Monday, October 22, 2007

Change Your Thoughts - Change Your Chemistry!

This article may help your pain...Check it out.

The Stoic Lucius Seneca once wrote: "It is part of the cure to want to be cured."

This simple observation reflects our current understanding of the relationship between mind and body. There is a close correlation between physical actions and mental states. Certain actions can impact our mental attitudes and our mental attitudes influence our physical being because the mind and body constantly talk to one another. The brain sends all that it thinks and perceives to the rest of the body.

An extreme example of this interconnection can be seen in the effects of voodoo. In the 1940s, Harvard physiologist Walter Cannon spent several years collecting examples of "voodoo death" -- case histories of men and women who died as a result of being the recipient of a curse, an alleged supernatural visitation or the breaking of some tribal or cultural taboo. Cannon concluded that humans could die from "the fatal power of the imagination working through unmitigated terror." Another researcher, Dr. J.C. Barker, in Scared to Death -- a collection of case histories of individuals who had willed themselves or others to death -- concluded that voodoo-like death results "purely from extreme fear and exhaustion...essentially a psychosomatic phenomenon."

How is it possible for thoughts to impact the body so drastically?

It is possible because the central nervous system and the body's immune system are hard-wired together. In 1981 neurobiologist David Felten and a team of researchers at the Indiana University School of Medicine found the first concrete example of the mind/body connection -- a bridge between the body's immune system and the central nervous system that is under control of the brain. While tracing nerves to bone marrow, lymph nodes and the spleen, Felten's team discovered a network of nerves leading to blood vessels as well as to cells of the immune system. They found that nerves in the thymus and spleen terminated near clusters of lymphocytes and mast cells, which help control immune function. In other words, the brain absolutely communicates with immune-system cells.

This establishes a close correlation between a person's mental state and physical reactions. You can generate an emotion simply by going through the appropriate muscle movements. For example, if you clench your fist and scowl, you will begin to feel anger. Force yourself to laugh and you will begin to feel good. The specific muscle action is an integral part of the corresponding emotion. You cannot hold your features in the expression of one emotion and call up the feeling of a different emotion at the same time. It is impossible to do.

Paul Ekman, Professor Emeritus at the University of California at San Francisco, is a pioneer in the study of emotions and facial expressions. His research on more than 200 kinds of smiles demonstrated that you could actually alter your emotional state and immune system by smiling or frowning. When Ekman's research subjects were trained to control their facial muscles and voluntarily form smiles, their physiological processes altered immediately and their hormones changed drastically.

So when you smile, you alter your blood chemistry. The natural opiates in your system and your neuropeptides change. These chemicals are located not only in your brain but in your stomach and intestines.

What does this have to do with hypnosis?

Hypnosis is the most powerful tool we possess for changing thoughts and attitudes. It is a trance state characterized by relaxation, extreme suggestibility and hyper-attentiveness. The subject is fully conscious, but chooses to focus internally while ignoring external stimuli.

Hypnosis allows one to access the subconscious mind directly. In this relaxed, hyper-attentive state, the subject experiences the hypnotist's suggestions as if they were real. If told that his or her tongue has swollen to double its normal size, the subject will have difficulty talking. If told that his/her hands are glued together, the subject cannot pull them apart. By the same token, the subject is receptive to suggestions that are designed to change destructive thought patterns and habits such as anxiety, depression, stress, smoking and eating disorders.

A potent example of hypnosis' power to affect physiology through the brain connection is its medical use. Since all pain is transmitted through the brain, the pain associated with surgery or medical conditions responds well to hypnosis. Hypnosis is an effective anesthesia for surgeries, dental procedures, childbirth and migraines. It also helps patients to manage nausea and symptoms from chemotherapy by enhancing control over their body responses.

The mind/body connection is the key to why hypnosis can be used so successfully to manage our physiology. Hypnosis gives us the power to alter our mental attitudes for the better; this in turn positively impacts our physical being.

In light of this potent interplay between mind and body, we would do well to take seriously the old Cole Porter song: "Accentuate the positive; eliminate the negative; latch on to the affirmative." And enjoy happy body chemistry as your reward!

Wishing you all Health and Happiness always!

Michele Brooks, RN, Editor

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Wednesday, October 3, 2007

Endometriosis: Symptoms and Treatment

Hi, This article is for those who may suffer from Endometriosis.

Endometriosis is a disorder of the female reproductive system. It is frequently painful, and may be more common than previously thought. Endometriosis occurs when the endometrium, which normally lines the inside of the uterus, becomes displaced to other parts of the body, and continues to break down and bleed.

In the normal process, the endometrium thickens each month, to prepare for possible pregnancy. If pregnancy does not occur, the endometrium eventually sheds, leading to menstruation. For some women, though, the endometrium moves to other parts of the reproductive system, including the fallopian tubes, the ovaries, and the inside of the pelvis. As previously mentioned, the endometrium will continue its usual cycle of breaking down and bleeding. When the endometrium is trapped in any place outside of the uterus, the breakdown of the endometrial tissue can lead to blood being trapped between the tissues, leading to irritation in the affected area. This trapped blood may lead to cysts, which in turn may form scars and adhesions. These scars and adhesions can lead to immediate pain and eventual fertility problems.

Endometriosis ranges from mild to severe, and it tends to worsen over time if left untreated. Some women experience no pain or discomfort, and therefore don't even know they have the disease until their physician confirms it. For other women, the signs and symptoms of endometriosis are noticeable and painful.

The symptoms of endometriosis include: Painful periods (also known as dysmenorrhea). This pain may begin several days before the menstrual cycle and continue for several days afterwards. It will often present as pain in the lower back and abdomen. Excessive bleeding. Sufferers tend to experience very heavy menstrual cycles, and may experience bleeding between cycles. Pain in the pelvic area or back. Random, deep pain in the pelvic area, during intercourse, or while ovulating can signal the presence of endometriosis. However, severity of pain is not an indicator of the severity of the diagnosis. Some women with mild endometriosis experience significant pain, while others experience little or no pain at all. Finally, infertility is another symptom of endometriosis. Sometimes, women are diagnosed with endometriosis when first seeking treatment for fertility problems.

The causes of endometriosis are uncertain; though several theories are currently being investigated. Endometriosis is most likely in women who do not have children, or who have some medical condition that impedes the normal menstrual flow. It impacts women of all ages and races. Treatment options for endometriosis include pain medications, hormone therapy, conservative surgery, and, in the most severe cases, total hysterectomy. Pain medications are used to control the pain, and hormone therapy may be prescribed when over-the-counter pain medications are not effective. Hormonal therapy is aimed at reducing the amount of endometrial growth, which will reduce the signs and symptoms of the illness. In cases where endometriosis cannot be controlled by these interventions, conservative surgery may be considered. This type of surgery focuses on removing the implants, scars, and adhesions that are likely causing the pain. In the most severe cases, total hysterectomy and removal of both ovaries is the treatment of choice. This, obviously, is best for women who either have had all the children they want to have, or who do not plan to have children at all. Unfortunately, there are no guidelines to prevent endometriosis. The best suggestion is to try and have children as soon as your circumstances allow. Endometriosis is a painful condition of the female reproductive system. It can result in pain during the menstrual cycle, and in infertility. It impacts women of all races and ages. The best defense is regular medical care, and the appropriate medical intervention if the signs of endometriosis are present.

Wishing you all Health and Happiness always!
Michele Brooks, RN, Editor

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Check it out, its great information! :)