Tags: Body & Mind, Chinese culture, chinese medicin, health
By Melissa Sokulski
Cold and flu season is upon us. Traditional Chinese Medicine has effective time-tested techniques which boost immunity and protect us from colds or the flu. Points can be needled and herbal formulas can be given to balance the body’s energy, strengthen the body and even speed recovery if one does come down with symptoms.
In Chinese medicine colds and flu are considered to be an external pathogen invading the body. When our body`s energy, or qi, is strong we are able to fight off these pathogens. If our qi is weak we come down with symptoms of cold and flu: headache, chills, fever, body aches, cough, and sore throat.
To keep our qi strong and prevent colds and flu it is important to:
- Eat a healthy diet full of fresh raw fruits and vegetables.
- Cut out white and brown sugar, and corn syrup and high fructose corn syrup – all of which lower our immunity.
- Wash hands frequently with regular soap and water.
- Get outside in fresh air exposing your face to sunshine. It may be wise to supplement with vitamin D3 this time of year.
- Receive acupuncture treatments which strengthen the qi and balance energy.
- Choose herbal medicine, supplements and nourishing food to keep immunity strong.
It is important to make sure all meridians are balanced to keep the energy flowing smoothly and our immunity strong. Immunity relates especially to the earth and metal elements which show up in the pulse as the spleen and lung meridians.
An acupuncturist will often use points such as Stomach 36 to keep the energy strong and Spleen 6 to make sure food is digested properly and nutrients are absorbed and turned into vital energy.
Large Intestine 11 is a powerful immune point. Large Intestine 4 and Triple Warmer 5 are often used to help the body push pathogens out. Lung 7 combined with Large Intestine 4 strengthens the body`s defense against pathogens.
Often the earth and metal points on the back (Bladder 13 and Bladder 20) are needled to harmonize the body`s energy and strengthen immunity.
In terms of herbal medicine:
- Astragalus is an excellent immune tonic.
- Medicinal mushrooms such as Reishi and Maitake can boost the immune system especially if compromised.
- Four Gentlemen Formula is a classic Chinese herb formula to keep the qi strong.
- Bu Zhong Yi Qi Tang is a combination of ginseng, astragalus, and other herbs used to strengthen qi.
If someone comes down with symptoms of the flu the treatment switches to formulas which expel the pathogen:
- Yin Qiao contains cooling detoxifying herbs such as forsythia and honeysuckle. It is used with symptoms of sore throat, headache, and a yellow tongue coat.
- Gan Mao Ling is used when in the midst of a bad cold or flu especially with head and body aches.
Acupuncture and Chinese medicine have been around for thousands of years successfully treating many disorders including colds and flu.
Originally published by http://www.naturalnews.com and republished with permission
Learn more: http://www.naturalnews.com/031540_influenza_Chinese_Medicine.html#ixzz2egYYYn1h
More in Traditional Chinese Medicine
Tags: Body & Mind, Chinese culture, chinese medicin, Food, health
By D.J. Heyes
As more research is done regarding so-called “non-traditional” healthcare, doctors and scientists are rediscovering “old” treatments that are increasingly supplanting today’s standard treatments for a number of conditions.
That includes coughs that often accompany the flu or mild chest infections, according to a recently published study in the journal Lancet.
About 2,000 patients from across 12 European countries were tasked with keeping an “illness journal,” the BBC reports. Researchers from the University of Southampton, led by Prof. Paul Little, found that the severity and duration of symptoms in those who were treated with antibiotics were no different than those who took a placebo (experts did say; however, that if pneumonia was suspected, patients should still be treated with antibiotics because of the severity of the condition).
Antibiotic effectiveness has been reduced because of over-prescribing
“Using the antibiotic amoxicillin to treat respiratory infections in patients not suspected of having pneumonia is not likely to help and could be harmful,” Little said.
“Overuse of antibiotics, dominated by primary care prescribing, particularly when they are ineffective, can lead to the development of resistance and have side effects like diarrhea, rash and vomiting,” Little continued. “Our results show that people get better on their own. But given that a small number of patients will benefit from antibiotics the challenge remains to identify these individuals.”
Earlier research into whether antibiotics were actually beneficial in the treatment of chest infections that included symptoms of weakness, high fever, shortness of breath, fatigue and coughing, produced conflicting conclusions, especially in older adults where chest infections have the potential of causing additional complications.
Researchers randomly assigned and divided patients into two groups – one that received an antibiotic for their cough and one that received a placebo – three times daily for seven days.
The study found little measurable difference in the severity and duration of symptoms that were reported from each patient group. Similar findings occurred in older patients as well – those who were aged 60 or older, a demographic that accounted for one-third of the entire study population.
Additionally, those who took antibiotics reported having more side effects, including nausea, rash and diarrhea, compared to those taking the placebo.
The study is particularly important, given the growing human resistance to antibiotics being seen all around the globe.
Fortunately, there are alternatives to treating mild forms of chest infections and cough, and it’s a treatment that has been around for centuries.
“Traditional Chinese medicine is especially effective in the treatment of coughs because of its careful differentiation of the various types,” write Bill Schoenbart and Ellen Shefi for Discovery Health.
For instance, they note, coughs due to heat produce a sticky phlegm that’s difficult to expectorate, so it is treated with cooling, moistening herbs and acupuncture directed at specific points on the body which clear heat from the lungs.
By comparison, “cough due to cold is accompanied by chills and copious mucus; it is treated with warming, drying herbs and the application of moxibustion,” a traditional Chinese medicine therapy using moxa, or mugwort herb, they wrote.
Here are two more treatment options for cough:
– Treating a dryness cough caused by wind: Usually contracted due to overexposure to a dry environment, symptoms are a dry, non-productive cough accompanied by a sore throat with a ticklish sensation. The focus is to repel the dryness; a typical formula includes Sang Xing Tang (pronounced sahng shing tahng), which helps moisten the lungs and repel the “dryness pernicious influence,” Schoenbart and Shefi said. The treatment should be accompanied by a diet of soups and plenty of liquids, and follow-up treatment should include American ginseng daily for two weeks.
– General acupuncture therapy: Acupuncture therapy in general is an ideal way to treat coughs from a number of causes. “Needling a point on the Conception Vessel meridian (an extra meridian) just above the sternum can quickly calm a cough and assist breathing. Moxa therapy is used typically in the cold, damp type of cough, since there is a need for warmth in that pattern,” Schoenbart and Shefi wrote.
Most Americans tend to use over-the-counter elixirs to treat coughs, but many of them prove ineffective. Chinese therapies can help.
Originally published by http://www.naturalnews.com and republished with permission.
More in Traditional Chinese Medicine
Tags: Body & Mind, environmental issues, Food, sustainable development
By Paul Darin
Scientific debates continue to rage over these food additives. Many claim they pose no threat while others cite evidence to the contrary. Here’s a list of America’s five most controversial food additives.
1. Monosodium Glutamate (MSG)
MSG is a flavor enhancing food additive found in snack foods, Chinese takeout, ramen noodles, and a variety of other foods. It’s been controversial since the 1960s when people complained about headaches, chest pain, sweating, and a variety of other symptoms from eating it. According to Yale Scientific Magazine, no negative effects have been found. But, it does appear that a minority of the population does experience some of these symptoms from ingesting MSG. Ancient Romans, Greeks, Byzantines, and Chinese used MSG.
2. High Fructose Corn Syrup (HFCS)
Made from genetically modified corn, this sugar substitute is found in nearly every soft drink and many candies in America. The artificially produced sugar does not exist in nature and is 20 to 70 percent cheaper than sugar. Like sugar, it doubles as a food preservative. However HFCS, according to the Global Healing Center, has a high risk of leading to hypertension, Type 2 diabetes, liver damage, and mercury exposure. The center also cited a Princeton University study that found that mice that ate HFCS gained fat 300 percent faster than those who ate fruit sugar.
3. Trans Fats
A polyunsaturated fat that does occur in nature is artificially produced on the commercial scale for snack foods like baked goods and chips. Controversy abounded during the fat-free craze during the 1980s and 1990s when this fat was used in reduced-fat foods.
In the body, trans fat acts much the same way as saturated fat does and can be even worse than saturated fats including lowering good cholesterol and raising bad cholesterol. More controversy arose when the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) allowed the labeling of zero trans fats on food packaging when the product contained less than half a gram per serving, according to NBC.
To avoid trans fats, avoid products that list partially hydrogenated vegetable oil in the ingredients.
4. Genetically Modified Organisms (GMOs)
According to Fox News, GMO crops have been on the market since 1995 and include corn, soy, cotton, and canola, which are called the “big four.”
Additionally, Fox cited research about GMO consumption done on different animals, which found intestine, lung, kidney, and liver problems, and inflammation of the colon. Anti-GMO lobbyists have consistently fought a losing battle in the United States to get GMOs labeled on food packaging. The EU requires labeling for GMOs.
Found in most diet sodas and chewing gum, this sugar substitute and artificial sweetener inspired backlash as a toxic chemical hastily approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). Aspartame was an accidental discovery when in 1966 a scientist licked his fingers after touching the chemical by accident after it spilled out of a flask, according to the FDA.
The controversy is about its approval by the FDA despite its toxic effects. According to a letter written to the FDA by the Aspartame Toxicity Information Center, the chemical has several negative side effects:
In the 1970s tests on infant primates consuming aspartame in milk resulted in five out of seven experiencing grand mal seizures.
Another test concluded that the chemical caused brain damage in lab mice. In the FDA’s defense, the letter said some of these effects were purposefully kept from the FDA until after its approval.
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More in Health News
Tags: Body & Mind, Nature, Science
The full moon can cause people to have a restless night’s sleep, according to research
By Richard Gray
With a reputation for triggering the appearance of creatures of the night, a full moon has often been associated with restless sleep.
However, new research has shown that the lunar cycle influences the way we sleep far more than simply causing us to cower beneath the covers.
Scientists have found that people’s sleep patterns are tuned to the waxing and waning of the moon, even when they were unaware of whether it was a full moon or not.
Tags: Body & Mind, CCP, China, Falun Gong, human rights, labor camps, organ harvesting, persecution of dissidents, Society
By Matthew Robertson
It is the latest attempt by the Chinese authorities to give a veneer of credibility to their organ transplant industry: new regulations. But the long anticipated rules about how organs should be procured and allocated, made public on Sept. 1, still don’t answer a few basic questions.
They do not explain, for example, whether the organs of executed prisoners will be included in the registry of organs that the authorities say they are establishing.
It was not until 2008 that Huang Jiefu, the then-Chinese vice-minister of health, acknowledged publicly and in writing that the Chinese transplant system relied heavily (to the tune of 90 percent) on organs from executed prisoners.
That was two years after reports emerged that prisoners of conscience, overwhelmingly practitioners of Falun Gong, a persecuted spiritual group, were the targets of widespread organ harvesting.
It was also nearly a decade after credible testimony was given that the Chinese system widely used death row prisoners. For many years, the Chinese authorities simply said that all organs from China came from voluntary donations, and attacked those who suggested otherwise.
Now, the authorities have admitted that they did in fact take organs from prisoners, and without consent—though they have never admitted to the harvesting of Falun Gong.
Chinese medical officials this year said that they intend to “phase out the dependency on organs from executed prisoners,” rather than promise to immediately cease the practice, as would be in line with international medical ethics.
Will executed prisoners be part of the organ registration system? It is unclear. Article II of the regulations says that it applies to all “citizens.” Do prisoners count?
The South China Morning Post quotes an unnamed surgeon saying that organs harvested from prisoners would enter the electronic allocation system. But China Daily, a state mouthpiece, says that only organs from the “general public” will be registered.
If the new system, called China Organ Transplant Response System (COTRS), did include executed prisoners, it would make it a very simple matter to launder the organs of Falun Gong detainees by representing them as death row prisoners.
Organ donation registration fraud in hospitals has been reported in the Chinese media, and official institutions in China are widely seen to lack probity and credibility. The security apparatus, and the military-medical complex, in particular, which have been heavily involved in organ harvesting, are notoriously secretive.
The regulations, moreover, do not provide any real transparency to the allocation process. The idea that the source of organs can be verified is bedrock for the trust that, for example, the United States organ donation system is based on.
Verification of the source is also a condition that the World Health Organization and The Transplantation Society, both international health groups that are attempting to work with the Chinese regime on its organ transplantation system, require from countries. They have shown little appetite for challenging Chinese authorities on their practices, however.
If organs were still “harvested and allocated in secrecy,” as Arne Schwarz, an independent researcher, put it, it would mean that none of the promises made by the authorities could be tested or trusted.
Doctors Against Forced Organ Harvesting (DAFOH), a medical advocacy group that typically attempts to strike a reserved tone, published a press release showing exasperation at what has become an exercise in avoidance by the Chinese regime.
China’s announcement of phasing out the harvesting of organs from prisoners is deceptive and insufficient, they titled the statement.
DAFOH’s primary problem with the regulations was similar to the issues articulated by Schwarz: no external safeguards or monitoring, and a miasma of ambiguity about whether unethically procured organs would be allowed into the new computerized system.
Failing to obtain these two items, DAFOH said, “We might need to ask ourselves, if China were successful in using a computerized organ-allocation system, whether the announcement of a phaseout is like a Trojan Horse that undermines and dilutes our ethical standards.”
Tags: Body & Mind, psychology
By Fae Price
Wanting to do something and actually doing it are two very different things. Especially when you have conflicted desires, such as the desire to indulge in fattening foods and the desire to lose weight.
Having to choose one over the other, most people end up choosing the one that is easier to do, in this case the overeating. When people really want to turn things around, they often try to use sheer willpower to push through the difficult circumstance. This often fails, as there is just not enough positive motivation to keep you on track. However, if you want to turn things around, try the following these tips to get you started right now on the path to getting the things you want.
1. Know what you want
To start, do you know what you really want? The best way to get started on the path to achieving your dreams is to fully immerse yourself in them. Indulge in some daydreaming. Imagine your perfect life. Where are you? What are you doing? Who are you with? Try to see it as clearly as possible, and after you do, write it down! Write bullet points, or even write the story. Capture the ideas on paper so that you know what you are really moving toward and you know what it is going to look like when you get there.
2. You need to see it to believe it
After you get the idea of what you want to work toward, create a visual reminder to inspire you along the way. Some ways to do this are to create a vision board or collage of pictures that represent the things you want. Hang it where you will see it often. Make a copy and shrink it to carry around in your wallet and car. You can also do something more simple, such as just hanging a picture of someone you admire greatly that reminds you of what you are working toward, or even just writing an intention statement in a place where you can see it often.
3. Set some goals
After you have your big vision and your motivation, break the goal down into SRM goals. This stands for specific, reachable, and manageable. Having a goal such as “I will lose 30 pounds” is great, but it isn’t something you can actually DO. A goal you can do is more like “eat 4 servings of vegetables a day and only 1 soda.” These goals are going to be the baby steps along the path that lead you to your vision.
4. Get a buddy
This is an often overlooked step that can really enhance your results. Just sharing your goals with someone and being accountable to them can help a lot—helping them reach their own goals too is even better. Just make sure to choose a buddy that is supportive, and not one who feels threatened or doesn’t believe in your desire to change.
5. Get inspired
The Internet is full of free videos on everything. The kinds that are perfect for reaching your goals are videos of other people who did the same thing you wanted to do … and succeeded! There are many heart-warming videos that describe all the struggles they had to overcome, how they did it, and tips that would have helped them along the way. It is hard to NOT be motivated after watching videos like this.
6. Educate yourself
If you got this far and you are still struggling, it may be because you need more information on how to achieve some of your goals. Maybe you want to go to college, but you don’t know how to apply. Maybe you want to design a website, but are clueless about computers. In these cases, you may need to start with getting more information, such as calling some friends and family that have college degrees to ask them how they started, or taking a computer class at a local community college.
7. Change your ‘I can’t’ mentality
The biggest roadblock to success is often just ourselves. We put a lot of pressure on ourselves to succeed, to do things right, and to never fail. But that isn’t really how life works. Failure is a part of it. And even if you are clueless or have no skill in what you want to achieve, you just have to start at the bottom and work your way up slowly. This can be frustrating for some people, as it takes a lot more determination when you aren’t naturally talented and successful at something. But that certainly doesn’t mean that you can’t. The only things you can’t do are the things you don’t want badly enough or aren’t willing to try hard enough to get. Even if other people tell you you can’t, they are not right. Success if much more about hard work and determination than about luck and natural skill.
8. Just start
Finally, don’t make all the plans and then just decide it’s too much work or that you will fail anyways so why try. If the goals are still too big or not specific enough, chop them into smaller pieces. If you feel like a loser, watch some inspiring videos. Chances are, someone even less skilled and farther behind than you already achieved what you want to achieve. If you really want something, don’t let anything stop you! Get up, repeat these steps over and over until you’re ready, and then … leap!
Not Even Good Enough for Dog Food: Imported Food From China Loaded With Chemicals, Dyes, Pesticides and Fake Ingredients17 September, 2013 at 07:28 | Posted in Body & Mind, China, Environmental issues, Food, Society, sustainable development | Leave a comment
Tags: animals, Body & Mind, CCP, China, environmental issues, Food, health, Society, sustainable development
By Mike Adams
NaturalNews – Do you really know what’s in all the food you’re eating that’s imported from China? If you don’t, you’re actually in good company: The FDA only inspects 1% – 2% of all the food imported from China, so they don’t know either. Even when they inspect a shipment, they rarely test it for heavy metals, pesticides, PCBs or other toxic contaminants.
Mark A. Kastel, Senior Farm Policy Analyst at The Cornucopia Institute, added emphasis to this point as he testified this week in The House Committee on Foreign Affairs Subcommittee on Europe, Eurasia and Emerging Threats, saying, “We don’t trust, for good reason, the Chinese to supply ingredients for our dog and cat food. Why should we trust Chinese exporters for the food that we are feeding our children and families?”
It’s a good question. Especially when, as Kastel adds, Chinese food is being routinely found to contain “unapproved chemicals, dyes, pesticides and outright fraud (fake food).”
Heavily contaminated food from China
As Natural News has already reported, food from China is frequently found to contain alarming levels of heavy metals (arsenic, cadmium, lead, mercury) and other contaminants. Politically, China is a communist dictatorship where freedom of speech is completely outlawed. Environmental regulations are virtually never enforced. The culture is one of total deception where lying, cheating, stealing or committing fraud to get ahead is considered completely acceptable — because that’s how government is operated there. The moral decay of China is directly reflected in the alarming dishonesty of the food supply. (Yes, a country’s food exports will reflect its cultural and political philosophies. Freedom produces healthy food. Oppression and communism produces deceptive, deadly food.)
And yet, even with all this being widely known, Chinese farms are rarely inspected by organic certifiers. “U.S. certifiers are unable to independently inspect farms and assure compliance to the USDA organic food and agriculture standards that are required for export to the U.S.” explained Kastel in testimony. “These imports should not be allowed to reach our shore until and unless we have a system in place to assure consumers they are getting what they pay for. Just like U.S. grown organic commodities, the safety of these products must be rigorously overseen by independent inspectors.”
Counterfeit ingredients are the new norm in China
Also testifying at the hearing was Patty Lovera, the Assistant Director of Washington, D.C.-based Food & Water Watch. The news on food fraud out of China “is a steady stream of controversies ranging from adulteration with counterfeit ingredients like melamine in dairy products, to widespread outbreaks of animal diseases like avian flu, and high levels of pesticide residues,” Lovera testified. “Just last week, news reports described a Chinese government campaign to break up a fake meat operation, leading to arrests of more than 900 people accused of passing off more than $1 million of rat meat as mutton.”
See Natural News coverage of the fake rat meat scandal here.
You are eating far more food from China than you think
Why does any of this matter? Because you’re eating far more food from China than you probably think.
Not only do retailers like Whole Foods sell “certified organic” food grown in China, the vast majority of superfood powders sold in North America use raw materials purchased in bulk from China. Nutritional supplements, herbs and vitamins are often made using materials from China.
Not everything from China is bad, but in our own lab tests here at Natural News, we’ve been shocked to discover just how frequently products from China are contaminated with metals, chemical solvents and pesticide residues. We have rejected dozens of suppliers in our own search for clean ingredients to use in our product formulations, and we’ve even had to send back product that showed up at our warehouse and simply didn’t meet our stringent quality control requirements. (True fact: We recently had to return several thousand pounds of goji berries to one supplier after discovering the product failed our quality control review.)
But here’s the even scarier part in all this:
I am repeatedly told I’m the ONLY person asking these questions
When I talk to suppliers of raw materials, I am repeatedly told that I am the only person asking them for heavy metals tests, pesticide tests and product samples to send to our own lab.
This happens over and over again. From this, I have learned there is virtually NO due diligence being conducted by natural products retailers. Most retailers simply buy and sell, shipping boxes and moving product while turning a blind eye to the truth about what they are buying and selling. They literally do not care whether their products are contaminated with heavy metals. They just want to sell, sell, sell!
Even more shockingly — and I seem to be the only journalist reporting this jaw-dropping fact — there are currently NO LIMITS set by the USDA for contamination of certified organic foods. A product may be USDA organic and still contain deadly levels of mercury, arsenic or lead. The USDA does not test or even regulate heavy metals in foods via its organic certified program!
So you can be shopping at a famous natural products retailer and you might pick up a product carrying the USDA Certified Organic logo, thinking, “This is certified healthy and safe by the U.S. government.” You are being lied to. That product could be grown in China in a field of mercury runoff from an industrial factory. It could contain ridiculously high levels of mercury, arsenic, PCBs and even chemical solvents. You could be eating pure death while paying a premium for it!
This is not an attack on the USDA, by the way. Their organic certification program is surprisingly good for the scope of what it attempts to accomplish. But understand that USDA organic certifies a process, not a result. At the farm level, it means foods are not intentionally grown with pesticides and herbicides, but it does not say anything whatsoever about heavy metals contamination of food production fields in China.
Massive organic food FRAUD
In truth, what’s really happening right now on a global scale is a massive organic food fraud. Food is grown in China and certified organic even though no U.S. inspectors even visit the farms. That food is then imported into the U.S. and almost never inspected. It’s packaged and sold at top dollar in natural foods retail stores, emblazoned with the USDA Organic label.
But nowhere along the way — except in extremely rare cases — is that food ever tested for heavy metals or other contaminants. This is why Mark Kastel correctly states this food can’t even be trusted “for dog food,” much less to feed yourself and your family.
Make no mistake about it: China is a nation full of immoral, unethical liars and deceivers. (Taiwan, on the other hand, is very different and has a much stronger moral code as well as basic human decency.) Remember: I speak Mandarin Chinese. I’ve lived in the Chinese culture. I’ve traveled throughout Asia and even given numerous public speeches to Chinese audiences. At the same time, I’ve investigated and written about food and food safety for more than a decade. Very few people are as qualified to tell you the truth about what’s really in your food coming out of China, and I can tell you that I don’t trust it.
In fact, the only way I will eat anything from China is if I subject it to extensive testing and verify that contamination levels are acceptably low. There are some great products out of China that are completely safe and healthy. Certain medicinal mushrooms, for example, are produced in China and are very clean. Some producers of goji berries are very honest and clean. There are no doubt organic growers who are producing very clean products in China, but these would be the exception, not the rule. By default, we must all now assume that anything from China is heavily contaminated.
Almost universally, food grown in North America is cleaner and less contaminated. This isn’t true 100% of the time, but usually so.
Toxic Chinese agriculture puts honest U.S. farmers out of business
The sad part about all this is that food from China is economically displacing U.S. and Canadian farmers who are generally far more honest and ethical in their farming practices. So while U.S. farmers are being put out of business for following the rules set by the EPA, FDA and USDA, the Chinese farmers are selling us contaminated, toxic “organic” food frauds produced by breaking all the rules!
That’s why I say grow local, buy local and eat local as much as possible. And until China cleans up its act on food contamination, do your best to avoid food from China. I don’t trust it unless EVERY BATCH is comprehensively lab tested and those lab tests are made public.
Props to Cornucopia’s Mark Kastel for having the courage to lay a lot of this out in congressional testimony. Rest assured Congress will never ask me to testify on food contamination because I would describe a truth so horrifying that people would stop eating for days…
P.S. The reason all your dogs and cats are dying from diabetes and cancer these days is because you’re giving them highly toxic pet treats imported from China. They are loaded with toxic solvents and industrial chemicals that cause permanent liver and kidney damage, among other devastating side effects. You can find these toxic, colorful pet treats sold at all the major pet store retailers. They are selling you PET DEATH and making a tidy profit doing so.
Originally published by http://www.naturalnews.com
Tags: Body & Mind, Children, health, meditation, psychology, Society, Spirituality, sustainable development
By Rosemary Byfield
How teachers cope with demands in the classroom may be made easier with the use of “mindfulness” techniques, according to new US research.
Learning to pay attention to the present in a focused and non-judgemental or mindful way on the Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) course helped teachers in the study to feel less stressed and to avoid burnout.
Dr Richard Davidson, chair of the Centre for Investigating Healthy Minds at the University of Wisconsin-Madison in the United States, is the study co-author. “The research indicated that simple forms of mindfulness training can help promote a certain type of emotional balance, leading to decreased stress,” he said in an interview on the Centre’s website.
“[Teachers] perceive greater ability to remain present in the classroom for their children and less likely to respond to children with anger,” Davidson said.
“[Teachers] perceive greater ability to remain present in the classroom for their children and less likely to respond to children with anger,” Davidson said.
Stress, burnout, and ill health are increasing burdens experienced by teachers in schools leading to absenteeism and prematurely leaving the profession.
“This is an area where mindfulness may be particularly important and interesting,” he said.
“We wanted to offer training to teachers in a format that would be engaging and address the concerns that were specifically relevant to their role as teachers,” said lead researcher Lisa Flook in a statement.
Researchers trained 18 teachers to use MBSR techniques designed to handle difficult physical sensations, feelings, and moods and develop empathy for pupils in challenging situations.
Randomly assigned teachers practised a guided meditation at home for at least 15 minutes per day and learned specific strategies for preventing and dealing with stressful factors in the classroom. These included “dropping in”, a process of bringing attention to breathing, thoughts, emotions, and physical sensations; and ways of bringing kindness into their experiences, particularly challenging ones.
Mindfulness originates from Buddhist meditation but was developed for secular use in 1979 by Jon Kabat-Zinn, who founded the Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction programme at the University of Massachusetts in the United States.
“The most important outcome that we observed is the consistent pattern of results, across a range of self-report and objective measures used in this pilot study, that indicate benefits from practising mindfulness,” Flook said.
Study participant and teacher Elizabeth Miller found that mindfulness could be practised anywhere, and at any time.
“Breath awareness was just one part of the training, but it was something that I was able to consistently put into practice,” Miller said.
“Now I spend more time getting students to notice how they’re feeling, physically and emotionally, before reacting to something. I think this act of self-monitoring was the biggest long-term benefit for both students and teachers.”
In Britain, teachers Richard Burnett and Chris Cullen developed the Mindfulness in Schools project, “.b” or “Stop, Breathe and Be!” programme. After experiencing the benefits of mindfulness themselves they wanted to teach it in the classroom. Their course is now taught in 12 countries.
Tags: Body & Mind, environmental issues, Food, Nature, Society, sustainable development
By Channaly Philipp
Biodynamic chocolate business lets nature rule, and the results are world-class
The cacao farmer felt he had no choice. He called Santiago Peralta, the man who normally bought his cacao, and offered to sell him his land so he could move to the city.
Peralta asked, “What are you going to do in the city? Beg for money?”
He went to meet the farmer, who said his back caused him pain and he couldn’t carry the bags of cacao anymore.
The solution? Peralta gave the farmer $120 so he could buy a donkey.
That was four years ago. The farmer has carried on with farming cacao, and he never went into the city to beg for money.
Instead a donkey trend caught on. “Everyone started getting donkeys, just like that,” Peralta said.
Peralta, 41, makes some of the best chocolate on Earth, working with 3,000 farming families in his native Ecuador. Pacari Chocolate, which he and his wife Carla Barbota launched in 2008, swept last year’s International Chocolate Awards, taking home 23. These awards are where the world’s finest chocolates are put to the test through blind tastings.
If there was ever the notion that exceptional chocolate could only come out of Europe’s strongholds of culinary achievement, that victory proved the idea wrong. An increasing appreciation for regional authenticity has meant regions that used to be completely off the radar are coming into their own in the most surprising ways.
Just like a bottle of wine, a chocolate bar can reveal its provenance, its terroir, and even when it came about, as long as its flavor remains true to the cacao beans that were used.
Generally, in a mass production process, those flavors are flattened and standardized through over-processing and over-roasting and result in chocolate bars each as predictable as the next. Take a Hershey’s bar, for example.
The business of staying true to the bean is completely different. Pacari’s “tree-to-bar” production, for example, oversees every stage, from the cacao trees to the finished product, in the process creating income for all along the chain, from farmer to packager.
Ecuador has been producing cacao for hundreds of years, becoming the world’s largest cacao exporter in the late 19th century. Its production made fortunes, and played a crucial role in securing its independence from Spain, with farmers seeing the allure of being able to sell not only to Spain, but to other nations as well.
Its geography is particular: a small country, where jungles, deserts, mountains, and volcanoes all juggle for space, with climates ranging from desertic to monsoonic.
Peralta points out different characteristics of single-origin Pacari chocolate bars, tying region and flavor: floral and fruity from the Manabi region, which is dry, and caramel notes from the Esmeraldas region, which is rainy and green.
Then there is the spectacular limited edition Nube bar, which won the gold at the chocolate awards. Peralta won’t reveal the location of the cacao trees whose beans yield a chocolate that’s unbelievably floral—the aroma smacks of roses. It’s all in the terroir and the specific year. These results can’t be engineered; they are happy surprises from nature.
You could call it an accident, but Peralta is willing to partner with Nature and let her have her way, resulting in incredible flavors.
“It’s like love,” he muses. “You don’t control things in life. I have a friend, he’s a great chocolate producer in a company in the U.K. called Booja-Booja, who says, ‘Relax: Nothing is under control.’ Relax! You have nothing to do with it. You’re trying to go one way but the flow is the other way. You don’t control anything.”
Peralta is pushing the envelope as far away from mass production methods as possible. All his chocolate is already organic, and he pays double the market price, a premium far above the going Fair Trade rate, which he said pays 6 percent above the market price (he has little to say that is complimentary about the labeling scheme).
And he’s also making biodynamic chocolate, using an agriculture approach that takes into account the rhythms of nature, pioneered by Rudolf Steiner. The Demeter biodynamic seal took four years to obtain.
Biodynamic means power, you accept the forces, you act with the forces, you go with the flow, you don’t produce 24/7 – Santiago Peralta, co-founder, Pacari
“Biodynamic means power, you accept the forces, you act with the forces, you go with the flow, you don’t produce 24/7.” He became familiar with biodynamic concepts while living in Germany for a year. And he’ll admit, there are some strange practices, but he says they work.
For example, one practice calls for a cow horn filled with a mix of cow waste and silica, buried in the ground. As the concept goes, the silica powder acts as conductor for light and energy, sending concentrated energy underground, benefiting the cacao trees.
Only about 20 grams per hectare of the mixture is used for the cacao trees. There are no fertilizers, no pesticides.
Or when there’s a drought, a refreshing biodynamic mixture is applied over the trees.
“Just a tiny amount. Can you imagine?” asks Peralta. “Normally you need to pump oil from the Amazon, passing the mountains, to Esmaraldas port, passing Panama, going to Germany to make [oil] into a chemical, coming back, taking a truck” to then apply half a ton of chemicals per hectare, which would take someone a week to do. With the biodynamic method, one person covers eight hectares a day with a pump, just walking around.
“This is sustainable. And the cacao is stronger, you can tell it’s stronger.” The crushers that crack the cacao beans had never stopped in years of production. But the first year cracking the biodynamic cacao beans, it happened.
“But just taste it, it’s better,” he adds.
The biodynamic methods were used to make Pacari’s Raw chocolate bar, which has won multiple awards. The chocolate is minimally processed, at low temperatures, and is the only biodynamic chocolate in the world.
“It’s a special chocolate where you see a lot of flavors, every time you try it, you get something different. It’s not a chocolate, which is a nice chocolate, which is gone. It’s still in your mouth. It’s there—boom, aggressive. It has personality, tannic, like wine.”
The flavors evolve as the chocolate melts on your tongue, in turns dry, woodsy, fruity.
The nutritional profile is particular, too: Antioxidant counts are through the roof.
Direct Trade Cacao
Maricel Presilla, a chocolate judge, culinary historian, and chef in Hoboken, N.J., as well as a winner of a James Beard Award, has seen the benefits that a direct-trade approach has had on farmers. She herself comes from a family of farmers in Cuba, where her grandparents were cacao farmers.
She has seen stark differences between farms that were using biodynamic methods and ones that weren’t. During a dry spell, the biodynamic farm’s trees were full with cacao for harvesting. “Next door,” which wasn’t biodynamic, “they had nothing.”
“People begin to care a lot more about the land,” she said. “They see the land as alive, in tune with the seasons.”
Not only that, but cacao, she said, is a “generous plant that likes to live with other plants” so it’s not rare for farmers to also grow coconuts, bananas, and coffee, for their own use. “A typical sight on a cacao farm is to see a farmer carrying plantain, yucca, something like that.”
When Peralta started working with farmers, he began working with farming families. “We believe in family relations in southern countries. It’s very important.”
Peralta wanted high quality, organic cacao, which wasn’t a hard sell for the farmers. “A lot of people don’t believe in chemicals—a lot of people don’t have the money to pay for chemicals.”
He started offering prizes for the best cacao among the farmers he was working with, and also came up with practical, simple, and more importantly, cheap solutions to improve the quality of the cacao.
Some had social consequences, for example, cacao used to be packaged in 100-pound bags, which only strong men could carry. Now, the bags were smaller, able to hold 50 pounds at the most, which opened the door for women to work.
“The women are more clever with money,” Peralta said, so the way the money is spent has shifted too. When men used to get paid, their friends would wait around on payday, hoping for a round of drinks. “Just one stupid thing. We saw it, we changed it, and now life has changed for these people.”
There are small adjustments like these and larger community initiatives, but all of these come about because of direct relationships with farmers.
Peralta spends about a third of his time in the field. The farmers are his friends, his associates, he says.
Presilla says something as simple as paying a premium for cacao has a huge effect on the life of farmers.
Both Peralta and Presilla are members of a relatively new organization, Direct Cacao, formed last year in Honduras. “We have the best chocolate makers from Europe and America involved,” she said. It will open to new members this month.
The goal is to establish a direct network between farmers and chocolate makers, as exemplified in Peralta’s work. There will also be educational programs, and a first international conference in the Dominican Republic.
Ever since the practices in the Ivory Coast were exposed, large companies have been careful. “Even companies that seem to be gigantic do something that is good. Mars, for example, pours millions of dollars in research.” Still, she said, “You cannot have great chocolate inexpensively.”
In the normal chocolate production chain, the divide is wide and long between raw material and finished product. The history of chocolate production is rife with exploitation and in the Ivory Coast, infamously spawned child slavery and human trafficking years ago.
In Ecuador, there are cacao farmers who had produced cacao generation after generation, but had never tasted chocolate.
“We gave them chocolate for the first time in their lives,” Peralta said. “They said ‘It’s sweet! It’s really nice.’ Can you imagine? Your grand-grand-grand grandfather was growing cacao [and you’re growing cacao] and you never have tried it. They are very proud. We have the best chocolate, we have the best cacao on Earth.”
Tags: Body & Mind, environmental issues, Food, health, Society, sustainable development
By Marc Sahr
Many health-conscious people read labels, checking for the customary, relatively easy-to-understand elements: the amount of sodium, sugar, vitamins, calories, carbohydrates, and so on. A skim through the ingredients list can also be informative, but for the majority of consumers the ingredient names don’t really provide a clear picture of what they’re eating.
How many people know what dipotassium phosphate is? How about propylene glycol? Monosodium glutamate? This latter one is more commonly known as MSG, but would not likely be labeled as such.
Here’s a look at some of the ingredients you may not know your eating.
Considered “generally recognized as safe” (GRAS) by the U.S. Food & Drug Administration, propylene glycol is used in antifreeze.
While the version used in cars is ethylene glycol, propylene glycol nonetheless is an anti-freeze. What’s so surprising about that? Well it is also found in cake mixes, salad dressings, deodorants, and dog food.
This ingredient is used to preserve food.
So what effect will it have on your body? If you are allergic, you will develop a rash if you ingest it—or in the case of a deodorant, if you put it on your skin.
Hand sanitizer often contains propylene glycol.
Like pesticides or fertilizers? Well this ingredient, found in Coca Cola and non-dairy creamers is also found in many pesticides and fertilizers. Yummy! Originally used to slow the growth of bacteria, it also acts as a coagulant for foods such as pudding. It is used in pastas and cereals to reduce the cooking time.
It is also used in waterproofing, disinfecting and sanitizing products.
Untreated phosphate at the Marca factory in the Moroccan-controlled Western Sahara.
Love raspberry or vanilla flavoring? Chances you may have eaten castoreum, which is a gland that beavers use, along with urine, to mark their territory. This gland is very popular as it is used in perfumes as well as in some food flavorings. It qualifies as a “natural” ingredient in all-natural foods.
Two North American beavers at the Smithsonian National Zoo on Aug. 29, 2012.
We have mostly heard about MSG because many American-Chinese restaurants used this
extensively, and unless you see a sign that says “no MSG,” generally it is assumed MSG is used. While not recognized as unsafe by the FDA, people have been known to have adverse reactions from high blood pressure to heart rate problems. Most people do not experience any symptoms.
Fast food restaurant KFC lists the ingredients in all of its dishes online; monosodium glutamate appears 61 times in total.
While it’s not really an ingredient, mercury is nonetheless present in some fish people consume, especially swordfish, shark, tilefish and king mackerel. In these fish, the mercury level is generally higher than 1.1 parts per million (PPM), and they should be avoided by pregnant, or nursing women and young children.
According to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), the mercury in these fish could affect the nervous system of both mother and unborn child.
Some Ingredients You May Recognize, But Should Watch Out For: High Fructose Corn Syrup
Almost everything we eat and drink these days has this ingredient. Especially if you order out often from fast food restaurants.
Sugary sodas, such as Fanta, contain as much as 52 grams of sugar. Many people now go out of their way to actually buy the Mexican version of sodas that contain real sugar to avoid high fructose corn syrup (HFCS).
The prevalence of this ingredient in American food has been identified as a cause of obesity and type II diabetes.
While not a deadly item if used in moderation, sodium has become a staple additive that Americans have used extensively. Sodium holds excess water in the body. The body requires a certain amount of sodium for the muscles and nerves to function properly, and to control blood pressure and blood volume, according National Institute of Health.
Too much sodium, however, causes high blood pressure, heart diseases, and kidney disease.
Foods containing excessive levels of sodium include cereals, salad dressings, crackers, and bread.
Don’t be misled by some labels on products that state “0 trans fat.” According to an article on Health.com, a labeling loophole allows foods with up to 0.5 grams of trans fat per serving to be labeled “0 trans fat.”
Generally when the ingredients list partially hydrogenated oil, the food contains trans fats. In New York City, trans fat has been outlawed in restaurants—but the NYC Department of Health also allows for 0.5 grams per serving.
The ban in New York City restaurants does not apply to sealed packages, such as crackers, made with shortening or partially hydrogenated oil.
Why are trans fats bad? According to the Mayo Clinic, “Trans fat raises your ‘bad’ (LDL) cholesterol and lowers your ‘good’ (HDL) cholesterol.”
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Tags: Body & Mind, CCP, China, environmental issues, Food, health, Society, sustainable development
By Sally Appert
As the use of factory meat farms increases in China, scientists are concerned that the problem of antibiotic-resistant bacteria could pose a worldwide health risk.
Over half the antibiotics in China are given to livestock, a recent study has shown.
The demand for pork has been rising in China, and half the world’s pigs are in China. Pig farmers routinely add antibiotics to their animals’ feed to promote growth and reduce disease risk, but they are not required to report the amount of antibiotics used, according to online media The World.
The World interviewed staff at a large commercial hog farm in the city of Jiaxing in Zhejiang Province, where the pigs were fed in a big enclosed building. The manager declined to be interviewed.
However, one employee agreed to talk even though she didn’t have permission. “It takes a few months here for the pigs to grow big enough for sale. The pigs are fed really good materials,” she said, according to The World.
The antibiotics may make the pigs grow faster, but overusing antibiotics can lead to the development of drug-resistant bacteria.
Scientists from China and the United States conducted a study last year on hog manure from commercial farms in China. As expected, they found large numbers of drug-resistant bacteria.
More surprisingly, they found that different drug-resistant genes could hop around in clusters from one type of bacteria to another, producing bacteria that were resistant to multiple drugs.
These hard-to-kill pathogens could spread to humans.
“The big problem is the resistance can be transferred to human beings and also could be transferred globally by food export or import,” Dr. Xiao Yonghong of the Antibacterial Resistance Investigation Unit of China’s Health Ministry said, according to The World.
China isn’t the only country with this problem. The online media Mother Jones reports that China is merely following in America’s footsteps, since half of China’s antibiotics use is for livestock, while the United States uses 77 percent for livestock.
It’s hard to compare it that way, though, because people in China use 10 times as many antibiotics per capita as people in the United States, Time reported according to Mother Jones.
“Chinese pork farming is changing rapidly,” Mother Jones states, citing a study by the Dutch bank Rabobank, showing that between 2001 and 2010, the number of hogs from factory farms increased while the number of hogs from small family farms dropped by half.
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Tags: Body & Mind, psychology
Motivation • Paul Hudson •
We are our own greatest enemy. We doubt ourselves, complicate our lives, cloud our minds with unimportant thoughts and negativity, we punish ourselves, hate ourselves and then feel sorry for ourselves because “outside forces” are making our lives a living hell. Life is beautiful — you’re making yours a living hell all on your own. Each of us does things from time to time that make living happily more difficult than it needs to be.
Surely some of us have it difficult because those are the cards that we’re dealt, but most of us — especially those who are better off financially and don’t live on the streets — make our very own lives more difficult for ourselves. But there are things you can do to stop the miserable cycle that you have found yourself in — a cycle that I know all too well. Here’s 20 of them:
1. Stop Running From Your Problems and Procrastinating.
Problems don’t go away on their own. You can either make them go away or live with them. If you know you can’t live with them, then don’t procrastinate because the weight of them on your mind only increases over time. If you have a problem, then accept that you have a problem and face it — deal with it. Life is a long list of problems that must be overcome. The faster and better you overcome them, the better and happier your life will be.
2. Stop Lying To Yourself.
People will lie to you left and right throughout your life; don’t add to the pile of lies. It is one thing for others to be lying to you and an entirely different issue if you’re lying to yourself. You are the only person that you can trust…but if you have a habit of lying to yourself, then you can’t even trust yourself. You have to be able to rely on yourself and on what you believe.
If you know something to be false, then stop convincing yourself that it is or could possibly be true. Improbable is one thing, but impossible is another. Feeding yourself lies or half-truths will lead to the forming of a reality that doesn’t actually exist past the confines of your psyche.
Tags: Body & Mind, funny things, Science
The first “mind meld”–the term used in “Star Trek”–took place between two humans, allowing a researcher to send brain signals through the Internet to control the motion of another person’s hand, scientists said.
Researcher Rajesh Rao sent a brain signal to Andrea Stocco, who was on the other side of the campus, causing Stocco’s finger to move on the keyboard. The two carried out the experiment at the University of Washington in Seattle, according to the school’s website on Tuesday.
“The Internet was a way to connect computers, and now it can be a way to connect brains,” Stocco said. “We want to take the knowledge of a brain and transmit it directly from brain to brain.”
The two believe it was the first “mind meld” between humans. Similar experiments were previously done on humans interfacing with rats.
“On Aug. 12, Rao sat in his lab wearing a cap with electrodes hooked up to an electroencephalography machine, which reads electrical activity in the brain. Stocco was in his lab across campus wearing a purple swim cap marked with the stimulation site for the transcranial magnetic stimulation coil that was placed directly over his left motor cortex, which controls hand movement,” the university’s website states.
In the experiment, Rao played a simple video game with his mind. When he was supposed to fire a gun in the game, he just thought about moving his right hand to do so, without actually moving it. On the other side of the campus, Stocco, who had noise-canceling earbuds on and wasn’t looking at a computer screen, involuntarily moved his hand.
“It was both exciting and eerie to watch an imagined action from my brain get translated into actual action by another brain,” Rao said. “This was basically a one-way flow of information from my brain to his. The next step is having a more equitable two-way conversation directly between the two brains.”
Tags: Body & Mind, health
There is no denying it—ancient wisdom still prevails today, even in the ways we care for our skin. Beauty regimens from long ago have lasting power for one simple reason—they work!
Yet some of these skin care rituals may surprise you. With all the fancy ingredients in skin care products today, these uncomplicated and cost-effective treatments taken from our ancestors are definitely worth a try.
Rub On Olive Oil
As early as Biblical times, people unlocked the power of olives by using the cold-pressed oil in everything from food to anointing the skin.
Nutrient-rich, extra-virgin olive oil is high in antioxidants, protects against bacteria, and assists with the body’s ability to heal itself. Due to its small molecular structure, it absorbs easily into the skin. In fact, its lipid profile is very close to that of human skin.
For many people with oily or acne-prone skin, the thought of putting more oil on the skin may seem counterintuitive. Contrary to what you would think, olive oil can balance overproductive oil glands and can even clear out blackheads, since it is naturally anti-inflammatory.
If you’re not into slathering olive oil on your skin, try Norma Kamali’s Olive Only Soap made with puréed olives. It can be used on both the face and the body. You can find it for $15–$85 at the Wellness Cafe (www.thewellnesscafe.com).
Take Baths in Milk
Cleopatra, famous for her beauty, reputedly took regular baths in milk, among other beauty rituals. French and English aristocracy also bathed in milk in the 16th and 17th centuries.
Milk contains lactic acid, an alpha hydroxy acid that naturally exfoliates the skin. This type of acid gently dissolves proteins to exfoliate dead skin cells and reveal fresh, younger-looking skin underneath.
Choose creamier milk, as it is better at moisturizing dry skin.
For products containing milk to be effective, labels should list “milk” or “lac” within the first five ingredients, and the contents should be opaque, according to Cyren Organics, an Australian company that produces a beauty line based on goat’s milk.
The company also warns against soap bars with milk ingredients.
“When milk is used in soap bar manufacturing,” Cyren Organics says on its website (www.cyrenorganics.com), “soaps are naturally alkaline, which negates any benefit ‘lactic acids’ would have on the skin. Lactic acid in milk is already quite mild; put that into a highly alkaline environment and the acid won’t work.”
A nice, no-fuss formula to try is Osmia Organics Organic Milk Bath (www.osmiaorganics.com). It contains organic buttermilk powder, organic oats, and baking soda, combined with essential oils.
Or simply add two to four cups of milk or buttermilk to your bath and soak for 20 minutes.
Slather On Raw Honey
Once again, we turn to beauty icon Cleopatra who used honey and natron, or baking soda, as a facial scrub.
Raw honey has naturally antibacterial, antiseptic, and moisturizing properties.
To blend a honey mask, Jennifer Taveras, an acupuncturist and herbalist at Lyt in New York, recommended in an email to combine one tablespoon of raw honey with one teaspoon of ground cinnamon and apply as a facial mask for 15 minutes. Then rinse off with warm water.
“Cinnamon works to kill acne by drying out the affected area and bringing blood and oxygen to the surface to open the pores,” says the Acne Skin Site (www.acneskinsite.com).
Once considered an elixir of health and immortality in oriental and ayurvedic medicine, the combination of honey and cinnamon can also be brewed as an anti-aging tea used by an ancient Himalayan tribe called Hunza.
The Health from Nature website (www.health-from-nature.net) recommends using one tablespoon of cinnamon and four tablespoons of honey in one cup of hot water. Drink this four times a day to slow down the aging process.
Use Mud and Clay
Rhassoul clay has been used for over 1,400 years as a soap, shampoo, and skin conditioner, according to the Mountain Rose Herbs website (www.mountainroseherbs.com).
Hailing from the Atlas Mountains in Eastern Morocco, the reddish-brown cosmetic clay contains high percentages of silica, magnesium, potassium, and calcium—topical nutrients that benefit skin and hair. The clay’s properties cause it to swell when water is added to it, which makes it a popular choice in spas and skin care regimens from facial masks to hair care.
One pound of raw Rhassoul clay powder costs only $9 on the Mountain Rose Herbs website and can be used in multiple ways.
Mud from Israel’s Dead Sea is renowned for its therapeutic properties for the skin due to the high mineral content. We still cover our bodies with it today to help heal eczema and psoriasis, and to deliver beautifying minerals to the epidermis.
Can’t travel to Israel to get it? Dead Sea Warehouse Mud Mask is practically the real deal, with minimal processing. It costs $24.95 on the Dead Sea Warehouse website (www.deadseawarehouse.com).
Grind Mint Leaves
Mint leaves have been used for their medicinal and anti-inflammatory properties since the earliest stages of human evolution. Mint was used by the ancient Egyptians and Romans for its fragrance. In Greek mythology, mint symbolized hospitality.
“Mortals rubbed mint leaves on the table to welcome gods,” says one blog post on the Dr. Vita website. “During the Middle Ages, people used mint as a cleaning agent and as a way to purify drinking water.”
Mint leaves and mint oil help heal acne and acne scars due to their high content of salicylic acid, according to Aida Duncan, writer of How to Improve Your Skin with Mint on the How Stuff Works website. It also contains vitamin A, which can strengthen skin tissue and help reduce oily skin.
Duncan recommends a mask, which combines two tablespoons (15 milliliters) of mint with oatmeal and yogurt. Apply this mixture to your face and rinse off with warm water after 10 minutes.
Tags: Body & Mind, books, health, meditation, psychology, Science, Spirituality
By Leonardo Vintini
According to Dr. Joe Dispenza, every time we learn or experience something new, hundreds of millions of neurons reorganize themselves.
Dr. Dispenza is known throughout the world for his innovative theory concerning the relationship between mind and matter. Perhaps best known as one of the scientists featured in the acclaimed 2004 docudrama What the Bleep Do We Know, his work has helped reveal the extraordinary properties of the mind and its ability to create synaptic connections by carefully focusing our attention.
Just imagine: In every new experience, a synaptic connection is established in our brain. With every sensation, vision, or emotion never explored before, the formation of a new relationship between two of more than 100 thousand million brain cells is inevitable.
But this phenomenon needs focused reinforcement in order to bring about real change. If the experience repeats itself in a relatively short period of time, the connection becomes stronger. If the experience doesn’t happen again for a long period of time, the connection can become weakened or lost.
Science used to believe that our brains were static and hardwired, with little chance for change. However, recent research in neuroscience has discovered that the influence of every corporal experience within our thinking organ (cold, fear, fatigue, happiness) is working to shape our brains.
If a cool breeze is capable of raising all the hairs on one’s forearm, is the human mind capable of creating the same sensation with identical results? Perhaps it is capable of much more.
“What if just by thinking, we cause our internal chemistry to be bumped out of normal range so often that the body’s self-regulation system eventually redefines these abnormal states as regular states?” asks Dispenza in his 2007 book, Evolve Your Brain, The Science of Changing Your Mind. “It’s a subtle process, but maybe we just never gave it that much attention until now.”
Dispenza holds that the brain is actually incapable of differentiating a real physical sensation from an internal experience. In this way, our gray matter could easily be tricked into reverting itself into a state of poor health when our minds are chronically focused on negative thoughts.
Dispenza illustrates his point by referring to an experiment in which subjects were asked to practice moving their ring finger against a spring-loaded device for an hour a day for four weeks. After repeatedly pulling against the spring, the fingers of these subjects became 30 percent stronger. Meanwhile, another group of subjects was asked to imagine themselves pulling against the spring but never physically touched the device. After four weeks of this exclusively mental exercise, this group experienced a 22 percent increase in finger strength.
For years, scientists have been examining the ways in which mind dominates matter. From the placebo effect (in which a person feels better after taking fake medicine) to the practitioners of Tummo (a practice from Tibetan Buddhism where individuals actually sweat while meditating at below zero temperatures), the influence of a “spiritual” portion of a human being over the undeniable physical self challenges traditional conceptions of thought, where matter is ruled by physical laws and the mind is simply a byproduct of the chemical interactions between neutrons.
Dr. Dispenza’s investigations stemmed from a critical time in his life. After being hit by a car while riding his bike, doctors insisted that Dispenza needed to have some of his vertebrae fused in order to walk again—a procedure that would likely cause him chronic pain for the rest of his life.
However, Dispenza, a chiropractor, decided to challenge science and actually change the state of his disability through the power of his mind—and it worked. After nine months of a focused therapeutic program, Dispenza was walking again. Encouraged by this success, he decided to dedicate his life to studying the connection between mind and body.
Intent on exploring the power of the mind to heal the body, the “brain doctor” has interviewed dozens of people who had experienced what doctors call “spontaneous remission.” These were individuals with serious illnesses who had decided to ignore conventional treatment, but had nevertheless fully recovered. Dispenza found that these subjects all shared an understanding that their thoughts dictated the state of their health. After they focused their attention on changing their thinking, their diseases miraculously resolved.
Addicted to Emotions
Similarly, Dispenza finds that humans actually possess an unconscious addiction to certain emotions, negative and positive. According to his research, emotions condemn a person to repetitive behavior, developing an “addiction” to the combination of specific chemical substances for each emotion that flood the brain with a certain frequency.
Dispenza finds that when the brain of such an individual is able to free itself from the chemical combination belonging to fear, the brain’s receptors for such substances are correspondingly opened. The same is true with depression, anger, violence, and other passions.
The body responds to these emotions with certain chemicals that in turn influence the mind to have the same emotion. In other words, it could be said that a fearful person is “addicted” to the feeling of fear. Dispenza finds that when the brain of such an individual is able to free itself from the chemical combination belonging to fear, the brain’s receptors for such substances are correspondingly opened. The same is true with depression, anger, violence, and other passions.
Nevertheless, many are skeptical of Dispenza’s findings, despite his ability to demonstrate that thoughts can modify a being’s physical conditions. Generally associated as a genre of pseudo-science, the theory of “believe your own reality” doesn’t sound scientific.
Science may not be ready to acknowledge that the physical can be changed through the power of the mind, but Dr. Dispenza assures that the process occurs, nevertheless.
“We need not wait for science to give us permission to do the uncommon or go beyond what we have been told is possible. If we do, we make science another form of religion. We should be mavericks; we should practice doing the extraordinary. When we become consistent in our abilities, we are literally creating a new science,” writes Dispenza.