Integrative Health Blog

Stroke and Mindfulness

Posted by on Wed, Dec 02, 2020

Stroke (cerebrovascular diseases) is/are designated as the #5 leading cause of death in the US, killing about 150,000 Americans per year.

Searching the phrase “mindfulness practice improves stroke outcomes” on Google gets 785,000 hits, so I ask, how could a healthcare consumer ever suffer from, or be at risk of, any common medical or psychological disability, including Stroke and cerebrovascular diseases, and NOT be at least offered chance to engage into mindfulness practice?

A corollary to that question is; once informed about how effective the outcomes of mindfulness training is for any common psychological or medical disability, introduced by a clinician or some other information source, why are relatively few Americans NOT taking advantage of the opportunity to live longer, happier, less symptomatic lives.

Activate the Healing Power of the Brain

Read More

Tags: mindfulness, functional medicine, stroke

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

Read More

Tags: mindfulness, mind-body

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. 

Read More

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

Read More

Tags: mindfulness, 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.”

Read More

Tags: mindfulness, mind-body

Mindfulness and Healing: Forgiveness & Letting Go of Anger

Posted by on Tue, May 12, 2020

Join us for a Mindfulness and Healing Webinar as we focus on an important topic:

Title: Mindfulness and Healing: Forgiveness & Letting Go of Anger

Date: Sunday, MAY 17, 2020

Time: 7:00 - 8:00 pm

Presenter: Dr. Charles Gant, functional medicine physician

 

This event is over but Mindfulness Sessions are now offered every Sunday night.

Join a free mindfulness group every Sunday night, at 7 PM, by simply calling 712-770-4340 and when prompted enter the code 566853# (pound).

Would you like to quiet your mind and take refuge from the worries and emotional disturbances of the world?

Read More

Tags: mindfulness, emotional wellbeing

Mindfulness-Based Treatments for Cancer and Other Chronic Illness

Posted by on Wed, May 15, 2019

What is Mindfulness?

Jon Kabat-Zinn[1] defines mindfulness as… “awareness that arises through paying attention, on purpose, in the present moment, non-judgmentally.”  

Several decades ago I had noticed the benefits of mindfulness-based interventions that I taught to cancer patients and to others suffering from serious chronic disorders, and I was happy to see formal publications appear in journals attesting to my clinical observations and efforts.  A meta-analysis[2] of the effects of mindfulness-based studies appeared in the journal Psycho-Oncology: Journal of Psychological, Social and Behavioral Dimensions of Cancer[3] in 2008. 

When Ledesma and Kumano published a meta-analysis over a decade ago, concluding that “The results suggest that MBSR (mindfulness-based stress reduction) may improve cancer patients' psychosocial adjustment to their disease,” I was hopeful that finally Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction and other mindfulness-based strategies would be incorporated into mainstream oncology and into healthcare in general. 

The Therapeutic Potential of Mindfulness

Read More

Tags: cancer, mindfulness, Dr. Gant

Holiday Mindfulness and Centering...Don't Forget to Breathe

Posted by on Tue, Dec 23, 2014

Carol Richardson M.Div., M.P.H.

During the holidays, we often feel pulled between our desire to be there for and with others, and our desire to rest and renew ourselves. 

Here are some practices which can help you do both:

1.  Gratitude. 
Practicing gratitude during the holidays is more important than ever, because of the stress of trying to get everything done for everybody.  If we stop and think about it, though, what we are actually trying to express through our actions is love and appreciation for the people in our lives.  

So, why not take time before we begin our day to think of all the people who will be part of our day and our holidays, by spending a moment feeling grateful for them, even if what they bring us are challenges that help us to grow.  By taking a few moments to acknowledge several things for which we are grateful, and for why we appreciate the people in our lives, we can shift our own energy to a positive state of being, and we can take that positivity into our day and share it.

2.  Breathing. 
Before we get ourselves busy in the morning, it is good to breathe deeply, allowing ourselves fully to oxygenate ourselves, clear our sinuses, and feel energized for our day.  Throughout the day, when we feel tense or tired, deep breathing, especially coupled with gratitude, can release tension, increase our positive energy, and relax us.

3.  Mindfulness. 
While deep breathing, it helps if we notice where the tension may be found in our bodies, and allow it to release.  We may take time to notice what our bodies need, and honor our bodies.  We may notice our own attitudes, and realize that we can choose a new, more positive attitude if we need to.  We may notice our feelings, and what we would like to receive for ourselves.  We may notice what others actually need from us, and realize that our highest consciousness truly does seek to be there for others, even if we don't feel like it in this moment.

Read More

Tags: mindfulness, stress

Mindful Eating

Posted by on Tue, Mar 15, 2011

C. E. Gant MD, PhD

Read More

Tags: mindfulness

3 Ways to Practice Mindfulness Every Day

Posted by on Mon, Jan 17, 2011

Mindfulness is a separate faculty of consciousness totally distinct from cognition (thinking), emotion (feelings), intuition or sensory awareness (the 5 senses).

Mindfulness is not about Mystical Religions, awareness or meditation, although many religious and spiritual paths make use of mindfulness techniques.  Many therapies and psychotherapies are becoming “mindfulness-based” as it is discovered that all healing methodologies get better results if mindfulness is adjunctively applied. 

Mindfulness techniques are primarily taught to improve emotional stability, to manage stress, to expand ones intelligence, to become more productive and to lead a more joyful and meaningful life.

Scientific studies have proven that mindfulness involves about 1/5th of the brain, the frontal lobes, as well as other associated structures.  Like other skills, such as intellectual, musical or athletic, which are associated with the development of other brain regions, mindfulness can be practiced and improved over time.  Educational psychologists are studying mindfulness and devising methods to teach children how to practice and develop this skill. Mindfulness training is being introduced into school curricula around the USA. Future generations will someday be trained to use their whole brain and not just 80% of it.

Read More

Tags: mindfulness, mental health, addiction, mind-body, Dr. Gant