Every month, I write an e-newsletter. The headings are News, Topical Stories, Client Feedback, Tips and Quote of the Month.
here= to read my current newsletter.
click here= to read past issues
Or for now, just read a section of it here. This month's main theme was how our brain affects our bodies. I've included a Topical Story and a Quote of the Month.
How the Brain affects our physical bodies
I'The Hidden Power of the Brain', was a fascinating article in a recent 'Science in Focus' magazine. There's been a series of research investigations into how our mood, our expectations and our thoughts can affect our physical bodies.
This fact was once clearly demonstrated to me at an informal gathering, when a life coach asked me to turn in her direction as far as I could. Then she asked me to tell myself that I could go further the next time, which indeed I did do, without any more effort: -the power of self belief.
1. In a study of 70,000 nurses in the US, it was discovered that those who were most optimistic had about 15% longer lifespans (optimists better managed stress so less stress= less cortisol=less inflammation=less strain on the internal organs over time) Preliminary research also links depression to alterations in our gut micro-organisms and bacteria 'So it's logical to speculate that you might get effects in the other direction.' Dr Laura Kubzansky, at Harvard School of Public Health.
2. Over at the University of California, a decade of research has been investing the influence of our state of mind on our telomeres - that's the chunks of DNA that act as protective caps at the end of chromosomes. 'We know that higher levels of cortisol dampens down the replenishing action of telomeres.' Dr Elizabeth Blackburn, University of California. Further studies showed that the process can be reversed when the same volunteers increased their sense of well-being.
3. The Placebo effect has been recognised for centuries (and, as you can imagine, dismissed by drug companies). Dr Alia Crum, at Stanford University describes her own experiments in a TED talk: Listen to her full account here. Apparently, it only really works when the doctor is warm, friendly and shows signs of authority, such as wearing a badge. 'Our research shows that the placebo effect is alive and at play in every single medical encounter.' According to Crum, we just need to train doctors to think about what they do and say in front of patients to harness the placebo effect more effectively.
4. Other studies have shown that when a medical treatment is paired with something else, such as a sweet or a smell, that 'something else' can be produce the same effect as the medicine after a while. (Think of Pavlov's dogs.) In one study in Germany, it was found that the volunteers could produce their own natural killer cells in response to a sherbet sweet. In the future, this could mean that simple conditioning could help patients subdue pain, fight infections or calm allergies without medication.
Quote of the Month
A Massage Poem
If the GP wasn't free
Would you come to me?
Instead of eight,
You'd get sixty minutes of listening, care and attention
though, of your eight,
it could be your fate
that seven were spent on the screen.
The doctor will give you pills
and lotions and potions for all your problems and ills.
But it's me who could give you the notion
of what caused that headache, migraine, tension and ache
And you will be wiser, more in control, and able to take
those new measures, whether diet or stretch, or changes or reflection
on what put it there in the first place. And that new section
of awareness may just avoid another day of discomfort, stress or pain
so that you may not need to ever see your GP again.