Healthy Lifestyle Tweaks: Surprisingly Simple Changes for Feeling Good
Jan 02, 2013 08:58AM
All of us have heard the admonition: “Eat lots of veggies and exercise daily and you’ll live a long, healthy life.”
There’s no question this advice is sound, but what about other helpfully healthy lifestyle adjustments we can make? Experts attest that doing easy things, such as going braless, walking barefoot or using a plug-in model instead of a cordless phone can all support wellness. Results range from stress relief to prevention of cancer, heart disease and other ailments often associated with aging. “Making some of the simplest changes can have far-reaching positive effects on your health,” contends Frank King, a doctor of chiropractic and naturopathic medicine, president of King Bio Natural Medicine, in Asheville, North Carolina, and author of The Healing Revolution. “When we consider the huge negative effects shadowing the field of prescription drugs, it is just good sense to try things foundational to our health that are natural, inexpensive, effective and free of problematic side effects.”
Muscle Testing “The human body is an excellent lie detector. It is the world’s most sophisticated laboratory, with more wisdom than all medical professionals put together,” says King. His favorite technique is to tap into the body’s vast wisdom using applied kinesiology, or muscle testing. “The principal is simple. When you are telling a truth or when something is good for the body, whether you are conscious of it or not, your body loosens up. When you are telling a lie or the body is rejecting something, your body tightens.” Many holistic practitioners use applied kinesiology as a diagnostic tool. An easy way to use muscle testing at home is to bend forward, fingers stretching toward the toes. Set a baseline truth by saying out loud, “My name is _______,” and notice the length of the stretch. Then utter an untruth, like calling yourself by a different name. Most people will find their range of motion is noticeably limited in the event of an untruth or something else that is not helpful. A practical solution: Apply this technique in making any choice related to personal health.
Control Electronic Pollution Turn away from using cordless phones and turn off the Wi-Fi. Keep cell phones out of pockets and purses. Move the TV out of the bedroom. These devices emit enormous amounts of radiation, disturbing our sleep patterns, thickening our blood and causing inflammation and a number of associated diseases, according to Dr. Stephen Sinatra, an integrative cardiologist and co-author of The Great Cholesterol Myth. Recent findings of Sinatra’s research team at the University of California-Irvine, published in the Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine, confirm that physical contact with the Earth naturally thins blood. “Grounding appears to be one of the simplest and yet most profound interventions for helping reduce cardiovascular risk and cardiovascular events,” the researchers concluded. A recent study of animals by the Bioelectromagnetics Laboratory at Zhejiang University School of Medicine-Hangzhou, in China, shows that exposure to radio and electromagnetic frequencies (EMF) like those found in cell phones can alter some genes. An Indian study by the Bioelectromagnetic Laboratory at Jawaharlal Nehru University-New Delhi suggests that EMF exposure increases the production of free radicals in animal brains, which can lead to inflammation, cancer, heart disease and other serious diseases. Swiss research published in the journal Somnologie by University of Bern scientists shows a clear connection between radio frequencies (RF) and sleep disturbances. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) admits a possible link between extensive cell phone use and exposure to RF waves and brain cancer. Sinatra calls Wi-Fi signals “the new coronary risk factor” and warns, “Be aware that if you are on a computer at home on Wi-Fi, that is toxic to your body.” A practical solution: Use an ethernet cable to connect computers rather than wireless; switch to an old-fashioned plug-in phone with a handset attached; and stay three feet away from cell phones—never wear them. Sinatra says his research shows that men that put a cell phone in a pocket experience a reduction in testosterone within four hours.
Change Footwear In addition to unplugging from potentially harmful devices, Sinatra recommends plugging into Earth’s healing energies. “Our ancestors walked barefoot and slept on the ground. They were connected to Earth’s electrical energies that kept them balanced and healthy,” explains the co-author of Earthing. New research from the University of California-Irvine published in the Journal of Environment and Public Health explains how modern lifestyles tend to separate us from the healing electrical energies of the Earth. Because we rarely walk barefoot or sleep on the ground and most people wear rubber-soled shoes that break the currents, few are benefitting from this wealth of easily accessed healing energies that benefit the heart, brain, muscles and nervous and immune systems. “Practically no one has the slightest notion of an electrical or energetic connection between his or her body and the Earth,” explains Sinatra. “The ground provides a subtle electric signal that governs the intricate mechanisms that help maintain health and make our bodies work, just like plugging a light into a power socket.” Taken together, the research points to many health benefits gained by staying connected with our home planet, which Sinatra reports in Earthing, including reduced inflammation, relief from chronic pain muscle tension and headaches, lower blood pressure and tempered hormonal swings. As a practical solution, Sinatra prescribes taking a little “vitamin G” (for grounding) every day: Walk barefoot as much as possible. Sit or lie on the ground with as much skin as possible in contact with living things such as grass, trees, pine needles or earth. During the winter, touch grounded electrical outlets or metal plumbing pipes. Also, wear comfortable, leather-soled shoes without socks indoors and out, because leather is an excellent conductor of Earth’s energies.
Ditch the Bra “Breast cancer is caused by bras,” medical anthropologist Sydney Ross Singer states unequivocally. He is co-author of Dressed to Kill, with Soma Grismaijer, and director of the Institute for the Study of Culturogenic Disease, in Pahoa, Hawaii. “Bras are designed to change the shape of a woman’s breasts to a culturally approved image,” remarks Singer. “But bras also create a pressure band between the breast and the lymph nodes, causing inflammation and swelling, and causing lymph to back up, restricting the body’s natural detoxification system.” “Cancer-causing toxins are delivered to the breast tissue by the bloodstream and are kept there by the bra,” he explains, likening the toxins to bullets. “The bra holds them in place, pointed directly at the breasts.” Singer’s research, conducted in the early 1990s, showed that women that wore bras 24/7 had a breast cancer risk 125 times that of women that never wore bras. Yet Singer’s findings have been largely dismissed by the medical community, and bra manufacturers still offer few wire-free styles. A Harvard School of Public Health study, published in the European Journal of Cancer Care in 1991, also discovered that bra-free women had a lower rate of breast cancer. Because the results were not central to the focus of the university’s research at the time, there’s been no follow-up. A practical solution: Wear a bra as little as possible. If it is sometimes necessary, wear one without wires, and engage in regular breast massage. This can be enjoyable and is an ideal partner activity.
Hum Often Another Singer assertion is that simply humming “mmmmmmmmm” a couple of minutes a day can stimulate the thyroid and increase the production of thyroid hormones of those with an underactive thyroid. The butterfly-shaped gland wraps around the larynx, or voice box, which Singer contends is part of nature’s elegant design, meant to be stimulated by sound. The Cleveland Clinic reports that 10 percent of the U.S. population age 65 and over suffers from hypothyroidism, with the rate in the general population between 1 and 2 percent. The condition is a special problem for women encountering perimenopause or menopause, when hormone levels can fluctuate wildly. “The medical community has considered the effect of the thyroid on the voice but not the vibratory effect of vocalization on thyroid function,” says Singer. “It stands to reason that humming, singing or quietly talking is preferred to the overstimulation of shouting or yelling.”
Adopt a Pet “Animals are among our best teachers,” says Dr. Carol Roberts, the author of Good Medicine: A Return to Common Sense, who teaches holistic care at the University of South Florida’s Morsani College of Medicine. “Animal companions give us so much more than they ask for and live in a state of unconditional, open-hearted love.” Roberts notes numerous studies that show the simple presence of a loving animal can lower our blood pressure and slow the heart rate. A CDC heart study, for example, showed subjects that had owned a cat at any time were 40 percent less likely to die of a heart attack. Japanese researchers from Azabu University, in Kanagawa-ken, found that dog owners experienced a spike in oxytocin—a neurotransmitter that helps us cope with stress—by simply meeting their pet’s gaze. While people widely recognize that walking the dog is great exercise, other loving interactions with our pets support happiness and health, as well.
Exercise Artistic Skills Giving oneself artistic license is also healthy, advises Roberts. “Just bring a little beauty into your life, whether it’s choosing which clothing and accessories to wear, arranging a vase of table flowers or dancing to favorite music. Just do something creative every day.” Energy therapists maintain that exposure to creative activities improves circulation to the brain and thyroid; on a psychological level, it also works to improve self-confidence and self-expression. A recent study at the University of Colorado published in the journal Palliative & Supportive Care confirmed that individual art therapy is useful in supporting cancer patients during chemotherapy. Fifty-one of the 54 participants said it helped them to relax, talk about their situation or explore and express emotions to their benefit. Roberts adds, “It’s even better if you join a group engaged in a creative activity. I think people in general do better when we come together to create something beautiful.” These experts’ prescriptions for such simple lifestyle changes have shown how commonsense adjustments in everyday living can have profound, health-altering results, with only good after effects.
Kathleen Barnes is a natural health advocate, author and publisher. Among her many books is The Super Simple HCG Diet (Square One). Connect at KathleenBarnes.com.