Sunday, August 11, 2013
Friday, July 12, 2013
“A merry heart does good, like medicine, but a broken spirit dries the bones.” -Proverbs 17:22
From biblical scriptures, to monks, to modern medicine, people have searched to understand and harness the connection that the human brain has over physical healing. For centuries doctors have told their patients to “keep their spirits up” and to “stay positive” as a way of increasing health and healing. While there are many different opinions regarding the effect of positivity in treatment—ranging from a lack thereof to being able to will away ailments—there is strong scientific evidence that supports the notion of positivity having a beneficial influence on your healing. Be aware that this is by no means a cure-all. Healing, as it will be used in this article, is reaching the pinnacle of your potential but without curing the condition itself while curing is actually being free of the condition. Remember to consult professional medical assistance for any and all ailments that you may have.
In order to understand how positivity can affect your health it is also important to grasp the afflictions that negativity can cause you as well. Thoughts have a huge impact on your emotions and your emotions in turn have the power to change your body’s normal functions. The body’s reaction to these emotions is known as a “psychosomatic” response; in other words a reaction defined by Merriam-Webster as “…relating to, concerned with, or involving both mind and body.”  While psychosomatic is a word that typically caries a negative stigma, it is actually more accurately used to define a set of common bodily functions that are intended to improve your performance in select situations. Unfortunately these may also have a tendency to exacerbate existing ailments and may increase the likelihood for contracting them to begin with. These reactions cause stress on the body that if left unchecked can lead to: headaches, chronic pain, weight fluctuations, fatigue, insomnia, tachycardia, muscle tension, and a host of other conditions.
Negative thinking inhibits the messages that are sent to and from the central nervous system causing a miscommunication between your body and your brain. Your brain is the central command center that relays the messages to your body telling it what to do and how to react. The difference between healing and curing in this instance lies in the messages that are returned back to the brain from the body. For example, your brain has to send a message to your lungs to tell your lungs to breath and your lungs have to send a message back to your brain telling your brain that you are breathing. The signal of someone’s brain who has positive thinking is able to send clear and concise messages to the rest of the body to work properly and the messages of someone with optimum health from their organs are sent back to the brain causing you to flourish. When mixed messages are sent from the brain to the body, it can exacerbate symptoms of ailment in the body and even create ailments by allowing the body to become stressed and lowering the immune system.
A wonderful example of scientific evidence for the body’s ability to heal itself or find a level of optimum health with a chronic illness is the placebo effect. WebMD states that “A placebo is anything that seems to be a "real" medical treatment -- but isn't. It could be a pill, a shot, or some other type of "fake" treatment. What all placebos have in common is that there's nothing in them that can treat a medical condition.”  Unfortunately, many people and physicians mistake the placebo effect as being a negative form of a person’s psychosomatic response. The reality of the matter is that the positive outlook in the mind allows positive signals to be sent to the body that allow healing to take place and can reduce pain. In an article called “Placebos are Getting More Effective. Drug Makers are Desperate to know why” author Steve Silberman stated that “half of all drugs that fail in late-stage trials drop out of the pipeline due to their inability to beat sugar pills.”  Although there is no scientific evidence that the human body can cure all ailments, hundreds of thousands of cases have been documented about the power that positive and negative thinking can have on your body biased on the placebo effect. From cancer patient’s placebo of chemo therapy to more simple or common ailments such as depression or the common cold, the scientific evidence of the body’s secret ability to heal itself or simply reduce physical ailments is astounding.
A large part of making the most out of positivity is by choosing to eat the right things for your body, by eliminating or reducing emotional stress in your life, by exercising on a regular basis, and by keeping your financial stress to a minimum. Stress can have many small effects on your biology that add up to profound changes. An example of this is how many individuals who are depressed tend to suffer from notably shorter breaths that in turn decrease the amount of oxygen dissolved in the blood and therefore your overall efficiency. By reducing stress and working your way towards having a more positive outlook, you can eliminate the added effects that stress and negativity can have on your body. It is amazing how negative emotions can impact specific areas of your body! As stated by Selfgrowth.com, “the kidneys can be affected by fear or shock, the spleen and pancreas can be affected by worry or pensiveness, the liver can be affected by anger or frustration, the lungs can be affected by sadness or suspended grief, and the heart can be affected by excessive excitement.”  When your focus is on negativity, you take away your body’s ability to focus on the healing process and its ability to maintain optimum health.
How to tap into the power positivity and apply it to your everyday life
· Stop self-induced negative thoughts- The first step of tapping into the power of positivity is to put a stop to self-induced negative thoughts. Putting a stop negative mental habits can be a tricky and difficult task so it often helps to find someone you can talk to such as a counselor or a therapist to help you put negative thoughts to rest.
· Stop expecting negative outcomes- When you are constantly dwelling on “I don’t feel well” or “I can’t do this” chances are, your mind is going to send that negative signal to your body like an S.O.S and you’re going to prove yourself right!
· Surround yourself with positive people- Positivity is contagious! Positivity rubs off on you just as much as negativity does. It’s important to surround yourself with the kind of people whose healthy habits will rub off on you.
· Exercise- exercise is a crucially important way to maintain a wide array of your body’s functions; from blood flow, to hormones, to sleeping better, those who exercise regularly show a marked improvement in their daily lives. Try riding a bike or doing yoga—it doesn’t have to be hard, just get moving!
· Get your fill of vitamin D- A lack of vitamin D can also contribute to negativity and depression, in order for your mind to work at its optimum level, you need some sunshine! Try getting out or opening up some windows.
· Be creative- Give yourself a creative outlet to allow yourself to express how you’re feeling. Try taking up painting, drawing, or scrapbooking. You don’t have to be good at something for it to help you feel good about doing it!
· Reduce stress- Find a job doing something that you love, or find healthy ways to reduce daily stress. Try picking up a new hobby, volunteering, or going back to school to get a new degree.
· Animal therapy- Animal therapy has been known to bring comfort and healing by reducing blood pressure and reducing stress.
· Seek out the right medical professional for you- There is nothing worse than a doctor telling you that they don’t believe you. Although science has proven that the body has the ability to heal itself, it’s important to remember that it doesn’t work the same way for everyone. Doctors play an important role in patient care, positivity is just one way of gaining the most optimum health out of your body. For some people, optimum health is a matter of healing rather than curing. Optimum health is their ability to live as well as they can with the illness that they have.
Written by: C. Lashelle Shuman
Edited by: Austin Watson
For informational videos and evidence on the healing power of positivity, please click on the links below:
List of Sources:
Bridger, Darren. "How Much Can Your Mind Control Your Body?" How Much Can Your Mind Control Your Body? Mind Power News, n.d. Web. 04 Aug. 2013. <http://www.mindpowernews.com/MindOverBody.htm>.
Burdett, Jennifer. "The Effects of Positive Thinking | EHow." EHow. Demand Media, 11 Aug. 2009. Web. 04 Aug. 2013. <http://www.ehow.com/facts_5295014_effects-positive-thinking.html>.
Chang, Louise, MD. "The Placebo Effect: What Is It?" WebMD. WebMD, 2012. Web. 04 Aug. 2013. <http://www.webmd.com/pain-management/what-is-the-placebo-effect>.
"Engrade › Wikis › A&P Review › The Nervous System." A&P Review. Engrade, n.d. Web. 04 Aug. 2013. <https://wikis.engrade.com/apreview/nerves>.
Garoli, Albert. "How Negative Thoughts Affect the Body." Self Growth. Self Growth, n.d. Web. 4 Aug. 2013. <http://www.selfgrowth.com/articles/how_negativity_affects_the_body.html>.
"How Negative Thinking Can Hurt You." How Negative Thinking Can Hurt You. Personal Power Training, n.d. Web. 04 Aug. 2013. <http://www.personalpowertraining.net/Articles/how_negative_thinking_can_hurt_you.htm>.
Jayson, Sharon. "USATODAY.com - Power of a Super Attitude." USATODAY.com - Power of a Super Attitude. USATODAY, 12 Oct. 2004. Web. 04 Aug. 2013. <http://usatoday30.usatoday.com/news/health/2004-10-12-mind-body_x.htm>.
Kumar, Ernest Vinaya. "Positive Thinking - Think Positive." An Article on the Art of Positive Thinking. Life Positive, n.d. Web. 04 Aug. 2013. <http://www.lifepositive.com/Mind/psychology/positive-thinking/live-healthy.asp>.
Merriam-Webster. "PsychosomaticAbout Our Definitions: All Forms of a Word (noun, Verb, Etc.) Are Now Displayed on One Page." Merriam-Webster. Merriam-Webster, n.d. Web. 04 Aug. 2013. <http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/psychosomatic>.
Nefer, Barb. "Positive Thinking and Healing | EHow." EHow. Demand Media, 02 Aug. 2009. Web. 04 Aug. 2013. <http://www.ehow.com/way_5256278_positive-thinking-healing.html>.
Niemi, Maj-Britt. "Placebo Effect: A Cure in the Mind: Scientific American." Placebo Effect: A Cure in the Mind: Scientific American. Scientific American, 25 Feb. 2009. Web. 04 Aug. 2013. <http://www.scientificamerican.com/article.cfm?id=placebo-effect-a-cure-in-the-mind>.
Ochel, Evita. "Evolving Wellness." Evolving Wellness RSS. Health, Healing, and Positive Thinking, 15 July 2009. Web. 04 Aug. 2013. <http://www.evolvingwellness.com/essay/health-healing-and-positive-thinking-exposing-the-connection>.
Ochel, Evita. "Evolving Wellness." Evolving Wellness RSS. Health, Healing, and Positive Thinking, 15 July 2009. Web. 04 Aug. 2013. <http://www.evolvingwellness.com/essay/health-healing-and-positive-thinking-exposing-the-connection>.
"Placebo Effect." Placebo Effect. American Cancer Society, 10 Apr. 2012. Web. 04 Aug. 2013. <http://www.cancer.org/treatment/treatmentsandsideeffects/treatmenttypes/placebo-effect>.
Powell, Jack. "Negative Psychological Effects on the Body | EHow." EHow. Demand Media, 03 July 2011. Web. 04 Aug. 2013. <http://www.ehow.com/info_8680628_negative-psychological-effects-body.html>.
"Power of Positive Thinking â Learning How to Manifest Happiness On Your Own." Power of Positive Thinking â Learning How to Manifest Happiness On Your Own. Heal You First, n.d. Web. 04 Aug. 2013. <http://www.healyoufirst.com/LearningHowtoManifestHappinessOnYourOwn.html>.
Rankin, Lissa. "Owning Pink." Can Positive Thinking Help You Heal? Psychology Today, 27 Dec. 2011. Web. 04 Aug. 2013. <http://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/owning-pink/201112/can-positive-thinking-help-you-heal>.
Sasson, Remez. "Positive Thinking - Your Key to Success." RSS Blog. Success Consciousness, 2001. Web. 04 Aug. 2013. <http://www.successconsciousness.com/index_00003a.htm>.
Silberman, Steve. "Placebos Are Getting More Effective. Drugmakers Are Desperate to Know Why." Wired. Wired, 24 Aug. 2009. Web. 4 Aug. 2013. <http://www.wired.com/medtech/drugs/magazine/17-09/ff_placebo_effect?currentPage=all>.
Staff, Aligned Signs. "Mind-Body Healing: The Power Of Positive Thinking." Aligned Signs. Aligned Signs, 2013. Web. 4 Aug. 2013. <https://www.alignedsigns.com/blog/Mind-Body-Healing-The-Power-of-Positive-Thinking.htm>.
Staff, Mayo Clinic. "Positive Thinking: Reduce Stress by Eliminating Negative Self-talk." Mayo Clinic. Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research, 28 May 2011. Web. 04 Aug. 2013. <http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/positive-thinking/SR00009>.
Stethoscope Heart. N.d. Photograph. UF. UF. Web. 4 Aug. 2013. <http://cardiology.medicine.ufl.edu/contact-us/administrative-office/>.
Photo by: http://yhoo.it/1dpPWEv
Wednesday, July 10, 2013
One of the most common and bothersome complications of having Gastroparesis is dealing with constipation. Due to the fact that Gastroparesis requires a low-fat and a low-fiber diet, difficulties arise with constipation in order to avoid bezoars (food masses) and abdominal pain in patients with Gastroparesis (for more information on why a low fiber diet is required for Gastroparesis please visit http://gnewithgp.com/2013/07/03/what-you-didnt-know-about-fiber-gastroparesis-10-surprisingly-high-fiber-foods/). Constipation alone can cause a number of complications in patients who don’t have Gastroparesis but when constipation becomes a chronic secondary condition, it can wreak further havoc on the patient’s quality of life.
A definition for constipation is having a bowel movement that is difficult to pass. Diagnosing constipation can be difficult at times because what may be considered a normal bowel movement for some may not be a normal for others. As stated by The Mayo Clinic “There's no generally accepted clinical definition for frequent bowel movements. Bowel habits vary widely among healthy people. Some healthy people may have three bowel movements per week, while others may have three per day (See http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/frequent-bowel-movements/MY00786 for more information).” In spite of this lack of consensus, however, it is widely believed that having fewer than 2 bowel movements per week can be a concerning indication that you may have constipation. Bowel movement consistency, irregularities in which are the leading cause of constipation, can fluctuate and vary from person to person depending on their diet, their ability to maintain hydration, the amount of exercise they do, what illnesses they may have, and depending on how their own body functions.
Besides having Gastroparesis, there are a number of ways in which constipation can arise or become more prevalent and not getting enough liquids is one of them. As stated by WebMD “Water makes up approximately 60% of your body's weight. By lubricating the intestines and the food we eat, water can help prevent and alleviate chronic constipation by facilitating the flow of food though the intestines. (see http://www.webmd.com/digestive-disorders/water-a-fluid-way-to-manage-constipation for more information).” On average a healthy consumption of water consists of drinking eight, eight-ounce glasses in a period of twenty-four hours. Depending on how much exercise you do and what type of climate you’re living in, you may need to increase the amount of water you intake to keep up with what your body needs to stay healthy and to have regular bowel movements. Another way to increase your risk of having chronic constipation is by not getting enough exercise. It’s well proven and well documented that staying physically active helps the muscles in your digestive system to contract and break down food as well as physically move it through your digestive tract. Just taking a short walk around the block can aid in your ability to pass stool and overcome issues with constipation.
Other diseases such as Irritable Bowel Syndrome, Adhesions, Intestinal Pseudo-obstruction, bowel obstructions, colon cancer, Gastroparesis, Hirshsprung's Disease, Multiple Sclerosis, Lupus, Diabetes, and Diverticulitis can cause constipation. Constipation is often a secondary condition to a more serious problem so it’s always important to talk to your doctor about any changes in bowl movements and discuss treatment options.
Not having enough fiber intake can also increase the risk of having chronic constipation. Due to the fact that those with Gastroparesis have a difficult time passing fiber through their digestive tract, it’s ill-advised to increase the amount of fiber in their diet as a way of overcoming chronic constipation. With that being said, some forms of fiber that are broken down and are more highly processed such as Miralax Powder or increasing the amount of well-cooked or pureed versions of high fiber foods can help alleviate chronic constipation.
Many times patients with Gastroparesis fail to realize the negative effect that chronic constipation can have on their body. Not having a healthy bowel movement and stool consistency can cause a number of complications, but having chronic constipation can pave the way to more serious illnesses or even hide underlying problems. Further complications include, but are not limited to: mesocaval obstruction, stercoral ulcers, colonic diverticula, cancer, loss of appetite, an increase in sexual disorders, hemorrhoids (inflamed veins around or inside of the anus due to straining that can cause bleeding, leaking of stool, pain, itching, or discomfort around the anus), anal fissures (which are internal or external tears that can cause pain, itching, bleeding, and infections), and anal fistulas.
Constipation can be a tough problem to fix as many quick or common solutions may have unintended negative side effects. Using laxatives, for example, to remedy constipation can also lead to a number of complications such as a lack of absorption of essential vitamins and minerals in the digestive tract, dehydration, electrolyte imbalance or deficiency, or chronic diarrhea. Natural treatments for constipation such as increasing your water intake or exercise regimen is often the best way to start your treatment for constipation rather than skipping straight to the quickest solutions such as laxatives. However, it’s important to talk to your doctor about medication alternatives to treat your constipation and come up with a plan for treating chronic constipation should your symptoms fail to regulate. Below is a list of common natural remedies for this condition. While these may help, always bear in mind that only your medical professional can help you decide what is best for your unique situation.
Natural alternative constipation treatments for those with Gastroparesis
· Olive oil
· Canola oil
· Senna leaves- Senna Tea
· Dandelion leaves- Dandelion Tea
· Colon massage
· Prune juice
· Aloe Vera juice
· Exercise- especially light exercise like walking after eating
· Drinking warm water
· Juiced blueberries, strawberries, blackberries, or raspberries – if tolerated (strain out skins, and seeds)
· Pilates, Yoga
· Hot milk
· Relaxation techniques for stress
· Flax oil (if tolerated)
· Potato juice
· Mix ¼ a cup of carrot juice, ½ a cup of Sauerkraut juice, mixed with 1 cup of tomato juice and taken three times a day
· Apple juice
· Castor oil (under doctor supervision only)
· Licorice root tea
· Diet- eating less highly-processed foods such as fresh foods but well-cooked and not packaged
· Watermelon (if tolerated) or watermelon juice
· Blackstrap Molasses
· Teaspoon of honey in a glass of warm water, taken twice a day
· One teaspoon of corn syrup in a glass of water, taken once a day
· Bael fruit juice
· Cranberry juice
· Pear juice
· Papaya juice
List of sources:
"Constipation Treatments." RightDiagnosis. RightDiagnosis.com, 2011. Web. 04 Aug. 2013. <http://www.rightdiagnosis.com/symptoms/constipation/treatments.htm>.
Crawford, Nicole. "The Recommended Average Water Intake for a Healthy Adult." LIVESTRONG.COM. LIVESTRONG, 5 Aug. 2011. Web. 04 Aug. 2013. <http://www.livestrong.com/article/509116-the-recommended-average-water-intake-for-a-healthy-adult/>.
Derrer, David T., MD. "Constipation Causes, How Often You Should Have a Bowel Movement, and More." WebMD. WebMD, 18 Jan. 2013. Web. 04 Aug. 2013. <http://www.webmd.com/digestive-disorders/understanding-constipation-basics>.
Family Doctor. "Constipation, Causes & Risk Factors." Constipation. Family Doctor, 1996. Web. 04 Aug. 2013. <http://familydoctor.org/familydoctor/en/diseases-conditions/constipation/causes-risk-factors.html>.
Greg, Dr. "Severe Constipation – Extreme Pain, Complications." Severe Constipation. Health Type, 12 Apr. 2011. Web. 04 Aug. 2013. <http://www.healthhype.com/constipation-complications.html>.
Health Studies. "Constipation Complications." What Are the Complications of Constipation? A Health Study, 22 Apr. 2009. Web. 04 Aug. 2013. <http://www.ahealthstudy.com/diseases/constipation-complications>.
Hoggins, John. "Natural Laxatives - Home Remedies for Constipation." Ezine Articles. Ezine Articles, 8 Jan. 2011. Web. 4 Aug. 2013. <http://ezinearticles.com/?Natural-Laxatives---Home-Remedies-for-Constipation&id=5683886>.
Joy, Dhanya. "Natural Laxatives: A Home Remedy for Constipation." Natural Laxatives: A Home Remedy for Constipation. Buzzle, 2000. Web. 4 Aug. 2013. <http://www.buzzle.com/articles/home-remedy-laxative.html>.
Lewis, Rica. "Chronic Constipation Complications." LIVESTRONG.COM. LIVESTRONG, 12 Jan. 2010. Web. 04 Aug. 2013. <http://www.livestrong.com/article/72690-chronic-constipation-complications/>.
Marks, Jay W., MD. "Anal Fissure (fissures, Torn Rectum) Causes, Symptoms, Treatment -MedicineNet.com." MedicineNet. MedicineNet, 8 Feb. 2012. Web. 04 Aug. 2013. <http://www.medicinenet.com/anal_fissure/article.htm>.
"Natural Laxatives Home Remedies For Constipation." - Natural Treatments & Cure For Constipation. Home Remedy, 22 June 2012. Web. 04 Aug. 2013. <http://www.findhomeremedy.com/natural-laxatives-home-remedies-for-constipation/>.
N.d. Photograph. Lower Abdominal Pain Relief. Lower Abdominal Pain Relief. Web. 4 Aug. 2013. <http://lowerabdominalpainrelief.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/03/Abdomen.jpeg>.
Rev, Annu. "Result Filters." National Center for Biotechnology Information. U.S. National Library of Medicine, 1996. Web. 04 Aug. 2013. <http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/8712767>.
Schueler, Stephen J., MD, John H. Beckett, MD, and Scott Grettings, MD. "Laxative Abuse Complications." Laxative Abuse: Complications. FreeMD, 24 Mar. 2009. Web. 04 Aug. 2013. <http://www.freemd.com/laxative-abuse/complications.htm>.
Seibert, Andrew, MD. "Water, Constipation, Dehydration, and Other Fluids." WebMD. WebMD, 24 Sept. 2011. Web. 04 Aug. 2013. <http://www.webmd.com/digestive-disorders/water-a-fluid-way-to-manage-constipation>.
Shiel Jr., William C., MD. "Constipation Symptoms, Causes, Home Remedies, Treatment - MedicineNet." MedicineNet. MedicineNet, 19 Sept. 2012. Web. 04 Aug. 2013. <http://www.medicinenet.com/constipation/article.htm>.
Staff, Mayo Clinic. "Definition." Mayo Clinic. Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research, 05 Nov. 2011. Web. 04 Aug. 2013. <http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/frequent-bowel-movements/MY00786>.
Staff, Mayo Clinic. "Definition." Mayo Clinic. Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research, 14 Jan. 2011. Web. 04 Aug. 2013. <http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/constipation/DS00063/DSECTION=complications>.
Staff, Mayo Clinic. "Definition." Mayo Clinic. Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research, 19 June 2013. Web. 04 Aug. 2013. <http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/hemorrhoids/DS00096/DSECTION=symptoms>.
Staff, Mayo Clinic. "Definition." Mayo Clinic. Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research, 21 May 2011. Web. 04 Aug. 2013. <http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/diverticulitis/DS00070/DSECTION=symptoms>.
Tresca, Amber J. "Diseases That May Cause Constipation." About.com Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD). About.com, 22 Nov. 2011. Web. 04 Aug. 2013. <http://ibdcrohns.about.com/od/constipation/a/Causes-Of-Constipation_2.htm>.
WebMd. "Digestive Health Centre." Constipation. WebMD, 13 Mar. 2012. Web. 04 Aug. 2013. <http://www.webmd.boots.com/digestive-disorders/tc/constipation-complications-with-constipation>.
Wong, Cathy. "Constipation Remedies." About.com Alternative Medicine. About.com, 31 July 2013. Web. 04 Aug. 2013. <http://altmedicine.about.com/od/constipation/a/constipation.htm>.
Editor: Austin Watson