Holistic Healing and Alternative Medicine for Your Total Health


February 2008

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There is No Other Present for You on Earth
Better than Your Life and Health.
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IN THIS ISSUE:

1) SUPPORT OTHERS WITH YOUR PRESENCE

2) EASING PAIN THROUGH MEDITATION ILLUSTRATES MIND’S ROLE IN HEALING

3) LEN ELLIS: CREATING A CULTURE OF PEACE

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“ Do right always. It will give you satisfaction in life” ~ Native American Saying


1)SUPPORT OTHERS WITH YOUR PRESENCE

"The purpose of therapy is not to remove suffering but TO MOVE THROUGH IT to an enlarged consciousness that can sustain the polarity of painful opposites." -- James Hollis

How do we support others who are suffering?

When we understand how soul works through us, we begin to see how pain generates the impulse to change. We see that our aim in supporting someone is NOT to get rid of their pain and suffering. Instead, we want to assist them to understand what the pain is trying to teach them -- to find meaning in their distress.

Often, all we need do is be fully present to them. It also helps to be present to our own experience and genuine in our feelings. Living our own truth helps create the space for the other person to live theirs.

"The first duty of love is to listen." -- Paul Tillich

"With the gift of listening comes the gift of healing." -- Catherine de Hueck Doherty


2) EASING PAIN THROUGH MEDITATION ILLUSTRATES MIND’S ROLE IN HEALING
By Jack Kelly, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

That chronic pain in your lower back probably can be eased by meditation, according to a new study by researchers associated with the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center. Drs. Natalia Morone, Carol Greco and Debra Weiner did an eight-week study of 37 Pittsburgh area seniors aged 65 or older who complained of lower back pain.

Participants were taught three meditation techniques, and were assessed on measures of pain, physical function and quality of life after eight weeks, and again after three months.

"At the conclusion of the eight-week program, those with chronic low back pain noted a decreased amount of pain and a slight improvement in physical function," the researchers said in an article in the current issue of the journal PAIN. "At three-month followup the majority of patients were still practicing meditation, suggesting they had incorporated it into their daily lives because they had experienced an ongoing benefit associated with mindfulness meditation."

Meditation as medicine has its origins with Buddhism in ancient India. The program the UPMC researchers taught their test subjects was developed by Dr. Jon Kabat-Zinn of the University of Massachusetts.

"Previous studies have noted mindful meditation's benefits to those with chronic pain but its effects had not been noted on older adults exclusively and low back pain specifically," said Dr. Morone, a specialist in internal medicine. "With so many people seeking out alternative therapies, we felt it was our responsibility to study it scientifically."

Dr. Greco is a psychologist who teaches mindfulness meditation at UPMC's Center for Integrative Medicine in Shadyside. Meditation can relieve pain, she said, because meditation reduces stress and muscle tension, and "a lot of pain is exacerbated by muscle tension."

Less remarkable than the findings of the study was the fact that it was conducted by physicians at a leading research hospital. Not so long ago, Western medicine and Eastern medicine were at loggerheads. Now many doctors and hospitals see them more as partners.

"One reason more patients and doctors are embracing integrative medicine is its reported success rate at treating 'multisystemic' maladies -- health problems like fibromyalgia, arthritis, insomnia and high blood pressure -- which affect the brain as much as the body," said a news release from the famed Mayo Clinic in Minnesota.

UPMC and Allegheny General Hospital are among the nation's leaders in integrative medicine.

"Healing involves mind, body and spirit," said Dr. Barbara Nagrant, a clinical psychologist who runs the mind/body/spirit psychological services program at AGH. "Our body is always trying to be healthy. There are body work techniques that really help enhance people's natural healing ability."

Any hospitalized patient at Allegheny General Hospital may receive, free of charge, a Reiki treatment if he or she requests it, Dr. Nagrant said.

Reiki is a Japanese technique for stress reduction and relaxation that those who practice it say promotes healing. It's based on the premise that living beings have an energy field that surrounds them. In persons who are injured or ill, that energy field is disrupted. Reiki practitioners try to restore harmony by manipulating the energy field, sometimes without ever directly touching the patient.

"Most people feel a sense of calmness after [a Reiki treatment]," Dr. Nagrant said. "There have been numerous studies which show it reduces stress, anxiety, and blood pressure, and enhances the body's immune system."

Dr. Ronald Glick, medical director of UPMC's Center for Integrative Medicine, said his center doesn't offer Reiki because of the difficulty of verifying its effectiveness through traditional research methods.

"You can't test a placebo Reiki," he said. Dr. Glick, a psychiatrist, is also licensed to practice acupuncture. A staple of traditional Chinese medicine, acupuncture is, like Reiki, based on the concept of restoring harmony to a disrupted energy field.

Acupuncture is thought to have originated with Shen Nung, a Chinese physician who lived about 4,700 years ago. Shen Nung theorized that the body has a life force -- which he called Chi -- running through it. When the flow of Chi through the body is disrupted, illness results. Chi flows through channels called meridians. Acupuncture points are where meridians come to the surface of the skin. By inserting needles at the points, the flow of Chi can be restored to normal.

Acupuncture stimulates production of endorphins -- pain-relieving chemicals in the body -- and "seems to help for every kind of pain," Dr. Glick said.

"I see just about any kind of pain," said Jennifer Whiteside, the acupuncturist for Allegheny General Hospital. "Acute pain, chronic pain. I also see patients who have anxiety or emotional difficulties, and patients who are going through chemotherapy." Donna Anderson, 61, of Georgetown, Pa. who suffers from spinal stenosis, a narrowing of the lumbar (lower back) spinal canal that pinches the nerves to the skin and leg muscles, has been treated by Ms. Whiteside since July 2006.

"The pain was preventing me from even walking short distances," Ms. Anderson said. My doctor and I discussed surgery. I said: 'What about acupuncture?' He said 'great idea,' and recommended Jennifer."

Her pain receded measurably after her first session and "was pretty nearly gone" after four or five sessions, Ms. Anderson said.

Andrew Annibale, 46, of Pittsburgh, was sent to Ms. Whiteside by his doctor after he suffered a stroke a year ago. He's seeking to regain the full range of motion in his right arm, which was crippled by the stroke.

"I've seen much improvement," he said. Benefits from acupuncture can be measured, said UPMC's Dr. Glick. "If you put needles along a median, you can measure a change in electrical current" running through the body, Dr. Glick said. It's still rare for medical doctors to refer their patients to acupuncturists and other practitioners of holistic medicine, but attitudes are changing, he said. "A third of my patients are physician referrals," he said. "But in general, it's self referrals."

Medical education, especially at UPMC, is paying more attention to the benefits holistic practitioners can offer, Dr. Glick said. "We're closely connected to the residency program, both internal medicine and family medicine," he said. But medical education still has some distance to go, Dr. Glick said. "In general, we learn very little about diet and nutrition in medical school," he said.

Both UPMC's Center for Integrative Medicine at 580 S. Aiken Ave. in Shadyside and Allegheny General Hospital's Integrated Medicine Program at 1307 Federal St. offer a wide range of services, including shiatsu and Swedish massage, reflexology (massaging the feet to improve general health), and nutritional counseling. Some are covered by insurance. For more information, contact the Center for Integrative Medicine at 412-623-3023, or the Integrated Medicine Program at 412-359-8951.

The Reiki program for hospitalized patients at AGH is run by volunteers. If you're a Reiki practitioner and would like to help, Dr. Nagrant would like to speak to you. Her number is: 412-359-8209.


3) LEN ELLIS: CREATING A CULTURE OF PEACE

It's going to take all of us to bring an end to the violence

We live in a culture of violence. Violence is so prevalent, like the proverbial fish in the sea; we aren't even aware that it surrounds us and conditions us. We are so accustomed to violence that we mistakenly believe it is a natural state of being. Being submerged in violence has dulled and numbed our sensitivity to our own humanity; our concept of what it means to be human has been impaired. And like any other belief, until it is challenged, until we become aware of another way of being, it continues.

Most people long for a state of peace, to live without fear for our lives, without fear for our health, without fear for our emotional well-being. Yes, we need challenges to grow, but living with healthy challenges is far different than living in fear.

But a culture of peace cannot be legislated or dictated, demanded or decreed. It requires the commitment of the whole of society and must emerge from the grass-roots level, seeding peace and nonviolence in the everyday dialogue and behavior of all people, which in turn, results in cultural action.

By envisioning a culture of peace and nonviolence, people develop values for a way of life that will guide individual actions. Such is the purpose of programs such as "A Season For Nonviolence."

Today begins the 11th annual "Season for Nonviolence." This grassroots campaign was co-founded by Arun and Sunanda Gandhi of the M.K. Gandhi Institute for Nonviolence and 10 ministers who form the Leadership Council of The Association for Global New Thought. Its purpose is to focus educational and media attention on the philosophy of attaining peace through nonviolent action as demonstrated by Gandhi and Martin Luther King Jr. With the theme of "Compassionate Activism for Global Healing," the program offers a unique opportunity for people around the world to learn how we can actively engage, with compassion, in a much-needed process of global healing.

Framed by the anniversaries of the assassinations of Mohandas Gandhi and Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., 2008 saw the addition of the name of Cesar Chavez to the title. The "Gandhi-King-Chavez Season For Nonviolence" offers a 10-week period to learn from the lives and teachings of these models.

More important, it gives us the opportunity to translate what we learn into compassionate, nonviolent, dedicated activism in their spirit.

There are people everywhere who want to help create a better world – people deeply concerned about widespread suffering, environmental destruction, escalating materialism and the loss of our sense of community. Gandhi and Dr. King modeled the vision to create such a society, as well as showing us that the power for social change lays within individual consciousness. We want to create a nonviolent world, so we must first become nonviolent individuals.

With a vision of a society governed by love and the common good, we have a powerful antidote to the violence, distrust and division of today's atmosphere of fear. Learning to be nonviolent is a new way of living, creating a healing process that ripples out into the larger world.

As we heal our own relations we are demonstrating that people, organizations and governments can move the world pro-actively toward peace and wisdom.

And while reading about and supporting "A Season for Nonviolence" is a good start, to bring about change in the world, every one of us must be active participants. We must speak out against violence and injustice wherever it shows up. We must raise our voices. We must be the change we want to see in this world.

Len Ellis is director of the Peace and Justice Center-Arlington and on the board of directors of the Dallas Peace Center. Readers may contact him through Peace-Center@TX.RR.com.



Thank you for reading!

Namaste

Livia
www.reiki-for-holistic-health.com
Bbrampton, Ontario, Canada

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This newsletter is for educational purposes only. It is your right to educate yourself in health and medical knowledge, to seek helpful information and make use of it for your own benefit, and for that of your family. You are the one responsible for your health. You must educate yourself in order to make decisions in all health matters. My views and advices are not intended to be a substitute for conventional medicine, but simply a help you to make educated changes in order to help your body heal itself. If you have a medical condition or concern you should consult your physician.

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