I’m quick to regret the label of chronic pain. I believe in the power of words and thoughts, so the idea of labeling a consistent pain as “chronic” feels like a resignation of control and possibility. For about two and a half years now, I’ve experienced persistent little nudges and discomfort in various parts of my bodies—mostly symptoms of carpal tunnel syndrome, joint pain, and the general discomfort that comes along with a desk job. Yes, I visited doctors and specialists to no avail and eventually turned to alternative healing modalities—like acupuncture, exercise, hot and cold therapy, physical therapy—searching for answers in the form of relief, management, and prevention. And while these methods worked, only temporarily so. Plus, I never feel that these practices address the root of the pain circulating throughout my body, which is sharp and rarely dormant these days.
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Reach for the hand of a loved one in pain and not only will your breathing and heart rate synchronize with theirs, your brain wave patterns will couple up too, according to a study published this week in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS).
The study, by researchers with the University of Colorado Boulder and University of Haifa, also found that the more empathy a comforting partner feels for a partner in pain, the more their brainwaves fall into sync. And the more those brain waves sync, the more the pain goes away.
Article Featured on New Life Thai Foundation You might have heard people mention the benefits of TRE for the healing of trauma and for reducing stress. TRE stands for Trauma Release Exercise. The words ‘traumatic’ and ‘traumatized’ are used casually now in everyday speech, e.g. ‘There were no dark chocolate biscuits in the meeting room today, it […]
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They say you never forget how to ride a bike, so maybe it’s time to climb aboard a two- or three-wheeler and enjoy the health benefits of cycling. “It’s socially oriented, it’s fun, and it gets you outside and exercising,” says Dr. Clare Safran-Norton, a physical therapist at Harvard-affiliated Brigham and Women’s Hospital.
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There’s nothing wrong with being a little weird. Because we think of psychological disorders on a continuum, we may worry when our own ways of thinking and behaving don’t match up with our idealized notion of health. But some variability can be healthy and even adaptive, say researchers in a review published February 20th in Trends in Cognitive Sciences, even though it can also complicate attempts to identify standardized markers of pathology.
“I would argue that there is no fixed normal,” says clinical psychologist and senior author Avram Holmes of Yale University. “There’s a level of variability in every one of our behaviors.” Healthy variation is the raw material that natural selection feeds on, but there are plenty of reasons why evolution might not arrive at one isolated perfect version of a trait or behavior. “Any behavior is neither solely negative or solely positive. There are potential benefits for both, depending on the context you’re placed in,” he says.
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Has someone ever sent you an angry email, and then you found yourself, weeks later, thinking about it while you’re wide awake at 2am?
Emotions can be a major source of distraction, according to researchers Richard Davidson and Daniel Goleman, who have chronicled what we know thus far about the meditator’s mind in a new book, Altered Traits, Science Reveals How Meditation Changes Your Mind, Brain, and Body.
In this whiteboard session for Harvard Business Review, Davidson and Goleman talk about one of the most important discoveries: repeated practice helps us untether from emotional cues that keep us mired in distraction — specifically, rumination.
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Deep breathing is an essential part of Pilates exercise. And not just a big inhale, but also when you make a conscious effort to exhale fully, getting rid of every bit of stale air and allowing fresh, invigorating air to rush in. Joseph Pilates was adamant about deep breathing. Consider this quote from his book Return to Life Through Contrology: “Lazy breathing converts the lungs, literally and figuratively speaking, into a cemetery for the deposition of diseased, dying and dead germs as well as supplying an ideal haven for the multiplication of other harmful germs.” Is that not scary?
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We’re all carrying a load, including tasks, challenges, worries, inner criticism, mistreatment from others, physical and emotional pain, loss and illness now or later, and everyday stresses and frustrations.
Take a moment to get a sense of your own load. It’s very real, isn’t it? Recognizing it is just honesty and self-compassion, not exaggeration or self-pity.
There’s a fundamental model in the health sciences that how you feel and function is based on just three factors: your load, the personal vulnerabilities it wears upon – such as health problems, a sensitive temperament, or a history of trauma – and the resources you have. As a law of nature, if your load or vulnerabilities increase – over a day, a year, or a lifetime – so must your resources. Otherwise, inevitably, you will get strained, depleted, and ground down. I’ve had times like this myself, and I’ve seen it in loved ones.
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People who have good emotional health are aware of their thoughts, feelings, and behaviors. They have learned healthy ways to cope with the stress and problems that are a normal part of life. They feel good about themselves and have healthy relationships.
However, many things that happen in your life can disrupt your emotional health. These can lead to strong feelings of sadness, stress, or anxiety. Even good or wanted changes can be as stressful as unwanted changes.
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Want to be compassionate of others? Direct some of those feelings towards yourself first. Observing with unshaded eyes how we respond to ourselves, we lay the groundwork for building a relationship with ourselves—and others—steeped in trust and acceptance, as opposed to constant dodging or denial.
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Structured exercise training can significantly improve brain function in stroke survivors, according to research presented at the American Stroke Association’s International Stroke Conference 2017.
Stroke is the fifth leading cause of death in the United States, and the leading cause of long-term disability. Studies estimate that up to 85 percent of people who suffer a stroke will have cognitive impairments, including deficits in executive function, attention and working memory. Because there are no drugs to improve cognitive function, physical activity – such as physical therapy, aerobic and strength training – has become a low-cost intervention to treat cognitive deficits in stroke survivors.
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When you’re faced with short days and chilly temperatures, you may find the couch calling out to you ever more loudly. Research indicates, though, that hibernating during winter isn’t such a good idea. According to the Mayo Clinic, diminished sunlight can cause levels of serotonin (the feel-good hormone) to drop, exacerbating our low motivation as we feel more tired and hungry. Being sedentary during winter may also trigger those prone to depression and seasonal affective disorder (SAD). The good news? A Harvard Medical School study suggests that exercise boosts both mood and health, especially during the colder, darker days of winter.
Exercise has racked up some serious points for aiding in the larger development of mind, body, and spirit functioning processes. Now, a new study states that exercise promotes and encourages intercommunication among different organs and cells throughout the body.
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Ever feel like you’ve fallen too far off the wagon when it comes to your health? Or feel like it would take a miracle to get you back on track with your goals? Fortunately for you, wellness doesn’t have to be an all-or-nothing experience. And contrary to what many people think, you don’t have to completely overhaul your lifestyle to gain more energy, balance your hormones, and heal your gut. Small changes can make a huge difference in your health and well-being. In that vein, let’s dive into six seemingly small and innocuous changes that can make a real difference in how you feel every single day:
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To be fit and healthy you need to be physically active. Regular physical activity can help protect you from serious diseases such as obesity, heart disease, cancer, mental illness, diabetes and arthritis. Riding your bicycle regularly is one of the best ways to reduce your risk of health problems associated with a sedentary lifestyle.
Cycling is a healthy, low-impact exercise that can be enjoyed by people of all ages, from young children to older adults. It is also fun, cheap and good for the environment.
Riding to work or the shops is one of the most time-efficient ways to combine regular exercise with your everyday routine. An estimated one billion people ride bicycles every day – for transport, recreation and sport.
Neuroplasticity – or brain plasticity – is the ability of the brain to modify its connections or re-wire itself. Without this ability, any brain, not just the human brain, would be unable to develop from infancy through to adulthood or recover from brain injury.
What makes the brain special is that, unlike a computer, it processes sensory and motor signals in parallel. It has many neural pathways that can replicate another’s function so that small errors in development or temporary loss of function through damage can be easily corrected by rerouting signals along a different pathway.
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When I was first learning to meditate the instruction was to simply pay attention to my breath, and when my mind wandered, to bring it back. Sounded simple enough, yet I’d sit on these silent retreats sweating through t-shirts in the middle of winter. I take naps every chance I got because it was really hard work. Actually it was exhausting. The instruction was simple enough but I was missing something really important.
So why is it so hard to pay attention? Studies show that even when we’re really trying to pay attention to something—like maybe this talk—at some point, about half of us will drift off into a daydream or have this urge to check our Twitter feed. What’s going on here? It turns out that we’re fighting one of the most evolutionarily conserved learning processes currently known in science, one that’s conserved back to the most basic nervous systems known to man.
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There is strong evidence of that aerobic exercise, strength training and condition-specific therapeutic exercise affect positively on the functional capacity of patients with chronic diseases. This is revealed in an extensive systematic analysis of published research data by the Faculty of Sport and Health Sciences, University of Jyväskylä, Finland. The systematic review of meta-analyses evaluates the effects of exercise therapy on more than twenty of the most common chronic diseases such as osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis, coronary artery disease, heart failure, type 2 diabetes, different types of cancers, and Alzheimer’s disease.
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Pilates is more than just a workout. Any person who’s been doing it for at least a couple of months knows that Pilates doesn’t only sculpt your body but it also clears your mind and gives you energy and inner serenity. But what is so special about Pilates?
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As the director of the University of Southern California’s (USC) Longevity Institute and the mind behind the ProLon Fasting-Mimicking Diet, Dr. Valter Longo is one of the world’s premier experts on health and longevity. A biochemist by training, he studies the fundamental mechanisms of aging so we can truly understand what’s happening in the body—and how to slow it down. His new book, The Longevity Diet, aims to teach us all how to eat and live for a long, active life.
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For patients with mild cognitive impairment, don’t be surprised if your health care provider prescribes exercise rather than medication. A new guideline for medical practitioners says they should recommend twice-weekly exercise to people with mild cognitive impairment to improve memory and thinking.
The recommendation is part of an updated guideline for mild cognitive impairment published in the Dec. 27 online issue of Neurology, the medical journal of the American Academy of Neurology.
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We have all heard this simple saying during times of trouble: “Take a deep breath in.” Science being science, however, indicates that we may now have to update this old adage to read “Take a deep breath in it will help you be more emotionally aware but only if you inhale specifically through your nostrils and not your mouth—good luck.”
While this may seem a lengthy tip to recall in the midst of uh-oh moments, the power of active breathing—voluntarily inhaling and exhaling to control our breathing rhythm—has been known and used throughout history. Even today, in tactical situations by soldiers, or in extreme cold conditions by the Ice Man, we know that slow, deep breathing can calm the nervous system by reducing our heart rate and activating the parasympathetic (calming) nervous system. In this way, our bodies become calm, and our minds also quieten. Recently, however, a new study has found evidence to show that there is actually a direct link between nasal breathing and our cognitive functions.
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Typically, when we think of physical rehabilitation we think of physical therapy. However, with the exceptional rise in the popularity of Pilates over the past ten years, awareness of its rehabilitative effects has increased. Doctors recommend Pilates to their clients with foot, knee, back, shoulder, neck pain and more. Physical therapists are integrating Pilates equipment and exercises into their practices, and many are trained as Pilates instructors as well.
This interesting and growing relationship between Pilates and physical therapy is what we will look at more closely in this article.
Harnessing the healing power of the mind doesn’t mean simply thinking the pain away. We can’t wish ourselves better, however much we might want that to be true.
But by harnessing pathways such as expectation, distraction, and social support we can persuade our bodies to ease off on symptoms such as pain, depression, and fatigue, as well as influence physiological functions such as the gut and immune system.
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Many of us respond to shorter days and colder weather by spending more time at our desks, or curled up on the couch—but these habits can leave us feeling stagnant. That’s why it’s important during the winter to give your spine some extra care. This 3-minute practice offers 4 exercises to stretch and strengthen the spine. If you find yourself feeling tired with the imminent approach of winter, doing this quick practice throughout the day can refresh your energy and focus. Moving from your spine gets your blood flowing, warms you up, and creates a conscious connection to your breath.
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Breathing is not just for oxygen; it’s now linked to brain function and behavior.
Northwestern Medicine scientists have discovered for the first time that the rhythm of breathing creates electrical activity in the human brain that enhances emotional judgments and memory recall.
These effects on behavior depend critically on whether you inhale or exhale and whether you breathe through the nose or mouth.
In the study, individuals were able to identify a fearful face more quickly if they encountered the face when breathing in compared to breathing out. Individuals also were more likely to remember an object if they encountered it on the inhaled breath than the exhaled one. The effect disappeared if breathing was through the mouth.
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Cara Bradley hosts a weekly podcast series called On The Verge, short blasts of advice and essential practices and strategies to shift from “crazy busy” to living with more clarity and vitality.
Are you one of the millions that seek mindfulness practices to feel calmer and more at ease? Do you hope meditation will settle your thinking mind? In this episode Cara explains how breath training calms your nervous system and ultimately works to settle a busy mind.
Cara explains that when your body feels sluggish, your mind feels sluggish. When your body feel tense, there’s a good chance your mind will feel tense too. On the other hand, a calm body often reveals a calm mind. In other words, the state of your body reflects the state of your mind.
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As a young dancer, I was dancing up to eight hours a day. I was determined and hardworking—fully dedicated to an art I loved.
The only problem? I had pain in my hip that was preventing me from lifting my left leg into a full extension. The pain became stiffness that gave me a limp when I walked, and the stiffness turned into loss of feeling in that leg. That was just the first in a series of injuries that forced me to take time off from dancing. Then I found Pilates.
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With the rise of managed health care, which emphasizes cost-efficiency and brevity, mental health professionals have had to confront this burning question: How can they help clients derive the greatest possible benefit from treatment in the shortest amount of time?
Recent evidence suggests that a promising approach is to complement psychological counseling with additional activities that are not too taxing for clients but yield high results. In our own research, we have zeroed in on one such activity: the practice of gratitude. Indeed, many studies over the past decade have found that people who consciously count their blessings tend to be happier and less depressed.
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Article by Elaine Smookler | Found on Mindful.org Change comes whether we want it or not. If we can stay open and curious to an ever-new landscape of life’s possibilities, change can actually be the key to resilience. By learning to explore what presents itself, we ride the waves of change rather than losing ourselves in the undertow.
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While there’s no question that exercise plays a part in the healthy weight puzzle, the recent rhetoric around the benefits of exercise is less about weight loss and much more about the astounding role it plays in mental health.
A recent Fidelity survey found that after paying off debt, the No. 1 thing that increases happiness is regular exercise, ranking above getting a promotion and getting married. Additionally, a recent studyout of Michigan State University and the University of Michigan asked 295 mental health patients if they wanted to start exercising more, and if they thought exercise improved their mental health.
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Aerobic exercise can improve memory function and maintain brain health as we age, a new Australian-led study has found.
In a first of its kind international collaboration, researchers from Australia’s National Institute of Complementary Medicine at Western Sydney University and the Division of Psychology and Mental Health at the University of Manchester in the UK examined the effects of aerobic exercise on a region of the brain called the hippocampus, which is critical for memory and other brain functions.
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The toll that aging takes on a body extends all the way down to the cellular level. But the damage accrued by cells in older muscles is especially severe, because they do not regenerate easily and they become weaker as their mitochondria, which produce energy, diminish in vigor and number.
A study published this month in Cell Metabolism, however, suggests that certain sorts of workouts may undo some of what the years can do to our mitochondria.
Exercise is good for people, as everyone knows. But scientists have surprisingly little understanding of its cellular impacts and how those might vary by activity and the age of the exerciser.
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I’ve been to New Zealand, and really respect and like it. There’s a Maori term – turangawaewae, “a place to stand” – that I’ve come back to many times.
I’m sure I don’t know the full meaning of the word in its cultural context. But at a basic level, it’s clear that we all need a place to stand. A physical place to be sure – hearth and home, land and sea, a bed to curl up in – but also psychological or spiritual places, such as feeling loved, a calm clear center inside, knowledge of the facts, compassion and ethics, and realistic plans.
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The human brain is a mysterious supercomputer. Billions of neurons buzz within an intricate network that controls our every thought, feeling, and movement. And we’ve only just begun to understand how it all works.
To conquer the puzzle of the human mind, researchers at Northeastern’s Center for Complex Network Research start with simpler models. The brain of a nematode worm, for example, has about 300 neurons and 2,200 synapses.
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There’s a lot to love about running. It’s cheap to get started, great for torching calories, and works well with nearly any cross-training regimen you may have. But in the ongoing bar bet of which sport is best, we believe cycling is still the overall winner. (And, we think we can prove it.) Here’s why.
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Worried about whether you’ll make the deadline, or an impending apocalypse? Gabrielle Oettingen, Ph.D., a professor of psychology at New York University and well-respected author of Rethinking Positive Thinking, has discovered a new truth about anxiety. Her latest research published in Frontiers in Psychology supports the belief that mental contrasting, a visualization technique, can help reduce our fear of future events. From achievement-related worries to romantic ones, mental contrasting helped study subjects feel more at ease.
Real talk: These days, almost all of us lead crazy-busy lives. Even with some great self-care practices in place, stress can sometimes get the best of us, compromising our immune systems and making us feel run-down. We all know the importance of keeping our immune systems in tiptop shape—but with so many other things to juggle between job responsibilities, family time, and trying to squeeze in exercise, figuring out how to boost your immunity can feel like a job in itself.
What many people don’t know is that supporting your immune system doesn’t have to be a massive undertaking. In fact, it can be pretty easy! Here are five expert tips to supercharge your system:
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In this busy world of ours, the mind is constantly pulled from pillar to post, scattering our thoughts and emotions and leaving us feeling stressed, highly-strung and at times quite anxious.
Most of us don’t have five minutes to sit down and relax, let alone 30 minutes or more for a meditation session.
But it is essential for our wellbeing to take a few minutes each day to cultivate mental spaciousness and achieve a positive mind-body balance.
So if you are a busy bee like me, you can use these simple mindfulness exercises to empty your mind and find some much-needed calm amidst the madness of your hectic day.
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We all know injuries can happen in the gym—but how many times have you heard someone say they injured their back carrying heavy luggage or lifting kids? Or tweaked their knee going on a hike or walking the dog? That’s why functional strength training is such a hot topic these days.
The American Council on Exercise (ACE) defines functional strength training as “performing work against resistance in such a manner that the improvements in strength directly enhance the performance of movements so that an individual’s activities of daily living are easier to perform.”
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Health Benefits of Good Posture We’ve all heard it before, sitting up straight and correcting our posture is important. If only we could correct our posture, the world’s problems would be solved…. Maybe that is a slight stretch of the truth, but good posture does have wonderful health benefits. It has been shown to reduce […]
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Dr Norman Doidge has travelled the world meeting people who have healed themselves using neuroplasticity—the brain’s ability to change in response to stimuli and experience. He told Lynne Malcolm how the concept may change the way we treat everything from ADD to Parkinson’s.
Scientists now know that the brain has an amazing ability to change and heal itself in response to mental experience. This phenomenon, known as neuroplasticity, is considered to be one of the most important developments in modern science for our understanding of the brain.
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Some of the health benefits of cycling include muscle toning, improved cardiovascular health, and better blood circulation. These health benefits are the reason behind the consistent popularity of cycling for many years. It is one of the simplest forms of working out as a form of moderate physical activity that is required by the human body. It is not only an exercise; it is also used as a means of transport in many countries. Using cycling helps in incorporating physical activity into your daily life. From children to the elderly, every person can easily choose cycling for a healthier life!
Pilates is one of the fastest growing workout routines in the United States and around the world. This popularity is due to the many benefits of Pilates like enhanced strength, flexibility, and agility due to regular practice. More than just a regular exercise, Pilates is recommended by physicians for rehabilitation treatment after an injury. If you are experiencing a horrible back ache, you can try Pilates, since it has proven to be beneficial for moderate to severe spinal conditions.
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We know meditation is a great way to improve our quality of life—it makes us happier, more productive, and improves our relationships. But practicing mindfulness is just as important for getting us through the hard times.
A year ago, I was faced with the greatest challenge of my life when I was diagnosed with rheumatoid arthritis at 26 years old. What started with a little pain in my feet within a couple of months had become chronic pain in my entire body. I quickly went from being a personal trainer, aerialist, and movement junkie to not being able to dress myself, cut my own food, or even tie my shoelaces.
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In the past few decades, there has been a revolution in how we perceive the body. What appears to be an object, a three-dimensional anatomical structure, is actually a process, a constant flow of energy and information.
Consider that in this very moment, your body is changing as it reshuffles and exchanges its atoms and molecules with the rest of the universe—and you’re doing it faster than you can change your clothes. In fact, the body you’re using right now as you read this article is not the same body you woke up with or even the same body that you had a few minutes ago.
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Article by Dr. Dan Siegel | Featured on drdansiegel.com Many leaders think the best way to make a decision is to focus on the logical, reasoning part of their minds. Actually, what neuroscience tells us is that there’s more to our brain than the gray matter that rests between our ears. Other parts of our […]
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It should come as a surprise to no one that physical activity and exercise is good for you. What may come as a surprise to many is just how good it can be. Research reported in the British Medical Journal last week indicates that cycling to work has extraordinary health benefits.
The research was carried out by a team of investigators at the University of Glasgow. They tracked 263,450 people for five years who traveled to work and lived in England, Scotland or Wales.
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In 2016, one in three Americans suffers from chronic pain. That’s more than 100 million Americans, more people than those who have diabetes, heart disease, and cancer combined. It costs our medical system billions of dollars and no one’s getting better. Over the years I’ve met many folks suffering from chronic pain as I’ve worked on my documentary, This Might Hurt. Here are a few of the surprising things I’ve learned along the way:
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Most people haven’t heard of the science of ergonomics, and many who have think it only applies to office-based employees.
The word “ergonomics” comes from the Greek words érgo, which means work, and nómoi, which means laws. You would think it only applies to work, but it has a much wider application as one doesn’t only “work” at work.
In essence, ergonomics is making sure that you have the correct posture, and that your equipment (such as your desk and chair) helps you in achieving this.
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A new Neuron study reports practice can alter how the brain utilizes sensory information and, depending on how the training is performed, the middle temporal area can be critical for visual perception.
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In a busy life, each day gives you dozens of opportunities to leave the Red zone and move toward Green. Each time you do this, you gradually strengthen the neural substrates of Green, one synapse at a time.
It behooves us center in Green as much as we can – using Green approaches for threats and opportunities and leave Red as soon as possible. This is the foundation of psychological healing, long-term health, everyday well-being, personal growth, spiritual practice, and a peaceful and widely prosperous world.
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With mindfulness, not only can you learn to listen to your body, you can—with practice—tell your body how you want it to feel. You can regain control, something everyone with pain wants: to control your life again and put pain in the back seat.
Mindfulness is one of the top techniques required to manage pain. Most importantly, by being mindful of our bodies and emotions, we can manage the fear of being out of control, put pain in its place, and be in command of our own lives.
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Most people all over North America are familiar with Pilates – it is still is one of the fastest growing exercises in the world. And millions more have experienced the physical fitness benefits of added strength, length, and agility that it provides.
But few know that Pilates is rapidly rising in another area – rehabilitation from injury.
Mike Hanson explains that all of the world’s wisdom traditions point out this truth: that the conventional strategy for happiness is both doomed and actually makes us unhappier. Here’s how to recognize the lies built into the conventional strategy for happiness to wake up from their spells. As you see through these lies, recognize the truth of fullness.
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Article Featured on Bozeman Wellness Center Holistic has become a buzzword in many households, health food stores, supermarkets, gyms, yoga studios, spas, and healing centers. What does it mean to be holistic? Are you taking herbs instead of antibiotics? Are you keeping your diabetes under control with diet and exercise? Do you meditate daily and […]
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Tension & Trauma Release Exercises (or TRE®) is a simple yet innovative series of exercises that assist the body in releasing deep muscular patterns of stress, tension and trauma. Watch Dr. Berceli’s introduction video.
Article by Paul Swift | Featured on BikeFit Overview This article is focused on road bike fitting and not bike sizing. Often these two descriptions become intertwined but they are completely different. With that said, fitting a road bicycle works best when you start with the right size bike; or at a minimum a bicycle […]
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We love this graphic guide to Warrior 1, except for how far back her head is. Gaze forward or slightly up, not up towards the ceiling. This pose is great for strengthening your hips, gluts quads, core, and arms. Such a strong pose! That’s why it’s called warrior! Read more below! by Amy Jirsa | Featured […]
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Article By Mary Bauer | Featured on LiveStrong Extensive research by the University of Miami’s Touch Research Institute has revealed that human touch has wide-ranging physical and emotional benefits for people of all age groups. In the Institute’s experiments, touch lessened pain, improved pulmonary function, increased growth in infants, lowered blood glucose and improved immune function. […]
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This is a fascinating video that simply explains the way our brains respond to stress, and trauma, many of which we all experience everyday, and the impact on our physical bodies, including pain, anxiety, sleep disturbance, digestive issues, and depression. Check out the video below!
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