Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Grants Available for Nature-Connected Education, Counseling

Reduce Greed and Increase Personal, Social and
Environmental Well Being

Dr. Michael Cohen

Dr. Michael Cohen has been called a "maverick genius". His approach to health and longevity rivals none - it's sensible. His professional and personal endeavours toward finding and helping others discover balance and better health (physical and emotional) cannot be argued as viable. We've tried medications to treat depression and stress, consumerism to make us happier (and it doesn't), and multiple forms of counselling - all with some success, but we've yet to hit the target.

Through nature, Dr. Cohen has helped others de-stress, support the environment, and yes, even stop smoking - all leading to better health - environmentally and personally.

September 28, 2008, Friday Harbor, WA - Michael J. Cohen, Ph.D.,
director of Project NatureConnect, today announced a special social
and environmental education grant program for individuals who have
had good experiences in nature. The program teaches them how to
green their personal and professional relationships in order to
remedy, and help others remedy, our personal, social and
environmental shortcomings. Participants learn how to think like
nature works to produce the unpolluted perfection of its balance and

Cohen notes that the program is essential because the bias in the way
we presently think makes us excessively conquer and exploit nature.
This detrimentally separates our psyche from the self-correcting
grace, spirit and restorative powers of nature in and around us. The
loss leaves us wanting, and when we want there is never enough. It
results in our destructive greed, stress and lack of self-worth along
with our excessiveness and disorders.

Cohen says, "There is hope. Even a walk in the park demonstrates that
our troubles subside when we truly reconnect with nature." In his new
book, Educating Counseling and Healing with Nature, he documents how Project NatureConnect's science enables us to make sensory contact with nature, backyard or back country and increase well being at
every level. The process helps our thinking interlace with the genius
of nature's peace, spirit and renewing ways. It empowers us to
recycle any garbage that has contaminated our sensibilities. It,
long-term, restores our senses so we may relate more sensitively and

Dr. Cohen can be reached at 360-378-6313, nature@interisland.net.
Project NatureConnect's grants, methods and materials are available
at SaneEarth.com

I urge you to explore Project Nature Connect. We all need hope - especially now.

Stress Linked to Later Heart Disease According to 911 Survey

Stress and You - Learn to S-L-O-W Down

Sunday, September 28, 2008

Alternative Treatment for Sleep Apnea Awaits FDA Approval

Positional sleep apnea sufferers may soon find an alternative to CPAP machines, currently considered the most effective treatment for patients who stop breathing during sleep. Though CPAP (a machine that blows pressurized air through a mask to open the airway) is effective, approximately 50% of those suffering from positional sleep apnea use the machines incorrectly. Many patients find them burdensome and uncomfortable, causing non-compliance. Six percent of our population probably has positional sleep apnea, manifested by snoring at night, and excessive daytime fatigue.

A new device, “Zzoma”, is under study, created by former Temple Fellow Joseph G. Crocetti. Research is being conducted by Samuel Krachman, D.O., professor of medicine and director of the Sleep Disorders Center at Temple University School of Medicine and Hospital. The device is worn around the chest like a belt. A firm, foam material supports the back, preventing patients from moving onto their back – the body position that causes snoring and cessation of breathing.

Sleep apnea is a serious problem, leading to heart disease and high blood pressure. It can interfere with job performance, and lead to a host of other health problems if left untreated. Sleep apnea is an often missed diagnosis.

Dr. Krachman is hopeful the FDA will approve the sleep apnea aid, which he has been using on patients with mild to moderate sleep apnea, for study purposes, over the past year.

Photo by Ryan S. Brandenberg/Temple University
Samuel Krachman, D.O., holds Zzoma, a belt-like device worn during sleep to alleviate positional sleep apnea.


Research underway to give sleep apnea sufferers relief and rest


American Sleep Apnea Association

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Massage Decreases Pain and Boosts Mood in Cancer Patients

According to a trial published in the September 16 issue of the Annals of Internal Medicine, cancer patients may experience immediate benefits from massage, including decreased pain and improved mood.

Jean S. Kutner, MD, MSPH, from the University of Colorado Denver School of Medicine, and colleagues write, " Massage may interrupt the cycle of distress through the therapist's intention (presence, communication, and desire to produce a therapeutic response), induction of a relaxation response, increased blood and lymphatic circulation, potentiation of analgesic effects, decreased inflammation and edema, manual release of muscle spasms, increased endogenous endorphin release, and competing sensory stimuli that override pain signals."

The goal of the study was to determine if quality of life could be improved for cancer patients with massage. The Palliative Care Research Network was used for the analysis, and included 380 adult patients diagnosed with advanced cancer. Assessment end-points included the immediate change in pain, using a scale of 1-10 from the Memorial Pain Assessment Card, measured just prior to and immediately following massage intervention. Other predictors of effectiveness included change in mood, from the same assessment tool. Heart and respiratory rates were taken, and the McGill Quality of Life Questionnaire was used, which also uses a scale of 1-10. A 0-4 point scale was used to measure distress, taken from the Memorial Symptom Assessment Scale. The study group also analyzed the patient’s use of Morphine.

Two groups were studied – the massage group received six 30-minute massage sessions, and the control group received simple-touch sessions for 2 weeks. The patients were followed for three weeks. Both groups experienced improvement in pain and mood, but the massage group experience more significant benefit. The authors concluded, "Given the lack of sustained effects and the observed improvements in both study groups, the potential benefits of attention and simple touch should also be considered in this patient population."

Ann Intern Med. 2008; 149:369-379.


Controlling Surgical Pain with Foot and Hand Massage – Study Review
Get a Good Night’s Sleep with a Back Massage

Saturday, September 13, 2008

New Study Shows Spinal Manipulation of no Benefit for Low Back Pain

According to the September 5 Online First issue of the Annals of the Rheumatic Diseases, acute low back pain doesn't respond to spinal manipulative therapy (SMT), when used as an addition to routine medical care. Acute low back pain affects many people, and the current study suggests that you might want to think twice before having your back manipulated to treat low back pain.

Though the study was small, and different modalities may certainly be effective for individual pain control, the results are worth noting. The current research involved 104 patients, split into two groups – one assigned to conventional care that included medications and general advice, and the other SMT combined with traditional medical care. Neither group was permitted to use extra treatment, such as non-pharmacologic care or analgesics other than paracetamol, diclofenac, or dihydrocodeine as needed. The end-points were measured using an 11 point pain scale, during days 1 to 14, and an extended follow-up evaluation at 6 months.

The researchers found that pain reduction was similar in both groups, acutely, and with extended follow-up. The authors concluded, "SMT is unlikely to result in relevant early pain reduction in patients with acute low back pain.”

Spinal manipulation for the treatment of low back pain remains somewhat of a mystery. A 2004 Cochrane review showed that it is more effective than sham therapy, but also revealed that it is not any better than traditional measures used to treat low back pain. However, the patient sampling was small, and did not include the use of pain medications.

The take home message is that your doctor may not recommend chiropractic or osteopathic spinal manipulation if you experience sudden low back pain. Evidence seems to be lacking that it helps. It’s more likely that larger studies should be performed.

Nevertheless, it may be important to consider the current findings when making healthcare choices that can cost extra time and money, without proven benefit. No serious events occurred in the study group, which is also worth noting. Interestingly, guidelines issued to physicians for treatment of low back pain in October, 2007 did include spinal manipulation as a self-care option for acute low back pain.

Low back pain is estimated to affect 6% of adults on a daily basis; the prevalence over a lifetime is 60 to 70 percent. According to current guidelines, lumbar supports are of little benefit and the value of exercise for prevention of back injuries is mixed. The COST B13 Working Group on European Guidelines for Prevention in Low Back Pain recommends exercise to prevent work absence, while the US Preventive Services Task Force finds insufficient evidence to recommend for or against the routine use of exercise interventions to prevent back pain. (1)

Most acute episodes of low back pain resolve with conservative measures, according to past studies. Recommendations include continuing normal activities, massage, analgesics, Yoga, and acupuncture, all therapies that your doctor may support to alleviate acute episodes of low back pain.

(1) Am Fam Physician. 2007; 75:1181-1188.

Spinal Manipulation May Not Be Helpful for Low Back Pain


Low Back Pain
Strategies for Evaluation and Treatment of Acute Low Back Pain
No Clear Evidence to Support Use of Antidepressants for Chronic Low Back Pain
Verum or Sham Acupuncture Nearly Twice as Effective as Usual Therapy for Back Pain
Guidelines Issued for Management of Low Back Pain