Breathing Man meditating - breathing optimally...

MEDITATION IS MEDICINE

Research Review: The Physiological and Psychological Benefits of Meditation

Below is a research review on meditation I wrote back in 2001. It’s old, however it’s still very compelling. It is long, and I apologise that I lost most of the references (my word processing skills were/are not my forte). Definitely worth a read however.

Possibly the greatest bit of health advice I could give any client would be to stat a daily medicine practice. It truly is medicine. And, eventually, it will set you free.

MEDITATION

WHAT IS MEDITATION?

Meditation is commonly defined to be a state of single-minded concentration. Concentration being focused restfully on a particular thing or focal point; hence the term ‘restful alertness.’ It is often used loosely to describe activities such as relaxation techniques, concentration exercises, contemplation, reflection and guided imagery. Meditation however, is more than just physical relaxation for it engages the mind as well as relaxing the body. It is often regarded as a heightened state of conscious awareness – a state of mind such as a state of inner peace, of stillness or silence, of union, of oneness. What differentiates meditation from the state of being awake or asleep is the conscious awareness of being profoundly still, and involves ‘waking up’ or ‘tuning in’ the mind – it is a state where we let go of the ‘doing’ of the normal waking state, and settle into a state of simply ‘being.’

The researcher John Kabat-Zinn describes meditation as a ‘way of being’ by helping a person go more deeply into themselves, beyond all the surface physical sensations and mental activity1. The hallmark of meditation being this state of inner stillness or silence. In this state of stillness we learn to detach from our endless stream of mental activity, reducing the emotive force of it, and eventually ‘transcending’ it by becoming the observer. In this way meditation can also be seen as an exercise in enhancing autonomy, self control or effective action. Similarly it can also be seen as an exercise in self knowledge or even spiritualism.

It was for this purpose that meditation was derived in Asian cultures many thousands of years ago. They directed the use of meditation and yoga towards the attainment of a ‘unique state of spontaneous, psychological integration.’2 Modern psychologists have described this state as ‘individuation’or ‘self-actualisation’ and it has traditionally been termed ‘self-realisation.’

 

HOW DOES MEDITATION WORK?

 

The ‘Sahaja Yoga Hypothesis’ is that meditation triggers a rebalancing process within the autonomic system (a complex system of nerves that governs the function of all the organs of our body) thereby allowing our natural healing process to revitalise and rejuvenate diseased organs.3 According to this hypothesis, imbalance in this system is the cause of both physiological and psychological illness.

The balancing of the autonomic nervous system occurs via the seven chakras, or subtle energy centres within our body; each of which govern specific sets of organs, and aspects of our psychology and spirituality. Imbalanced function of these chakras results in abnormal function of any aspect of our being (physical, mental or spiritual) that relates to the imbalanced centre.

Meditation is a specific process that awakens the ‘kundalini’(an innate, nurturing energy), causing it to rise from its base at the sacrum bone piercing each of the seven chakras, thereby nourishing and rejuvenating them, and bringing each of them into balance and alignment. As the kundalini reaches the brain and the chakras within it, mental tensions are neutralised. An inner state of mental calm is established. This inner silence becomes a source of inner peace that neutralises the stresses of everyday life, enhancing creativity, productivity, and self-satisfaction.

 

PHYSIOLOGICAL AND PSYCHOLOGICAL CHANGES IN MEDITATION

 

Recently scientific research has been establishing how meditation works. A new area of medicine known as psychoneuroimmunology (or mind/body medicine) is demonstrating how our state of mind powerfully affects our state of being. Science is now beginning to unravel some of the mystery surrounding meditation, and we are now beginning to be able to observe and understand the physiological changes taking place in the minds and bodies of meditators.

Meditation is characterised physiologically as a wakeful hypometabolic state of parasympathetic dominance analogous to other hypometabolic conditions such as sleep, hypnosis and the torpor of hibernation.4 Meditation, however, represents a special case of the hypometabolic state. The body appears to move into a state analogous to many, but not all, aspects of deep sleep, while consciousness remains responsive and alert.5

Physiological evidence, shows that, indeed, sleep and meditation are not the same. Electroencephalographic (EEG) recordings are quite different in the waking state, in sleep and in meditation. Studies suggest that alpha (8-12 Hz) and theta (4-8 Hz) activity is predominant in meditation, whereas delta (1-4 Hz) activity predominates in deep sleep, and beta (13-26 Hz) predominates in the waking state. There is also greater coherence of alpha waves across the cortex in the meditative state. Theta wave activity is indicative of dreaming (or rapid eye movement or REM sleep), however alpha wave activity is the predominant of these two in meditation. Alpha wave activity is associated with relaxation. It is also more closely associated with a state of wakeful alertness, where one’s state of consciousness is characterised as empty of any particular content but nevertheless active and alert above the threshold of awareness.4

Slightly contrary to this suggestion that the alpha state more closely resembles the state of wakeful alertness, were the results from one study, which had meditators signal when they had definitely entered into this state of wakeful or thoughtless awareness.3 Widespread alpha wave activity occurred initially, however, as the meditators signalled they had entered into the state of mental silence or ‘thoughtless awareness’ theta wave activity became focused specifically in the front and top of the brain in the midline. Precisely at the time that the theta wave activity became prominent, the meditators reported that they experienced a state of complete mental silence and ‘oneness’ with the present moment.

Of further note with this study was the focus of the theta activity at the front and top of the head, both in the midline. This suggests that structures deep within the brain, possibly the limbic system, are being activated. The limbic system is responsible for many aspects of our subjective experiences, such as emotion and mood, so it is no surprise that meditation, which is traditionally associated with blissful states, might involve this part of the brain.

Of final note with this study, is that the subject group investigated was only very small, so the reported results need further investigation before they can be considered to be extremely valid.

In the hypometabolic state induced by meditation the following changes occur6:

* catecholamine (adrenaline, noradrenaline) levels drop

* reduction in cortisol levels

* galvanic skin resistance increases markedly (low skin resistance is an accurate marker of the stress response).

* cerebral blood profusion increases

* respiration rate and minute volume decrease significantly without significant change in pO2 & pCO2.

* decreased vascular resistance

* lowered O2 and CO2 consumption and metabolic rate (well below that achieved in sleep)

* marked decline in blood lactate (which is a metabolite of anaerobic respiration and is high in stressful situations.

* reduced blood pressure and pulse rate7

The above pattern of changes is so consistent it is now called the ‘relaxation response.’ Meditation is a very potent way of eliciting this relaxation response. It is also often evident in many forms of prayer and contemplation across cultures.

Although it is generally conceded that a wakeful hypometabolic state of increased parasympathetic dominance characterises almost all forms of meditation in their initial stages, advanced meditators who have been meditating for years or even decades show marked differences in both their physiological response and their ability to control their own physiology compared with meditators who have only been practising a short time.4

The prominent feature found in advanced meditators as the voluntary control of internal states was that they displayed sympathetic nervous system control in the presence of parasympathetic dominance. This was discovered by the finding of increased plasma adrenaline in advanced meditators, in the presence of decreased heart rate and acute and marked decline of adrenocortical activity.

Other differences between advanced and novice meditators include markedly increased hypometabolism in advanced meditators; significantly decreased sensitivity to ambient CO2, and increased episodes of respiratory suspension which are highly correlated with subjective reports of what is called in yoga the experience of pure consciousness.

Dramatic increases of phenylanaline (an amino acid used in depression as it is a precursor to tyrosine which is an excitatory neurotransmitter) and urinary metabolites of serotonin (which influences moods and sleep and is antidepressant, helps induce sleep and relieves pain) are also noted in advanced meditators. Also thyroid simulating hormone has also been noted to decrease chronically and acutely

in advanced meditators.

Several studies have corroborated this phenomenon in advanced meditators of sympathetic control in the prescence of parasympathetic dominance. In these studies the advanced meditation practitioners have gained phenomenal control over normally involuntary bodily processes.

In one such study Tibetan monks were able to generate such body heat during meditation that they could dry wet sheets on their backs in freezing weather. In another study in the laboratory, an Indian yogi lowered his metabolism so much that he was able to remain in an airtight box for 10 hours with no ill-effects or signs of tachycardia or hyperpnoea

In another intriguing study4 a Yogi Satyamurti (70 y.o.) remained in a small underground pit, sealed from the top, for 8 days. He was physically restricted by recording wires. For the first 29 hours of his 8-day stay Satyamurti exhibited a marked tachycardia of 250 beats/min. For the next 6.5 days the electrocardiogram (ECG) results showed no heartbeat whatsoever. ‘The experimenters at first thought he had died.’ Half an hour before he was due to leave the pit his heart rate returned to normal. In addition Satyamurti was able to maintain his body temperature at a level approximately level to the temperature in the pit (34.8 deg Celsius). This is a behaviour displayed by many hibernating animals.

In a final study8 Tibetan Buddhist monks were found to be able to raise their resting metabolism (VO2) up as much as 61%, and lower it down as much as 64%. This reduction from rest was the largest ever recorded.

The point of illustrating these cases is that ‘deep relaxation appears to be the entryway into meditation, but in advanced stages refined control over involuntary processes becomes possible, in which systems can be either activated or inactivated.’

 

MEDITATION AND STRESS

 

A great deal of attention has been paid in recent years to the role of stress in health and particularly in disease. The amount of research being conducted in this area is on the increase. Stress has been recognised as a contributor to, or direct cause of many illnesses. In acute situations, stress can be a natural and appropriate physiological response to an exceptional circumstance. This is often recognised as the ‘fight or flight’ response. However, as soon as the stressful stimulus disappears or dissipates, the physiology of the person should return to normal, with the event being left mentally in the past. This is not always the case.

Hans Seyle first identified the stress response as the ‘general adaptation syndrome’ as a means of explaining the way in which psychological stress translates into physical disease. Stress is postulated to induce psycho-hormonal changes. In acute situations, as mentioned above, the response is functional; but in the chronic situation the organism continues to adapt successfully to ever-increasing levels of stress in the environment until the point of exhaustion, resulting in debilitation of bodily systems and, ultimately, death.

In the chronic situation above, the stress is inappropriate as the nature of the stressor is invariably a by-product of thought; we must actually think about the events for them to produce stress. These thoughts being either of past experiences or of events we anticipate will occur in the future. One common denominator is that neither stressor is actually real – the past no longer exists and the future hasn’t occurred yet. As far as the body is concerned, it does not distinguish between what is a real stressor and what is a perceived or imagined one.

The effects of prolonged and excessive psychological stress on the body involves every system. Psychoneuroimmunology has told us that stress can negatively affect our immune system and susceptibility to infection. In one study9 394 people had their levels of stress measured and were then inoculated directly to five different cold viruses. The results demonstrated that the likelihood of actually getting a cold seemed to be directly proportional to the level of stress, which the host was experiencing at the time.

In another study, it was found that profound immune suppression in medical students over the exam period. In particular there was lowered natural killer (NK) cell activity, a 90% reduction in gamma interferon and lowered response of T cell lymphocytes.10 Also the immune-suppression in those going through marital separation is proportional to the amount of negative emotion or difficulty the person experiences in letting go.1

It is also well known that stress can increase blood pressure. Other less well-known effects of chronic stress include:

* slowing wound healing11

* increasing genetic mutations12 and decreasing repair.133

* effects on genetic expression which can predispose to problems as diverse as addictive behaviours,14 cardiovascular reactivity,15 depression16 and schizophrenia17.

One study recently demonstrated that a woman placed under considerable stress, particularly during the first trimester of pregnancy, will have a 2.8 times increased risk of her offspring developing schizophrenia18.

 

THE EFFECTS OF STRESS REDUCTION AND MEDITATION

 

The relaxation response or the state of restful or wakeful awareness that occurs in meditation helps to reverse many of the physiological and psychological effects of stress by undoing many of the harmful affects of inappropriate stress. The hypometabolic state of parasympathetic dominance resets the internal metabolic functioning to a state of rest, rather than a constant readiness and perceptual over-reaction, and helps to counter the excessive demands placed on the mind and body by chronic stress. Also the inner silence created in the ‘wakeful or thoughtless awareness’ state of meditation helps to bring about (over time via constant practise) a naturally stress-free environment.

Prior to listing many of the physiological and psychological benefits of meditation and stress reduction (following), some interesting studies on the role and efficacy of meditation in stress reduction (one in a working population and one in laboratory conditions) will be discussed.

The first study looked at the efficacy of meditation and stress reduction techniques for the management of stress in an organisational setting. Employees selected for stress learned either one of two meditation techniques, a progressive relaxation technique, or were put in a waiting list control group. After 5.5 months, both the meditation and progressive relaxation groups showed clinical improvement in self reported symptoms of stress, but only the meditation groups showed significantly more symptom reduction than the control group (no relaxation/meditation training). Also the meditation groups had a 78% compliance rate at 5.5 months with treatment effect seen whether subjects practiced their techniques frequently or occasionally56

Another study looked at stress in a laboratory setting57. Whilst the mechanisms by which stress leads to poor health are largely unknown, high basal cortisol levels produced by chronic stress and low cortisol response to acute stressors has been suggested as a result of studies in animals. This study compared changes in baseline levels and acute responses to laboratory stressors for cortisol (and three other hormones – TSH, GH and testosterone) in a group trained in meditation with a control group that received stress education. After a 4 month intervention, the meditation group displayed decreased basal cortisol and average cortisol levels, which was not seen in the control group. The meditation group also showed increased cortisol responsiveness to acute stressors compared to the control group. The above results supported previous data suggesting that repeated practice of meditation reverses the effects of chronic stress significant for health.

 

PHYSIOLOGICAL BENEFITS OF STRESS REDUCTION

 

In addition to the physiological changes that occur as a result of the hypometabolic state produced by the relaxation response seen in meditation, following are further physiological benefits that have been made evident by research into meditation and stress reduction:

 

  • reduction in serum cholesterol, more than would be accounted for by diet alone19

 

  • lowered serum levels of lipid peroxides, which are associated with free radical damage to cell membranes20

 

  • changes in EEG patterns associated with the state of restful alertness including an increase in alpha and theta waves and EEG coherence (co-ordination of EEG waves).

 

  • a reduction in epileptic seizure frequency21

 

  • changes in neurotransmitter profile including high serotonin production as seen in recovery from depression22

 

  • increased night-time plasma melatonin levels (useful in insomnia and resetting biological rythyms, and has anti-tumour effects)26

 

  • reduced TSH and T3 levels23

 

  • significant decreases in reaction time7 and improved reflex response24

 

  • improvement in perceptiveness of hearing and other senses25

 

  • reduced calcium loss and risk of osteoporosis (probably related to a reduction in cortisol)

 

  • improved immune function. Of note is that stress reduction stimulates an under active immune system due to chronic stress, whilst it reduces an over-active immune system as may be seen in auto-immune and inflammatory conditions. For example, in a study of patients with early stage malignant melanoma27, following a six month stress management intervention (in addition to the usual surgical management) patients displayed significantly better immune function than the control group and, as a consequence, showed a halving of the recurrence and much lower death rates. Alternatively, in a chronic inflammatory disease such as asthma which involves an over-active immune system, patients who received a two week yoga training program demonstrated significantly less attacks per week, improved scores for drug treatment and improved respiratory function tests28.

 

  • excellent benefits as an adjunct to therapy for a variety of illnesses including the following:

* cardiovascular disease. In one study29, patients with cerebrovascular disease (CVD) were divided into either a group which took up 20 minutes of transcendental meditation twice each day, or a group that had a CVD health education program aimed at lowering risk factors and were also encouraged to spend 20 minutes per day in relaxing activities other than meditation. Over a 6-9 month follow up the meditation group showed reductions in arterial wall thickness that would translate to reductions of risk of acute myocardial infarction of 11% and of stroke of 15%. The improvements were not attributable to changes in other cardiovascular risk factors. Alternatively the other (control) group showed a slight advance in their disease (based on arterial wall thickness).

In the Ornish study30 a significant improvement in both coronary heart disease (CHD) and quality of life was shown by an intervention group who were given a comprehensive lifestyle program (including group support, meditation, yoga, a low fat vegetarian diet and moderate exercise) in addition to their medical treatment, when compared to a control group who received conventional medical treatment only (most of whose CHD deteriorated). Ironically the costs of the lifestyle program were vastly less than for bypass surgery despite the results being much superior.

* irritable bowel syndrome31

* cancer – see study on malignant melanoma above27. Another study showed in women with metastatic breast cancer a doubling of survival time from the time of entry into the study if the women were given group support and taught simple relaxation and self-hypnosis techniques as a part of their management32.

* chronic pain33&34

* diabetes35

* fibromyalgia36

* asthma – see study above28. A study performed at the Royal Hospital for Women in Sydney3 compared the Sahaja yoga meditation technique to a simple relaxation technique as an adjunct to treatment for patients whose asthma was so severe it did not properly respond even to maximum levels of medication. The results showed that while both groups did appear to bring about improvements in the way patients felt, the meditation also showed improvements in the severity of the disease process itself.

 

  • Reduced frequency of menopausal hot flushes. A study found 9 out of 10 women who enrolled in an eight week meditation program reported at least 50% reduction in the frequency of their hot flushes. Six of these women had a 65-70% improvement in their hot flushes, which after eight weeks of meditation treatment, is comparable to that seen in conventional HRT treatment. In addition, standard measures of quality of life and symptom profiles showed similar degrees of improvement3. It should be noted however, that the authors did emphasize that larger, randomised, controlled trials need to be carried out to more conclusively validate the above results.

 

  • Reduced medical care utilization and health care costs. A field study compared 5 years of medical insurance utilization statistics of 2000 regular meditators with 600,000 non-meditators37. The findings suggested that in every disease category (17 in total) there were significant reductions in illness, for example an 87% reduction in heart disease and in diseases for the nervous system, 55% reduction in tumours, and 30% reduction in both mental disorders and all infectious diseases. On the weight of such evidence, insurance companies in the USA and Europe are beginning to offer up to 30% reductions on life insurance premiums for people who practice an approved form of meditation regularly.

 

  • Effects on ageing – increased longevity. One study investigated the effects of meditation process on ageing using a standard test of biological aging (utilising auditory threshold, near point vision, and systolic blood pressure as variables). Results found that the mean biological age for a control group was 2.2 years younger than that for the general population, whilst it was 5.0 and 12.0 years younger for intervention groups of short and long term meditators respectively (mean age of the study population = 53 years). The difference between groups was still significant after covarying for a diet factor. Also, there was a significant correlation between length of time practicing meditation and biological age38.

Another study found higher improvements on variables relating to age related decline for meditation treatment groups than for relaxation treatment or no treatment groups (mean study population age = 81). Also, after 3 years survival rate was much higher for these meditation groups than the other groups39.

 

PSYCHOLOGICAL BENEFITS OF MEDITATION AND STRESS REDUCTION

 

A study worthy of note in this area attempted to rigorously map the psychological effects of Zen meditation among experienced practitioners. Analyses revealed that in comparison to a control group, experienced meditators are less likely to believe in God, more likely to believe in Inner Wisdom, and more likely to display the relaxation dispositions Mental Quiet, Mental Relaxation, and Timeless/Boundless/Infinite. Pre- and post-session analyses revealed that meditators showed greater increments in the relaxation states Mental Quiet, Love and Thankfulness, as well as reduced Worry55

 

  • decreased anxiety40. One study using a group mindfulness meditation training program on patients diagnosed with generalised anxiety disorder or panic disorder, found in 20 of 22 subjects, significant reductions in anxiety and depression scores after a 3 month follow up period; and reduced number of subjects experiencing panic symptoms41. A 3 year follow up analysis of this study also showed maintenance of the gains made in the original study; and ongoing compliance with the meditation practice was also demonstrated in the majority of subjects at 3 years42

 

  • decreased depression and hopelessness41,42,43 – also as indicated by elevation of serotonin.

 

  • as an adjunct to a happiness enhancement program43

 

  • happiness tends to be less conditional1b

 

  • more optimism1b

 

  • greater self awareness and self-actualisation44

 

  • improved coping capabilities45 and better sense of control54

 

  • reduced reliance on drugs, prescribed and non-prescribed, or alcohol46. This study reviewed 24 studies on the benefits of meditation in treating and preventing misuse of chemical substances. Taken together, the studies indicate that meditation ‘simultaneously addresses several factors underlying chemical dependence, providing not only immediate relief from distress but also long-range improvements in well-being, self-esteem, personal empowerment, and other areas of psychophysiological health.’

 

  • improved sleep; more restful, less insomnia, and in time less sleep needed1b – aided by increased night time plasma melatonin levels.

 

  • reduced aggression and criminal tendency47

 

  • improved I.Q. and learning capabilities, including the aged and intellectually impaired1b. One study found that when other factors were held constant (i.e. age, sex, education, and duration of practice of meditation) a few months practice of meditation significantly predicted higher performance on perceptual-motor speed tests and tests on non-verbal intelligence48.

 

  • greater efficiency and output at work1b

 

  • better time management1b

 

  • improved concentration and memory49,50

 

  • reduction in personality disorders and ability to change undesired personality traits51

 

  • reduction in coronary prone behaviour – reduced time urgency and impatience and hostility resulting from enforced waiting52

 

  • reduced anger53

 

  • increased occurrence of spiritual experiences54

 

5 DIFFERENT TYPES OF MEDITATION

 

  1. progressive muscle relaxation.
  2. concentrating on the breath
  3. mantra meditation
  4. mindfulness meditation
  5. visualisation

NB: the first four techniques are aimed at achieving stillness and silence ‘beneath the mental activity’ whereas the fifth is more directly aimed at ‘reconditioning’ the mind.

 

Most meditation techniques will rely on the attention being focused or rested on something and in the process learning to not struggle with, but let go of, unnecessary and distracting mental activity. The quality of your meditation can only be judged based on your own previous experience, and there will be some days where you have very deep meditations where your mind is very still, yet on other days your mind will be cluttered with activity. It is important not to get uptight or try to hard on these days. Simply knowing that the quality of the meditations will fluctuate over time will help you to relax and just observe your thoughts during the busier sessions. Combining different types of meditation in each meditation session can be very effective. For example, on a day where the mind is very calm mindfulness meditation is excellent and often effortless. Yet, if the mind is very busy during a particular session, then it may be easier to focus on the breath or use a mantra on the in breath and out-breath to settle the mind. You can then either try going back to mindfulness meditation, or simply spend the rest of the session focusing on the breath or repeating a mantra.

It is also very useful to lead into a meditation session using a relaxation process such as deep muscle relaxation. This allows you to go to a very deep place before you start practicing mindfulness or mantra repetition.

The different forms of meditation suit different people. Dr Craig Hassed sums it up beautifully by saying that the best form of meditation is the one you practice! As with most skills, the quality of your meditation will increase the more regularly you practice and the longer you have been practicing. As mentioned above, the only reference you need in order to judge the quality of your practice is your own experience. It is important not to get too goal or success oriented with your meditation. Just practice it. If you keep it simple it will improve.

Likewise it is important not to compare your meditation with that of others. As meditation experiences can only be reported by the individual experiencing them, there will be great variation in what is reported. Some people naturally have a lot of visual experiences in their mind during meditation, other will not. That doesn’t matter. Meditation is not about how many ‘experiences’ you may or may not have. The whole point of meditation is in achieving stillness. The more you practice, the more you will achieve this. Profound visions, or insights etc. may occur, but they are not the goal of meditation and it is important not to try to elicit ‘experiences’ every time you meditate, as you will often end up very frustrated. If they occur, good. If they don’t, that’s good also. Just keep practicing and trying to achieve silence and stillness.

When you first learn how to meditate, just sit for whatever time you feel comfortable. 15 minutes twice a day is excellent. You will be able to meditate comfortably for longer periods of time the more you practice. As will all other aspects of meditation let this develop at your own pace.

Regular short pauses at other times during the day can help to reinforce the meditation practice. Even if it is only a couple of deep breaths at your desk, this is often enough to help punctuate the day and help to break the build up of tension and mental activity.

It is also often very useful to meditate with a group occasionally, for example once or twice a week (or whatever you can achieve). Not only is it a very powerful experience, it also gives you exposure to feedback and to hear of different techniques etc. It is important however, as mentioned previously, to only use feedback etc. for your own learning, not as a means of comparison of yourself against others.

 

1 Hassed Dr. C ‘New Frontiers In Medicine. The Body as a Shadow of the Soul’. Hill of Content. Melbourne.2000

2 Neki, J.S., ‘Sahaja: an Indian ideal of mental health.’ Psychiatry 1975; 38(1): 1-10.

3 Manocha R. ‘Researching meditation. Clinical applications in healthcare.’ Diversity 2001; 2(5): 3-10.

4 Ding-E Young J, Taylor E. ‘Meditation as a voluntary hypometabolic state of biological estivation.’ News Physiol Sci 1998; 13: 149-153.

5 Wallace RK, Benson H. ‘A wakeful hypometabolic physiological state.’ Am J Physiol 1971; 221: 795-799.

6  Jevning R, Wallace RK and Biedebach M. ‘The physiology of meditation: a review. A wakeful hypometabolic integrated response.’ Neurosci Biobehav Rev. 1992; 16: 415-424.

7 Sudsuang R, Chentanez V, Veluvan K. ‘Effect of Buddhist Meditation on serum cortisol and total protein levels, blood pressure, pulse rate, lung volume and reaction time.’ Physiol Behav 1991; 50(3): 543-8.

4 See page 2

4 See page 2

8 Benson H et al. ‘Three case reports of the metabolic and electroencephalographic changes during advanced Buddhist meditation techniques.’ Behav Med. 1990; 16: 90-95.

9 Cohen S et al. ‘Psychological stress and the common cold.’ New England J Med 1991; 325: 606-612

10 Kiecolt-Glaser J and Glaser R. Cited in Ch. 3, ‘Mind-body Medicine’ from Choice Books.

1 See page 1

11 Kiecolt-Glaser J et al. ‘Slowing of wound healing by psychological stress.’ Lancet 1995; 346: 1194-1196.

12 Fischman H, Pero R, Kelly D. ‘Psychogenic stress induces chromosomal and DNA damage.’ Int J Neurosci. 1996; 84(1-4): 219-227.

13 Kiecolt-Glaser J, Glaser R. ‘Psychoneuro-immunology and immunotoxicology: implications for carcinogenesis.’ Psychosom Med 1999; 61(3): 271-272.

14 Self D, Nestler E. ‘Relapse to drug seeking neural and molecular mechanisms.’ Drug Alcohol Depend 1998; 51(1-2): 49-60

15 Gui, Gutstein W, Jabr S et al. ‘Control of human vascular smooth muscle cell proliferation by sera derived from experimentally stressed individuals.’ Oncol Reports 1998; 5(6): 1471-1474.

16 Lopez J, Chalmers D, Little K et al. ‘Regulation of serotonin 1A, glucocorticoid and mineralocorticoid in rat and human hippocampus. Implications for the neurobiology of depression.’ Biol Psychiatry 1998; 43: 547-573.

Breathing Man meditating - breathing optimally...

How You Deal With Stress is the Number One Contributor to Your Mortality

Our Cortisol Slope, via Our Relationship to Stress, is The Greatest Predictor of Total Mortality

A fascinating video (linked at the bottom) from Food Matters TV during their recent Sleep and Stress Online Event chatting with Dr Alan Chritianson discussing the relationship with stress and mortality and highlighted some findings from the Whitehall II study in the UK, which revealed that for cardiovascular mortality, cigarette smoking was the number one predictor of mortality, with cortisol slope (via our relationship to stress) following closely behind. They also compares these with the usual health metrics such as exercise levels, blood pressure, cholesterol levels etc. etc.

Yet, for overall mortality, cortisol slope was the highest predictor of mortality.

The implications for this on how to prioritise your health incentives are huge – Dr Christianson, said these results hit him like a tonne of bricks. You could be a non smoker, non-alcohol drinking, clean food eating, exercise loving health nut, yet if your relationship with stress, or how you deal with stress is dysfunctional, it could make you ill or kill you quicker than a smoking, drinking, junk food eating couch potato who doesn’t get overly stressed too much. That sucks!!

These results basically suggest that, whilst it is important to focus on our nutrition, exercise, alcohol consumption, eliminating cigarette smoking etc. for our health, we should make how we deal with stress our number one priority.

Fortunately, two of the modalities I use with clients focus one exactly that.

  1. Diaphragmatic breathing – of all of the automatic functions that our body performs, breathing is the only one that we can consciously control, with ease. And the same nervous system that regulates our automatic functions (including breathing), the autonomic nervous system (ANS), is also the same nervous system that regulates stress. Moreover, most of us breathe in emergency mode, far too quickly, with an exhale to inhale ratio that is out of whack, so we end up in permanent emergency mode, or ‘fight or flight’ functioning. By learning how to diaphragm breathe in certain rhythms, we can get out of emergency, or ‘fight or flight’ mode, and restore a nervous system that is more restful and relaxed, than it is on the go.
  2. Mickel Therapy – this technique, which is far from therapy as you might think of it, is an ‘action based’ technique that focuses on restoring harmony and optimal function to the ‘hypothalamus’ gland in our brain stem, which is the gland responsible for regulating the function or our autonomic nervous system, and therefore our stress response, all automatic and endocrine gland functions of our body, our immune system, our sleep cycles, neurotransmitter levels and many other bodily functions. It is like the ‘general’ of our bodily functions and it’s job is to maintain homeostasis, or efficient, healthy functioning of our body. It is also like a link between our brain and our body. A healthy relationship with stress requires, at the highest levels of our functioning (in our brain) a healthy relationship between our instinctive, emotional brain (which registers threats to our system and, therefore, stress) and our thinking, or rational brain (which, ideally, interprets the signals of stress sent by the emotional brain, negative emotions, and creates actions to deal with them). This allows us to functionally deal with stress as it arises. However, we ‘modern’ humans have created a huge mismatch between the bodies we have inherited (from our hunter gatherer ancestors) and the culture we have created, and this mismatch leads this healthy relationship in our brain between our instinctive emotions and our thinking, to break down. The result being that rather than dealing with stress functionally, most of us, most of the time, suppress it; and the hypothalamus is the gland in the body that first deals with this suppressed stress, causing it to go into overdrive. The follow on effect of this is that homeostasis within our body is upset and our automatic functions start to go into emergency mode, resulting often in symptoms of acute and/or chronic illness.

Hopefully these explanations may shed some light on why our relationship to stress is the number one predictor of overall mortality.

If you would like to explore using these modalities to improve your relationship with stress, overcome any chronic illness that you believe stress may play a role in (CFS, Fibromylagia, IBS, Anxiety/Depression, Auto-Immune etc), or you would like to explore increasing your quality of life, or the duration between now and your inevitable mortality :-), then contact me via tim@timaltman.com.au or call 0425 739 918.

https://www.facebook.com/foodmatters/videos/10154761999126570/

 

‘Self Silencing’ Will Make You Sick – Especially in Women

Article: “When Silence Isn’t Golden”

Linked is a terrific article focusing on how research into a personality trait called ‘self silencing’ adversely affects women’s health.

Self silencing refers not only to not speaking one’s mind or bottling up feelings, it also refers to a chronic mindset which is conditioned in most women, a habit of staying quiet and putting your needs second to those of everyone else.

The article highlights a few research studies which reveal links between self silencing and several common chronic ailments including IBS, depression, eating disorders etc.

http://well.blogs.nytimes.com/2007/10/02/when-silence-isnt-golden/?smid=fb-share

Definitely an interesting article that is worth a read. And something I see regularly in women when working on overcoming chronic illness using Mickel Therapy.

Silence, or suppressing one’s own needs over others, can often lead to suppressed emotions which send the hypothalamus into overdrive. Whilst symptoms are very real, they are often impossible, or extremely difficult to remove unless you get the hypothalamus out of over-drive, by reversing sub-conscious, self limiting patterns, such as not communicating or meeting one’s needs.
The key to Mickel work is an action based technique that addresses these patterns and restores ideal function in the hypothalamus. When the target action is appropriate (and you will know from the body’s reaction), symptoms start to resolve in chunks.
I have seen many cases of complete resolution of previously immovable cases of chronic illnesses, including CFS, fibromyalgia, anxiety, depression, IBS etc. using this wonderful technique.
It’s also fantastic for removing self-limiting patterns that hinder performance, weight loss and general happiness.

Look at the information on this website or contact me if you’d like to discuss Mickel Therapy further. I offer a free 15 minute chat or consultation for those interested.

 

 

 

 

The Power of Referrals

Before the digital age, advertising your business was very simple. Put an ad in the paper, print some flyers and, if you’ve got the budget advertise on radio or TV. It has become a lot more complicated recently.

Facebook, email, Google Plus, Instagram etc. etc. etc. Unless you’re and expert on advertising, it becomes very difficult for a small business owner to figure out what options suit them best. And opinions vary that much with the experts it becomes very difficult to determine quality advice from straight out pitch.

And the time spent trying to figure it out, makes it even more daunting given time is better spent honing your professional skills. But there’s no point being the most skilled and knowledgeable professional out there if people don’t know about you, let alone come and see you.

I confess that I am terrible at advertising and PR (having been told so by many advisers over the years). I just don’t think to ask for a testimonial from a happy client, or take photos of a situation or scene promoting my business, and I am especially uncomfortable with self-promotion. I am more focussed on getting better outcomes for clients and learning to offer better services.

However, I have learned a couple of things over many years of trying to work out what form of advertising my services and business works best. It has taken a lot of time and money, however I am starting to feel more comfortable with what options work.

There are a few options, and all of them have to with people getting to know me and getting a greater understanding of what I do. Not the technical details (and I often get in trouble for getting way too technical and long winded),More to do with my story (how I got to where I am and what motivates me), and what my services can do for potential clients.

I have found that writing regular blogs gives people a better feel for my services. Or video. And, it seems Google loves blogs, and especially video.

Also, I do regular free talks at the local Wholefoods store (Surfcoast Wholefoods) and these have always worked very well – even if only one or two turn up.

But, as has always been the case for many, or most businesses, referrals are number one. By far. Despite the myriad of variety of advertising options and technology sources for this, referrals from people you know and trust has always stayed the greatest provider of new business for so many business types.

As a result, it is time that I spend a little less time learning and commit some more time to writing regular newsletters, understanding that being out of sight also leads to being out of mind.  In doing so I am putting out a request to my old and current clients for referrals.

If, in receiving these newsletters you remember to refer my services to a friend, colleague or client, then I would be very appreciative. I know it is difficult to read all of the emails that you receive, so I will commit to writing only one newsletter per month, so as not to inundate you.

I have linked my home page and the bio for anyone who I haven’t seen for some time. Despite being in Torquay most of the time now, I still work in Melbourne and most of my work can be done online via Skype (or phone) nowadays, so the clinic can come to you. This is an option many clients are taking up nowadays and, in my experience, it is no less effective than in person.

http://timaltman.com.au/ http://timaltman.com.au/about-tim/

Book Release: ‘The Breathing Dynamics Solution to Snoring and Sleep Apnoea’

I am proud to say that I’ve written and published my first book. It is a full information guide and four stage course or training program on the use of breathing retraining as a solution to snoring and sleep apnoea.

Whilst the standard medical treatment for apnoea is a C-PAP machine, it is both expensive and annoying. As such compliance is very low – as low as 15% or less.

But there are more natural, and less expensive alternatives, and breathing being one of them.

As both snoring and sleep apnoea are both fundamentally a breathing issue at their core (or original cause – in most cases due to the mouth being open whilst one sleeps), breathing retaining provides a brilliant solution that is inexpensive and can be learned quite simply, even at home. And it doesn’t take long to see results.

Or, in cases that also involve rectifying an existing obstruction, it is an excellent adjunct to treatment options that look at this.

I decided to create a book/course on breathing retaining as I have found from several years of clinical experience as a respiratory therapist that, whilst most people take their breathing completely for granted, the vast majority of us fail to breathe according to medical diagnostic norms. And I have found time and time again, breathing retaining is an extremely potent method of creating solutions for many health problems and is excellent for both relaxation and performance outcomes.

I started with the subject of snoring and apnoea as it is so widespread and breathing retraining works so well in providing solutions. And the snorers or apnoea sufferers are not the only victims. Their partners, and even family, are often more affected that the actual snorers. And the snorers are often very averse to admitting their problem and seeking help.

I will write other books on a number of clinical and performance issues, including:

  • Asthma and breathing difficulties.
  • Headaches and migraines.
  • IBS and GIT disturbances.
  • Anxiety and depression.
  • Relaxation and stress management.
  • Sports and athletic performance.
  • Surfing performance (including breath holds).

I will also make these available as online, video courses soon.

For receiver of this newsletter, I will make the book/course available for $50.   The course provides the equivalent to 5 consultations with a professional as it is a comprehensive 4 step program designed to simulate how I would work with a client clinically.

Some clients still choose to work one on one with me, using the book as a background, for more personal guidance along the way. Especially given I train them using biofeedback control via Capnometry.

If you would like a copy of the course, please email me at tim@timaltman.com.au

Article: Asthma. “The End of the Beginning”

Asthma. “The End of the Beginning”. How to prevent the onset of an attack rather that treating it after the event?

Below is a fantastic article by respiratory physiologist, Roger Price, who taught and inspired me to be a respiratory therapist, on the natural, drug free prevention and treatment of asthma that gets to the ‘root cause’ of the condition rather than the medical approach of putting out fires. The breathing based solution is easy to learn and implement and does not take long to see results. The long term results, most of the time, see clients free of reliance on pharmaceutical medications to manage their asthma, and free of symptoms.

If it sounds too good to be true then read the article and read further on respiratory therapy on this website and you’ll see it’s the simplest and most logical solution to the prevention and treatment of asthma. And that’s exactly why it woks so well.

Roger is now based in the USA kicking goals as a health educator spreading the incredible value of respiratory therapy and breathing retraining as a fantastic solution (or co-solution) to many ailments, chronic health conditions and as a potent performance enhancement tool.

The article is published in the Journal of Lung, Pulmonary & Respiratory Research – Volume 3 Issue 2 2016.

Instead of linking it, I’ve copied the whole journal here – including references. It’s definitely worth a read for anyone interested in furthering their understanding of asthma and/or breathing retraining. I think it sums up the whole situation or mess associated with asthma, and outlines the solution beautifully.

I also included Roger’s Facebook summary at the beginning.

 

“For over 50 years I have been involved with people who have been diagnosed with “asthma” and have seen the industry grow from one or two simple ephedrine and theophylline based medications to a multi-billion dollar enterprise where Asthma – COPD medications now occupy 40% of the top 10 selling drugs on the market – creating an annual wholesale revenue of around $12 billion.  The reality is that nobody ever gets better – they just have their symptoms chemically controlled.  Attached is an article just published June 2016, in the Journal of Lung, Pulmonary and Respiratory Research JLPRR.  

 

Journal of ISSN: 2376-0060JLPRR 

Lung, Pulmonary & Respiratory Research

Review Article

Volume 3 Issue 2 – 2016

Asthma. “The End of the Beginning”. How to prevent the onset of an attack rather than treating it after the event?

Roger L Price*

Respiratory Physiologist and Integrative Health Educator, USA

Received: May 15, 2016 | Published: May 19, 2016

*Corresponding author: Roger L Price, Respiratory Physiologist and Integrative Health Educator, Breathing Well LLC, 1425 Broad St Suite B, Clifton NJ 07013, USA, Tel: (973) 778-9225; (505)331-1051; Email: 

Citation: Price RL (2016) Asthma.“The End of the Beginning”. How to Prevent the Onset of an Attack Rather than Treating it After the Event?. J Lung Pulm Respir Res 3(2): 00080. DOI:10.15406/jlprr.2015.03.00080

  Download PDF

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NOTE: The complex physiological and biochemical processes have been deliberately simplified in order to allow lay people to grasp the concepts without being confused by the pure science. What is essential is for people to understand ‘why’ and not necessarily to have to know ‘how’.

Author’s Note:

I fully accept that asthma is a potentially life threatening condition and strongly support the use of appropriate medication when required. What I do not support however, is the reckless abandon with which ‘puffers’ are prescribed and used, for everything from a niggling cough to fundamentally dysfunctional breathing – which has nothing to do with asthma.

How does an ‘asthma attack’ begin?

The first signs are usually tightness in the chest and difficulty in breathing.

WHY does this happen?

No matter which definition you use, nor which set of data are used as a reference, the message is always the same.

“Asthma is a chronic inflammatory disease of the airway causing the breathing tubes to narrow”

Again – one must ask the question WHY? What is the cause of the inflammation, how does it happen, and what can be done to prevent this?

But firstly, let’s look at some facts about ‘asthma’.

The following statement has been taken directly from the Website of the American Asthma and Allergy Foundation.

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WHAT CAUSES ASTHMA

“Since asthma has a genetic origin and is a disease you are born with, passed down from generation to generation, the question isn’t really “what causes asthma,” but rather “what causes asthma symptoms to appear?” People with asthma have inflamed airways which are super-sensitive to things which do not bother other people. These things are called “triggers.”

If this is true – where does the notion of “late onset asthma”, “hidden asthma” and “exercise induced asthma” come from?

And furthermore, why is it that in the vast majority of cases that I have come across in the 50 years plus, that I have been working in this field, very little – if any – family history is taken, relative to the incidence of asthma in parents, grandparents, siblings and children? The diagnosis usually relies on either spirometry, peak flow or provocation tests – and the outcome is predictable.

My understanding of the nature of heredity in asthma is confined to three specific areas:

  1. The bands of smooth muscle surrounding the bronchioles, are thicker, stronger and tighter than in people with no genetic tendency – and when these bands tighten – it is very difficult to get them to relax.
  2. The mucus producing cells in those with genetic asthma are larger and more productive, so on stimulation, will produce copious amounts of mucus – causing the wheezing.
  3. People with ‘heredity asthma’ usually have a far wider range of allergic triggers, creating an enhanced environment for problems to occur.

BUT this does not adequately answer the question as to what causes the onset of an attack.

If one looks at the structure of a bronchiole it is easy to see what happens when the smooth muscle bands go into spasm.

The airway narrows and makes breathing difficult.

What is it that triggers the spasm in the smooth muscle bands?

Surprisingly enough the main trigger is the sudden drop in Alveolar or End Tidal CO2. The moment the brain detects that the PaCO2 pressure is dropping and the pH of the respiratory system is heading towards alkalosis, it immediately acts to restrict further loss, by narrowing the bronchioles.

If the person persists in gasping, overbreathing and any other activity which continues to drop the ETCO2, then the mucus cells respond by producing copious amounts of mucus minimizing loss by further occluding the airway.

This is NOT a disease. It is a protective mechanism initiated by the body to prevent cell death from respiratory alkalosis brought about through hyperventilation/overbreathing.

The simple answer to a complex question is that it is primarily mouth breathing, or overbreathing/hyperventilation, that causes low CO2 levels, or hypocapnia.

Could you imagine a person sitting quietly in a chair, breathing gently through their nose, suddenly having an ‘asthma attack’? Unlikely. Most ‘attacks’ come through a sudden change in breathing patterns – usually accompanied by a rapid drop in ETCO2. Exercising with open mouth, crying, laughing, coughing – all lower ETCO2 – provoking bronchospasm – ultimately leading to a full blown attack.

According to a study in the UK published in January 2015, more than one million people in the UK have been misdiagnosed as having asthma. 1

In my own practice, in which I have certainly handled more than 10,000 ‘asthmatics’ over the years, less than 10% have required ongoing management with bronchodilators and corticosteroids. The vast majority have been able to lead perfectly normal lives just by learning how to breathe functionally.

This has been borne out in numerous trials, papers and reports – published in the cream of respiratory journals such as Thorax, Chest, and the main medical journals such as the BMJ, AMJ, MJA and others. See the list of published articles and trials at the end of this article.

So this calls into question the accuracy and validity of the current method of diagnosing asthma

The first fundamental law of scientific measurement states that the measuring methodology should not alter the parameters of the function being measured.

Considering the rapid effect that a sudden drop in ETCO2 has on bronchioles, causing almost an instant response, does spirometry and peak flow not provoke bronchospasm?

If that bronchospasm is provoked, and the patient is then nebulized in order to break the spasm, and the next reading taken when the airway is artificially ‘propped open’, where is the validity in the ‘diagnosis’ that the person has ‘asthma’?

The Gold Standard for Asthma Management

I remember only too well the sacrosanct command that if a reliever was used more than 4 times a week, asthma was out of control, there was a danger of heart problems developing from the over-stimulation brought about by the adrenalin-type action of the salbutamol, and that it was then ‘mandatory’ to use a steroid preventer to reduce the amount of reliever.

The main purpose of the inhaled steroid – and of course the systemic prednisone, was to suppress the immune response and reduce the inflammation to such a degree that it was no longer necessary for the regular use of bronchodilators, avoiding the associated side effects.

Contradiction One

If the use of a short-acting bronchodilator more than 4 times a week is deemed dangerous,where is the justification in giving someone 24 hour long-acting bronchodilator, which is the equivalent of 6-8 puffs of short acting beta 2 agonist, every day of their lives?

What has been suggested is that by altering the chain length of the beta-2 agonists, there is less of a “jolt stimulation” to the heart and a lower risk of an adverse effect. This is borne out by the warning that the long-acting beta-agonist (LABA) should not be used as a ‘rescue’ to address an immediate attack, as it can take up to 40 minutes before the effect is felt. The reasoning further goes on to explain that by using the long-chain drug there is a smoother and more sustained bronchodilating effect which has a lower risk.

But what about the effect of a 24 hour bronchodilator? There are numerous papers and articles written about the remodeling of the airway as a result of long-term (lifetime) asthma medication – and it is no secret that in many segments of modern medicine ‘iatrogenesis’ or as it is more subtly put, ‘unintended consequences’, have the potential to cause additional comorbid diseases.

Propping the airway open, in direct conflict with nature’s response to shut it down, has the potential to cause inflammation of the mucous lining. Is this perhaps the reasoning behind adding the inhaled steroid to the combination drug, to address the inflammation that was caused by propping it open in the first place? A little like the boy who shot both parents and then asked the judge for clemency on the grounds that he was an orphan.

Contradiction Two

Everyone knows that cortisone is given to suppress the immune system so that it will not react to, or reject foreign objects. This has been the standby of the organ transplantation industry for decades. Remember however, that in the case of cortisone saturation to prevent rejection, the patient was so at risk of bacterial or viral infection, that people had to be ‘hazmat suited’ before being allowed to visit.

If cortisone suppresses the immune system how in the name of any sensibility can it ‘protect the lungs’ during the cough and cold virus winter season, and even more bizarre, at a higher dosage?

Cortisone certainly helps to reduce the inflammation – but renders the user more susceptible to catching common infections – especially in the winter months.

Using the same general principle, in the same way that the ‘orthodontist’ accepts that the teeth are crooked and have to be straightened, that the ENT accepts that the tonsils are infected and have to be removed, the pulmonologist just accepts the fact that the airway becomes inflamed and has to be treated with steroids.

Just look at the definition of ‘asthma’ and it would appear that the inflammation is of an unknown etiology – usually an immune response to allergic triggers. That is VERY vague – just like saying that the ‘teeth are crooked’ or ‘the tonsils are enlarged’.

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What Is Asthma?

“Asthma (AZ-ma) is a chronic (long-term) lung disease that inflames and narrows the airways. Asthma causes recurring periods of wheezing (a whistling sound when you breathe), chest tightness, shortness of breath, and coughing. The coughing often occurs at night or early in the morning.

Asthma affects people of all ages, but it most often starts during childhood. In the United States, more than 25 million people are known to have asthma. About 7 million of these people are children.”

AND – how does this definition then correlate with that of the Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America statement that “Asthma is a disease you are born with?” The contradictions are bizarre and, quite frankly, embarrassing to say the least. What we have here is a concept that appears to be fundamentally flawed. Well… If the concept is fundamentally flawed, and you specialize in it, all you become is a specialist in a flawed concept. It does not make that concept any more valid.

Nowhere does it explain HOW and WHY the inflammation occurs – it just accepts that it is there and medicates it.

Why does the airway become inflamed?

The answer is so simple it is embarrassing. The airway becomes inflamed largely because it is subjected to a large volume flow of inhospitable air, and is simply not designed to be able to cope with this onslaught.

The air entering the lungs needs to be:

  • The correct volume
  • Filtered
  • Sterilized
  • Warmed/cooled to body temperature
  • Humidified so that the lungs are able to allow the gases to permeate (Henry’s and Fick’s Laws)

The NOSE is the perfect 4 stage filtration system, and in addition to the filtering process, nasal breathing stimulates the paranasal sinuses to produce and release Nitric Oxide, which is a potent antimicrobial as well as a vasodilator.

The adenoids and tonsils are the final stage of micro-filtration to ensure the quality of the air entering the lungs.

Surely it does not take a great leap of imagination to see that bypassing this sophisticated system, and breathing large volumes of untreated outside air, straight into the delicate lung tissue, could be the major cause of inflammation and infection?

The bypassing of the Nitric Oxide production/release removes a very powerful vaso/bronchodilator from the system, and the rapid loss of CO2 from the large volume of mouth breathing, is the main trigger for the protection provided by bronchospasm.

Does it make sense?

That if the bronchioles are shutting down in self defense, in order to protect the body, that propping them open twenty-four hours a day is self-defeating, and can only aggravate the condition further?

It is not possible that it is this very action that perpetuates the inflammation, and that is why ICS is added to the LABA to counteract the inflammation caused?

If the Gold Standard calls for the use of steroids to offset the overuse of bronchodilators, does it not make sense that reducing the need for bronchodilators will reduce the need for steroids?

In the face of all this ‘sense’ how can it be justified to increase bronchodilator use and thereby consign the patient to a lifetime of steroid medication – with zero chance of the ‘disease’ being ‘cured’?

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REWRITING THE RULES

It is no secret that ‘standards’ change under the observation and reporting of data which is collected on a routine basis. The SRG is a group of clinical pathologists who constantly review collected data and adjust the “norms” to reflect what is being noticed in pathology reports coming in from participating countries. 
(http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC1769782/)

These corrected “norms” then become accepted as fact – and using the orthodontic profession as a prime example – end up drawing the conclusion that 3rd molars are no longer necessary in modern day life – and 28 teeth are now the “norm”. The fact that 3rd molars simply cannot erupt because the Western diet has largely removed the requirement of ‘chewing’ and resulted in under-developed jaws – is conveniently ignored, and wisdom teeth are ‘expected’ to be impacted and therefore require surgical removal.

COMMONPLACE BUT NOT NATURAL/NORMAL

Under the deluge of propaganda, advertising, TV promotion and pressure from representatives of drug and medical equipment companies, society has accepted that commonplace equals normal, and is unavoidable. In other words, crooked teeth are commonplace and have to be straightened. Inflamed tonsils are commonplace and have to be removed. High blood pressure is commonplace and has to be medicated.

The reality is that these things are commonplace, but are NOT normal or natural, and CAN largely be avoided by early detection and remediation.

As will be seen from the accompanying chart – Minute Volume – the amount of air inhaled and exhaled per minute – has always been accepted as approximately 6 liters per minute. Simple mathematical calculation, based on lung volume and respiratory rate, then shows that functional breathing at rest should be approximately 8-10 breaths per minute – breathing between 4-6 liters of air per minute.

Just remember, in 1930, before the start of WW2, the average minute volume was 4.5 liters/minute and at an average breath rate of 6-8 per minute.

With the advent of fast foods in the 1950s and onwards, minute volume and breathing rate steadily escalated to the present ‘accepted norm’ of 12 liters/minute and 18 – 20 breaths per minute.

That is Hyperventilation, and is not normal. Just because it is commonplace it means nothing other than there are a lot of dysfunctionally breathing people out there – contributing in no small measure to the epidemic of the awful Western disease called Average Health.

The physical structure of the nose, the airway and the lungs can happily accommodate this rate and volume, and functional breathing is silent – with no irritation to, or vibration of the tissues of the nose, mouth and airway.

This can ONLY be achieved through nasal breathing, driven by the diaphragm, and this is the way the body was designed to function.

Mouth breathing, with its accompanying hyperventilation, drags more than double the volume of air, unfiltered and non-sterilized, at more than twice the rate that the airway structure is designed to handle – causing localized and systemic inflammation – as well as severely disrupted biochemistry. This in turn leads to compromised and compensatory physical and postural behavior which in turn aggravates other functions of the body.

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WHY NOT PREVENT THE ATTACK FROM HAPPENING?

Why not teach people how to avoid an attack by not creating the conditions that cause one?

Numerous double-blinded, randomized, placebo controlled trials have proved – conclusively – that by changing breathing from high-volume, chest/mouth, to low volume nose/diaphragm, bronchodilator usage can be reduced by 86% and ICS usage by 50% – with absolutely zero side effects.

These trials have always been criticized on the grounds that they have not shown any improvement in FEV1. That is a total red herring and maintains the resistance to clinically trialed and proven facts.

The Tiffeneau-Pinelli Index – better known as the FEV1/FVC index was designed for restrictive and obstructive lung disease – where there is a degradation in lung tissue – such as related to pathological and degenerative diseases.

This is yet another example where a metric – designed to be used as a comparator, or indication of progress or regression, has become perverted and is used as an empirical diagnostic tool in a totally different environment. The FEV1 has no correlation with the triggers that cause overbreathing. All it attempts to do is measure the consequences of congestion/dysfunction brought about by provocation – and is therefore of dubious value in the context in which it is used, namely to discredit the numerous trials. I become very frustrated when I hear ‘holier-than-thou’ specialists dismiss these valid, clinically based, published and peer reviewed trials on the grounds that “it did not improve FEV1 – therefore it is of no value.”

ASTHMA IS NOT A DISEASE. It is a condition which only manifests itself when provoked. Remove the provocation and the condition is controlled.

THERE IS NO DOUBT THAT ASTHMA CAN BE LIFE THREATENING – but this is in a very small number of cases across the spectrum. Brittle Asthma is a reality – and people need hospitalization and extreme care when this happens.

What I am talking about is the extremely high percentage of misdiagnosed cases – due to a flawed diagnostic process – where the diagnostics provoke the condition. It is this very significant percentage – estimated at approaching 90% of those diagnosed, who are being over medicated, spending billions of unnecessary dollars on medication which they do not need, and potentially causing iatrogenic issues later on in life.

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THE SOLUTION

In the same way that a person can be coached in a sport so that they do not hurt or harm themselves, it is possible to coach people in how to breathe functionally.

Our diet and lifestyle are working against us – and the vast majority of people are in a state of constant stress.

This sympathetic dominance has them in a state of alertness all the time, and as a result of this Fight/Flight response, they are hyperventilating or overbreathing.

There are simple and effective ways of addressing this situation and teaching people how to return to normal breathing.

Massive Costs In Terms of Medication

Given that the diagnosis of asthma is so often incorrect, but the patients are still placed on ‘puffer therapy’, it is no wonder that the costs to individuals, as well as the system, are as high as they are.

In a recently published survey, by IMS Health: FDA, the top 10 most frequently prescribed drugs were listed by wholesale prices.  This means what was earned by the manufacturers, not what the consumer pays, which could be between 50% and 100% more.

Of the $38.2 billion dollars generated by these drugs, just on 40% – $11.7 billion – were for asthma and COPD drugs.

How much of this could be saved by reducing, or even eliminating the unnecessary usage – due to misdiagnosis?

There is no shortage of people available to teach, train and guide ‘asthmatics’ in how to prevent the onset of an ‘attack’. The ideal people are Occupational and Physical Therapists, and other trained, licensed and registered Respiratory and Manual therapists, as they have the correct training, understand the human body as a whole, and will readily learn the specialized skills required to teach people how to normalize their breathing.

‘Idiopathic-Iatrogenic’ – The final indignity.

There is no doubt that stress is one of the major drivers of breathing disorders. The Fight/Flight response instantly changes breathing rate, depth, dynamics and mechanics, as well as major physiological and biochemical responses, resulting in a multitude of changes throughout the body. Being in a state of constant stress, as a large percentage of “asthmatics” are, maintains a level of sympathetic, or cortisol dominance, and a reduction in the time spent in parasympathetic recovery.

Inhalation drives the sympathetic and exhalation drives parasympathetic responses, and the ratio should be roughly 40% to 60%, thereby allowing the person more time in recovery mode than in excitation mode.

Most people’s breathing patterns are reversed – with longer inhalations and shorter exhalations – due to the brainstem response initiating the next inhalation before the full exhalation has been completed. This is as a result of many years of dysfunctional breathing causing the medullary trigger to ‘kick in’ earlier than it should.

To take someone who is in a constant state of adrenalin/cortisol dominance, and place them on permanent long-term, 24 hour medication, with a combination drug whose components are long-term beta-2 agonists and inhaled corticosteroids, can only aggravate this condition and consign the sufferer to a lifetime of the iatrogenic ‘stress-symptom-stress-symptom’ cycle. This then completes the idiopathic-iatrogenic loop of “I don’t know what is causing it”, and, “what I am doing is actually making it worse”

There is a better way to manage this ‘pandemic’.

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REFERENCES

  1. http://www.dailymail.co.uk/health/article-2929353/1m-asthma-cases-misdiagnosed-fear.html
  2. Controlling Asthma by Training of Capnometry-Assisted Hypoventilation (CATCH)
  3. Versus Slow Breathing: A Randomized Controlled Trial.  CHEST 11/22/14
    Thomas Ritz, PhD1*, David Rosenfield, PhD1, Ashton M. Steele, MA1, Mark. M. Millard, MD2,
    and Alicia E. Meuret, PhD1* 
    1Southern Methodist University, Dallas, Texas, USA
    2Baylor University Medical Center, Dallas, Texas, USA
  4. American Thoracic Society Committee on Diagnostic Standards. Definitions and classification of chronic bronchitis, asthma, and pulmonary emphysema. (1962) Am Rev Respir Dis 85: 762.
  5. Slader HK, Reddel LM, Spencer EG, Belousova CL, Armour SZ, et al. (2006) ASTHMA Double blind randomised controlled trial of two different breathing techniques in the management of asthma CA. Thorax.
  6. Sandberg S, Järvenpää S, Penttinen A, Paton JY, McCann DC (2004) Asthma exacerbations in children immediately following stressful life events: a Cox’s hierarchical regression. Thorax 59(12): 1046-1051.
  7. Atherton M (2000) Outcome measures of efficacy associated with a web-enabled self management programme: findings from a quasi-experiment. Disease Management and Health Outcomes 8(4): 233-242. 
  8. Barnes G, Partridge MR (1994) Community asthma clinics: 1993 survey of primary care by the national Asthma Task Force. Qual Health Care 3(3): 133-136.
  9. Barraclough R, Devereux G, Hendrick DJ, Stenton SC (2002) Apparent but not real increase in asthma prevalence during the 1990s. Eur Respir J 20(4): 826-833.
  10. Beasley R, Cushley M, Holgate ST (1989) A self help management plan in the treatment of adult asthma. Thorax 44: 200-204.
  11. Beilby JJ, Wakefield MA, Ruffin RE (1997) Reported use of asthma management plans South Australia. Med J Aust 166(6): 298-301.
  12. Villiger PM, Hess CW, Reinhart WH (1993) Beneficial effect of inhaled CO2 in a patient with non-obstructive sleep apnoea.
    J Neurol 241(1): 45-48.
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Diagnostic Criteria for CFS/ME – All Explained by the Hypothalamus in Overdrive

Diagnostic Criteria for CFS/ME

Looking at the medical diagnostic criteria below (in italics) for Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (CFS) or ME, every single symptom or criteria can be attributed to the hypothalamus gland in the brain stem being in overdrive.

The hypothalamus is a gland that acts as a link between the body and the brain and it’s job is homeostasis. That is, it regulates the functions of many systems and areas of the body, including all automatic functions (controlled by the autonomic nervous system – digestion, metabolism, breathing, circulation, urinary, lymphatic etc.), the stress response, the immune system, sleep cycles,  endocrine glands, cognitive function and neurotransmitters. It could be described as the general of bodily function.

Unless the hypothalamus in overdrive is reversed or corrected, then treating at the level of bodily symptoms will always struggle to yield significant or complete recovery from CFS and ME. This is why so many sufferers struggle for years or decades, and go though multiple practitioners of various modalities to get a resolution, yet often end up frustrated and in despair due to the lack of the result.

Taking the hypothalamus out of overdrive is the primary objective of Mickel Therapy and explains why the successes using this technique are so frequent and complete.

It does so by addressing the mismatch between the body we have inherited and the world we have created for ourselves.  It targets how we process stress, and how our brain integrates messages that come from our primal, instinctive emotional brain with the rational, thinking brain (or the data control system). It is a bit of a paradigm shift for many clients initially, and very often feels quite foreign, but, with persistence the techniques are easy to implement, and yield extra-ordinary results. Not only for resolving illness; also for performance of all kinds and the feeling of happiness and freedom internally.

It is worth a try.

  1. The individual has severe chronic fatigue for 6 or more consecutive months that is not due to ongoing exertion or other medical conditions associated with fatigue (these other conditions need to be ruled out by a doctor after diagnostic tests have been conducted)
  2. The fatigue significantly interferes with daily activities and work
  3. The individual concurrently has 4 or more of the following 8 symptoms:
  • post-exertion malaise lasting more than 24 hours
  • un-refreshing sleep
  • significant impairment of short-term memory or concentration
  • muscle pain
  • multi-joint pain without swelling or redness
  • headaches of a new type, pattern, or severity
  • tender cervical or axillary lymph nodes
  • a sore throat that is frequent or recurring

Article: “It’s Time Doctors Apologise to Their ME (CFS) Patients”.

Doctors Finally Beginning to Acknowledge that CFS or ME is not a Psychological Condition.

Linked below is a great article on CFS or ME.

Having suffered from CFS and having been told that I was making it up, or it is all in my head, I definitely feel the frustration that many or most of the clients I treat with CFS, Fibromyalgia, Adrenal Fatigue experience when they are told similarly by their doctors or apparent ‘learned’ friends or family.

And like me,  most of the clients that I encounter or speak to experience a low mood, depression or serious and chronic frustration as a result of no-one being able to acknowledge or relate to what they re going through and the inability of the medical fraternity and many natural health practitioners to provide a solution to their ailment.

A quote from the article highlights this: ‘And a major report from the prestigious US Institute of Medicine has recently concluded that ME is a “serious, chronic, complex, systemic disease that can profoundly affect the lives of patients”. ME is not a psychological problem’.

This is at least an acknowledgement from the medical field that ME or CFS is a real, physical ailment.

As to the solution, this comes from understanding cause, and there has been much speculation about the cause – mental illness, post infection (virus, gut bacteria), chronic stress, adrenal exhaustion, dysfunctional mitochondrial energy production. Most treatments focus on one or more of these suggested causes.

The article suggests; “the time has come for doctors and scientists to apologise for the very neglectful way in which ME has been researched and treated over the past 60 years. Doctors need to start listening to their patients and there must now be increased investment in biomedical research to gain a better understanding of the disease process and to develop treatments that these patients desperately need.”

It is great that more doctors and recognising the need for biomedical research tying to identify physical cause rather that writing CFS off as a psychological condition, however it has been my experience and that of many colleagues and experts worldwide that this approach is also near sighted, or is missing the actual cause at a higher level.

In my clinical practice, the more I investigated more effective solutions to CFS, ME, fibromyalgia etc, whilst I saw some great results by focusing physical interventions via nutrition and fasting, herbal medicines, sauna therapy, graded exercise and more, they were rarely complete or 100% resolutions. And the more I began to feel that the cause and solution to these ailments lies at a higher level in the body (or brain).

I was fortunate to discover the wok of Scottish GP and psychiatrist, Dr David Mickel who suggests that the actual ‘root’ cause of CFS, ME and fibomyalgia lies at the level of how we process primary (pre-thought) emotional communication, or stress, from our body at higher levels, and the impact of this on our hypothalamus – a gland in our brainstem that regulates many (or most) body functions; including sleep cycles, many cognitive functions, neurotransmitter function, how we process stress, our immune system and digestive systems, all automatic functions, our endocrine system amongst other things.

The role of the hypothalamus is to keep us regulated or alive via homeostasis and could be described as ‘the general’ of the body. In a way, it is the link between our brain and our physical bodies.

D Mickel found that there was increased blood flow in the hypothalamus of chronically ill patients, and speculated that this indicates that it is in overdrive.

And a hypothalamus in overdrive, as is the case with those suffering from CFS, ME, Fibromyalgia and many other chronic ailments, will cause multiple areas of the body to be poorly regulated and lead to a vast array of varying symptoms, depending on the genetic make up and circumstances of each individual client.

With Mickel Therapy we target the hypothalamus and aim to take it out of overdrive by focusing on how we process stress (or primary emotions) internally using a methodical, talking based approach that does not require any or excessive amounts of drugs or supplements to implement change. This is a radical shift in thinking and practice. But the results are surprisingly potent.

The results of Mickel Therapy really need to be seen to be believed.

My experience since taking on board Mickel Therapy has been that this is the most potent or successful treatment for chronic illness that I have witnessed or heard of. The results I have witnessed have echoed those experienced by Dr Mickel and many colleagues, have led to many, many complete resolutions in clients who have suffered from CFS, ME and fibromyalgia (as well as anxiety, depression and IBS) for many years (in some cases several decades) and had previously tried many, many treatment solutions, all focusing either a mental or purely physical cause, without success.

A quote from a fellow colleague of mine and senior Mickel Therapy trainer, Kim Knight of NZ, pretty much sums up my feelings on this article and the general medical approach to CFS:

“It still STAGGERS me that despite the fact that the real cause of ME, CFS and other related chronic illnesses are now well evident and understood by therapists such as myself, the medical community is STILL looking for a physical solution to a non-physical cause. Staggering. But at least we are making some progress.”

I am available for Mickel Therapy with clients in person in Torquay, Geelong and Melbourne (by appointment) and via phone or Skype for anyone around Australia or overseas.

Contact me via tim@timaltman.com.au or 0425 739 918.

 

 

 

 

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/health/12033810/Its-time-for-doctors-to-apologise-to-their-ME-patients.html

Hunter gatherer foods

The Ideal Nutrition Plan for The Modern World

The Nutrition Plan That Combines the Strengths and Counters the Weaknesses of The Paleo Diet and Intermittent Fasting

 

In the 15+ years I have been working with nutrition and natural health, I have done a lot of contemplating and experimenting with what might be the ideal overall diet for the modern world, that allows one to maintain ideal weight or lose weight, and keep the gut functioning at a healthy level, yet also be a social, interactive hum being at the same time.
The standard questions I have asked thousands of clients, are; “what is your average daily diet, as in everything you eat and drink in the day, and when?”; “when are you most likely to feel hungry during the day or crave sweet or savoury foods?”; and “when, if any time of the day’ do you feel most tired or flat energetically?”.

I noticed a very clear pattern in most people where they ate little or no breakfast, or their breakfast was insufficient in protein, and their snacks were non-existent, sporadic or full of sugar or refined carbohydrates. As a consequence, they were unable to regulate their blood sugar levels throughout the day with the usual flat or craving spots being mid-late afternoon and post dinner. The consequence of this is hypoglycaemia and insulin resistance, which results in a system that produces energy poorly, puts on weight more easily and is inflammatory, meaning that it promotes chronic illness.
On top of that, they often relied on caffeine to get them going and maintain energy levels throughout the day, which further exacerbates insulin resistance, and exhausts the nervous system and drains the adrenal glands over time.

The solution to the ideal diet seemed to lie in a plan that regulated blood sugar levels. To gain more insight into this, I started investigating the research coming out from anthropological, evolutionary biology and genetic sources, which suggests that the body we have inherited is that of our hunter gatherer ancestors from some 40,000 to 100,000 years ago. Meaning that we are ideally built to eat and drink the way our hunter gatherer ancestors did (not our cave man ancestors who existed many thousands of years prior to this).
Research has suggested that they ate only animal protein, vegetables, fruit, nuts and seeds, and we drank only water. That’s all they had access to.
In fact, grain only became available to humans when the agricultural revolution began around 2,000 to 10,000 years ago, and the grains we consume now, courtesy of the industrial and technological revolutions, have become vastly different to these ancient grains. Even so, according to this research mentioned above, 2-10,000 years is not long enough for our bodies to fully assimilate such foodstuff.
We are simply not built for a high intake of grain. And certainly not sugar which entered the food chain only a few hundred years ago.
Whilst the agricultural revolution was wonderful from an economic perspective as it allowed the population to increase exponentially (as we now had storable foods that lasted longer and we could move into villages), it was a catastrophe for our bodies as it increased the carbohydrate content in the food chain dramatically. And it got worse and worse, the more we advanced as a species.
This motivated the evolution of nutrition programs that reflect our ancient diet. The Paleo diet is the most well known, but it was by no means the first of this type of program. Elimination or detox diets, and controlled ketosis diets, had been in existence for well over a decade before the Paleo craze came in.
All of these programs are extremely effective when adhered to strictly – the common denominator being a small amount of protein regularly to regulate blood sugar levels, and lots of vegetables and some fruit. In essence, grains and dairy are replaced by vegetables. This makes sense, given that of all the research done on nutrition, the one unequivocal fact is that the more vegetables you eat, the better your immune system and the greater you chance of preventing chronic illness (which accounts for 90% of deaths in the modern world).
However, the one weakness of these programs is that they don’t allow for much deviation. You have to adhere to them quite strictly to see the benefits. Which is hard if you lead a healthy social life.
The question then beckons; ‘how do we compensate for this whilst living in the modern world?’
Enter intermittent fasting. I have practiced fasting for over 20 years (as it had been an integral part of my recovery from chronic fatigue syndrome – CFS), and have long known the benefits. Whilst therapeutic fasting had been extensively researched in the former Soviet Union, the research in the West has only started to wake up to its’ benefits.
It makes sense from an evolutionary biology perspective as we were often exposed to periods where food supply was scarce. Our body knows how to adapt.
It has been understood for some time that whilst calorific restriction has very positive health benefits, it is also very restrictive and not fun. However, a good deal of research has found that intermittent or occasional fasting can have great benefits to weight, the digestive system and in treating and preventing chronic illness. The BBC documentary by Dr Michael Mosley, and the evolution of the ‘Fast Diet’ or ‘The 5:2 Diet’ really made this understanding more mainstream.
This program can work spectacularly well, however it also has a weaknesses. The two (or three or one) fasting days per week are not a pure fast – it involves consuming about ¼ of the average calorific intake (500 calories for women and 600 for men) for 2 days per week, and eating ‘normally’ for the other 5 days. Herein lies the weakness. As discussed above, many or most peoples’ normal eating is far from ideal, as they fail to regulate blood sugar levels and eat far too many carbohydrates and saturated fats.
Whilst this program is effective for some as they do eat quite well during the 5 days of ‘normal’ eating, for a number of individuals this program can fail to create the desired effects.

The solution to this for me that would create the ideal eating plan that allows for weight loss or maintenance, a healthy gastro-intestinal system, a robust immune system, plenty of vitality and great sleep was to combine the strengths of the hunter-gatherer (or Paleo) programs that help to regulate blood sugar levels and reduce carbohydrate intake, with those of intermittent fasting programs, that can compensate for the odd deviation or freedom meal. The beauty of this is that each program counters the weakness of the other.

For example, eating in a way that regulates blood sugar levels will mean that when you are not on your fast days, your ‘normal’ eating will be more ideal, and the fast days allow you to have 2-3 freedom meals per week yet still maintain ideal health. This allows for a few drinks and a meal that does not entirely resemble that of our hunter gatherer ancestors when we are in social situations. In other words, we get to eat in a way that really explores optimal levels of health and well-being, yet be human at the same time.
Not a bad outcome. And it is really starting to work with clients. And compliance is far greater.

For details on this program, please contact me by emailing or phoning me at tim@timaltman.com.au or 0425 739 918.
This program can be followed by booking in for an appointment and regular check-ups, or monitoring it yourself from afar.

Article: The Real Cause of Depression and Anxiety May Have Nothing To Do With Your Mind

The Role of the Hypothalamus in Overdrive in Depression and Anxiety

A good article on depression and it’s causes – linked below.
Having worked with depression using systemic approaches for a number of years, a couple of observations from scientists and doctors mentioned in the article seem a little obvious to me, and raised the ire in me.

But at least they are starting to investigate chronic illnesses from a systemic or whole body approach now. Hallelujah!!

These observations include:
1. “Depression is not a condition that is isolated in the mind, and that the body may play a primary role in causing or preventing depression.”
2. Doctors and scientists are “starting to question whether the pharmaceutical solutions even works” – well how about that!!                                                                                                                                                                                          3. “I don’t even talk about it as a psychiatric condition any more. It does involve psychology, but it also involves equal parts of biology and physical health.”

The article talks a lot about the role of inflammation in depression and the effectiveness of good nutrition and certain nutrients to combat inflammation.
Terrific. We’ve also seen plenty of research come out on the influence of gut health on the immune system and on neurotransmitters that influence mood, sleep etc.

However, these approaches, whilst effective rarely yield complete results (in my observation and experience).

In looking for the ultimate or root cause of depression and anxiety, my belief is that scientists would also benefit in directing their attention higher (in the body or brain-stem) to the hypothalamus for it’s role in influencing inflammation, neurotransmitter levels, gut function and the immune system.

The hypothalamus is a gland that regulates all automatic functions of the body (including the gut and immune system), endocrine function, many higher brain functions including sleep cycles, cognitive function memory and neurotransmitter function.
In fact, you could say the hypothalamus is the general. It’s job is maintaining homeostasis (or balance/health in the body). In other words, it there to keep our bodies and us alive and functioning efficiently.

Effectively the hypothalamus is the link between our mind and our body.

And a hypothalamus that no longer woks harmoniously can significantly alter homeostasis in the body – depression and anxiety being one of the many resultant symptoms of a hypothalamus in overdrive.                         Many doctors and scientists (including Dr David Mickel – founder of Mickel Therapy) are starting to discover that in most people in the modern world, the hypothalamus does not wort optimally – it is very often in overdrive, especially in chronic illnesses such as depression, anxiety, IBS, chronic fatigue syndrome, fibromyalgia and many auto-immune conditions.

A hypothalamus in overdrive sends out regulatory signals to the body at a pathologically accelerated rate that can severely disrupt homeostasis in the body and results in a vast array of symptoms, including anxiety and depression. And it can severely disrupt gut function and exacerbate inflammation, further increasing these symptoms.

It has been suggested that a hypothalamus in overdrive may well be the ultimate or root cause of depression and anxiety.

To rectify this we must start at the level of the hypothalamus or the general and create harmony in the function of this link between body and mind.

Mickel Therapy addresses this by starting with correcting the communication between our primal emotional brain centres (or body-mind which serves to keep us happy, safe and comfortable with relationship to our environment by sending us primal or ‘pre-thought’ emotional signals), and the thinking or rational brain (or the mind which is the data control system for our body and serves to interpret and create action based on these emotional signals sent by the body-mind).

A healthy neural pathway or relationship between these two intelligence centres keeps us happy, safe and comfortable and we maintain homeostasis.

When this relationship breaks down, as it so often does in the modern world due to the mismatch between the world we have created and the bodies we have inherited, we internalise these emotional messages, and therefore stress, and the hypothalamus goes into overdrive; eventually producing symptoms. Effectively, we end up permanently in ‘fight or flight’ arousal.

With Mickel Therapy, we use a set of tools that targets the reason for the breakdown in communication between these two intelligence centres that is specific to each individual, then start taking action to reverse this breakdown, or create a healthy neural pathway. The result being that the hypothalamus is taken out of overdrive and symptoms start to disappear and the hypothalamus can harmoniously regulate bodily function (including gut, immune, inflammation and neurotransmitter function) and create homeostasis or optimal health.

http://www.wakingtimes.com/2015/11/23/the-real-causewith-your-mind/?utm_source=Facebook&utm_medium=PostShare&utm_campaign=TMU