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Wednesday, 16 June 2010 06:05 - Healthy Tips Newsletter December 2009

Posted Jun 16 2010 3:05am

December 2009
Monthly Health Tips Newsletter

Accessing Resources for Empowerment(tm)

This issue contains:

More on Biofeedback
Food Feedback

One of the ways in which biofeedback is really useful for me as a psychotherapist and medical practitioner, is that it doesn't lie. Biofeedback shows me, and the patient, exactly what is going on in their body at a specific time and over a specific time period. The question often comes up from patients regarding what is affecting what - in other words, "Is the external stress the issue, or is it something inside of me that I can change?"  Of course my answer is that it is always something inside of us that we can change when we see something "out there" that is troubling or stressful. Then the next question is, "How do I change my response?"  What I am discovering in the biofeedback process is that it can be a number of different things that can shift, so that our heart rate variability (HRV), (see November 2009 Newsletter for HRV explanation), can shift into a pattern of synchronicity between the heart and the brain - something called coherence.
Quite honestly, it is sometimes simply a matter of getting the person to breathe in a slower, deeper, quieter and regular pattern. Often that breathing is what we call diaphragmatic - that is the diaphragm contracts as we breathe in, and consequently our stomach moves out during the in-breath.  This actually triggers the relaxation response, and is often enough to bring the HRV into a pattern of synchronicity with the brain - in short, the more regular the heart rate variability, the less stress we experience - that's coherence, a technical term for balance between the fight or flight and relaxation systems in the body.

However, sometimes breathing just isn't enough, and we have to find other ways of bringing good feelings to ourselves.  Not only thinking about people or things that we care about, but actually feeling those things is what brings about a more regular heart rate variability and relaxation response. This doesn't mean that you actually have to be in a deeply relaxed state - it simply means that you can feel appreciation, breathe regularly, and have that synchronous communication between your heart in your brain - a coherent neurological pattern. In this way you can operate in the world, go to meetings, exercise, and do what you want without necessarily being in a deeply relaxed state, where you are "zoned out". For further details see the Biofeedback tab on my website - scroll down the page to see the biofeedback video.

Ultimately we each have to find a way of activating that coherent pattern. Having a portable biofeedback device helps, and it doesn't lie because it just tells us exactly what is going on in our body from moment to moment - it may not be the feedback that we want, but it is the feedback we need that will help us shift our emotional state - and that's what counts, no matter what is going on "out there".

Accessing Resources for Empowerment(TM) wants to take this opportunity to wish you a Merry Christmas and a wonderful holiday - take time out, and r-e-l-a-x.


The EmWave PSR Personal Stress Reducer from HeartMath


Readers who send in questions can have them answered by Dr. Leyton right here!

Did you know that Dr. Leyton writes for both Ezine Online Articles and for Wellsphere International the online health network seen by millions daily.
Thanks for reading this month's newsletter. See you next month!
Did you receive this newsletter forwarded or sent from a friend or colleague by email?  If you would like your very own monthly issue
Healthy Tips
Short and Simple~News to Use
There are four basic principles to health:
1. Good nutrition
2. Good exercise
3. Good thinking and emotional states
4. Good self-care
These embrace the mind, body and spirit of good health and well-being. Each monthly tip(s) will address one or more of these principles. These health tips are short and simple. All tips, where applicable, are based on quality research that is being done in the medical field. You will see links throughout the newsletter to take you to more detail if you wish...or you can simply read what's here.


Many people struggle over the holiday, and indeed some struggle at all times of the year, with a problem of "eating too much". Somehow we have lost touch with what it means to be "satiated". The issue is a complex one, but in part it relates to the fact that from a very young age our emotional state is tied into our food consumption. Rewards for good behaviour are often food related, and particularly sweet related. So by the time we get to be adults, or even before that, it can be difficult to distinguish between what is nutritional hunger, and what is emotional emptiness. This gets to be particularly tricky during the Christmas season, because we are often with friends and relatives who go back a long way. This means that we have a tendency to sort of psychologically regress when we are home visiting our family of origin, even though we may now be adults. Psychological regression manifests itself in eating behaviours that are sometimes less than optimal. (See Newsletter December 2007)

There are 2 simple ways to help you through the Christmas season without stuffing yourself.

  1. When you are 80% full - stop eating.
  2. Know when you are 80% full!
To be really clear about when you are 80% full you have to be aware from moment to moment how you are feeling inside.

This means that it is a good practice, not just at Christmas time, but all through the year to "eat with awareness". What I mean by this is that you use or your senses to monitor how and what you are eating.  First of all, and this may sound obvious, choose only foods that you like - that is foods that make you feel good inside over time - not just when you are eating them. Then proceed, very slowly, to eat the food with complete awareness of its texture, smell, taste, and sound as you eat it, as well as its color and shape visually. This is actually like meditating when you eat.  Instead of focusing on your breath or a mantra - you actually begin to focus your full attention on the food. If you find that your mind wanders, then bring it back to one of more of these senses described above. Eating with awareness takes practice, just like meditation takes practice. People always tell me how slowly I eat, and I love to eat. I savour each bite, and generally speaking while I used overeat, I feel much better when I stop before I am full.

Have a merry Christmas and holiday and come to your senses with food!

Copyright Accessing Resources for Empowerment(tm) 2008. All rights reserved.
Accessing Resources for Empowerment (tm) is committed to bringing you quality products,
workshops, ideas, information and links to help you negotiate the world around you more
easily and comfortably. The information and suggestions provided in this newsletter and other
articles are for educational purposes only and are not intended as treatment to be used without
the further advice of a physician or other health-care practitioner familiar with the diagnosis
and treatment of any condition using nutritional or other alternative approaches.
Please, always see your health care provider to provide a proper diagnosis and
for any further details of treatment.
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