Friday, May 31, 2024

               Blog #147 May is Meditation and Mental Health Month

 

Among many other May things.  And I am writing this blog right on the cusp of June, but June is a fine month also. Some previous blogs have covered Meditation, but I want to touch on a few points regarding Meditation and mental health and also add a new Meditation, special for this year, which is most powerful from mid-May until possibly the end of July.  

 

Vipassana, one of the most ancient Buddhist Meditations, originated in India over 2,500 years ago, and was taught by Gautama Buddha as a treatment for universal ills. It involves becoming aware of oneself and the surrounding reality while watching the breath.  It is usually done seated.  This style of meditation can help calm the mind, sharpen powers of focus and concentration and reduce mental and emotional suffering.  Whenever the mind wanders, it is brought back to watching the breath.  

 

Transcendental Meditation, or TM, was developed last century by Maharishi Mahesh Yogi.  It has become popular and is used by many people to help them with relaxation, which in turn may help improve physical health, such as lowering blood pressure, and improve mental health, such as alleviating stress-related insomnia and anxiety.  TM involves spending 20 minutes morning and evening silently repeating a given mantra.  This can help with mental focus and the release of stressful thoughts and attachments.  

 

Taoist Esoteric Yoga includes many styles of Energy work and Meditation.  Tai Qi and Qi Gong are moving Meditations.  Some of these forms are many centuries old traditions and some have been developed more recently. Elements of these forms are optimal posture, disciplined use of gaze, flowing movement of the body, and specific mental intention and focus.  Movement and focus help optimize blood and energy (Qi) circulation to achieve specific results, such as warming hands and feet, encouraging peristalsis (intestinal motility) and muscular relaxation.

 

A specific, Life and Nature-based Meditation, which will be available for people for the next two months or so is what I will call the Cicada Meditation.  From mid-May this year until about the end of July, two different broods of Cicadas converge on the U.S., especially the mid-Western states, such as Illinois, to emerge from the ground, shed their skins, mature and mate.  One brood has been living a few inches underground for the past 13 years, feeding on the sap from tree roots, and the other has been doing this for 17 years.  This overlap of broods last occurred 221 years ago.  We might benefit by taking advantage of this spectacular conjunction with Meditation.  Time spent in Nature can be healing and relaxing.  Not only can we enjoy beautiful plants, animals, lakes, streams, sky and earth, but we can also enjoy the sight of these colorful, gentle Cicadas.  The call of the male Cicada is repetitive, relaxing and Mantra-like.  The female makes a clicking sound.  Some people play recordings of Cicada calls to help them fall asleep at night, or use them as white noise, or even as soothing background for massage or other healing sessions. Observing and listening to Cicadas can be a Zen-like experience, being here now in a natural healing venue.  You may be able to access some Cicada calls via the link below – just cut and paste it to your browser.  Enjoy!

 

CICADA SOUNDS - Sound Effect of Cicadas in Summer at Night - Sounds of Cicada (Chicharra, Campanero)

 

This blog’s offer:  enjoy this summer and also the Cicadas.  Plus, from June through July each year you will experience the most powerful and effective Acupuncture treatments, so consider scheduling an appointment during this time.

 

 

Thursday, April 25, 2024

         Blog #146 Spinal Alignment and Good Posture Support Health,                          Intellect and Intuition

 

If you have suffered from back, neck, hip or other musculoskeletal pain, you probably noticed that pain interferes with concentration and perception of details and nuances you may encounter. Not only is pain a distraction – chronic pain will eventually contribute to the body’s inflammation load.  Chronic inflammation, in turn, often results in deeper problems  – osteoarthritis, autoimmune diseases such as lupus, Hashimoto’s thyroiditis and Sjogren’s syndrome , generalized physical and mental tension, anxiety and depression.  Also, the discomfort, distorted posture and bodily tension due to spinal misalignment interfere with breathing, blood and lymphatic circulation and tissue oxygenation.  So, spinal misalignment and consequent sub-optimal posture can be problematic in ways that some of us did not expect.  

 

In the past, I noticed that when I was able to help relieve back pain in patients who suffered from anxiety and/or depression, the pain relief resulted in improved mental focus, reduced fatigue and balanced moods.  When spinal adjustments were accompanied by improved nutrition, then digestive disorders, such as irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), gastroesophageal reflux disorder (GERD) and chronic constipation were significantly diminished or even eliminated.   Several of my patients felt so well after regaining physical comfort, improved posture and a healthful diet that, under their PCP’s supervision, they were weaned off anti-depressants and anti-anxiety medications without ill effects or relapses.  Sometimes, they also availed themselves of counseling and began to exercise regularly.  Tai Chi, Chi Gong, Yoga and walking out of doors in Nature all can be helpful.  Some used Flower Essences or learned Meditation or Self-Hypnosis.  

 

When the body is comfortable and balanced and the mind is calm and able to perceive subtle thoughts and physical changes, this can put a person in a receptive, intuitive state.  Each improvement builds on the previous one: improved musculoskeletal alignment and posture, improved nutrition and digestive/eliminative function, improved blood and lymph circulation, improved neurological function, more relaxed, efficient breathing, balanced emotions, sharper mind, and finally, enhanced intuition and creativity.  

 

Spinal and other musculoskeletal adjusting tends to be the most direct and quickest way to reduce discomfort comfort and improve posture, but it is best to pair adjustments with some of the exercises mentioned previously to help support and maintain improvements.  Dietary improvement and other lifestyle changes are also important, especially sufficient sleep, stress reduction or stress management, reduction of internal (i.e. excess cortisol) and external (i.e. pesticides) toxins, and a positive, constructive sense of purpose or meaning in life.  

 

This blog’s offer:  feel free to contact me for Chiropractic adjusting, Flower Essence therapy, Hypnosis/Self-Hypnosis, nutritional suggestions, Acupuncture, or Strong Posture instruction. Enjoy Spring!

 

 

Sunday, March 31, 2024

            Blog #145 Some Lesser Known Resources for Optimal Health

 

Although it is true that some people cannot afford to purchase organic food, air purifiers, and other supportive supplies, many of us can afford to buy at least some of these items, especially when faced with negative health consequences that can occur when people do not care for themselves and their families as well as their circumstances allow.  Below are many sources of excellent, life-giving foods, water and air purification systems, exercise suggestions, holistic health support, and not easily found sources of information regarding good health.

 

Several Food Co-ops either currently exist or will soon exist in the Chicago area.  Dill Pickle Food Co-op operates in Logan Square, on Milwaukee Avenue, the Chicago Market will be in Uptown, on Wilson Avenue,  and Wild Onion Food Co-op (Rogers Park) will be opening this year, on Clark Street.  All three of these food co-ops buy or will buy much of their produce from local farmers, some of whom are certified Organic.  Larger stores, such as Whole Foods, Trader Joe’s and Mariano’s also sell a significant amount of Organic or other naturally-grown produce, though much of their food comes from more distant locations, such as California or Mexico. Farmers’ Markets usually are my favorite places to buy produce.  There are many markets in the Chicago area, such as the Logan Square, Green City and Rogers’ Park Markets.  Farmers markets exist in almost all Chicago suburbs, including Skokie, Evanston, Oak Park, Wilmette, and Park Ridge.  Evanston is my personal favorite.  There are also stores that buy meat, dairy and produce primarily from local farmers and sell to the public. The store that I am most familiar with is Village Farmstand, located in Evanston, on Dempster.  Several community gardens in Chicago and also in other suburbs, such as Evanston, allow you to rent a plot and grow some produce in spring, summer and autumn.  And, of course, if you are fortunate enough to have land for a garden, you can grow some of your own food.  

 

Unfortunately, last year, Chicago was rated as one of the most polluted cities in the U.S., due to the Canadian fires.  Many people chose to stay inside as much as possible, and air purifiers helped make the indoor air less toxic. Several air purifiers recommended by Consumers are several Blue Air Blue Pure brand air filters, Conway Air brand filters, Alen Breathe Smart, Clean Force brand, and Honeywell brand air purifiers.  I personally would add Air Doctor air purifiers to the list.  Another way to keep air in your space clean is to have many plants (and I mean vast numbers) in your spaces.  It is best to primarily use those that are good bedroom plants. These will not exhale a lot of carbon dioxide at night, like many plants do.  Some plants I would recommend to keep your indoor air clean are Boston Fern, English Ivy, all Palm Trees, Rubber Plants, Pearl Lilly, and Snake Plant (this last is my favorite).  

 

Regarding water, it is best not to drink water from plastic bottles, since those bottles both pollute the environment and introduce small particles of plastic into your body.  Instead, I would recommend consuming water in glass bottles, such as Mountain Valley, or Voss.  Otherwise, it would be best to purify tap water at home.  The best ways to purify water are either distillation, which removes all impurities, including fluoride, reverse osmosis, which removes almost all impurities, or a high quality water filter.  Several waters purifiers I would recommend include Zero Water, Aqua Pure, Berkey (gravity driven, no electricity), APEC Water System (reverse osmosis) and Water Wise (distillation).  

 

Highly beneficial exercise includes regular walks, preferably out of doors, near a body of water or In a wooded area, regular Yoga, Tai Chi or Chi Gong practice, modern, flowing dance as well as some more challenging exercises, such as weight lifting two or three times a week or using exercise bands several times a week.  Strong Posture, a program to cultivate improved posture and balance, is also very beneficial, especially for people who are middle aged or older.  Grounding yourself by being barefoot on earth or sand can be helpful.  I also recommend forest bathing – spending time walking and relaxing among trees. These above types of exercise will help reduce stress, support better sleep and digestion, keep the body more toned and strong, support the immune system, and much more. 

 

Finally, supportive therapies, such as Chiropractic, Acupuncture, Massage, and guided specific therapeutic exercises can all improve both mental and physical health.  I wish you the best in finding what works best for you.

 

This blog’s offer:  contact me if you would like to receive Chiropractic or Acupuncture therapy, if you would like to take a Strong Posture course, or if you would like to learn some Chi Gong forms appropriate for you. Also, if you contact me, I will share with you some difficult to find sources of information regarding protecting yourself from infectious disease, medical errors, and more.

Thursday, February 29, 2024

                                    Blog #144 Peace in the Midst of Storms

(written during the tornado watch in the Chicago area on February 27, 2024)

 

In this blog, I will share with you information about several wise teachers who refer to and exemplify Peace, especially Inner Peace, as one aspect of a healthy, fulfilled life and world.  Peace Pilgrim, a woman who walked penniless in the U.S. from coast to coast multiple times for 28 years, accepting food and shelter when offered, all in the name of Peace, stated that all types of Peace are important: that between nations, neighbors, that within families and especially Peace within each individual.  All types have the potential to help increase likelihood of greater Peace in the world.  You can easily find her on the internet.  Just search for Peace Pilgrim.  You can read the beautiful book, Peace Pilgrim her life and work in her own words, on the Peace Pilgrim website free of charge, or purchase it.  Peace Pilgrim was the first woman to walk the entire Appalachian Trail in one season, just before she embarked as a wanderer and walker for Peace.  

 

David Coon, a Qigong Teacher and Healer living in North Carolina, teaches entire workshops for improved health, healing others, and about how to feel more peaceful internally.  He states that Activity and Focus are both important for effective Qigong practice.  One of the most beautiful Qigong forms he teaches is called The Waterfall.  You can find him on the internet, and especially on YouTube, by searching for David J Coon and Qigong.  He even offers a free two hour workshop on Peace, that you will find well worth the time if you decide to watch and participate.  David healed himself from serious injuries decades ago using daily Qigong.  He teaches classes in person in North Carolina and also online.  David Coon has recently written a book, Qigong for Beginners Your Path to Greater Health and Vitality, which you might enjoy.

 

Jeffrey Yuen is an 88th generation Priest of the Jade Purity School Lao Tzu Sect, and representative of other Taoist Sects as well.  He is one of the most sought-after teachers of the Art and Science of Chinese Medicine, and exemplifies Peace in his presence and daily life.  He has deep knowledge and wisdom about healing with Acupuncture, Meditation, Gems, Aromatic Oils, Herbs, and much more.  He has organized much of the Classical Chinese Medicine curriculum at the Daoist Healing Arts school in North Carolina, as well as in other schools.  Listening to him and learning from him is an unforgettable experience.  You can find more information about Jeffrey Yuen online.  Some lectures and courses may be available for a reasonable fee.  

 

What the world needs now are Love and Peace.  It so so important to work, live, and move closer to that state of balance and harmony.  

 

This blog’s offer:  if you have any questions about any of these fine people, please feel free to contact me.  If I can be of help in some way, through Hypnosis, Flower Essences, Qigong and more, all of which can help bring people into a state of increased balance and Peace, contact me by phone or email.  

 

 

Monday, January 29, 2024

                                        Blog# 143 Stay Strong With Vitamin D

 

I have decided to re-visit a blog sent out a couple of years ago, because an optimal level of Vitamin D is so important for many things, including bone strength and density and immune system health.  During winter in the more northern latitudes, there is insufficient sunlight to deliver optimal vitamin D, so especially during these colder months, diet and supplements are important sources of this vitamin.

 

Here is a copy of the previous blog.  I will also include a link to an interesting discussion about Vitamin D and continuing optimal health, especially strong resistance to infection.    

 

One of many ways to optimize immune function is through proper nutrition, including good Vitamin D levels.  Opinions vary about the best Vitamin D range, but from my research of varied medical and nutritional literature, I have concluded the best range falls between 40 and 80 ng/mL.  Some people say that it is best to have values between 80 and 100 ng/mL when working to prevent viral, or other, infections.  Levels of 30 ng/mL and below can be problematic, and should be raised by sunlight exposure, nutrient supplementation, and improved diet. 

 

Vitamin D, which is actually a hormone, can perform many functions, including supporting healthy bone density, reducing pain and inflammation, reducing rheumatoid arthritis joint pain, soothing and smoothing skin, healing gastric ulcers, and protecting against infection, especially in the winter.  Additionally, The Mayo Clinic states that long-term Vitamin D supplementation can reduce the risk of multiple sclerosis and that low blood levels of this vitamin are associated with cognitive decline.  Some sources have observed that Vitamin D may sometimes help reduce depression and anxiety. Vitamin D deficiency during pregnancy may result in neonatal rickets, childhood asthma, and an increased tendency to develop autoimmune ailments, especially type 1 diabetes.  The mother may suffer from pre-eclampsia, which may endanger both her and the baby.  

 

The three best ways to obtain this vitamin/hormone are direct sunlight, especially in the warmer latitudes, nutritional supplementation, and whole foods.  Tanning salons are not recommended.  In the northernmost latitudes, it is necessary to obtain most of this vitamin from foods and supplements.  Eskimos consume lots of fish and animal blubber, both of which are rich in Vitamin D.  Other food sources of Vitamin D are egg yolks, fatty fish, such as salmon, sardines and anchovies, mushrooms (Vitamin D2 only) and cod liver oil (also high in Vitamin A and a broad spectrum of omega fatty acids).  Food quality is important for optimal nutrient absorption, so, if possible, choose wild caught fish, preferably from relatively clean waters, choose eggs from hens raised in optimal organic or biodynamic conditions and organically raised mushrooms.  Cod liver oil should be obtained from fish living in as pure water as possible, such as the arctic regions.  The oil should be minimally processed, if at all. Because of the relatively high levels of vitamin A to D, taking too much of this oil may cause problems for a developing fetus, so it shouldn’t be taken during pregnancy.  Sun bathing and simple D supplements are preferable for pregnant women.  People taking Statins, some blood pressure medications and Warfarin or other anti-coagulants generally should avoid this oil unless they consult their PCP and adjust the medication dosage to accommodate to the effects of this oil.  For example, cod liver oil tends to lower blood pressure and also is a mild anti-coagulant.  Some popular oil brands are Rosita Extra Virgin Cod Liver Oil, Carlson Wild Norwegian Cod Liver Oil and Blue Ice Fermented Cod Liver Oil.  Some popular brands of Vitamin D3 are Essential Elements D3, Life Extension Vitamin D3,  Nature Wise D3, and MegaFood Vitamin D3 for Immune and Bone Health.  

 

Parts of the world population may have problems absorbing this nutrient.  They include the elderly, the immunocompromised, darker-skinned people, those who have gastrointestinal conditions such as leaky gut, people who live in the northern latitudes, the overweight or obese, people with health issues involving liver or kidneys, people who live in areas with high air pollution, those who use sunscreen, and those with cool or cold skin.  Sometimes, taking in a combination of Vitamins D, A and omega fatty acids will help improve absorption, as will taking a good probiotic, eating fermented foods, regulating blood sugar, getting enough sleep, improving food quality, sufficient hydration, exercising regularly and learning to relax and deal with stress more effectively.  Checking the baseline blood level, making life or nutritional changes, if needed, and checking again in about six months will usually help optimize the level of this hormone.  

 

Here is a link to a fascinating, even stunning discussion regarding Vitamin D, Viral infections, and more.  There are many verifiable references to population mortality and morbidity associated with varying Vitamin D levels.  Dr. David Grimes and Dr. John Campbell from the UK discuss this vital topic.  You can cut and paste the link below to your browser, or even cut and paste it to the YouTube browser.

 

Dr. David Grimes, consultant physician gives amazing information on the importance of immunity and vitamin D.

 

This blog’s offer, feel free to contact me regarding specific recommendations about Vitamin D support in daily diet and in nutritional supplementation.