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I recommend reviewing the Debbie Ford website, www.debbieford.com. I have been receiving her weekly newsletter over the past several months, and find them engaging and supportive. She does a weekly Internet radio show that if you find the time, will be well worth it while you work on areas in your life that need a tune up and some exploration. I read her book, The Dark Side of the Light Chasers, a number of years ago, and recently pulled it out for a refresher course. It is valuable reading on loving all parts of your being--the good that makes us better, and the bad that makes us stronger, more compassionate with self and forgiving of others.
In vibrant health,
Pure Energy Rx
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F.Y.I. - Interesting Health News Tidbits
The pow-ah of pray-ah...
On an operating table at a medical center in San Francisco, a breast cancer patient is undergoing reconstructive surgery after a mastectomy. But this will be no ordinary surgery. Three thousand miles away, a shamanic healer has been sent the woman's name, a photo and details about the surgery. For each of the next eight days, the healer will pray 20 minutes for the cancer patient's recovery, without the woman's knowledge. A surgeon has inserted two small fabric tubes into the woman's groin to enable researchers to measure how fast she heals. The woman is a patient in an extraordinary government-funded study that is seeking to determine whether prayer has the power to heal patients from afar--a field known as "distant healing." While that term is probably unfamiliar to most Americans, the idea of turning to prayers in their homes, hospitals and houses of worship is not. In recent years, medicine has increasingly shown an interest in investigating the effect of prayer and spirituality on health. A survey of 31,000 adults released last year by the national Centers for Disease Control and Prevention found that 43% of U.S. adults prayed for their own health, while 24% had others pray for their health. Some researchers say that is reason enough to study the power of prayer. "Almost every community in the world has a prayer for the sick, which they practice when a member of their community is ill," said Dr. Mitchell Krucoff, a Duke University cardiologist and researcher in the field of distant prayer and healing. "It is a ubiquitous cultural practice, as far as we can tell. Cultural practices in healthcare frequently have a clue. But understanding that clue, learning how to best use it, requires basic clinical science." The study of distant healing was once the realm of eccentric scientists, but researchers at such prominent institutions as the Mind/Body Medical Institute in Chestnut Hill, Mass., Duke University Medical Center in North Carolina and the California Pacific Medical Center in San Francisco are involved in the field. And the National Institutes of Health's National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine has spent $2.2 million on studies of distant healing and intercessory prayer since 2000 -- a small fraction of the agency's annual budget, which totaled $117 million in 2004. MORE
Change your mind, change your health...
Transcendental Meditation (TM) technique, a non-drug relaxation or stress-reduction method, reduces death rates by 23% and extends lifespan in the elderly, according to a study published in the May 2, 2005 issue of American Journal of Cardiology.
Researchers evaluated 202 men and women aged at 71 on average with mildly elevated blood pressure. Participants were involved in the Transcendental Meditation program; behavioral techniques, such as mindfulness or progressive muscle relaxation; or health education for up to 18 years. Vital statistics were obtained from the National Death Index. The study found that compared to combined controls, the TM group showed:
- 23% reduction in the rate of death from all causes
- 30% reduction in the rate of death from cardiovascular disease
- 49% reduction in the rate of death from cancer
"Research has found the Transcendental Meditation program reduces risk factors in heart disease and other chronic disorders, such as high blood pressure, smoking, psychological stress, stress hormones, harmful cholesterol, and atherosclerosis," said Robert Schneider, M.D., FACC, principal author of the study and director of the Center of Natural Medicine and Prevention. "These reductions slow the aging process and promote the long-term reductions in death rates." The study was conducted by researchers from Harvard, University of Iowa, Medical College of Georgia, West Oakland Health Center, and Maharishi University of Management, Fairfield, Iowa.
Skin deep pockets...
If you believe that buying "natural" cosmetics and personal care products (those brands usually found in natural health stores and the like) guarantees toxin-free ingredients, you are wrong. The reasons for this are dicey with dollops of gray shading. It comes down to a spectrum that runs from 1) Companies that know better, but willfully use toxic ingredients to, 2) Well-intending natural products companies that heretofore operated out of ignorance. But to understand this, we need to go to Europe for some perspective. The European Union (EU), with its 25 member countries, is taking a more enlightened (or a less Draconian) approach to protecting its 450 million people from toxins in personal care products. As of this March, an EU "Cosmetics Directive," will require companies doing business in Europe to eliminate chemicals in personal care products known or strongly suspected of causing "harm to human health." Although there are thousands of questionable chemicals, the directive is targeting about 450, which is huge compared to the nine chemicals that the FDA has banned or restricted in personal care products. In a massive undertaking, the Environmental Working Group (EWG) analyzed the health and safety reviews of 10,000 ingredients in personal care products. The EWG discovered that there is scant research available to document the safety or health risks of low-dose, repeated exposures to chemical mixtures. But, the absence of data should never be mistaken for proof of safety. The EWG points out that the more we study low-dose exposures, the more we understand that they can cause adverse effects ranging from the subtle and reversible, to effects that are more serious and permanent. Based on that, the EWG has developed Skin Deep, a sophisticated online rating system that ranks brand-name products on their potential health risks and the absence of basic safety evaluations. To try out its usefulness, we ran a list of the personal care products we use. Six of the approximately 10 products we used daily were recognized and scored. Among those was one product that may pose cancer risks, and three products with ingredients that may contain impurities linked to breast cancer; another two, called "penetration enhancers," increase exposure to other products that are carcinogenic, six of the products contain ingredients that are unstudied or lack sufficient safety data and, despite Carpenter's efforts to avoid them, one product contains ingredients that are allergens. On a scale of one to 10, with 10 being of the highest health concern, our score was a 6.7. What's yours? Janet Nudelman, of the Safe Cosmetics Campaign, says she uses Skin Deep regularly to look up ingredients in personal care products to get a safety reading--and make a purchase decision based on the results. "Consumers have real power they are not exercising," she said. "We need to let cosmetic companies know we're going to not buy their products unless they make a strong unwavering commitment to safety." Many products that men use everyday, including deodorant, shampoo, sun tan creams, and after shave lotions, contain toxic chemicals linked to health problems in males. Lead acetate, a known carcinogen and reproductive toxin, can be purchased at the local drugstore in Grecian Formula 16. Phthalates, a set of industrial chemicals used in many products, are particularly toxic for males. FULL ARTICLE
The Tao of Dow...
At this week's annual stockholder meeting, Dow Chemical will surely tout the fact that its stock has outperformed the S&P 500 for the better part of the last five years. But can a company as environmentally burdened as Dow keep it up? Dow is being sued in the U.S. and overseas for environmental damages that stem from both its core products and from the toxic chemicals that are byproducts of its big manufacturing processes. Take Dow's dioxin liabilities. Dioxins, which are a byproduct of production of some Dow chemicals, are known to cause cancer, immune suppression, reproductive, developmental and liver damage. A class action lawsuit by Michigan residents is seeking compensation for the contamination. Residents in the region are asserting approximately $100 million in property damages and seeking medical monitoring. The medical monitoring claim is now before the Michigan Supreme Court. Dioxin is also a severe problem in Agent Orange hotspots including Vietnam, New Zealand and Australia, where the Dow-produced herbicide was sprayed as a lethal war defoliant and released at manufacturing facilities. Roughly 100,000 claims of Agent Orange exposure-related health problems by U.S. veterans have been filed with the government since 2000. U.S. and Vietnamese veterans and their families are suing Dow for compensation. In the last 15 years, Dow has already been sued in 300 lawsuits claiming damage from Dursban (the trade name for the neurotoxic pesticide chlorpyrifos), which can cause respiratory paralysis, convulsions, nausea, headaches and other symptoms with acute exposure. Last year, the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) reported that 93 percent of the U.S. population had this chemical in their bodies and one market analysis indicates that Dow Chemical likely contributed at least 80 percent of public exposure to chlorpyrifos. Just over the horizon is the European Union's REACH (Registration, Evaluation, and Authorization of Chemicals) policy, which will require chemical companies to provide data on their products including toxicity and exposure to humans and the environment. Toxic chemicals must be registered, and the worst could be restricted in favor of safer alternatives. Some industry associations suggest that up to 20 percent of chemicals on the market will be discontinued. Approximately one-third of Dow's revenues are derived from Europe. Other international documents such as the Great Lakes Water Quality Agreement and the Stockholm Persistent Organic Pollutants Treaty are paving the way for the elimination or restriction of certain chemicals that Dow produces. Dow appears to be bound for a head-on collision course with changing public policies. Incredibly, Dow's filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission fail to mention any of these factors except the Dursban suits. The SEC requires discussion of "any known trends, demands, commitments, events or uncertainties" that are "reasonably likely" to have a material effect on the bottom line. Unfortunately, the Commission is notorious for failing to enforce these rules. SOURCE
Don't avoid the carotenoid...
Beta-carotene has been a buzzword in cancer prevention circles for some time, but that one carotene doesn't tell the whole story. Turns out there are 500-600 carotenoids, 40 of which can be found in the human diet, and 14 of those that can be readily absorbed and used in the body. In addition to the popular beta-carotene, which is highly regarded for its ability to convert to the life-sustaining vitamin A, also of health significance is: alpha carotene, cryptoxanthin, zeaxanthin, lycopene, and lutein. It has been known for some time that lycopene, another popular carotene, provides protection against prostate cancer. But a recent study has shown that the entire carotenoid family is associated with a reduced cancer risk, prostate cancer in particular. That means more tomatoes, carrots, spinach, citrus fruits, sweet potatoes, apricots, mangoes, pumpkin, watermelon, and the like. Opt for colorful fruits and vegetables and you'll be on the right track. Dr. Wright also advises lots of Brassica vegetables such as cabbage, broccoli, Brussels sprouts, and cauliflower. As with breast cancer, keeping your 2/16 ratio of "good" to "bad" estrogens in check is important for you, too. Unfortunately, testosterone can convert to estrogen in a process called aromatization, which can cause your system to get out of whack. Also, if you're in a high-risk category, you should also consider taking supplemental selenium, vitamin D, and vitamin E. While prostate cancer has a much higher survival rate than many other cancers, it's not to be taken lightly. The truth is that prostate cancer claims 30,000 such lives a year, yet it is almost always curable when detected early, and is highly preventable by making some changes in diet and lifestyle. Carotenoids were first discovered in 1831 when they were isolated in carrots. By 1837 another researcher realized the yellow pigments in autumn leaves were related. This kicked off a flurry of research that extends into a wide variety of fields including chemistry, biochemistry, biology, medicine, and physics to name a few. Without carotenoids plants would be destroyed soon after sunrise: Their strong antioxidant qualities provide plants with protection against the free radical molecules produced when plants are exposed to sunlight. Based on the results of numerous studies, it's becoming more and more clear that carotenoids function similarly to the B-complex of vitamins in that they're more powerful together than they are alone. Which is why a rich diet with a full array of carotenoids may provide more health benefits than isolating and supplementing with any one individually. SOURCE ARTICLE
Grocery Store Wars...
The makers of The Meatrix invite you to a supermarket not so far away, where the Organic Rebellion is leading the struggle against the Dark Side of the Farm. Follow Cuke Skywalker and Obi Wan Cannoli -- and their comrades-in-arms Ham Solo and Chewbroccoli -- as they rescue Princess Lettuce and battle to save the market from the evil Lord Tader. Meet the veggie cast, learn the Ways of the Farm, and surf the always informative Organic Trade Association's site. In a legal case brewing, apparently Hamilton Burger is going up against Berry Mason-Jar... www.storewars.org