Monthly Archives: April 2013

Biofeedback

biofeedback army medicineWhat is Biofeedback?

As spiritual beings having a human experience, we have all used biofeedback. We have used it every time we take our temperature or weighed ourselves on a scale. The thermometer tells you if your temperature is elevated. The scale measures our weight. Both devices “feed back” information about your body’s condition. The information assists us to take step to improve the condition.

Biofeedback machines act as a sixth sense which allows us to be privy to the activity going on inside our bodies. For example, electrical signals in the muscles can be translated into a form that patients can detect. The activity noted can trigger a flashing light bulb or activate a beeper every time muscles grow more tense. If a person wants to relax tense muscles, they try to slow down the flashing or beeping.

How is Biofeedback Used Today?
Biofeedback techniques grew out of the early laboratory procedures in the 1960’s. Biofeedback techniques are now widely used to treat many conditions. These include:

Migraine headaches and tension headaches
Many other types of pain
Digestive system disorders
Low blood pressure and High blood pressure
Cardiac arrhythmia
Raynaud’s disease
Epilepsy
Movement disorders, paralysis

Internists, nurses, physical therapists, psychologists, psychiatrists, and dentists all rely on biofeedback. Patients usually are taught some form of relaxation exercise. Some learn to identify the circumstances that trigger their symptoms. They may also be taught how to avoid or cope with these stressful events. Most are encouraged to change their habits, and some are trained in techniques for gaining such self-control. Biofeedback is not magic. It cannot cure disease or by itself make a person healthy. Biofeedback is a tool, one of many available to health care professionals. Thoughts, behaviors, and feelings profoundly influence our physical health.

How Does Biofeedback Work?
Scientists cannot yet explain how biofeedback works. Most patients who benefit from biofeedback are trained to relax and modify their behavior. Most scientists research has proven relaxation is a key component in biofeedback treatment of many disorders, especially those brought on or made worse by stress. It is well-known about the effects stress has on the body. Stress produces strong emotions. Many of these responses to stress are controlled by the sympathetic nervous system, the network of nerve tissues that helps prepare the body to meet emergencies by “flight or fight.”

Imagine if you get angry at your boss, your body may prepare to fight. You try to ignore the angry feelings to keep your job. Life situations such as the one above and the stress that comes with it can make you sick. Your body will automatically prepare for action, but you cannot act. We all differ in our response to stressors. In some, one function, such as blood pressure, becomes more active while others remain normal. Experts report that our physical responses to stress can become habitual. Upon repeated body arousal due to stress, one or more functions may become permanently overactive and yields actual damage to body tissues.

Biofeedback is often aimed at changing our reactions to stress that can cause pain or disease. Feedback of physical responses such as skin temperature and muscle tension provides information to help patients recognize a relaxed state of being. The feedback signal is a personal concrete way for reducing tension.

The three most commonly used forms of biofeedback therapy are:
•Electromyography (EMG), which measures muscle tension
•Thermal biofeedback, which measures skin temperature
•Neurofeedback or electroencephalography (EEG), which measures brain wave activity

How many sessions will I need?
Sessions generally lasts up to an hour. The amount of sessions coincide with what a person is being treated for. A person begins to see results within 8 – 10 sessions. The treatment of Raynaud’s disease, incontinence, or headaches require at least 10 weekly sessions and some follow-up sessions if needed. High blood pressure, usually require 20 weekly biofeedback sessions before improvement is seen. A person will be taught relaxation techniques and mental techniques that can be done at home for at least 5 – 10 minutes daily.

For more information in Biofeedback, please click here

Photo by: Army Medicine on Flickr
License: Creative Commons

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Categories: Alternative Health, Green Room | Tags: , , , , , , | Leave a comment

I is for ICEBERG

Iceberg LettuceWhat I’m about to offer you is a nutritional tip (of the iceberg) that may serve to dispel a longstanding myth about seemingly lackluster lettuce.  Once the most preferred variety of lettuce, iceberg is getting the cold shoulder from former fans, in favor of dark, leafy greens.  While iceberg lettuce is lower in both vitamins C & A, iron, potassium and calcium, there are still plenty of reasons to steer your nutritional ship towards this crisp, tender variety of lettuce.

Consider that iceberg is low in saturated fat and cholesterol and it boasts the benefits of iron, vitamins B6, K, A, and C.  It’s high in dietary fiber and contains heart healthy folate.  Trace omega fatty acids found in iceberg are essential to good health.

If you’re health conscious, you’re likely choosing your lettuces for optimum nutritional value, and this is where the iceberg falls well below the surface.  Consider however, that dark, leafy varieties of lettuce tend to be somewhat bitter and iceberg can offer a supporting role by eliminating some of the bitterness.  Iceberg’s high water content not only offers health benefits, but by combining dark leafy greens with iceberg, a moist, crunchy salad can be achieved without sacrificing nutritional value.

So, for as long as you are on tera firma, I would encourage you to (occasionally) head straight for the iceberg!

And if you are steadfast among loyal iceberg fans, consider a healthier twist on an iconic salad made popular in the 1950s at chophouses across America (and more recently, on one or two episodes of Madmen)…

The Wedge Salad Wedge Salad
Makes 4 servings

  • 1 head chilled iceberg- quartered (into 4 wedges) core removed
  • 1 medium tomato, chopped
  • 2 green onions, chopped
  • 1/2 cup + 2TBS crumbled bleu cheese divided
  • 3 slices cooked turkey bacon, chopped into small pieces
  • 3 TBS light or regular mayonnaise
  • 1/4 cup buttermilk
  • For dressing: mix buttermilk, mayonnaise and 2TBS of bleu cheese crumbles in a small bowl, set aside.
  • Place one wedge of iceberg (on its side) on each plate, top with 1/4 of dressing mixture and sprinkle with 1/4 of all other ingredients.
  • Serve immediately.

Lettuce also consider…

Christopher Columbus was said to have brought iceberg lettuce to the new world. (Pat Lunsford, Yahoo contributor)

According to Food & Think Blog:

“Introduced for commercial production in the late 1940s, Iceberg (or crisphead) lettuce was the only variety bred to survive cross-country travel (the name Iceberg comes from the piles of ice they would pack the light green lettuce heads in before the advent of the refrigerated train car). Therefore, throughout the middle of the century, unless you grew your own or dined in a high-end establishment, iceberg essentially was lettuce.”

Written By: Michelle Frati, SJC Staff Member

Categories: Body, Green Room | Leave a comment

LIVING TIPS

LIVE like you mean it

  1. Think positive thoughts.
    When you find yourself thinking a negative thought, stop it immediately by any means necessary. Slap yourself in the face, yell something positive at the top of your lungs or jump up and down. Do whatever it takes to get back to a positive mindset as such is essential for continual happiness and success.
  2. Read books.
    No explanation needed.
  3. Get in the sun.
    Superman was completely re-energized when he flew out to space and soaked in some rays and you can do the same right outside your front door (if you live in a constantly dreary place, my apologies). The sun feels amazing: your entire body will be coursing with warmth and life.
  4. Help others.
    I’ll just give you a plethora of reasons why this is a MUST:
    – Helping people has a ripple effect. If you help someone they will feel more obliged to help someone else, and so on. Pay it forward
    – You grow by giving and helping others. It can change you in ways you never expected
    – Your relationship with that person will become stronger
    – It’s the most fulfilling thing you can do on this planet. It not only feels amazing physically, you also feel like a good person
    – You might be able to call in a favor later when you need some help
    – Karma (if you believe in it)
    – Because there are more people in this world than just you
  5. Set aside a specific time to worry each day.
    Ponder all of your problems and anxieties during that time so that they will not distract you during work or moments of pleasure. This way you can be extremely efficient with your time and avoid focusing on negative things as much as possible. If you get all of your worry out of the way and have the mental fortitude to keep from reverting back to them, you will be much happier on the daily.
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6 Symptoms You Should Not Ignore!

6869336880_31ae61b74a_qWe all experience aches and pains from time to time.  Most of the time we alleviate these symptoms with medication, vitamins, healing creams and/ or natural remedies.  However, certain types of symptoms may need more of our attention and should not be ignored.  Studies have recently shown that one illness or disease can also mean that another underlying condition may be present.  It is important to be aware of these pairings so as to take the necessary precautions to prevent succumbing to these illnesses.  Listed below are 6 symptoms that doctors urge individuals not to ignore.  They include:

  1. Migraine: can shadow as Stroke or Heart Attack
  2. Endometriosis- can shadow as Melanoma
  3. High Blood Pressure- can show Diabetes
  4. Psoriasis- can shadow Heart Attack
  5. Metabolic Syndrome- can shadow Kidney Stones
  6. Asthma- can shadow Depression and Anxiety Disorders

If you experience any of these symptoms please be sure to also ask your doctor to check for both conditions to ensure optimal health.  For a more detailed description on how the above symptoms correlate, please click here.

Photo by:  Alex E. Proimos on Flickr            License:  Creative Commons

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Eckhart Tolle on Forgiveness

What does it mean to forgive?
During the course of our lives, we all experience some sort of anger, hurt, regret, punishment or grief towards another or from another. Within the confines of our drifting minds, these unbounded pages of struggle lay exposed — relaying suffering to the present moment.   How can we relieve such troubles, especially when the opportunity to reconcile seems to have passed?
Eckhart Tolle, author of the critically acclaimed The Power of Now and A New Earth, addresses such a question on his program eckhart tolle TV.
Acceptance and awareness are the keys to truly forgive self or another.  We must accept what has happened has happened and it is as it is. It seems a bit redundant but it expresses we cannot change that moment, therefore the perpetuated suffering is self-established. We exist as the self to change this moment. Through this awareness we realize we are not those past moments. They are merely fleeting illusions that our egotistical minds hold onto longer than they actually exist. Through a conscious focus on awareness for the present moment, we can find the inner light to forgive ourselves and then forgive others. Fundamentally this shifts into a realization that awareness not only brings on  personal forgiveness, but it brings on the awakening thatforgiveness is realizing there is nothing to forgive.”

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Minimize Morning Stress!

5750960959_529a1a70b4_qDo you find that your mornings are spent feeling rushed, frazzled, and overwhelming?  Do you come to work, school or meetings feeling stressed and frustrated?  Starting your mornings on the wrong foot can lead to a day filled with feelings of negativity, inability to concentrate and focus on your work, as well as distract you from your priorities of the day.  So what can you do to minimize these feelings and begin your mornings with a more refreshed, positive outlook?  The answer, experts say, is to develop a scheduled routine to help you organize and prepare for the next day.  Developing a morning routine can help you feel more in control, energized and and confident.

Some of the tips that are recommended to achieve this include:

  1. Figure out how much time you need in the morning to prepare for the day.
  2. Make a list of everything that you need to get done before you leave the house in the morning.
  3. Assess the 4 D’s- Delete, Delay, Diminish, & Delegate.
  4. Determine how long it take you to do things in the morning and time yourself.

Having a plan and routine for yourself the night before and the next morning will help diminish the amount of stress you experience once the alarm goes off.  For a complete description of the 4 steps and how to best develop a routine, please click here.

Keep in mind that your goals should be realistic for you and leave you feeling that you are now ready to conquer the day!

Photo byCourtney Dirks on Flickr             License: Creative Commons

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Emotional Freedom Technique

EFT is an emotional version of acupuncture, except without use of needles. Instead, we use a simple two pronged process. Mentally the practitioner “tunes in” to specific issues while stimulation of particular meridian points on the body are tapped on with fingertips. Properly done, EFT balances disturbances in the meridian system. EFT often reduces the length of conventional therapy procedures. In addition, the basic method is very learnable by almost everyone. No special education is required. Even children who are taught how to do this have produced beginner’s benefits with it. EFT revolves around the mind-body connection.

Our bodies are electrical by nature. In understanding what is EFT, shuffle your feet across a carpet and then touch any item made of metal. Sometimes you can see the static electricity that is discharged from your fingertip. This would be impossible unless our bodies had an electrical nature to it. In which we actually do.

The Chinese discovered a complex system of energy circuits that run throughout the body thousands of years ago. The meridians as they are called are the foundation of Eastern health practices. They form the basis for modern day acupuncture, acupressure and a wide array of other healing techniques. Western medical science focuses on the chemical nature of our body. Not much attention has been given to the subtle, but powerful, energy flows of our human bodies.

According to Gary and Tina Craig who are leading experts on EFT, “EFT gives you striking evidence that unique energy flows within your meridians because it provides the effects that let you know it is there. By simply tapping near the end points of your energy meridians you can experience some profound changes in your emotional and physical health. That’s what EFT is all about.”

Some of the positives results of EFT
•Some soldiers report that their PTSD has faded and their nightmares and intrusive thoughts have gone with it.
•Some phobias are reported to have vanished in a matter of minutes and never return.
•Pains including migraine headaches, are reported to achieve near instant relief.
•Some professional therapists report that they get deeper, faster and longer lasting results.
•Some athletes report improved performance.
•Some people with serious diseases report partial to complete symptom relief. There may be energetic or emotional contributors. Successes vary and not everyone achieves relief. Always consult with your primary care physician on all medical issues.

According to studies, emotional issues can dramatically affect our body chemistry and that, in turn, can lead to everything from chronic pain to addictions. EFT has 5 brief steps and no effort to learn and memorize. Each cycle can be performed in 30 seconds.

As per EFT Tutorial:
1. Identify the Issue: All you do here is make a mental note of what ails you.

2. Test the Initial Intensity: Here you establish a before level of the issue’s intensity by assigning a number to it on a 0-10 scale where 10 is the worst the issue has ever been and 0 is no problem whatsoever. For emotional issues, you can recreate the memories in your mind and assess their discomforts.
For physical ailments you can simply assess the existing pain or discomfort.
For performance issues you can attempt the desired performance level and measure how close you come to it.

3. The Setup: The Setup is a process we use to start each round of tapping. By designing a simple phrase and saying it while continuously tapping the KC point, When designing this phrase there are two goals to achieve:
a) acknowledge problem
b) accept yourself in spite of it

Do this by saying:

“Even though I have this _______________, I deeply and completely accept myself”.

This ______________ is the problem you want to address, so you can just insert things like:

Do not use EFT on someone else’s problem. For example, rather than, “Even though my son is addicted to drugs, I deeply and completely accept myself,” it’s better to focus on your own reaction which might be, “Even though I’m frustrated by my son’s drug addiction.” Or instead of “Even though my husband works too much…,” better to try something like, “Even though I feel alone when my husband stays late at the office…” We want to aim EFT at our part of the problem rather than trying to fix someone else’s problem.

By identifying the problem with this phrase, you “set up” the initial zzzzzt behind the scenes so the tapping has something to resolve.

The language that we use always aims at the negative. This is essential because it is the negative that creates the energy disruptions (zzzzzts) that The Basic Recipe clears (and thus brings peace to the system). By contrast, conventional methods and popular self-help books stress positive thinking and preach avoiding the negative. This sounds good but, for our purposes, it does little more than cover over the negative with pleasant sounding words. EFT, on the other hand, needs to aim at the negative so it can be neutralized. This allows our natural positives to bubble up to the top.

4. The Sequence: This is the workhorse part of The Basic Recipe that stimulates/balances the body’s energy pathways. It is the main part of the how to do EFT basics process. To perform it, you tap each of the points shown in the Sequence Points diagram (see above) while saying a Reminder Phrase that keeps your system tuned into the issue.

The Points

Top of the Head (TOH)
Beginning of the Eyebrow (EB)
Side of the Eye (SE)
Under the Eye (UE)
Under the Nose (UN)
Chin Point (CH)
Beginning of the Collarbone (CB)
Under the Arm (UA)

The Reminder Phrase is quite simple as you need only identify the issue with some brief wording. Depending on your issue, you might say the following at each tapping point.

“This sore shoulder”,
“My father embarrassed me”,

5. Test the Intensity Again: Finally, you establish an after level of the issue’s intensity by assigning a number to it on a 0-10 scale. You compare this with the before level to see how much progress you have made. If you are not down to zero then repeat the process until you either achieve zero or plateau at some level. You can also include some additional tapping points that will be introduced in the next section. Otherwise, you will likely need to “get to the roots of the issue”

For a complete tutorial on Emotional Freedom Technique, please click here

Categories: Alternative Health, Green Room | Tags: , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Listen – Digital Story

MovementIt’s natural to laugh. Humor is a good thing. However, the culture in which we live allows us to laugh at other people in the comfort of our own home in front of the television. Modern comedy pokes fun at every minority. The women are either depicted unrealistically Barbie-like or depicted as though they are wishing to be so. The undocumented wannabe-American is depicted in shows as the simple-minded criminal hiding his 20 Mexican brothers in a van while crossing a border. The undereducated and underprivileged are assumed to be stupid by the educated and privileged. The Afro-American is depicted as the unkempt drug addict in these inventive scripts. The physically, mentally, and emotionally challenged minority are sweet-natured but cumbersome with their inconvenient behaviors. The characters in comedies that are supposedly LGBT are the overtly sexual nihilists. This is what society finds funny.

Many of us were brought up on the golden rule or some other all-encompassing mantra such as “make love not war”, so for one to say that those who laugh at the stereotypes above do so because they are mean would be an overgeneralization. Here’s the thing, though: We brainwash ourselves so thoroughly that we cannot help mutating our minds with ignorant, uninspired,“us and them” mentalities. We are brainwashed to think that the derision of an individual outside of your understanding and complacent zone is accepted; “it’s all done in good sport.”

Can one call it a game when someone you hardly know, one who has never shown you any disrespect, is made to be afraid and alienated by your stares through narrowed eyes? Yes, reader, there are some men who love other men. They kiss in front of you. You feel uncomfortable. Is love disgusting? The reader’s views aside, what crime did they perpetrate? One is allowed to feel discomfiture when confronted with something new, but one ought not to be allowed to take away their freedom of expression or deride it. A devout fellow Catholic, Carole Cella once told her Spiritual Care Companion Trainee at St. Catherine of Sienna Hospital one night that people just wish to be heard. With that insightful thread, one considers that liberty is what America was founded on—freedom of speech in all its forms. That includes the implied freedom to be.

All groups, all people have been discriminated against at one time or another in history. Could then we not be ignited by some sense of solidarity with one another? To the non-religious community, one could demand for society in general to stand by their friends and the friendless in their being. If solely for the sake of national kinship, so be it. No one likes their right to be heard to be revoked even within the dictates of manners, so why not let people express themselves?

Even if there was no higher power—compassion a human wouldn’t be human without it.

For fellow Christians, “judge not, lest ye be judged” (Matthew 7: 1). For fellow Catholics, one humbly remembers: “This is My Beloved Son” in Mark 9:8, “listen to Him”. To both groups, are we not all the Almighty’s adopted sons and daughters? Therefore, followers are to listen to all. Songwriter David Haas gives God a voice in his hymn “You Are Mine”: “I will come to you in the silence”. So, listen. Again, the Lord said whatever you do for the least of My brothers, you do for Me in Mathew 25: 27. Therefore, it is as if humankind itself is St. Veronica’s veil. Take it to your heart, embrace it, and say, “In the name of Christ, sibling, you are loved”. For Him you can love.

“Fear is the opposite of love,” interprets counselor Jacqueline Merriweather. Yes, reader fear is natural, but don’t let fear get in the way of your capacity to love. “Fear comes from doubt”, a fellow Campus Crusader reminded once. If you are afraid, displace your worry with prayer. God hears all. His followers follow suit, no?

This question is for all readers: really, do we want to repeat a past of hatred and animosity?

This essay does sound a bit preachy, doesn’t it? Ah, words! It was the Buddha that said, “What good will they do you if you do not act upon them?”

One will “act upon them” by partaking in the National Day of Silence on April 19th in honor of the friends of the LGBTQA—Lesbian, Gay, Bi-sexual, Transgender, Questioning, and Allies—Community here at St. Joseph’s College. It is in honor of all fellow Americans who count themselves among a minority–just like women, the illegal alien, the Afro-American, and the disabled—just like…you and me.

If you missed this day, take a few moments now in silence…

Written By: Mary Rose Bernadette Rodriguez, SJC Student

Photo By: Theophilos   License: Creative Commons

Categories: Reflections | Tags: , , , | Leave a comment

Aesop’s Fables: The Hare & The Tortoise

A tortoise and a hare had a race. Over-confident, the hare elected to take a nap enroute, sure of regaining the lead. Nonetheless, the plodding tortoise reached the finish line first.

MORAL

Slow and steady wins the race.

Aesops Fables

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Ellie’s Eats Baked Goods

image

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