Monthly Archives: October 2011

Holistic Health Today: Dogs, Cats, and CAM

I’m inbetween pets right now, but I noticed the CAM and animal care trend a while back.  It makes sense, as there’s a big overlap among users of complementary and alternative medicine and animal lovers.  Maybe that’s because animal lovers are natural caregivers? Or because aging cats and dogs need chronic pain treatment as much as people do?

Whole Living advisory board member Nicholas Dodsman, DVM (shown here) just edited a book called Good Old Dog: Expert Advice for Keeping Your Aging Dog Happy, Healthy, and Comfortable. And today, USA TODAY features a piece about vets integrating holistic treatments into animal care, which makes it official:  CAM in the vet’s office is mainstream.


Holistic Health Headline: Mindful Medicine

Wouldn’t it be wonderful if more doctors attended mindful communication medical conferences like the one described by Pauline Chen, MD in the Well Blog this week?

She writes that doctors from around the world went to the conference sponsored by the University of Rochester Medical Center “to bring intention, attention and reflection to clinical practice.”

Reading about how mindfulness training benefits doctors and the patients they treat, I’m reminded of a patient empowerment feature I worked on for Whole Living.  “The Best Medicine: How To Find A Doctor You Trust” may be one of my all time favorites.

I met each of the physicians photographed—Dr Pat Allen, Dr Benjamin AsherDr Richard Ash and Dr Susan Blum–at the photo shoot, and they were thoughtful and in-the-moment.


Holistic Health Humor: Aasif Mandvi Digs Into Science

Did you see Aasif Mandvi’s Daily Show spoof on evidence based medicine and science this week? Watch “Science: What’s It Up To?’ for a good chuckle.


Holistic Health Today: The Force Controlling You + Cancer Pre-hab

What’s behind your everyday actions? While it’s unclear how this finding figures into health behaviors, new research suggests that the idea of God can influence motivation. Believing in a higher power—whether or not you call yourself religious—may help you avoid temptation, according to research just published in the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, one of the APA’s publications. Yet the same belief may also discourage you from realizing personal goals. Psychologists say that the belief in an omniscient power may help prevent us from misbehaving. Still, a fatalistic view may hold us back from pursuing personal goals. The researchers write, “reminders of God can (a) hinder self-regulation, by reducing people’s active engagement in goal pursuit, but also (b) facilitate self-regulation, by increasing people’s temptation resistance.”

Especially interesting: the study looked at the non-religiously devout, so the results suggest that whether or not you call yourself religious, something is likely influencing your actions. The authors conclude, “From popular and classic works of fiction, to the news media, to everyday conversation, the social world is replete with mentions of God. The current findings suggest that this exposure may have broad societal consequences for fundamental psychological processes of self-regulation, which in turn underlie much of health, happiness, and human productivity.”

Pre-hab for cancer?

In the blogosphere,  Joseph Nowinski, PhD calls for a rethinking of palliative care, a term used to describe care for symptoms and stress related to serious illness. The Huff Po blogger has argued that we’d be better off if cancer survivors were offered CAM therapies such as yoga and acupuncture along with rehab as part of comprehensive care, because many can relieve stress and pain. Here, he goes even further and suggests that regular stress reduction may help reduce the risk of developing cancer in the first place. Amen to that.


Holistic Health Today: Vegan Halloween, Forks Over Knives, Meditating Managers

I had every intention to read the story on the “Forks Over Knives” screening for Congress when I clicked through Jeffrey Bland’s post.

But once I landed on one green planet, I was sucked into the item on Vegan Halloween goodies.  Buccaneer candy bars—who knew?

Maybe if our politicians take the movie to heart, pop a few gummy bears and read Inc’s “Sit. Breathe. Be A Better Leader” and start meditating, we’ll get out of this mess.



Introducing alternahealthgrrrl

Welcome to the world of alternahealthgrrrl, a spinoff of the Holistic Health Headlines blog I created while I was the senior health and nutrition editor for  Whole Living , a Martha Stewart publication. Come back to read about the latest news and developments in integrative and mind/body medicine and what it means for you.