treatment plan. But it may also include getting out of a toxic relationship, quitting a soul-sucking job, adding a meditation practice, taking steps to get out of debt, or following a passion.

    Be as specific as you can. Then muster up the courage to put your plan into action!

    #185768
    Kol Drake
    Moderator
    6 Steps To Healing Yourself – continued

    Step Six: Surrender Attachment To Outcomes

    What if you’ve adopted a positive attitude, found the right healer, tapped into your intuition and your body, diagnosed the root cause of your health condition, written The Prescription for yourself and put it into action- but you’re still sick? Are you doing something wrong? Is it your fault you’re still sick?

    Absolutely not — and any talk of guilt, blame, or shame for someone on a healing journey only activates more stress responses and harms the body.

    So what’s the deal? This is where the art of surrender comes in. Some patients do everything “right” and spontaneous remission happens. But others are the proverbial choir- and they’re still sick. Why does this happen? Honestly, I don’t know. The only real answer is a spiritual one. Perhaps our souls come here on this earth to learn lessons, and illness can be a spiritual practice, a way to learn our life lessons and a part of our soul’s destiny.

    What I can say is that if you’ve followed the 6 steps, you’ve done everything within your power to make your body ripe for miracles — and the rest is out of your hands. So take a deep breath, trust The Universe, surrender attachment to any particular health outcome, and let any health condition you face be an opportunity for spiritual awakening.

    #185769
    Kol Drake
    Moderator

    Here are some of the points mentioned above but with a few more references and pointers.

    Heal Thyself: Think Positive by Jo Marchant, 2011, New Scientist Magazine

    “Everything’s going to be fine.” Go on, try to convince yourself, because realism can be bad for your health. Optimists recover better from medical procedures such as coronary bypass surgery, have healthier immune systems and live longer, both in general and when suffering from conditions such as cancer, heart disease and kidney failure (Annals of Behavioral Medicine, vol 39, p 4).

    It is well accepted that negative thoughts and anxiety can make us ill. Stress – the belief that we are at risk – triggers physiological pathways such as the “fight-or-flight” response, mediated by the sympathetic nervous system. These have evolved to protect us from danger, but if switched on long-term they increase the risk of conditions such as diabetes and dementia.

    What researchers are now realising is that positive beliefs don’t just work by quelling stress. They have a positive effect too – feeling safe and secure, or believing things will turn out fine, seems to help the body maintain and repair itself. A recent analysis of various studies concluded that the health benefits of such positive thinking happen independently of the harm caused by negative states such as pessimism or stress, and are roughly comparable in magnitude (Psychosomatic Medicine, vol 70, p 741).

    Optimism seems to reduce stress-induced inflammation and levels of stress hormones such as cortisol. It may also reduce susceptibility to disease by dampening sympathetic nervous system activity and stimulating the parasympathetic nervous system. The latter governs the so-called “rest and digest” response – the opposite of fight-or-flight.

    Just as helpful as taking a rosy view of the future is having a rosy view of yourself. High “self-enhancers” – people who see themselves in a more positive light than others see them – have lower cardiovascular responses to stress and recover faster, as well as lower baseline cortisol levels (Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, vol 85, p 605).

    Some people are just born optimists. But whatever your natural disposition, you can train yourself to think more positively, and it seems that the more stressed or pessimistic you are to begin with, the better it will work.

    David Creswell from Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, and his colleagues asked students facing exams to write short essays on times when they had displayed qualities that were important to them, such as creativity or independence. The aim was to boost their sense of self-worth. Compared with a control group, students who “self-affirmed” in this way had lower levels of adrenaline and other fight-or-flight hormones in their urine on exam day (Health Psychology, vol 28, p 554). The effect was greatest in those who started off most worried about their exam results.

    #185770
    Kol Drake
    Moderator
    10 Tips for Calming Your Mind

    Here is what we know about how to influence the mind-body and the body-mind system. Consider these essential survival skills. You cannot thrive without them!

    Address the Underlying Causes of Stress
    Find the biological causes of problems with the mind. Mercury toxicity or a magnesium or vitamin B12 deficiency or a toxic gut chemical or a gluten allergy could be changing your brain. So, by changing your body, you can change your mind!

    Relax — Learn how to ACTIVELY relax
    To engage the powerful forces of the mind on the body, you must DO something — you can’t just sit there watching television or drinking beer.

    Learn New Skills
    Try learning new skills such as meditation, deep breathing, yoga, biofeedback, and progressive muscle relaxation or take a hot bath, make love, get a massage, watch a sunset, or walk in the woods or on the beach.

    Move Your Body
    Exercise is a powerful, well-studied way to burn off stress chemicals and heal the mind, so just do it! It has been proven to be better than or equal to Prozac for treating depression.

    Optimize Your Nutrition
    Clean up your diet from mind-robbing molecules like caffeine, alcohol, and refined sugars and eat regularly to avoid the short-term stress of starvation on your body.

    Supplement
    Take a multivitamin and nutrients to help balance the stress response, such as vitamin C; the B-complex vitamins, including B6 and B5 or pantothenic acid; zinc; and most important, magnesium, the relaxation mineral.

    Try Herbs
    Use adaptogenic herbs (herbs that help you adapt and balance your response to stress) such as ginseng, Rhodiola rosea, Siberian ginseng, cordyceps, and ashwagandha.

    Use Heat Therapy
    Take a hot bath or a sauna to help your body deeply relax and turn on the relaxation response.

    Change Your Beliefs
    Examine your beliefs, attitudes, and responses to common situations and consider reframing your point of view to reduce stress.

    Find a Community Consciously build your network of friends, family, and community. They are your most powerful allies in achieving long-term health.

    #185771
    Kol Drake
    Moderator

    From Discover Magazine – May 2014 (a snippet from the article)
    .

    Heal Yourself By Harnessing Your Mind

    Meditate

    Monks have been meditating on mountaintops for millennia, hoping to gain spiritual enlightenment. Their efforts have probably enhanced their physical health, too.

    Trials looking at the effects of meditation have mostly been small, but they have suggested a range of benefits. There is some evidence that meditation boosts the immune response in vaccine recipients and people with cancer, protects against a relapse in major depression, soothes skin conditions and even slows the progression of HIV.

    Meditation might even slow the aging process. Telomeres, the protective caps on the ends of chromosomes, get shorter every time a cell divides and so play a role in aging. Clifford Saron of the Center for Mind and Brain at the University of California, Davis, and colleagues showed in 2011 that levels of an enzyme that builds up telomeres were higher in people who attended a threemonth meditation retreat than in a control group.

    As with social interaction, meditation probably works largely by influencing stress response pathways. People who meditate have lower cortisol levels, and one study showed they have changes in their amygdala, a brain area involved in fear and the response to threat.

    One of the co-authors of Saron’s study, Elissa Epel, a psychiatrist at the University of California, San Francisco, believes that meditation may also boost “pathways of restoration and health enhancement,” perhaps by triggering a release of growth and sex hormones.

    If you don’t have time for a three-month retreat, don’t worry. Imaging studies show that meditation can cause structural changes in the brain after as little as 11 hours of training. Epel suggests fitting in short “mini-meditations” throughout the day, taking a few minutes at your desk to focus on your breathing, for example: “Little moments here and there all matter.”

    #186337
    Kol Drake
    Moderator

    Big fan of Dr. Weil… and here’s a good article on using meditation to help heal yourself.

    >> Self Healing Benefits of Meditation <<

    The Self-Healing Benefits of Meditation
    By Susan Piver

    We all know that regular, moderate exercise is good for us. But imagine what it would be like if all you did was exercise: if you ran, walked, jumped, or lifted 24 hours a day. After only a very short while, exercise actually wouldn’t be that good for you because without rest, exercise becomes counterproductive and even risky…and so it is with your mind. We spend all day (and sometimes all night, too!) in a whirlwind of thought. When there isn’t something particular to think about (what to eat for breakfast, the tasks of the day, or what you’re going to say in an upcoming meeting), we search restlessly for something to fill the gap-worries, hopes, television, and so on. We never allow our minds to rest. And without this precious self-healing time, our minds become exhausted and thoughts less trustworthy. Just as we need to stop moving our bodies every once in a while, we also need to stop moving our minds. But how? The idea can actually seem terrifying, not to mention impossible.

    But it is quite possible. The practice of self-healing meditation is just this: resting the mind in silence and space, allowing it time to recover and rejuvenate.

    Quote:
    Meditation does not mean sitting in a perfect state of peace while having no thoughts. Big misconception! Instead, meditation is about establishing a different relationship with your thoughts, just for a little while. Instead of attention being drawn off by whatever thought happens to present itself, in meditation, you watch your thoughts from a different, more stabilized perspective. You’re training yourself to place your attention where and when you want.

    This is very powerful. It gives you the ability to direct your thoughts (and mood) in more productive and peaceful directions. And, as has been demonstrated in the last few years, this ability has profound self-healing implications for physical and mental health.

    Over the last 10 years, Buddhist leader the Dalai Lama has been engaged in formal top-level dialogues with leading scientists and brain researchers from M.I.T., Harvard, the University of Wisconsin, and others. Until several years ago, these annual conversations were held in private as simple but powerful inquiries into each other’s methods for understanding the mind. Recently, the results of this dialogue, and resulting studies into meditation, have been made public, and they’re fascinating.

    When studying the brainwaves of meditating monks, Dr. Richard Davidson, director of the Laboratory for Affective Neuroscience at the University of Wisconsin, found that brain circuitry is different in long-time meditators than it is in non-meditators. Here’s how: when you are upset – anxious, depressed, angry – certain regions of the brain (the amygdala and the right prefrontal cortex) become very active. When you’re in a positive mood these sites quiet down and the left prefrontal cortex – a region associated with happiness and positivity – becomes more active. In studying meditating monks, Davidson found they had especially high activity in this area.

    One of the things that is so amazing about this finding is that for a long time, scientists thought that each individual was wired with certain “set-points” for happiness, depression, and so on. This study shows that the brain can rewire itself and alter its set points – simply by the self-healing power of thought.

    We’ve all read reports that stress can affect health and immunity; Dr. Weil has emphasized this repeatedly. An ulcer, for example, has direct correlation with emotional stress. An ulcer, simply defined, is the presence of certain bacteria in the stomach, plus stress. Other conditions have a noted relationship to stress, such as heart disease, lowered immunity, diabetes, and asthma. The acute stress that results from almost being hit by bus or thinking your house may have been broken into is not the kind of stress that has deleterious affect. This kind of stress mobilizes your emergency responses and capabilities. But, according to neuroendocrinologist Dr. Robert Sapolsky, Professor of Biological Sciences, Neurology and Neurological Sciences at Stanford University, chronic stress is a different story. There is evidence that it shrinks neurons on the hippocampus, a part of the brain involved in learning capacity, memory, and positive mood. The self-healing hippocampus has the ability to regenerate, if stress is discontinued. And meditation reduces stress, as shown in Dr. Davidson’s research.

    Medical research has shown that there are two main contributing factors to depression: a genetic predisposition, and environmental factors such as stress, loss, and trauma. The first factor, genetics, is not within our control. The second, however, is. We can’t prevent loss and difficulty, but we can significantly alter our reactions to them. Zindel Segal, Chair in Psychotherapy in the Department of Psychiatry at the University of Toronto, a pioneer in Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) has shown that MBSR participants are 50% less likely than other patients to relapse once depression is alleviated through medications and other therapies. This is because meditation teaches us, thought by thought, to alter our responses to stress, thereby increasing serotonin production, a neurotransmitter that influences mood, sleep, and appetite. Anti-depressants such as Prozac and Paxil, so-called SSRIs (selective serotonin re-uptake inhibitors) are drugs that increase serotonin.

    As mentioned, meditation is often viewed as a way to relax — and it is. But it’s also a very precise strategy for maintaining health and training the mind in keen observation, increased power of concentration, and emotional stability.

    It’s important to learn meditation from an accredited source. Although it’s a very simple practice, it’s also quite precise. Please visit my Web site, , for a listing of resources.

    *****

    Meditation can help you save your own life.
    Please practice daily.

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