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Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Laughter is Truly the Best Medicine: new research proves it!

Breaking news suggests that laughter truly is the best medicine!

A new study by Lee S. Berk, DrPH, MPH, director of the molecular research laboratory at Loma Linda University in Loma Linda, Calif., shows that laughter effects the body similarly to physical exercise by boosting the immune system. Berk's research found that laughter (or "Laughercise" as Dr Berk's team refers to it) can significantly elevate mood, reduce stress, boost immunity and blood pressure, and reduce cholesterol. It also stimulates appetite for the malnourished.

"We are finally starting to realize that our everyday behaviors and emotions are modulating our bodies in many ways," Berk said.

The study was presented at the 2010 Experimental Biology meeting, April 24 to 28, in Anaheim, Calif. Dr. Berk, a preventive care specialist and psycho-neuro-immunology researcher, has been working on studies related to laughter for close to three decades.

Read 'WebMD' article here

Read 'The Medical News' article here

Read 'US News & World Report' article here

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

BBC News: 'Hot' substance in chilli peppers key to killing pain?

BBC News: 'Hot' substance in chilli peppers key to killing pain

Studying chilli peppers is helping scientists create a new type of painkiller which could stop pain at its source.

A team at the University of Texas says a substance similar to capsaicin, which makes chilli peppers hot, is found in the human body at sites of pain.

And blocking the production of this substance can stop chronic pain, the team found.

They report their findings in the Journal of Clinical Investigation.

Capsaicin is the primary ingredient in hot chilli peppers which causes a burning sensation.

It does this by binding to receptors present on the cells inside the body.

Similarly, when the body is injured, it releases capsaicin-like substances - fatty acids called oxidized linoleic acid metabolites or OLAMs - and these, via receptors, cause pain, the researchers have found.


read entire article here

Sunday, April 25, 2010

'Wild Comfort: The Solace of Nature' by Kathleen Dean Moore

Something I've long reveled in is the connection between the natural world and healing. Kathleen Dean Moore's, 'Wild Comfort,' http://tinyurl.com/25e7ykf puts the theory to study.

OSU professor Kathleen Dean Moore started out writing a book about happiness, however, as she says, “events overtook me.” In Wild Comfort, Moore tries to grapple with “the power of water, air, earth, and time to bring gladness gradually from grief and to restore meaning to lives that seem empty or unmoored.”

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Love this!

No matter what, and for whatever the reason, this song (& video associated with it) always comforts me. It helped me relax during for my eye surgery (which was less than pleasant), and is a nice touch-stone when I'm in a lot of pain, like right now. Hopefully it will help me relax enough to sleep & end this miserable headache...

"Please Don't Go", by Barcelona
Kuroshio Sea -- 2nd largest aquarium tank in the world

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

ARTICLE: Shape Magazine, "Basic Pain Management Techniques"

ARTICLE: Shape Magazine, "Basic Pain Management Techniques" http://tinyurl.com/y2sc3ju

"One in four Americans - 75 million people - live in chronic, debilitating pain. In fact, pain affects more Americans than diabetes, heart disease and cancer combined. Here are some steps you can take to get relief.

What is pain?

The early Greeks and Romans advanced the idea that the brain played a role in producing the perception of pain. In the 19th century, physician-scientists discovered that opiates such as morphine could relieve pain and chemist Felix Hoffmann developed aspirin from a substance in willow bark. Aspirin remains the most commonly used pain reliever today.

In 1994, the International Association for the Study of Pain (IASP) defined pain as an "unpleasant sensory and emotional experience associated with actual or potential tissue damage."

According to a survey by the National Center for Health Statistics (2006), 26% of adults experienced pain lasting more than 24 hours in the month prior, and 10% experienced the same pain for a year or more. Pain requires particular attention in infants and children since they are not always able to describe the type, degree, or location of pain they are experiencing.

The truth about women and pain

Pain is a regular, if unwelcome, reality for many women, perhaps even more than it is for men, and yet, according to the American Pain Foundation, they are often undertreated. Most women have pain with menstruation at some point in their lives, and childbirth can be painful. Some common disorders of the female reproductive tract are painful. Also, painful autoimmune diseases are much more common in women. To cope with their pain, women tend to use more approaches than men, such as learning about their condition, turning to others for support, and finding ways to relax more and manage stress.

Still, it can be hard for a woman to get help for her pain. Some doctors are less likely to give women painkillers because they think that women overstate the amount of pain they feel. Studies have shown that given the same amount of pain, men are less likely to report it than women. Men might feel they need to "tough it out." But this doesn't mean that the pain women are reporting isn't real. ..."

READ MORE: http://tinyurl.com/y2sc3ju

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Top 10 Things You Can Do to Celebrate National Parks Week

Top 10 Things You Can Do to Celebrate National Parks Week 2010 (April 17-25) http://tinyurl.com/y57c3le

Focus: Winning is a Habit

"Winning is not a sometime thing, it's an all time thing. You don't win once in a while, you don't do things right once in a while, you do them right all the time. Winning is a habit. Unfortunately, so is losing." ~Vince Lombardi

It's amazing how easily one can get distracted and get off track, isn't it? For me, the headaches following my lens replacement eye surgery have certainly been distracting. Everyday I am grateful they are not as horrendous as they were immediately following my operation. And I suppose I don't mind them too much (which is easier to write when I'm not in severe pain!) as long as I re-frame them as an additional cost to the $20K price-tag to see again. I will eternally be grateful to my eye surgeon, Stephen D. McLeod, MD, Chair of the Department of Ophthalmology at UCSF School of Medicine. Thank you.

For those of you following my blog, finding inspiration has been a focal point. Life has so many options, and so many distractions, too. Add to that the fact that I am a project oriented person, and finding worthy projects that can accommodate my frequent headaches has been curious to say the least.

Fortunately I have a great new project I'm working on that I feel strongly about. As my professional background is in event production, I'm delighted to be applying some of my skills to helping a world-renowned conservationist photographer and author create a social media presence. Being type-a, my little soul is tickled beyond belief to have something to 'focus' on; especially something that I can get behind so enthusiastically.

And since winning is a habit, I'm going to recognize that today I cannot see out of my new eye. What that means is that I already have a headache, and it will be a difficult day pain-wise. However my 'focus' is to win, so I'm going to release the pain & relax, which will allow me to stay focused on winning.

What can you focus on today to keep you on-track to win at being the best you can be? Tell me...

Fun! Sierra Club Earth Day Sweepstakes!

Fun! Sierra Club Earth Day Sweepstakes! http://tinyurl.com/y6yxwpu

What can you focus on today to keep you on-track to win at being the best you can be?

What can you focus on today to keep you on-track to win at being the best you can be? http://tinyurl.com/y522948

Thursday, April 8, 2010

Congratulations to Robert Glenn Ketchum! One of his AMAZING photos is PopPhoto Magazine's 'photo of the day': http://tinyurl.com/yhd2bra

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Monday, April 5, 2010

What are you grateful for? For me, today it's Butterflies, Chinese Astrology & Proust in a hot mineral tub! http://tinyurl.com/yg8dg8l

Counting Blessings (& Butterflies)

"How does one become a butterfly? You must want to fly so much that you are willing to give up being a caterpillar." ~Trina Paulus

Ever had a 'Brain-Freeze' from eating ice cream!?! That sudden burst of pain that hits when eating anything cold too fast?! My so-called 'breakthrough' headaches feel like that, except instead of lasting a few seconds the way a 'brain-freeze' does, my headaches hit at that intensity for 2-3 hours.

I bring this up because although I went 2-days without a 'breakthrough' headache last week (which is huge!), I've been slammed with real nasty ones since Wednesday. The good news -- when I'm feeling gracious enough -- is that I’m thrilled that I went 2 days without 'breakthrough' pain! And on top of that, the bad headaches only seem to last 2-3 hours, which is manageable (in comparison to what they were after my eye surgery). However as I'm writing this my Vicodin hasn't hit yet, so I'm not exactly stoked at the moment. This too shall pass... right!?!

Dr. Robert A. Emmons’ book,Thanks! How the New Science of Gratitude Can Make You Happier draws on the first major empirical study of gratitude to scientifically show how the cultivation of appreciation can measurably change peoples lives.

Counting my blessings has always been something I've relied on over the years when life hands me lemons. And yes, some times are more difficult than others to reach for that proverbial silver lining. When I'm trying to stay positive, a trick that always works for me is to make a list of five (5) things I'm grateful for:

1) My WONDERFUL best friends. No matter what, you always make me smile!

2) Friends and acquaintances who, even if they stumble or fall, pick themselves up & keep going.

3) The AMAZING beauty of the San Francisco Bay Area, and of this beautiful planet in general.

4) The ability to heal, learn, push, strive, achieve, and be human.

5) Butterflies, Chinese Astrology, and Marcel Proust in a hot mineral soaking tub.

So tell me, what are you grateful for!?!