Sunday, January 27, 2013

Scientific Proof, Kindness Can Heal - Crosspost from fellow Hypnotherapist Suzette Standring

By Suzette Standring
original link -
            A compassionate attitude - gentle words, a listening ear, and encouragement – is an agent for physical healing, even if the concern is faked, according to a recent Harvard study.  Research affirms that old-fashioned kindness is a balm on one’s spirit, and in turn, has measurable effects on the body.
            The placebo effect is a mysterious phenomenon long accepted in science, that is, a percentage of patients do experience improved medical conditions when receiving fake treatments they believe to be real. What causes it?  Can placebo power be harnessed, or it’s positive effects increased? Over the last 15 years, such possibilities were explored by Ted Kaptchuk, an associate professor of medicine at Harvard, and colleagues who examined the potential components to placebo healing through a series of studies.
            Now there is scientific proof that compassion can set the healing wheels in motion.  Collaborating with gastroenterologists in the early 2000’s, Kaptchuk set up a study of 262 patients with Irritable Bowel Syndrome who were offered acupuncture treatments. However, fake needles that retracted on contact were used on all participants. Instead of comparing the effects of real versus sham treatments, the study focused on whether the quality of patient interaction made a difference.
            Participants were divided into three groups.  Those in the control group were told they were on a waiting list, and received no treatment. The second group was given acupuncture in an impersonal manner.  The third group treated also experienced at least 20 minutes with the acupuncturist who gave every appearance of genuine concern; warm conversation, caring touches on the arm or shoulder, a hopeful outlook, and thoughtful responses to questions.
            Recently reported results show patients in the third group recorded the greatest relief. The act of caring made a measurable difference.  These and other findings from related studies were reported in The Placebo Phenomenon in the January/February 2013 issue of Harvard Magazine.  Reporter Cara Feinberg wrote, But in an age of rushed doctor’s visits and packed waiting rooms, it was the first study to show a “dose-dependent response” for a placebo: the more care people got – even if it was fake – the better they tended to fare.
            How a doctor interacts with a patient has profound implications for healthcare.  Yet in everyday life, one on one, each of us is an agent for healing.  Taking the time to show concern - and apparently only twenty minutes is needed - can have a measurable impact on those whose spirits are burdened by illness or emotional damage.  Often challenges can appear so great or insurmountable – illness, financial ruin, grief – leaving friends and family resigned to helplessness, “What can I do?  It’s too much for me to fix.”
            Be reminded of the elements that activated physical improvement in patients involved in the placebo study: time spent giving every appearance of genuine concern; warm conversation, caring touches on the arm or shoulder, a hopeful outlook, and thoughtful responses to questions.  Isn’t this what we intuitively do for those we love? The Harvard study points to curative possibilities beyond the hospital waiting room.
Email Suzette Standring:

Mary Beth's note -  Suzette is from the Little Falls area.  I am an hypnotherapist in Bergen County New Jersey, but my mom, Jeanne, grew up in Little Falls, and my grandmother, who passed away a couple of years ago, actually lived in Little Falls and Dolgeville her whole life, worked in Gloversville, grew up in Middleville.  Her name was Bernice Mikus and she was my idol!   I still have uncles and cousins in Ilion and Syracuse.  My Dad had his first job out of college at Little Falls High School.  I love that town!
But enough reminiscing!  I loved her article, and it was so nice to see that a Harvard prof, with enough time and endowment money could substantiate what we have known for years.  The interesting thing to me is that I have always found people of the Leatherstocking region of NY always embodied that for me!  This study it has implications in all walks of life, of course, as it an encouragement for others to show others love and compassion. 

Sunday, January 20, 2013

Considering Desiderata

We all have those days that all we want to do is climb under the covers.  Most of the time we just can't do this!  Today, I am going to make an alternate plan.  I'm sharing one of my favorite poems, Desiderata, for your consideration and for me to read again and take in.  Blessings to you always.

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

To Juice, To Exercise - How do you fit them both in and around work and the rest of my life?

I'll think and I'll drink.

My sisters gave me a slow juicer for my birthday, and I have become a juicing fool!  I'll let you know if I think I feel better - too early to tell.  So far, I have spent the time I normally spend on exercise on making wonderful new juices, so its a break even to date.

The unmentioned item is actually getting to work and working a normal day as well.  If I can manage to work in both juicing and exercise around my regular work schedule, I think I'll get somewhere.  I've blogged about juicing before, and have tried the Blue Print Cleanse (spans across the USA) and Organic Avenue (NYC based) juices.  I love them both but it is quite an investment to purchase.  Blue Print does say it best - we think, you drink.  It takes some effort to bring in the veggies and fruit, choosing the combos, cleaning the juicer and storing everything properly.  Having had both companies' juices, they are of equally wonderful, fresh quality.  Blue Print has been in the "ship and cleanse" business a bit longer, so they have their system down just a bit better than Organic Avenue.  On the other hand, when I received my Organic Avenue juices, a simple call to their customer care line sent me on my way with complete instructions on how to drink the juices for maximum benefit. 

So far, I have made a wonderful cashew milk (my new favorite indulgence), beet carrot parsley kale apple spinach juice, pineapple apple mint (yum) and carrot apple ginger.  Keep the juices cold, drink them cold or cool and within 2448 hours, ideally.  The trick is finding the time to get healthy.  So what else is new?  Gotta do it!

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

Chicken McNuggets Revisited - fun food crosspost

First, lets get this straight.  Jamie Oliver is a madman who showed us how we process our meat in America, but I love him.  (seems that he has backed off his Food Revolution soapbox, though it was a noble feat), and fearless food author, US Berkeley Prof and activist, Michael Pollan is awesome. 

When signing into aol (yes I still have an aol account), i saw a featured article on the birth of the Chicken McNugget and felt compelled to read, albeit with a bit of trepidation.  I don't eat them, but I used to eat them.  I served them to my girls when they were little, and I felt, well, responsible to know.

That being said, here is the copy that describes the process that was conceived of and perfected by now deceased ('06) Cornell professor Robert C. Baker in 1963.  Feel free to access Maryn McKenna's entire Huffington Post article here.  Apparently Baker, a poultry expert, and his students concocted and perfected a number of food items during his time at Cornell.  Having relatives in upstate New York State, I understand the interest in wanting to promote the business of chicken farmers.

"The whole process—recipe, box design, sales records, even predictions of how much it would cost to add a chicken-stick manufacturing line to a poultry processing plant—was described in the Cornell publication Agricultural Economics Research in April 1963.

Baker’s prototype nugget, developed with student Joseph Marshall, mastered two food-engineering challenges: keeping ground meat together without putting a skin around it, and keeping batter attached to the meat despite the shrinkage caused by freezing and the explosive heat of frying. They solved the first problem by grinding raw chicken with salt and vinegar to draw out moisture, and then adding a binder of powdered milk and pulverized grains. They solved the second by shaping the sticks, freezing them, coating them in an eggy batter and cornflake crumbs, and then freezing them a second time to -10 degrees. With trial and error, the sticks stayed intact. Baker, Marshall, and three other colleagues came up with an attractive box, designed a dummy label, and made enough of the sticks to sell them for 26 weeks in five local supermarkets. In the first 6 weeks, they sold 200 boxes per week."

Enter McDonalds, who had been looking for a beef alternative and bingo, the McNugget was born.

While I am not a fan of the McNugget, most of us have eaten them.  On this 2nd day of 2013, I am glad to know what is going into my body when I eat it.  I am not certain that the process that Baker perfected, as well as the ingredients used, are the same ingredients that McDonalds is using now.

Do you have a favorite fast food of dubious content and origin?