WEST SAN FERNANDO VALLEY
JULY 2013 www.yhconnection.com
H E A LT H Y A G I N G
DR. ARJUN REYES OF MOORPARK • CARE & SUPPORT FOR CAREGIVERS
• HOME SAFETY FOR SENIORS • LIVE YOUR BEST LIFE AT ANY AGE! • HORMONE METABOLIC BALANCE • NEUROTRANSMITTERS & YOUR BUDDIES! BRAIN FUNCTION • MEN – TAKE A TRIP WITH YOUR JUNE 2013 MAGAZINE.COM
PUBLISHER’S LETTER reality with resPect
H E A LT H Y A G I N G I S S U E
NATURAL APPROACH it’s not aboUt aging By Dr. Sharon Norling
MIND & SPIRIT 1 a timeless tiP—get away with yoUr bUddies By Wayne M. Levine
MIND & SPIRIT 2 healing yoUr marriage throUgh loving toUch By Dawn Michael
FROM THE HEART brain injUry center helPs sUrvivors and families coPe with challenges
SPECIAL HEALTH BULLETIN Bringing Care to the Caregiver By Andrea Gallagher, CSA
By Alicia Doyle
Health View 1 Home Safety—Lifelong Comfort in Your Home
By Mariana Conti
CONNECTION Psychiatrist sPecializes in treating and Understanding hUman sUffering
Health View 2 Hormone Metabolic Balance: The Key to Unlock the Code for Healthy Aging
By Alicia Doyle
By Hilda Maldonado M.D.
Health View 3 Brain Chemistry Dysfunction and Testing— Neurotransmitters and Your Health By Sabira Saifuddin, MD
East/West Jin Shin Jyutsu: Holistic Practice for the Mind, Body and Spirit By Alicia Doyle
Beyond Green Living Growing Older Naturally By Jan Tucker
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HEALTHY AGING ISSUE
Reality with Respect ANN K. CASTLE FOUNDER, EDITOR-IN-CHIEF & PUBLISHER
The month of May brought me some great learning experiences. on may 7, i participated in the council on aging, 50 Plus expo in camarillo and on may 22, the wellness expo at the simi valley senior center. i always enjoy chatting with the attendees and listening to their stories. they range from enjoying yoga and zumba classes to ongoing battles with diabetes, heart disease or cancer. some attendees use walkers or canes while others don tennis shoes and have a spring in their step. there is common ground—they are all older than 60, and all have a story to tell and many questions regarding how to live their lives with quality, dignity and joy. my last birthday in april placed me at the end of an era, facing the inevitable journey of senior life and its concerns. soon i will understand their stories on a deeper level. right now, how i feel and what i see in the mirror are two different people. it’s an odd reality—but reality just the same. this issue calls for more attention to honoring our senior community. we are a growing population requiring better healthcare; technology targeting senior safety needs; education and support for family members and caregivers; and a new level of respect for what the aging population offers—gleaned from years of personal and professional experience. i do hope you enjoy this issue and find the information helpful and enlightening. with Peace, love, blessings, gratitude – and respect, HEALTH & WEALTH How "FINANCIALLY FIT" are you?
A SPECiAL NOTE…. We are pleased to announce YHC Magazine’s new website domain! Go to www.yhconnection.com
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Learn how to strengthen your financial muscle with small positive changes in the August issue of YHC Magazine. Available August 1st.
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ARJUN REYES M.D.
Psychiatrist in Treating and Understanding Human Suffering
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REYES MD & ASSOCIATES
“As a result of his treatment plan and caring nature, i am a thriving, working professional, wife, and mother and i embrace every day of my life,” said the 37-year-old, who wished to remain anonymous due to patient confidentiality.
“the tms therapy has had a tremendously positive impact on my depression and life,” she said. “he has help shape a newer, healthier me. treating me with respect and honoring me over all of these years, he's a major factor in my well being. after receiving his services, i can live my life.”
she received medical management services from dr. reyes as well as transcranial magnetic stimulation therapy, a non-invasive method to cause depolarization or hyperpolarization in the neurons of the brain.
looking back on her experience, monica said dr. reyes is one-ofa-kind.
“i'm no longer a depressed woman who couldn't enjoy my life,” monica said. “the depression and anxiety left me devoid of joy. dr. arjun reyes helped give my life back to me.”
“he cares so much about his patients—his demeanor is so pleasant and calming to be around,” she said.
monica is among numerous patients who have undergone lifechanging experiences with dr.reyes, whose moorpark practice specializes in adult, adolescent and addiction psychiatry. “we provide psychiatric services for all ages and groups,” said dr. reyes, whose family members are also physicians, including one doctor and three psychiatrists. “what i enjoy most about my vocation is treating and understanding human suffering.”
“he brainstorms with his family and colleagues, other physicians, ways to help his patients,” monica added. “he and his office staff make you feel as if you are their only patient. anyone who gets to be his patient is a lucky person.”
TRANSCRANIAL MAGNETIC STIMULATION INDIVIDUALIZED ATTENTION in the United states, dr. reyes is among less than 100 doctors to offer transcranial magnetic transgression—also known as tms. in monica’s case, dr. reyes was an advocate for her to receive the life-changing therapy.
at age 65, after undergoing 30 daily treatments of tms, michael continues to see dr. reyes monthly. “dr. reyes accurately diagnosed me and treatment began immediately with positive results for me,” michael recalled. “Psychiatry is a continued >>
Specializes SUFFERING FROM MAJOR DEPRESSIVE DISORDER, MONICA WAS UNABLE TO ENJOY HER LIFE UNTIL SHE MET PSYCHIATRIST ARJUN REYES ABOUT A DECADE AGO.
BY ALICIA DOYLE // PHOTOGRAPHY BY MARY MYERS
REYES MD & ASSOCIATES
Psychiatrist Specializes in Treating and Understanding Human Suffering
i was suffering with a three-year cycle of depression and grief and the medication Dr. Reyes prescribed quickly relieved symptoms.
“three doctors were recommended to me and dr. reyes was the only one able to schedule an appointment immediately, unlike the others where the wait was two or three weeks,” michael said. the medication prescribed was also spot-on. “within weeks i saw results that continue today,” michael said. “throughout what was a serious medical condition i was treated with respect - sometimes missing in today's medical field.”
CHANGING LIVES delicate science and in my opinion, everyone in the office had a balance in their professional and personal attention.” michael was initially recommended to see dr. reyes for evaluation. “this also included weekly counseling sessions with dr. reyes.” the medication and tms treatment changed his life. “i was suffering with a three-year cycle of depression and grief and the medication dr. reyes prescribed quickly relieved symptoms.” today, he believes his connection with dr. reyes was serendipitous.
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born in the Philippines, arjun reyes was raised in Kentucky, arizona and california. he has lived in ventura county for two years, and moved to the area to be near family. he fulfilled his adult, adolescent, child, and addiction psychiatry training at Usc, and earned his medical degree from the University of louisville school of medicine. over the years, he worked as a staff psychiatrist at sites including the Kedren community mental health center, valuemark Pinegrove hospital and henry mayo newhall memorial hospital. he also has worked at multiple alcohol and drug
rehabilitation facilities and adolescent group homes. since 1997, he has been in private practice and has been practicing in moorpark almost two years, serves as the medical director at the henry mayo newhall memorial hospital behavioral health Unit, and provides consultation services for action family counseling and Pasadena recovery center. “my ultimate goal is to do the best job possible for everyone i interact with,” dr. reyes said. “in the future i hope to do more of the same—but better and wiser.”
reyes md & associates is located at 893 Patriot drive, Unit a, in moorpark, california. for more information, call 805-531-1000.
SPECIAL HEALTH BULLETIN
Bringing Care to the
By Andrea Gallagher, CSA
Studies show that an estimated 46 to 59 percent of caregivers are clinically depressed.
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According to a recent study, 43.5 million adult caregivers care for individuals older than 50—and that number is growing as our population ages.
Caregivers rarely Seek Help for Themselves the majority don’t see themselves as caregivers. they are sons, daughters, spouses, sisters, brothers or friends doing what they are supposed to do when a loved one is in need. yet a caregiver is anyone who helps another person with household chores, errands, personal care or finances. you are a caregiver if you do any of these things:
• Drive an older family member to and from medical appointments. • Communicate with healthcare professionals. • Contact community service organizations such as the Area Agency on Aging, Meals on Wheels or the Alzheimer`s Association. • Help arrange for home health care or hospice services. • Assist someone with paying bills.
ACCordING To THE CENTErS for dISEASE CoNTroL, 50 percent of americans older than 65—and that’s 41 million people—have at least two chronic health conditions such as arthritis, cancer, diabetes, alzheimer’s disease, depression or heart disease. alarming statistics—but when we read them our thoughts immediately turn to the person with the disease. most of us don’t think of the caregivers of a family member or friend with a chronic condition. today’s legion of caregivers is vast and growing, and caregiving is quickly becoming the new normal. according to a recent study, 43.5 million adult caregivers care for individuals older than 50—and that number is growing as our population ages. a caregiver’s work is often critical to the safety and well-being of a loved one, but the impact of the experience on the caregiver has not always been fully acknowledged. they often struggle physically, emotionally and financially from the burdens of caregiving. caregivers can need as much help as the person they are caring for. but most of the time caregivers don’t receive the help they need because they are not focused on themselves. they are over-burdened and when care does arrive, it’s often for the care recipient.
• Help someone clean his or her home or arrange for housecleaning. • Perform home repairs or yard work or arrange for someone else to do so. because caregivers are over-burdened they don’t take the time to seek help for themselves. more than 60 percent of caregivers work full- or part-time. many are still raising children or helping their adult children in some way. on average, caregivers deliver more than 21 hours of care a week. for one out of three caregivers who live with care recipients, the number of caregiving hours per week increases to 36 hours— almost as much as a full-time job. caregiving today is much more complex than ever. navigating difficult medical situations, dealing with legal complexities and finding ways to meet physical and financial challenges can be exhausting. there never seems to be enough time in the day to ask for help, and most caregivers say they wouldn’t know what to ask for if they were offered help. finally, when help does arrive, it is often focused on the care recipient. Physical and occupational therapy, assistive devices and new treatments are ordered for the person with the chronic condition, often creating more work for the stressed caregiver.
Caregiver Stress Can Affect one’s Health and Well-being it’s easy to see how caregivers can lose sight of their own needs as they become involved in caring for their loved ones, but ignoring these needs can be disastrous. in fact, more than 30 percent of caregivers die before their care recipients. illness that doesn't lead to death is rampant—depression and autoimmune diseases are high on the list. studies show that an estimated 46 to 59 percent of caregivers are clinically depressed. continued >>
SPECIAL HEALTH BULLETIN
the stress can affect the emotional and physical health of a caregiver. it is important to recognize this and seek help. if you are a caregiver and think caregiver burdens may be affecting you, ask yourself these questions: 1 Have you noticed your health is suffering or that you are ill more frequently? 2 Do your family members or friends say you are stressed out? 3 Is caregiving taking a toll on your job? 4 Do you feel the amount of care your loved one requires is overwhelming? 5 Do you feel emotionally drained by the care you provide? if you have answered yes to any of these questions you need help.
New options for Caregiver Support while this may be a tremendously demanding time for caregivers, there has never been a better time to be a caregiver. recognizing the increase in the caregiver population, many organizations are focused on caregiver needs and offer help in new ways. • Online care communities embrace the theory that it takes a village to care for a loved one. For example, Lotsa Helping Hands, Many Strong, and CaringBridge make it easy for friends, family and neighbors to help a caregiver by building a support network to get them or their loved one through a challenging time. These sites offer an online space where caregivers can connect, share news and receive support. • Professional service providers such as Geriatric Care Managers (GCMs) (www.caremanager.org) are specialists who help families caring for older relatives. The GCM is trained and experienced in several fields including nursing, gerontology, social work or psychology. Their goal is to improve both the senior’s and the caregiver’s quality of life and reduce stress. GCMs are especially helpful when you are a long-distance caregiver and need to support your loved one in a city far away. • Expert advice is key, given the complexity of decisionmaking in today’s challenging caregiving situations. 1 Tools like The Five Wishes (http://www.agingwithdignity.org) are written in everyday language and help start and structure important conversations about care in times of serious illness. 2 Elder Law Attorneys focus their practice on seniors’ legal needs, including key issues such as housing; financial well-being; health and long-term care; and autonomy and quality of life. You can find an elder law attorney at www.naela.org. Go to the dropdown menu under About and select Consumers, Find an attorney. • Respite care provides caregivers with needed breaks and ensures their loved one receives the required attention. There are many types of respite care, including family and friends, paid in-home care, adult day care and even
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overnight care. To learn more about respite care visit www.eldercare.gov (search respite care in the box at the top right above the photos). • Local organizations offer unique services to support family caregivers. 1 The Wellness & Caregiver Center of Ventura County (www.camhealth.com/wellnesscaregivercenter.php) provides practical, compassionate, realitybased support for caregivers and for those with ongoing health conditions. 2 This month, Senior Concerns (www.seniorconcerns.org) will open its Mobile Caregiver Support Center to make it easy and convenient for caregivers to get necessary help. The mobile unit will bring resources to caregivers where they work, shop and visit in Simi Valley, Moorpark, Thousand Oaks, Newbury Park and Oak Park—connecting caregivers to available financial, legal, physical, emotional and practical community resources.
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Andrea Gallagher is president of Senior Concerns, a local nonprofit serving seniors and their family caregivers. She is a Certified Senior Advisor (CSA) and founder of Rethinking Your Future. She is editor and coauthor of the book, Live Smart After 50!; author of The Other Side of Fifty, a bimonthly Acorn column; and a national speaker on topics related to life planning, positive aging and boomer transitions.
HEALTH VIEW 1
More than 60 percent of falls experienced by senior citizens take place at home.
Home Safetyâ&#x20AC;&#x201C; Lifelong Comfort in Your Home By Mariana Conti
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Stopping scammers can be quite a challenge, especially if your loved one has come to trust the con artist and doesn't want you to know what is happening.
if one or both of your parents are still living at home you're probably not a big fan of the idea of an assisted living or a skilled nursing facility. on the other hand, you want to make sure they're safe from mishaps like burns and injuries from falls.
falls more than 60 percent of falls experienced by senior citizens take place at home. they lose their balance on the stairs, slip getting out of the bathtub, or trip on something in the middle of the floor. there are several things you can do to enhance fall prevention.
• Eliminate clutter. Find a place for anything on the floor. Shoes, for instance, can go into the closet. Old stacks of newspaper can be recycled or, if your parent wants to hang onto them, store them in an unused room. • Remove accent rugs. Accent rugs are lovely and they usually have some interesting stories behind them, but it's very easy to trip on them. This is especially true when using a walker or a cane or if you have trouble with balance. • Install grab bars in the bathroom. Warn your parent not to use the towel rack to pull themselves up. Towel racks are not screwed deeply into the wall and may come loose, causing a tumble. • Make sure any stairs in your parents’ house have a set of handrails. • Encourage them to exercise. If they are physically capable, try to steer them toward a low impact exercise class like water aerobics, yoga, or Tai Chi. Exercise will improve stamina, flexibility, and balance which all help in fall prevention. • Purchase your parent a personal alarm—a waterproof button for them to wear on a thin strap around their wrist or neck. If your parent has a fall or another type of emergency, they can press the button to be immediately connected to a call center. The call center can call for help.
one option is to help your loved ones age in place by becoming aware of the most common hazards seniors face. you can then assist them with safety-proofing, home modification, and behavioral changes that will decrease their risk of injury.
fire most fires and burns occur in the kitchen. another common place for a fire to start is the bedroom, especially if your loved one smokes in bed. these safety tips can help reduce the risk of fire and burns.
• Ask your parent to stop smoking. You can't force this, but it won't hurt to make the request. • Remind your parent there are times when they simply cannot smoke—when they are wearing supplemental oxygen, for instance, or when they are in bed for the night. • Teach your parent to make sure all the appliances are off before leaving the kitchen. You might even want to create a checklist that can be pinned to a cabinet or to the kitchen door. • Hire a plumber to lower the temperature on your parent’s water thermostat. This will reduce the risk of getting burned by stepping into water that is too hot. • Install smoke alarms in each room. Make sure to check them twice a year to ensure the batteries are still working and that the alarms themselves are in good operating condition. You might, for instance, make it a point to check the batteries when daylight savings time begins and ends. • Tell your parent to leave the house quickly in the event of a fire. Remind them not to stay and try to put the fire out and not to try to rescue any belongings. Things can be replaced. Your loved one can't.
Scams and fraud it is sickening to think anyone would deliberately try to steal a senior citizen's life savings, but such people are out there, and they're often very good at what they do. they typically target widows and widowers who live alone and are lonely. they also look for people who may be experiencing some mild cognitive problems, such as early stage dementia. they may approach your loved one by saying he or she has won a prize but must pay taxes to claim it or by offering to invest your loved one's money. the words they say often seem reasonable, and it's easy for people who are worried about not having enough money to get drawn in. continued >>
HEALTH VIEW 1
“Let your parent know you'll always be glad to speak with them about decisions regarding donations or investments. Don't force your help, but do offer it.” stopping scammers can be quite a challenge, especially if your loved one has come to trust the con artist and doesn't want you to know what is happening. These tips may help:
• Place your loved one’s number on the Do Not Call registry. Using their phone, dial 1-888-382-1222. The registry is not foolproof, but it's a good start. • Warn your parent about the most common scams and explain how to recognize them. • Advise your parent not to enter into small talk or give personal information to strangers who call them. If a stranger calls, there is nothing rude about hanging up. • Let your parent know you'll always be glad to speak with them about decisions regarding donations or investments. Don't force your help, but do offer it. • Don't threaten to take away your parent's phone, computer, or Internet service. This will likely just make them more secretive about contact with con artists.
Keeping track of your loved ones’ safety at home is one of the best gifts you can give them. with a little imagination and assistance, they should be able to experience the peace of mind to age in place and not have to worry about moving to a facility.
Mariana Conti has a BA in Clinical Psychology. She is the owner and founder of ContiCare Senior Living Referral and Placement Service. For more information, call 805.405.1424 or email firstname.lastname@example.org. You can also visit her website: www.conticare.net
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HEALTH VIEW 2
HORMONE METABOLIC BALANCE
Hormone Metabolic Balance: The Key to Unlock the Code for Healthy Aging By Hilda Maldonado M.D.
The risk of an average woman after menopause dying of heart disease is about 40 percent.
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the risk of an average woman after menopause dying of heart disease is about 40 percent; her risk of developing breast cancer is at most 5.5 percent, with approximately a 1 percent chance of expiring from breast cancer. oUr SoCIETy HAS BECoME HorMoPHoBIC—and the media has been a contributing factor to massive pandemonium about hormones. a decade ago, polluted data from the famous women’s health initiative study started a cascade of misinformation that lingers to this day, contributing to a fear of the word hormone. many physicians still rely on a poor understanding of hormonal interactions and use faulty data while counseling their patients. no wonder we find ourselves in such a state of massive confusion about the important role hormones play in our health and in the aging process. when hormones are properly used and balanced, they are safer than most prescription drugs, and essential to preserving our health as we age. hormones are so important that the main cause of accelerated internal aging, skin aging and chronic disease can be summed up as a result of multiple hormone deficiencies. in essence, we age as our hormones decline. today hormone imbalances continue to be disregarded within a culture of unfounded fear. even when replaced, they often are not properly balanced. hormonal imbalances are associated with progressive inflammation. loss of testosterone in men, known as andropause, is a lethal disease and is associated with increased mortality of all causes—particularly from cardiovascular disease. seemingly the increase in cardiovascular disease occurs in females after menopause when estrogen starts leaving the body. estrogen has at least 400 essential functions for the female body internally and externally. estrogen deficiency is much more than the presence or absence of hot flashes and night sweats.
Progesterone is usually the first hormone to become deficient in peri-menopause, which can be as early as 10 to 15 years before menopause.
the role of estrogen in cardiovascular health for females has been much debated. most of this debate originates from a lack of understanding of the fundamental differences between oral and transdermal estrogen replacement. in a nutshell oral estrogens should be completely avoided, whereas transdermal, bioequivalent estrogens are the preferred route when replacement is indicated. with cardiovascular disease being the number one cause of mortality for both males and females in the U.s., a growing paranoia of elevated cholesterol continues to permeate our current medical system. interestingly, cholesterol is essential for proper hormone metabolism. over-prescribing statin drugs can impair our hormone production. ironically, cholesterol tends to go up with hormonal imbalances and improves as hormone metabolic balance is achieved. for example, thyroid replacement improves cholesterol, lowers blood pressure, improves metabolic syndrome—a pre-diabetic condition hallmarked by elevated insulin levels—and lowers independent cardiovascular risk factors such as highly sensitive c-reactive protein (crP) and homocysteine. contrary to a mythic belief of not being beneficial to the heart, thyroid replacement in hypothyroid individuals provides greater survival after a myocardial infarction when properly administered. it is a well known fact that an avalanche of chemicals, plastics and pesticides in the water supply, food chain, air and our homes has bombarded our society. many have sacrificed their health with years of consuming fast foods, soft drinks, caffeine and sugar—living sedentary lives with excessive stress and alcohol consumption, all of which affect hormone balance. the organic food and super foods movements along with the fitness and wellness industry have served our society with an incredibly helpful awareness, but this on its own will not solve the puzzle of chronic disease. hormonal imbalances are being identified earlier and earlier in males and females of all species. all hormones need to be assessed, individually balanced and replaced close to the time they leave the body. this is needed in addition to lifestyle changes and customized nutritional interventions. as we age the correct hormone balance is indispensable to preserve our immune system, reproductive system, brain function, sleep patterns and metabolism. there is an incredible over-prescription of sleeping aids, mood stabilizers and immunosuppressant drugs to address issues related to these body systems such as insomnia, fatigue, depression, anxiety, mood swings, brain fog, migraine, Pms, premenstrual dysphoric disorder (Pmdd—a severe form of Pms), difficulty losing weight, joint aches, hair loss, autoimmune
HEALTH VIEW 2
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• Lifestyle changes (individualized diet and exercise) • Stress management • Education • Judicious use of medications as required
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the thyroid hormone works as a kind of master pilot that governs the speed of our metabolism at every level. without adequate free t3 levels, we cannot achieve thermogenesis, the production of heat in the body. melatonin is our sleep guardian and our adrenal glands help us with our immune system, fluid balance, stress, inflammation and produce essential hormones like dhea, aldosterone and cortisol among others. estrogen, progesterone and testosterone also play a big role in the immune system, brain function, memory and neurotransmitter health, influencing sleep, mood and recall. Progesterone is usually the first hormone to become deficient in perimenopause, which can be as early as 10 to 15 years before menopause. this imbalance of progesterone deficiency is associated with Pms, breast pain, heavy periods, headaches, fibrocystic breast disease and uterine fibroids. bone health is extremely important as part of the aging process. our bones support our entire body and assure our mobility. both males and females need to pay attention; unnecessary fractures severely decrease the quality of life.
• Nutritional supplementation
Dr. Hilda Maldonado is board certified in Internal Medicine and additionally she is a diplomate of the American Academy of Regenerative and Anti-Aging Medicine.
disorders and connective tissue diseases which are all deeply rooted on hormone deficiencies.
1240 Westlake Blvd., Suite 133 Westlake Village, CA 91361 Phone / Fax: 805.496.6698 www.drhildamaldonado.com
vitamin d is a hormone crucial for calcium absorption. both estrogen and testosterone help maintain the density and health of our bones. frailty is a lethal illness. many prescription drugs for alleged bone health increase the bone density in tests, but in reality create bone that is brittle and easily fractured.
HORMONE METABOLIC BALANCE
growth hormone plays a role in bone density by increasing cortical bone working as a sort of rebar. low growth hormone levels have been associated with increase obesity, elevated visceral fat, increase in metabolic syndrome, dry and thin skin and emotional fragility. oxytocin is the hormone of positive emotions and social contact. beliefs and attitudes play a crucial role in healthy aging. People who live to be centenarians give witness to the undeniable desire to remain connected with others, either intimately or socially through contact with the community, organizations and friends. they maintain that one never outgrows the need for love and relationships. People are living longer lives and claiming healthy aging is more crucial than ever. as a result of hormonal decline many cascading effects will lead to severe, chronic conditions that impair a personâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s quality of life when unattended. most hormonal declines (except in cases of severe head trauma) occur ever so slowly and the symptoms may be mild and intermittentâ&#x20AC;&#x201D;more like a nuisance. as the deficits progress, symptoms become more persistent. when the deficiency aggravates, multiple body alarms go off and chronic conditions settle in the human body. achieving individualized hormone metabolic balance throughout our lives is pivotal to achieving healthy aging, avoiding chronic disease, and preserving our physique, brain health and quality of life.
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ThisÂ articleÂ is for educational purposes only and is not intended to diagnose, treat or cure disease. Â Each individual should seek the advice of his or her own personal physician.
With more than 20 years of experience, Dr. Hilda Maldonado is a practicing medical doctor who has bridged the gap between conventional, alternative and anti-aging medicine. She has helped many attain optimum health through her unique blend of treatment modalities. She has pursued an advanced post-doctorate fellowship in anti-aging and regenerative medicine and has received board certifications in internal medicine and anti-aging medicine. Her practice is located atÂ 1240 Westlake Blvd., suite 133, Westlake Village. Visit www.hormonebalancedoctorlosangeles.com, or call 805.496.6698.
HEALTH VIEW 3
NEUROTRANSMITTERS & BRAIN FUNCTION
Brain Chemistry Dysfunctionand Testingâ&#x20AC;&#x201D;
Neurotransmitters andYourHealth By Sabira Saifuddin, MD
yoUr BrAIN IS INCrEdIBLy CoMPLEx ANd CoNTAINS IMPorTANT CHEMICAL MESSENGErS CALLEd NEUroTrANSMITTErS. these are amino acid-based molecules that relay signals between the brain and rest of the body. neurotransmitters define our moods, feelings, actions and our health. they act as messengers between the immune, endocrine, digestive and nervous systems. they are present throughout the body and are required for proper brain and body functions. the brain uses neurotransmitters to tell your heart to beat, your lungs to breathe and your stomach to digest. they are also necessary for memory, thinking, feeling, sleeping, and sensations of hunger, libido and numerous other functions. scientific literature has established the link between neurotransmitter imbalance and clinical symptoms.
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stress is defined by a person’s inability to adequately deal with the daily demands of life—feeling overwhelmed, frustrated and depleted. a stressed person seems to lack vitality, vibrancy and control over their life. anxiety is experienced as excessive worry, fears, apprehension, mental and physical tension, restlessness and a constant supply of “what ifs.” an anxious person always feels like something bad will happen—basically living in fear. Panic attacks, obsessive-compulsive disorder (ocd) and post-traumatic stress disorder (Ptsd) are specific anxiety disorders. depression is experienced as feelings of sadness and unhappiness, decreased interest in activities, decreased motivation, a negative outlook on life and pessimistic thinking. other accompanying symptoms may include apathy, low energy, sleep difficulties, tearfulness and emotional sensitivity. mood swings are experienced as fluctuating states of mind. the person vacillates from being overly happy to overly sad and angry or irritable in a short amount of time. this state can also be characterized as reactive or temperamental, meaning that their moods are unpredictable. People with this profile may exhibit extreme anger outbursts, rage or agitation as well as verbal and physical aggression. bipolar disorder type 1 causes extreme mood swings. less extreme mood swing disorders like bipolar type 2 or cyclothymia are much more prevalent but many times remain undiagnosed and untreated. attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (adhd) causes poor attention, poor concentration, distractibility and possible hyperactivity. this condition, when severe, often starts causing problems during childhood such as disruptive behaviors in school, poor grades, teacher complaints and social difficulties. moderate to mild adhd may not be diagnosed until much later in life. adults with undiagnosed adhd present with dropping out of college, frequent job changes, relationship difficulties and the inability to maintain gainful employment. addiction is defined as dependence on a substance deemed harmful. in spite of
Symptoms of Neurotransmitter Imbalance
Bipolar disorder type 1 causes extreme mood swings. Less extreme mood swing disorders like bipolar type 2 or Cyclothymia are much more prevalent but many times remain undiagnosed and untreated.
realizing the harm involved, the person is unable to stop its use. in addition to the above conditions, neurotransmitter imbalance causes memory decline, sleep disturbances, headaches, fatigue, weight gain, carbohydrate cravings, decreased sex drive, hormonal imbalance, Pms, digestive issues and pain.
Causes of Neurotransmitter Imbalance medical research has shown that many factors associated with today’s fastpaced lifestyle deplete our pool of neurotransmitters and hormone levels. four of these stand out as the most prevalent—chronic stress, diet, brain toxins and genetics. Chronic stress is the primary contributor. stress—both emotional and physical—can cause neurons to use up large amounts of neurotransmitters to help us cope with the situation. the chronic daily stress of a busy career, a stressed relationship or a bacterial or viral infection taxes the nervous system. over time these factors deplete neurotransmitter supplies as well as lead to adrenal gland fatigue and low cortisol levels. Poor dietary habits are an important contributor to nervous system imbalance. the body synthesizes neurotransmitters from nutrients obtained in the diet or through supplements—primarily amino acids and protein. diets with insufficient proteins and high carbohydrates increase the excretion of neurotransmitters, thereby leading to further depletion. additionally, vitamin and mineral deficiencies make a person prone to nervous system imbalances. Neurological (brain) toxins are a third major factor causing unhealthy brain chemistry. Use of alcohol, nicotine, caffeine and illegal street drugs such as methamphetamines, cocaine and heroin also have a negative effect on brain
HEALTH VIEW 3
NEUROTRANSMITTERS & BRAIN FUNCTION
chemistry. monosodium glutamate (msg)—contained in most processed foods; artificial sweeteners—contained in diet drinks; and high doses of caffeine—contained in energy drinks, all cause brain toxicity and death of brain cells. Genetics is the last major influence on brain chemistry. some individuals are genetically predisposed to neurotransmitter deficiencies or excesses. certain health conditions like anxiety, depression and adhd run in families.
Laboratory Testing thankfully neurotransmitter levels can be measured through specialized urine and saliva testing over a 12-hour period. the collected samples are sent to a special laboratory where levels of various neurotransmitters and cortisol levels are tested. test results are interpreted while taking into account the patient’s clinical profile and neurotransmitter levels. now the doctor can see the levels of serotonin, dopamine, epinephrine, gaba and numerous others. in addition, levels of certain hormones—especially cortisol, and thyroid —can be measured.
Correcting Brain Chemistry after neurotransmitter testing has revealed the pattern of imbalance, two main options can correct it. natural supplements can replenish the amino acid and protein deficiencies responsible for the symptoms, or a pharmaceutical approach. in my professional opinion a combined approach using natural supplements and medications tend to bring about better outcomes and symptom relief. likewise, correcting adrenal fatigue by replenishing with adrenal supplement can bring about normal cortisol levels, thereby achieving optimum stress response in a person. correcting thyroid hormone imbalance can improve symptoms of depression, anxiety, weight gain and more. in short, testing brain chemistry is crucial to achieving accurate diagnosis and monitoring the response to treatment.
FAMILY PSYCHIATRY A Division Of Westlake Wellness Center Sabira Saifuddin MD Medical Director 5655 Lindero Canyon Road, Suite 405 Westlake Village, CA 91362 805-341-3416 www.cuttingedgepsychiatry.com
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IT'S NOT ABOUT AGING
It’s Not About
do yoU dISMISS yoUr ACHES, PAINS, fATIGUE, Poor foCUS, INdIGESTIoN, LACK of MoTIVATIoN, ANxIETy ANd dEPrESSIoN WITH THE ExPrESSIoNS: “what can you expect when you are my age?” or “it’s all a part of growing older.”? well—these things are not true. these symptoms are not due to aging; they are due to inflammation. you can live your best life at any age. rejuvenation offers hope and is effective. the key is to find the root cause of your symptoms and then repair your body.
By Dr. Sharon Norling
Each year 130 billion dollars is spent on arthritis. Enbrel, a common pharmaceutical drug often prescribed for arthritis has well-known, expensive side effects.
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you want to live a long, healthy life— with the emphasis on healthy. nothing is more important than your health— nothing.
Arthritis is the number one cause of disability, with 44 million people diagnosed and a million hospitalized each year.
How to Be Healthier your health can be dramatically improved by a healthy lifestyle, positive attitude, appropriate high quality supplements, intravenous (iv) therapies and stem cell replacement. iv therapies can support and heal your body with vitamins and minerals. as we age, our bodies do not produce enough stomach acid, which is necessary to digest our food. this may result in malnutrition. iv therapies can provide higher doses if vitamins and minerals through the vein, bathing your body in nutrients. more vitamins and minerals can be given this way more quickly and 100 percent are absorbed through the bloodstream. specific ivs containing phosphatidylcholine and glutathione solutions can be used for multiple symptoms. Phosphyatidylcholine can help repair cell membranes. glutathione, produced by the liver, is a master detoxifier. detoxification and good nutrition are the keys to health. more and more research shows the benefits of stem cell replacements. stem cells can be used for a wide range of benefits including facial rejuvenation. a younger-looking you can be accomplished without chemical burns, painful procedures, surgery or injecting toxins into your skin. stem cell replacement is also used for painful joints and overall well-being. if you’re older than 40, odds are you may experience pain or stiffness in at least one of your joints. while the site of pain may vary—your knees, hands, hip, back or elsewhere—the result can make it difficult for you to walk or climb stairs, bend, open jars, or remain active and energetic. arthritis is the number one cause of disability, with 44 million people diagnosed and a million hospitalized
each year. women are almost three times more likely than men to have arthritis, which is erroneously associated with aging. each year 130 billion dollars is spent on arthritis. enbrel, a common pharmaceutical drug often prescribed for arthritis has well-known, expensive side effects. these include severe infections, tuberculosis (tb), fungus, bacteria, viruses, hepatitis b which can be fatal, cancer and lymphoma, seizures, heart failure, auto-immune disease, low blood count and bleeding. why take a prescription without first knowing the root cause of your symptoms and making changes to correct it? you may be experiencing headaches or you may have been diagnosed with fibromyalgia. over-the-counter and prescribed medications only mask the symptoms, allowing the condition to grow even worse and more painful with time. you can’t fix something unless you know the cause.
What are the root Causes of the Pain? Infection arthritis is known to be caused by an infection. reactive arthritis can be caused by many organisms including hhv-6, mycoplasma, chlamydia, salmonella, yersinia, shigella and campylobacter according to the mayo clinic. these organisms may be sexually transmitted. in other words, having sex can cause arthritis. these organisms can be diagnosed in the gastrointestinal tract using dna stool testing.
This walk gets us to the finish line faster.
Hidden Food Allergies and Gluten Sensitivity eating foods you are allergic or sensitive to can result in inflammation. the cells produced in the gastrointestinal tract reacting to these specific foods not only contribute to gerd or irritable bowel syndrome but many other chronic illnesses. find out what foods you are sensitive to and decrease your pain. are you gluten-sensitive? there is a direct relationship between gluten sensitivity and the development of autoimmune diseases such as rheumatoid arthritis.
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Poor Nutrition, Sugar, Processed Foods and Pesticides sugar has a major impact on inflammation which is referred to as glycation and oxidation. glycation is sugar binding to fats and proteins. we may all enjoy an occasional dessert; however, this enjoyment can cause wrinkles! but they are a lot more than just wrinkles. these advanced glycation end-products (ages) cause protein fibers to become stiff and malformed—leading to debilitating conditions such as cataracts, alzheimer’s, vascular damage and disease of the pancreas and liver. vitamin deficiencies such a vitamin d increase your risk of heart disease, high blood pressure, cancer, diabetes, alzheimer’s, osteoporosis, irritable bowel syndrome—and the list goes on. these conditions are not due just to aging but are directly related to a lack of good nutrition. speaking of nutrition—by age 50, 50 percent of people do not have enough stomach acid to digest food properly. stomach acid also kills the bacteria, viruses and parasites we eat on a daily basis. at age 80, 85 percent of people do not have enough stomach acid. if you can’t digest your food, it is extremely difficult to stay healthy! avoid antacids whenever possible and consider using betaine (stomach acid supplement) before your meals.
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IT'S NOT ABOUT AGING
A unique blend of Chiropractic & Acupuncture at
Heavy Metal Toxicity if you have had amalgams (silver fillings) in your teeth, vaccines, or have eaten your share of sushi or large fish you may have high levels of mercury in your body. this can be determined by specialty labs and can be removed through iv therapy.
> Chronic & Acute Pain > Carpal Tunnel > Plantar Fascitis > Fibromyalgia > Stress > Weight Loss & much more Therapeutic Massage now available
metal toxicity can cause fatigue, generalized muscle weakness, muscle and joint pain, muscle stiffness or spasms. lack of minerals and dehydration can also result in these symptoms. Hormonal and Neurotransmitter Imbalance low serotonin, that calming happy hormone, causes pain 70 percent of the time! high levels of the excitatory neurotransmitter, norepinephrine, also can cause pain, anger and high blood pressure. discover the root causes of your symptoms. listen to what your body needs. if you don’t take care of your body you will have no place to live.
Tips for Aging Beautifully 1 2
3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14
Stay in touch with the world, friends and family. Let go of the past, remembering only the positives and the lessons learned. Focus on the big picture while making small changes. Learn something new. Stand and sit up straight. Eat well and enjoy who you are eating with. Wear jeans. Have sex—you will live longer. Enjoy nature. Hang out with younger, vibrant, interesting people. Turn on the music. Dance like no one is looking. Laugh. Be good to yourself. You’ve been so good to others all your life—now it’s your turn.
Dr. Sharon Norling brings a lifetime of education, training and passion in both conventional and natural medicine. Using specialized testing she finds the root cause of symptoms and illnesses and uses effective natural medicine whenever possible. For more information on these topics please see her book, Your Doctor is Wrong. Her practice is in Westlake Village. 818.707.9355.
consultation & acupuncture treatment
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including consultation, digital x-rays, & chiropractic adjustment
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www.shekinahhealth.com or 805.777.8154 650 S. Westlake Blvd Suite 200, Thousand Oaks, CA 91362
(In The Promenade at Westlake, across from Mann Theatres, above the Capri Nail Spa)
At United Family, We Specialize in Pediatrics. A center for whole family care specializing in treatment of pregnancy and infants, young athletes, and active adults.
Your family will enjoy a unique experience in this child friendly office. Nutritional evaluations, Massage Therapy, ADHD and Autism alternative treatments, and Pre/Post Natal chiropractic care
Located in beautiful Wood Ranch in Simi Valley
1070 Country Club Dr.West #D Simi Valley, CA 93065
Dr. Katie Greeley D.C., CACCP
Certified in Chiropractic Pediatrics and WebsterTechnique Certified International Chiropractic Pediatric Member Holistic Pediatric Association Member ICA Pediatric Council Member
MIND & SPIRIT 1
A TIMELESS TIP
A Timeless Tip–– Get Away with Your Buddies By Wayne M. Levine
TIME IS VEry PoPULAr. you can tell by how many familiar sayings there are about time. you know—like time heals all wounds, time will tell, the time is now, what time is it? ok, maybe not the last one. but you get my point. we all know how valuable time is, yet many of us refuse to truly honor time and the importance it can have for our physical and emotional health—especially as we get long in the tooth.
time is the most valuable thing a man can spend. - laertius diogenes we have to wrestle daily with the tug-o’-war for our time. between marriage, kids, work, school, volunteering, home repairs, celebrations, family obligations and spiritual commitments, who’s got the time?
you are in Charge it’s difficult to manage our time and maintain some sense of a balanced life. and yet, if we don’t, who will take the time to do it for us? correct—no one. that’s why it’s up to you. you must develop habits with your time that will nourish you so you can properly tend to your other loves and commitments.
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time is the coin of your life. it is the only coin you have, and only you can determine how it will be spent. be careful lest you let other people spend it for you. - carl sandburg if you don’t master that territory—how you allocate your time—others will do it for you. and when that happens resentment soon follows. in other words your time will be used to satisfy others’ needs, to the exclusion of your own, if you don’t take charge.
How to Take Charge i want to focus your attention on a specific use of your precious time. and that is time away with your buddies. by this i mean an overnight or a weekend away. if you’re like most men, a getaway like this tends to be the last thing on your list if it’s even on your list. why do you not take time away with the men in your life?
i wasted time, and now time doth waste me. - william shakespeare let me be very candid for a moment. as many of you men know, vacations with your wife and kids can sometimes feel like anything but a vacation. when you have little ones, vacations are work. now, it may be a labor of love but you are on the clock. it’s impossible to totally recharge when you’re working. and as much as many of us adore our wives, we’ve had experiences where the energy required to take good care of them while traveling has interfered with our ability to completely relax and enjoy. when we’re on an adventure with men we know and trust, whether it be to joshua tree, vegas, an all-night pokerfest, a cycling trip or backpacking, we’re free to remember who we are and what fires us up. it’s the connection with that energy we so desperately need to be the best husbands, fathers and business leaders we can be.
Is it because: • she won’t let you, • she’ll be upset or feel abandoned, • she doesn’t go away with her friends, • you have no friends, • you feel guilty, • you have no experience going on road trips with buddies, • you’re just too busy, • you’re afraid, • or is it because you automatically say, “Oh no, I can’t do that,” and have never taken the time to figure out why?
People who cannot find time for recreation are obliged sooner or later to find time for illness. - john wanamaker having heard the struggles of men for more than 20 years, all i can tell you is that you mUst take time to be with men, away from all other obligations. only when we are completely disconnected from our daily commitments can we begin to have a healthy perspective on ourselves, our relationships and on our various responsibilities.
The Time is Now yes, you need and want to spend time with your wife, with couples, with your children, extended family, etc. but what happened to you? when did you forget that adventures with your friends could fill you with joy, reconnect you with passion, and recharge your batteries so you can be the best man possible for everyone you care about?
lost time is never found again. - benjamin franklin whatever obstacles, real or imagined, that are keeping you from connecting with men and honoring your masculinity by sharing these private adventures, are also preventing you from experiencing the depths of your own happiness and the power you have to be a compassionate father, doting husband and successful businessman.
the time for action is now. it’s never too late to do something - carl sandburg indeed, mr. sandberg. and remember men, what happens with the men should stay with the men. this is how trust is built. but the impact of these experiences on you will benefit everyone you care about. have a great time!
Wayne M. Levine is the director of BetterMen Coaching in Agoura Hills. He teaches men to be the best men, fathers, and husbands they can be through individual, couples and group coaching, both in the office and via phone. Wayne is also author of the best-selling book, Hold On to Your N.U.T.s—The Relationship Manual for Men. Find out more and get a copy of Wayne’s book at www.BetterMenCoaching.com.
MIND & SPIRIT 2
SAVING YOUR MARRIAGE
a way to start healing your marriage with loving touch is to wake up in the morning, hug, kiss, acknowledge the love and give it freely. when going to bed at night do the same thing and hold each other. some couples can ease this back into the marriage; for other couples the approach to touch is slower. the best way to initiate healing touch in the marriage is to realize that the marriage is important, make it more of a priority, and not take it for granted. starting to touch again may feel uncomfortable at first but if given enough time, it will become more normal and more intimate. schedule time throughout the busy week to spend alone time with each other, making one another feel important and loved again. a simple acknowledgement of your spouse each day can add the healing touch to your marriage. take moments in the day to give each other a kiss, hold hands, rub each otherâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s hair, face and back. this is not a sexual act but an intimate act. the touching does not lead to sex but makes sex more intimate when it occurs naturally. when you are upset with your spouse and you want to tell them about it, change your words into a healing touch. rather than yelling or blaming, open your arms, hug your spouse, look them in the eyes and tell them you feel hurt by their action. anger and hurt in a marriage almost always stem from lack of feeling loved or appreciated by the other person, so change the dynamic and heal your marriage through loving touchâ&#x20AC;&#x201D;not hateful words.
Healing Your Marriage Through
Loving Touch By Dawn Michael
AS A CLINICAL SEXOLOGIST AND MARRIAGE COUNSELOR, i have found that for many couples, rehashing problems in a marriage never gets to the root of the problem. most people simply want to be loved, and many times showing that love through touch is more effective than words. healing a broken marriage through touch therapy can trigger past hurt that would never have been brought to the surface otherwise. then it can be healed.
ONNECTION.COM JULY 2013
working toward more intimacy in the relationship will help to inspire communication surrounding other issues. many small annoyances and fights will go away because most of those are spurred on by hurt or resentment. for more information on touch therapy or intimacy counseling visit www.thehappyspouse.com.
Dawn Michael holds her B.A. in Speech Communication, M.A. in Marriage Family Therapy, and is a Certified Clinical Sexologist and a professional member of ASSECT. Dawn Has published over 700 articles on human sexuality and relationships, a public speaker, sex educator and international therapist. Her work as a clinical sexologist and marriage counselor is to bridge the world of sexuality and marriage together, helping couples to enjoy one another, make love to each other and be happy. For more information or help on relationships visit Dawn Michael at www.thehappyspouse.com
JIN SHIN JYUTSU
Jin Shin Jyutsu: Holistic Practice for the Mind, Body and Spirit By Alicia Doyle
“More people are becoming interested in Jin Shin Jyutsu because the practice is simple, non-invasive and gentle, and it benefits the mind, body and spirit without side effects.”
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LIKE ACUPUNCTUrE WITHoUT THE NEEdLES ANd ACUPrESSUrE WITHoUT THE PrESSUrE, jin shin jyutsu is described as a gentle, non-invasive, light touch practice that helps relax the mind and body, decreases stress, calms the nervous system, boosts the circulatory system and stimulates the body’s natural healing process. “jin shin jyutsu restores balance and harmony to the energetic circulation patterns in the body by using light touch on 26 safety energy locks or points,” explained teri meissner, a certified jin shin jyutsu practitioner with a private practice in new york city. these energetic pathways flow through the skin surface, the deep skin surface, the muscles, the fascia, the bones, the circulatory system, the nervous system and the vital organs of the body. “when these pathways become disrupted or blocked and the energetic circulation patterns are unable to flow, then pain and discomfort can occur,” said meissner, who is also a practitioner in the integrative medicine department at atlantic health’s morristown medical center in morristown, new jersey. “by gently touching or holding the various safety energy locks in certain combinations, the pathways open, balance and harmony are restored and pain and discomfort are alleviated,” she said. “the practice is very gentle and there is no use of massage, manipulation of muscles or tissue.”
Since Jin Shin Jyutsu is a non-invasive and gentle practice, it can be used with people of all ages from babies in utero to people more than 103 years old.
History of Jin Shin Jyutsu
a pilot study created by the markey cancer center at the University of Kentucky found that jin shin jyutsu treatments helped alleviate symptoms of pain, nausea and fatigue in cancer patients.
according to ancient written records which remain in the archives of the imperial Palace in japan, jin shin jyutsu was widely known before the birth of gautama (buddha), before the birth of moses (recorded in the bible), and before the Kojiki (record of ancient things—japan, a.d. 712).
“at morristown medical center we are in the process of compiling a research study in which we have found that jin shin jyutsu treatments may help to alleviate the symptoms of pain, nausea, and fatigue caused by medical and surgical procedures, too,” meissner said. “the findings echo the experiences of my private clients who find that jin shin jyutsu helps them to relax, destress, improve the quality of their sleep, decrease their symptoms of pain and fatigue, and boost their energy levels.”
designed for All Ages since 2008, meissner has been teaching jin shin jyutsu self-help classes and workshops for organizations including the american cancer society’s hope lodge, calvary hospital, Kings county hospital cancer center, giving nature center for holistic health and wellness, mount sinai’s tisch cancer institute, and Karma Kids yoga. in 2009, she created the jin shin jyutsu treatment Program at hope lodge, which provides monthly jin shin jyutsu treatments for cancer patients and their caregivers. meissner also launched a monthly jin shin jyutsu program at the ronald mcdonald house in new york city, which provides jin shin jyutsu treatments for children undergoing cancer treatments and their families. “since jin shin jyutsu is a non-invasive and gentle practice, it can be used with people of all ages from babies in utero to people more than 103 years old,” said meissner, who has provided treatments for patients in all age categories and with all types of medical conditions. “jin shin jyutsu is also good for people who are healthy and interested in preventive care, and people who would like to enjoy a quiet state of relaxation.”
the teachings of the practice were passed down orally from teacher to student. jin shin jyutsu was rediscovered by master jiro murai early in the 20th century. his student, mary burmeister, brought jin shin jyutsu from japan to america in the 1950s.
Jin Shin Jyutsu Today “more people are becoming interested in jin shin jyutsu because the practice is simple, non-invasive and gentle, and it benefits the mind, body and spirit without side effects,” meissner said. more people are becoming aware of this modality and the ability of the practice to create a state of deep relaxation, decrease stress, and boost the body’s natural healing process. “the ability to help alleviate pain and discomfort without side effects is a mitigating factor in the spread of the awareness of jin shin jyutsu,” meissner said. in today’s society, jin shin jyutsu is being used in hospitals and medical settings in different parts of the country and the world. “there is some preliminary research available about the benefits of jin shin jyutsu and more research studies need to be created to scientifically show what practitioners and our patients and clients already know,” meissner said. “jin shin jyutsu is important because people who receive treatments are able to relax, de-stress, breathe more deeply, feel less tension, pain, and discomfort in their bodies,” she further emphasized. “the ability to relax and be in a state free from pain is priceless.”
FROM THE HEART
Brain Injury Center Helps Survivors and Families Cope with Challenges By Alicia Doyle
lee staniland was enjoying a horseback ride when a freak accident caused a brain injury that changed her life forever. “my horse took me under a tree branch,” recalled staniland, 61, of the injury she sustained 35 years ago in somis. “i hit my forehead on the branch and the back of my head when i hit the ground.” after spending six months in a coma, she he woke up paralyzed on the right side of her body, and spent the next three months in rehabilitation. “i had to relearn everything in my life to live again,” staniland said. the experience led her to cofound the brain injury center of ventura county, a nonprofit organization serving brain injury survivors, their families and loved ones. “this gives me a place to give back and help others get through their change in life,” staniland said. today, with an excellent prognosis, staniland said there’s one important fact she wants other brain injury survivors to know: “there is life after a brain injury.”
Invisible disability launched in 1995, the brain injury center of ventura county has helped many families adjust to the enormous challenges brought on by a brain injury. “we essentially focus on people 18 and older, since far greater public resources exist for children under the age of 18,” said david wilk, the amazingly talented president of the organization for the past six years.
ONNECTION.COM JULY 2013
According to the Centers for Disease Control, there are 1.7 million brain injuries per year in the United States.
When to Call the Doctor—Signs and Symptoms of Brain Injury Following is a list of common symptoms of a brain injury (concussion). If you or a family member has a head injury and you notice any of the symptoms on the list, call your doctor right away. Describe the injury and symptoms, and ask if you should make an appointment to see your own doctor or another specialist. Symptoms of a Concussion In Adults • Headaches or neck pain that won’t go away. • Trouble with such mental tasks as remembering, concentrating, or decision-making. • Slow thinking, speaking, acting or reading. • Getting lost or easily confused. • Feeling tired all the time, having no energy or motivation. • Mood changes (feeling sad or angry for no reason). • Changes in sleep patterns (sleeping a lot more or having a hard time sleeping). • Feeling light-headed or dizzy, or losing balance. • An urge to vomit (nausea). • Increased sensitivity to lights, sounds or distractions. • Blurred vision or eyes that tire easily. • Loss of the sense of smell or taste. • Ringing in the ears. In Children • Feeling tired or listless. • Being irritable or cranky (will not stop crying or cannot be consoled). • Changes in eating (will not eat or nurse). • Changes in sleep patterns. • Changes in the way the child plays. • Changes in performance at school. • Lack of interest in favorite toys or activities. • Loss of new skills, such as toilet training. • Loss of balance, unsteady walking. • Vomiting.
services include five support groups staged concurrently for survivors and families that meet twice a month in various parts of ventura county. “we get phone calls almost every day from survivors or families needing help and we begin to work with people from that very first phone call,” wilk said. “a brain injury is an invisible disability. the injured person might look perfectly normal while being profoundly affected,” he explained. “Unlike a broken arm, a brain injury does not heal.” according to the centers for disease control, there are 1.7 million brain injuries per year in the United states. “based on national averages, that would mean more than 16,000 people in ventura county are affected by a brain injury,” wilk said.
raising Awareness a brain injury can happen in an instant and lasts a lifetime. “it is a real life changer for individuals and their families,” wilk said. “it is most often caused by a traumatic impact: a car accident, contact sports impact, a simple fall or a health incident like an infectious disease, heart attack or stroke.” in 1995, a high school student named su stork suffered a serious brain injury in a car accident. “her parents, dave and midge, started seeking help but there were no resources,” wilk recalled. with that, the storks organized a monthly pot luck dinner at their home in ventura for other families with brain injured members. “they gradually grew, raised a little support money, and began offering services,” wilk said. nevertheless, funding remains limited when it comes to resources for brain injury survivors and their families. “the brain injury center receives no state or federal support—all money is raised by private donations—but we have hundreds of people active in the organization and the volunteer power has created a very vital organization,” wilk said. “our goal is to increase awareness of brain injury and reach every family that is affected so we can help them obtain resources and move forward to better times.”
Helping families some of the most common, lasting problems of a brain injury include difficulty with speech and motor skills, general confusion, greatly reduced memory, job loss, and the possibility of never being able to work again. survivors also experience the inability to drive, profound personality change, issues of temper and violence, and marriage and relationship breakups—including loss of friends because they simply stop coming around. continued >>
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The path you walk after a brain injury, for both survivors and loved ones, is a new one. it is full of ups and downs that you could never have imagined before the journey began.
“without family to step in as full-time caretakers, many brain injury victims become homeless,” wilk said.
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“the path you walk after a brain injury, for both survivors and loved ones, is a new one,” she said. “it is full of ups and downs that you could never have imagined before the journey began.” “having resources and professionals in the community and other people who have walked the walk make it ever so much more bearable,” davies further emphasized. “and, when the time comes, it is good to be able to give back by sharing with others.”
that’s why a key goal of the brain injury center is to help families. “their family lives change forever as well; often they are the ones to seek resources, since their loved one is incapable,” wilk said. “they are overwhelmed and sometimes terrified by the new reality they face. families need immense help and we try to be there for them.”
“the brain injury center is uniquely positioned,” said denise buttrey, executive director. it’s the only organization in ventura county with the ability and credibility to provide sound, evidencedbased professional programs and address the continuum of care required for survivors, their families and their caregivers,” she said.
when linda Prewitt was first connected with the brain injury center, her 16year-old daughter was still in a coma two months after the car crash that would change their lives forever. “i was still pretty much in denial, in spite of the dire prognoses given by her physicians,” recalled Prewitt, of camarillo.
A New Path
at the time, Prewitt thought they wouldn’t need a support group because when her daughter woke up, she would undergo therapy, go back to high school to finish her senior year, continue playing soccer, and earn a college scholarship.
when donna davies moved to ventura from connecticut with her braininjured son, she began attending a weekly support group for family caregivers while her son attended a support group for survivors. “i found the understanding and warmth i really needed during my settling in period in our new community,” davies recalled. before she discovered the brain injury center, “i was alone as a caregiver and needed the connection to other people as it is a very isolating role at times,” davies said. “it gave me a place i could go and know that my son was safe while i got a chance to talk with other parents.”
FIBROMYALG FIBROMYALGIA GIA CANDIDA WEIGHT LOSS ACNE EXCEMA/PSORIASIS ME IRRITABLE BOWEL SYNDROM SYNDROME LA L ARITY IRREGU IRREGULARITY CELLULITE ELIMINATION
“i thought we would all live happily ever after,” Prewitt said. her daughter finally came home after spending one year in hospitals and residential rehabilitation centers. “the insurance companies started using the words, plateau and declined, on a regular basis, and my daughter thought the only thing different about her was
How to Prevent a Brain Injury Following are some tips from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the Brain Injury Association of America to reduce the risk of brain injury for you or your family members. • Wear a seat belt every time you drive or ride in a motor vehicle.
that she was in a wheelchair,” Prewitt said. “i needed support, and my friends’ and family’s only experience with brain injury was the same as my own. they knew as little as i did.” with that, she reconnected with the brain injury center of ventura county. “brain injury survivors, their families, and their caregivers need to be able to deal effectively with brain injury and all it entails,” Prewitt said. “the brain injury center helps them to do that with support groups, social groups, workshops, and conferences. brain injuries do not go away,” she emphasized.
• Always buckle your child into a child safety seat, booster seat or seat belt (according to the child's height, weight, and age) in the car.
“People who sustained a brain injury 20 years ago still need support, as do those who sustained one 5 or 10 years ago, as will those who sustain one next year, and the year after,” Prewitt said. “brain injury is exhausting—for the survivor, the family, the caregivers, and the society in which they live,” she added.
• Never drive while under the influence of alcohol or drugs.
“but people with brain injuries can be productive members of their communities if those communities learn the ramifications of brain injury—the brain injury center can help with those endeavors.”
• Wear a helmet and make sure your children wear helmets when: 1 Riding a bike, motorcycle, snowmobile, or all-terrain vehicle. 2 Playing a contact sport, such as football, ice hockey, or boxing. 3 Using in-line skates or riding a skateboard. 4 Batting and running bases in baseball or softball.
More Than a Survivor jenna Prewitt was 16 when a car accident put her into a coma, leaving her with a traumatic brain injury. “i use a wheelchair, so i cannot just get up and go at my own leisure and though i’m working hard, my studies at the university are extremely tough,” said Prewitt, now 26. “most of my friends from high school no longer come around, i can’t drive a car, i have to rely on the schedules of others when i want to go somewhere,” she said. “in other words, my life has completely changed.”
5 Riding a horse. 6 Skiing or snowboarding.
for the past decade, Prewitt has been an active member of the brain injury center. “the support groups provide a place where i can vent and people understand; in the sessions, we learn coping skills,” she said.
• Avoid falls in the home by: 1 Using a step stool with a grab bar to reach objects on high shelves.
“all brain injuries are different and all people with brain injuries are different, just as all people without brain injuries are different,” Prewitt added. “i’d like people to take the time to get to know me as a person, instead of just as a brain injury survivor.”
2 installing handrails on stairways.
for more information visit www.braininjurycenter.org or call 805.482.1312.
3 installing window guards to keep young children from falling out of open windows. 4 Using safety gates at the top and bottom of stairs when young children are around. 5 Removing tripping hazards such as small area rugs and loose electrical cords. 6 Using non-slip mats in the bathtub and on shower floors. 7 Putting grab bars next to the toilet and in the tub or shower. 8 Maintaining a regular exercise program to improve strength, balance, and coordination. 9 Seeing an eye doctor regularly for a vision check to help lower the risk of falling. • Make sure the surface on your child's playground is made of shock-absorbing material, such as hardwood, mulch and sand. • Keep firearms stored unloaded in a locked cabinet or safe. Store bullets in a separate secured location.
BEYOND GREEN LIVING
Growing Older By Jan Tucker
THE SUBJECT of AGING TENdS To TUrN MANy PEoPLE off. it makes us think about our own foray into the older years of our own life and it can be a scary subject. we even try to find less offensive ways of referring to aging by softening the words and phrases we use to talk and write about the topic—we might use the words maturing, senior or experienced; or we may comment that someone we know has reached the ripe old age of—something older than 70. we try to avoid the using word old at all costs. when the word is used, it is often not in a flattering way— think old maid or old codger, for instance. my mother was 40 when i was born and i witnessed quite a few frightening incidents around aging while i was very young. when i was 10, my maternal grandmother lived with us and i saw her go into severe insulin shock one night when she was 88. my mother could hardly get her to bed before calling the doctor. later, grandma was in a nursing home for a few weeks and i had to brace myself when we visited her because of the condition of many of the residents. this left me with some tangible fears around aging, but also with a large set of antennas when i hear others referring to the subject. i’ve observed the topic of aging from this standpoint for a long time and i’d like to share my thoughts.
There are Many Positives to Growing older if we take time to think back to all the experiences and lessons we’ve learned in our own lives, we will realize the vast store of wisdom we’ve accumulated. in addition to our ability to perform whatever work or play we have chosen during our lives, we may have learned life’s lessons of patience, tolerance, forgiveness, endurance, the need for compromise, love and cooperation—and so many other positive qualities. as we age we develop strong feelings toward things that previously seemed insignificant and we gain an appreciation for nature we didn’t have time for when we worked. we have more time to think about things and to cultivate different interests after retirement. we get to focus on our creative nature. we get to express our appreciation in so many new ways. we might even become more spiritual.
There is room for Improvement regarding our Views of Growing older the youth and younger adults in many cultures revere and solicit their older generation to gain their knowledge and wisdom. but other societies, like ours, choose to shun, disrespect and even mistreat their elders instead.
ONNECTION.COM JULY 2013
deep down, i believe our culture does this out of fear. there is a significant fear of growing older and facing the frailties of an older body and mind. no one really wants to leave youth behind, but each of us has to come to terms with doing so in our own personal way. we have no control over aging, so the process challenges us to learn to let go and accept. the point is, we are all aging every day. and barring an early demise, we will all reach old age. i wish i could tell that to people who i witness mistreating or generally disrespecting their elders—“you will be older one day, too—think about it! how do you want to be treated when that happens?” our culture of advertising is hugely responsible for today’s emphasis on youth in this and other countries that have adopted our western lifestyle. Photos of beautiful people bombard us wherever we look—in magazine, billboard and tv ads—in soap operas and movies— most people the media exposes us to are young, beautiful and vibrant-looking. we grow up with these images and we think we are all supposed to be this way. the media has raised the bar very high. as individuals we try to emulate what we see, and because so many people are doing this, it can become a contest. we are all competing to look forever young and beautiful instead of revering the inner qualities that make us human and sometimes even frail. but our human qualities are really what make us truly beautiful. they give us depth. instead of embracing our humanness and showering ourselves with self-love and appreciation for our wisdom as we age, we begin running to the dermatologist at the first sign of a wrinkle to sculpt our beauty through surgery, implants and botox injections that last only a number of months.
A Natural outlook on Growing older if we could, instead, use our minds to conquer our fear of aging and begin to search within, we could keep living our lives in a much richer way and our society would be far healthier. there are many ways to grow old naturally and gracefully while maintaining a positive, vibrant outlook about life. i met my husband’s aunt rose on her 90th birthday. her glowing, white hair seemed to match the pure aura around her. she had a presence that grabbed the attention of anyone in her space. a former teacher, she still had a strong desire to keep learning, herself. she was
taking a class in shakespeare at the time and loving every minute of it. we found we had both been to china and her eyes glowed as we shared experiences about our trips. rose walked everywhere she went. when we visited her at her apartment by the ocean, she walked us all around the neighborhood, showing us the plush hotels on her street, the artistic sculptures in a nearby park, and one of her favorite venues—the beautiful public library. she had love in her heart and she shared that with us graciously. every wrinkle in rose’s countenance had been earned through life’s experiences—often through a smile.
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we can reinvent ourselves at any day or moment we want. if we don’t like something about our lives or the way we are living, we can ponder what will make us happier and we can work toward new goals. we can decide to take an art class or learn to cook. we can travel or decide, instead, to stay at home and create a new environment for ourselves. we can join a new group or start one to find like-minded friends. we can learn to garden or learn to dance. we can volunteer to help someone else in need rather than focusing on ourselves. as we age, we can do so naturally and with dignity—accepting with grace any challenges age brings. we can be the example for others that aging is not something to fear, but something to revere. we can remain vibrant in our own skin without desperate attempts to remain young-looking. what we have control over is our own mind, and we can do anything we set our mind to. we can start with ourselves to create a better society in the future where youth turns to their older generation for inspiration and knowledge. if you are young, i challenge you to think about this subject as you observe and interact with those who are older. if you are older, i challenge you to stake your claim on the wisdom you’ve gained throughout your life and think about growing older more naturally. embrace your life, embrace your wisdom and share it!
Jan Tucker is founder of White Lotus Living, whose vision is all about positive thinking, returning to basics, tuning in with nature, unifying the world with compassion, and through all these principles—ultimately—world transformation. it’s about truth. www.whitelotusliving.com is also a place for consumers to learn about and gain access to truly green, natural products.
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