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19 Jun

Emotional Freedom Technique (EFT) is a short-term, behavioral therapy that helps people counter anxiety and their own limiting beliefs, in order to make positive changes. It requires no deep-dish psychodynamic insight into motivation and no delving into anguished family history – all it asks (more or less) is that you state a positive intention while tapping on acupoints.

Now, all that tapping can look pretty weird, but it seems to help a good slice of the population. And, because it’s so undemanding on a person’s time and cash reserves, it’s not a bad strategy to try first, before signing up for the more lengthy, pricey and complicated process of psychotherapy.

12 Jun

I just had a hip replacement - a surprisingly easy and comfortable surgery, as these things go. The staff had me walking the same day, and I was able to leave the hospital soon after, with only a mild ache in my leg – nothing a little Tylenol couldn’t handle, and, truth be told, I’d have been fine without the Tylenol, too.

(My physical therapist says she finds that about half the people who have this surgery find it a breeze. The other half are wired to experience significant pain. In terms of actual healing and recovery, however, it takes the same amount of time for both groups.) 

Nonetheless, my excellent surgeon discharged me from the hospital with 60 Oxycodone tablets (5 mg.), and 14 Morphine extended release tabs (15 mg.). That’s a lot of dope.

07 Jun

Men are neither as healthy nor as long-lived as women. What makes them so much more vulnerable? It’s Men’s Health Week, after all, and a good time to ask.

A lot of studies point to one critical variable, and it’s not obesity, smoking or even stress.

30 May

The tragic death of 52-year-old grunge rock icon, Chris Cornell, highlights our mounting national concern over the overuse of prescription drugs and the opioid epidemic assailing us.

Evidently Cornell told his wife he had taken too much Ativan after his Detroit concert. We know Ativan is highly addictive and can produce some unpleasant – even dangerous and suicidal - side effects. Its generic name, Lorazepam, is part of a class of drugs known as benzodiazepines or benzos.

Valium is another well-known benzo. Back in the 80’s, before docs knew about its addictive nature, Valium was dispensed like candy to anyone complaining of feeling nervous, unsettled, agitated or panicky.

Other meds are now recommended for anxiety first – SSRI’s and anti-depressants.

22 May

For National Meditation Month, we’re saluting three of my favorite teachers – pioneers who’ve made meditative practices more accessible, widely used and accepted by thousands of people.

The first tip of the hat is for Jon Kabat-Zinn, because he’s done so much to bring mindfulness to Westerners.  He created a simplified protocol, related it to the practical goal of relieving stress, called it MBSR (Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction) and persuaded hundreds of academic researchers to test its efficacy. (I just searched “MBSR” on PubMed, and today, it delivered 404 studies, 64 of which were published in 2017 – and it’s only May.)

15 May

Compulsive hoarding, holding on to possessions to the extent that it negatively affects every aspect of your life, is called Hoarding Disorder, and if this applies to you or someone you love, it’s time to get professional help.

In her blog post, A 61-Year-Old Woman Suffers from Compulsive Hoarding, Cluttering her House, Belleruth explained it this way: “If left untended, it can get quite extreme, with more and more of your life constricted and disabled by it. There is a biochemical and neurological aspect to this condition.

“Some people have so much accumulation, they will only have a narrow path from room to room, because canyons have been created by floor-to-ceiling stacks of newspapers and magazines. Stovetops, sofas and tables are buried. Fire and health hazards are created. And of course, your social life is constricted too - you’re too ashamed to have people over to the house. So are your kids.”

08 May

The guy’s a rather unusual combination of active ingredients: a skillful, efficient, detail-oriented, operations guy; a talented marketer & social media maven; a wondrously speedy and masterful graphic designer; and one dazzle of a people manager.

He comes to us from the magical world of “Scale Up”, which is biz-speak for increasing the size, reach and scope of a company. His past positions have pretty much been in health, one way or another - mostly nutrition, wellness, and physical activity.

[Sidebar: He also sings professionally, rides a unicycle and juggles, too. I have not made this up.)

01 May

You could say it’s a revolution in the delivery of adjuvant mental health services - a shift that sneaked up on all of us in plain sight.

Mind-body therapies such as guided imagery, breath work, mindfulness meditation and various relaxation therapies are now available to everyone, providing anonymous, respectful, timely, self-administered self-help, at low or no cost.

People who can’t find or afford a therapist; or who don’t like the idea of going to one; or who need more than a 50-minute session, once a week; or who crave the autonomy of self-administered therapies; or who have panic attacks at 2 am and need something right then to keep them company until the sun comes up - all these folks can now get help by pressing PLAY, on their smart phones, iPods and MP3’s. 

24 Apr

Adults and children on the autism spectrum differ broadly, but nearly all struggle with anxiety, especially at changes in routine. Other challenges they face include compulsive, repetitive behaviors, sleep problems, overstimulated nervous systems and social difficulties.

Our audio programs can help with all but the interpersonal challenges. They make the biggest contribution as a powerful anxiety reducer and mood balancer.

We have combined some of our most popular guided imagery programs, the particularly soothing, calming ones that are most popular with adults and kids on the autism spectrum, into three different packs. We created packs for adults, teens and kids, and specially priced them at a whopping 23% off, to celebrate Autism Awareness Month.

17 Apr

Here is some basic information on guided imagery. It was put together when we built California Community College students their own free guided imagery download page. The audios on that page are used to reduce stress, promote sleep, and improve concentration, among other things. 

This information may come in handy for yourself or, if you’re a health care or mental health professional, for people in your care. So if you’re looking for a quick but accurate way to explain guided imagery to yourself or others, check it out!