BPA Ban Continues in California

Today  we all get a victory lap.  I've blogged and posted video's about the dangers of BPA's for PMS, menstrual cramps, menopause symptoms and today BPA's are that much closer to being banned in food products. 

The Governor of California signed a bill today to reduce bisphenol-A (BPA's)  to trace amounts in baby products. This new California law follows on the heels of 10 other states, Canada and the European Union. The tide is turning and hopefully soon we will see a complete ban on this toxic chemical in our food supply.   

Canned food is still allowed to be lined with BPA's  in the U.S., Health Canada has acknowledged the risks involved with this practice and banned BPA's in Canada completely.

BPA's enter our bodies without us knowing about them.  They are widely used in plastic water bottles and when we drink this water we unknowingly ingest these harmful endocrine disrupting chemicals. They attach to hormone receptor sites and act like hormones in the body.   BPA's can lead to a host of health problems including PMS, breast cancer, early puberty and exacerbate menopause hot flashes and night sweats in the body. 

Placenta Cookbook Now Available, Really!

What is it about consuming a human placenta, used for centuries in Traditional Chinese Medicine, that seems to capture our attention?  Other mammals eat their placenta’s immediately after giving birth, only humans have been historically out of sync.

I must qualify that statement, Westerners have been out of sync. Asian cultures have not lost touch with this idea.  There are several thousand Chinese herbs documented in use for over a thousand years.  500-600 hundred are commonly used today and human placenta falls into the commonly used Chinese herb category.  

This growing trend of bringing home a new moms placenta, has been practiced in the East without fanfare.  Moms and grandmothers have known for centuries the health benefits of preparing a placenta with Chinese herbs to help a new mother recuperate from labor and promote lactation.  The placenta is packed with hormones, vitamins, minerals, blood cells and has a wide variety of health benefits.  Most well known may be milk production but if you’ve ever spoken to a mom who has consumed her placenta all tell endless stories about improved energy, faster healing from child birth.

Recently New York Magazine wrote about the latest trend and a new book called “The Placenta Cookbook”.  Congratulations to the author for writing the first cookbook of it’s kind.   Just when we thought every possible food group recipe had been written, this authors delivers something new.  I haven’t seen the book so I’m not sure if she talks about preparing placenta with Chinese herbs. It’s a true skill and not to be undertaken without some training.

I’ve written about Tom Cruise eating placenta before and it has been a popular blog post. Personally I would opt for my placenta made into capsules.  I recommend hiring a qualified dula to prepare the placenta with herbs in accordance with Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM).  The expense is certainly worth it to safety reap all the benefit from your afterbirth.  

Read more on this topic:  

Eating the Afterbirth, A Chinese Medicine Tradition


Chinese Herbs For Brain Cancer

Natural alternative for brain cancerCould it really be possible the compound known as indirubin, one of the active ingredients in traditional Chinese herbs could block the growth of glioblastoma brain tumors? 

U.S. researchers at the Ohio State University Comprehensive Cancer Center — Arthur G. James Cancer Hospital and Richard J. Solove Research Institute, says YES, the Chinese herbs have proven this in mice, and now research will proceed with humans.

The Chinese herb formula known as Dang Gui Long Hui Wan consists of 10 herbs which was originally published in a Chinese text named the Dan Xi Xin Fa (Dan Xi's Heart Approach) in 1347 CE.  The same Chinese herbal medicine formula has been used for treatment of chronic myelogenous leukemia (CML).1

The findings on indirubin and this novel therapeutic strategy for brain tumors was recently published in the Journal Cancer Research.  Although research on indirubins has been ongoing for years this is the  first time indirubin drugs  have improved survival in glioblastoma and these agents were found to inhibit two of the most important hallmarks of this malignancy, tumor cell invasion and angiogenesis.

This is incredible news for the approximately 13,000 Americans who die each year due to glioblastoma. "Overall, our findings suggest that indirubins reduce tumor invasion and tumor vasculature because of their antimigratory  effects on both tumor and endothelial cells," said  Antonio Chiocca  MD. 

(In memory of David Servan-Schreiber, Author of  Anticancer.  "Death is part of life. It happens to everyone. Profit from now, do the important things."


1. Memorial Sloane Kettering Cancer Center clinical summary of Indirubin extract:   http://www.mskcc.org/mskcc/html/69262.cfm

2.  American Assoc. of Cancer Research:     http://cancerres.aacrjournals.org/content/early/2011/06/21/0008-5472.CAN-10-3026

"Indirubins decrease glioma invasion by blocking migratory phenotypes in both the tumor and stromal endothelial cell compartments" Shante Williams, Michal Nowicki, Fang Liu, Rachael Press, Jakub Godlewki, Mahmoud Abdel-Rasoul, Balveen Kaur, Soledad Bernandez, Antonio Chiocca and Sean Lawle

natural alternatives for breast cancerDear Friends, Moms, Sisters, Daughters, Aunts & Grandmothers,

We have all been effected by women who have fought breast cancer.

Formaldehyde in hair-straighteners, heavy metals in makeup, phthalates in perfume and parabens in lotion are chemicals linked to cancer and do NOT belong in our everyday cosmetics, yet current law allows it.

That's why many organizations including the  Breast Cancer Fund has been rallying for major change in the cosmetics industry for six years, on behalf of people affected by breast cancer and as a founding partner in the Campaign for Safe Cosmetics.

Now we—and you—have a voice and a vehicle in Congress for truly safe, nontoxic cosmetics. On Friday June 24, 2011,  Rep. Jan Schakowsky (D-Ill.), Tammy Baldwin (D-Wisc.) and Edward Markey (D-Mass.) introduced the Safe Cosmetics Act of 2011 in the U.S. House of Representatives.

This bill (H.R.2359) would give the FDA the authority it needs to ensure that personal care products are free of chemicals linked to cancer, birth defects, infertility and other serious health problems.

We hope you'll help to move this bill through Congress. 


Cathy Margolin, L.Ac. Dipl OM

Pfizer Owes $58 Million to Women With Breast Cancer

Breast Cancer awareness is an important part of breast cancer prevention“Wyeth refused to accept responsibility for what it did to these brave women,”  Zoe Littlepage,  a lawyer for Rowatt, Scofield and Forrester, said in an e-mailed statement. “Wyeth can’t hide any more. These women will finally see justice.”

The worlds largest drugmaker, Pfizer, has been denied an appeal by the U.S. Supreme Court for it’s drugs Premarin and Provera, both still on the market.   The Nevada Supreme Court  concluded jurors properly held Pfizer’s Wyeth responsible for hiding the breast-cancer risks of Premarin and Prempro in 2007.

Pfizer has been punished for creating an atmosphere of false promises and hiding the evidence that showed significant risks factors for breast cancer for women taking Premarin and Provera.

Annual sales of Wyeth’s Hormone Replacement Therapy for menopause symptoms exceeded $2 billion before a 2002 study, sponsored by the U.S. National Institutes of Health, suggested that women using the medicines had a 24 percent higher risk of breast cancer.

Until 1995, many patients combined Premarin, Wyeth’s estrogen-based drug, with progestin-laden Provera, made by Pfizer’s Pharmacia & Upjohn unit. Wyeth then combined the two hormones in Prempro. The drugs are still on the market.

If you are taking these drugs consider a natural herbal alternative to HRT, Hormone Replacement Therapy that has withstood the test of time.

Pain Killers & Drug Overdoses Now Higher Than Gun Shot Cases

Drug abuse treatment with herbsOnce upon a time we were a nation where statistically more people died of gunshot wounds than from legal drugs.   This statistic has now been turned upside down.  Whether it's from sleep aids or pain killers, legal drugs can lead to death.

Drug Abuse… make that "Legal Drug Abuse"… is now our nations fastest drug problem.

Seems ironic because legal drugs can only be obtained by prescription. Doesn't that make the doctors the problem?  I can't answer that, either way the FDA has a new action plan as of April 18th, 2011, a plan to fight the prescription drug abuse epidemic.

The Obama Administration now urges "education on opioid risks and benefits" to educate doctors on proper pain management.  Isn't this something doctors should already know? 

Approximately 38,000 (drug-induced deaths) people died UNINTENTIONALLY from drug overdoses in 2007 according to the Center for Disease Control. (Numbers  are not yet available for the last couple years.)  

More people died of legal drug overdoses unintentionally than from gunshot wounds in 2007. 

When looking for a statistic on how many people die from herb overdoes in 2007 the number is ZERO.  Just to compare apples to apples, we won't look at other years (where the number of herb deaths from unintentional overdoses are also zero.) Zero drug overdoses from herbs or herbal remedies.

Zero deaths from herbs, whether they are Chinese herbs, Ayurvedic herbs, Western herbs any herbal remedies or herbal supplements, deaths are zero. Yet, approximately 27,000 people died because doctors prescribe to many pain killers.  I would more aptly call them people killers.  

The drugs that kill include all those extended-release and long-acting opioid medications hydromorphone, oxycodone, morphine, oxymorphine, morphone, methadone, and transdermal fentanyl.  In addition, the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration reports that hospital emergency department visits involving prescription drug abuse have doubled just over the past 5 years.

Overdoses from crack cocaine and others illegal drugs, are not even close to the same problematic level.

I for one and happy to see attention being brought to this national health crisis.  We need a healthcare system that delivers preventative medicine.  Natural medicine such as herbs that can treat the root causes of pathologies,  not drugs that cover up symptoms while creating mass havoc in the body with side-effects, including the unintentional side-effect of death.

Concern about Canned Food and Breast Cancer Risks

Prevent Breast cancer with Chinese herbsWe are telling canned food manufacturers to stop using BPA's.  We want this toxic chemical Bisphenol A, out of food.

More than 15,000 people so far have asked Campbell Soup Co., Del Monte Foods and General Mills (maker of Progresso, Cascadian Farm and Muir Glen) a simple question: What are they doing to get BPA out of their food packaging and out of our bodies?

Here's what the companies that wrote us back to you had to say:

"Muir Glen continues to believe BPA is safe. However, we know that some of our consumers have wanted us to pursue alternatives" –General Mills

"Scientific and governmental bodies worldwide have examined the science many times and have concluded that the weight of evidence supports the safety of BPA" –Progresso Soup

This sounds more like corporate talking points instead of concern for the health and well being of consumers.

More than 200 scientific studies have shown that there is reason for concern about BPA, which is plenty to convince these "consumers" that it doesn't belong in food. But are these companies really taking our concerns seriously? It sure doesn't sound like it.  BPA's are endocrine disrupting chemicals.  What this means is they effect your hormone levels.  When hormone levels are disrupted over long periods of time, i.e. estrogen dominance can result in excessive PMS, extreme menstrual cramps, dysmenorrhea and high estrogen levels can feed cancer cells. 

We're keeping up the pressure on these companies to move quickly and safely to replace BPA in their products.

Canada has already banned the product and other countries are about to follow.

With your help we can make a difference. 

Tell the food manufacturers you have stopped buying canned food and ask your friends and family to take action.  Start today!

As Margaret Mead so appropriately said:   "A small group of thoughtful people could change the world. Indeed, it's the only thing that ever has".

For more information on the studies associated with BPA's and breast cancer please check  the Breast Cancer Fund website.



Reduce Your Breast Cancer Risk By Reducing Your BPA levels in 3 days

This is a great article about BPA's and how to limit your exposure of BPA's  from the Breast Cancer Fund.   The Breast Cancer Fund is a non-profit organization working on education us on risk factors contributing to breast cancer.  Please tell your friends to join the awareness movement and stop buying canned foods until our government,follows what many others have done and puts a complete ban on BPA's in our foods.  How can we fight cancer when our government allows cancer causing chemicals in the lining of our food cans.  Am I the only one who thinks this is complete insanity?  Read and pass on. 

March 29, 2011 Breast Cancer Fund Blog

We know BPA is all around us, and the CDC tells us the chemical is in almost 95 percent of us. And we know that laboratory studies have linked BPA to breast cancer, along with a whole host of other serious health problems. But what is the leading source of the BPA that contaminates our bodies? If we removed that source, how much would our BPA levels drop?

The Breast Cancer Fund and Silent Spring Institute conducted a study, published in Environmental Health Perspectives, to find out. We enlisted five families for a week-long investigation. First, the families ate their normal diets. Then, we provided them with three days’ worth of freshly prepared organic meals that avoided contact with BPA-containing food packaging, such as canned food and polycarbonate plastic. Finally, the families returned to their normal diets. We measured their BPA levels at each stage.

While the families were eating the fresh-food diet, their BPA levels dropped on average by 60 percent. Those with the highest exposure levels saw even greater reductions: 75 percent.

These groundbreaking results tell us that removing BPA from food packaging will eliminate our number one source of BPA exposure.

Here’s a summary of the kinds of changes we made to the family’s diets and how you can replicate them in your own kitchen:

– Switch to stainless steel and glass food storage and beverage containers.
– Move foods to ceramic or glass food containers for microwaving.
– Consider a French press for coffee – home coffee makers may have polycarbonate-based water tanks and phthalate-based tubing.
– Eat out less, especially at restaurants that do not use fresh ingredients.
– Limit canned food consumption.  Download our 10 canned foods to Avoid Wallet card  for your next shopping trip. And share it with people you care about.
– Choose fresh fruits and vegetables when possible, and frozen if not.
– Soak dried beans for cooking (you can make extra and freeze them).

While we can take steps to reduce our BPA exposure, we need big-picture solutions to ensure that everyone is protected from this chemical. That's why we're telling industry and government that we want safe, non-toxic food packaging now. We’re urging our elected officials to pass laws that will eliminate harmful chemicals from food packaging. We’re demanding reform of the broken system that allows these chemicals to be in our food packaging in the first place. Thanks for lending your voice to this critical work.

Natural Herbs and Supplements for Radiation

Natural herbs and supplements for radiation exposureDo you know how much radiation affects us everyday?  Do you ever get x-rays, CAT scans or dental x-rays?  Do you use a laptop, microwave or sleep in a building that has wi-fi?  Do you have power lines near your residence, do you breath air?

Do you… do you??  Radiation is pretty hard to avoid these days.  As you’ve probably heard small amounts won’t really hurt.. it’s the accumulation of radiation that can be damaging to our cells. 

So what’s a person to do and still stay sane (and healthy) in the 21st century when living in a cave is not an option?

Here’s two of my favorite experts, with advice on how to reduce the effects of radiation.  

1.  Lu Chih-hong, president of the Sheng Te Tang Chinese Medical Hospital in Taichung City, central Taiwan, suggests more GREEN TEA!!    Tea, is a common medicinal drink in Asia,  it contains a variety of substances including Camaellia sinensis, Vitamin C, Vitamin E, and lipo-polysaccharide, that can help people combat the effects of radiation. According to Lu, Camaellia sinensis is the main substance that helps human bodies discharge radiation contamination. C. sinensis can absorb as much as 90 percent of the radioisotopes in the human body and discharges it before it reaches the bone marrow. He added that C. sinensis also helps human bodies take up Vitamin C more effectively, creating more blood and making capillary blood vessels more resilient. This reduces the possibility of getting Jod-Basedow syndrome, a hyperthyroid disease one can acquire after taking potassium iodide to combat radiation poisoning.  Master Sheng Lun, who has dedicated many of his years to organic farming, said drinking tea is even more helpful than taking potassium iodine tablets, because tea prevents radioactive materials from being absorbed into the body and accelerates the body’s metabolism of such substances.  Go for the organic green tea, to avoid and pesticide residues.

2.  Dr. Tieraona Low Dog is an MD at the Center for Integrative Medicine at the Univ. of Arizona who works with Dr. Andrew Weil.  She recommends foods and herbs to help protect us. She said that there is reason to believe that taking two to four grams of curcumin, the active compound in turmeric, can help protect a number of body tissues. In addition, reishi and cordyceps mushrooms can protect bone marrow from toxic assaults, and antioxidants can help the body defend itself from radiation damage.

Other notable foods to include in your diet are:

  • Garlic (one Indian tribe living in the desert of Nevada used to eat bulbs of raw garlic to help protect against radiation from the above-ground nuclear tests)
  • Foods rich in beta-carotene ie carrots, Kale, green leafy vegetables.
  • Ginger
  • Curcumin – the active ingredient in turmeric which, in turn, is in yellow curry (available in Indian and Thai dishes).
  • Many types of seaweed 
  • Miso (The longer the fermentation the better)
  • Vitamin D3
  • Vitamin E 
  • American Ginseng (studies have found American Ginseng helped prevent damage from cesium-137)
  • Rhodiola, a Chinese herb and  adaptogen
  • Holy Basil
  • Chlorella, a blue-green algae
  • Spirulina, a blue-green algae available at health food stores
  • Tomato extract (Lycopersicon)
  • Sesamol (an extract from sesame seeds, just eat sesame seeds)
  • Beta-glucan (a yeast derivative)

Because we live in a world with radiation around us 24/7 adding these foods and supplements to your diet at any time will help your cells cope with the onslaught of radiation that we live with everyday. 

Wrong, Wrong, Wrong, Oatmeal Unpluged

Excuse the short deviation from my usual blogs on Chinese herbs and Traditional Chinese Medicine, (TCM)

The the fact is, everything that is wrong with our food supply and as a result our health, is reflected by McDonald's oatmeal.  Read on! 

Silly, gullible me, when I first heard a radio commercial advertising this new "healthy choice" McDonald's oatmeal, I actually thought it was a great new day and MickeyD's  had seen the light.  


How To Make Oatmeal Wrong


There’s a feeling of inevitability in writing about McDonald’s latest offering, their “full of wholesome” — also known as oatmeal. The leading fast-food multinational, with sales over $16.5 billion a year (just under the GDP of Afghanistan), represents a great deal of what is wrong with American food today. From a marketing perspective, they can do almost nothing wrong; from a nutritional perspective, they can do almost nothing right, as the oatmeal fiasco demonstrates.

One “positive” often raised about McDonald’s is that it sells calories cheap. But since many of these calories are in forms detrimental rather than beneficial to our health and to the environment, they're actual quite expensive — the costs aren’t seen at the cash register but in the form of high health care bills and environmental degradation.

Oatmeal is on the other end of the food spectrum. Real oatmeal contains no ingredients; rather, it is an ingredient. As such, it’s a promising lifesaver: oats are easy to grow in almost any non-extreme climate and, minimally processed, they’re profoundly nourishing, inexpensive and ridiculously easy to cook. They can even be eaten raw, but more on that in a moment.

Like so many other venerable foods, oatmeal has been roundly abused  by food marketers for more than 40 years. Take, for example, Quaker Strawberries and Cream Instant Oatmeal, which contains no strawberries, no cream, 12 times the sugars of Quaker Old Fashioned Oats and only half of the fiber. At least it’s inexpensive, less than 50 cents a packet on average. (A serving of cooked rolled oats will set you back half that at most, plus the cost of condiments; of course, it’ll be much better in every respect.)

The oatmeal and McDonald’s story broke late last year, when Mickey D’s, in its ongoing effort to tell us that it’s offering “a selection of balanced choices (and to keep in step with arch-rival Starbucks) began to sell the cereal. Yet in typical McDonald’s fashion, the company is doing everything it can to turn oatmeal into yet another bad choice. (Not only that, they’ve made it more expensive than a double-cheeseburger: $2.38 per serving in New York.) “Cream” (which contains seven ingredients, two of them actual dairy) is automatically added; brown sugar is ostensibly optional, but it’s also added routinely unless a customer specifically requests otherwise. There are also diced apples, dried cranberries and raisins, the least processed of the ingredients (even the oatmeal contains seven ingredients, including “natural flavor”).

A more accurate description than “100% natural whole-grain oats,” “plump raisins,” “sweet cranberries” and “crisp fresh apples” would be “oats, sugar, sweetened dried fruit, cream and 11 weird ingredients you would never keep in your kitchen.”

Since we know there are barely any rules governing promotion of foods, one might wonder how this compares to real oatmeal, besides being 10 times as expensive. Some will say that it tastes better, but that’s because they’re addicted to sickly sweet foods, which is what this bowlful of wholesome is.

Others will argue that the McDonald’s version is more “convenient.” This is nonsense; in the time it takes to go into a McDonald’s, stand in line, order, wait, pay and leave, you could make oatmeal for four while taking your vitamins, brushing your teeth and half-unloading the dishwasher. (If you’re too busy to eat it before you leave the house, you could throw it in a container and microwave it at work. If you prefer so-called instant, flavored oatmeal.

If you don’t want to bother with the stove at all, you could put some rolled oats (instant not necessary) in a glass or bowl, along with a teeny pinch of salt, sugar or maple syrup or honey, maybe some dried fruit. Add milk and let stand for a minute (or 10). Eat. Eat while you’re walking around getting dressed. And then talk to me about convenience.

The aspect one cannot argue is nutrition: Incredibly, the McDonald’s product contains more sugar than a Snickers bar and only 10 fewer calories than a McDonald’s cheeseburger or Egg McMuffin. (Even without the brown sugar it has more calories than a McDonald’s hamburger.)

The bottom-line question is, “Why?” Why would McDonald’s, which appears every now and then try to persuade us that it is adding “healthier” foods to its menu, take a venerable ingredient like oatmeal and turn it into expensive junk food? Why create a hideous concoction of 21 ingredients, many of them chemical and/or unnecessary? Why not try, for once, to keep it honest?

I asked them this, via e-mail: “Why could you not make oatmeal with nothing more than real oats and plain water, and offer customers a sweetener or two (honey, the only food on earth that doesn’t spoil, would seem a natural fit for this purpose), a packet of mixed dried fruit, and half-and-half or — even better — skim milk?”

Their answer, via e-mail and through a spokesperson (FMO is “fruit and maple oatmeal”): “Customers can order FMO with or without the light cream, brown sugar and the fruit. Our menu is entirely customizable by request with our 'Made for You' platform that has been in place since the late 90s.”

Oh, please. Houere’s the thing: McDonald’s wants to get people in the store. Once a day, once a week, once a month, the more the better, of course, but routinely. And if you buy oatmeal, they’re o.k. with that. But they know that, once inside, you’ll probably opt for a sausage biscuit anyway.

And you won’t be much worse off.

Integrating Supplements and Chinese Herbs Into Western Medicine

It's been nearly a month since I had a chance to listen to an incredible group of M.D's  talk about what "Wellness" looks like today.  So I've had a little time to discuss the topic and think it over.

Is wellness not missing work?  Is it simply feeling healthy?  Wellness, no doubt looks and feels different for different people.  I believe wellness starts with the right information.  Information on how to stay healthy no matter what age you are and information on how to be well if you don't feel well now.   

But what else? What do you really need, to stay "well"?  Are wellness supplements needed and which ones will really make a difference?    This was the central theme of the 8th annual conference called Natural Supplements: An Evidence Based Update held in San Diego by the Scripps Center for Integrative Medicine.  If you are not familiar with the term Integrative Medicine it's about time you should be. 

Dr. Tieraona Low Dog, one of the many incredible presenters over the weekend said it best, "Integrative medicine just makes sense—it is a re-emergence of viewing the patient as a whole human being, a person with a rich story, a history and set of beliefs and a culture that you must consider in the co-creation of a treatment plan."  Dr. LowDog is on the faculty of the Arizona Center for Integrative Medicine  at the University of Arizona where she currently serves as the Director of the Fellowship. Dr. Andrew Weil has this to say about her, "Dr. Low Dog is one of the world's leading authorities on botanical medicine & dietary supplements."  

Over the course of three days of lectures there was an wealth of information, certainly too much for this blog.

But in regards to "Wellness"  a review of natural supplement research presented by Dr. Joseph Betz discussed the "Best Supplements of the Year".   In his review of scientific literature, six of his top nine supplement list were Chinese herbs.  Six on the "BEST of 2010" list. How Fantastic!!  These 6 Chinese herbs have been studied repeatedly and systematic reviews have been published in the most popular medical journals. 

They are:  (in alphabetical order) 

1.  Bilberry –  (Man Yue Ju)   (Active ingredient Anthocyanidins)

2.  Ginko Biloba – (Bai Gou)

3.  Milk Thistle – Silybum Marianumn – (Shui Fei Ji)

4.  Pepperment (Bo He)

5.  Red Yeast Rice – (Hong Mi or Chi Qu)

6.  Thunder God Vine – Tripterygium Wilfordi Hook (Lei Gong Teng)

Just for the record the other three natural supplements on Dr. Betz's list for 2010 were Pomegranate Juice, Echinacea and Cranberry Juice.

It will take at least another blog or more to talk about all the benefits of these amazing herbs. For now, we in Chinese herbal medicine fields feel somewhat vindicated that Western medicine is beginning to catch up and recognize what Asian cultures have known for centuries.  Finally the Western literature begins to surface on Chinese herbal remedies. 


Note: Dr. Joseph Betz works at the Office of Dietary Supplements at the National Institute of Health (NIH)

Mindfulness is as Effective as Anti-Depression Meds

Stress Relief Herbs and AcupunctureSince today we need a 'research study' to validate that something truly has value, here's one for you. 

A study just published in the Archives of General Psychiatry found that depression can be treated with "mindfulness" more effectively than with an antidepressant drug or a placebo.  Since according to the National Institute of Health (NIH) there are 14 million or so Americans suffering from depression, I'm doing my part in spreading the word. 

What exactly is "mindfulness"?  Generally it refers to being in the present moment.  It incorporates meditation and "helping patients watch their feelings and  thoughts in a way that lets them work with them differently", said Zindel Segal of the Center for Addiction and Mental Health, in Toronto, Ontario.

Participants who received mindfulness therapy learned how to meditate on their own for 40 minutes a day, in addition to going to a session with a therapist.

"It’s kind of like going like going to the gym and working a muscle, except in this case you’re not working a muscle in your body, you’re working the muscles in your brain that help you understand and control your emotions," Segal said.  Ahh,  this might explain the popularity of yoga studios, we become mindful when doing yoga.

Now if you live in San Diego there is a place called "The Healing Playground" at Herbin Acupuncture and Wellness which is the perfect place to exercise your "Mindfulness". 

The founders and creators of this incredible "Healing Playground" concept are Lori Powell and  Lara Koljonen, who is also a Licensed Acupuncturist.   It's a place to carve 30 minutes (or more if you like) out of your day to listen to meditation cd's, relax in a zero gravity chair or sofa and rejuvenate.  This is an alternative to the standard coffee house.  It’s a place that will help you gain perspective, de-stress and unwind. You can drink a cup of organic tea or use many of the healing stations at your fingertips such as the biofeedback stress reduction station, a dvd station with movies centered around healing and emotional health, or aromatherapy audio programs on everything from breast health to meditation and more.

If you don't have a "Healing Playground" near you create your own meditation spot in a small corner of your favorite room.  Adding some mindful meditation or Chinese herbs to your life will help you relax and de-stress. A great option before succumbing to the soon to be out-dated anti-depressant drug therapy.


(The National Institutes of Health was established by the United States Congress to support the mission of the National Institutes of Health—improving health through scientific discovery.)