Category Archives: Health

Medical Study: Meditation and The Heart

Relationships between heart coherence and EEG alpha band activities

In this study, relationships were assessed between the proposed heart coherence as a meditation index and EEG alpha band activities. The parietal peak alpha power is increased with increasing heart coherence during meditation but no such significant relationship was observed at baseline. Average lagged alpha coherence are increased with increasing heart coherence during meditation but reverse relationship was observed at baseline. Relative alpha power also increased with increasing heart coherence during both meditation and baseline while the regression coefficient still higher as similar in the other alpha variables during meditation than baseline.

There is a previous meditation-related study examining correlations between conventional HRV indices (LF, HF, LF/HF) and EEG variables (Takahashi et al., 2005); however, respiration rate in the study was fixed at predetermined rate that could give a sense of restraint to the participants. It would be more natural that the participant decides their respiration rate by themselves according to their own tempo for their successful meditative state.

There was a study exploring the correlation between average cardiac index changes and average EEG index changes during meditation (Kubota et al., 2001; Hamada et al., 2006) but there are few cases considering dynamic correlation changes between cardiac and EEG indices at within baseline and within meditation. One such exception was a study in which the correlation between heart rate and BOLD signals in the ACC region was higher in the meditative state than in a neutral state (Lutz et al., 2009).

In this study, the relationship between cardiac and EEG indices were explored at baseline and during meditation for 12 participants. The results show that our proposed cardiac index, heart coherence, has a significant positive correlation with every EEG alpha index (peak power, relative power, and average coherence) during meditation, but not during baseline.

At the same time, heart coherence had a stronger coupling, greater regression coefficient, with all EEG alpha variables during mediation than during baseline testing (Figure (Figure3).3). The regression coefficient, slope of the regression equation between heart coherence and EEG alpha variables, means to what extent of EEG alpha activities changes when heart coherence increase by 1. If we only observed average changes in various variables, the dynamic correlations between heart coherence and alpha peak power, for instance, would not have been detected. Many participants did not show positive heart coherence changes when the average changes were statistically assessed (Figure (Figure1).1). It means that coherent behavior of the heart rhythm was not so reliable for many of the participants. It means that many of the participants could not sustain heart coherent meditation for the entire duration of their meditation. However, it would be more natural that there were fluctuations in meditation quality within their entire meditation duration. Furthermore, all the participants only completed a basic course, and none were advanced meditator. Although heart coherence was not reliable in the most of the participants, there was strong coupling between heart coherence and EEG alpha variables within meditative state compared to the baseline. This could suggest that there are many moments in which heart coherence directly influence EEG alpha activities during meditation. In addition, alpha peak power did not also change significantly from baseline to during meditation in the analysis of group-based data. Regardless, the highest regression coefficient (Figure (Figure3)3) during meditation compared to baseline, was between heart coherence and alpha peak power, indicates that there may be many moments when heart coherence is strongly coupled with alpha peak power during meditation, even though the relationship may not be detected during an entire meditation duration (Figure (Figure2C2C).

An indication of meditation quality would be expected from the strength of the relationship, regression coefficient (Figure (Figure3),3), between heart coherence and EEG variables. Heart coherence may not only be a cardiac index but also an index of meditation if heart coherence is strongly correlated with EEG alpha variables especially in meditation. However, there is also an evidence that heart coherence usually increases in the early phase of meditation, accompanying slow and deep breathing, and shows quite different patterns in the deep phase of meditation in which the heart coherence cannot represent such a meditative state any more (McCraty et al., 2009).

Although heart coherence cannot cover all stages or types of meditation, we anticipate that a heart coherence index will become a simple tool for quick assessment of Autogenic meditative states, which is easily achievable during people’s daily lives, considering the fact that heart coherence can be implemented more easily than EEG index, based on the use of contemporary technologies.

In addition, all parameters observed in this study were indices reflecting a degree of ordering or self-organization; heart coherence, EEG alpha activities and the synchronizing relationship between heart coherence and EEG variables. Strengthening the degree of ordering by enhancing heart coherence, promoting EEG alpha activations and improving the relationship between heart and EEG variables would help in recovery of the homeostatic processes within our body. Interestingly, there were some researches showing harmonic frequency architecture in EEG study. Eleven Hertz alpha peak was clearly observed in vibrotactile discrimination task while harmonic peak at 22 Hz also emerged in a recent animal study (Haegens et al., 2011) and simultaneous appearance of 6 Hz frontal midline theta and 12 Hz alpha activity during retention period of a demanding working memory task in a human study (Jensen et al., 2002). Regarding the dynamic correlations between heart coherence and EEG alpha activities argued in this paper, we could assume that there could be a harmonic oscillation architecture in human body, connecting brain oscillating 10 Hz alpha frequency and heart oscillating 0.1 Hz respiration frequency (cardio-respiratory resonant frequency varies from person to person, the frequencies are generally around 0.1 Hz).

We still do not know how the heart coherence are coupled EEG alpha activity more actively in the meditation compared to the baseline. Further study will help to define this degree of ordering more clearly and a causality of the interactions between heart and brain more thoroughly and will eventually determine how we can achieve such a state more easily using physiological knowledge and biofeedback technologies.

Conflict of interest statement

The authors declare that the research was conducted in the absence of any commercial or financial relationships that could be construed as a potential conflict of interest.

If your really interested I recommend reading the full study here at NCBI 

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Chrysanthemum tea

The 10 Most Important Benefits of Chrysanthemum Tea

Chrysanthemum tea acts as a natural coolant and has been talked about in the ancient Chinese medicinal science.  A person will benefit a lot by having Chrysanthemum tea every day.

The Chinese medicinal practice included the use of herbs as a major part of the treatment. The Chinese knew that a soothing cup of this warm golden brown tea can do magic. Let’s take a closer look its nutritional benefits and 10 main health benefits of Chrysanthemum tea.

Nutritional Information: This is an extremely potent herbal tea. Chrysanthemum tea has high amounts of B carotene which are present in the yellow part and the fruit. The B carotene is converted in Vitamin A in the liver. This kind of Vitamin A is helpful in treating skin problems and increasing the immunity power. It also helps in postponing the aging process and age related blindness.

Chrysanthemum tea is also a good source of Vitamin Bs like choline, folacin, niacin as well as riboflavin. It also contains Vitamin C which reduces the risks of scurvy and protects the eyes.

Chrysanthemum tea also has minerals like calcium which is important for the teeth and bones, iron which helps in the transportation of oxygen through the blood, magnesium which is required by more than three hundred kinds of bodily functions as well as potassium which is needed for proper cardiovascular functioning and stabilizing the blood pressure.

Chrysanthemum tea also has adenine, amino acids and glycosides.

10 health benefits of Chrysanthemum tea

Chrysanthemum tea is not very famous amongst herb enthusiasts as very few people know about its existence and benefits. Read on to know more about the benefits:

1. Chrysanthemum tea has Vitamin C in which helps ease heaviness in the head during cold and provide relief in sinusitis discomfort. This herbal tea also has antiviral properties and helps relieve congestion in the head which may be caused by viral infection. The heaviness in the head could also be caused due to bacterial pathogenic reaction. Chrysanthemum tea is anti spirochetal in nature thus it is really helpful in easing head congestion.

2. Chrysanthemum tea is naturally caffeine free, hence, it is free from all the side effects of caffeine like anxiety, tension, irritation, nervousness and confusion.

3. Chrysanthemum tea is a natural coolant and helps in lowering the temperature of the body when suffering from fever or even heat stroke. This herbal tea is also helpful in treating pimples and acne. It can also treat discomfort of high temperature such as headache, slight toothache and throbbing nerves in the gums.

4. Chrysanthemum tea is good for the detoxification of the liver and for lowering cholesterol levels.

5. This tea helps in the treatment of coronary artery disease, blocked arteries and even varicose veins.

6. Chrysanthemum tea has stimulating property and helps in alerting the senses and rejuvenating the brain. It stimulates all your senses very quickly and also calms down the nerves.

7. It helps in easing giddiness.

8. Drinking Chrysanthemum tea helps in providing relief in sore throat, redness in the eyes, itchiness in the eyes, dryness in the eyes and dark sport in the eye area.

9. It makes the lungs strong and helps in providing relief in respiratory problems such as shortness of breath.

10. Chrysanthemum tea when taken with lunch or dinner especially with oily foods helps ease digestion.

Preparation

Chrysanthemum tea is made from dried chrysanthemum flowers. You can easily make it bye by adding hot water in 3 grams of dried chrysanthemum flowers, let the mix steep for 5 minutes.

Source – BeWellBuzz

Chinatown Goji Berry Cravings

Ive been literally craving goji berries lately. Before this sensation came over me I would look at goji berries admire the price of the little red dots and keep it moving. Now i’ve found myself buying them every other day almost mixing them with cashews and going into gojichew trance. I walked to a spot in Chinatown to buy some.  I went to the counter of a spot I often walked pass to pay for the berries .The clerk/therapist/dr (he looked as if he was all three) rung me up and said have a good day. Then I had the thought in my mind I wonder if he has something to help my eyes 10 seconds later he walks over to a bag and says this is good for eyes and live… I gave him a weird smirk it was like mmm you heard that didn’t you and now you hand me this.. that thought just cost me but it is what I wanted. So he hands me a bag of these. Chrysanthemum flower 

I didn’t quite catch the name of it until later, english was not his first language. Either way he instructed me to take 10 of these and 10 of these (goji berries)  boil water, let it sit, empty water, then pour water again then eat goji berries. Im not sure if he said I can drink the water or not but i think the flower gave me gets in the water then the goji berry absorbs the liquid goodness in it and works with it that way once you eat and drink the water. Fascinating things you come across in china town.

According to the Chinese medicine, combining with goji berries help improve Yin energy and balance Yin and Yang. This combination also enhances the immune system, improves vision and memory, prevents hair loss, and strengthens the kidneys.

Goji berries benefit our health in many ways. This is one of the main reasons why these fruits are now gaining popularity and positive recognition. When you consume a small amount of these fruits every day, you will definitely wake up feeling healthier and better. The benefits of goji berries are truly amazing. However, over consumption of goji berries may cause sore throat due to their warm nature according to the Chinese Medicine.

They contain magnesium and thiamine, the two essential nutrients required for improved sleep. Thiamin also improves your energy level and mood, while magnesium improves the sleep quality by reducing the time one needs to fall asleep.

However, if you know how to combine goji berries with other foods, you can certainly triple their health benefits. Here are a few examples of food combinations that will optimize their health benefits.

Check out more Goji facts at OptimalHealthSolutions

The Health Benefits of Bok Choy

Bok choy, pak choi or Chinese white cabbage, belongs to the cruciferous family of vegetables. It was first cultivated in China thousands of years ago. Now it is available all over the world.

Cruciferous vegetables include kale, broccoli, cauliflower, Brussels sprouts, cabbage, collard greens, rutabaga, and turnips.

These vegetables are a good supply of nutrients, and they are low in calories. They are well suited to a healthy diet.

Nutritional content of bok choy

[bok choy]
Bok choy, or Chinese cabbage, has may health benefits.

One cup of raw bok choy contains 9 calories, 1 gram of protein, 1.5 grams of carbohydrates, 0.7 grams of dietary fiber, 0 grams of cholesterol, and 0.1 grams of polyunsaturated fat.

A one-cup serving of raw bok choy provides 5 percent of daily potassium needs, 62 percent of vitamin A, 7 percent of calcium, 5 percent of vitamin B-6, 3 percent of magnesium, 3 percent of iron and 52 percent of vitamin C needs.

Other vitamins and minerals include phosphorus, zinc, sodium, copper, manganese, selenium, niacin, folate, choline, beta-carotene, and vitamin K.

Bok choy ranks sixth on the Aggregate Nutrient Density Index (ANDI) for fruits and vegetables. The index rates foods based not only on their vitamin and mineral content but also their phytochemical composition and antioxidant capacity.

Foods with the most nutrients per calorie have the highest rankings.

Cruciferous vegetables, such as bok choy, are rich in glucosinolates. These are sulfur-containing compounds that have been found to benefit human health in a variety of ways.

Possible health benefits of bok choy

The nutrients in bok choy offer protection from a number of conditions.

Protection from cancer

Bok choy and other cruciferous vegetables have certain anti-cancer properties. Studies have shown that people who eat more cruciferous vegetables have a lower risk of developing lung, prostate, colon, and breast cancer.

The glucosinolates found in these vegetables are converted into isothiocyanates in the body, and these compounds help the body to fight cancer.

Bok choy contains folate. Folate plays a role in DNA synthesis and repair, so it prevents cancer cells from forming due to mutations in the DNA. Vitamin C, vitamin A, and beta-carotene function as powerful antioxidants that help protect cells against free radical damage.

Selenium is a mineral that does not occur in most fruits and vegetables, but it can be found in bok choy. It plays a role in liver enzyme function, and it helps to detoxify some cancer-causing compounds in the body. Additionally, selenium prevents inflammation, and it also decreases tumor growth rates.

Cruciferous and other vegetables also offer protection because they provide fiber. Fiber keeps the stool moving. This keeps the bowel healthy and reduces the risk of developing colon cancer.

Bone health

The iron, phosphorous, calcium, magnesium, zinc, and vitamin K in bok choy all contribute to building and maintaining bone structure and strength.

Iron and zinc play crucial roles in the production and maturation of collagen.

Phosphorus and calcium are both important in bone structure. However, the two must be carefully balanced for proper bone mineralization. Too much phosphorus with too little calcium intake can result in bone loss.

Low vitamin K intake has been associated with a higher risk of bone fracture. Adequate vitamin K consumption is important for good health, as it modifies bone matrix proteins, improves calcium absorption, and it may reduce urinary excretion of calcium.

Blood pressure

Potassium, calcium, and magnesium are all present in bok choy. They have been found to decrease blood pressure naturally.

A low sodium intake is essential to lowering blood pressure. A high potassium intake is also beneficial because of its vasodilation effects.

According to the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES), fewer than 2 percent of adults in the United States meet the daily requirement of 4,700 milligrams.

Incorporating bok choy into the diet

All parts of bok choy can be consumed. They are prepared in a variety of ways. In addition to its low-calorie and high nutrient content, its mildly sweet flavor and crisp texture make it an agreeable addition to almost any dish.

[stir fry bok choi]
Bok choy goes well in a stir fry.

Here are some quick tips:

  • Shred raw bok choy and toss with other fresh vegetables to make a salad
  • Add chopped bok choy to hot and sour soup
  • Stir-fry bok choy with a variety of vegetables, some soy sauce, and sesame oil
  • Sauté fresh garlic and ginger in olive oil until soft, then add bok choy and continue to sauté until desired tenderness
  • Mix minced bok choy, mushrooms, chives, and soy sauce together to make a homemade dumpling filling.

Here are some links to recipes using bok choy:

  • Stir fried bok choi with ginger and garlic
  • Bok choi salad
  • Chicken and bok choy soup
  • Sesame shiitake bok choy

Potential health risks of consuming bok choy

Raw bok choy, like all cruciferous vegetables, contains the enzyme myrosinase. Myrosinase can hinder thyroid function by preventing the body from absorbing iodine. It is deactivated by cooking. Eating raw bok choy in moderate amounts does not pose a hazard.

A person who is taking blood-thinners, such as Coumadin, or warfarin, should not suddenly begin to eat more or fewer foods containing vitamin K, as vitamin K plays a role in blood clotting.

To achieve good health and prevent disease, it is important to consider the overall diet. It is better to consume a variety of foods than to concentrate on individual items as the key to good health.

 

Book Select: Traditional Medicine & Women Healers in Trinidad

With the increasing number of maternal and infant deaths reported in our hospitals, expecting mothers would like to give serious thought to traditional health care. Our ancestors from Africa and India had brought these folk traditions during slavery and indentureship and continued to practice the only way of life they knew. Most women at that time would have given birth to almost a dozen children in the comfort of their home without the assistance of a registered nurse or midwife.

Dr Kumar Mahabir’s latest publication, Traditional Medicine & Women Healers in Trinidad: Postnatal Health Care, discusses the relationship between traditional healers and modern healthcare practitioners in Trinidad and Tobago. The information presented in this book was collected from almost two decades of library studies, oral interviews and extensive research on the health system commencing in the mid-1990s, with special focus on patients admitted to the Mt Hope Women’s Hospital.

The book is the first to be published in the English-speaking Caribbean on this subject, and focuses on the postpartum period in which traditional techniques are used to care for the new mothers and their newborn babies. It highlights the activities of traditional masseuses, their training, and other techniques that were passed down from one generation to the next. These masseuses share not only their techniques and personal experiences, but also a major part of their domestic and family lives.

The wealth of information contained in this book makes for interesting reading and is educational in its own right. It documents the traditional day-to-day rituals of the new mother and her newborn under the care and supervision of elders. D. Mahabir is thorough in presenting the information in his book, covering a wide range of topics that include treating female infertility, inducing the flow of breast milk, “setting” the mother’s womb back into place and ensuring she eats the right foods, as well as treating jaundice in the newborn, and massaging the infant to ensure that his head is “shaped” and his limbs “stretched” and “exercised” in a yogic manner. The reader can also learn about the traditional chatti ceremony which is described as “The sixth-day … celebratory, social announcement of the safe return of the new mother and her newborn from the perils of childbirth …”

Traditional Medicine and Women Healers in Trinidad raises a lot of questions. For example, why are traditional medicine and health care — though easily available and cost effective — not widely accepted as alternative resources, and are often dismissed as primitive. It questions whether there is any real difference between the folk masseur or bonesetter, with no formal training practicing at home, in treating sprains and fractures, and the certified chiropractor operating in his clinic with expensive equipment, when the end result might be the same. Dr Mahabir argues: “… biomedicine, rather than traditional medicine, is supported by a male-dominated, social elite for political and economic intentions.”

He also states that there were men and women healers of long-ago who “prescribed” lime and honey for sore throat, and the same idea is now being patented, packaged and sold by international drug companies, among other products that bear similarities to traditional home remedies.

What is of particular interest in this book is the key role that women played in a society that was male-dominated, especially at a time when women were expected to be subservient to men. As the book reveals, some of the women performed these activities without their husband’s knowledge or permission because they wanted to serve their community.

Dr Mahabir is successful in documenting the humble traditions and culture of our ancestors, and has done a great favour to both the present and future generations by making this information available in the public domain. It would have been a tremendous loss had this information been left to die a natural death. By publishing this book, he has paid a collective tribute to many remarkable men and women who have dedicated their entire lives to caring for others at a time when public healthcare was not a viable option. – CaribeannewsNows

 

This book could be hard to come by but, You can check out the book at ABEBOOKS

Insect Wing Beat Frequency

Lasers may be a cutting-edge tool for identifying insects, but at the heart of the lidar method is an elegant and centuries-old principle of entomology. Almost every species of flying insect, from moth to midge to mosquito, has a unique wingbeat frequency. A female Culex stigmatosoma mosquito, for instance, might beat its wings at a frequency of 350 hertz, while a male Culex tarsalis might at 550 hertz. Because of these differences, an insect’s wingbeat is like a fingerprint. And in recent years, the study of wingbeat has undergone a renaissance, especially in the field of human health.

Long before lasers or computers, wingbeat was thought of in auditory – even musical – terms. A careful listener could match the buzz of a fly to a key on the piano. That is exactly what Robert Hooke, a natural philosopher, did in the 17th century: “He is able to tell how many strokes a fly makes with her wings (those flies that hum in their flying) by the note that it answers to in musique during their flying,” wrote Samuel Pepys, a British civil servant and friend of Hooke’s.

“The acoustic method makes it possible to observe insects in free flight,” Sotavalta wrote in a 1952 paper in Nature. In other words, because he had absolute pitch, Sotavalta was able to make wingbeat observations not only with cameras in the laboratory, but also in nature, with his ears. Scientists are informed and constrained by the senses they choose to use.

Nature was rather more consequential. There, Sotavalta describes the uses of his “acoustic method” of identifying insects using his absolute pitch, and theorises about the subtleties of insect wingbeat: how much energy it consumes, and how it varies according to air pressure and body size. Even so, only decades later did scientists such as Brydegaard reaffirm the relevance of wingbeat in the study of insects – for example, malaria-carrying mosquitoes.

Read the full fascinating article here at BBC