Wellness Resources

Educate Your Immune System
New York Times
by Moises Velasquez-Manoff
In the last half century, the prevalence of auto immune disease – disorders in which the immune system attacks healthy tissue in the body – has increased sharply in the developed world. An estimated one in 13 Americans has one of these often debilitating, generally lifelong conditions. Many, like Type 1 diabetes and celiac disease, are linked with specific gene variants of the immune system, suggesting a strong genetic component. But their prevalence has increased much faster – in two or three generations – than it’s likely the human gene pool has changed.

Many researchers are interested in how the human microbiome – the community of microbes that live mostly in the gut and are thought to calibrate our immune system – may have contributed to the rise of these disorders. Perhaps society-wide shifts in these microbial communities, driven by changes in what we eat and in the quantity and type of microbes we’re exposed to in our daily lives, have increased our vulnerability.

To test this possibility, some years ago, a team of scientist began following 33 newborns who were genetically at risk for developing Type 1 diabetes, a condition in which the immune system destroys the insulin-producing cells of the pancreas.

The children were mostly Finnish. Finland has the highest prevalence – nearly one in 200 under the age of 15 – of Type 1 diabetes in the world. (At about one in 300, in the United States isn’t far behind.) After three years, four of the children developed the condition. The scientists had periodically sampled the children’s microbes, and when they looked back at the record, they discovered that the microbiome of children who developed the disease changed in predictable ways nearly a year before the disease appeared. Diversity declined and inflammatory microbes bloomed. It was as if a gradually maturing ecosystem had been stuck by the blight and overgrown by weeds. (source)

Wellness Resource

How Much Added Sugar Is Too Much?
by Michael Greger, M.D.
In 1776 – at the time of the American Revolution – Americans consumed about 4 lbs of sugar per person each year. By 1850, this had risen to 20 lbs, and by 1994, to 120 lbs, and now we are closer to 160. Half of that is fructose, taking up about 10% of our diet. This is not from eating apples, but rather the fact that we’re each guzzling the equivalent of a 16-oz soft drink every day; that’s about 50 gallons a year.

Even researchers paid by the likes of the Dr. Pepper Snapple Group and The Coca-Cola Company, acknowledge that sugar is empty calories, containing no essential micronutrients, and therefore if we’re trying to reduce calorie intake, reducing sugar consumption is obviously the place to start.

Concern has been raised, though, that sugar calories may be worst than just empty. A growing body of scientific evidence suggests that the fructose added to foods and beverages in the form of table sugar and high fructose corn syrup in large enough amounts can trigger processes that lead to liver toxicity and other chronic diseases.

Fructose hones in like a laser beam on the liver, and like alcohol, fructose can increase the fat in the liver, increasing the risk of nonalcoholic fatty liver disease, which is one of the most remarkable medical developments over the past 3 decades – the emergence of fatty liver inflammation as a public health problem here and around the globe. (source)

Summer Health Classes at WHS

hj-headphones-2016Preventing Cancer: Your Best Odds Lifestyle
Tues 7:45-9:10PM, 3-class series, beginning 7/19
In this informative series, Howard Jacobson, PhD, draws upon the latest research to share a new understanding of cancer prevention. The good news is, we now know how to prevent 70-95% of all cancers. Not through “early detection,” which has nothing to do with prevention, but through diet and lifestyle strategies. Learn more…

How to Defeat High Blood Pressure the Natural Way
Tues 7:45-9:10PM, 3-class series, beginning 8/16
Learn about dietary lifestyle strategies, developed from the latest research, that have been proven safe and effective in defeating high blood pressure. Learn more…

Healthy Gut, Healthy Life: Heal Your Microbiome & Improve Your Digestion
Tues 7:45-9:10PM, 3-class series, beginning 9/13
Science has recently discovered the importance of our gut microbiome-the trillions of tiny critters that live in the digestive tract and do most of the heavy lifting in our digestion. Learn more…

Wellness Resource

Health Myths – Foods You Think are Healthy but are Not
by Dr. Ann
Health myths abound when it comes to food. Many so called “health foods” are nothing more than nutritionally defunct, empty calories masquerading as the good guys you want them to be. What follows are the most notorious “health food imposters.”

Flavored yogurt products: Although these “healthy favorites” provide some calcium, B vitamins, and essential amino acids, they are loaded with added sugar – in many cases more than is typically found in a standard dessert. “Yogurt” products, through slick packaging and clever marketing, have very successfully garnered what is referred to as the “health halo effect” – meaning consumers naturally assume any product with “yogurt” on its label is wholesome and good for you. The only truly healthy yogurt is low-fat plain. If you prefer it sweetened, combine with some berries or cut up fruit or add a teaspoon or two of maple syrup or honey.

Meal Replacement/Energy Bars: While some are a bit more wholesome than others (15 vs. 40 or so ingredients), these popular, modern day favorites are the ultimate in 100% pure factory made, processed foods. In my book, they are not food, but food-like artifacts that are generally high in sugar and/or unhealthy fats. Have a handful of nuts and a piece of fruit as a real, healthy alternative. (If you must – Kashi, Nature’s Path, Luna, or Pria are the best options.)

Infused Water: Like yogurt, “water” has the health-halo effect and the beverage industry is currently exploiting it to the max. Water infused with all sorts of supposedly healthy extras, like vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, and herbs are the fastest growing beverage products. Most of them are nothing more than sugar-fortified drinks like their first cousins, soda with a smidge of a few added vitamins. There is zero evidence that extracting nutrients from their native context (foods) and adding them to water has any health benefit (and may even have risks). If you use these products, you are paying several 100 times more than you would for tap water (which is more rigorously monitored than bottled water). By the way, pure water is the only beverage that provides 100% of what we need and why we have to drink to stay alive – namely H2O. (source)

Wellness Resources

Your Brain on Meditation
Science has proven that meditation actually restructures your brain
by Kelly McGonigal

Nothing is quite as satisfying as a yoga practice that’s filled with movement. Whether you prefer an intense and sweaty vinyasa practice, a gentle but deliberate Viniyoga practice, or something in between, all systems of hatha yoga provide a contented afterglow for the same reason: You sync your movement with your breath. When you do, your mind stops its obsessive churning and begins to slow down. Your attention turns from your endless to-do list toward the rhythm of your breath, and you feel more peaceful than you did before you began your practice.

For many of us, accessing that same settled, contented state is more difficult to do in meditation. It’s not easy to watch the mind reveal its worries, its self-criticism, or its old memories. Meditation requires patience and-even more challenging for most Westerners-time. So, why would you put yourself through the struggle?

Quite simply, meditation can profoundly alter your experience of life. Thousands of years ago the sage Patanjali, who compiled the Yoga Sutra, and the Buddha both promised that meditation could eliminate the suffering caused by an untamed mind. They taught their students to cultivate focused attention, compassion, and joy. And they believed that it was possible to change one’s mental powers and emotional patterns by regularly experiencing meditative states. Those are hefty promises.

But these days, you don’t have to take their word for it. Western scientists are testing the wisdom of the masters, using new technology that allows researchers to study how meditation influences the brain.

The current findings are exciting enough to encourage even the most resistant yogis to sit down on the cushion: They suggest that meditation-even in small doses-can profoundly influence your experience of the world by remodeling the physical structure of your brain. Read on to find out how, and then put each finding into practice with meditations by yoga teachers Christopher Tompkins, Frank Jude Boccio, and Kate Vogt. (source)

Preventing Cancer

HOWARD WEBBy Howard Jacobson
No disease is as feared or misunderstood as cancer. Because of this fear and confusion, a diagnosis can shake us to our core. At which point, we’re especially vulnerable to bad advice from the medical establishment, as well as unproven and potentially harmful “alternative” modalities.

While there are many ways of treating cancer, and different cancers have radically different potential outcomes, the best policy is always – when possible – prevention. This article will compare the evidence for the mainstream prevention strategy – early detection – with the kids of diet and lifestyle changes I promote.

You’ll discover that you have a lot more control over your health destiny than we’ve been taught.

Mainstream Prevention: Early Detection and Screening
When you stop to think about it, early detection does not “prevent” cancer. Instead, in theory, it catches cancer early enough to do something about it.

So the question is, does population-wide screening of asymptomatic people help us “do something about it” in a way that reduces suffering, disability, and death. Turns out that with the exception of the pap smear for cervical cancer, screening actually may harm more people than it helps.

The Cochrane Collaboration, a non-profit health research group that does not receive funding from industry, has determined that mammography for early detection of breast cancer has the following risk/benefits profile:

If 2000 women receive biannual mammography for 10 years:
-One woman will be saved from death by breast cancer.
-10 women will be treated for cancers they do not have or that would never have been detectable or become significant (through partial or complete amputation of the breast and/or drug treatments).
-200 women will have a “false alarm” and experience, for a time, all psychological stresses of believing they have cancer when in fact they are perfectly fine.
-2000 women will undergo painful mammograms with these radiation screenings increase the risk of lung cancer and heart disease.

For more information on the science behind these statements, check out Gilbert Welch’s book, Overdiagnosed.

The risk/benefits profiles for population-based PSA testing for prostate cancer and colonoscopies for colorectal cancer are similar. They harm more people than they help, and turn hundreds of thousands of perfectly healthy people into worried patients. (For more information, see The Great Prostate Hoax, by Richard Ablin with Ronald Piana.)

So if we can’t “prevent” cancer through screening, what can we do? Are we powerless to change our fate, or do we just have to wait until we get sick enough to need treatment? And at that point, isn’t it often too late?

To answer that question, we have to look directly at cancer and its causes.

What Causes Cancer? Learn more…

How to Avoid Summer’s Health Woes – WebMD Feature

By Heather Hatfield
It’s summer, which means the mercury is on the rise, the beach is where it’s at, and a cold glass of lemonade is exactly what the doctor ordered.

Dehydration and Heatstroke
“Dehydration and heatstroke go hand in hand,” Says Peter Galier, MD, associate professor of medicine at the David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA. “It happens most commonly in people who are out in the sun.”

What happens, explains Galier, is that people sweat and replace their lost electrolyte-packed body fluids with only water. Dehydration can soon follow, and heatstroke can set in if a person becomes so dehydrated they can’t sweat enough to cool down, and their body temperature rises.

How to avoid it. “If you are outside and sweating, you should be drinking at least a 50-50 mix of Gatorade and water, which has potassium and sodium,” Galier tells WebMD. “You need to be drinking at least one small liter bottle of this mix every hour if you’re working or exercising in the sun.”

Warning signs. “Symptoms of dehydration can run the gamut from thirst and general fatigue, to headaches, nausea, and confusion,” says Galier. “Heatstroke symptoms are also headache and confusion, but include delirium and even hallucinations.”

What to do. While mild dehydration can be treated by rehydrating with fluids, heatstroke is more serious. “If you have heatstroke, you need to go to the emergency room so you can have intravenous fluids,” says Galier, “With really bad heatstroke, your kidneys can shut down.”

Poison Ivy
The old adage still rings true, explains Galier. “Leaves of three — let them be,” he says. So when the summer months begin, plan ahead when you know you’re going to be trekking through the woods.

How to avoid it. “Poison ivy is a tri-leafed plant, usually with a little yellow and purple, and it tends to be anywhere with shrubbery, hiding out with the other vegetation,” says Galier. “So stay out of shrubs areas or wear high boot or high socks, stay on the path, and don’t touch anything you can’t recognize.”

Warning signs. Poison ivy can creep up on you, even if you wear head-to-toe clothing. “It’s the oil in the leaf that’s the problem,” says Galier. “If you take your clothes off and you touch your clothes, you’re going to get it.” The “it” he’s referring to is the itching and swelling.

What to do. It’s time to get out the topical anti-itching cream again, like calamine lotion. “If you can suffer through it and it doesn’t get worse, you can ride it out,” says Galier. If it gets worse, you’ll need to see a doctor for topical steroids or oral steroids.

Read more about “Summer’s Health Woes” (source)

AHA CPR Training

CPR for flyerWith another round of changes to AHA CPR protocols, it may be time for you to refresh your skills. We are again teaching two levels (see below). MELANIE DEAN, M.Sc., CSCS, our Exercise Physiologist and Fitness Instructor, is AHA-certified to teach both of these potentially life-saving courses.

Friends & Family (F&F)
Tuesday, June 14 from 2-4 PM
Know what to do in an emergency for your family, friends or loved ones. Participants will learn to perform CPR and emergency choking procedures on adults, children and infants. Course includes manual and course participation card.

Basic Life Support Provider Certification (BLS)
Initial or Renewal - Tuesday, June 28 from 2-5 PM.

The BLS Instructor-led course teaches both single and team basic life support skills for application in both pre-hospital and in-facility environments, with a focus on high-quality CPR and team dynamics. This course trains participants to promptly recognize several life-threatening emergencies, give high-quality chest compressions, deliver appropriate ventilations and provide early use of an AED.

Students participate in simulated clinical scenarios and learning stations. And they work with an AHA BLS Instructor to complete BLS skills practice and skills testing. Students also complete a written exam.

-Updated science and education from the new 2015 AHA Guidelines Update
for CPR and ECC
-Instructor-led, hands-on class format reinforces skills proficiency
-Emphasis on high-quality CPR including a team dynamics classroom activity
-Video-based course with real world scenarios

Updated 2015 manuals must be purchased prior to class. CPR masks are available for purchase.

NEW: Pilates / Strength Training

We are super excited to be adding this great class to our Fitness Program. Students in our Thursday Pilates class expressed interest in another class during the week. Combining some strength training sealed the deal for everyone. So join us for what will surely be another super class with Melanie! First 10-class series begins Tuesday, May 17th with a class time of 10-10:55 AM.

Tai Chi / Qigong

Our popular “Focus on Wu/Hao Style Class” begins again Wednesday, June 1, with a 10-class series. Students from this class just joined our senior level Tai Chi class and are doing great! If you’ve taken a Tai Chi class before, you’ll find this “Focus” class a great refresher.