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Wednesday, 23 December 2009 20:00 - Healthy Tips Newsletter October 2009

Posted Dec 23 2009 4:00pm

October 2009
Monthly Health Tips Newsletter

Accessing Resources for Empowerment(tm)

This issue contains:

Biofeedback and Stress Reduction
Natural Detoxicants in Food

Biofeedback and Stress Reduction
We all know what feedback is. It's information that we receive, usually from other people, about how we are doing. We might get it from friends, coworkers, colleagues or teachers, and depending on the form it takes a could be welcome or unwelcome!

Biofeedback is a technology that has been around since the 1960s. It is a method of feeding back information to us about what is going on our bodies in real time. The term was first coined in the 1960s, here in Canada by an anatomist named Basmajian. Working in the laboratory and attaching electrodes to the individual muscle fibres of patients, he found that the electrical activity produced by the muscle fibres that were contracting could be measured on an oscilloscope - (there were no computer screens in those days). If an electrode was inserted into just one muscle fibre the person could see the activity of that muscle fibre contracting and firing on the screen of the oscilloscope. Basmajian noticed that people could also change the muscle fibre firing activity. They could actually get the muscle fibre to fire less frequently if they thought about it in a certain way. The interesting thing was not only that they could control an individual muscle fibre, but how they controlled it. It was done through what is now known as "passive concentration" - the ability to get our bodies to do something by visualizing what we want or "asking it nicely" rather than commanding it. This was actually the first demonstration of biofeedback, although Elmer Green in the USA was doing similar experiments at the same time.

In the 1960s this was revolutionary. Nobody thought that information such as the firing of individual muscle fibres, could be controlled, essentially at will, by the person receiving information about when it was firing and when it wasn't. Following this, the development of a number of "biofeedback devices" utilizing the same principle occurred.  Scientists realized that if we measured information that was going on in the body and fed it back to the patient, that the patient could learn to control a number of physiological processes that were actually going on in the body, usually automatically. Thus, not only could we control muscle fibres, but we could control other normally automatic processes in the body. For example - if we measured the brain waves through an EEG, we could train people to meditate and change their brain waves from a state of concentration to a state of relaxation - beta to alpha rhythms. We could also measure muscular activity so that people with tight muscles could learn to relax them. This was called electromyography or EMG.  Everyone knows that when we get into a state of stress or anxiety that our hands can sweat. Another form of biofeedback is known as galvanic skin response biofeedback or GSR. This measures the sweat in our fingertips - essentially this is one of the prime measurements in a polygraph lie detector test. We can learn to relax and decrease that sweat if we have information about that change in our physiology through biofeedback. For many years, temperature in the fingers has been used as a form of biofeedback to help migraine patients' reduce their attacks. They can learn to warm their hands when they have information about the temperature in their fingertips. Biofeedback became a form of stress reduction, and it has continued to be researched over the years.

Although I used biofeedback in my practice many years ago, I stopped using it because generally I thought that patient's could be taught relaxation procedures without the use of biofeedback, and I didn't necessarily want people to rely on a biofeedback device in order to help them relax.

Recently however I have found that the research in biofeedback has moved to a new level. The Heartmath Institute in California, in conjunction with other researchers, has found that there is a particular kind of biofeedback that can be extremely useful in helping people to learn quickly and easily , not only how to relax, but also how to synchronize signals between to major organs in the body - the heart and the brain. When the heart and the brain are synchronized they are said to be "coherent". They are acting in concert in the interests of each other. This coherent state results in an ability to deal with stressful situations in an entirely different kind of way.  In next month's newsletter I will elaborate on this and explain more about it so that you can begin to learn to use these techniques yourself for greater well being and management of stress. Stay tuned!


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!

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.

Natural Detoxicants in Food
Nobody would argue that we live in a toxic world. Almost on a daily basis we are inundated with information about the food we eat, the environment we live in, and the toxic chemicals that we pump into our environment through our technology.

The liver is the main organ in our bodies that is responsible for detecting, filtering, and eliminating toxins that arrive from our digestive system. These toxins can range from foods we eat that we might be intolerant or sensitive to, to breakdown products of bacteria in the bowel and on the food itself, or simply from incompletely digested food breakdown products. Toxins can also include medications and hormones produced by our bodies, such as estrogen that circulate through the bowel, as well as large amounts of alcohol.  The latter by the way (in large amounts) tends to destroy the very cells in the liver that do the filtering.

There are 2 phases to liver detoxification and the liver needs to be healthy in order to have these 2 phases operating in concert so that toxic products can be eliminated through the organs of elimination - the bladder, the bowel, the skin, and the lungs.

The first phase of detoxification creates oxidation products - so we need antioxidants in our bodies to eliminate these. Antioxidants are substances like a vitamin E, vitamin C, carotenoids, and flavones. These antioxidants are abundant in coloured vegetables and plant products, as well as many fresh herbs.

The second phase of detoxification requires that the body make those oxidants soluble so that they can be excreted, generally through the kidney.  Solubilisation of those products requires particular types of sulpha-containing plant product known as glucosinolates.  Plants actually use these substances themselves as natural pesticides, and over the years of evolution human beings have used them as natural detoxicants. They help solubilise substances that are toxic to us.  You can thank the plants for that - but you have to eat them in order to get the benefit! What are the foods that contain these natural detoxicants?

They are everyday vegetables that we should be eating, and if you don't already eat these vegetables on a regular basis, perhaps particularly this weekend would be a good time to start as Canadian Thanksgiving comes around. These substances are contained in onions, garlic, cauliflower, Brussels sprouts, broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage, kohlrabi, kale, turnip, and rutabaga.

So this weekend as you enjoy that turkey, add these things to your plate and enjoy those too. You can do so knowing that your liver will be happy to receive the nutrients in these vegetables that will help you get rid of any toxins in your system. Not only that there is evidence now rapidly appearing that these vegetables can actually help prevent chronic diseases like cancer. Happy Thanksgiving!


Dr. Leyton's YouTube Video on Sleep at

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Copyright Accessing Resources for Empowerment(tm) 2008. All rights reserved.
Accessing Resources for Empowerment(tm) is committed to bringing you quality products,
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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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