After last week’s post, people commented that they’re intrigued by the concept of meditation and want to try it, but would like to understand more about what’s actually behind it. So I wanted to write about how you can take something like the concept of meditation (which may sound great in some abstract philosophical sense), and create real change in your life. Not only inner change, but clear, sustainable outer change. That’s the bottom line you’re trying to achieve – a noticeable difference in the way you feel, think, react, and experience events in your life. When you change the inner, the outer automatically changes – that’s the secret. The true litmus test of any set of beliefs, whether they come from organized religion, spiritual beliefs, or your own personal experience, is whether they are adding value and helping you create the life you want to live. If your beliefs are not helping you grow, evolve, and accomplish the things you want, it make senses to explore and adapt them to what will work for you. So ask yourself, is your belief system helping you or hurting you? Meditation helps you to do just that – instead of assigning random outside causes to things in your life (I’m unlucky, the economy sucks, I was born into a bad environment, my government is holding me down, my husband/wife is unsupportive, etc), it helps you look within to create change. Think about it - you really have no other option – if you do not look within, you are looking without. While it is certainly true that outside circumstances do influence your life, you can slowly begin to change those circumstances from the inside out, which is [...]
Meditation has countless benefits on your health and life in general. Here are some great reasons to make meditation a part (even if it is a small part) of your daily rountine. 1. It increases your mental clarity and focus by eliminating incessant mind chatter created by an endless stream of thoughts. 2. Morning meditation sets a positive, peaceful energy into motion that infuses itself into the rest of your activities for the day (after a while you will notice things running more smoothly on their own). 3. Evening meditation helps you unwind from your day and improves sleep quality. 4. Injecting positive, specific intentions into a non-thought space during meditation helps your intentions manifest faster. 5. Meditation automatically reduces heart rate, lowers blood pressure, reduces muscle tension, and improves breathing. 6. Meditation improves your ability to receive. Ask yourself specific questions before a meditation (Who am I? What is my purpose? What is the best solution to this problem?), quiet your mind, and then listen. Meditation puts you in touch with the silence that holds the answers. 7. Meditation jumpstarts your intuition, creativity, and inspiration. A quiet, relaxed mind is more likely to receive an intuitive hit than a frazzled one. 8. Meditation helps to release negative energy and toxic emotions. 9. Meditation triggers self-healing mechanisms that activate the body’s natural immune system. 10. Meditation helps you fully focus and channel your energy into each present moment. It makes you more powerful and effective in the present.
One of the most fascinating aspects of my job is being able to evaluate clinical trials for different drugs: figuring out how trials are designed and what the data actually means. One of the tenets of evidence-based medicine is that trials should be “double-blinded, placebo controlled.” What this means in plain English is that patients are divided up into two groups, one group is given the drug and the other is given a “placebo” or fake pill. Double blinded simply means neither group knows which it is getting. Sounds straightforward and logical, right? The ignored part of this equation is what this type of study design is actually trying to control. Scientists have long known that when you tell a person they are getting a medicine (even if it is a sugar pill), and the person actually believes to their core that they are getting treated, a lot of times that person will actually get better!! This to me, as a physician, is incredible. Why does this happen? And what are the implications? It is hard to deny that there is some sort of mind over matter effect going on here. And it is a well-known phenomenon, which is why all trials have to control for it. Quantum medicine believes that what you think about your health and your body (both consciously and subconsciously) matters. It matters a lot. Your vibrational energy level, which to a large part is driven by the energy of your thoughts, dictates the degree to which your body can activate its own healing and defense mechanisms to ward off and cure disease. If it is hard for you to believe that your thoughts have influence over your body, look at [...]
So in a previous article, I promised to share some tips on how to improve overall health, and even reverse disease by addressing underlying energy imbalances. One of the least controversial means of preventing and altering disease is through nutrition. Everyone pretty much recognizes that better eating habits can help prevent obesity, heart disease, diabetes, and even cancer. So I won’t focus on that here. But did you know that specific nutritional deficiencies could be the underlying cause of otherwise unexplained symptoms? You are what you eat. The energy derived from food plays a huge factor in the vibrational energy state of the cells of your body. Cells are constantly responding to this energy. Nutritional deficiencies are often overlooked by physicians, since associated symptoms are often vague, non-specific, and chronic. It is also important to note that not all illnesses have a nutritional deficiency as their underlying cause – but there are certainly some known links to consider. Here are some common nutritional deficiencies and their associated symptoms: B Vitamins : fatigue, pale skin, numbness or tingling, a poor sense of balance, inflammation and bleeding in the gums, confusion, dermatitis. Iron : fatigue, lack of energy, weakness, pale mucosal linings, rapid heartbeat, brittle nails or hair, shortness of breath, headache. Essential Fatty Acids: fatigue, acne, dull, dry skin and hair, poor wound healing, eczema, premenstrual syndrome, and attention deficit disorder. EFAs are also great at reducing systemic inflammation and decrease risk of heart disease, stroke, and dementia. Antioxidants: pre-maturely aging skin, cataracts, brown skin spots, stiff, numb fingers, and oversensitivity to sunlight. Antioxidants act as free radical scavengers and help prevent cancer, heart disease, and macular degeneration. If I had to pick two of the [...]
The American Psychological Association just published a great article on the effects of anger on the body (http://www.cnn.com/2008/HEALTH/11/03/hm.anger.management/index.html). Toxic emotions like anger increase your blood pressure, heart rate, send stress hormones coursing through your body, deplete you of energy, and make it harder to think clearly. Is it any wonder that heart attacks happen at a greater frequency on Monday mornings than any other day or time in the week? So what are some practical alternatives to being angry? Effectively dealing with toxic emotions means not suppressing them and letting them build up, but also not letting them take control of you. Negative emotions are your guidance system. They are like a flashing light in your car – an indicator that something is going on. The key to understanding your emotions is to consciously figure out what the root cause of the emotion is, and deal with that. If you can’t change whatever “that” is (a person, situation, environment), walk away from it. If you can’t walk away from it, change your thinking about it. Don’t resist it; accept it fully, and then create change from a place of full acceptance. Remember, what you resists, persists. Far from being a sign of weakness, acceptance actually puts you in a more empowered place because you are no longer expending energy resisting. As you alter your environment or thinking, your emotional guidance system will automatically recalibrate to your new point of focus. And what you focus on expands. As you find an emotion like anger dissipating, you will notice physical changes. Your breathing might become more regular. Your shoulder and neck muscles might relax. And you just might begin thinking more clearly and find the solution that [...]
One of the things they teach you about early in medical school is how food is metabolized. Calories you ingest in the form of food get broken down by enzymes based on the type of food (carbs, fat, or protein), and then absorbed through the rich blood vessel system in the gut into the bloodstream and ultimately different cells in the body. But what happens to no-calorie foods like artificial sweeteners? How do Splenda, Equal, Sweet&Low, etc. get metabolized by the body? The default assumption is that these chemicals have no calories, therefore don’t get absorbed, and therefore have no influence on the body. In reality, these chemicals have carcinogenic and toxic effects that we don’t completely understand at this point. What many people don’t know is the reason they are not well studied is because no one stands to profit from such studies if they were to show unfavorable results. And so it’s difficult to get funding for large safety trials to gauge true long-term effects. What we do know is that artificial sweeteners trick the body. They fool your body into thinking that you have ingested glucose, or regular sugar. So, you get the same insulin spike (the hormone that regulates sugar metabolism and is deregulated in Type II diabetes) through Splenda as you do through sugar. This ultimately promotes hunger and increased calorie intake. In addition to your stomach not being able to differentiate artificial sweetener from sugar, what’s scarier is that your brain is unable to distinguish between the two either. Normally, before anything can get from your bloodstream to your brain, it gets filtered extensively, so only “good molecules” like glucose (which your brain cells need to function) can get [...]