Integrative Health Blog

Mindfulness and Boredom

Posted by on Wed, Nov 11, 2020

"In order to live free and happily, you must sacrifice boredom. It is not always an easy sacrifice.”

~Richard Bach - Illusions (1977)

If I recall accurately – despite the handicap of a 70-year-old brain – when I read the book Illusions over 40 years ago, the protagonist who was reaching a state of full self-actualization, phrasing it in Maslow’s terms, finally transcended the last hurdle of his existence, boredom. Those last hurdles can be different for everyone, including those icons – as the stories in religious texts about them suggest – that all religions are about.

The quote that letting go of boredom “is not always an easy sacrifice” is to me an absurd understatement. Growing up in the 50’s and 60’s, I have been privy to every type of pleasure and entertainment there is, and I have benefited from extreme prosperity and technological advances, especially those in the medical area, without which I would be long dead. It’s like the Peggy Lee song, Is that all there is? …or the theme song to Cabaret….stay intoxicated and/or entertained to offset the meaninglessness of life, because it doesn’t matter anyway. Nothing matters, the basic mantra of our nihilism-obsessed, modern era. “Nothing really matters, anyone can see, Nothing really matters, Nothing really matters to me, Any way the wind blows..” are the final lyric’s in Freddie’s "Bohemian Rhapsody" (Queen). Well, either life matters or it doesn’t. It has meaning and purpose or it has no meaning and purpose. One path leads to despair and suicide, the other path leads to fulfillment. I have found fulfillment to be a happier journey, but who am I to judge the Freddies of the world who take the boring, meaningless path to depression and despair.

Boredom Robs Us of Purpose

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Tags: mindfulness, mind-body

Grief, Mindfulness and Healing- The Passing of Dr. Voss

Posted by on Fri, Nov 06, 2020

The passing of my dear colleague, Dr. Voss, like any death, provides us with a moment to reflect on our lives and our purpose for being here in our temporary bodies.

We must all face the ending of our physical body at some point, and as far as we know, we are the only mammal who realizes mortality. Ignorance is bliss for animals and our precious pets, whose brains are not large enough to figure it out or worry about it. The human experience would be so unfair if we had to live with this doom and gloom realization and we had no way to transcend it. Luckily for us, we do. We have a prefrontal cortex, fully 1/6th of our brain, that confers the experience of mindfulness, an awareness of the present moment.

The bottom line is that the purpose of our prefrontal cortex is to care for one another, and Dr. Ching Voss  was the embodiment of such kindness. I never encountered a single interaction with her that involved anything other than caring for me personally or caring for her patients.

Bereavement and Loss- Mindfulness and Healing

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Tags: mind-body, grief and loss

Mindfulness Meditation Found to Relieve Chronic Pain

Posted by on Mon, Oct 19, 2020

The first three articles in this series on mindfulness, applied as a clinical tool and based on peer-reviewed studies, showed that mindfulness meditation may have a significant effect in the prevention and treatment of the first three leading causes of death, cardiovascular disease, cancer and accidents.

In the future, I will proceed to show that mindfulness can also greatly benefit those who suffer from chronic lower respiratory disease (#4 in mortality), stroke and cerebrovascular diseases (#5), Alzheimer's disease (#6), diabetes(#7) and influenza/ pneumonia (#8 cause of death). Every so often in these weekly presentations, I will break out of the series to present a related topic, and since last week’s was accidents, this week I will address one of the sequelae of accidents, chronic pain.    

In a publication[1] in the Annals of the New York Academy of Sciences, Zeidan and Vago showed how mindfulness relieves pain. 

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Tags: chronic pain, mindfulness, mind-body

Mindfulness and Accidents

Posted by on Wed, Oct 07, 2020

In 2017,[1] heart disease was the leading cause of death killing 647,457 Americans a year, followed closely by cancer which killed 599,108 Americans a year. The previous two articles in this Mindfulness series have proven that mindfulness, applied as a clinical tool and based on peer-reviewed studies, may significantly prevent and help treat these two killers. Now we turn our attention to the number three killer, unintentional accidents, which causes the deaths of 169,936 Americans a year.

How Accidents Can Happen

Think about the accidents you have had, even little ones like cutting your hand while using a knife or tripping. The question is, were you present and attending to the action at hand or daydreaming and thinking about something else? When I think of the accidents I have had, I was most definitely thinking or having emotions about something other than what was happening, and recognizing the mistake, I would chide myself for being asleep, having observed for most of my life that accidents only happen when I am spaced out and somewhere else. As far as stumbling goes, I have found that one of the “techniques” we have worked on in the Mindfulness and Healing Group, Mindfulness on the Soles of the Feet, to be very helpful in preventing serious falls. Mindfulness is once again a form of medical assistance that becomes increasingly necessary in an aging 70 year old like me.

The Power of Being Present

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Tags: mindfulness, mind-body

Mindfulness Shows Benefits for Cancer Patients

Posted by on Sat, Oct 03, 2020

Recent studies show that mindfulness-based therapies as part of cancer care may improve stress levels, coping skills and quality of life.

What is Mindfulness?

Jon Kabat-Zinn[1] defines mindfulness as… “awareness that arises through paying attention, on purpose, in the present moment, non-judgmentally.” He sometimes adds, “in the service of self-understanding and wisdom.” I would add that mindfulness is also a separate faculty of consciousness, which is also a clinical, therapeutic tool. This separate faculty is NOT cognitive (thinking), emotional, sensory (5 senses) or behavioral, all of which are faculties that are governed by various brain regions that drives the biological imperative of all life, survival. 

Mindfulness thus “transcends,” suspends or “lets go” of the stressful need to survive, and thus lowers sympathetic, fight/flight stress. Paradoxically when we suspend our stressful need to survive, wellness and health improves, and our chances of survival are improved as well. Recent neuroimagery, cognitive science and neurophysiological studies suggest that approximately 1/6th of our brain, our most highly evolved part, the prefrontal cortex, is the critical region of our brain that confers this separate faculty of mindfulness.[2]

Mindfulness and Cancer Patients

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Tags: cancer, mind-body, integrative cancer treatment

Mindfulness and Cardiovascular Disease

Posted by on Wed, Sep 23, 2020

Mindfulness has been defined[1] as “awareness that arises through paying attention, on purpose, in the present moment and non-judgmentally,” that is “in the service of self-understanding and wisdom.”

To this, since mindfulness is also a clinical tool[2] that has been extensively studied and promoted in peer-reviewed scientific publications,[3] I would add that mindfulness is also a clinical and therapeutic tool for chronic health issues such as cardiovascular disease. 

Mindfulness Improves Risk Factors for Cardiovascular Disease

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Tags: heart disease, mind-body

Mindfulness and Healing Group: Guided Sessions Online

Posted by on Wed, Jul 01, 2020

This is an invitation to the free online mindfulness and healing group on Sunday evenings. 

Title: "Mindfulness and Healing" - Guided Sessions Online

Dates: Sundays, July 5, 2020 - Aug. 30, 2020

Time: 7:00-8:00 pm

Presenter: Charles Gant, MD, functional medicine physician

*NOTE- This first session has ended but Guided Mindfulness Sessions are offered now very Sunday night at 7 via a call- in number. No registration is required.

At 7 pm, Call 712-770-4340  and enter the access code 566853# (pound) to participate.

 

Mindfulness in a Pandemic

Why should you consider a Mindfulness practice?

To give you some perspective, here is information from an expert on why mindfulness can be so valuable now during challenging times.

Jon Kabat Zinn, one of the most experienced and famous mindfulness teachers and researchers, defines Mindfulness as “awareness that arises through paying attention, on purpose, in the present moment and non-judgmentally,” and then he sometimes adds, “in the service of self-understanding and wisdom.”

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Tags: mindfulness, mind-body

Meditation, Calming the Brain for Optimal Health

Posted by on Wed, Oct 09, 2019

Please join us for the Mind/Body Connection Series Talk:

Title: "Meditation, Calming the Brain for Optimal Health"

Date: Tuesday, October 22 

Time: 6:30 – 7:45 pm

Place: National Integrated Health Associates (NIHA)

           5225 Wisconsin Ave. NW, #402

           Washington, D.C. 20015

Speaker: Kuno Bachbauer, LMFT

REGISTER

I invite you to come enjoy an evening of meditation!

Learn how meditation works as a powerful tool to balance the emotional brain and how you can develop the "Meditation Lifestyle."

I learned about meditation over 40 years ago. It has changed my life from the first day that I tried it. In fact, the principles of meditation have become my lifestyle. It has become my preferred way of life. A way of being fully present in the world - as often and as deeply as possible.

I must confess, this path is not easy or natural for me. I have never been an “ideal meditator.”  Not even close! I can’t sit still. I fidget. I have a hard time with the routine. I often fall asleep, and when I am awake, my mind wanders all over the place.

So why bother with meditation? And why would I offer an evening of meditation?

The answer may be surprising, but, my experience is exactly what a lot of people experience when they begin to meditate! The struggle. The defeat. The failure at something that appears so simple.

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Tags: mind-body, emotional wellbeing, meditation

How the Body Speaks its Mind: Are You Listening?

Posted by on Sat, Sep 07, 2019

Please join us for an enlightening mini-workshop on understanding the connection between the mind and body to emotional and physical health.

The Mind-Body Connection Lecture Series new talk:

"How the Body Speaks its Mind: Are You Listening?"              

Date: September 24, 2019

Time: 6:30- 7:45 p.m.

Place: National Integrated Health Associates

           5225 Wisconsin Ave. NW, Suite 402

           Washington, D.C. 20015

Speaker: Kuno Bachbauer, LMFT

REGISTER

If you feel you have done everything “right”- and you are still not getting well…

You may benefit from a deeper understanding of the “LANGUAGE OF ILLNESS.”

If you are still not feeling better after doing all the right things, then maybe your health status is not because you missed the latest and greatest treatment, or have not taken enough supplements, but just maybe….

Your Body/Mind is trying to tell you something - and you don’t know how to listen.

As a holistic therapist, I have seen this in so many patients. They come to me with “the list” and yet, do not progress.

  • You did a perfect integrative medical work-up. ✅

  • You have searched for and destroyed those hidden viruses, bacteria, mold, Lyme. ✅

  • You have suffered through the “right” diet- maybe it is the starchy McDougall diet, or it’s the exact opposite, foregoing all carbs with Keto. ✅

  • You did your colonics, sauna, or another detoxification cleanse. ✅

  • You had your dental check-up and maybe even a vitamin I.V. drip. ✅ 

And you are still not getting well. So, what is the body trying to tell you?

The following is a small attempt of a TRANSLATION of the “LANGUAGE OF ILLNESS:" 

1. Illness may tell you: “PLEASE STOP!”

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Tags: mind-body, emotional wellbeing

Rerouting the Brain- The Power of Changing Your Mind

Posted by on Mon, Jul 15, 2019

Please join us for an enlightening Mini-Workshop on Understanding the Connection between the Mind, Body and Emotions.

The Mind-Body Connection Lecture Series new talk:

"Rerouting the Brain-The Power of Changing Your Mind" 

Date:  Tuesday, July 30, 2019                  

Time:  6:30-7:45 pm

Place: National Integrated Health Associates

            5225 Wisconsin Ave. NW, Suite 402

            Washington, DC 20015

Presenter: Kuno Bachbauer, LMFT, CCEP, Dr. med. (Austria)

This lecture and mini-workshop will expound on what we have learned in the Mind-Body Connection series, but you do not have to have attended previous lectures to participate.

Please join us at any time- we never stop learning!

REGISTER

First, a Short Story

When I was in medical school in Vienna, Austria, our professors told us that the brain stops growing after 24 years of age. Whatever you have by then- that was what you would have for the rest of your life. I remember that this seemed very depressing and not quite acceptable to me. But what was I going to say in the face of my “God-in-the-white-coat” professors?

That particular limiting belief was held until only maybe 20 years ago, partly due to the findings of another Austrian, namely Nobel prize winner Eric Kandel, MD. He discovered how the brain learns. He and other neuroscientists developed an understanding of how Neuroplasticity works.

They created a truly amazing sea change in psychotherapy, bodywork, trauma science, memory, neurology and related fields that revolutionized what we are doing as practitioners! Please come to my free class to learn more about how this will benefit you.

PLEASE NOTE: My talks are highly “experiential” and that is why they are done live with those attending!  We will do exercises and experiences. Because we learn better when the whole body and emotions are involved, my aim is that you can sense and feel the concepts I will teach. No prior experience is necessary.  

A Quick Review- Starting with Resiliency

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Tags: mind-body, emotional wellbeing