Mindfulness Meditation Improves Depression, Pain and Anxiety


Mindfulness meditation programs can effectively improve anxiety, pain and depression in some people, according to a new review of studies from Johns Hopkins University researchers.

The review, published in JAMA Internal Medicine, included 47 different randomized trials that involved 3,515 people. The review showed that mindfulness meditation had small, positive effects in these three areas, with the improvements for depression in particular being similar to that of an anti-depressant. According to the study, mindfulness meditation programs involved “training in present-focused awareness or mindfulness.”

“Anxiety, depression, and stress/distress are different components of negative affect. When we combined each component of negative affect, we saw a small and consistent signal that any domain of negative affect is improved in mindfulness programs when compared with a nonspecific active control,” the researchers wrote in the study.

However, the review did not show a marked benefit of mindfulness meditation programs on substance use, sleep or weight. While few studies examined potential harms of mindfulness meditation (nine of the trials), none of them reported harm.

In addition, mantra meditation programs — such as transcendental meditation, which involves “use of a mantra in such a way that it transcends one to an effortless state where focused attention is absent” — did not seem to show any particular health benefits, though researchers noted that very few studies on mantra meditation met their criteria to be included in the review.

“This lack significantly limited our ability to draw inferences about the effects of mantra meditation programs on psychological stress-related outcomes, which did not change when we evaluated transcendental meditation separately from other mantra training,” they wrote.

Overall, the review showed researchers that more studies on meditation are needed, especially to see how greater meditation training, trainer expertise and amount of time spent practicing mindfulness meditation could potentially improve health even more. This is considering mindfulness meditation is a skill that does require time and practice, and that presumably the more and longer you do it, the greater benefits it may have. (However, many studies included in the review were relatively short.)

Indeed, in a related editorial published in the same journal, Dr. Allan H. Goroll, M.D., of Harvard Medical School, notes that most studies in the review were less than 12 months long, and that “longer study duration will be needed to address the question of maximum efficacy.”

“Nonetheless,” Goroll said in the editorial, “the small but potentially meaningful reductions in the distress of anxiety and depression associated with limited-term mindfulness programs argue for consideration of their use as a means of moderating the need for psychopharmacologic intervention in these conditions.”

Goroll noted that the benefits of mindfulness meditation found in the review are modest, with some studies finding no benefit. He postures that trendiness, the desire to establish control and potentially even capitalizing on common anxieties are all reasons for why mindfulness meditation has become increasingly popular today.

*This article was found on www.huffingtonpost.com

To your health!

Autumn (check me out at www.pacificnorthwesthealth.com)

Seven Holistic Alternatives to Flu Shots


1. Boost Vitamin C

Vitamin C is a powerful antioxidant; known for decreasing the severity of colds. Great natural vitamin C sources include kiwi, orange, apple, leafy greens, broccoli, Brussels sprouts, and lemon.

2. Eat Garlic Daily

Garlic is a potent but superb way to fight off bad bacteria.  Try adding raw garlic to salad dressings, hummus and dips to give your immune system a lift!

3. Sleep, Sleep, Sleep 

Your immune system dips and susceptible to colds and flus when your low on sleep and experiencing high levels of stress. Make sure you have tools in place to help you get the best quality sleep you can.  Invest in a black out shade, wear a sleep mask, and make sure your room is free of distractions and noise.  Furthermore, sleep with your electronic devices at least five feet from you.  They can disrupt your sleep without you even knowing it.

4. Eat fresh ginger/drink fresh ginger juice

Ginger is a pain reliever and inflammation fighter!  It’s also an anti-viral agent that fights mucus build up.  Your digestive system and immune system will be happy receivers of this powerful natural antibiotic.

5. Cut out Sugar

Sugar weakens your immune system and also causes inflammation in the body.  Inflammation leads to digestive troubles and a host of other diseases.

6. Manage Your Stress

Stress can take such a big toll on our bodies and our minds.  Reduce or eliminate it by taking a walk, meditating, exercising or listening to relaxing music.

7. Gargle with Salt Water

Gargling with salt water twice daily can help you fight off germs, viruses and the stomach bug.

TO Your Immune System and Health!

Autumn (check me out at www.pacificnorthwesthealth.com)

Five Ways to Live to Be 100


“No matter what our age or condition, there are still untapped possibilities within us, and new beauty waiting to be born.” -Dale E. Turner

Want to live to be 100?  I do!  Here are some tips to get you there:

1. Eat at least one egg per day.  Eggs are full of protein and they don’t increase cholesterol.  Plus they are cheap to buy!  Add a boiled egg to your daily salad for make an omelette in the morning for breakfast.

2. Check your heart rate daily.  A healthy heart rate is a rate of 60 beats per minute or less.

3. Eat Beets!  They are one of the world’s healthiest foods.  Beets cleanse the body, are a natural energy booster, fight depression, lower blood pressure, and are high in many vitamins and minerals.

4. Give yourself a massage!  Self massage increase circulation and reduce stress.  Now that will make you feel good!

5.  Participate in stress-reducing activities such as yoga, mediation, Pilates and walking.

I hope you’ll still be reading my blog when you’re 100, because I’ll still be writing about health, happiness and living better lives!

To your health!

Autumn (check me out at http://www.pacificnorthwesthealth.com)

Why do we binge eat?

I’d be the richest woman on earth if I had a nickel for every woman and man on earth I’d ever met who was unhappy with their weight.  Losing weight and toning up seem to be a high priority on everyone’s list these days– yet we live in a society where failed diets are the norm and gym memberships collect dust.  So where and what is the problem?

Answer:  Confusion and Motivation. Confusion about what food to eat, when to eat it, how much to eat, and how to get it all to taste “good” at the same time.  There’s confusion about how to work out, when to work out, how long to work out and who to work out with. And then on top of it all lies the Motivation that is in lacking both areas…

Here’s the first tidbit to get you started:

Before you binge on something think:  H.A.L.T.!  Am I Hungry, Angry, Lonely, or Tired?  If you are hungry, eat a nutritious meal.  If you are angry, find a stress reducing activity like walking.  If you are lonely, call a friend.  If you are tired, take a cat nap!

Simple as that.  Stay tuned to my blog for more weight loss tidbits!

To your health!

Autumn @ pacificnorthwesthealth.com