wellness

Notice Your Neck While You Read This

Monday, 05 April 2010 07:43

By Mona Sulzman

A February 23 New York Times article, "Stand Up While You Read This," claims that prolonged sitting--at work, in the car, in front of the TV--not only sets you up for heart disease, high blood pressure, certain cancers, diabetes, obesity, and a shorter lifespan, but also cancels out the benefits of regular exercise. This did not surprise me.  I know people who work out hard and frequently, sit ten or more hours a day at work, and fail to lose weight, lower blood pressure, or reduce stress. Modern sedentary life, despite its fitness mania, does not support wellbeing. But as an Alexander Technique Teacher, I also know that how you sit, stand, and move, which the article completely ignores, affects your health and lifestyle choices.

The article also makes no mention of musculoskeletal problems, although back pain is the leading cause of disability in Americans under 451 and prevents many people from sitting, standing, or walking comfortably, as well as from exercising. According to New York neurosurgeon Jack Stern, 85% of people with chronic back pain have this problem because of how they sit, stand, and move. Many people come to me for Alexander Technique lessons because they long to exercise, go for long walks, or get back to Yoga, but chronic back or joint pain, a result of how they have engaged in these activities and/or how they sit, prevents them from doing so. Once they relearn how to sit, stand, and move, they gradually increase physical activity.

Read more: Notice Your Neck While You Read This

 

Homeopathy: Like Cures Like

Monday, 01 March 2010 09:49

By Jane Schantz, FNP

It is common to hear the word “homeopathic” as a general term meaning “natural” or “herbal,” but this is incorrect. “Homeopathy” refers to a specific practice of holistic health care with its own philosophy and methodology. The word comes from the Greek roots “homoios” and “pathos,” meaning “similar suffering.” This is a reference to the most basic tenet of homeopathy: like cures like. The symptoms caused by a substance will be cured by a homeopathic preparation of that substance. For example, homeopathically-prepared coffee is used to treat some kinds of insomnia. Homeopathic ipecac (formerly used in first aid kits to induce vomiting in cases of accidental poisoning) is used to stop vomiting.

Homeopathic medicines, commonly referred to as remedies, are made in homeopathic pharmacies according to precise methods. The result is an extremely dilute but potentized preparation of the original substance. (In fact, it is so dilute there may be no molecules of the original substance left, yet the essence of the substance is transmitted — but that’s a whole topic in itself!) There are thousands of remedies available, most made from plant, animal and mineral sources.

Read more: Homeopathy: Like Cures Like

Integrative Medicine: The Good News and 'Bad' News

Monday, 01 February 2010 09:03

By Jane Schantz, FNP

Integrative Medicine (IM) is a term that is becoming more familiar in American culture, but what does it mean? Simply put, it is the combination of mainstream (aka Western or allopathic) medicine with so-called “alternative therapies,” but the IM movement has a deeper, more comprehensive commitment than that. It seeks to provide holistic, individualized health care using the most appropriate of a wide variety of healing modalities, in collaboration with the patient. IM considers not only the physical and mental health, but also the emotional, spiritual, social and environmental health of the patient.

The IM movement is in its infancy. It has grown out of both consumer demand for more holistic therapies, and medical practitioners’ desire to move away from the 15-minute visit and an over-reliance on pharmaceutical therapies, to restore the healing in health care. The now-outdated term “Alternative Medicine” implicitly suggests treatments that are outside of the realm of Western Medicine (WM), a rejection of medical treatment, as well as WM’s rejection of alternative approaches to health care. This was appropriate at one time, as that was largely what was happening – patients hid their alternative practices from their medical providers for fear of being scolded or otherwise disrespected. This term was followed by “Complementary Medicine,” which reflected the effort to redefine the use of natural and other therapies as being compatible with WM, rather than exclusive of it.  The current feeling in the IM movement is that we want a seamless integration of WM with practices such as acupuncture/Traditional Chinese Medicine, aromatherapy, flower essences, herbalism, homeopathy, massage therapy, naturopathy, nutritional medicine, reiki, etc.

Read more: Integrative Medicine: The Good News and 'Bad' News

 

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