Readers Want to Know

In order to make the e-newsletter more interactive and responsive to needs of our readers, we’re starting a new section called “Readers Want to Know.”  The process is simple. Click on the link below and post your question(s). We’ll try to find a relevant article or a statement from someone in our community who has some expertise on the subject. Then you’ll see it in one of our e-newsletters. So scratch your heads a little, come up with a good question or two, and let’s go. Click here…

Wellness Article

The Agony of the Feet as You Get Older – by Stacey Colino, Contributor
While people often pay attention to how their feet look once sandal season comes around, they give their feet little TLC the rest of the year. Meanwhile, we pound our feet on the pavement or place three to four times our body weight on them when we jog. And we often subject our feet to tight or poorly fitting shoes or precarious heels. Given these stresses and strains, it’s a wonder the human foot – with its 26 bones, 33 joints and complex matrix of ligaments, tendons and muscles – doesn’t launch a full-scale rebellion.

But sometimes it does, especially as we get older. Indeed, a study in a 2016 issue of Maturitas found that foot pain affects 1 in 4 adults after age 45, and it’s at least somewhat disabling in two-thirds of those cases. Even worse, foot pain in older adults is associated with a 62 percent increased risk of recurrent falls, according to a study in a 2017 issue of Gerontology. “As we get older, our muscles and tendons lose elasticity, which can contribute to foot pain,” says Beth Gusenoff, a podiatric surgeon and clinical assistant professor in the department of plastic surgery at the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center.

It’s important to make your foot health a priority, especially as you get older because “a healthy foot is a catalyst for mobility and a healthy lifestyle,” Gusenoff says. “Your feet really are your base of support.”

Here are six things you may not know about your aging feet – but should.

Obesity can increase your risk of suffering from foot pain. A study in a 2017 issue of the journal Obesity Research & Clinical Practice found that as people’s body mass index, or BMI, increases from the normal range to obesity, so do the odds that they will have foot pain as they get older; this is true for men and women. With excess weight on the body, “the foot can’t handle the mechanical load that’s being put on it,” Gusenoff says.

Unfortunately, the obesity issue can create a vicious cycle, whereby obesity increases the risk of foot pain, which makes people less likely to engage in weight-bearing physical activities, which can lead to more weight gain, and so on, notes Dr. Clifford Jeng, medical director of the Institute for Foot and Ankle Reconstruction at Mercy Medical Center in Baltimore. Consider this extra incentive to shed excess pounds. (source)

Wellness Article

Why You Feel Tired All the Time

Medical News Today – by Hannah Nichols
Do you often ask yourself, “Why am I so tired all the time?” If so, this article may be the perfect read for you; we have compiled a list of some of the most common reasons for tiredness and what you can do to bounce back into action.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), around 15.3 percent of women and 10.1 percent of men regularly feel very tired or exhausted in the United States.

Tiredness can cause an array of problems. For example, around 1 in 25 adult drivers report falling asleep at the wheel each month. About 72,000 crashes and 44,000 injuries each year are a result of drowsy driving, and that’s not to mention the estimated 6,000 fatal crashes caused by drowsy drivers.

Everyone feels tired at some point in their lives – whether it’s due to a late night out, staying up to watch your favorite TV show, or putting in some extra hours at work. Often, you can put your finger on the reason you’re not feeling your best, but what about those times when you can’t pinpoint the cause of your tiredness? What makes you feel tired then?

Medical News Today has researched the possible explanations for why you could be feeling so drained and the steps that you can take to feel re-energized.

1. Lack of sleep
A lack of sleep may seem an obvious reason for feeling tired, yet 1 in 3 U.S. adults are consistently not getting enough of it.

Tiredness increases the risk of accidents, obesity, high blood pressure, depression, and heart disease.

People aged between 18 and 60 years need 7 or more hours of sleep every day to promote optimal health, according to The American Academy of Sleep Medicine and the Sleep Research Society.

Getting under the recommended hours of sleep each night is not only associated with fatigue, impaired performance, and a greater risk of accidents, but it also has adverse health outcomes. These include obesity, high blood pressure, depression, heart disease, stroke, and an increased risk of death. (source)

Wellness Article

11 Benefits of Strength Training That Have Nothing to Do With Muscle Size
U.S. News & World Report – by K. Alec

If you want to build bigger biceps or get an elusive six-pack, strength training is an essential component for making it happen. But even if maxing out your muscle size isn’t your objective, strength training might still be the best way to hit your health goals.

“A lot of people believe that if they don’t want to look like a bodybuilder, they shouldn’t perform resistance training,” says Michael Rebold, director of integrative exercise sciences at Hiram College in Ohio. “So the only form of exercise they do is aerobic – and then they wonder why they are having trouble making significant improvements in their health,” he explains.

Plus, building muscle bulk requires specialized and intense training and nutrition, and it doesn’t happen on accident, Rebold adds.

Before your next workout, consider these 11 science-backed benefits of strength training.

1. Lower abdominal fat. In a 2014 study published in the research journal Obesity, Harvard researchers followed 10,500 men over the course of 12 years and found that strength training is more effective at preventing increases in abdominal fat than cardiovascular exercise.

“When people incorporate strength training into their exercise routine, they not only burn calories, but increase lean muscle mass, which stimulates the metabolism,” Rebold says. Muscle mass is a major determiner of basal metabolic rate, or the number of calories the body burns per day to sustain physiologic functions. (source)

Wellness Article

The Germs That Love Diet Soda

The New York Times – by Moises Velasquez Manoff
There are lots of reasons to avoid processed foods. They’re often packed with sugar, fat and salt, and they tend to lack certain nutrients critical to health, like fiber. And now, new research suggests that some of the additives that extend the shelf life and improve the texture of these foods may have unintended side effects – not on our bodies directly, but on the human microbiome, the trillions of bacteria living in our guts.

These substances may selectively feed the more dangerous members of our microbial communities, causing illness and even death.

Consider the rise in deadly cases of clostridium difficile, or C. diff, a terrible infection of the gut. The bacterium tends to strike just after you’ve taken antibiotics to treat something else. Those antibiotics kill your native microbes, allowing C. diff to move in. Nearly half a million people develop the infection yearly, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and around 29,000 die, sometimes after long bouts of painful, bloody diarrhea. By one estimate, deaths linked to C. diff increased fivefold between 1999 and 2007.

One reason the bug has become more virulent is that it has evolved antibiotic resistance and is not as easily treatable. But some years ago, Robert Britton, a microbiologist at Baylor College of Medicine, discovered something else about C. diff: More virulent strains were out-competing less virulent strains in the gut. (source)


With some forty years of dedication to the movement of wholistic health care, many have imagined that my interests lie strictly with the alternative. I prefer to see myself as a bridge linking the “alternative” and “traditional” models of health care, and I am free to draw from the best that each has to offer. The gulf between these two has narrowed considerably over the decades, in part because the separation is essentially false. Competent medicine with proper patient care certainly is “wholistic” and wholistic methods, supported by evidenced-based research, should be regarded as quality “medical” treatment.

My journey has in recent months taken me deeply into the care, science and skill of traditional medicine. I have to profess the possibility of bias, as an alumnus of UNC, but the kind of care that I have received in the UNC Health Care system has been remarkable. Seven weeks ago I had my right hip replaced with a metallic and plastic prosthesis.

Dr. Del Gaizo and the surgical team, as well as the nurses, Physical Therapists, Orthopedic Residents and so many others – at UNC hospital in Hillsborough – did a fantastic job not only with the surgery itself but also with patient care and support. They have earned my sincere respect and deepest appreciation.

There have been numerous changes at Wholistic Health Studio during this spring. We are sad to see our fine and dedicated yoga instructor, Betsy Templeton, retire from her three-times-a-week service to the WHS community. With her friendly smile and deep caring she has inspired so many people to get back in touch with not only their bodies but also, in many cases, their inner selves. But stay tuned, she promises to return with special presentations. We wish her great joy and success as she moves on to explore travel, grandchildren, and so much more.

We welcome Gigi Lee as our new yoga instructor. With her years of experience at Croasdaile and Duke’s faculty club, she brings a continuity of care and dedication to our yoga program at WHS. I am sure her vitality and gentleness will inspire students of yoga for many years to come. Let’s all do our part in making Gigi feel welcome.

In addition, we have the pleasure of announcing a new massage therapist to our therapy staff. During the next month Stephanie Nussbaum will be establishing a massage practice in our second therapy office, just off of the back deck. She has many years of training and experience, especially in providing supportive care for cancer patients. Most often her pressure is light, but with her deep and intuitive touch she reaches to a place of powerful connectivity and serenity within her patients. I am not just speaking metaphorically; I have, myself, had this experience.

Stephanie, as WHS Director of Outreach and Program Development, has launched a new, ongoing “Meetup” group that gathers one Wednesday a month at 7:30PM here at Wholistic Health Studio’s main classroom. Each program is FREE, and topics range from sound healing, laughing yoga, sexual awareness, to enhancing our immune system’s response, and so much more yet to come.

Finally, it is essential to acknowledge YOU. Our community is growing, and it gives us the greatest pleasure to see both old and new faces in our classes and at our presentations. As we approach the beginning of year seven, it is our constant reminder that we are here to serve. With the many operational challenges: staff absences or illnesses (including my own), disruption of services (well digging), repairs to an old facility (sheetrock needs repair), and the ongoing endeavors to provide quality programs – there are many distractions. But without you, we are nothing more than, to borrow from 1st Corinthians, tinkling cymbals. I hope you will let us know if there is anything we can do to improve your learning environment, to offer additional programs, or otherwise support your journey to wellness.
Thank you,

Wellness Article

Exercise Alters Our Microbiome. Is That One Reason It’s So Good For Us?
The New York Times - by Gretchen Reynolds
Exercise may change the composition and activity of the trillions of microbes in our guts in ways that could improve our health and metabolisms over time, a new study finds.

The results provide novel insights into how exercise can affect even those portions of our bodies that seem uninvolved in workouts, perhaps providing another nudge to stick with our exercise resolutions this year.

I think we all have heard by now that each of us contains a pulsating little universe of bacteria within our guts. This microbiome includes countless different species of microbes in varying proportions that interact, compete and busily release various substances that are implicated in weight control, inflammation, immune responses and many other aspects of health throughout our bodies. (source)

Wellness Article

How Stress Can Affect Your Blood Sugar Levels
by Dr. Mercola
Stress does not act as a singular force on your body but rather acts like a snowball rolling down a mountain, gradually building in size and speed until it’s virtually impossible to control. As stress builds in your body, it influences everything from your mood and brain function to your heart health and risk of both acute illness and chronic disease, including cancer.

When you become stressed your body also secretes cortisol and glucagon, both of which affect your blood sugar levels as well. On a metabolic level, when you’re stressed and your body enters “fight or flight” mode, glucose is released in order to give your muscles the energy needed to run and escape whatever is threatening you. In the modern day, there’s a good chance that threat is more mental than physical, however, which means you won’t need that extra energy after all.

The end result is that your body must produce more insulin to keep your blood sugar levels in check, and when you’re stressed out, your blood sugar levels will probably stay elevated much longer than they would otherwise, ultimately promoting weight gain and Type 2 diabetes. (source)

Wellness Article

The Tyranny of Convenience
The New York Times - by Tim Wu
Convenience is the most underestimated and least understood force in the world today. As a driver of human decisions, it may not offer the illicit thrill of Freud’s unconscious sexual desires or the mathematical elegance of the economist’s incentives. Convenience is boring. But boring is not the same thing as trivial.

In the developed nations of the 21st century, convenience – that is, more efficient and easier ways of doing personal tasks – has emerged as perhaps the most powerful force shaping our individual lives and our economies. This is particularly true in America, where, despite all the paeans to freedom and individuality, one sometimes wonders whether convenience is in fact the supreme value.

As Evan Williams, a co-founder of Twitter, recently put it, “Convenience decides everything.” Convenience seems to make our decisions for us, trumping what we like to imagine are our true preferences. (I prefer to brew my coffee, but Starbucks instant is so convenient I hardly ever do what I “prefer.”) Easy is better, easiest is best. (source)

Wellness Article

Fiber is Good for You. Now Scientists May Know Why.

The New York Times – by Carl Zimmer
A diet of fiber-rich foods, such as fruits and vegetables, reduces the risk of developing diabetes, heart disease and arthritis. Indeed, the evidence for fiber’s benefits extends beyond any particular ailment: Eating more fiber seems to lower people’s mortality rate, whatever the cause.

That’s why experts are always saying how good dietary fiber is for us. But while the benefits are clear, it’s not so clear why fiber is so great. “It’s an easy question to ask and a hard one to really answer,” said Fredrik Bäckhed, a biologist at the University of Gothenburg in Sweden.

He and other scientists are running experiments that are yielding some important new clues about fiber’s role in human health. Their research indicates that fiber doesn’t deliver many of its benefits directly to our bodies.

Instead, the fiber we eat feeds billions of bacteria in our guts. Keeping them happy means our intestines and immune systems remain in good working order.

In order to digest food, we need to bathe it in enzymes that break down its molecules. Those molecular fragments then pass through the gut wall and are absorbed in our intestines.

But our bodies make a limited range of enzymes, so that we cannot break down many of the tough compounds in plants. The term “dietary fiber” refers to those indigestible molecules.

But they are indigestible only to us. The gut is coated with a layer of mucus, atop which sits a carpet of hundreds of species of bacteria, part of the human microbiome. Some of these microbes carry the enzymes needed to break down various kinds of dietary fiber.

The ability of these bacteria to survive on fiber we can’t digest ourselves has led many experts to wonder if the microbes are somehow involved in the benefits of the fruits-and-vegetables diet. Two detailed studies published recently in the journal “Cell Host and Microbe” provide compelling evidence that the answer is yes. (Source)