iStock photo

Nudgin curmudgeon attitudes toward better health

Yep, another ‘significant’ birthday has come and gone.  AARP has extended membership benefits to me for… well, some time now.  And while I could be considered chronologically enhanced, I don’t consider age to be the topmost descriptor of my individuality. No way!

iStock photo

iStock photo

Age is a perception thing. The sooner we drop the stubborn views of aging from our constant contemplation, the better for our health. I am thinking of deleterious assessments like mental weakness, physical feebleness, illness – and the anxieties they all perpetuate.  Must aging be repeatedly linked with these complaints?

“Perception by the five personal senses is mental,” wrote Mary Baker Eddy, “and dependent on the beliefs that mortals entertain.” Believing that age must come with significant drawbacks only perpetuates those shortcomings. I guess you could say, you are what you believe.   Read more…

iStock photo

Health is more than meets the eye

“Who are you wearing?”  The favorite opening query of many a red carpet reporter is taking on new meaning these days for anyone focused on health.

cropped-HealthInkLogo-1.jpgA new crop of designers is making a name for themselves, but you probably haven’t heard of any of them yet.  Their creations are called ‘wearables’, clothes and accessories that monitor your body’s vital signs. It’s one of the hot trends in health care.

Everything from socks to bras to bracelets is included in the drive to weave technology into everyday wear for the purpose of evaluating our health. The idea is simple enough; collect as much information as possible about what the body is doing and evaluate the data.  Search for meaning and patterns in the numbers accumulated and hope it yields some practical information that can be applied to enhance well-being.

But not everyone is convinced the numbers add up. Experts are divided on whether they can deliver on the health promises being made.  After all, wearable health sensors, biometrics, and algorithms don’t begin to tell the whole story of you.  Read more…

iStock photo

A healthy do-over

Makeovers are the rage.  Reviewing the “before and after” photos of someone’s physical alterations fascinate us. TV and internet outlets have exploited our insecurities over self-image by cranking out shows and segments that highlight superficial changes the viewer might accept as bona fide change.

Fresh hair style, makeup and wardrobe can provide a reboot needed to feel better and put a smile on your face. But do these changes contribute to a better you, to a longer and healthier life in both mind and body?  That’s questionable.

HealthInkLogo (1)What is it that creates lasting change in us and provides that spark allowing for authentic transformation?   Consider love, in this case a deep and brotherly/sisterly, Godly love.  That has been the focus of a four year initiative called the Flame of Love Project.

Over 80% of Americans directly feel God’s love according to a survey conducted by the organization funded by the John Templeton Foundation.  The findings also report a similar number “feel that God’s love increases their compassion for others.”

Three of the project’s co-directors, Matthew T. Lee and Margaret M.
Poloma from the University of Akron and Stephen Post, from the Institute for Research on Unlimited Love, collaborated on a book, The Heart of Religion: spiritual empowerment, benevolence, and the experience of God’s love, published by Oxford University Press.

Detailed interviews in the book “shed new light on how Americans wake up to the reality of divine love and how that transformative experience expresses itself in concrete acts of benevolence.”

We innately sense that altruism is good for the other guy, but there are benefits for the giver too; healthy paybacks.   Volunteerism is good medicine. That’s according to UnitedHealthcare, a division of UnitedHealth Group, the largest single health carrier in the United States. On their “do good. live well.” website, they have amassed health info from a variety of sources that should not be ignored.

Through the research compiled they conclude that volunteering:

  • Improves physical well-being: The social activities associated with volunteering have been shown to decrease heart rate and blood pressure, improve the immune system and safeguard from the effects of stress.
  • Raises self-confidence and self-esteem: Volunteering has a positive influence on social psychological factors. Confidence, self-assurance, and worth are heightened when participating in the act of helping others.
  • Encourages friendships that buffer against stress and illness:New opportunities and a fresh start come from activities like volunteering where you meet new people and get to know them.  These connections can help guard against despair and hopelessness and their associated illnesses – such as chronic pain and eating disorders.
  • Volunteering may help you live longer: Life expectancy has been shown in studies to increase through volunteer involvement.  Quality of life is improved too.

Affection, forgiveness, volunteerism and other hallmarks of love have lasting impact.  It was Jesus who long ago admonished us to, “Love others as well as you love yourself.” And this counsel is found in some form in many other sacred teachings.

Brotherly love delivers a real makeover with healthy benefits.  As Mary Baker Eddy once put it, “Love never loses sight of loveliness.”

 

iStock photo

Soul searching or data mining; distinctive pathways to health

What do you see when you look in the mirror; those funny ears, plentiful wrinkles; your physical features?  Perhaps your attention is drawn to something less evident but more significant; the glint in your eyes, your expression and demeanor, unique soulful qualities.

HealthInkLogo (1)I ask because the way you see yourself has a bearing on your health.

Philosophers, religious leaders, poets, doctors and thinkers have wrestled with the nature of man for eons. More than an intellectual exercise, the thoughtful assessment of one’s identity has pushed the boundaries of care giving and medicine.  Case in point: the advances in integrative medicine, which takes into account the multiple facets of a patient, including their bio-psycho-socio-spiritual dimensions.

Just what are we…physical, spiritual, some kind of mix?  Read more…

iStock photo

Rethinking Today’s Medicine…Are Doctors Ready?

Spontaneous remissions of incurable illness, near-death experiences, and dramatic healings from integrative methods: Mike Denny has seen it all. Making sense of it has been his life’s mission.

HealthInkLogo (1)“There are events that occur that are not measurable or explainable by ordinary science,” Denny says. The retired surgeon got his start in Detroit, before settling in California in 1969. Maybe settling is not the best choice of words, since Denny’s extraordinary career spans the globe, not to mention many decades.

Early on, Denny discovered his “magnificent obsession” to become a doctor and “protect people from death.”  He recalls his very first case as a medical student, an unordinary one, when he was assigned to a patient who happened to have a spontaneous remission of incurable cancer. His professors and hospital staff couldn’t explain it.

Like all med students, Denny had been taught the parameters of scientific observation and evaluation, and the objectivity of the patient/doctor relationship without intimacy.  Read more…