Tag Archives: Doctor

Touch Tones: Bring the “Hands-On” Tradition Back to Medicine

Let me see those handsBy Stuart Fife

In as much as the name describes a singular, cohesive, medial practice, there’s no such thing as physical therapy.

If you go seeking relief for an aching joint or an overworked limb, you’d likely be offered one of two phases of therapy, which are interrelated but not interchangeable. The first is physical phase, meaning a host of exercises and activities designed to prepare the body to cope and perform well. The second is the therapy phase, designed to make sure all the joints and muscles are free to function in the way we want them to. The differences are significant: when joints and body synergies have become altered, nothing but a hands-on treatment, informed by careful analysis, would help.

And yet, in the last two decades or so, many physical therapists have come to see their profession as centered around exercise. In part, this trend is driven by simple economics, as escalating health care costs made many in the field realize that the sort of treatment that could allow therapists to tend to multiple patients simultaneously was preferable to the old-fashioned physical therapy, a leisurely, one-on-one, hands-on affair.

It may seem like a solid calculation, but it’s not. It undervalues the most ancient, most basic, and most comforting of media: touch. The people who walk in to my practice expect me and my colleagues to take the time and understand their bodies, assess their condition first hand, and figure out how to make their recovery faster. And they know that no amount of catchall exercises could ever replace the careful and precise treatment that they get from a therapist committed to their individual healing.

And if you think arguing that every person is different and therefore therapists should be able to master a great number of therapeutic approaches in order to make sure that they’ve got something up their sleeves for everyone, you haven’t been catching up with the times. Sadly, more and more therapists are specializing, declaring themselves neuromuscular experts, say, or adherents of that particular approach or another. Such pigeon holing, I believe, might make sense for medicine at large, where doctors and patients alike benefit from developing a highly specific mastery of highly specific fields of practice, but it’s detrimental to physical therapists. We don’t heal livers or arteries or brain lobes; we heal human beings, and human beings are holistic creatures.

Such an approach to therapy isn’t only more pleasant and more effective, it also makes better business sense. It used to be that anyone needing physical therapy would co-pay a small sum per visit; now, that price has jumped up considerably. If you require therapy three times a week, say, you’re looking at a hefty monthly expense. And if you’re paying this kind of money, you don’t want to go somewhere only to be told to do some exercise you could’ve looked up yourself on YouTube. You want someone who takes their time, who looks and touches, who is focused on you and you alone.

Sadly, such seemingly self-evident expectations are anything but. Frustrated with the current state of physical therapy, more and more people are seeking solutions elsewhere, in other hands-on practices like deep-tissue massage. There will always be room for the purely physical aspect of our profession; it’s crucial, and serves the needs of many. But the best physical therapists, the ones that would thrive both professionally and financially, are those who get back to the traditional stuff, roll up their sleeves, and rediscover how rewarding it is, for therapist and patient alike, to work with your hands.

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Stuart Fife is the Director of Physical Therapy for Optim HealthFife2

photos by: heipei & maessive

8 Steps To Stop Your Nighttime Binges

Do you sometimes sneak a late-night snack, even after you’ve had a big dinner? Or worse, do you find yourself hungry and craving sugar and carbs at night? You may think you’re alone, but nighttime eating is a common problem.

Are you hungry after a big meal? Do you continue eating late into the night?

It is one of the biggest reasons we gain weight. We eat and go to bed and store all that food around our bellies.

Have you ever thought about why, not long after a big meal, you crave more food, more sugar, and more junk, and you want to have chips or sweets or other unhealthy foods?

It’s not a flaw in your personality. It’s not some emotional issue that you have to fix. It’s not some psychological trauma that you have to get over.

It’s simple biology, an imbalance of the hormones that regulate your appetite.

Originally posted on DrHyman.com

Celebrating a Practice That’s Changing Medicine

NaturopathicMedicineWeekNaturopathic Medicine Week is October 7-13th

I am a naturopathic doctor.

I represent a community of approximately 4400 practicing physicians in the United States.  We may be small in number, but what we lack in size we make up for in a passion and commitment to the philosophies we took an oath to honor:  that our bodies’ have an inherent wisdom of how to be well and our primary job as a doctor is to remove barriers to health in order to honor this ability, that at our core we are teachers and in order to truly cure, we must empower our patients to become active participants in their healing process, and that treating symptoms is not the end game, but merely clues to identify and treat the causes of disease.

When you’re small it’s often hard to be seen.  That’s why the recently passed Senate Resolution 211, establishing this week, October 7-13th, as national Naturopathic Medicine Week is such a big deal.

From the authors of the resolution,

“…naturopathic medicine provides noninvasive, holistic treatments that support the inherent self-healing capacity of the human body and encourage self-responsibility in health care”

They go on to state,

“That the Senate recognize the value of naturopathic medicine in providing safe, effective, and affordable health care; and encourage the people of the United States to learn about naturopathic medicine and the role that naturopathic physicians play in preventing chronic and debilitating illnesses and conditions.”

Awareness about what naturopathic medicine has to offer couldn’t come at a better time.  As a society, we’re really, really sick.  Two-thirds of us are overweight or obese, leaving us at risk for the development of serious diseases such as cardiovascular disease, arthritis and depression.  88 million of us have high blood pressure and 25 million have insulin resistant diabetes.  A full 75% of our national health care costs are focused on these chronic, yet largely preventable, diseases.

Naturopathic doctors (NDs) are specialists of diet and lifestyle-based treatments and it’s exactly these treatments that are proven to be the most effective medicine for the prevention and treatment of these chronic illnesses.  We receive an average of 70 hours of nutrition education and an additional 130 hours of training in therapeutic diets compared to an average of just 19 hours of basic nutrition education in conventional medical programs.  We look at the physical, emotional, environmental and social influences and approach each patient as the unique person that they are, using the least invasive (and often less expensive) treatment possible.  In addition, we tend to set up shop where we’re needed most, a full 50 percent of us work with underserved populations.

I believe naturopathic medicine is an essential part of the solution to our health care crisis.  We are a medicine that is changing medicine and it’s for this reason that I am celebrating Naturopathic Medicine Week.  To learn more about naturopathic medicine and find a naturopathic physician near you, please visit our national association, The American Association of Naturopathic Physicians.

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For more from Keegan please visit her website and make sure you follow her on Twitter

Watch: The Science of Happiness

by MeLissa Gavarrette

If you asked me to name the person who had the most significant impact on my life, it’d be a toss up between my mom and my dad. (I get how lucky I am for that to be the case. They’re  both awesome. Trust me.) Now real scientists who do real experiments have found that the simple act of expressing gratitude can significantly increase your happiness.




So here’s your chance! Tell us about the person who’s made the greatest impact on life, then let that person know. Give a little happiness, get a little happiness.

What do you think of the video? Tell us in the comments below! 

How I’m Moving Forward in the GMO Food Debate

Bosworth Battlefield (2)

A few weeks ago I wrote a post, “The Genetically Modified Food Debate”, which introduced a series of articles by Nathanael Johnson, a Grist.org writer that’s taken on the big task of sorting through the GMO debate to provide the straight story on where the science, politics and implications to people and planet truly stand.

As someone who’s followed the topic of GMO for many years, I’ve often wished for a series of articles just like this. It’s a heroic effort and having the opportunity to go on an exploration of sorts through these articles has helped me crystallize what I believe are the biggest issues and necessary next steps in the GMO food debate. If you’d like to read Johnson’s series, you can start here and find links to subsequent posts at the bottom of each article.

As I’ve mentioned before, I believe that as humans we are hard-wired to experiment, research and evolve our understanding of the world. Given what I know of evolution and farming, biotechnology seems like a logical place for exploration in science. It’s in the application of this science that things can get complicated. My sense is that, like most things, the best scenario for people and planet as it relates to genetic modification is toward the center from either side of the extreme.

My primary concern about genetically engineered food crops is not so much about the study of biotechnology in plants, but the ripple effect the application of these crops is having on current farming practices and our global food community. Here are some of the things I find most troubling:

  • GMO are often bred for resistance to herbicides and pesticides. As a result, weed-killing herbicide use on genetically engineered corn, soybeans and cotton increased by 383 million pounds in the U.S. from 1996 to 2008.
  • GM crops support the practice of mono-cropping (growing only one type of agricultural product in a large area of land, year after year). This approach has an economic benefit in that it simplifies farming operations and decreases labor costs. However, mono-cropping depletes nutrients from the soil and decreases crop-yields over time creating a need for increased synthetic fertilizer use. Although there may be a short-term economic gain, there’s a larger long-term cost to the health of the planet.
  • Implementation of GMO and mono-cropping practices in developing countries has impacts that go beyond just human and planet health. Traditional knowledge about how to farm the land, what indigenous plants provide nutrients of need and seed saving techniques to maintain biodiversity…all this wisdom that is passed from generation to generation may be lost and maybe more importantly, be seen as inferior to modern conventional methods.

The biggest hurdle to finding a path forward that is acceptable to groups on both sides of this issue seems to sit within science. Through Johnson’s articles, it’s clear that the methods we have to determine safety and the impact to human and planet health are flawed. The questions we’re asking through testing simply do not provide the answers many people are seeking to understand. This is an issue that’s much bigger than just GMO, but yet one that is effectively stalling the ability of the food community to find consensus about how to move forward. Until we evolve both the methods of testing and what we’re testing for, I don’t see how we’re going to come together.

So, what to make of all this? Well, as for me, I plan to keep looking [read: hoping] for an evolution in testing, particularly in the form of support from our government to investigate new approaches to better answer the valid concerns around GMO’s impact to people and planet health. In the meantime, as we continue to navigate our way to better answers, I believe the right thing to do is provide as much transparency and through that, education, as possible. We don’t have the answers, and until such a time that we do and this matter is settled, why not let people make their own decision? Let’s label GM foods, raise awareness and hopefully get to a place where we can argue towards solutions.

If you’re interested in doing some digging of your own into this issue, Johnson also did a recent article that provides a “Cliff’s Notes” version of some of the most popular books on GMO. You can read this article here.

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Deepak Chopra: Thinking Outside the (Skull) Box (Part 6)

In the DistanceClick here to read Part 5!

By Deepak Chopra, M.D., Menas C. Kafatos, Ph.D., P. Murali Doraiswamy, MBBS, Rudolph E. Tanzi, Ph.D., Neil Theise, MD

In Eastern traditions the purpose of subjective states is to be useful, to aid inner work. What kind of work? The ancient texts give various answers. There is control of the involuntary nervous system, as demonstrated by the extraordinary feats of yogis and swamis who can consciously slow down their breathing and heart rate. There is balance, achieving conscious control over homeostatic mechanism and thus promoting health. There is the pursuit of enlightenment – a vast area beyond the scope of this post – and also the same curiosity to explore nature (in this case, inner nature) that drives mainstream science in the realm of materialism.

The fact is that Zen students and practitioners in other traditions routinely move their minds out of their heads. The experience has been replicated for centuries; it isn’t accidental, haphazard or hallucinatory. Having learned how to do it, you discover by playing around with the practice that you can move your mind into your little toe, your shoulder, your elbow, perhaps even across the room. The immediate reflex of most neuroscientists is that such a subjective sense of “moving mind” is the result of neuronal activity, and even if we cannot quantify such subtle and intricate activity today, we will one day be able to as our tools evolve.

The best rejoinder to this claim is that a whole host of subjective experiences in the domain of medicine are self-reported and cannot be measured without asking the patient what’s going on. Statements like “I feel a bad pain here,” “I’m depressed,” “I’m confused,” and “I’ve lost my balance” can sometimes be traced to distorted brain activity on an fMRI scan, but only the patient can relate what is actually happening. The brain scan can’t tell someone he’s in pain when he says he isn’t. To say “I see my fourth chakra” isn’t less valid; it just has far less brain research devoted to it. (When a bacterium avoids a toxin in a petri dish or is attracted to food, can we claim to know that it is not feeling some primitive form of repulsion or desire?)

The Zen practice of placing the mind in the hara is only a minor example, a step along the way to deeper, more profound experiences. There comes a time in nearly all contemplative traditions when one’s sense of mind and even the ordinary self changes fundamentally, for a moment or a lifetime. In Vedic and Buddhist traditions these experiences are called forms of Samadhi, where a connection is made with pure awareness at the deepest level. In Hebrew mystical practice this might be understood as D’vekut, in Christian practice, Cleaving to God. The thinking mind is left behind, and one arrives at consciousness without content.

Here we’ve reached the shadow zone where “my mind” dissolves into mind itself. In this zone reality shifts dramatically. Instead of sitting inside the space of a room, the person sits inside mental space (Chit Akash in Sanskrit). Events that take place are not strictly mental, however. The inner voyager witnesses time, space, matter, and energy being born here. If such an experience is valid, the implications for physics – and for everyday life – are immense. Consciousness is no longer the elephant in the room, the thing science prefers not to talk about. It becomes the only thing to talk about if you want to know where reality comes from. Starting with the undeniable fact that the brain shares mind with the rest of the body, we are on the verge of showing that mind must be shared with everything in existence – going outside the box extends to infinity, a possibility we will unfold as this series continues.

(To be cont.)

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Deepak Chopra, MD is the author of more than 75 books with over twenty New York Times bestsellers, including co-author with Sanjiv Chopra, MD of Brotherhood: Dharma, Destiny, and The American Dream, and co-author with Rudolph Tanzi of Super Brain: Unleashing the Explosive Power of Your Mind to Maximize Health, Happiness, and Spiritual Well-being (Harmony). Chopra serves as Founder of The Chopra Foundation.

Menas Kafatos, Ph.D., Fletcher Jones Endowed Professor in Computational Physics, Director of the Center of Excellence at Chapman University, co-author with Deepak Chopra of the forthcoming book, Who Made God and Other Cosmic Riddles. (Harmony)

P. Murali Doraiswamy, MBBS, FRCP, Professor of Psychiatry, Duke University Medical Center, Durham, North Carolina and a leading physician scientist in the area of mental health, cognitive neuroscience and mind-body medicine.

Rudolph E. Tanzi, Ph.D., Joseph P. and Rose F. Kennedy Professor of Neurology at Harvard University, and Director of the Genetics and Aging Research Unit at Massachusetts General Hospital (MGH), co-author with Deepak Chopra of Super Brain: Unleashing the Explosive Power of Your Mind to Maximize Health, Happiness, and Spiritual Well-being. (Harmony)

Neil Theise, MD, Professor, Pathology and Medicine, (Division of Digestive Diseases) and Director of the Liver and Stem Cell Research Laboratory, Beth Israel Medical Center — Mount Sinai School of Medicine, New York. www.neiltheise.com

Will “Obamacare” Improve Access to Preventative and Integrative Medicine?

The StethoscopeAlthough passed into law back in 2010, The Affordable Care Act (ACA), a significant government expansion and regulatory overhaul of the country’s healthcare system, commonly referred to as “Obamacare”, is beginning to gain media attention once again as the October 1st enrollment date approaches.

A significant number of people (40% of Americans) not only don’t understand this legislation, but cannot even confirm that it is, in fact, law. Although I am at least with it enough to know that it exists, I admit that the details of the ACA and what it will truly look like in practice is a source of confusion for me. If you want to try and make sense of the ACA for yourself, you can find information here, here and here.

As a health professional, I support the idea of accessible healthcare. As a naturopathic doctor, I also believe in the power of a preventative and integrative approach to medicine.  It’s with a belief in this approach that I am most interested to see how the complete roll-out of the ACA will ultimately make a mark on health, both financial and physical, in this country.

A specific clause of the ACA, Section 2706, is at the heart of both the preventative and integrative medicine debate. This clause requires that insurance companies “shall not discriminate” against any health provider with a state-recognized license. Again, coming from the perspective of a naturopathic doctor, this is a compelling statement. Although I’ve been licensed and recognized as a primary care physician in California since 2005, participating as a provider though major health insurance plans has not been an available option for me. Most plans cover traditional providers: MDs, DOs and perhaps RDs. This means that although I have valuable, largely preventative and low-cost treatments to offer, they are out of reach to most people. A $90, 30-minute visit is quite reasonable…unless you’re used to paying a $10 co-pay.

Given what I have been able to tease out of the research I’ve done on the ACA and Section 2706, it seems a more integrative approach to health options will largely be up to interpretation by each individual state. Hopefully, overtime, and assuming the ACA survives long enough to truly become successful, best practices will emerge and states will adopt a more consistent approach to the delivery of preventative and integrative services.

A recent piece in The Washington Post interviewed a leader within the naturopathic community, Dr. Jane Guiltinan, about her predictions and hopes for the future of healthcare in our country as a result of this piece of legislation. In the piece she quoted an often referred to belief in naturopathic care,

Health is more than the absence of disease.

If we really want to shift the status of health in our country, it seems a mental shift by insurance companies, state government and society at large may be required first.

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Deepak Chopra: Richard Dawkins Plays God, The Video

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As a defender of atheism, Richard Dawkins has publicly declared that religion is the “root of all evil,” which became the title of his first big television hit in the UK, broadcast in 2006. Its follow-up, in 2007, allowed me to meet him in person. He invited me to answer a few questions on camera, and I did.

The resulting video footage emerged – leaked by an unknown source – and can be viewed on YouTube. Our Q and A wouldn’t be exceptional in any way except for the use that Dawkins made of it. I became a lurid example of the “enemies of reason” that his new show was attacking. To squeeze me into that box, Dawkins did some very unreasonable things.

We were standing in a courtyard in Oxford, politely dressed and just as politely talking. I’ll give a few excerpts of what we said. Dawkins began by referring to the title of a book I wrote on mind-body medicine…

Dawkins: Can you explain your revolutionary ideas on quantum healing and any evidence that it works?

DC: Quantum healing is just a theory that a shift in consciousness creates a shift in biology. So if you’re stressed, your adrenaline and cortisol levels, and many other neuropeptides, cause physiological chaos.

Dawkins: But where did the quantum healing come into that?

DC:  It’s a metaphor. Just as an electron or proton is an individual unit of information and energy, a thought is an individual unit of consciousness.

Dawkins: So it’s a metaphor, it has nothing to do with quantum theory in physics?

DC:  The theory has a lot of things to say about the observer effect, about non-locality and correlations. There’s a school of physicists who believe that consciousness has to be equated, or at least brought into the equation in understanding quantum mechanics.

This doesn’t sound like somebody hanging somebody else out to dry. The full interview took about fifteen minutes, and I wasn’t naive enough to believe that Dawkins would portray my views in a favorable light. But seeing the footage again, I don’t find that a single answer I gave qualifies me as an enemy of reason. I talked about how a person’s state of awareness affects the body’s homeostasis and its healing response. I spoke about spiritual experience as a means to overcome fear of death. At the same time, Dawkins took the position that quantum physics shouldn’t be brought into these topics, and I admitted (how could I not?) that there was controversy.

In the end, my remarks were cut down to a fraction of what I said, which is normal television practice. The scientists who were exploring consciousness that I mentioned as support were excised. Dawkins introduces me in voice over as someone “who once qualified as a doctor” (despite the implication that I lost my credentials, I was then and remain a board-certified endocrinologist). To trivialize me, Dawkins says, “In this year of self-absorption, he claims Michael Jackson, Madonna, and Hilary Clinton as followers.” I never made such a claim – Dawkins takes his facts from National Enquirer journalism. “Followers” adds the whiff of cultism, of course.

“Reason and a respect for evidence are the source of our progress,” Dawkins declares as the major theme of  the series, but Enemies of Reason is actually a stalking horse for his contention that the world is divided into two camps, the people who follow science and the people who don’t. All the latter are irrational in various dire ways, ranging from ignorance and superstition to pseudoscience and charlatanism. Since I’m not religious, clearly I belonged in the second camp of bogus thinking. “Isn’t Deepak Chopra simply exploiting quantum jargon as plausible sounding hocus-pocus?” Dawkins asks. Well, no. Not if you actually read what I write, which includes books and articles co-authored by physicists. I doubt that his other interviewees are treated any more fairly.

To shoehorn me into his category of the dangerously bogus, Dawkins was thoroughly dishonest himself, ignoring my call for an expanded science that would include consciousness, my backing of peer reviewed research, my partnership with highly accredited scientists, and so on.

Why air a six-year-old grievance? Because what I talk about on the actual video is pro-science and pro-consciousness at the same time. Dawkins seems totally ignorant of any aspect of quantum physics or consciousness research. His animus against organized religion, which he is perfectly entitled to, has led him into zealotry. It is preposterous to label God the root of all evil and intellectually dishonest to lump all thinkers who don’t accept his own cut-and-dried materialism as “fundamentalists and those who profit from obscuring the truth” – Dawkins’s popularity is essentially grounded on both.

“We live in dangerous times when superstition is gaining ground and science is under attack,” Dawkins tells the camera, blatantly riding the cresting fear that overcame the public after 9/11. It’s discreditable to connect all religious belief with dangerous unreason. I certainly didn’t see myself in such a portrayal. Here comes a hay wain, trundling out of the Middle Ages, and apparently I’ve booked passage with dousers, clairvoyants, stage magicians, promoters of false miracles, and the poor simple souls who fall for such nonsense.

The Enemies of Reason (which can be viewed on YouTube) is just old TV on the one hand, a successful episode in Dawkins’s rise as the most celebrated of militant atheists. On the other hand, mind-body medicine has matured and expanded, and so have far-seeing theories of how to fit consciousness into our conception of the universe. Dawkins will one day be relegated to a footnote in the rearguard action to defend narrow-mindedness as science. To attack God, he felt obliged to play God in the editing room. Distortion and misrepresentation are consistent with the ridicule and contempt that militant atheism traffics in. Happily, the surge of people Dawkins anticipated fleeing God to leap into his arms hasn’t occurred, while a reconciliation between science and faith has been progressing toward a better future for both sides. Dawkins’s attempt to make “spirit” a dirty word was doomed from the start.

www.deepakchopra.com

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5 Ways to Never Be Stressed Again

Screen Shot 2013-06-12 at 4.08.27 PMEverybody feels stress and knows it intimately, but very few of us think about what stress actually is.

Stress is a thought. That’s it. No more, no less. If that’s true, then we have complete control over stress, because it’s not something that happens to us but something that happens in us.

The dictionary definition of stress is, “bodily or mental tension resulting from factors that tend to alter an existent equilibrium.” It is your thoughts out of balance.

The medical definition of stress is, “the perception of a real or imagined threat to your body or your ego.” It could be a tiger chasing you or your belief that your spouse is mad at you (even if he or she is not). Whether it is real or imagined, when you perceive something as stressful, it creates the same response in the body.

A cascade of adrenaline, cortisol, and other stress hormones floods your system, raising your heart rate, increasing your blood pressure, making your blood more likely to clot, damaging your brain’s memory center, increasing belly fat storage, and generally wreaking havoc on your body.

The operative word here about stress is that it is a perception, also known as a thought or point of view. There are objective stressors, to be sure—war, death of loved ones, financial troubles, starvation, dental work. But how these affect us determines our body’s stress response. Imagine Woody Allen and James Bond, each with a gun pointed at his head—same external stressor but entirely different responses.

When I was very sick with chronic fatigue, barely able to work, a single father with two kids, thinking I had to go on disability, I worried constantly. I couldn’t sleep and everything seemed stressful. Then, a wise man told me I had to stop worrying. I argued with him strenuously, providing a comprehensive list of all the real external events that were stressful to me. He just kept repeating that worrying was toxic; he said, what really mattered was how I viewed the situation, and he kept telling me I just needed to stop worrying.

And slowly, very slowly, I trained myself to watch my thoughts, my perceptions, and when a stressful thought came into my head, I stopped, took a deep breath, and just let go. It’s like a muscle—it gets stronger the more you use it, but if you let go, it relaxes.

But of course, life takes over and things happen, all the “D’s:” divorce, death, deadlines, demands, dumb thoughts, and dumb schedules. And as anyone does, I get sucked in to negative thinking, which creates stress in my body. My sleep gets interrupted, my muscles get tight, my mood gets cranky, but then I breathe and remember that stress is all in my head. We get so attached to our way of thinking, to our beliefs and attitudes about the way things should be or shouldn’t be, that it makes us sick.

This doesn’t mean that I don’t respond to injustice or experience intense feelings of joy, happiness, sadness, loss, or pain. I do. But I try just to be fully in them when they come, then experience the next moment, then the next and the next, and just show up with my whole self with love and attention. That’s the only thing I can do.

Most people, when they look at my life, think I’m crazy and wonder why I’m not more stressed—running a medical practice; writing books and blogs; teaching all over the world; working on health policy; volunteering in Haiti, churches, and orphanages; being a father, son, brother, partner, friend, boss, and more. But it’s actually quite simple. I don’t worry about things much. I simply wake up and do the next thing as best I can.

And when things get out of control, which they do, I simply make a gentle U-turn. It’s like a GPS for my soul. Your GPS doesn’t yell at you and call you stupid or judge you for taking a wrong turn. In the sweetest voice imaginable, the GPS reminds you to take the next possible U-turn.

Each of us has to find out how to make our own U-turn. There are some wonderful ways I have discovered that work very well for me!

Here’s how I make my U-turns (and I try to pick one or more each day):

  1. Move. The best way to burn off the stress hormones without having to change your thinking is to move and sweat. Run, dance, jump, ride, swim, stretch, or skip—do something vigorous and lively. Yoga is also fabulous, as it combines movement and breathing.
  2. Breathe. Most of us hold our breath often or breathe swallow, anxious breaths. Deep, slow, full breaths have a profound affect on resetting the stress response because the relaxation nerve (or vagus nerve and not the Las Vegas nerve) goes through your diaphragm and is activated with every deep breath. Take five deep breaths now, and observe how differently you feel after.
  3. Bathe. For the lazy among us (including me), an UltraBath is a secret weapon against stress. Add 2 cups of Epsom salt (which contains magnesium, the relaxation mineral), a half-cup of baking soda, and 10 drops of lavender oil (which lowers cortisol) to a very hot bath. Then, add one stressed human and soak for 20 minutes. Guaranteed to induce relaxation.
  4. Sleep. Lack of sleep increases stress hormones. Get your eight hours no matter what. Take a nap if you missed your sleep. Prioritize sleep.
  5. Think Differently. Practice the art of noticing stress, noticing how your thinking makes you stressed. Practice taking deep breaths and letting go of worry. Try Byron Katie’s four questions to break the cycle of “stinkin’ thinkin’” that keeps you stressed.

You can also try my UltraCalm CD, featuring guided meditations and relaxation techniques.

Also, I highly recommend tapping, a technique that combines ancient Chinese acupressure and modern psychology. Pick up a copy of Nick Ortner’s new book The Tapping Solution to learn more. Another great stress-relief technique to try is Holosync, an audio technology designed by the Centerpointe Research Institute, which instantly (and effortlessly) puts you into states of deep meditation—literally, at the push of a button. Visit Centerpointe’s website to find out more. Also, check out meQuilibrium, a digital coaching system created by experts to change the way you respond to stress. It teaches specific skills to help you get a handle on all of the emotional, physical, and lifestyle imbalances that keep you from feeling your best.

Enjoy, and happy U-turns!

Originally published on my website, DrHyman.com

Deepak Chopra: Brotherhood – Dharma, Destiny, and the American Dream

Probably every immigrant has encountered the appeal of the “American Dream.” But many also feel pulled and deeply tied to their cultural roots.

In Brotherhood, a new memoir by brothers Deepak and Sanjiv Chopra, the two reveal the story of their personal struggles and triumphs as doctors, immigrants, and brothers going down two very different paths toward achieving their goals. Both pursued medicine, one from a straight, Western approach, the other from a path informed by ancient practices and his own cultural heritage.

Brotherhood is available now at Amazon and other booksellers. Read Deepak and Sanjiv’s remarkable journey, and tell us your thoughts in the comments section below!

 

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