When You Are Doing Something Meaningful, Your Brain Works Better

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Now there is medical proof that the more you are self motivated when learning something, the better your brain works.

 

Published October 22, 2014 in Neuron, researchers found that having your own internal motivation, in the form of curiosity, not only allows your brain to have enhanced memory and function.

Being curious about learning something enhanced the study participants absorption and ability to master the information they were curious to learn and even enhanced their ability to remember non-related information alongside it.

Researchers could literally see the brain enhance function on MRI when the subject was highly curious about the material they were engaged in — showing that being curious about something literally changes the way the your brain functions, enhancing key parts of the brain such as the hippocampus and the dopaminergic circuit.

 

Curiosity about life in general enhances your experience of life itself, opening you up to new things and enhancing your ability to absorb it.

Study highlights:

  • Participants ranked how curious they were to specific subject topics, and then were given a series of questions in a quiz format, along with random images of faces that were displayed in between the trivia question and the being given the correct answer.
  • Participants were then given a surprise assessment test at the end, in recalling faces.
  • Participants recalled significantly more answers to questions that they were highly curious about than answers to questions they ranked as having low curiosity to.
  • Participants recognized the faces better when they were encoded during states of high curiosity than when the faces were encoded during low- curiosity states.
  • Participants underwent MRI imaging of the brain to identify areas of the brain that were activated during their states of heightened curiosity.
  • Researchers found that when participants were engaging their curiosity, there was increased activity in the hippocampus (which is a part of the brain that formulates new memories) along with greater interaction between the hippocampus and the dopaminergic circuit.
  • This shows that the physiological function of the brain changes when the material a person is focusing on is one that they are curious about learning, as opposed to material they have low curiosity about.
  • Not only does the brain allow for learning of self motivated material better, but it even allows better recall of ancillary information presented while in that engaged, curious state.

 

 

 

So it’s not about completing a task as directed, or rote memorization of material, or getting a specific test score on an exam in school that allows you to truly learn.

It’s about following your inner guidance system, engaging in your own innate curiosity, and allowing that to guide you in making educational and career choices that align your soul gifts with your occupation…

…so that what you are offering to this world is something that is perfect suit to you because you are self motivated to learn about it, master the material related and ancillary to it, and offering this unique vantage point that only you can offer back to the world.

 

In short, learning and processing and giving your thoughts back to the world

becomes meaningful, instead of simply memorized.

 

This study shows that you are naturally suited to learn, retain and remember information that you are self selecting, motivated, and curious about.

This is exactly why I am so glad that I never ever ever had any formal training in painting…

…I just picked up a paint brush in medical school and starting painting on a canvas between classes as a way to completely unplug and de-stress from the mental grind of my medical studies.

 

Because I didn’t know what colors mixed with what or any formal do’s or don’ts with regard to how to layer paint on a page, I was free to experiment.

 

I am far from being a skilled artist, yet my artwork has been on the cover of magazines, CDs & DVD, painted every image for the three healing children’s books I’ve published, was blown up to astronomically huge proportions to be the entire backdrop of a stage at a music festival, and more!

Why?

All because I followed my curiosity when I picked up my paintbrush, and I was motivated to do it, not instructed to do it.

Some examples of my imperfect artwork:

 

(please do not use or reproduce these images in any way, but please do head over here to see more artwork painted by moi and to order prints!)

 

 

So my question for you today:

Do you find you are going through most of your day being told what to do, bossed around or directed at work, instructed through life instead of exploring through life?

Yeah, that doesn’t vibe right with your soul.

 

The creative expression of you that has it’s own, powerful, inner knowings and inner desires.

So… what to do if your days are too full of meaningless tasks?

Follow your curiosity.

If you can’t figure out the end point to your destination, you don’t know exactly what your soul strengths are and what your soul career is… simply follow your curiosity.

Your open ended wondering and interest in that particular topic will lead you naturally to discover, learn and uncover your unique soul strengths and turn them into an offering you can use to enhance this world.

 

 

I can say for certain (after 22 years of formal education and 18 additional years of practicing medicine) the things I remember most and the things that make the biggest impact on my patients are not the lists of facts I memorized in medical school or the lab values that I dryly take note of in the medical literature…

…it’s the meaningful information I personally uncovered on a quest to help a specific patient, to support a specific health care goal of a loved one, or to advocate for a particular outcome to help empower a person I care about.

It’s not the facts about the illness, it’s the motivation — the caring state of advocating for a patient I adore — that helps me find, learn, retain, and use the information I glean in the best possible way…

…and to remember and use this information to support and enhance infinite patient encounters in the future.

 

In this way… combining meaning and motivation with information…

we can deliver the most soul value and align our physical journey with a rich and meaningful spiritual purpose.

 

 

Intuition Live Class

Want more help opening up to your own internal guidance system?

That’s why I developed my Expand Your Intuition online class.  

And I only run it once a year.

 

Start 2019 off with strengthening your own internal guidance system.

I can think of no better way to prepare yourself to navigate the upcoming year and make 2019 your best year yet!

Together we will spend 4 weeks to assessing, accessing, understanding and expanding your ability to align your soul’s natural curiosity and strengths with your unique physical body and life situations.

I will work directly with you all month long to get your soul energy enhancing your life’s journey, working with your natural energy flow instead of against it.

Save your spot in the course right here.

 

To your unique gifts!

xoxox, Laura

 

P.S. — I’m taking the next two weeks off of my blog to focus on family over the holidays, as well as to spend some extra time in writing my new book!

New Harbinger Publications offered me a book deal to write all about grounding, so that’s what I’ve been spending every spare moment doing lately.

More on that soon!  Woot!

 

What I Do To Stay Helathy When It’s Too Cold To Exercise Outside

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The weather is getting unbearably cold for me, so I thought today I would share with you what I do whenever it’s too cold (or I’m too lazy) to exercise

I hit my local Y and sit in the sauna to reap very similar benefits to exercising, but without the hassle!

Medically proven!

Now this is a healing modality I can really get behind, because

I LOVE HEAT.

And I love love love anything that boosts circulation — like grounding, sauna, steam room, hot baths, sleeping with a hot water bottle, massage, exercise (ok, maybe not exercise…)

…it just feels intuitively right to get your blood flowing, don’t you think?

 

Because I don’t like to exercise, for me, being active comes in the form of a nice long walk outside several times a week.  But that means in the winter…. uh I basically don’t get outside at all.

Thats why I’m so thrilled that there have been so many studies recently looking at the health benefits of routine sauna.

Sauna increases the circulation of blood all throughout your body — getting the blood pumping through your cardiovascular system, your muscles, your skin, your joints, your brain — so it turns out that routine sauna has many of the same health benefits that exercise does.

So when the weather is too harsh outside, if you can find a local sauna to go to, you can feel confident that you are still boosting your health and longevity even without hitting the treadmill.

And there are several major medical studies that back this up!

The most recent study was the largest yet, a meta-analysis of all of the medical literature on dry sauna from 2000 to 2017.

Published in Evidence Based Complimentary & Alternative Medicine Journal, April 2018 , researchers review 40 studies that included almost 4,000 patients and found:

  • reduced risk of heart disease, heart attack and sudden cardiac death
  • lowered blood pressure
  • lower risk of stroke
  • reduced risk of dementia and other neurocognitive changes
  • reduced risk of pulmonary disease such as asthma and lung infections like influenza
  • decrease risk of rheumatologist and immune disorders
  • decrease in pain conductions such as arthritis and headaches
  • decreased risk of death
  • improved quality of life

 

 

Another recent study looked at how sauna specifically supports brain health.

 

Researchers had previously discovered that men who used a sauna two or more times a week had significantly reduced risk of cardiovascular disease and death, and reduced risk of all-cause mortality (meaning they died less from all causes put together) than men who used a sauna once a week or less.

 

So next, researchers turned to look at cognitive function, to see if this longer life had an improved quality to it.

Turns out it does.

Published in Age and Ageing (Dec 8, 2016) researchers followed more than 2,300 patients for an average of 20.7 years, and found:

  • Patients who averaged 4 to 7 trips to the sauna a week were two-thirds less likely to develop dementia over the next 20 years (a 66% decrease in dementia)
  • Patients were also two thirds less likely to be diagnosed with Alzheimers Disease (AD) during the 20 year follow up (a 65% drop in AD diagnosis)
  • This risk reduction was independent of any known risk factors, including body mass, age, smoking status, alcohol consumption or previous heart attack.

The Bottom Line:

Over a 66% reduction in dementia risk of all types, including Alzheimer’s, from a very easy-to-recommend lifestyle intervention that preserves memory function and protects us from developing memory diseases.  

 

 

So, not only does sauna help you live longer (avoiding heart disease and all-cause mortality)

but it also helps you avoid dementia and memory loss disease to

enjoy that longer life more!

 

Why is sauna so good?

 

Sauna raises whole body temperature which activates metabolic changes like a neutralizing inflammation, reducing oxidative stress, increase nitric oxide bioavailability, increased insulin sensitivity, and improved vasodilation.

In other words, raising the core body temperature and increasing circulation very similar to exercise.  So increased time in the sauna helps increase vascular perfusion of the brain, increasing endothelial function and reducing inflammation.  And not just in your brain, but throughout your entire body.

 

So one take away from today’s study is this:

 

If you can’t exercise (or, ahem, like me, don’t particularly love to do it) then one good alternative is sauna.

Sauna is also a good idea for disabled or mobility-limited folks, who might find getting outside to exercise harder to routinely access.  But almost anyone can sauna and enjoy very similar longevity benefits as if they exercised!

 

And often, the folks that need exercise the most (like those recovering from cancer, those with metabolic and weight issues, those with high stress loads, those who must sit for long periods of time at work, those caretaking of others with very limited time away, those recovering from trauma, etc…) may find it harder to participate in regular exercise…

…so the answer to this is relaxing in a sauna to raise basal metabolic temperatures.

So if you know someone who doesn’t have time to exercise routinely, someone who had mobility issues, someone who doesn’t have the energy to exercise, someone who is in recovery and doesn’t have the strength for exercise, someone who lives in such a cold harsh environment they are not likely to be outside for long… consider letting them know about the healing benefits of sauna to supplement during the times when exercise is harder to come by.

Just forward them this blog post!

Three times a week all winter long I wake up and ask myself — is it warm enough to go on a nice long brisk walk for exercise outside?  And if the answer is a resounding “no!” then I know where I’m headed — to my local YMCA that has a sauna that I can have unlimited access to 7 days a week.  Making it one of the least expensive holistic therapies I know of… less expensive than chiropractic, less expensive than massage, less expensive than accupuncture.  The only thing cheaper is touching the earth directly outside to get grounded.  And even that is hard to do in the very coldest months of the year.

 

But hitting my local sauna regularly throughout the winter?

That… I can do.

 

Interested in giving sauna a try?

 

The recommended routine is to sauna at least once a week and up to three times a week, for a time period of at least 5 minutes and a maximum of 20 minutes.

Hydrate before, during and after sauna, and be sure to fully cool off by recovering for several minutes resting at room temperature, taking a brief swim or taking a shower.

Don’t sauna if you have a fever, an active inflammatory condition like a rash or hives, or are intoxicated.

No longer just for pleasure and relaxation, sauna might be one of the best ways to boost your over all longevity.

 

If you are looking for holistic ways to really boost your health, a great Rx to start with might be:

 

If you do those (or even just some of those!) you are really on your way to allowing your natural, innate, always recovering, always resilient health to shine through for a lifetime.

xoxoxo, Laura

 

Going To Sleep Earlier Prolongs Your Life, Here’s How

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A new study, published April 11, 2018 in Chronobiology International, found that folks who prefer staying up in the evenings have a 10% higher risk of dying, from all causes of mortality, when compared to those who prefer mornings.

 

Looking at those who strongly prefer activity in the evenings vs those who strongly prefer activity in the mornings in over 430,000 study participants over a 6 1/2 year time period, researchers found higher nighttime activity resulted in:

  • an increase in diabetes of 30%
  • an increase in psychological disorders (almost doubling the rate at 94% higher incidence!)
  • an increase in neurological disorders of 25%
  • an increase in respiratory disorders of 22%
  • an increase in gastrointestinal disorders of 23%
  • a 10% increase in death from cardiovascular events (in both men and women)
  • and a higher all-cause mortality of 10% over all for ages 63 and older.

 

I’ve already blogged for you before about how short sleep at night can double your mortality rate, and this study today goes one step further in showing that even if you get long sleep times, if the sleep onset is later in the night, your mortality rate is still affected.

 

So… are you a night owl?

 

If so, winter time is the absolute perfect time to address adjusting your circadian rhythm to protect your health and possibly prolong your life.

Because the days are shorter and the nights are longer, your body naturally craves hibernating now more than ever.

Use this natural desire for earlier sleep onset in the winter to shift your routine from staying up late at night to an earlier bedtime — as I blog about here, literally shifting forward by just one hour — just one hour! — is enough to make a measurable improvement in how your body functions the very next day.

 

To that end, here is a list of my 10 favorite holistic ways

to help you get back into a health sleep/wake cycle:

 

 

1.  Melatonin an hour before bedtime

 

The hormone that signals it is time to sleep for our body, our melatonin levels naturally decline with age.  If you find it hard to naturally  fall asleep, try boosting your own melatonin levels with a low dose melatonin supplement.

 

2.  GABA/L-Theanine at bedtime

 

GABA is very soothing to the brain and if you are have trouble with anxiety or racing thoughts at bedtime, you might feel the calming benefits of supplementing with a product containing L-Theanine, which crosses the blood brain barrier and converts to GABA to help relax over active thoughts.

 

3.  Probiotics daily

 

The mind/gut connection is completely underrated.  Decreased gut flora has been linked with anxiety and probiotics are now shown to be a very effective treatment for both anxiety and depression, and as a bonus, they boost immunity.  My favorite way to reestablish a healthy gut balance is to kick start any probiotic regime with a 7 day intensive probiotic inoculation with Innate Response Flora 200-14 Seven Day Intensive treatment, waiting for you in my online dispensary here:

 

 

4.  Magnesium “tea” as part of a calming bedtime routine

 

Magnesium is very relaxing and because it helps your muscles relax and release, it is a wonderful nighttime drink.  On nights when I am feeling tense (especially helpful for anyone who grinds their teeth at night or has restless legs!) I enjoy a hot cup of water with a teaspoon of Natural Vitality’s Calm magnesium drink, found in my online dispensary as well.

 

5.  Decrease EMF exposures in the bedroom

 

Decreasing the disruption to your health at night by decreasing your EMF exposures — removing those you can remove, decreasing those you can decrease, and shielding from those you can’t do anything about — will help your body truly restore it’s health during sleep.

I have a guide for you to help you do just that, without the overwhelm of “where to start!?!?!”

Hop over here for a blog post I wrote that gives you a free printable checklist on decreasing your body’s EMF exposures… especially crucial if you suspect you are EMF sensitive.

 

6.  Use A Light Box in the morning

 

To easily correct your circadian rhythm, totally naturally, get into a habit of getting natural light on your face every single morning as early as possible outdoors… or simply use a light box when you wake up.  I use my lightbox every morning — all fall and winter long — for 20 minutes each day while I am attending to my emails and drinking my morning coffee!

Effective to not only boost your daytime energy levels (making you more active during the day, when it’s healthiest to be active!) but a light box will also help you sleep better that night… naturally, without taking any mediations or supplements at all.

Perfect for those who don’t want to risk any untoward side effects from taking pills, a light box does more than just correct your circadian rhythm, light boxes have been shown to directly treat depression as good as a Rx medication and even boost libido.

 

7.  Block Blue Light from reaching your eyes in the evening.

 

Ok I’m a mother of two teenagers (oh my how the time has flown) and it’s just completely unrealistic for me to expect them not to use their computers at night to complete homework assignments, or use their phone at night to arrange plans with friends, or to use their televisions at night to catch up on their favorite TV shows or (in my son’s case) watch their favorite sports teams play.

That said, you can make the glow from these screens less disruptive to circadian rhythm simply by the compromise of wearing blue light filtering glasses, like these.

 

8.  Sleep Grounded nightly

 

To take your sleep resonance to the next level, you can combine your brain’s healing alpha sleep state with the Earth’s soothing Schulman frequency directly by grounding the body when sleeping with in indoor grounding product.

Increased time spent in alpha brain wave patterns equals greater time in the restorative healing phases of sleep and the healing processing time of sleep, which is when dreams occur.  This is why dreams often increase in intensity when we sleep grounded.  While we sleep, we cycle through alpha sleep states and REM sleep states and each time we do we are held in beautiful resonance with the Earth’s healing energy.

This is one of the reasons why getting a good night’s sleep impacts our entire body from head to toe… because high quality sleep does everything from preserve our brain volume and function to enhancing weight loss!

I have invested a great deal of time and research creating the highest quality, most reliable, washable, and ethically respectful (crafted by hand right here in the USA!) grounding healing tools.  Tools like my eco-friendly organic hemp Grounding Mattress Panels.  Or sleep right on top of my Grounding Organic Fitted Sheets, or even sleep warmly curled up with my Organic Grounding Hot Water Bottle on your tummy or by your feet… warm, comforting, reliable grounding… complete with a machine washable cover.

 

9.  Re-examine your work schedule

 

Lower your stress at work in order to protect your sleep patterns.  Not only be re-examining work hours and job responsibilities, but by lowering stress loads all together.

Hop over here to read my blog post on how to decrease the negative impact that job stress can have on your life and re-consider or re-negotiate your work hours, your job load, your career path, your commute, your training requirements, think of ways you can delegate or ask for help for routinely overwhelming responsibilities, and many more ideas here.

 

10.  Address the Adrenal Fatigue that has you “tired but wired” and unable to go to sleep.

 

If you have been through any kind of stressful situation or big life transition or change (even fun, positive ones like marriage, a new job, a new baby!) chances are your adrenals could use some TLC.

In this healing online class I’m going to share with you exactly what causes adrenal fatigue and all the absolutely critical ways to address it.  I run this class every winter because winter is the perfect time to finally go inwards and address your burn out.  If you start to take care of your adrenal rhythm now, in just a few short months from now you can be fully recovered from Adrenal Fatigue and emerge this spring feeling better than you have felt in many many years!

Ready to eat lighter, sleep in a healthier pattern, lose weight, and move your body more.

Did you know that you can actually be in adrenal fatigue from birth?  It’s true.  But did you also know it’s fully reversible, no matter how long you’ve been living on fumes?  That’s also true, and I will help you get there.  Grab one of the last spots in this class, because it starts next week and I want to send your goodie bag out to you today!

 

Let’s repair your adrenals together

(this short and sweet 5 day class starts next Monday, Dec 10th!)

 

I hope this information helps you positively impact your circadian rhythm, helps you boost your mood, remedy your sleep, even protect the longevity of your lifespan.

A good night’s sleep is absolutely crucial to maintaining wellness — one thing is for certain — your body needs good sleep to function over a lifetime!

xoxox, Laura

 

P.S. For more articles I’ve written on sleep health, click over to read:

 

 

How To Navigate Holiday Parties Without Regretting What You Eat (Or Drink)

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Holiday stress isn’t all just about juggling the social commitments, traveling or picking out just the right gift.

Most people report that being surrounded by rich holiday foods, alcohol, temptation everywhere, impulse eating, and weight gain during the holiday season adds a significant amount of stress as well.

 

If there was ever a time that people worry about their weight, it’s during the holidays.

How to navigate this tricky but wonderful time of comfort food, decadent desserts, and celebratory toasts galore?

Today, I’ll tell you!

1.  Protecting your liver at holiday parties:

 

 

Drinking wine occasionally has enjoyed mixed health reviews — with some studies reporting cognitive benefits from wine…

(although for those you can simply take resveratrol supplements!)

…and many more concerning studies reporting that alcohol increases cancer risk and decreases life span.

 

And because holiday parties typically mean a lot of driving out and about to attend these parties, my first recommendation is just not to drink at all!

 

But if you realistically are going to toast the holidays with friends and family and a drink or two… and you have a safe ride lined up… there is a way that you can help that drink be less toxic to your dear old liver.

 

Plus, we can’t ignore that even if the recommendation is not to drink at all, there are 140 millions folks in America alone that regularly drink and about 16 million of them have an alcohol abuse disorder.

So instead of ignoring a huge population of folks that need health support, I share this information in an effort to help their body stay as healthy as possible while they seek the help and support they need to stop drinking.

 

Alcohol is metabolized into acetaldehyde by your liver.

If acetaldehyde sounds familiar, you might be be thinking of it’s cousin, the more well known autopsy chemical:

formaldehyde.

 

Yep, they are related, and just like formaldehyde is well known to pickle human tissue, acetaldehyde isn’t very gentle on your liver or body either.

Both are harsh chemicals known to cause cancer.

If you are drinking one drink an hour or more, you can expect to feel cumulative effects of acetaldehyde build up as your body can’t metabolize the acetaldehyde quickly enough: heart racing, pounding, nausea, dehydration, dizziness.

How can we protect ourselves from this dangerous metabolite?

 

Our body can use l-cysteine to protect against the acetaldehyde effects until our liver can further break the acetaldehyde down into carbon dioxide and water.

You can also add on Vitamin C to help keep the l-cysteine activated and working more efficiently as well.

A combination of l-cycsteine and vit C — taken before you start drinking and continuing with a dose of about 200 mg per ounce of alcohol consumed — to help block the toxic effects of the acetaldehyde can help your body recover more easily from those holiday gatherings.

 

These supplements are not a recommendation to make drinking safe… rather to make drinking less toxic. Remember, no supplement can make drinking safe.

And no supplement can make drinking and driving the slightest bit safe… or morally correct… or legal.  If you are going to drink… don’t drive.

 

And of course, no pharmaceutical company out there has poured money into researching how to reduce harm from alcohol… so there are no large human medical studies to back this up.

(There are animal studies that show that having l-cystiene on board was protective and prolonged the life of rodents who were fed toxic doses of acetaldehyde.  Only 10% of animals initially survived the acetaldehyde challenge without supplementation but 80% initially survived with L-cysteine on board!  That is an 800% increased survival! )

Because these supplements are safe, cheap, and readily available to humans everywhere, Big Pharma knows they are unlikely to make a huge profit from pour large amounts of funding into examining how these vitamins might help us preserve and protect our health.

But on the upside, exactly because they are safe and inexpensive and readily available, this means you have easy access to these supportive healing supplements too!

Be sure to stick with very high quality supplements made in fantastic, reputable pharmacy grade nutraceutical facilities.

To help, I’ve added these supplements in the Detox category of my online pharmacy dispensary so that you can be sure you have pharmacy grade, super pure quality supplements on hand to protect your body if you do decide to drink this holiday season.

 

 

Taking a dose before drinking,

a dose with each round of drinks,

and another dose after you finish all alcohol consumption completely

might help spare your body from some portion of the the ill effects of the toxic acetaldehyde.

 

 

In addition to navigating holiday drinking, sometimes what is even more tricky to be around are all of the party foods!  What if you want to stick with foods that are healthy for your body… or at the very least, don’t undo all of the benefit from the exercise and deep sleep and good supplements you take?

You absolutely can, if you know what party foods to look for.

So today, I offer you some of my 5 favorite holiday party foods that I never ever restrict.  You are almost guaranteed to find at least one of these four treats on any holiday party spread:

 

 

2.  Protecting your diet at holiday parties:

 

1)  Chocolate!

 

Shown to support heart and brain health, women who consume chocolate on a regular basis have a lower body mass index then those who don’t!

 

2)  Caffeine

 

Warding off dementia,  Alzheimers and depression, even decreasing your risk for developing diabetes… a warm cup of coffee or tea is the perfect way to indulge at a party, guilt free, especially if you can skip the sugar and whipped cream.

 

3)  Berries

 

Super-powered antioxidants that decrease inflammation throughout your body, enjoy the fresh fruit party platter!  Best dessert yet?  Snag that chocolate covered strawberry and enjoy every single luscious bite!

 

4)  Nuts

 

Medically proven to lower heart disease risk and boosting energy without causing any weight gain, find the nut bowl and dig in!

 

 

5)  Deviled Eggs

 

I saved the best for last. My favorite party food of all time is deviled eggs.

I truly believe in eating eggs regularly… the protein and healthy fats are second-to-none.  Although traditional recipes for deviled eggs double their calorie content, it’s still so much less calorie dense (at about 160 calories per deviled egg) than almost anything else that you can find at a holiday dinner.  And the protein is sure to keep you much more full and decrease your desire to fill your stomach with empty carbs and inflammation-inducing sugar.

If you are truly concerned about keeping calorie counts low, you can always offer to be the one to bring deviled eggs to the party!  Using this recipe for a skinny deviled egg (which uses only some of the yolks and swaps out mayo for greek yogurt) each deviled egg is only 37 calories and has 3.8 grams of satisfying, delicious protein!

 

 

 

 You absolutely can (and will!) successfully navigate holiday eating this year, and armed with these tips, you’ll feel your best while doing so!

xoxoxo, Laura

 

Giving The Gift Of Health: The 3 Best Ways

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We all have loved ones in our lives that could use a health boost.

 

And more than anything, that’s what we want to give them as a gift.

A way to feel better.

The gift of more energy, happier days ahead, and better health.

But sometimes giving a healing tool is actually a tricky gift, because it is so personal.

Health, and especially health struggles, are so deeply emotional and so personal.  (Like I talk about here, even just the experience of pain is hardwired to the emotional centers in our brain and can trigger all kinds of upsetting emotional reactions, and that is totally normal!)

And gifting a health care item can even be tricky when giving it to someone who has no health issues at all!

For example, maybe you have someone you’ve always wanted to introduce to grounding, but you are worried that they may resist a gift of a healing modality that is not-quite-yet mainstream.

Or maybe it’s someone who you know for a fact would love grounding, but a healing tool just seems too clinical to give as a gift.

Maybe it’s someone who could use a metabolic boost because they have a new year’s resolution to lose weight, but you don’t want them to feel like you think they are already perfect, just how they are (because we all know you can be truly healthy in a wide range of weight categories, right?  If you don’t believe that yet, let me explain why here.)

Maybe you know someone who could use a good night’s sleep, but you don’t want them to feel like you think they are cranky or look tired if you give them a grounding sleep tool to help them sleep better.

Maybe you know someone who could use a mood boost, but you don’t want them to feel like you are suggesting they are depressed if you give them a light therapy box as a gift.

 

Don’t worry, there are ways to give healing tools to your loved ones that ensure they are the most thoughtful, meaningful, and even life-changing gift they could possibly get.

 

One they will look back on and be so incredibly grateful for.

One that offers a turning point in their life, in their health, and in how close and connected to you they feel.

Today I want to share with you three tried-and-true ways to support your loved ones in their healing journey in a positive, uplifting way that feels 100% loving and supportive.

To create a sweet softness when giving a gift of a health care item, it’s important to round out the healing tool with loving items that make it feel more like a care package, and less like a “here, you need help, use this” type of gift.

It’s truly as simple as this:

 

 

 

Idea #1:

Turn a healing tool from a solitary gift into a care package.

 

For example:

  • by adding a wellness tracker to any holistic healing tool, you create a fun way to make the healing part of the bigger picture of their ever-improving life as a whole
  • by adding a set of Daily Focus Healing Cards, you help inspire them every single day with new creative expressions of wellness, not just the one day they open the gift
  • if you want to introduce someone to grounding by, for example, give a grounding hot water bottle to keep them cozy all winter long… add some organic hot chocolate mix for a warm drink before bed, or bath salts for a warm soak in the bath, or some fresh new sheets to slip into with their grounding hot water bottle, and it will feel like a cozy makeover instead of just a healing tool
  • if you want to gift a water filtration system, for example, add a reusable water bottle and some trace mineral drops to your gift, and this way they can take their new and improved delicious and pure water anywhere they go!

 

As you can see, just adding an extra complimentary item or two changes the vibe from a directive (“do this to feel better”) into an incredibly thoughtful loving gift (“I love you and here is a care package to show how much I care!”)

 

 

 

 

Idea #2:

Turn a healing tool into a bonding experience by giving the gift of your time.

 

For example:

  • adding a movie and some popcorn to any grounding tool will instantly turn it into a fun movie night gift pack… and be sure to watch the movie with them!
  • if you want to gift a light therapy box, adding a bottle of holistic sunscreen and a cute beach towel along with the message that the light box is there to tide them over until summer time fun!  Include a promise to go on a road trip together as soon as the weather is warmer!
  • if you want to gift a fun pack of healing temporary tattoos, add a delicious bottle of wine, champagne or apple cider with a coupon for a fun date together putting the tattoos on and sharing New Years resolutions and goals together.
  • if you want to give conductive socks or gloves, add some ultra-hydrating grounding lotion to keep their feet and hands hydrated along with a promise to go get manicures or pedicures together too!

 

As you can see, committing to spending time with your recipient in addition to the physical gift you are giving is another way to turn a healing tool into a bonding experience you will share!  Giving the gift of time spent together is always win-win, for them and for you!

 

 

 

Idea #3:

Turn a healing tool into a customized gift that validates their unique personality.

 

For example:

 

  • for loved ones that would appreciate some comforting homey touches to their space, you can add a healing meditation chime, a candle and a small plant with a plant grounder (maybe a cute succulent, my fav!) and this will help cozy up and beautiful their whole space (especially perfect for folks who can’t be home over the holidays because they are in rehab or nursing facilities, recovering from surgery, newly moved or relocated, immobile and can not get out of bed, etc…)
  • if they are a creative sort, adding a hardcover inspirational journal and a special pen or bookmark to keep by their bedside, maybe even including a mug and their favorite tea, a prayer book or devotional, a dream journal, a set of art pens or another creative expressive medium, is a nice touch to turn a health care item into a way to show you understand and appreciate their entire personality and see more to them than an illness or disease to “fix”
  • for the workaholic, adding an inspirational, healing PostIt To-Do list note pad, a beautiful pen or paperweight to use at work, and a framed picture of the two of you together helps round out any healing tool gift… so they feel loved (and inspired to continue with their healing) even when they are away at work
  • for a loved one who travels often, a grounding and shielding travel eye mask (so they can nap on the go) makes a great gift alongside a box of uplifting notecards to stay in touch with, a personalized key chain, a tin of mints, and/or a healthy hand sanitizing travel cloth so they can stay healthy and germ-free while exploring the beautiful world that’s waiting for them!

 

As you can see, adding a few personalized items makes the recipient feel validated and seen on a deeper level, on a customized level, than simply giving a healing tool to them.

 

This holiday season, there is no better gift than one that lets the people you love feel better and better… a gift of health.

But making sure you round out the gift so that it feels like a care package full of love, instead of a solitary healing item that might trigger fear or repressed emotions associated with the disease or illness they are recovering from is really important.

 

A healing tool is an intimate, loving, thoughtful expression of support when you can add it in as part of a full care package, or if you can make the healing tool part of a bonding experience you do together, or if you can create a luxurious feel around the gift itself.

Your gift can absolutely be a turning point in your loved one’s health, when given with a sense of love, connection, validation and intimacy.

To your best holiday season yet…

xoxoxo, Laura

 

The Ultimate Indoor Grounding Guide

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When I first started introducing the concept of grounding to my patients, I only advised them to go outside and touch the earth directly.

Free, accessible, direct healing.

 

To this day, I still advise you to do this, daily, whenever you possibly can!

However, because the medical literature is so very clear that grounding indoors with indoor grounding tools is extremely healing as well, I did not want my patient’s healing to be limited to times when they had the energy, good weather, mobility and spare time to head outside.  In general, the folks who need grounding the most are the ones who are least feeling up to being active outside.  Grounding should not be restricted from those who need it most!

So, in order to make grounding accessible both indoor and outdoors, I began to look for indoor grounding tools to recommend to patients who have mobility issues, those who were mostly indoors because they were rehabilitating or recovering, and those who felt particularly ill or isolated.

 

 

I also found there were so many patients that lived in particularly unforgiving, harsh, or dangerous environments that made going outdoors barefoot inadvisable.

 

From tick borne illnesses to crowded paved over city landscapes to wind-whipping, instantly freezing temperatures outside, there are many reasons why grounding outdoors is inaccessible at times.

So I started scouring the medical community for grounding tools that my patients could use indoors.  Tools made by hand, lovingly crafted out of eco-friendly materials, and tools that would last and last and last, made from strong, resilient stainless steel fibers that would not degrade after a single use or a single wash.

I couldn’t find any.  So I started making my own.  I offer these to you right here.

I wanted to write a blog post for you to explain some of your indoor grounding options.  Because as the weather turns colder and colder, every year just before winter I always get more and more emails from patients and readers asking how to stay connected to the earth as the outdoors becomes less accessible.

So today I wanted to share with you the top dozen tools I keep recommending over and over again to those who email me, so that you might benefit from knowing exactly which grounding items works the very best in each specific situation.

 

Dr. Laura Koniver’s Guide To Indoor Grounding:

 

 

1.  Best for: COMFORT

The Grounded Hot Water Bottle

 

Now you can combine the power of water and the power of heat with the grounding force of Mother Nature to introduce three different, synergistic ways to exponentially heal!  Heat increases circulation, ice decreases swelling, and grounding neutralizes inflammation, making this such an incredible versatile healing tool, helping: cramps, muscle tension, headaches, localized injury, back pain, arthritis and more.

Toss your EMF radiating electric blanket and reach for a tool that will keep your bed warm for hours as well as ground and heal you while you sleep all night long.  Hop over here to order you grounding hot water bottle.

Also good for:  a Beauty Treatment.

 

The grounded cover of the hot water bottle can be used as a facial beauty treatment — simply slip the hot water bottle out and use the super soft cozy right on your pillow at night, grounding through your neck and face.

 

2.  Best for: INSOMNIA

 The Grounding Mattress Panel

 

 

Hand made in the USA of the highest quality surgical stainless steel mesh (that lasts an entire lifetime!) organic hemp and organic cotton.  Eco friendly and supports local artisans.

Because this product uses 100% surgical grade stainless steel fibers for conductivity, it lasts dramatically longer than inferior products made from silver fibers that break or erode easily in the wash.  With other grounding products, one wash in non-distilled water is enough to make it stop working.  Not so with this mattress panel.

If you are going to be laying in bed for hours each night sleeping, let’s make those hours as deeply restorative and healing as they can possibly be by sleeping grounded!

 

Also good for:  Stressful Lifestyles.

 

This powerful healing flow speeds recovery to your body all night long, making it perfect for folks who have incredibly demanding jobs (to make the most of the healing nighttime hours,) athletes who push their body during the day (so they can recover faster at night) and people going through tough transitions and trauma who could use the extra resiliency.

Grounding has been proven in medical studies to enhance muscle recovery, decrease delayed onset muscle soreness, protect and strengthen bones, decrease stress hormone output, increase the time the brain spends in healing alpha wave patterns during sleep and more.  For a review on the medical literature and how sleeping grounded supports your health, watch this video here.

 

3.  Best for: PAIN

  Grounding Patches

 

If you have a specific area of pain you would like to apply grounding to, you can’t beat these grounding treatment patches.  The same medical ground grounding ECG patches used in hospitals nationwide, all you do is stick the patch where you want to apply grounding and clip on the grounding cord.

Could not be more simple or more straightforward, very hygienic as you can simply discard the grounding pad when you are done (making this a great disposable grounding tool for use with multiple people or in community grounding setting such as during massage or chiropractic treatment)  as well as a great economical introductory grounding tool to test out grounding for a few months before investing in other grounding tools.   Hop over here to grab your grounding patch kit.

 

Also good for:  Chronic Pain.

Modern medicine is woefully inadequately treating chronic pain issues.  For more information on why grounding helps with chronic pain, plus several other things you can to to specifically help address long standing chronic pain, read this blog post and watch this video.

 

4.  Best for: CIRCULATION


Grounding Socks

&

Grounding Gloves

 

Crafted in the USA, these tools help with pain and circulation issues that arise in specifically in your extremities.

Very often, our nerves and blood vessels becomes compromised in our upper and lower extremities due to medical conditions such as peripheral neuropathy, diabetes, arthritis, carpal tunnel, overuse injuries, plantar fasciitis and more.  Grounding has been shown to increase circulation to tissues, decrease blood viscosity (allowing blood to flow more smoothly to areas of decreased circulation,) decrease pain and improve wound healing.

Also great for preventive care for those wanting to target specific leg, ankle or foot issues… or to target arm, wrist or hand issues.  Hop over here to grab your socks or gloves.

 

Also good for:  a Grounding Tool You Can Also Use Outside.

 

If you want a layer of warmth that won’t block the healing connection to the earth when you touch it, wear these conductive groundings socks or conductive grounding gloves outside and touch the earth directly — the fabric becomes instantly grounded and so are you, even while your skin is protected from the cold air and wind!

 

5.  Best for: DISCRETION

Grounding Cuff

 

So easy to wear all day long — just walk out the door with this beautiful stainless steel cuff on your wrist, and whenever you want to ground, simply clip the grounding cord to it and enjoy discrete grounding anywhere.

No need to take it off between treatments, no one will ever know that your bangle is actually a healing tool!   Grab your grounding cuff here.

Also good for:  Gifting.

 

Have a friend who lives far away and you need a light weight gift to send overseas?  Have a loved one you would like to tuck a small grounding tool into a their stocking this holiday season?  A grounding cuff is the easiest, most fool proof way to go, as there is no sizing required… a cuff is one-size-fits-all!

 

6.   Best for:  DESK JOBS

 

A Grounded Mat

For those that sit at work, you can place this right on your seat and sit directly on it, or use discretely under your desk with your feet, or standing occupations can stand directly on this pad for grounded healing.

You can have it on your desktop at work so that your hand is touching it while you are working on your computer, or you can simply slip off your shoe under your desk and place a bare foot right on the mat.  A removable and 100% machine washable conductive cover with a conductive interior foam core means this grounding mat not only provides comfortable padding, but you can wash it so easily that it’s a great choice for using at work or for travel.  Grab your grounding mat here.

 

Also good for:  Pets.

 

Because this grounding mat has a fully machine washable cover, you can use it in situations where you are going to want to wash it multiple times, like with your pets.  You can even sleep right on it, using it as a mini sleeping pad with a washable mini sheet on it!

 

7.  Best for:  TRAVELERS

 

Grounding Travel Tote

 

Everything you need is all included in one little kit (the stainless steel pouch doubles as a drawstring carry case to carry the outlet checker and grounding cord in!)  When you want to ground, just take out the cord and outlet checker from the pouch, and use the pouch as a mini grounding pad!

Then when you are headed back home, or to work, or a friend’s house, or on a trip… just throw the outlet checker and cord back into the bag, close it up and you are all set to ground no matter where you might roam!

 

Also good for:  Introducing Someone To Grounding.

 

This grounding item hits the sweet spot between high quality and accessible cost.  Made from the same stainless steel mesh that the larger grounding mattress panel is made from, this is like a mini grounding panel intro kit!  A perfect introductory gift for introducing someone to the healing practice of grounding.

 

8.  Best for:  FIRST AID KITS

 


Grounding Hot & Cold Packs

Stays hot or cold for the perfect treatment length of 10 – 15 minutes… ideal to prevent over-treating the areas of injury.   Simply rest grounded ice packs over eyes to reduce puffiness, relieve migraine pain by placing cold pack over forehead or use warm for stiff neck muscles to reduce pain during a tension headache, place over sinus area to relieve sinus pressure, apply to abdomen to sooth cramping and nausea, ideal as a first aid treatment for injuries… the applications are endless.

Also good for:  Care Packages.

 

Because of the small size and how versatile of a healing tool that a hot and cold pack that is grounded is, it’s the perfect healing tool to include in care packages.  It’s the only grounded hot & cold pack in the world, and it’s waiting for you right here.

 

9.  Best for:  OLDER HOMES


Grounding Stake

Bypass your home’s outdated electrical system and ground directly to Mother Earth, indoors!  These grounding stakes are compatible not only with every single grounding tool I offer, but also with just about any grounding tool you might already own even from other manufacturers.  Simply push the ground rod a few inches into the earth, clip the grounding cord directly on to your grounding item with the alligator clip at the end of the cord, and that item will be grounded!

Great for older homes that don’t have proper grounded wiring and for anyone who wants the peace of mind of direct contact with the earth.  Grab your grounding stake here.

 

Also good for:  Camping.

 

You would think when you are camping you’d naturally be grounded, but the moment you step into a tent with a plastic tarp for the floor or into your RV, you are completely ungrounded!  But no worries, because all you need to do is bring along your favorite grounding item and clip it to this portable grounding stake that connects you to the earth right outside of your tent or RV.  Spend time with Mother Nature grounded on your next camping trip!

 

 

10.  Best for: ELECTROSENSITIVE FOLKS

 

PureGround Grounding Cord:

the only filtering & shielding ground cord

 

For those of us concerned about the ever increasing strength of the electromagnetic fields on the horizon, and for those of us who are particularly electrosensitive, upgrading from a standard grounding cord to a filtered and shielded cord makes sense.

To watch a video demonstration of this PureGround cord in action, click here.

By supporting your conductive health (with grounding) and protecting your conductive health (with shielding) we can get these two powerfully healing approached united, so that they can both ultimately work together to support your innate, robust health.

You can clip this cord onto any grounding tool that is conductive and it will work!  Compatible with all of the grounding tools I’ve ever sold, as well as any grounding tool sold by other companies, simply clip to the edge of the conductive part of any grounding tool and it will be powerfully grounded!  So anyone can use it.  Whether you get your grounding tools from my website or a different one.  Anyone can feel even better than they do right now.  And isn’t that what healing and healing is all about?

Proudly made right here in the USA and not bulk manufactured overseas like most other grounding cords, ensure that your grounding experience is the most pure ground connection possible by upgrading your standard grounding cord with the new PureGround filter grounding cord.  

 

 

11.  Best for: DRY WINTER SKIN

 

Grounding Lotion

 

You can actually enhance your conductivity simply by topically applying a conductive gel.  Especially important right now at the start of winter when we all have dehydrated, dried out skin!  It will make an immediate difference — with this gel on, the slightest contact with your grounding tool or the earth makes you instantly & powerfully grounded.

If you’ve ever tested your grounding tools and they are grounded, but when you test yourself you are not grounded, it’s because your body is not hydrated enough and lacks enough minerals to encourage conductivity.  This gel fixes both — moisturizes your skin and provides advanced cellular silver & trace minerals to boost your body’s grounding potential exponentially!

Keep this pump by your bedside and lightly moisturize with it before slipping onto your grounding mattress panel at night, or before sliding on your grounding socks or grounding cuff on your arm in the AM, and you will exponentially reap the benefits to the enhanced conductivity.

 

 

12.  Best for GROUNDING WHILE WORKING OUT

 

 

Grounded Yoga Mat

 

Stretching the body is not only therapeutic to the muscles and joints and bones, but helps literally support the health of our body from recovering from trauma and treating PTSD to helping support deeper sleep at night.

It is no wonder that yoga is one of my top recommendations for therapeutic physical therapy to my patients!

Ideally we would be grounded while doing yoga.  It would be amazing to be outside, barefoot on a sandy beach while holding downward facing dog or kneeling into a relaxing child’s pose.

And while hopefully we are lucky enough to catch times in our life where we can do yoga outside grounded, for the most part yoga is on a foam mat (which totally cuts you off from the healing flow of being grounded even if you are outside!!!) and typically we are indoors as well.  That’s why I created this grounding yoga mat.  Because even if all you have to care for your body each day is to stretch out your body for ten minutes before bed or upon waking, if you can do those ten minutes grounded, your body is on the fast track to healing and supported energetically, physically, spiritually.

 

*****

 

I hope these ideas for indoor grounding help you support your always available conductive healing pathways…

…and in the upcoming weeks I will also give you a rundown of all of the ways you can use shielding to help protect your conductive health as well!  That’s coming soon.

Meanwhile, I’m so glad we live in a time where we are beginning to wake up and *Truly Remember* all of the invaluable ways that connecting to the earth supports our healing.

There just is no substitute.

Luckily we have lots and lots of indoor options so that we can remain connected while we work indoors or recover and heal indoors or sleep indoors at night.  So pick a way to ground inside and don’t forget to add on some outdoor time touching the earth directly when you can as well… and watch your health skyrocket!

xoxoxo, Laura

 

Pets Boost Your Health For A Lifetime

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From childhood throughout our entire adult life and elderly years, owning a pet gives us a a significant health boost that lasts a lifetime.

Here’s what the medical literature has to say about why caring for an animal just might be one of the best things you can do to protect your health over a lifetime.

 

1.  Childhood:

 

You’ve probably heard that exposure to dirt in childhood is an essential part of boosting immunity and decreasing future allergies… but did you know the same is true for animals?

Early exposure to dogs and farm animals (during the first year of life) statistically significantly decreased the development of asthma in children 5+ years later.

Published on November 2, 2015 in JAMA Pediatrics, researchers found that exposure to animals decreases future development of asthma, a very important finding because the worldwide incidence of childhood asthma is steadily increasing.

 

Looking at data from over 1 million children born in Sweden from 2001 to 2010, researchers followed children from birth through the first decade of life, tracking their early childhood exposure (or non-exposure) to dogs and farm animals as well as their subsequent asthma diagnosis and treatment.

They found that having a dog as a pet during the first year of childhood reduced the incidence of asthma diagnosis by 10% by the time the children were 3 years old and up to 13% by 7 years old.

They also found that living on a farm went even further… decreasing the childhood rate of asthma by the time the children were 7 years old by over 52%!

Living on a farm with animals in early childhood (as opposed to simply visiting a farm but not owning any of your own animals) slashed the rate of asthma more than in HALF.

 

Another study showed that children who lived in homes with pets had less colds and ear infections during their first year of life than children from pet-free households. 

This is important information for parents to be aware of, so that they can understand the appropriateness of having their children around animals and pets and that the timing of this is important — during the first year of life.

And well beyond the medicinal benefits of animal exposure in early childhood, having pets:

  • gives children a very healthy exposure to unconditional love
  • provides stability and continuity during times of unavoidable stress in the child’s life (such as during a move to a new home, entering a new school, or a change in the family dynamics such as a death or divorce)
  • and gives a framework to talk about holistic and important topics such as death (as inevitably pets have a shorter life span than humans and often the death of a pet is a very healthy introduction to speaking about death before it pertains to a human family member, such as the loss of a grandparent.)

 

Loving and caring for a special pet is a priceless, priceless gift during childhood.

My kids saw baby guinea pigs and rabbits being born, nurtured just-hatched baby chicks, held special pets as they grew old and died in their arms, hand bottle fed a baby cockatiel and helped house train all their puppies!

 

 

I have found that not only are animals good for the body from a medical perspective by decreasing asthmatic responses and infections in the body during childhood, but also getting children up, outdoors, and active.

Sitting for extended periods of time (like in a school setting!) is unfortunately the worst thing you can do for your body… so having a pet that gets children up and active, such as walking a dog daily, is one of the best things you can do to encourage a long healthy life habit in your child.

This goes against the current model of our school system, which would have your child remain quietly seated from roughly 8 AM to 3 PM on a daily basis.

It’s hard to justify the sedentary “sit still at your desk with only a half hour for lunch and recess” parameter of traditional school any longer… even medicating children so that they will sit still… when many medical studies have proven that sitting still is one one of the biggest threats to our life span (as we will discuss next!) 

Prolonged sitting has a profoundly negative impact on cancer risk, sleep quality, and diabetes risk over a lifetime.  

And this is not only true for children, but adults as well.  Let’s take a look:

 

2.  Adulthood:

 

Walking a dog every day is so healing, so healthy, that it is as effective in cancer recovery as chemotherapy!

Published on Jan 13, 2013 in the Journal Of Clinical Oncology, researchers followed 2,300 colorectal cancer patients and measured their activity level before and after cancer diagnosis.

The more active the patients were, the better their long-term outcome.  Even patients that were doing no physical activity prior to diagnosis… if they began increasing their activity level after diagnosis and during recovery, their outcomes were improved as well.

Active colorectal cancer patients had a 0.58 risk reduction — this is a decrease in mortality rates by almost HALF! — and those who were not active had an increased rate of mortality (death)…. a 1.36 risk increase.

These results suggest that being active has a greater impact on cancer prognosis than chemotherapy! 

How active do you need to be to show the protective and healing benefits? 

Turns out, not very active.  It is way more important to just be up and walking around, to decrease sedentary time, then it is to exercise strenuously.  The amount of activity that triggered this protective benefit was only the equivalent of 20 minutes of walking a day. 

Pets are the perfect motivator.  

 

Just the equivalent of walking for 20 minutes each day, or about 150 minutes of walking a week, made all the difference in the world — literally saving lives and modifying mortality rates significantly.

Recently released in 2015 at the annual meeting of the Associated Professional Sleep Societies, the first meta-analysis looking at the effects of walking on sleep in cancer patients revealed that walking improved sleep in all different types of cancers studied.

Sleep disorders are very common during cancer treatment and recovery with many patients reporting daily sleep disturbances which in turn affect physical function, healing, mood, energy levels, and quality of life.

Although it is well know that exercise has been shown to improve sleep due to boosted immune response, core body temperature regulation, autonomic function, enhanced endocrine function, and mood, these parameters have never before been studied on such a wide scale specifically in cancer patients before.

Looking at 9 different randomized, controlled trials, walking was found to improve sleep equally in all different types of cancers followed in the study (including breast cancer.)  And, important to note, walking significantly helped sleep no matter what stage of cancer the participants were in — the effect did not differ among early vs. late stage cancers. 

With walking being such an accessible, low cost, and holistic approach for supporting better sleep in cancer patients, walking should be part of the healing Rx for ANY cancer patient wishing to optimize their time spent in restorative, healing sleep.

All it takes, to improve cancer outcome (and decrease your cardiovascular and diabetic risk too, as we will talk about next) is to simply decrease the amount of time you spend sitting and increase the amount of time you spend walking.  And that’s where a beloved pet or farm animal comes in. 

Turns out adopting a dog and taking it on a few short walks a day is as good a cancer treatment plan as anything else we have to offer right now. 

The same is true for diabetes prevention.

Published on February 2016 in Diabetologia, researchers looked at whether sedentary time, breaks in sedentary time, and/or total physical activity was associated with cardiometabolic risk factors in 878 participants.

The results showed length of time spent sedentary actually had the biggest impact on blood glucose levels.  Revealing that time spent in sedentary behavior (sitting or lying down) actually impacts your diabetes risk more than moderate to vigorous physical activity does.

The bottom line? 

Time spent sedentary is the biggest risk factor of cardiometabolic health we know of.

 

So folks who are at high risk for type 2 diabetes mellitus, cardiovascular events or metabolic syndrome should have a goal of being up and about more throughout the day… instead of sitting all day long in a chair and then exercising one time that day.

See the shift? Folks who knock out an exercise routine and then spend time sedentary in between trips to the gym are at higher risk for cardiometabolic disease then folks who are simply more active throughout the day. 

 

That’s why being a caretaker for a pet is more healthy than any gym membership on earth. 

Simply having fun in your body and moving it in a way that brings you joy is more important then any exercise program out there!

 

That makes things like walking your dog… tending to a garden or farm… collecting eggs from your chicken coop… and other activities that you may not *count* as important as exercise… actually more important than structured exercise! 

Having pets and farm animals encourages an entire lifetsyle shift that is more active over all, instead of simply adding in an exercise routine. 

 

And more active over a lifetime = a longer lifespan.

 

Yet another study came out showing that prolonged sitting each day is associated with an increased risk of death from all causes including: cancer, cardiovascular disease and type 2 diabetes.

And important to note: exercising did not protect against this risk or prolong life… even those who exercised strenuously had a higher risk of death if there were prolonged periods of sitting in between work outs.

That’s because it only takes 6 hours of sitting still to significantly decrease the effective blood flow through your arms and legs.  Turns out, sitting at work (or at school) raises your mortality risk no matter how hard you exercise before or afterwards.

All in all, researchers have shown that a sedentary lifestyle contributes to at least 35 different chronic diseases and counting, from diabetesosteoporosis, breast cancer, prostate cancer, heart disease, depression, back pain… even erectile dysfunction!

A great overview study on this was published June 28, 2018 in the American Journal of Epidemiology.  

Another study showed that inactivity is more deadly than obesity. 

So sustainable health is not about weight, it’s not about working out, it’s not about exercising, it’s not about dieting, it’s not about being a weekend warrior, it’s not about how hard you push yourself on the treadmill, and it’s not about fitting into any Body Mass Index category.

Real health isn’t about a measurement, a weight, a percentage, an exercise program. 

Real health is about enjoying the body you are in. 

 

I would rather you simply enjoy play time with a pet daily over pushing your body to the limit in an exercise routine you don’t enjoy three times a week.   Over a lifetime, daily activity this makes a bigger difference to your long-term wellness.  And as you will see next, elderly folks who own a pet enjoy a more active and healthy lifestyle than those who do not. 

That’s because health is about moving your body.  Health is about flow.  Health is about feeling the joy of using your body to complete the activities you’d like to do each day.  Health is about zoning out less (in front of the TV, the computer, the gaming system) and about appreciating the body you are in more.

 

3.  Seniors

 

Medical studies have now shown that pets increase your heart health, actually giving you a survival advantage when recovering from heart attack!

One study followed 240 couples and found that those who lived with pets (even on top of the fact that these were couples who lived together with their human partner!) had lower blood pressure, decrease heart rate, and maintained this more relaxed heart healthy state even when undergoing stressful medical proceedures, plus they had quicker recovery after stressful events.  

This is an added benefit from owning a pet, on top of simply having human companionship, which means pets confir additional health benefits over living with a partner or spouse.

Another medical study that followed 421 adults with severe cardiac disease for an entire year after heart attack found that there was a significant surivaval advantage in patients who owned a pet, no matter how severe the initial heart attack was! 

Pets increased owner lifespan following even the most severe heart attacks.  

 

Owning pets also help to stabilize mood, as interacting with a pet increases serotonin and dopamine in the brain (decreasing depression and anxiety) as well as providing theraputic touch… something that anyone at any age can benefit from… childhood on up.

Another medical study of over 2,500 elders aged 71 years old and older, followed over a span of 3 years, found that those who walked dogs routinely had increased strength, increased mobility, and most importantly…

…increased functionality around the home, maintaining higher levels of activities of daily living (ADL) which predicts greater independence.

And yet another study, looking at adults aged 65 + showed that those who owned pets needed 30% fewer doctors appointments than thosw who did not own pets!

 

So… do you need a gym membership to be healthy?

Nah.

Do you need to set aside structured time each day to pound out a work out?

Not unless that’s what you love to do! 

Do you need to force yourself to stick to a painful or intense exercise program?

Nope.

 

All it takes, to support your health from childhood (decreasing asthma and infectious disease) through adulthood and your elderly years (improving cancer recovery, enhancing sleep, supporting heart health, decreasing diabetes and obesity, improving mood, and extending mobility and functionality throughout an entire lifetime) is simply to get a pet and get walking.

Turns out adopting a dog and taking it on a few short walks a day is the best longevity plan!

Enjoy this empowering information and instead of fighting your body… grab your favorite animal and go on a walk with it!  

xoxoxo, Laura