Archive for doctors
Confession One: In this gadget-loving world, I am not a gadget lover. Confession Two: I own two health-monitoring gadgets, nevertheless. Confession Three: I use all of them except one.
If you’re having trouble with the math, I’ll explain. I never step on my scale except maybe once per year (the fit of my clothes tells me all I need to know about that). But I do have fun wearing a pedometer when I take a walk and then measuring my steps at the end of the day. Otherwise, computer desk-itis and couch potato-hood set in. For me, the pedometer is a pleasant little nudge toward moving more in this sedentary life.
I was interested to read about, on the very same day I heard about it on NPR, the trend toward measuring personal health stats with more gadgets. It was in my new friend Ingrid Peschke’s blog.
I wonder, is scrutinizing the body with ever more statistics going to get us to better health? I have my doubts, and apparently Ingrid does too. Take a look.
Ingrid Peschke’s guest blog:
“Is monitoring your health just a bracelet away? It’s a trend that’s catching on to people’s wrists across the country. Similar to a trendy watch, these bands–like the Basis–monitor your sleep, heart rate, calories burned, body temperature, etc. With a USB or Bluetooth the gadgets send data right to your computer or smart phone, so you can monitor and track your stats.
“A friend of mine got a sleek white one as a gift and recently showed me how it worked. As an active mom, she was excited to more accurately know how many stairs she’s climbed in a day or how many calories she’s burned.
“Other monitoring devices are catching on, too. And some recognize that simply monitoring body activity isn’t going to cut it. Take, for instance, Huff Post’s recently released “GPS for the Soul” app that monitors stress levels.” Read more.
When asked “What is your faith?” you may answer like many others today, “Well, I don’t have a specific faith. I’m not a churchgoer.” Or you might say, again like many others today, “I don’t belong to any organized religion, but I do believe in spirituality. But that’s not exactly faith, is it?”
However, if you were asked, “Do you have values?” it would be hard to imagine an answer of “No, none at all.” Everyone seems to admit to having values like honesty, integrity, kindness and hard work.
Interestingly, the word faith doesn’t have to mean religion. It refers to where we place our trust, loyalty or reliance. We put our faith in whatever we think has power. This could be in material living and success, in medicine, in luck, or in God– however we define Him. And values have to do with what we deem worthy or useful. With these definitions we might agree that we all have both faith AND values.
Faith and values then are universal concepts. Faith and values set forth the deepest questions in life, and we all want better, clearer answers to these questions.
I recommend a good source of intelligent discussion of faith and values. Many thinkers and seekers of diverse views weigh in daily, and Editor Amanda Green has just been awarded 28th Woman of Achievement in Communications by the YWCA of Lower Cape Fear, her community near Wilmington, NC. Topics on politics, culture and ethics are also explored, and the latest issue presents a Pew poll on the power of prayer in healing.
I’m unashamedly plugging this online medium where my own column on Christianity and Health is published toward the end of each month. (Search blogs for Cynthia P. Barnett) Clearly, I hope to make you a frequent reader!
Zambian nurses graduate: Away with stress and sickness!
Here are some thoughts on two important health topics, stress and spirituality. Specifically, getting rid of stress in crises and the specific spiritual qualities that get us out of the sickbed. Feeling better already, you say? Well, read on!
From guest blogger Don Ingwerson, former school superintendent in California, writing in “The Way Up and Out of Stress..’
“Years ago, I had my office and car windows shot out because of community resistance to a school that I was closing. This created a fearful condition for me and for my family. As I tried to resolve this stressful situation, a painful and unbearable thumping in my head developed. I was able to handle it, as I’ll explain in a minute…” Read more.
And from guest blogger Tony Lobl of England who writes in “Nurses and the Spiritual Need: Is it Time to Make Time for Spiritual Care?”
“What do prayer, unconditional love, forgiveness, life’s meaning and purpose, and spiritual practice have in common?
“They are five “Spiritual Concepts Western Medicine Must Embrace” according to Karen Wyatt MD writing on the [allnurses.com] website.
“Perhaps not surprisingly, in the comments section a number of detractors are energi[z]ed by the presence of the word “must” in the article’s title…”
[Later in the article Dr. Wyatt concludes, "It is time for the medical profession to wake up and recognize that the new frontier of medicine in this century lies in spirituality and spiritual energy."] Read more.
Let me introduce you to a great online newsletter—full of varied perspectives on faith, values, and from my monthly column, health from a spiritual point of view. See www.WilmingtonFAVS.com for the full piece, or get a glimpse here:
Stress relief…in a bottle?
I am not kidding when I say that you can now buy stress relief in a bottle. Mine is tucked into the shower cubby where it promises to “clear your mind so you can relax.” The label adds, “Breathe deeply for best results.” The name of this elixir? Why, “Stress relief,” of course. (Full disclosure: it’s a body wash and foam bath. Find it at your local mall.)
Stress is trending today as a serious topic and a suspected cause of many ills. Sleep disorders, obesity, heart disease, Alzheimer’s, diabetes, depression, asthma, gastrointestinal problems, accelerated aging, even premature death—stress worsens or increases the risk of each, experts agree. One physician, Dr. Edward T. Creagan, has found stress management to be vital to our health, predicting, “Stressed today, sick tomorrow.” He describes an experiment where subjects jot down their recent illnesses and then recall whether a stressful event came first. Most report that it did. This was especially true with astronauts, students and athletes, whose pressured lives seemed to produce more respiratory illnesses.
With all this stress, can a mere potion provide a cure? (If so, you’re gonna need a bigger bottle.) Read more
Speaking of health, (and we were, weren’t we?) here’s a thought provoking take on two important health topics. So for today’s reading you get two for the money! Such a deal.
On Parkinson’s and placebos, Australia’s Kay Stroud writes in part:
“World Parkinson’s Day, aimed at public awareness of the disease and advances in its treatment, is being observed this week on [April 11]. A cure, dearly desired by so many, may lie in the mind and outside the realm of the biophysical.
“Surprisingly, ‘The best known mechanisms underlying the placebo effect have been illustrated for pain and Parkinson’s disease’, write leading placebo researchers, Pollo, Carlino and Benedetti. These and researchers doing similar work tell us that they’re experiencing consistent results in Parkinson’s patients with placebo-induced motor improvement, giving credibility to using placebo studies to identify how thought can have an effect on health similar to that of drugs.” Read more
The jubilation of Louisville’s basketball victory over Duke was marred by a serious injury on Easter Sunday. Team member Kevin Ware sustained a broken leg, in two places as it turns out, and horrified NCAA fans could be seen gasping for several awful moments.
What happened next began to lift the pall. As Ware was being attended to, teammates fell to their knees, presumably seeking comfort and help from a higher power. Some Duke players clapped in respect for Kevin’s efforts. And Ware himself? His only words to Coach Rick Pitino were, “Just win the game!” (Which they did). According to the tearful Coach, Ware thought of his team before himself. Coaches and commentators asked for thoughts and prayers in support of Kevin Ware as he was whisked to a local hospital.
Does prayer help when bones break? The Bible writers believe it does. “The righteous person faces many troubles, but the Lord comes to the rescue each time. For the Lord protects the bones of the righteous.” (Psalms 34:19-20)
Some years ago I broke a small bone in my foot. It could not be set, so I was given crutches and a boot from the kind hospital team. They made me as comfortable as possible and then released me with no drugs or medical interventions. I was so grateful for their help.
I also prayed; the break healed and I recovered. But I had to pray again a few weeks later when I was with my husband on a business trip in Orlando, Florida and decided to tour Disneyworld’s Epcot alone one afternoon. Having long ago shed the boot and crutches, I suddenly found myself in pain. The old injury acted up with great soreness, and I realized fearfully that I had a long distance to walk to get back to my car.
How did I pray? I asked God, who is infinite, ever present Love to me, to show me that very love in some tangible way. I needed help– and there was no one with me to give it. But Love was there, and I suddenly saw a nearby bench beside a lake where I could rest. After resting a bit, I saw a little boat pulling up right where the bench was. It was a launch to take tourists to the parking lot! I boarded the boat, crossed the lake, found my car next to the dock, and drove back to the hotel relieved and refreshed. I don’t remember the injury acting up ever again, and I had felt proof of the caring Love that I prayed for. Love had teamed up with me big time.
Many people face broken bones besides Kevin Ware. In these instances, we might consider if our relationship with Love could ever be broken. Love’s compassion and practical help may be as near as our thoughts and prayers. We can lovingly include Kevin Ware in our thoughts and be on his prayer team today.
Here are three pieces on health with unusual points to consider: read them, think about them and watch how your conversations with neighbors become more interesting. (You’ll dazzle them.)
First, colleague John Clague of Oregon writes on what mind is. Or does anyone know? And are they telling?
“Dr. Dan Siegel, as a brain researcher, is astounded that neither scientists, including psychiatrists, nor philosophers or academicians have come up with a good working definition of mind, nor can they describe what thinking is.
“Neurobiologist Dan Siegel recently visited Portland to speak at a conference on integrative medicine. He opened his talk with the question: “What is mind?” He asks this question of all his audiences. Over his years of speaking to perhaps 100,000 science professionals and another 100,000 educators, nearly 95% of them have never even considered the question, he says. They had no lecture on the subject in all their education.
“Mind is clearly not the same as a brain firing electrical impulses through neurons, according to Siegel. No one even knows how much brain and mind overlap. He has come to believe that subjective experience is real, consciousness is real, but the challenge that arises for those in his field is: how can a scientist address what is real when it can’t necessarily be measured in the laboratory?” (Read on; click on link to see what can be done.)
Second, colleague Don Ingwerson writes on health, happiness and money. (We love money.)
“Every time I look around, I find another article about what happiness can do for someone. The most recent reported that happiness can actually help people make more money (according to a study in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences).
” ‘Whether smart or simple, tall or short, self-confident or insecure, happier people earned bigger paychecks than more doleful peers: Deeply unhappy teens” future incomes were 30 percent lower than the average, while very happy teems earned 10 percent above average.’
“While this study shows that the outward expression of happiness can benefit our pocketbooks, there is also evidence showing its value to health and our general well-being.” (Read more by clicking on link above.)
Third, colleague Wendy Margolies writes about weighty matters and the elephant in the living room (Is it us?)
“When a group of children was shown a series of body silhouettes ranging from scrawny to obese they were unable to identify the image that resembled themselves. Most kids, according to Dr. Jennifer McGrath, Director of Pediatric Public Health Psychology Lab, didn’t recognize if they were overweight or obese. They thought they were average. She also recalls talking to a pediatrician who didn’t want to tell a family that their child had a weight problem.
“What if everyone, even your doctor, treats it like the elephant in the room?
“Obesity costs the Canadian economy somewhere between $4.6-billion and $7.1-billion a year. Those costs are split pretty evenly between direct health-care costs and indirect costs such as lost productivity for people unable to work as a result of illness from obesity.” (Click on link above to learn what the state of American health has in common with Canada)
Thanks, John, Don and Wendy!
A guest post by Dave Horn:
Is love the key to health?
After failing for two hours to stabilize a woman’s heart, her physician called in the woman’s family to say good-bye. The moment family members touched the dying woman, her heart rhythm improved and within 30 minutes she was awake and helping undress herself for additional care. (K. Loraine, “The Energy of Love,” Advanced Clinical Care, July-Aug 1991)
This change for the better would not have surprised cancer surgeon Bernie Siegel. In his book, “Love, Medicine and Miracles,” he says all healing is related to the ability to give and accept unconditional love. On page 180, he writes: “The truth is: love heals.”
Nor is this a new, western discovery. The Dalai Lama of Tibet teaches that affection improves bodily health. Loving-kindness meditation has been used by Buddhists for centuries, and a study at the University of Berlin confirmed that it helps reduce chronic pain and anger. The study found that “Love, compassion and joy make our immune system function better and help to battle diseases.” “Love Promotes Health,” Charity-University Medicine Berlin, Institute for General Practice and Family Medicine, Neuroendocrinology Letters No. 3, Vol. 26, June 2005)
Gary Zukav and Mary Baker Eddy, both best-selling authors and spiritual teachers, agree that love is more than alternative health care. Zukav is quoted as saying, “Eventually you will come to understand that love heals everything, and love is all there is.”
“Divine Love always has met and always will meet every human need,” writes Eddy in her seminal work, “Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures,” and more than a century of healings searchable at JSH-Online.com confirm this claim.
“The power of love to change bodies in legendary,” agrees Dr. Larry Dossey, former Chief of Staff at Medical City Dallas Hospital. “Throughout history, ‘tender loving care’ has uniformly been recognized as a valuable element in healing.”
If you’re like me, you respond to the stories people tell about their lives. If the person seems credible, you trust the sincerity in their voice. If they’re talking about what made a difference in their approach to health care, you might really listen up. Who doesn’t yearn for a more sure solution to illness and health care concerns?
While I”m on vacation for the next week or more, I’m sending you to a wonderful and rather unusual website which does all the above.
These various individuals have something important to say about their recovery from illness and trouble. There’s Judy who recovered from a troublesome diagnosed growth on her eyelid through prayer. There’s Edwin who was restored to health quickly despite the doctor’s diagnosis of muscular skeletal problems. And Carolyn–what a wonderful healing of blood clots on the lungs and more she experienced.
I hope you feel the ring of authenticity that I do in these people—maybe their stories will encourage your own search for answers.
Meanwhile, I’ll be back to visit with you soon.
Dr. Koop, Rear Admiral Dr. Faye G. Abdellah Photo by USUHSPAO, Sandra Carbajal
Praise is pouring in for an American surgeon general who was courageous for his time. Dr. C. Everett Koop passed away February 25, and, although some disagreed with his controversial positions, many remember his tenure with respect and gratitude. Koop, an appointee of President Reagan, was known for his early support of AIDS sufferers, breaking the stigma of the label in order to bring these individuals compassionate care. He was also known for his brave advocacy against smoking, calling it an addiction.
But the fact that Dr. Koop admitted to praying with his patients might just be, in today’s environment of spiritual seeking, the most important legacy of all. His conviction that prayer affected health positively is now being studied and accepted more and more.
Here’s one tribute from guest blogger Dave Horn, a Raleigh writer from Indiana:
…“It’s becoming easier to integrate faith and healing today than in the past,” [Koop] explained in a 1998 interview, recalling that “in the sixties and seventies students and nurses who talked about their faith were reprimanded. Today, the popularity of mind-body medicine has made faith and prayer very acceptable, opening the door for Christians in medicine to share their faith.”
“Fellow physician and neurosurgeon David Levy agrees with Koop. In his book “Gray Matter: A Neurosurgeon Discovers the Power of Prayer…One Patient at a Time” he writes, “As I have addressed patients’ spirituality and made prayer a regular part of patient interactions, the response has been impressive. I have seen lives brought to a level of spiritual, emotional and physical health that my patients had never enjoyed before.” (Tyndale House Publishers, 2011, page 11)”
See more at: