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28 Aug

This touching note came to the office for Belleruth from a woman in chronic pain from her auto-immune condition.

Aside from being a beautiful thank you note and a reminder of the effectiveness of guided imagery for reducing pain, it also makes an important point about how we stop breathing when we're in pain, when what we need to do is breathe more deeply and fully. Please read on. Here is the note:

If possible could you pass this on to Belleruth.

I just wanted you to know how grateful I am of the work you have been doing and continue to do. A friend gave me one of your CD's and I have been listening to it for a very long time now. I have suffered so badly for years with an auto immune arthritis condition, which has been very difficult to cope with because I'm so sensitive and unable to take the typical biologic drugs that are needed in order to help with the inflammation process.

So what is left after I incorporate a really good diet, exercise when I can, and whatever medicines are tolerated at any given time, I have relied on your chronic pain CD, which honestly has been a Godsend for me.

27 Aug

Researchers from New York University, Boston University, the Boston VA Hospital and the Walter Reed Army Institute of Research examined the effectiveness of psychotherapies for PTSD in military and veteran populations. First-line psychotherapies most often recommended for PTSD consist mainly of "trauma-focused" psychotherapies that involve focusing on details of the trauma or associated cognitive and emotional effects.

The investigators searched PubMed, PsycINFO, and PILOTS for randomized clinical trials (RCTs) of individual and group psychotherapies for PTSD in military personnel and veterans, published from January 1980 to March 1, 2015.

They also searched reference lists of articles, selected reviews, and meta-analyses. Of 891 publications initially identified, 36 were included.

26 Aug

If your children have gone back to school, and you are finding that all they want to do is go back to sleep in the morning, you are not alone.

The Center for Disease Control (CDC) has declared sleep insufficiency to be a nationwide public health epidemic, and the American Academy of Pediatrics in its recently released policy statement, School Start Times for Adolescents said "Insufficient sleep represents one of the most common, important and potentially remediable health risks in children, particularly in the adolescent population, for whom chronic sleep loss has increasingly become the norm."

25 Aug

We got this question from a woman with a host of worries and concerns, none of which are exactly small potatoes. In spite of all these issues, she's clearly managed to keep her sense of humor intact. Check it out:


Hi, Belleruth,

I've had two of your tapes for years (depression and pre-surgery). Now I need one for rising blood pressure.

I had a pace-maker/defibrillator installed last year for my exceedingly low heart rate (cardiomyopathy triggered by viral pneumonia years ago), and now my blood pressure's rising with accompanying dreaded drug onslaught.

Seems to get worse as they raise the dosage, which I hate, resist, and fear etc. Other pressures have increased, too = big work project I'm excited to be working on. Plus increasingly wretched relationship with alcoholic son, which I work on with my Alanon 12-step study and sponsor.

24 Aug


Before I forget, I want to remind you that Cindy's super-successful back-to-school sale ends on Sept 7th. We've got strong titles for students eager to fine-tune their learning game (- even for those not so eager, come to think about it...). Check out our guided imagery for Procrastination, Self-Confidence, ADHD, Self-Esteem and Stress Relief, to name a few topics that have been flying off the shelves lately.

And on an entirely different note, here's this announcement:

So, all you Torontonians, Ontarians, Buffalonians and North Americans, listen up! If you're in the business of therapizing, coaching, consulting, or people-influencing, and want to pump up your people/process skills to a whole 'nother level, a pretty amazing and unique training opportunity is about to show up in downtown Toronto Oct 7-9.

21 Aug

Hello, Health Journeys and Belleruth. I'm 52 and I have suffered from horrible panic attacks off and on since I was 16. I never know exactly when they will strike. At my worst times, I would have 2 or 3 a day, where I could barely function. For reasons I won't go into here, I cannot take medication.

My daughter who is a nurse suggested I try guided imagery, so 3 mos ago I uploaded your Panic Attack audio to my phone and started listening to one or two segments of it 3-5 times a day.

I found the voice and music calming. What I liked even more was knowing it was in my phone!!! I could access it any time of day and nobody would know I was "undergoing treatment" for my panic attacks!!!

I had to write you all to let you know that after 3 months, I can go up to a week without an attack. This is like a miracle!!!! I may even get rid of these horrible things altogether. I have hope that I will.

20 Aug

British researchers from the University of Dundee, UK, conducted a systematic review and meta-analysis to assess the appeal and the effectiveness of internet-delivered cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) for kids diagnosed with an anxiety disorder.

A systematic search of 7 electronic databases was conducted to assess CBT intervention for children with anxiety problems with remote delivery either entirely or partly via technology, yielding 6 articles altogether, reporting on 7 studies.

The findings suggested that web based CBT programs were well received by children and their families, and efficacy was almost as favorable as clinic-based CBT.

19 Aug

If it's true that a plan not implemented is just a wish, what are some of the ways we sabotage our own wishes and how can we get on track to turn them back into plans and help fulfill them?

Complacency: Failure to Take Stock

What do you plan to change? Do you want to lose weight—but you will start next week, stop smoking—when you're not under so much stress or find a new relationship—after you lose weight? If you have too many things on your plate, and too many excuses, you might simply not start. Journaling is a great way to figure out where you want to go and how to get there. Choose the most important goal on your list, and begin writing at least three pages every day about your thoughts and feelings regarding the goal. If you keep writing, you might discover that what you really need to change first is quite different from what you wrote on your list. There are numerous websites and publications about journaling. My favorite instructional journaling book, which I have often recommended to my students, is The Artist's Way: A Spiritual Path to Higher Creativity, by Julia Cameron.

18 Aug


My 86-yr old aunt is in the middle stages of Alzheimer's. She lives in a nearby assisted living facility and I, along with two other sisters, are her family caregivers. As the Alzheimer's progresses she is becoming more anxious (Sundowner's Syndrome) and depressed. I have used several of your guided imagery recordings over the years to help me and I was wondering if there is something you could recommend to ease her depression and anxiety. She was a music teacher in the past and yet I can't get her interested in listening to music to help relax her. I am hoping that listening to a human voice at night might bring her some comfort. Is there anything you can recommend?

Many thanks!

17 Aug

Well, it's that time of year, although it's hard to believe it's crept up so quickly. Yep, most kids will be going back to school, this week or next.

The children will be feeling separation anxiety, social anxiety and performance anxiety – and so, most likely, will their parents. Some could not possibly be separating soon enough, the blessed structure of school days coming as a godsend. Many will be feeling all of the above.

The kids will be worrying about which class they were assigned to, did they get a good teacher, are they with their friends, will this grade be really hard, will the class bully be meaner than ever, will they be able to keep up with the work, separate from home, make the team...

Parents will be facing lots of prep: the reading of instructions, purchasing school supplies, doc check-ups, shots, signing forms, getting school clothes that manage to fit the dress code and not embarrass the kid.

14 Aug

I have Patricia Neal's breadbox. (For those of you too young to remember, Patricia Neal was a movie star who became a terrific actor. She was also an all-round plucky dame with a lot of class. She may be best known for her role in HUD, as a tough rancher who resisted the charms of Paul Newman. She was also married to Roald Dahl, author of Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, who was a lot better writer than husband).

I have her breadbox because she regularly had house and yard sales at her Edgartown home, to support various island charities on Martha's Vineyard, where she lived a good chunk of the year.

She knew that if she had a house sale, her fame ensured that hundreds of visitors would show up, just to gawk at her and traipse through her house, and that they'd drop some serious change on her discarded chochkes. And that's what happened. She moved those units... including the breadbox.

13 Aug

Investigators from West Virginia University in Morgantown, WV, conducted a systematic review of RCTs that have examined the effects of guided imagery on pain, function, and other outcomes such as anxiety, depression, and quality of life in adults with arthritis and other rheumatic diseases or AORD.

Ten electronic bibliographic databases were searched for reports of RCTs published between 1960 and 2013. Selection criteria included adults with AORD who participated in RCTs that used guided imagery as a partial or sole intervention strategy.

Risk of bias was assessed using the Cochrane Risk of Bias Assessment Instrument. Results were synthesized qualitatively.