Archive for Health


Now Smile

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Remember Mona Lisa? What was she thinking about?

There is more to a smile than what we usually think. Research has shown that smiling & laughing can reduce stress, improve the immune system, and even could help with recovering from certain diseases. The most famous case is Norman Cousins’ recovery from (what is now thought to be) reactive arthritis which he claims in his book “Anatomy of an Illness” he cured with mega-doses of Vitamin C and heavy doses of daily laughter. He mentions : “I made the joyous discovery that ten minutes of genuine belly laughter had an anesthetic effect and would give me at least two hours of pain-free sleep,” he reported. “When the pain-killing effect of the laughter wore off, we would switch on the motion picture projector again and not infrequently, it would lead to another pain-free interval.”

Many Eastern traditions have also incorporated laughter as part of a daily set of practices such as Laughing Yoga and Laughing Qi Gong. The power of the Taoist ‘Inner Smile’ meditations has been well documented (we teach some of those practices during our Beat Stress, Pill Free half day workshop. Check date for the next one on the schedule of all courses webpage)

Watch the Ted video below where Ron Gutman reviews a number of studies about smiling, and reveals some unexpected results.




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Need A New Kidney? Print It.

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In a few years time, this will be our daily reality.

Categories : Health, Science
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A changing environment puts pressure on the pharmaceutical industry to reshape its business model.

NY Times Drug Firms Face Billions in Losses as 2011 Patents end.


Categories : Health
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How do you define mental illness? Can you define it in the first place? On what basis (symptoms, or ‘something’ else)?  How to assess illness in the absence of observable matter?

The question is not simply rhetorical. Beyond the issue of diagnosing and giving a name to an illness in the absence of physical proof of it, billions of dollars are spent every year based on whether symptoms have officially been defined as disease, or not. And the bible of mental illness is what is commonly known as the DSM, American Psychiatric Association’s Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders.

The DSM averages $6.5 million in sales each year. And not only that. “The book is the basis of psychiatrists’ authority to pronounce upon our mental health, to command health care dollars from insurance companies for treatment and from government agencies for research. It is as important to psychiatrists as the Constitution is to the US government or the Bible is to Christians. Outside the profession, too, the DSM rules, serving as the authoritative text for psychologists, social workers, and other mental health workers; it is invoked by lawyers in arguing over the culpability of criminal defendants and by parents seeking school services for their children”. Read More→

Categories : Health
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The Cost of Health

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I came across this article by Juriaan Kamp from Ode Magazine (‘The Intelligent Optimist’).

Governments are struggling with huge forecast rises in the cost of healthcare. One of the most looked over sources of health is… food!

It is legitimate to ask why “the cost of fresh fruit and vegetables has increased by nearly 200% since 1983. That increase is 3 times greater than the increase in sugars and even 6 times greater than the increase of the price of sodas over the same period of time.”

Is something fundamentally wrong with the way we look at health?

By 2019, the average American will spend $13,652 on health care every year, according to a US government  report. They now spend an average $8,389, according to The Christian Science Monitor.
What is difficult is to understand the priorities that we set in our health care policies. We read a lot about government regulation of new medicines and therapies. We hardly read anything about the importance of the very first crucial driver of our health: our food.”

Keep reading the article.

Also on the subject, if you have not read it yet: Michael Pollan’s The Omnivore’s Dilemma.

Categories : Health
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