Let’s celebrate the ‘spirit’ that’s disabling limitations

Celebrating the ‘spirit’ that disables limitations © Glowimages

Celebrating the ‘spirit’ that disables limitations © Glowimages

“Break barriers and open doors: to realise an inclusive society for all”, urges the United Nations in its brief for International Day of People with Disability, celebrated earlier this month.

Well, those doors are opening at  Aware Industries in Albury-Wodonga. Aware’s best practice tools, procedures and support mechanisms enable people with disability to work productively and effectively. Similar to Endeavour Foundation services in Queensland and western Sydney, their strong workforce manufacture and distribute timber products and offer mail/despatch services, as well as food, light engineering and packaging services for the community.

My niece really likes working on the marketing team there. She says that the love and support for her from the workers there is palpable.

Health: Predetermined? Fate? For sale?

© Stock photos/Glowimages.com

There’s a game where the price for goods that you produce is determined by a god called “Theoi”. Participants have the option of contributing some of their goods to Theoi in the hope of ‘pacifying him’ and becoming more successful.

Recently a group of players were part of a research study conducted at the University of Queensland. Researchers found that there was a belief among both believers (that Theoi made a difference to the outcome) and non-believers that expenditure and sacrifice might somehow reap rewards, even when there was no effect on outcomes. “There seems to be a default belief that people can bargain with the unknown, and they need a lot of evidence to the contrary before it fades away”, researcher Professor Paul Fritjers said. Even when witnessing hundreds of occasions where it made no difference, they kept sacrificing large portions of their income to the perceived source of the problem, Theoi.

Have you accepted the necessary sacrifice to the poker machine, Blackjack, cards or Keno god – hoping for that big win? Continue Reading

Obese Nation or Opportunity for New Health Model?

This post was first published on ON LINE Opinion, Australia’s e-journal of social and political debate, as Connect the dots out of an obesity epidemic to ‘picture of health’.

My childhood friend was getting quite plump, had trouble running and became the victim of chubby and fat jokes by kids and adults alike. This was back in the ‘60s when most children were quite slim.

If you’d seen her a year later, you wouldn’t have recognised her. She regularly rode her bicycle, played tennis and had established a healthy diet despite being part of a family who often overindulged. And her slender appearance hasn’t changed during the ensuing five decades.

What changed for her? There was more going on than just seeing-out the ‘puppy fat’ years. It was pretty clear that there was a major change in her thinking when she realised that she could take charge of her life.Continue Reading

The Missing Element of the Health Equation

This post first appeared on ON LINE Opinion, Australia’s e-journal of social and political debate.

Who make the health science laws of the day? Medics? Researchers? Drug companies?

Nobel Prize winning astrophysicist Brian Schmidt stated on Q&A this week, science is about ‘testing theories’ that when proven lead to reliable knowledge. Scientific theories that become laws have a constant, consistent outcome when tested.

Medical researchers will agree that the health sciences are often unsure what causes disease or the best ways to treat it. There is a fairly universally held belief that certain drugs and treatments provide beneficial effects for specific diseases. However, double-blind studies often prove inconclusive and other studies show that the placebo effect is the only reliable effect. Considering that a drug needs to be only 15% effective to be approved for use in many countries, there’s a very strong case for concluding that drug-effectiveness is often random and not governed by a law at all.Continue Reading

Gratitude proving to be key component of health

Gratitude pays. Just ask Dr Robert Emmons. My guest post today is by Eric Nelson, who has been published and featured in numerous newspapers, online publications, and radio talk programs. He speaks from years of experience in the mind-body field, especially as it relates to health. In addition, he is the media and legislative spokesperson for Christian Science in Northern California. Visit Eric at his website and twitter

Is there a link between a grateful heart and a healthy heart? Do we have more control over our health than we thought? Photo: ©iStockphoto.com/PeskyMonkey
 

Last week the John Templeton Foundation announced that they were giving Emmons, a psychology professor at U.C. Davis $5.6 million to fund a three-year project to promote evidence-based practices of gratitude in schools, offices, homes, and communities. But as Emmons himself would likely say, the real payoff isn’t in the number of dollars his research is attracting, but in the impact that gratitude is having on people’s lives; perhaps most importantly on their health.Continue Reading

Great Expectations

It’s amazing how the expectation of great results grows exponentially …. as the good results reliably occur our expectations continue to grow! Read both a science and religious based stance on this phenomena in my guest blog today by Keith Wommack, Christian Science media and legislative liaison in Texas.

I am intrigued by the power of expectations; by the impact they have on our well-being.

Yesterday, I had the opportunity to speak with Dr. Thomas Curry, a licensed Texas psychotherapist about this phenomenon.

Dr. Curry explained, “Expectations are a hot topic in healthcare practice and research. It is widely recognized that an individual’s, or group of individuals, expectations either help or hurt healthcare outcomes. Why this is so, and how it happens, unfortunately remains a mystery. However, what is not mysterious at all is the fact that expectations play a very pivotal role in the progression of mental and medical disease, as well as it has a strong role in any treatment effect.”

This makes me wonder: Do expectations of decline and illness allow for unchecked fear to manifest as disease on the body where it can develop and spread? Are expectations of health possibly divine urgings that animate us to discover more than we are accepting of life at a given moment?Continue Reading

AFTER THE PLACEBO EFFECT

Trials with placebos mean that we now know that there is a definite mental aspect to how we deal with sickness. So, what now? Peter Van Vleck, media spokesperson for Christian Science in Colorado, elaborates.

Here it is now more than one month after the February 19, 2012 broadcast of “60 Minutes” and the “Treating Depression: Is There a Placebo Effect?” interview Leslie Stahl did with Harvard Medical School researcher Irving Kirsch . . . and the discussion continues!

As a reminder, Kirsch concluded that in cases of mild to moderate depression (and indeed, for a long list of ailments), it’s not the chemicals in the medication that cause positive results, but rather the placebo effect or the expectation of benefit by drug-maker, patient, physician, and nurse that results in positive outcomes.

Some friends dispute his findings, as did one of the doctors interviewed in the piece, citing FDA approval of such drugs, based on positive studies.Continue Reading

What’s Your Spiritual History?

When signing up with a new doctor or dentist we’re usually asked to give our medical history, but no-one asks about our spiritual history. An oversight perhaps? Times are a-changing …… explains my guest blogger today. Bob Clark is media spokesperson for Christian Science in Florida, USA.

The University of Maryland’s Medical Center website tells us that, “a growing number of studies reveal that spirituality may play a bigger role in the healing process than the medical community previously thought.”

The Wall Street Journal’s Health Blog brought this to public attention last December in a fascinating article, Informed Patient: Bringing Spirituality to Medicine. The author, Laura Landro, highlights George Washington University’s Institute for Spirituality and Health, known as GWish, which is overseeing a national project testing  spiritual assessment tools used at nine academic medical centers in California.Continue Reading

The evidence says it all!

A-Z of Motivational Tips, body+soul, 18 March 2012

Advice from the Sunday Mail Body+Soul article on Sunday, A-Z of Motivational Tips

  • L is for love. Falling in love is a natural painkiller and makes you more motivated, says a Stanford University School of Medicine study.
  • M is for music. Listening to music while exercising can enhance your endurance by 15 per cent, say researchers at Brunei University’s School of Sport and Education.
  • S is for smile. Researchers at Michigan State University have found those who smile as a result of cultivating positive thoughts improve their mood.

You get the picture. Writer, Charmaine Yabsley offered examples from A-Z and despite my initial scepticism, I found her article thought-provoking. Do you see a pattern emerging in it? Nearly every example hinged on the findings from recent medical research.

It makes sense to be guided by evidence-based research for the management of our planet (and universe?), including plants, animals and us. But scientists themselves often ask if the universe is simply made of matter and question its ontology. And even medical researchers and practitioners affirm that they are happy to be rid of the notion that they are like ‘gods in white coats’, having all the answers.Continue Reading

CAM includes the Medicine of Love

First published on ON LINE Opinion, Australia’s e-journal of social and political debate.

There is a ferocious debate occurring in the health field at the moment in Australia, as the Friends of Science in Medicine lobby group pressures universities to close down complementary and alternative medicine (CAM) degrees (Scientists urge unis to axe alternative medicine courses, Should universities teach alternative medicine? poll, Why universities should teach alternative medicine).

Having listened to interviews with a couple of their champions, as well as those on the opposing side, I see this as an excellent opportunity for the media and public to learn more about CAM. CAM or holistic medicine includes herbal remedies, chiropractics, homeopathy, naturopathy, reflexology, acupuncture, hypnosis, as well as prayer and spirituality. Although they are all defined as CAM, they exhibit very different approaches to healing, while sharing some common features which include: a belief in the interconnectedness of the mind and body; the CAM patient is not viewed simply as an organism but as a person with a special set of circumstances; and, most CAM practitioners emphasize an active role for the patient in the therapeutic relationship, rather than the expert/layperson model of orthodox medicine. (What is complementary and alternative medicine, Michael Weir, Bond University, 2005)Continue Reading