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28 Aug

In this randomized clinical trial, researchers from the National Center for PTSD at the Veterans Affairs Pacific Islands Healthcare System in Honolulu, HI, examined outcomes from cognitive processing therapy delivered via video teleconferencing (VTC) as compared to in-person delivery, in a rural, ethnically diverse sample of veterans with posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD).

Participants received 12 sessions of CPT-C via VTC (n = 61) or in-person (n = 64). Assessments were administered at baseline, mid-treatment, immediately post-treatment, and at 3 and 6 months post-treatment. The primary clinical outcome was post-treatment PTSD severity, as measured by the Clinician-Administered PTSD Scale or CAPS.

27 Aug

Despite growing up during the height of the coupon craze, I have never been a fan of clipping cents-off coupons, unless they could be used to purchase a horse. I can remember a time when grocery stores waged price wars by doubling or tripling paper coupons.
 
That was tough to resist, tripling a 75-cent coupon meant saving $2.25, but what I found, as a proponent of fresh, natural and organic products that my friends kindly termed ‘health food,’ was that the coupons were rarely for anything I actually wanted. No coupons for savings on the good stuff.

produce

26 Aug

Dear Belleruth,

I am 120 lbs. overweight.  I have been accepted for the lap band procedure to help me lose weight. I got right up to the date and canceled. Why? Fear! Since I am 65 yrs. old (or young!) and happily married for 46 years, I have a lot of baggage and probably my fears stem from low self-esteem. This started when I was a child of a 43 yr-old mom -- who was stoic and stern and did not believe in "spoiling" a child.

However, she was always supportive about keeping me at a "normal" weight. After marriage, however, I just started to plump up to 180 after my first two pregnancies and then up to 240 before my 3rd child.
 
Because of my weight, I have disabling arthritis and fibromyalgia and sleep apnea. I know that weight loss could greatly reduce these infirmities and yet, I always manage to sabotage every opportunity to succeed.
 
Of course, my career followed the same course. Why can't I get past these goblins? I hate myself for my weaknesses.

Mary

23 Aug

For as long as we’ve had a website (since 1997), my go-to site for smart, reliable, up-to-date, research-based, practical answers to holistic health questions has always been Ask Dr. Weil.  I trust what he has to say.  He doesn’t oversell his advice, and if there’s only modest back-up for claims of efficacy, he says so.
 
He’s also on top of the latest research, so I often learn about new findings from him. And because he was trained as a botanist before he became a doc, he’s got a real affinity, knowledge and love for the healing that plants and the earth’s natural elements have to offer.

So it was a real kick to see that in his latest post, he talks about posttraumatic stress – especially combat trauma in our service personnel – and the power of CBT and guided imagery to help remediate symptoms.  He even points to our Health Journeys page for military and veterans. Very gratifying!

And true to form, he introduced some new ideas (at least new to me), reporting on recent studies using psychedelic drugs, and the potential of methylenedioxy methamphetamine (Ecstasy) and psilocybin (mushrooms), alongside psychotherapy, for helping traumatized soldiers overcome PTS. Who knew? Not I.

Actually, there’s a whole host of new studies combining various medications with CBT to see if remediation of PTS symptoms can be speeded up and deepened.  They’re in process now – I’ll report on them as soon as findings are published.

The whole Ask Dr Weil piece is here. Check it out and sign up for the e-newsletter.  It’s a terrific resource, and the Q and A database is loaded with important, useable, constantly evolving information.

By the way, we hope you’re finding your way around this new merged BR Blog and HJ Blog without any undue confusion.  Let us know.
 
Take care and be well,
All best,

22 Aug

This is a terrific story about how somebody used his own home-grown imagery and the help of a photo to master climbing a lot of tough steps after a surgery that left him temporarily weak.

After my surgery, I was very weak.  My dream trip, to go to Oxford, was coming up, and I worried that there might be something in the layout of the place that would be impossible for me to negotiate in my weakened state.  I asked about this, and was told that the toughest thing I’d have to face were the stairs to the refectory, and that I would have to climb them every day.  I requested they send me a picture of those stairs.

Then, because I work at the Capitol, I decided that I would climb a couple of stairs at a time there and imagine they were the refectory stairs.  Every night I imagined myself climbing those Oxford stairs, and every day I’d take a few more at the Capitol and imagine they were the refectory stairs.  It got easier and easier for me to do more and more each day.  I had 3 months to make my goal.

Three months later, when I arrived at Oxford and found my stairs, it was like greeting an old friend.  I climbed them with no trouble whatsoever… wasn’t even short of breath.  It was a wonderful sense of accomplishment, and it was thanks to my own, home-grown guided imagery.

Your Public Servant on The Hill

21 Aug

Researchers from the Department of Health Promotion and Wellness and the Student Health Center at the University of Missouri, investigated whether iRest Yoga Nidra (http://www.irest.us/), a form of therapeutic guided meditation, was effective in reducing perceived stress, worry and depression in college students.
 
Sixty-six students age 18-56 completed an 8-week iRest yoga-nidra intervention that was offered for 8 semesters. Assessment occurred 1 week prior to intervention onset and during the class period following the intervention. Qualitative data were collected at Weeks 4 and 8.

Statistically significant pre- to posttest improvements in perceived stress, worry, and depression were found. Pre-existing depression accounted for most of the change in worry and perceived stress scores. Pre- to post test improvements in mindfulness-based skills were also detected.

The investigators conclude that iRest yoga-nidra practice may reduce symptoms of perceived stress, worry, and depression and increase mindfulness-based skills.

Citation:  Eastman-Mueller H1, Wilson T, Jung AK, Kimura A, Tarrant J. iRest yoga-nidra on the college campus: changes in stress, depression, worry, and mindfulness. International Journal of Yoga Therapy. 2013; (23): pp.15-24.

 

20 Aug

We are happy to learn that researchers have been studying ways to address the mental and emotional health of those who parent children with special needs. According to proponents of those studies, until recently, most programs and resources have been dedicated to sharpening parenting skills, rather than recognizing that special needs parents have unattended mental and emotional health issues related to caring for their children.

We hear from parents of children with special needs when they call to ask about audio programs for their children, and they frequently select titles for themselves.

Sleep is a major issue among many of the special needs parents with whom we communicate. Some parents say that when they do get time to sleep, they are too keyed-up, worried or just plain burned-out to get restorative sleep. I recently spoke to a woman who called to order Magic Island, by Betty Mehling, to be sent to one of the mothers in her support group. She had ordered it for her son, who has cerebral palsy. He liked it so much that she decided to share it.

19 Aug

Dear BR,

I suffer from M.S. and get therapeutic massage once or twice a month to help with muscle spasm and general mental health. I also enjoy listening to your imagery at the end of the day.
 
What do you think of my bringing my tape to the massage sessions? Do you think that would bring double-benefits?  Or should I leave them separate?  As it is, I am getting a lot out of each experience.

Fred B. from Milwaukee

18 Aug

I feel a rant coming on.  

I’ve been catching some of the commentary on traditional news outlets and social media over the tragic death of big-hearted, super-talented actor-comedian Robin Williams. It seems pretty obvious he was a great guy and a dazzling talent.  I feel for his family and friends.  It’s horrible to be left by suicide, especially when you haven’t been consulted. (I know that might sound flippant, but I mean it.)
 
There’s a lot of confused and simplistic messaging flying around about depression, suicide, celebrity and being a professional comic – now throw in Parkinson’s – and, much as I’m reluctant to add to this overfull conversation, I think I’ve gotta pipe up.
 
Robin Williams had bipolar illness. (We used to call it manic-depressive disorder). And that’s one very tough condition to manage.

Sure, he had the standard demons.  All the stuff people are writing is no doubt true.  He had the usual troubles from celebrity and fame.  He was never secure with “steady” work.  He needed to please people and make them happy, probably to his detriment.  He struggled with various addictions, probably connected to self-medicating his mood swings. He was worried about having Parkinson’s.
 
But the guy was bipolar.  And that defines the problem and trumps all of the above, which are no doubt contributing factors, but not the main event.

11 Aug

I’m really looking forward to speaking at University Hospitals’ 3rd annual Heal the Healer Symposium on October 10, at Signature of Solon, Ohio.  Regina Brett will kick off this fabulous day with her keynote, “The Miracle Starts with You”…
 
You can expect a healthy and delicious breakfast and lunch, some therapeutic yoga, music therapy, acupuncture, chair massage, Reiki, tips on maintaining healthy muscle tone life long from Robert Truax DO, some important info about substance abuse among health care professionals from Ray Isackila, LPCC, and Peter Geller LAc, LOMP, will be talking about integrating Chinese Herbal Medicine into a traditional practice.
 
My talk will be about how to use “Guided Imagery for Maintaining Passion, Commitment, Energy & Health”, and, of course, there will be a demo guided journey for everyone – at least one.

To register for this unique day of self-care (and learning to better care for those in your charge by using yourself as the guinea pig), you can call 216-488-4757 or go to the website at http://www.uhhospitals.org/health-and-wellness/classes-and-events/2014/10/2014-10-10-heal-the-healer-optimal-you-body-mind-spirit.

11 Aug

Hello,
 
I am wondering whether the "Alcohol and Other Drugs" imagery might be appropriate for me to use for help with an eating disorder, since it can also be an addictive behavior.  I'd be grateful if someone could send their opinion on this - thanks!

Hilary

11 Aug

Researchers from the University at Buffalo, SUNY, performed a systematic review of studies that explored the efficacy of yoga, a popular adjunct therapy, for preventing and treating eating disorders (ED’s).

Databases were searched for peer-reviewed articles about yoga practice and ED symptoms and correlates.

Of the 14 articles reviewed, 40% used cross-sectional designs to examine risk and protective factors for EDs among yoga practitioners, and 60% used longitudinal designs to assess the effectiveness of yoga interventions for preventing and treating EDs.