Gain (health) without the pain
Some say "no pain, no gain."
I say: if it hurts, you're probably not doing it right.
If you're exercising and it hurts, that can mean serious trouble.
If you're experiencing emotional pain in you're life, that can also mean serious trouble.
You may know some of these common effects of stress building up in your body and in your life:
These are good to know. They are some of the more apparent results of a stressed out life.
But here are some you may not associate with stress:
Now, am I saying that just about everything is caused by stress? Nope.
But living a high stress life with little outlet and ability to positively deal with stressful situations sets us up for failure.
Our health is compromised, our relationships are strained and our general outlook on life is worse.
Many of the above symptoms can be caused by a variety of factors, whether or not stress is present, so be sure to get a full check up and discuss any lab work that would be helpful for you and your doctor to best understand your health issues.
A lot can be learned from simple blood tests and saliva tests (yep, pretty much just spitting in a test tube)- it's important to not overlook any potentially serious medical condition when working on balancing your physical and emotional health.
I am here to answer any questions you have about this topic- you can comment on this article or email me directly.
To your good health,
More articles on stress and you:
Stress: what is it good for?
From overwhelmed to overjoyed
Stress vs. Well-Being: how do you measure up?
Know what I love about HeartMath?
Ok, so that's not very helpful.
Let me explain.
HeartMath really addresses the root of my patients' stress-related issues.
I feel that this particular type of biofeedback, which uses guided intervention in heart rate variability patterning, gets to the bottom of issues which are so prevalent in our society (feeling stressed out, exhausted, nervous wrecks, overwhelmed, constant fatigue, the list goes on and on).
So here's the whirl-wind intro, though you're always welcome to call for a complimentary 15 minute introductory consult... you can meet me and talk further about how I can help you achieve a better state of health.
First, why would someone use HeartMath? Well, one of the most common reasons is a stress-related condition, such as anxiety, depression, insomnia, hypertension, attention disorders and chronic pain.
Take a look at the many ways stress ruins your body and mind
If the image above is a little blurry, here's the original
Yes, in general, stress is bad. A little is ok, but most of us have waaaay more than a little stress in our lives.
So how does HeartMath work? What is it doing?
It's harnessing your innate heart-brain connection, and using that internal power for good (relaxation and restoration) instead of evil (panic attacks and out of control emotions).
It is optimizing the communication between your nervous, cognitive hormone and immune systems to balance out any mis-signaling.
Through this process you will learn to identify and remove all internal signals that, perhaps subconsciously, are working against you instead of for you.
The end result?
Common effects are increased happiness, more positive outlook on life, little or no stress reaction from what was before stress-inducing issues (work, relationships, finances), a full release from prior feelings of overwhelm and burnout and the ability to finally overcome a physical or hormonal issue (like those listed in the graphic above) just to name a few.
This technique is simple, powerful, and transformative. Everyone should give it a try.
How does this whole process work?
You can learn from the decades of research and look up conditions and information important to you on the HeartMath website. They offer biofeedback devices to anyone, though working with a healthcare professional such as myself ensures proper monitoring, assistance and its optimal placement within a comprehensive wellness approach.
I use HeartMath biofeedback during office visits and program check-ins for those who could benefit from its use as well as offer shorter stand-alone sessions.
To best learn and implement the biofeedback techniques in your everyday life above and beyond the few times I guide you through the process.
Most patients benefit from an initial round of 4-6 sessions which will be part of an all-inclusive integrative plan where all your healthcare issues are addressed and attended to.
My current weight loss and stress reduction program, 'slim down & happy up,' includes HeartMath sessions during as many of the bi-monthly check-ins as you'd like.
That means up to 6 HeartMath sessions are automatically included in the program, no extra cost at all!
The next 'slim down & happy up' program will run 3 months, starting September 9th.
Registration begins on our next session Monday, August 19th, check out the full details here.
To your good health,
So back in my "Nutrition 101" days of my Naturopathic medical education, I learned the commonly taught old school nutrition idea of:
"weight loss = more calories burnt than consumed"
So that's it, huh?
Eat less calories, burn more calories and weight loss will be a sure thing?
Well, most of us know it's just not that easy.
In fact, many find that they gain weight during and after dieting, even if they increase their activity level.
So what's going on?!
The fact of the matter is, only 1 in 6 dieters keeping the weight off (after a year).
So why can't we all just follow that easy formula and lose those extra pounds?!
...because it just isn't so simple.
We are a little more complex than calorie consuming and burning machines (but you probably knew that already).
An article published last week in the Journal of the American Medical Association provides a little insight into some of those dieting and weight loss complexities.
The publishing authors looked at overweight research participant using three different diet and weight loss programs and measured their success.
The three diets were low-fat, low glycemic and low carbohydrate (high protein).
Under carefully monitored in-patient hospital settings, the low glycemic dieters burned an average of 200 calories per day more than the low fat. The low carbohydrate dieters lost 300 calories more per day than the low fat dieters but saw an increase in blood levels of inflammatory markers (cortisol and CRP).
So what does this all mean?!
Just follow the diet where people burned the most calories while being constantly monitored in the hospital?
Well, that doesn't sound like a very enjoyable diet program to me.
If you're considering a weight loss-focused diet and exercise program, think about getting an expert involved to guide your path to success.
If you haven't heard by now, my past 'slim down & happy up' program sessions have provided women (& men) with guided, individualized meal planning, diet guidelines and exercise recommendations.
Combined with unique natural formulas that I craft specifically to each participant, this really is my all-in-one tool to address weight loss and stress reduction for long-term success.
Registration for our next session opens Monday, August 19th, full details here.
Join us for 3 months, and just see what a profound impact you and I can have on your health and quality of life!
I love HeartMath.
It's the only computer program that I can think of that I'd call a life saver. Others are useful, helpful or necessary for business operations. But not live savers.
HeartMath is. It's for real. Myself and all my formerly-stressed-out patients who have experienced the biofeedback training using the HeartMath system can attest to this.
At first, there was the emWave as a desktop or handheld version. I use the desktop version with myself and my patients (I do practice what I preach!). I usually have one or two handheld devices on hand for those patients who are most eager and committed to relieving their stress that they enthusiastically continue biofeedback training in their own time away from my office.
Then a month ago I learned about the Inner Balance Sensor: the next generation version for the iPhone, iPad and iTouch. Check out the video all about it, and get brushed up on this innovative technology in under 3 minutes.
It turns iPhones into biofeedback devices. That is seriously cool. Anyone can now access and use this technology in their daily lives. I've long been looking for a way to bring my in-office biofeedback sessions on the road. It's difficult to explain in words a concept that's instantly understood by just watching and experiencing biofeedback in action. Now when I'm out and about at meetings, presentations and other public events, I'll be able to fire up my iPad and have a scaled-down version ready to demonstrate on demand.
I recently saw that Dave Asprey, the Bulletproof guy, recently endorsed the Inner Balance Sensor as well as provided a very comprehensive overview of how it works. He's known for dismantling the entire way that we eat, and reconstructing his Bulletproof diet based entirely on research findings for optimal human performance and activity. Check out his diet guidelines, they're pretty spot-on.
As Dave Asprey's writings can be trusted to be firmly rooted in the scientific research, his articles are well worth a read: How to Biohack Your Courage, How HeartMath Training Helps You Live Longer, and Six Ways To Hack Your Nervous System. His theme is "biohacking" your body's physiology through the use of science, if you can't tell.
Well, that's my exciting news today, though there's much more in the works. But that will be exciting news for another day.
To your good health,
In celebration of the much awaited upcoming summer season, this article will recognize one of the many bodily rhythms that keep us functioning. It's all about balance. Things go up, then go down. Reactions are monitored, excess levels are corrected, deficient levels are boosted. And somehow, while holding the reins of all this potential chaos, the body keeps chugging along, keeping all the millions (or billions) of reactions in balance, constantly and simultaneously.
I'll profile one of my favorite bodily rhythms here (yes, I'm that much of a science geek that I've put some time into pondering this). If the interest so arises I'll describe more in the future, but in the meanwhile I'd love to hear what comes to your mind as well when we think of important and/or interesting body rhythms.
Sunlight, cortisol and melatonin. I like this rhythm because of the integral interaction between humans and the sun. It all starts in a teensy weensy spot right in the middle of the brain (halfway between the eyeballs and the back of the head) which contains a small bundle of nerves called the suprachiasmatic nucleus (SCM) within the hypothalamus, which is the traffic control officer for many of the brain's nerve signals.
The SCM receives light and dark signals from the presence and absence of sunlight. From this information it tells the body what time it is and thus what it should be doing. A fascinating thing about the SCM is that although it receives the light signals through the eyes it is still fully active and functional in those who are otherwise completely blind (also, it's present and functioning in sightless animal species). It's that primitive and important of a function, even more so than sight itself.
When the SCM sees light, it says, "suns up! time to get moving!" The form of its signaling is called the morning cortisol spike. Cortisol is most commonly known as a stress hormone, one which floods the body during those "fight or flight" body responses (previously helpful for escaping hungry predators, now used mainly in rush hour traffic). This amping up of the system is a primary factor in getting someone up and moving in the morning.
Throughout the day, cortisol slowly climbs back down to its low pre-dawn level, waiting for the next day's first morning burst of sunlight to start all over again.
In the meantime, the absence of sunlight at night stimulates the release of melatonin from the same part of the brain. Melatonin, in humans, is sleep-inducing. It has a similar spike and gradual fall like cortisol, but at the opposite part of the day.
A fascinating aspect of melatonin is that it spikes at night for all animals. Nocturnal animals which are most active at night appear to receive a similar effect from a nightly burst of melatonin as the average person does his or her morning burst of cortisol. Each respective species has their own "wake up" and "go to sleep" hormonal response.
Elegant, responsive, and endlessly adapting to signals both within and beyond our bodies, bodily rhythms are necessary, complex and deserve a little recognition every once in a while.
Thank you for reading. Please leave a comment if you enjoy my writing, have a comment or question or would otherwise like to add to my articles here. I take suggestions on topics, do the research and answer your questions here, so please feel free to drop me a line!