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 October 02, 2006 3:03 PM

Today's Inspiration
Healing Chakra Songs You Can Listen To
From the Sahaja Yoga site online.

According to ancient Hindu wisdom, each chakra, or energy center in the body, resonates at a particular frequency. When a chakra has gotten out of balance, music can help to put it right again. Simply listening to these songs, sung in Sanskrit with the accompaniment of ancient instruments, is a healing experience.

Go to this site, scroll down, and click on a chakra to hear the healing song for that chakra (or listen to all seven!).

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YOGA July 29, 2006 5:30 AM

Om what a feeling!

by Kathy Graham

is much more than contortionist poses and a supermodel butt. Find out
why more Australians than ever choose to twist like a pretzel and what
science has to say about its many alleged health benefits.

Published 3/11/2005

Not being able to turn her head was the last straw for Jane
Robinson. Although it was five years since she'd sustained whiplash in
a car accident, Robinson had been seeing a physiotherapist for five
years with no relief. She felt uncomfortable with some aspects of the
treatment; "The physio sent me to work with this huge foam collar
around my neck and I felt pathetic. I took it off and I thought, 'I've
got to try something else'."

So Robinson went to see a chiropractor, who successfully treated her neck stiffness and recommended yoga.

The experience was life changing. "The first class was a miraculous
opening up of 'this is what I want to do'. I had no idea if it was
going to help my neck problems, but I just loved doing it. It filled
that space that I'd always known was there but had no idea how to fill."

Robinson committed to regular yoga classes and strengthened her neck
and spine. She then found the courage to quit her stressful corporate
job with a software company and became a certified Iyengar yoga
teacher, opening up her own yoga studio in Sydney.

'Yoga' comes from the Sanskrit word 'yug' meaning 'joining together'
and refers to the union of body, mind and spirit. When yoga originated
in India 5000 years ago, the goal was spiritual enlightenment. These
days, the focus is less on the metaphysical, more on the physical.
Certainly in the West, yoga has tended to be associated with exercise
and getting fit, although Robinson's more holistic embrace of yoga is
not uncommon.

Whatever your interpretation of yoga, there's no doubting its
popularity. As revealed by the Australian Bureau of Statistics in 2003,
311,000 people had participated in yoga at least once in the previous
12 months compared to 307,900 for Aussie rules football!

 [ send green star]
 July 29, 2006 5:28 AM

The data we have on yoga is far from comprehensive. "We really don't know much at all about the actual practice of yoga in Australia," says Professor Marc Cohen, Head of Complementary Medicine at RMIT. "And bear in mind there are many different lineages and practices that people can choose from, such as breathing practices, meditation practice, physical postures, yoga lifestyle that incorporates things like yoga hygiene, karma yoga and so on."

So to learn more, Cohen and his team are conducting a web-based national Yoga in Australia survey, the first of its type in the world. They want to know how many people do yoga, what their practice is, why they take it up – be it for spiritual, lifestyle, medical, health or exercise reasons – what its effects are, and the extent of injuries.

In keeping with the different forms yoga practice takes in Australia, the researchers are looking at all aspects of yoga – as a spiritual path, a therapy and a form of exercise. "We have deliberately avoided defining yoga because if we did that, we would potentially exclude a lot of people," explains researcher Stephen Penman.

According to Penman, who has already analysed the first few hundred survey responses, early indicators are that most people see yoga as a physical discipline. Seventy percent of respondents gave 'health/fitness' and 'flexibility/muscle tone' as reasons for starting yoga. This then rose to 78% and 80% respectively as reasons for continuing. However, 18% of respondents started yoga to help with a specific health issue or medical condition, while 22% continued for this reason.

Yoga as a strategy to 'reduce stress/anxiety' also rated highly, with 59% of respondents giving it as a reason for beginning. This increased to 77% as a reason for continuing.

"Yoga has traditionally been seen by western medicine as a musculoskeletal therapy, so if you have a bad back, your doctor might prescribe yoga," says Penman. "But I think the survey will show that where people are taking up yoga for health or medical reasons, they are doing so as much for their mental health as for their physical health."

So is yoga helping? Respondents were asked to detail the specific health concerns or medical conditions they used yoga for and to rate the benefit they received. Conditions given included chronic lower back pain, arthritis, asthma, insomnia, anxiety and depression, sleep disorders, pregnancy, menopausal symptoms, menstrual cycle symptoms, stress and weight loss. Spectacularly yoga improved every condition mentioned!


Yoga as medicine

The healing power of yoga has long been known. In fact, texts dating back to 200 BCE extol its health benefits. But even though physical and psychological therapists have used yoga-derived techniques for therapy right up to the present day, the scientific validity of yoga as therapy hasn't been fully documented.

Simon Borg-Olivier has been teaching yoga for 20 years and recently co-authored The Applied Anatomy and Physiology of Yoga. In chapter one, he writes "A MEDLINE literature search on yoga reveals that there are 726 scientific articles relating to yoga written from 1965 to March 2005."

Borg-Olivier goes on to point out that these articles claim a vast range of benefits from yoga including improvements to lung function, obesity, arthritis, diabetes, various respiratory diseases, sinusitis and indigestion. But "… very few present valid scientific proof of the benefits of yoga. Only 54 articles were based on randomised controlled trials on yoga…"

He believes the lack of rigorous scientific proof has less to do with the validity of yoga and more to do with the reductionist scientific approach. "It goes against the very nature of yoga as a time-honoured holistic science."

Cohen agrees, "Yoga is so all encompassing and involves so many different practices that it's hard to reduce it to one or two elements for the purposes of research".

Nevertheless there are now a number of well-researched papers on the benefits of elements of yoga such as stretching, one-legged exercises, breathing relaxation, visualisation and meditation.

Most agree these benefits are amplified when yoga is practiced as more than one of its elements. Certainly the data from the randomised control trials that have been done generally support this.

The most famous was that begun by Dr Dean Ornish in 1990. Ornish tracked two groups of heart disease patients over five years. The first group took medication only. The second took medication and also adopted a lifestyle based on yoga principles incorporating exercise, meditation, diet, relaxation and group support.

The study, published in the Journal of the American Medical Association in 1997, showed the medication-only group had experienced two-and-a-half-times as many heart attacks or deaths as the yoga lifestyle group.

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 July 08, 2006 11:38 AM

Printed from
Traits of Healthy Hand Chakras
Adapted from Your Aura and Your Chakras, by Karla McLaren (Weiser Books, 1998).

Simple Solution
In the center of each of your palms are your hand chakras. They can be both expressive and receptive. They are more like channels through which any energy can flow than they are like specific storehouses of specific energy. Your hand chakras are connected to your heart chakra, and their general condition shows where you are in your ability to give, receive, and create in the world.

Are your hand chakras healthy? Find out, here:

Your heart chakra’s condition relates to your ability to channel internal love and artistic information throughout your body and spirit, whereas your hand chakra’s condition speaks to your ability to channel these things in the external world.

When your hands and heart are properly connected, the outward flow of heart-chakra energy can be controlled by your hands.

People with healthy hand chakras can translate the information of their healthy chakra system out into the world. They are naturally (as opposed to compulsively) giving and caring, but they have an extra dimension: they can also receive. They can receive help, compliments, gifts, and loving advice, without losing their center. And, they can give all these things to others without creating indebtedness, guilt, or recriminations.

Healthy hand chakras confer a natural creativity on their owners. The creativity of these people flows. They don’t suffer from dramatic artistic blocks or fallow, muse-free periods. They have a flair for dressing, cooking, home decoration, car restoration--whatever makes them happy.

They don’t need to rely on teachers or institutions to validate their artistic expression. They have a comfortable give-and-take relationship with the world and the people around them. They also have a comfortable give-and-take relationship with their own energy, and are able to protect their giving nature by closing off their heart-to-hand connection in the presence of habitually needy people.
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 June 13, 2006 8:40 PM

Releasing the tension in our bodies allows us to better cope with the annoyances that arise in our everyday lives. Our minds often generate thought patterns that can embed themselves in our bodies. These thoughts can create physical tension, which then becomes a source of frustration. When we relax and release tension, we are better able to reduce our mental irritations and soothe our minds. We can then realize that we have the mental tools to work through any of life’s minor frustrations that happen to come our way. By taking the time to relax your body today, you will find a powerful means to cope with stress.
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h June 12, 2006 5:00 AM

News in Science

Health & Medical News - Memories grow sweeter with time - 30/05/2006

[This is the print version of story]

Memories grow sweeter with time

Tuesday, 30 May 2006
Memory lane

Chances are, you'll feel good about life-defining events when you look back on them (Image: iStockphoto)

When we remember events that helped to shape our identity, such as a break-up or marriage, we tend to downplay the fear, anger or other negative emotions and remember more of the positive ones, a new study indicates.

"These findings suggest that healthy individuals work to build a positive narrative identity that will yield an overall optimistic tone to the most important recalled events from their lives," write study authors Drs Michael Conway and Wendy-Jo Wood of Concordia University in Montreal, Quebec.

The findings, published in the latest issue of the Journal of Personality, may also have implications for someone's mental health.

"Mental health is maintained or improved by people's attempts to make sense of their life experiences," Conway says.

"People try to see the positive in even very difficult life experiences, and come to downplay, as much as they can, how negative some events were in the past," he explains.

For their research, Conway and Wood investigated people's emotional memories for self-defining events, which they described as emotionally complex events that contribute to a person's sense of identity or overall life story.

In one study, 279 university students were asked to think about an important past event that helped define themselves.

They were then asked to describe the event in various terms, including the extent to which it had a big impact on them and how much it helped them learn about themselves and about life.

Based on the students' responses, Conway and Wood conclude that a person's perception of the impact of an event is a good marker for meaning making, that is the process that results in an individual integrating an event with his or her positive sense of identity.

In a second study, 79 university students were asked to report and describe, on paper, five self-defining memories and to rate those events on a five-point scale in terms of its impact.

They also completed two questionnaires about the 10 emotions they felt when the event occurred and how they currently felt about the event, respectively.

Happiness and pride
Conway and Wood found that when the study participants reflected on negative events, such as conflict with bosses or teachers, death, or physical or sexual assault, they reported that they currently felt less negative emotions, like anger and disgust, and more happiness and pride than they had felt at the time of the event.

And when the students reflected on positive events, like a dating relationship or marriage, recreation, or attaining a personal goal, they reported feeling just as happy as they had felt at the time of the event, as well as similarly intense feelings of love and pride.

Again, however, they also reported feeling less anger, embarrassment, guilt and other negative emotions than they had initially felt.

"What was striking is that the findings held up for a wide range of emotions," Conway says, adding that "when making sense of their past experiences, people would downplay all the negative types of feelings they had, such as fear and anger".

Death in the family
How does this relate to a negative event like the death of a grandmother, for example?

"The sad event is still mostly sad," Conway says. "But the positive emotions have come out more."

People are "seeing the silver lining, so to speak" and may feel happy afterwards as they realise that the grandmother's suffering is over, he says.

Conway says how the practice is common among men and women in a variety of life situations.

"Everyone can experience strong emotional reactions in extreme situations, and everyone needs to come to terms with such events in order to maintain a positive sense of self, and a positive sense of the world at large."

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 June 02, 2006 4:19 AM

Natural Ways For Dealing With Anxiety

"Although people experience anxiety as a normal part of life, true anxiety attacks are much different. anxiety is treatable. If the situation is serious, your doctor may recommend prescription medication such as Klonopin, but before you get to that point, you might consider a number of natural ways for dealing with anxiety."

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From The New Zealand Health Network May 27, 2006 2:38 PM

Organic Flax Seed Oil
With Omega-3:

Physiological and clinical research has shown that the majority of western diets are deficient in the Omega-3 essential fatty acids A deficiency of Omega-3 can he implicated in:

Coronary Heart Disease: A large number of studies have shown that oils containing Omega-3 can have a number of beneficial effects in the prevention and treatment of coronary heart disease. Omega-3's have been shown to reduce the cholesterol  ratio,  blood pressure, triglyceride levels, platelet aggregation (blood cloning tendency), artheroscierosis (plaque formation) and cardiac arrhythmia.

Cancer: Omega-3 has been shown to selectively kill human cancer cells in tissue culture studies, without harming normal  cells. Clinical studies are confirming the potential of high doses of Omega-3 to reduce tumour growth.

Arthritis:  Several double blind studies have shown that when oils rich in Omega-3 are taken as a dietary supplement, about two thirds of patients are able to discontinue their non steroidal drugs and a further 20 % can cut down their drug use.

Skin Problems: Skin conditions such as psoriasis, acne, eczema and other allergic conditions, and dry skin have all been shown to be partly related to. Omega-3 deficiency.

Stress: Omega-3 fatty acids are the precursors  for  the  Series  3 prostaglandin's, which regulate immune function and are responsible for reversing the body's physiological  response  to  stress. Some clinical studies have indicated a sense of calmness in response to Omega-3 '5.


Growth and Development:
Studies have shown that mothers require increased levels of Omega-3 during pregnancy and nursing for normal brain and eye development in their children.

  • Waihi Bush Fresh Flax Seed Oil is 60% Omega-3, One of natures richest sources. Fresh Flax Seed Oil is unconditionally guaranteed:
  • Free from trans fatty acids and free radicals due to the exclusive Omegaflo process which  excludes  light  and oxygen a good source of high quality Omega-6 (15%) and Omega-9 (18%) fatty acids.
  • Rich in it's own naturally occurring antioxidants, with 15 mg of mixed tocopherols (incl. 5 mg Vitamin E) and 1100 mg of mixed carotenoids (incl. 50 mg Beta carotene) per 100 grams.
  • Bio-Gro certified organic, nothing  added - nothing removed genuine cold pressed at 30 - 330C - Fresh Pressed

Erasmus U Fats and oils - the Complete Guide.
Simopoulos. A.P. (/99/) American Journal of Clinical Nutrition: 54:438-63.British Nutrition Foundation (1992).
Unsaturated fatty acids  nutritional and physiological significance. Chapman & Hall, London.

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From Annie's Healthy Living February 14, 2006 3:24 AM

For those with high blood pressure, I use absolutely NO salt, but a ground up mix of
8-10 juniper seeds
6-7 (a pinch) of cumin seeds, whole
a couple of sprigs of fresh origano
about 2 tblspoons dried rosemary
a sprinkle of nutmeg

pound all together in a wooden or stone grinder

use as salt (sprinkle it, don't cover the dish with it)

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 January 28, 2006 4:34 PM

 November 24, 2005 1:28 PM

Does Laughter Really Help?

While happiness may be associated with better health or longevity, is there any proof that laughter per se provides similar benefits?

Japanese researchers suggested it might help patients with type 2 diabetes, the most common form of this disease. They showed that there was a significantly smaller spike in blood sugar after a meal when diabetics watched a popular comedy show compared to listening to a boring lecture.

In another study of patients allergic to dust mites and other common irritants, skin lesions shrank after watching Charlie Chaplin's antics in Modern Times, whereas a video containing weather information had no effect. There is abundant evidence that laughter can relieve pain, as Norman Cousins had claimed.

A five-year study that began in 2000 called Rx Laughter at UCLA's Jonsson Cancer Centre was designed to determine if laughter could lessen the pain and improve immune system function in children suffering from cancer and other chronic diseases.

It started with the help of a $75,000 grant from cable TV network Comedy Central by working with hundreds of children to determine what makes them laugh.

One of the methods used was to ask them to hold their arms in cold water as long as they could for up to three minutes. It was found that kids watching funny videos during the experiment reported significantly less pain and could also keep their arms in the cold water longer than controls not viewing the videos.

Other benefits of laughing reported by this and other groups here and abroad include:

  • Relaxation and reduction in muscle tension.
  • Lowered production of stress hormones.
  • Improved immune system function.
  • Reduction in blood pressure.
  • Clearing the lungs by dislodging mucous plugs.
  • Increasing the production of salivary immunoglobulin A, which defends against infectious organisms that enter through the respiratory tract.
  • Aerobic effects that increased the body's ability to utilize oxygen.
  • A rapid ability to disregard aches and pains or to perceive them as less severe.


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 November 24, 2005 1:26 PM

Do the Health Benefits of Humor and Laughter Have Scientific Support?

By Paul J. Rosch, M.D.
President, The American Institute of Stress
Clinical Professor of Medicine and Psychiatry
New York Medical College
Originally published in Health and Stress, the newsletter (November 2005) of The American Institute of Stress

Part of the problem in obtaining proof that laughter promotes health or prolongs life is that it is sometimes viewed as being synonymous with humor and happiness. Laughter is not the same as humor or happiness.

Laughter is the physical and physiological response to humor that frequently results in a feeling of happiness.

The only link between all of these is that happy people and those with a good sense of humor are more apt to laugh at something that is funny than their crabby counterparts.

A prior article, titled Why Do Happy People and Optimists Live Longer?, reviewed the evidence that validates this view and discussed possible explanations for such relationships. Since then, this belief has been bolstered by other reports that also shed light on some mechanisms of action that may be responsible.

In one study of 2,500 senior citizens that were followed for six years, those who scored high on a happiness quiz had much fewer strokes than those at the bottom of the scale.

In another study of more than 200 middle-aged healthy London civil service employees, those who reported feeling happy almost every day, whether while at work or on weekends, were significantly healthier and had lower heart rates than others who were not as consistently jolly and gleeful.

Researchers asked participants to rate their happiness at 33 times during work or leisure days during which they also monitored heart rate and blood pressure.

Saliva samples were collected eight times a day to determine concentrations of cortisol, a stress-related hormone that increases risk for heart disease and diabetes.

In addition, all were subjected to a mental stress test, following which they were asked to rate their happiness level on a scale of 1 to 5 and blood samples were obtained to measure fibrinogen, a blood clotting factor and index of inflammation associated with increased risk of coronary heart disease.

After adjusting for age, smoking, weight and other possible influences, it was found that people in the top fifth for daily happiness scores had cortisol levels 32 percent lower than those in the bottom quintile. Happiness was also linked to a lower average heart rate in men. While the majority showed some rise in fibrinogen following the mental stress test, this was far greater for the least happy group compared to those at the other end of the scale.

Surprisingly, there was no evidence of any relationship between happiness levels and age, sex, marital status or socioeconomic status. The happiest people reported feeling that way whether working or during leisure time but those who were least happy tended to report this more while they were working.

Low-Rung Employees, High Mortality Rates

These subjects were part of the large ongoing Whitehall II study designed to determine the causes and health effects of job stress in British civil service workers. The original Whitehall study that started in 1967 showed that males in the lowest clerical jobs had the highest overall mortality rate and heart disease death rate whereas top administrators had the least; there was a consistent inverse correlation between mortality and grade of employment for those in between.

The second, Whitehall II, began in 1985, and was designed to confirm and explore the reasons for this disparity. In one phase, investigators interviewed over 2,000 male civil servants aged 45-68 who had completed questionnaires detailing their medical history, job title and responsibilities, mental health, diet, smoking, alcohol use and physical exercise habits.

Various risk factors for coronary disease were measured including heart rate variability (HRV), which reflects the heart's ability to adapt to changing situations such as increased physical activity and emotional distress. As emphasized previously, low HRV, a strong predictor of sudden death and coronary events, may be the most accurate way to assess the severity of job stress.

Researchers very recently reported that a diminished HRV was more common in workers at the bottom of the corporate ladder. However, it was also associated with job stress due to a sense of little job control that was independent of civil service employment grade. One might assume that frustrated workers with little job control would be less happy than others.

HeartMath studies have also confirmed that feelings of frustration lower HRV while those of happiness and satisfaction have the opposite effect. In addition, a prior Whitehall II report on male workers showing a link between low HRV and high job stress levels may help explain why both, as well as depression, can contribute to coronary disease.

Low HRV was associated with an increase in cortisol, fibrinogen and other chemicals believed to cause insulin resistance, diabetes, hypertension and other manifestations of metabolic syndrome, a major risk factor for cardiovascular disease. This suggests that it is not that healthy peopl  [ send green star]

 November 19, 2005 12:43 PM

Evening Primrose Oil Fights Breast Cancer

Evening Primrose OilGamma-linolenic acid (GLA), the essential omega-6 fat that is found in evening primrose, black currant seed, and borage oil, can inhibit the action of the cancer gene Her-2/neu. This gene is responsible for almost 30 percent of all breast cancers.

40-Fold Increase in Effectiveness

When cancer cells that overexpress the Her-2/neu gene are treated with GLA, it not only helps suppress the cancer-causing gene, but also causes up to a 40-fold increase in response to the drug Herceptin (trastuzumab), which is used as part of breast cancer treatment. GLA also selectively affects cancer cells without damaging normal cells.

Good News for Those With an Aggressive Form of Cancer

This is especially good news because patients who possess the Her-2/neu gene also typically have an aggressive form of the disease and a poor prognosis.

GLA is one of two essential fatty acids, which are necessary for the normal functioning and growth of cells, nerves, muscles and organs. GLA is present in evening primrose oil, borage oil, and black current seed oil, among other sources.

Journal of the National Cancer Institute November 2, 2005; 97(21): 1611-1615

EurekAlert November 1, 2005

Northwestern University November 2, 2005

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HEALTH MATTERS November 15, 2005 3:11 AM

Sleep Pattern May Indicate Depression  

A particular sleep profile runs in families and that the sleep profile seems to be fairly clearly associated with an increased susceptibility of family members to suffer from depression. Researchers may actually be closer to learning about the genetics of depression by pursuing sleep as a means of what might be underlying depression's development.

Two major sleep states are rapid eye movement (REM) and non-REM. Non-REM is classified by overall brain wave slowing. It occurs in stages 1-4, where 1 is the most activated brain and 4 is the least activated. Deep sleep is low wave, occurring in stages 3-4. REM is when brain activity is similar to when people are awake, but they are really deeply asleep.

The sleep profile the researchers identified is characterized by an earlier onset to this REM state and a drop out in slow wave sleep. Overall, there is more REM sleep and less slow wave sleep and a quicker slide into REM sleep. This discovery led the researchers to conclude that there is a fundamental regulatory problem in sleep which is linked to people's vulnerability for depression.

Relatives of depressed people who have rapid REM onset were four times more likely to also have rapid REM onset, and that their risk of depression was nearly double compared with the relatives of other depressed patients. The study findings also suggest that rapid REM onset indicates a higher risk of depression than having a family member with depression.

Most people are not aware that they may have this sleep profile. It is not associated with waking up often during the evening or not feeling rested in the morning. However, if people have a substantial number of family members who seem to have a problem with depression, that suggests they may have this sleep profile.

American Journal of Psychiatry (1998;155:192-199)

COMMENT: Disturbed sleep patterns are a very powerful indicator of depression. It is the most sensitive clue I have to recognize if I am getting depressed. Cardiovascular aerobic exercise is also one of the most effective treatments for disturbed sleeping patterns. Typically, 30-60 minutes four times a week. Doing this amount of exercise or even more is no guarantee that it will work. I know many depressed individuals who are exercise fanatics. However, it is one simple and inexpensive way to treat this problem.

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