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Quantum

Issue Sixteen | March/April 2012 | 3.95 Issue Ten | March 2011 | 3.95

HEALTH

Does Consciousness Survive Death?


Dr. Jeffrey Long Discusses Near-Death Experiences

CAM Tests

Which Ones Really Work? The Benets of Mindfulness to Health Plus, Sound Therapy, Qigong Meridian Therapy, Natural Antibiotics, and more

Energy and information for health and well-being

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Welcome to the March/April issue of

Quantum Health
magazine!
Alexander Tuttle and Angela Wilson, North Carolina sound therapists, enlighten us about the use of sound to mediate our emotions and foster conscious communication. Andrea Berajano writes about her journey to become a Qigong Meridian Therapist and tells us how that therapy works. Dr. Susan Bauer-Wu, in a short interview I did with her, discusses mindfulness and meditation in relation to health and well-being. Finally, I compiled a select list of herbs that are natural antibiotics and antimicrobials, so you can stock your herbal medicine chest wisely. As always, we include a Conference Calendar that lists a selection of upcoming meetings, symposiums and conferences that might interest you. And we cover an eclectic mix of breaking science stories in Science in the News. For example, have you ever wondered why your willpower ags? Why one minute you can resist that chocolate donut and stay on your diet and the next you are gorging on them? Read Science in the News to nd out. Missing from this issue is Book Reviews, but it will be back in the next issue. Id love to hear from youabout subjects you would like to see covered in upcoming issues or pointers to breaking frontier science news that you may know about and want us to explore. Write to me at: joan@quantumhealthmagazine.com. Warm regards,
Joan Parisi Wilcox Managing Editor

e have a smorgasbord of alluring subjects for you this month, starting off with a most unusual cover interview. Not only is it the longest interview we have ever published, but it is on a subject you may not expect to nd in Quantum Healthnear-death experiences. Then again, exploring the frontiers of consciousness is one of our passions. For this interview, I spoke with Jeffrey Long, MD, who is a world-renowned expert on near-death experiences, having amassed more than 2,500 of them on his Near Death Experience Research Foundation website. He invites readers who may have had a neardeath experience to share their own experiences on the site, the URL of which is mentioned in the interview. He also wrote the bestselling book Evidence of the Afterlife. In his interview, he explains the common elements of NDEs, tells us what experiencers have to say about the nature of the afterlife and of God, shares stories of NDEs and much more. There was so much ground to cover that it was difcult to end the interview, and the information we did cover was so intriguing that I decided to run this long interview in its entirety in a single issue. Other interesting subjects covered in this issue include the efcacy of some of the common tests carried out by many complementary medicine practitioners, such as live blood analysis and pH testing for alkaline diet. Are they worth the money? Do they really do what they purport to do? Dr. Patrick Massey, an integrative physician, puts four of these tests to the test and nds that some get passing grades and some dont.

Joan

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This Months Contributors

Jeffrey Long, MD Researcher of Near-Death Experiences

Patrick Massey, MD, PhD Integrative Medicine

Susan Bauer-Wu, PhD, RN Clinician, Educator, Researcher

Andrea Bejarano Qigong Meridian Therapist

Alexander Tuttle and Angela Wilson Sound Therapy Specialists

Regular Contributors Sarah Turner Head of Research at NES Health Quantum Health Magazine Editor in Chief: Trina Hart TFT Dx

Disclaimer
All content in Quantum Health magazine is provided for general information only, and should not be treated as a substitute for the medical advice of your own doctor or any other health care professional. Quantum Health magazine, or any contributors to Quantum Health magazine, is not responsible or liable for any diagnosis made by a user based on the content of this magazine. Quantum Health magazine is not liable for the content of any external website listed, nor does it endorse any commercial product or service mentioned or advised on any of the sites. The views expressed by authors of articles published in this magazine are solely those of the author and are not necessarily the views of or shared by the editor, publisher or directors, shareholders and employees of Quantum Health. Copyright. Quantum Health 2012 all rights reserved. No part of this magazine can be reproduced in whole or part without the written permission of the publishers. Unsolicited contributions must be accompanied by a stamped addressed envelope if they are to be returned. We cannot accept responsibility for unsolicited manuscripts or photographs or for material lost or damaged in the post. Letters submitted to Quantum Health magazine or to its editors are assumed to be intended for publication in whole or part.

Managing Editor: Joan Parisi Wilcox Science Editor: Production: Sarah Turner Trevor Hart

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Joan Parisi Wilcox interviews Dr. Jeffrey Long

Near-Death Experiences: Evidence for the Survival of Consciousness CAM Tests: Fact or Fiction? Conference Calendar

20-23 25-27 28-31

By Patrick Massey, MD, PhD

Conscious Communication: The Ultimate Sound Therapy


By Alexander Tuttle and Angela Wilson

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Contents
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Contents
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33-36 38-41 42-45 46-47

by Andrea Bejarano

Qigong Meridian Therapy Science in the News

An interview with Susan Bauer-Wu, PhD, RN By Joan Parisi Wilcox

Mindfulness and Health Your Herbal Medicine Chest

By Joan Parisi Wilcox

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Near-Death Experiences:
An Interview with Jeffrey Long, MD By Joan Parisi Wilcox

Evidence for the Survival of Consciousness

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Introduction

uantum Health is dedicated to exploring the frontiers of knowledge and in this interview we explore consciousness at the boundary of life and death. Does consciousness survive the death of the physical body? If so, is there an afterlife? What is that afterlife like? Dr. Jeffrey Long, a physician with a specialty in radiation oncology (Houma, Louisiana) and a world-renowned researcher into near-death experiences (NDEs), answers these and many other provocative questions. Dr. Long is the founder of the Near Death Experience Research Foundation, whose website, www.nderf.org, has compiled the worlds largest collections of NDEs from the experiencers themselves. He also is the author of the bestselling book Evidence of the Afterlife: The Science of Near-Death Experiences. In this interview, one of the longest interviews Quantum Health has ever published, Dr. Long educates us about what near-death experiencers have to say about the meaning of life and death, the qualities of the afterlife, the reality of God and more. Dr. Long urges Quantum Health readers who have themselves experienced a near-death episode to share their memories on his website.

they seemed to be the same experience no matter where around the world the person was from. I was immediately fascinated, and I remember asking, Why arent more people doing research on this fascinating topic? I didnt really spend much more time on it, other than being aware that this was an amazing phenomenon. This was about 1984. About two years later, a college friend and his wife were visiting, and my friends wife mentioned that she had a number of medical allergies, so severe that once when she was undergoing surgery, under general anaesthesia, she coded, which means her heart stopped. But she said it in a very odd way, and my instinct as a physician was that there was more to the story. This was a person who not only had been under general anaesthesia but whose heart stopped, and so it was doubly impossible for her to have had a conscious experience. But after a while I got up the courage to ask my question. Remembering what I had read several years before, I asked her, Did anything happen when you coded? And she said, Why, yes, and went on to describe the rst NDE I heard in person. And what a remarkable experience it was!

How did you come to make NDEs your life research?

Would you describe her experience?

JL: I had no idea about near-death experiences and had no idea that such a thing could even exist, until one day I was in my residency trainingand my medical specialty is radiation oncology, which is using radiation to treat cancerand I was reading one of the most prestigious medical journals in the world, the Journal of the American Medical Association, and came across this article that had the term neardeath experience in it. And I paused. Youre either dead or youre not. How can you have a near-death experience? Everything I knew as a physician is that when you are unconscious you lose organized memory. So I read the article and was fascinated. Here was a description of these highly organized experiences that occurred when people were unconscious or clinically dead, and
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JL: Her consciousness, as so often happens in NDEs, separated from her body. From her consciousness, which was hovering over her body, she could hear the EKG machine, which measures heart electrical activity, making the typical loud noises it does when the heart stops. The operating team was in a panic and working desperately to resuscitate her. Her consciousness then drifted to the nurses station, which was far from the operating room, and she was able to see and hear what was going on there. She then went through a tunnel, had a detailed life review, met some deceased relatives, and was nally given a choice about returning to her earthly body. She ultimately decided she wanted to return, and ultimately woke up some days later in the intensive care unit.

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I was immediately absolutely abbergasted! I knew as a physician that what I was being told was, as I said, doubly impossible. I remember thinking, I want to learn more about this someday. It was actually more than ten years later that I nally started researching this. Im a little bit of a computer geek and nally ten years later I had the idea for a website. I guess you could call me one of the worlds leading sceptics. I wasnt going to only read other peoples books; I was determined to know for myself the truth, or lack of truth, about NDEs, but from the original sourcesfrom the people who actually had the experiences. So I set up a website, that is the Near Death Experience Research Foundation, www.nderf.org, in 1998 and posted a detailed questionnaire and invited people to share their experiences. By the end of that year, I downloaded the rst batch of twentytwo experiences and recognized the elements of NDEs in them that had been described by other researchers. The out-of-body experiences. The tunnels. The intensely positive emotions, life reviews, loving reunions with deceased loved ones, and ultimately the choice to return. I was immediately fascinated and astounded as a physician, because what I was reading was absolutely medically inexplicable. If you look up the word unconscious in the dictionary, and I did, its very clear there should be no ability to have a conscious remembrance. Yet, when people had their NDE, they were generally either unconscious or clinically dead with no heartbeat or respiration. Although it should be absolutely impossible to have a conscious memory and experience at this time, near-death experiencers (NDErs) do.

people who have a close brush with death will have an NDE. I co-authored a scholarly book chapter reviewing research on this topic and the conclusion was that we could not predict who would have an NDE or what the content of an NDE would be for those who had one. Theres absolutely no demographic variable, prior belief system, awareness of NDE, lack of awareness of NDE, age, gender, or belief system of any type that was predictive. Thats actually been studied very carefully over. Another critical point is that these experiences have been the topic of literally hundreds of publications, and, in fact, research about NDEs has been published in some of the most prestigious scientic journals in the world. So, it is certainly much more mainstream at this point in time than it ever has been before. Theres certainly a tremendous knowledge base about NDEs, and it has certainly helped me in my research.

What are some of the common themes and experiences in an NDE?

Lets cover some of the basics of NDEs. How common are they?

JL: NDEs are not rare experiences. A 1982 Gallup poll estimated that perhaps 5% of Americans have had an NDE. NDEs can happen to anyone young, old, from all religious backgrounds including non-believers or atheists. So, if you will, NDEs are equal opportunity experiences! However, not everyone who has a life-threatening event will have an NDE. Only 10% to 20% of
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JL: I would emphasize that no two NDEs are the same, but if you study large numbers of themand at this point I have studied over 2,500 of themyou see patterns. The elements are typically observed across NDEs and occur in a consistent order. An NDE includes, of course, that life-threatening event and unconsciousness or clinical death. Following that is often an out-ofbody experience, where consciousness separates from the body and is typically felt to be above the body, in a corner or near the ceiling if the person is in a room. They can often see ongoing events, often their own frantic resuscitation efforts. And these efforts are vividly described, even dramatically so, by many NDErs. Following that they may go through a tunnel. Often at the end of the tunnel, they may encounter a light. This is not an earthly lightit has a mystical, unearthly quality to it. It may be described as seeming to be alive, there may be positive emotions attached to it, and it can be very, very bright. We had one NDEr say the light is like a million times a million suns to look at. But the light never hurts the eyes or is uncomfortable to look at or to be in the
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presence of. One of the most common elements of an NDE is intensely positive emotions. Words like peace and love are commonly used and experienced. Love is the most commonly used word to describe their experience. Commonly they will encounter people they knew in their earthly life who are deceased. These are not ghostlike encounters, but joyous reunions, with lots of communication. Even if the person they met had died of a debilitating or disguring disease or accident, he or she always appears in picture-perfect health. Even if the person had an amputation in life, they appear with all their limbs in the afterlife. They may appear several decades younger than when they died. Or if they died as infants or small children, they may appear a few years older. Yet they are always immediately recognized. We have a large number of NDE reports where the person encountered deceased beloved pets. Again, these are essentially always joyous reunions and the pets are also in pictureperfect health. Occasionally, NDErs will encounter someone who seems familiar, but they cant place who they are.
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After they recover from what nearly killed them and brought on the NDE, they get back to their life and may go through family picture albums, and they may see that deceased relative, that great-grandfather or great-great-grandfather who died and whom they didnt know and had never seen a picture of. But then they recognize that person as one of the people they encountered during their NDE. About 75% of people encountered during an NDE are deceased relatives. But deceased friends, acquaintances, and spouses have certainly been described. Occasionally we hear of NDEs where the person encounters someone who they believed is still alive, and that will be puzzling to them until they recover from what nearly killed them and discover that, indeed, without their knowing it, that person they had encountered had unexpectedly died before the NDE.

Are NDEs always solitary? What if a group of people are injured together?

JL: Yes, we have what are called shared neardeath experiences. These are experiences where two or more people have a simultaneous lifethreatening event, such as a large-scale disaster,
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what happens to people who suffer permanent, irreversible death. In these shared experiences, typically one of the people suffers irreversible death and the other doesnt, but they are together for the initial part of the NDE.

Please tell us more about the life review aspect of an NDE.

car accident, or combat. Two people may be having an NDE at the same time and they are able to communicate with each other, and often do so at some length. An example of this is where there was a severe car accidenta man was driving with his anc. Both of them had the out-of-body experience and experienced their consciousness as oating above the car. They travelled upwards together, holding hands, to an unearthly realm, where they were met by other beings whom they felt intense love from. However, the beings told them that she could not recover and had to stay with them, and he was going to have to return. So they separated their hands, and he described his anc as going with the beings and then he returned to his body in his car. We have a small series of this type of experience, although a recent book by Dr. Raymond Moody, Glimpses of Eternity, contains many examples of shared NDEs. Dr. Moody wrote the rst book about NDEs, Life after Life, in 1975. So these shared experiences are real; they do happen. And they are, as you can imagine, dramatic! They are also some of the strongest validation that what people describe in their NDE is likely
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JL: In a life review, a person sees a portion or even all of their prior earthly life. Sometimes they have what is called a panoramic life review, where the person not only sees in great detail all of their prior lifeand these are often described as being like scenes in a movie or on a stage, and can be very detailedbut in addition the person may also sense and feel what the people they interacted with felt at the time of the interaction. Sometimes this awareness can be very positive and sometimes not. The person in the NDE can feel the joy in the other person if it was a positive interaction or their resentment if it was a negative interaction. Sometimes its a big surprise how people felt. The person having the life review may have had no idea of the effect of their interaction on the other person. So, of course, you can understand that a life review can be one of the most transformative parts of an NDE. During the life review there are often other people or beings with the person. And almost never do they feel a sense of judgement about their life. In other words if there are any decisions to be made or judgement about the life review, it comes from the person him- or herself. They are virtually never externally judged. The life review especially shows the acceleration of thought that happens during an NDE. In my research, 75% of NDErs say that they have more consciousness and alertness during their NDE than during their earthly life. You can see that vividly when they tell you about the tremendous amount of information that is processed during the life review as compared to the limited amount of time they are unconscious or clinically dead, which is usually minutes or well under an hour. Going back to common elements of an NDE. They may be in unearthly realms: cities, landscapes,
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and so on. The landscapes are often described as having colours that are so beautiful that there is no correlate on Earth. There is beauty beyond anything we knowthere often seems to be a light, a radiance that is literally indescribable in words. There may be beautiful buildings. Another common element is what is often called the boundary, which can be a fence, bridge, stream or chasm. They reach a boundary, and the person is typically with other beings at that time. They virtually never cross it. At the boundary there often is a discussion about whether they want to return to their earthly body. Many NDErs are given a choice about returning to their earthly body, whereas others are sent backboom! There is no discussion, they just go back. But many, many others have a discussion about whether they want to stay in this, if you will, heavenly realm or return to their earthly life. The remarkable thing is that even though everything the NDEr knew was of this Earththe people they love, the family they have, the experiences they had, everything that is familiarthe great majority dont want to return to their earthly
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body. Thats difcult for family, friends and loved ones to hear, but Ive heard it so many times Im talking more than a hundred times. The overwhelming feeling is that the unearthly realm is their real home, that is where they belong, thats where they came from and thats where they want to remain. It is literally heaven beyond any positive adjectives that we could use. So, the great majority dont want to return to their earthly body. Often the dialogue with the beings with them then becomes about that. People will nally make the decision to return to their earthly body for many different reasons. Commonly its because they want to resume earthly relationships, especially with family, and especially with children. Also, they feel its important to return to learn lessons, particular lessons that are very important, although the specics about what the lessons are usually are not directed or specied. Some of these discussions at the boundary are just gripping! We have had several people say that they didnt want to leave this heavenly realm but then they were shown a glimpse what
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Another common element is what is often called the boundary, which can be a fence, bridge, stream or chasm.

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may happen in the near future [back on Earth with their family or others] if they choose not to return. Being shown the future is relatively uncommon, but it happens. We have a small series of them being shown their own funeral if they chose not to return to their earthly life, and it is gripping. And then they may realize the consequences of their decision on others and they decide to return. They become aware of the profound sadness their decision not to return to their earthly body is going to cause, the disruption to family, especially to children, and its very persuasive to NDErs to make the difcult decision to return

described a World War II attack in Poland, and from the information I was given I was able to corroborate the date and time and landscape as the person described it.

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And are there other kinds of lives, not on Earth? Are there other places we go?

JL: Yes. On relatively rare occasions they indicate they had prior lives not of this Earth, but they are typically not described in detail, although these people become very aware that there is life on other planets.

NDEs seem to indicate that we have a life purpose. Would you elaborate?

How do they describe the beings that they meet, such as the ones helping them through a life review?
JL: The beings they encounter may be simply balls of light or energy. They may be humanoid, or they may not have human characteristics. They are described as male, female or neither. They are described as angels, generally without wings but occasionally with. So the beings encountered in NDEs are variably described. To help explain that, we have a number of NDEs where some unformed entity will appear before the person undergoing the NDE and ask, How do you want me to appear? What would be most comfortable for you? Part of what might be a little hard for your readers to understand is that the unearthly realms in NDEs are not an encounter with a separate three-dimensional world. The realm of the NDE is, in rst approximaton, an innite and a non-physical world.

JL: Yes, theres no question. These people may literally face the decision of why they should leave heaven! Part of the reason they are willing to leave a place of such overwhelming blissand that is too mild a wordis because they realize that our earthly lives really are that meaningful and signicant. They are so profoundly meaningful and signicant that it is extremely important for them to have the lessons that they can through living life, to have those earthly experiences and lessons and to learn from them.

What are the implications in terms of reincarnation?

JL: There is a lot of evidence in NDEs suggesting the reality of reincarnation. During the life review, some people report not only having reviewed the life they have just lived but have also described prior earthly lives. The lives they describe are very typical, run-of-the-mill lives. They are not particularly special. Some of these reports are just gripping! We had one report that was a description of a prior life in a small medieval-era city, and unlike what you might think about medieval life from Disney and other romanticized versions, what this person described was extremely narrow streets, buildings right up against the wall [security wall around the city], mud everywhere, stench, diseased and ill people around. We had another life review that
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There are so many aspects of this to talk about! Let me ask next about two areas. First, what about suicide?
JL: Well, we have scores, if not over a hundred, of NDE reports from people who attempted suicide. To the best of my review of this, and this is also true for other researchers who have studied this carefully, NDEs that result from suicides have the same content as do non-suicide NDEs. Although you cant predict the content of an NDE, they dont appear to be more frightening for someone who has attempted suicide. What is specic about NDEs from suicide is that the
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overwhelming majority of people become aware during the NDE that their suicide attempt was a mistake. Its been well-documented, by excellent research, that people who attempt suicide and have an NDE are vastly less likely to attempt suicide again as compared to those who attempt suicide and dont have an NDE. They come to understand that their life is meaningful and purposeful, and that suicide is not an answer.

life and for the changes to be made. However, when the changes do occur, they are usually substantial. Typically the changes include a greatly reduced and often absent fear of death. Theres a greatly increased belief in the reality of an afterlife for all of us. People are vastly more likely to believe in God. For people who describe themselves as atheist at the time of their NDE, extremely few of them remain atheist years after an NDE. People who have an NDE typically are much less materialistic. They have an increased interest in spiritual pursuits, such as prayer and meditation. They are much more interested in loving interpersonal relationships and may choose to leave a destructive or unloving relationship. We see a lot of that. Those are some of the common after-effects, the ones we see over and over in NDErs.

The second aspect follows on the heels of this one. What about negative NDEs? There have been some widely publicized experiences that are called dark or hellish.
JL: From a researchers point of view, we always refer to them as distressing or frightening experiences, and avoid using the term negative, and the reason for that is very simple: even people who have frightening or even hellish experiences, the substantial majority still have the same positive life changes after the experience as people who have the far more typical pleasant NDE. In other words, it seems like people who have these frightening experiences, by the time they have fully processed them, learn from them and grow from them. You often hear them say things like, Wow, there were things I needed to change in my life and there was no other way I could have been reached other than to have this type of experience. Usually the people who have this type of distressing NDE ultimately have the same greatly reduced or absent fear of death and a belief in an afterlife that we see in pleasant NDEs, and they typically do not feel that [distressing] experience was some form of irrevocable condemnation.

You said that sometimes in their life reviews, people are shown their future. What about the future of the earth? I know time is not really the kind of time as we know it on Earth. You could say it is vertical instead of horizontal. But is there a sense of being shown likely futures for humanity as a whole?
JL: One of the most common things that NDErs say is that time did not exist during their experience. Time is usually radically different during an NDE. Things may be happening all at once. Sometimes there are scenes of several different possible futures for the person themselves. But in answer to your question, sometimes they are shown visions of potential futures for the world. Sometimes they are apocalyptic, sometimes not. What seems to be an overriding theme is that nothing is written in stone; there are choices that we all make that can affect what happens in the future. Dr. Howard Storm had an NDE, and he was shown a variety of futures for the earth, from the very beatic to the very horrible, and he became aware that our future was a product of the choices made by those of us who live here on Earth.

What are some of the after-effects of having an NDE?

JL: These have been very well studied in both prospective and retrospective NDE studies. The impact of having an NDE is profound. I would emphasize that the changes I am about to describe usually dont fully develop for years. Any kind of profound change we humans go through is a slow process it seems. In fact, research shows that it takes an average of about seven years after an NDE for it to be integrated into the persons
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You know very recently I was playing with the equation e=mc, where c is the speed of light. Speed is velocity, and all velocities are distance divided by time (d/t), thats their physics units. Its relatively trivial to solve for the variable t or time in that equation. And I did. What you come up with is the rather remarkable observation that in a realm where e or energy approaches innite or where m for mass approaches zerowhich appears to be the realm of the NDEthen time approaches zero. In other words, time is nonexistent. In the realm of NDEs, which is often described as a realm with an overwhelming sense of energy and without weight or mass, time may seem to not exist.

In terms of energy, I saw on your website about a prospective study of the electromagnetic after-effects of an NDE. I assume that is about people whose vibration has changed and so they cant wear watches, clocks stop when they are close by, computers malfunction and so on. Is this one of the common after-affects?
JL: There have been a lot of NDErs who describe that. I had a trield meter and studied NDErs and couldnt detect anything. One of the leading NDE researchers did a study on that, and the bottom line is that we are aware that a lot of NDErs describe what sounds like some kind of EMF effect, but we cant measure it. I dont know what to make of it and to better understand this phenomenon may require a prospective study.

Sort of like in quantum physics, where everything is in superpositionall possibilities exist simultaneouslyuntil an observation or measurement collapses the wave function and brings one possibility into reality.
JL: Yes. Its interesting that what we see in NDE studies correlates with what we see in physics. Thats one of them, and another is entanglement of subatomic particles, which may appear as geographically separate but are inuenced by their prior interaction with each other. That correlates with some observations in NDEs. One of the most common messages NDErs come back with is that we are all one, we are all interconnected, theres a unity of everyone and everything. I would have to say that of all the spiritual messages in NDEs, that is by far the most common and is present in hundreds of NDE accounts that I have reviewed. Its interesting that literally within the last hour I read for the rst time an account from an NDEr who wrote that in the afterlife we are one and united, but in our earthly life we are two. It seems to be important that we on Earth feel separate, independent and not united. For some reason that appears to be an important framework for us to learn the lessons we need to learn here.

There is still so much to cover. Let me switch here to health, since that is one of the themes of our magazine. It seems that NDErs receive physical, psychological and spiritual benet and healing.
JL: Oh yes, enormous. There are several different aspects to this, and obviously as a physician I am very interested in this. One the rst things I have observed is that occasionally associated with an NDE is a healing that is absolutely medically inexplicable. One person who is an example of this is from Hong Kong, Anita, who was literally dying from her organs shutting down from advanced Hodgkins lymphoma. She was frightfully near death. She had an NDE. During that NDE, she was given the choice to live or to die, which is commonly seen in NDEs. But there was a twist in Anitas case, as the doctors had drawn a vial of her blood before she crashed, and she knew during her NDE that if she chose to live the blood sample would show one resultthat her vital organ function was improvingbut if she chose to die, the blood sample would show continued deterioration of her vital organ function. She chose to live, and the doctors were astounded at how favourable the results were, how well her organs were recovering, through the blood tests they ran.

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We had another NDE where a child had an extensively metastatic lymphoma. As an oncologist I know there is no way this child should have survived. After failing chemotherapy, she was having emergency surgery, as lymphoma was obstructing her intestinal tract. And I know that this means death very soon or in the near future. The surgery was more about keeping her comfortable. This child had an NDE, and she shared her experience years later, because this child, after the surgery, not only survived but was completely healed. We have many, many of these experiences where there just seems to be something mystical and inexplicable about the healing. Within the last two hours, I read an NDE recently submitted to my website about a person who had an NDE at the age of ve and developed psychic healing abilities as she grew up. Well, eventually she became a mother, and one day she psychically heard her son yelling for help. He was far away, but she knew psychically he was in danger of drowning and she couldnt get to him to help. So she prayed. And in her prayer she was able to connect with her son psychically and say to him, Son, you are panicking. Do not panic! Reach down with your toes. The water is not that deep. Push yourself up. The son did, and avoided drowning. Years later she veried with her son that he had been aware of that psychic communication and had used the manoeuvre that his mother told him to save himself.

It denitely involves an often radical shift in consciousness. And I was interested in something in one of your papers where you said consciousness exists in some sort of phase-space, which is a non-physical, purely mathematical space according to physics. Its the space of the wavefunction, of the superposition of all possibilities, and with an observation or measurement potentiality is drawn from the phase-space into the real world. So I was thinking that consciousness in its particle nature, if we can use that analogy, may be conned to the brain, it is localized. But perhaps in its wave nature it is nonlocal, eternal and innite. What are your thoughts on the nature of consciousness?
JL: I think that is reasonable as a metaphor. I can tell you that the science as regards the realm of NDEs is vastly outside of what we know now. One thing I have learned in my studies is humilityhumility about what we dont know. I can assure anyone that what we dont know about the universe vastly exceeds what we do know. Thats why this research is so exciting. We are on the frontier every time we turn the page in our research and look further and deeper. We are continually nding new and very important things. For example, in the life review, when people see their interactions with people in their earthly life and can feel their reactions, a lot of the people they are seeing in that life review are alive at the time of the persons NDE. This is very strong evidence that there is a collective consciousness. That is consistent with the most common spiritual message in NDEsthe unity, the connection of all of us. So, there is no question, in my opinion, that we have the ability to connect into the collective consciousness. Its obviously under very unusual and specic circumstances, but it does appear to happen. When I ask NDErs if there is anything they encountered in their life review that was unreal, I have yet to nd anyone who said yes. All of it seems to be real, even if some of the information from the life review is unexpected or was forgotten. When they go and investigate
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In studies of remission of cancer, the number-one variable in a sudden, inexplicable healing is a transformative experience, an epiphany, a deep emotional release. Its sort of the same, isnt it, in an NDE?
JL: Yes, and in my opinion, NDEs are only part of a spectrum of such exceptional experiences. The common ground of these exceptional experiences seems to be some kind of spiritual experience, some kind of connection, awareness, presence of the divine. And I personally think that contributes to and potentially causes the healing.

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later what they encountered in their life review, even if they had forgotten the event, they nd that it really happened. Its a good analogy, the particle and the wave. The more I think about it, the more I like it! The particle is our physical, is our conscious brain. The wave is the frequency or energy. I havent conceptualized an NDE in that way before, but the more I do the more I see some parallels with my NDE research.

And yet the signicance, meaning and purpose of coming here and having our earthly life was so profoundly important that we made that choice even while aware of the likelihood that we would encounter evil and other difculties in our earthly lives.

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And theres also the point that humans create evil, not God.

Its obvious listening to you that you are passionate about this research. This passion, I would guess, is more than scientic. Has it become personal for you?
JL: Theres no question. When I wrote the book, Evidence of the Afterlife, I was clear we had some of the strongest evidence ever presented for the reality of an afterlife. And I will tell you there was much, much more about NDEs that I literally wasnt ready to write aboutthese deep spiritual aspects of NDEs for example. I was nervous writing something that was so unusual for a medical doctor. I wondered if it would be an issue to my professional career. But the response to the book has been unbelievably positive. I think I really needed that experience before I could go on to write about what I believe is perhaps the most signicant part of these experiencesthe unity, the oneness of it all, that God is part of the reality of an afterlife, the extreme importance and meaning of our life here [on Earth], the fact that we have existed before our earthly life. I will be writing about this in depth in my next book. Just as an aside, probably the number-one atheist argument against the reality of God is why does God allow evil. Its the so-called problem of evil. The one thing that is overwhelmingly clear from NDEs is that we have existed before our earthly life and we may have chosen many of the circumstances of our earthly life, such as where we would be born, who the family would be, et cetera. That was all selected to help us learn our earthly lessons. That completely eliminates the issue of the problem of evil, because we knew coming to our earthly life what it would be like, we understood we were going to encounter evil.
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JL: Yes. We had a choice about coming to an earthly life; its not a punishment or a condemnation. As best as I can tell our earthly life is a tremendous gift.

We are going to have to end soon, unfortunately! A few more questions. One question I like to ask the frontier scientists we interview is, How has your research changed you? Im putting that question to you now.
JL: Great question! The changes I have experienced are so profound! I have clearly taken on in my own life many of the after-effects that NDErs describe. There is absolutely no question that as a physician who ghts cancer, I have become more courageous in helping my patients, more compassionate with my patients and staff. It also has helped me to understand that I have some very important things that I have learned that I need to share with the world. As I said earlier, I am beginning to write another book, tentatively titled Evidence of God in the Afterlife. Its time to start sharing what I have been aware of for years from this research, about the meaning and signicance of life, concepts of love, why people decide to return to earthly life even when they feel that the heavenly realm is where they really belong, and much more. I plan on using the best research methods that I can, such as studying how consistent or inconsistent this spiritual information is in NDEs.I plan to look across all age groups, study NDErs with various belief systems and study NDEs from around the world. I strongly encourage your readers who have had an NDE to log on to our foundations website,
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at www.nderf.org, to share their experience. We started the website in 1998 to collect NDEs from around the world. We now have by far the most extensive collection of NDEs in the worldmore than 2,500 NDEs posted on the website. Our website and the NDE questionnaires have been translated into more than 20 languages.

meaningful and purposeful, did we live before our earthly life, why are there earthly difculties, et cetera. We are getting information that is directly relevant to the big questions, and the information we are getting in NDEs is signicantly consistent. I want to say that there are many sceptics who come up with theories trying to explain NDEs physiologically or some other way. There have been more than twenty explanations or theories from sceptics about what causes an NDE, formulated over decades. The reason that there are so many sceptical theories is that no single one makes sense, even to the sceptics! The bottom line is that there is absolutely no medical explanation for any element of an NDE. It cannot be explained by any physiological, psychological or cultural cause. NDEs are medically inexplicable. NDEs are, in a word, real. And there is so much to learn from them!
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Where are you headed in your research and what are some of the big questions about NDEs that particularly interest you?
JL: Another great question! The big questions that is exactly where I am headed in the new book and further research. We are looking at what shows up in the NDEs people share with me and also those collected from other researchers in terms of the tremendous consistency in NDEs regarding answers to the big questions: is there an afterlife, is there a God, is our earthly life
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We had one NDEr say the light is like a million times a million suns to look at.

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Is there anything from NDEs that sheds light on this question?
JL: Another great question! Very profound! My answer to this is personal, not from the experiences of NDErs, although there are several things that we are reasonably certain about God from NDEs. We are reasonably certain that God is overwhelmingly loving and overwhelmingly knowledgeable. With regards to Gods overwhelming knowledge: It is entirely possible that there was not always a God. It is possible that Gods overwhelming love and knowledge did not suddenly appear spontaneously, but that there was life that existed before God that evolved enormously over time to become a universal consciousness and so to be God. If this is so, then there was a time before universal consciousness and Gods existence in which those nite living beings were developing into what would become God. Prior to a universal and eternal consciousness and Gods existence, the memories of those nite beings who lived and died are unknown. Thus God might not have the direct knowledge of how God became God! Human life might be among the grandest journeys in the universea part of God understanding how God became God. One nal point, as regards Gods overwhelming love: The best denition of love that I have encountered is from M. Scott Peck, MD, and author of The Road Less Traveled, and to paraphrase, he says love is the will to extend oneself to advance ones own or anothers spiritual growth. I think that all of us are spiritual beings having an earthly experience. I suspect that all of us are paradoxically always a part of God and also our own separate selves. An overwhelmingly loving God might arrange an earthly life with its triumphs, tragedies, and also with an abundance of opportunities for spiritual growth. Our spiritual growth from our earthly lessons could be an act of love that affects both our separate selves and also directly affects God. Perhaps this is an important deeper part of what makes all of our earthly lives profoundly meaningful and signicant. This could be another grand journey for human lifea co-creation with God that is a profound expression of love.

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I have a hundred other questions, but will ask only one more. I think our readers would be disappointed if I didnt ask you the ultimate big question, which you said you will get to in your next book. How about a preview of your answer now? According to what NDErs say, What is God?
JL: Thats a fascinating question! Oh, thats good! Okay, rst and foremost, God is a reality. In my preliminary research on this topic, there is a remarkable consistency in descriptions of God. Like with the spiritual beings encountered, there may be some variability in how God appears. But dont forget that NDEs take place in an innite realm that seems to be lovingly created, and God appears in a way so that the person is reasonably comfortable with what they are seeing. God is commonly described as a brilliant and beautiful light, or as a sense of energy. One of the most common things by far is that NDErs describe an overwhelming sense of love from God. Its literally off the scale! God is literally off the scale in terms of an associated sense of love and compassion. Virtually never do we see God in a negative judgemental stance. And people report that they have a sense of the overwhelming knowledge that God has, of Gods universal knowledge. They can sometimes tap a little into that knowledge. NDErs commonly state that in reality every one of us is a part of God. God is part of us. There is no separation. We are all One. Thats not a concept unique to NDEs, but the difference is that with NDEs we have evidence. There is no signicant inconsistency in how people describe this. God seems to be overwhelming love and unlimited knowledge and we are all part of God and God is part of us.

Okay, just one more! And this is the biggest question I can think to ask. Why did the Whole separate from unity into Other in the rst place? Why was there a creation of human or non-human beings as appearing separate from the Whole, from God? Some philosophers say that this happened because the Whole cannot experience itself, and so God, in order to know God, has to become other than God.
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CAM Tests: Fact or Fiction?


By Patrick Massey, MD, PhD

any of the diagnostic tests used in complementary and alternative medicine (CAM) are unfamiliar to traditional (allopathic) medicine. CAM tests are used to diagnose and treat various medical conditions, and the question is, Are they accurate and reliable? Most medical tests in traditional medicine are evaluated for validity and reliability before they are approved for used in medical practice. There are exceptions, but in general a new diagnostic test must show validity, answering the question of whether it is accurate for diagnosis. It also must be reliable, that is, the test result must be consistent every time. Newer tests are often compared to the gold standard test for any particular condition, and as you can imagine some new tests are better and some are worse. CAM diagnostic tests are often not held to the same standard before they are used. In many cases, these diagnostic tests have never been evaluated for validity and reliability. Therefore, the interpretation and application of the results require a certain level of trust and faith by both the practitioner and patient. Other CAM tests have been evaluated and found to be reliable and valid, and these can be used with condence. Below I discuss several common CAM tests and how they measure up in terms of these parameters.

that specic foods can raise the pH of cells to a more basic or alkaline level and that when cells are more alkaline there is a lower risk of many medical conditions and diseases. Some have suggested that this dietary approach can reduce the risk of cancer, heart disease, fatigue, diabetes and other chronic conditions. However, the mechanism by which an alkaline diet would affect pH and produce clinical benets is poorly explained and dees any appreciation for human physiology and biochemistry. The pH of the human blood and cells is tightly regulated and ranges between 7.35 and 7.45. A pH above 7.45 (more alkaline) results in a life-threatening condition called alkalosis. Conversely, a pH below 7.35 results in an equally dangerous situation called acidosis. The alkaline diet depends on measuring the pH of either saliva or urine. Specic foods are determined to be acid-forming or alkali-forming based on the pH of the saliva or urine after eating the food. If the pH is alkaline, then food consumed is believed to be an alkaline food and more benecial than food causing the urine or saliva to be acidic. However, there are many reasons why the saliva or urine may be acidic or alkaline, not just because a specic food is consumed. In addition, some foods fall into both categories, acidic or alkaline, depending on the website or other source you reference for that information. Although a diet rich in alkaline foods has not been demonstrated to change blood or cellular pH or to correlate with any specic clinical benet, truth be told, by other mechanisms,
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pH Testing for an Alkaline Diet


The reasoning behind adopting an alkaline diet is that eating alkalinizing foods (those that increase pH) contributes to better health and may even reverse some diseases. This theory hypothesizes
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there are health benets to a diet rich in alkaline foods. These foods are often fruits, vegetables, nuts and beans, all of which have many proven health benets. The acidic foods, in contrast, such as grains, dairy, red meats and sugars, when consumed in excess, are associated with many illnesses and medical conditions. So, an alkaline diet may be benecial, but not because of any presumed changes in pH.

Hair Analysis
Hair analysis commonly refers to the analysis of the chemical composition of the hair. The concept behind hair analysis is that metals, minerals, vitamins and even medications and drugs get deposited in the growing hair shaft. By analyzing the hair shaft, deciencies in vitamins and minerals, and toxicities associated with heavy metals and medication/drug use can be discovered and, ultimately, corrected. Hair analysis is often used to detect whether a person has been using illegal drugs and narcoticbased medications. The Society of Hair Testing was founded in 1995 to establish reliable and veriable methods for its use in forensic, clinical and occupational medicine. CAM practitioners often use hair analysis to diagnose illnesses associated with heavy metals (especially mercury, arsenic and lead), to detect nutritional deciencies and to identify allergies. According to one website, . . . hair analysis test is the best way to obtain a comprehensive and accurate vitamin deciency test or a mineral deciency test . . . gives a complete picture of a persons health history. . . . [W]ithout a hair test, there is no scientic way to identify which vitamins and minerals you need for optimal physical and emotional health. . . . All of these claims are not remotely close to being accurate. Hair analysis, as a reliable method for determining health status, suffers from a number of serious problems. The most glaring problem is that hair analysis has never been correlated with other, reliable tests or even correlated with illnesses. Other complications include lack of validity, as hair taken from different sites can have different compositions; lack of reliability, as pointed out in a 2001 study in the Journal of the American Medical Association where it was reported that hair from one person that was sent to six different, experienced hair analysis laboratories produced six different results; and lack of reproducibility, for hair composition is easily affected by the environment, hair coloring, shampoos and conditioners.

Saliva Cortisol Analysis


Cortisol is a steroid hormone whose primary effect is to compensate for the effects of acute and chronic stress. Saliva cortisol analysis is often used to diagnose adrenal fatigue. Although most physicians feel that adrenal fatigue as a medical condition does not exist, there is good medical research to support the diagnosisand it is even mentioned in my thirty-year-old medical text book! There are medical conditions related to overproduction (Cushings disease) and underproduction (Addisons disease) of cortisol. These can be easily diagnosed by history, physical examination, and measuring the serum and urine levels of cortisol. However, more subtle changes in cortisol production (adrenal fatigue) can be associated with a number of other medical conditions such as chronic stress, bromyalgia and chronic fatigue. The usual serum and urinary cortisol tests are not sensitive enough to detect the subtle changes in cortisol levels associated with these illnesses. Cortisol is also excreted in the saliva. In studies directly comparing salivary cortisol levels to serum and urine cortisol levels, the salivary cortisol test is often more sensitive than serum or urine levels even when diagnosing Cushings disease and Addisons disease. This saliva test is simple and can be done at home, and it has good reliability and validity. It has been recommended, in the traditional medical literature, to be the test of choice when looking for the more subtle changes in cortisol levels found in bromyalgia, liver failure, chronic fatigue and chronic stress.

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Although there is some validity to hair analysis, it is not ready to be used as a diagnostic tool for anything other than measuring drug/medication use. If more research is carried out, hair analysis may one day become a more broadly reliable test; however, it is not yet ready for prime time.

Live Blood Analysis


Live blood analysis, also called live cell analysis, is a truly fascinating microscopic (albeit inaccurate) procedure that allows you to clearly see many more objects and cells (in 3D) in the blood compared to normal microscopy. Live blood analysis uses a specic type of microscopy called dark eld microscopy. This is an illumination technique that results in a black background with bright objects in it, similar by analogy to stars against the night sky. CAM and other practitioners who use live blood analysis claim that they can see many items not readily visible by normal microscopic methods (and they are right) and, as a result, correlate their ndings with many diseases (and they are wrong).
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Some believe live blood analysis can detect problems with the immune system, the presence of fungus and yeast, and imbalances and deciencies with vitamins and minerals. There also have been claims of detecting cancer long before it is detectable by traditional means. However, no reasonable research exists to validate these claims. Although there are no medical studies validating live blood analysis, many live blood analysis enthusiasts quote the unconrmed research of Robert O. Young, ND (doctor of naturopathy). Unfortunately, his research has never been published in peer-reviewed science journals and his naturopathic degree was awarded by Clayton College of Natural Health, which is a non-accredited, distance-learning college (now closed). I agree with Dr. Edzard Ernst, professor of complementary medicine at the University of Exeter, who has been quoted as describing live blood analysis as a fraudulent means of convincing patients to buy dietary supplements.

The concept behind hair analysis is that metals, minerals, vitamins and even medications and drugs get deposited in the growing hair shaft.

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Applied Kinesiology
Applied kinesiology should not be confused with kinesiology, which is a scientically valid and well-researched area of study of how the human body moves. Applied kinesiology is a controversial muscle-strength test that is believed to be able to determine the functional status of the human body. Although there are various methods of applied kinesiology, all use muscle testing as a primary feedback mechanism. As one example, the practitioner may nd, when pressure is applied, that a specic muscle is weak and then use various supplements, vitamins and minerals (with the client either holding that item or placing the substance in the mouth) to see if the muscle will then test stronger. As a result, if a muscle initially tests weak and then tests stronger while the patient holds the substance, say magnesium, it is determined that the patient is probably magnesium decient. In another applied kinesiology testing technique, muscles that initially test strong may become weaker when the practitioner simultaneously touches specic spots on the body called reex points. This change in muscle strength is believed to reveal some disruption of internal metabolic function. Conversely, muscles initially testing weak may become stronger by touching or putting pressure on specic reex or acupuncture points, again presumptively revealing some internal imbalance. Applied kinesiology was rst described by George Goodheart, DC (doctor of chiropractic), and in the United States, it is used by 37.6 percent of chiropractors. Goodheart hypothesized that there are ve reasons causing a muscle to test weak: interference of nerve conduction to the muscle; interference of blood ow to the muscle; interference of lymphatic drainage from the muscle; a deciency in diet and/or nutrition; or distorted ow of bio-energy. None of these reasons have ever been proven to be accurate. Nevertheless, applied kinesiology is endorsed and used by various CAM practitioners, nutritionists, some dentists and even the occasional medical physician.

The primary issue with applied kinesiology is that, for the most part, the testing is subjective and relies on the practitioners interpretation of the results. A number of well-designed studies have shown reliability of the assessment through applied kinesiology to be no better than chance. One study (Journal of the American Dietetic Association, 1988) illustrated that for measuring nutritional status, the validity of applied kinesiology was equivalent to random guessing. A recent analysis of the peer-reviewed literature on applied kinesiology concluded that it cannot diagnose disease, illness, allergy or any kind of deciency.

Conclusion
The germ theory of disease, washing hands before surgery, helicobacter pylori infection all of these theories or practices were once considered utterly wrong. Eventually, they were proven to be absolutely correct. Medicine is a work in progress and is open to new ideas and diagnostic tests. However, just as the germ theory of disease had to be proven before accepted, ideas and tests common to CAM need to be proven before being widely accepted. Medical research on CAM therapies is rapidly growing, and time will tell for the tests I have covered in this article and many other common CAM tests. For some of these tests, the benets have been proven. For others, we will simply have to await further impartial examination.
Dr. Patrick Massey is an integrative physician who is medical director of Complementary and Alternative Medicine for the Alexian Brothers Hospital Network in the Chicago area. Dr. Massey is nationally recognized as a leader in integrative medicine and has been utilizing the best of traditional and non-traditional (integrative) medicine for more than 20 years. He received his medical degree from Rush University Medical School and his PhD in immunology/microbiology from Northwestern University Graduate School of Medicine. He was also a graduate fellow in the Program in Integrative Medicine at the University of Arizona. He can be reached at dr_patrickmassey@yahoo.com or www.alt-med.org.

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Conferences of Note 2012

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The Conference Calendar is a sampling of the notable conferences taking place across the globe. It is not an exhaustive listing. If you have a conference you would like others to know about, please email us the relevant information and we will evaluate it for inclusion in the calendar.

20-22

Reston, Virginia

7th Annual Joint American Homeopathic Conference


www.nationalcenterforhomeopathy.com

27-29

Atlanta, Georgia

24th Annual Symposium American Academy of Medical Acupuncture


www.medicalacupuncture.org

MAY 2012 13-15 APRIL 2012 9-14


Tucson, Arizona

Jerusalem, Israel

Towards a Science of Consciousness


www.consciousness.arizona.edu

2nd Annual International Conference on Integrative Medicine


www.mediconvention.com

14-15

15-18
Tempe, Arizona

Portland, Oregon

Southwest Conference on Botanical Medicine


www.botanicalmedicine.org/conferences/

Integrative Medicine and Health International Research Conference


http://imconsortium-congress2012.org

5 - 18

Boston, Massachusetts

9th Annual Nutrition and Health Conference


www.NHConference.org

29 - June 3

Doorn, The Netherlands

Science and Nonduality Conference (Europe)


www.scienceandnonduality.com

19-22

Bellevue, Washington

National Ayurvedic Medical Association Conference


http://ayurvedanama.org

19-22

Sydney, Australia

Dreams and Imagination: Healing Pathways Conference


www.asdreams.org/subidxconfuture.htm

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JUNE 2012 13-16

21-22
Snow Bird, Utah

Firenze, Italy

American Holistic Nurses Association


32nd Annual Conference www.ahna.org/Conference.aspx

Fifth European Congress for Integrative Medicine


www.ecim-congress.org

22-26

Berkeley, California

OCTOBER 2012 11-14

St. Charles, Illinois

International Association for the Study of Dreams Annual Conference


www.asdreams.org/subidxconfuture.htm

American Music Therapy Association


www.musictherapy.org/events

24-29

San Rafael, California

JULY 2012 2-6 University of Sussex, Brighton, England

Science and Nonduality Conference (USA)


www.scienceandnonduality.com

16th Annual Meeting Association for the Study of Consciousness


http://theassc.org

28-November 1

San Diego, California

22-27

Cape Town, South Africa

30th International Congress of Psychology


www.icp2012.com

13th Annual Science and Clinical Application of Integrative Holistic Medicine


Jointly sponsored with the American Board of Integrative Holistic Medicine

AUGUST 2012 9-12

NOVEMBER 2012 2-4


Durham, North Carolina

Toronto, Canada

55th Annual Convention of the Parapsychological Association


www.parapsych.org

7th IN-CAM Research Symposium


www.incamresearch.ca

16-18

Sarwak, Malaysia

SEPTEMBER 2012 14-17

Naran, Japan

Alternative and Complementary Medicine Worldwide Conference


www.acmconference.net

International Homeopathic Medical Society Conference


www.lmhi.net

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Conscious Communication: The Ultimate Sound Therapy


By Alexander Tuttle and Angela Wilson
In this article, we invite you to explore a practical and simple form of sound therapy that you can experience this very moment. Many of us have yet to discover the power of our own voice and vibration, especially in relation to enhancing our well-being and the effectiveness of communication. Sound and relationships are connected; therefore, the words you use and the sounds you make can help you create harmonious environments and relationships with others. The use of sound can also empower you to better manage your emotions and clear your energy eld. This type of sound therapy is free, and is neither time-consuming nor requires any elaborate tools. All that is needed is to awaken the sound therapist within you. need to depend on external frequencies or tools to shift and balance our bodies and minds. We begin by asking you to move beyond the linear knowledge of systems into the feeling of your own personal vibration that is changing every moment. From this point of inner awareness, you can begin to foster conscious communication. Imagine a world in which we are all not only aware of our vibration (or energetic presence) but are responsible stewards of our own energy, accountable for how our vibrations affect those around us. When we combine energetic and emotional responsibility with careful word selection and pure intention, we call this conscious communication. In the age of tweets, texts, blogs and instant messaging, it has never been easier to share information with others. Social media have given us the ability to share our thoughts effortlessly with the world. Yet, if it is so easy to connect with others, why are our relationships so challenging for so many of us? And in this world of almost innite chatter and constant talking, how much truly conscious communication is taking place? Even though modern technology has made exchanging information convenient, these advances do not seem to be making relationships
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The Power of Sound


Our physical bodies are resonant sound chambers designed with everything we need to give ourselves daily sound therapy treatments. This method of self-care works to release emotions that have been stored in our physical bodies and shift our moods in a matter of minutes. It promotes healing from within by fostering an awareness of our own inner frequencies and how we respond to our environment. The benets of the exercises we will share in this article can be experienced anywhere and anytime. There is no
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stronger, for the intimacy of energetic transference is lost. A key component missing from most communication is the transference of energy between two individuals by which a mutual understanding takes place. Exploring conscious communication from a subtle-energy perspective helps us address how our emotions and words play huge roles in our interactions with others and why using sound with intention is a powerful tool for effective communication.

isolated event or the present circumstance. Taking the time to truly listen and feel what another person is trying to convey instead of hearing through our emotional lters takes practice and patience. The power of sound can be our ally to provide relief from stored emotions while assisting us in releasing the attachment to the story associated with old emotional baggage. We can do this by reecting on the sounds themselves and how they affect our feelings and desires. Consider how the composers of lm soundtracks manipulate our emotions through sound. They use a particular musical key, chord progression or tone to direct our moods and evoke specic feelings during particular scenes of a movie. Musicians understand that from a mathematical perspective, the distance between two music notes can support an emotional reaction. For example, a minor third interval in music may evoke sadness whereas a major third interval may evoke joy. When it comes to dealing with the ever-changing tides of our emotions, it is helpful to keep this sound perspective in mind: associating our emotions to the musical scale, when we are experiencing sadness in reality we are merely a half step away from joy. Using our breath and vocalizing sound as a constant tone (vocal toning) may assist us to create this halfnote shift.
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Conscious Communication
Our emotional lters can distort the way information is delivered and received when we communicate. Conscious communication can only take place if emotions are dealt with in a healthy manner before engaging with another. A true meeting of the minds or synchronistic union can rarely take place if emotions are running high. Therefore, learning how to be responsible for our own emotional well-being is the rst step to increasing our communication skills. We can use sound and breathing techniques to calm our own emotions and release emotional residue from our bodies before we attempt to communicate with another. Emotional reactions typically are an accumulation of experiences, as opposed to connected with an
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Our ancestors may have known more about the power of sound than many of us do in this modern world, mostly because they were more instinctively connected to the natural world. For example, many of our grandparents would hum and whistle while working on the farm and while spending time out of doors. As they whistled, they were continually harmonizing themselves to their ever-changing environment. We can use similar sound techniques to connect with or to shift the energy of our environment. For instance, if you nd yourself in a hostile environment or feel uncomfortable for any reason, you can simply hum (toning) to quickly and easily shift the energy around you. We suggest you try humming rst, with the intent of creating harmony in your own energetic eld, and then notice what happens around you in the environment by extension. Vocal toningin which you tone an elongated vowel soundis an effective way to clear your energetic eld and release stagnant emotions that are held in your body. Examples of elongated vowel sounds are Ooo (as in shoe), Oh (snow), Ah (father), I (eye), A (say) and E (he). Here is a simple technique you can use to shift your energy and that of your surrounding environment: Make one or more of these elongated vowel sounds while slowing your breath. Although you can allow sounds to ow out of you at almost any timeduring a walk in nature, while at home cleaning, or even while meditating, relaxing or otherwise being stillit is best to do this when you are alone so that the sounds can come freely and at any volume, although you dont want to force the sounds. If your voice cracksgood! This means you are working through and releasing energy blockages, clearing out things that are blocking your natural energetic ow. This is a wonderful cleansing and releasing technique that you can use anytime you feel stuck, need an energetic shift or have an
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interaction where communication does not feel effective. Vocal toning can help you to let go of old patterns and emotions that are not relevant to your current experience without involving the minds intellectual processes. If you feel an emotional reaction from something that someone else has done or said, you can use this simple sound technique rst, before engaging with that person, to ensure a more favourable outcome in your communication. Focusing on the AH sound is particularly useful to open your heart centre. Conscious communication also means that when someone says or does something that creates an emotional reaction in you, you take a moment to breathe deep and realize that this may not be the best time to respond. Ask the person if you can get back with him or her at another time. If you must respond quickly, such as in a business situation, give the best response you can and then take the rst opportunity to be alone and release your pent-up feelings through vocal toning. Here is another particularly useful sound technique for clearing emotions: As you inhale through your nose, think a pleasant thought, perhaps something like I breathe in cleansing, loving energies. As you exhale through your mouth, make the elongated sound Ooooooo (as in shoe). As you make this sound, integrate your intention by thinking a releasing thought, such as I release all energies that no longer serve me. Repeat this process ve to ten times, and you will notice the positive shift in your mood and attitude. Keep in mind that the emotional reactions we all experience are merely indicators that we have feelings from the past that need to be honoured and released. Another aspect of conscious communication is to focus on how the vibration feels in your chest as you speak. This feeling is a good indication of how your message is being received by others. You can check in as you are speaking and ask yourself, Does my vibration feel nurturing? Calming? Aggressive? Accusatory? Insert whatever emotion is appropriate at the time. If you feel that emotional vibration
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within, then the person you are communicating with no doubt also feels it. The practice of checking in with how we feel when talking to someone is as important as our word selection. In working to clean up emotional debris and evolve our emotions, we become aware that words can often evoke reactionsoften unconscious onesin others. Rarely do two people share a complete understanding of any given topic, even if they agree with each other, because the associations they have with words have been shaped by their own unique life experiences. Although each wordsuch as love, death, friend, money, commitmentin our native tongue has a specic denition, its meaning may shift from individual to individual depending on that persons emotional lters. So, two people can speak to each other and use the same words but invest those words with very different meanings. This is why energetic transference in communication is so important. As listeners, we must tap into the true intent of the speakers words and message versus only understanding the more objective, intellectual meaning of their words. The practice of checking in with our feelings facilitates a more enlightened understanding of the person we are in interaction with. Interestingly, communicating consciously also means understanding the seemingly paradoxical concept that words are very powerful and words have no power. How can words be both? If we are living wide awake and consciously, words are powerful or powerless depending on whether the words are being given or received. The words we receivethe words we hear from otherswill affect our emotions, usually in a hurtful or wounding way, only if we allow them to. In this way words can be powerless to provoke us. Imagine how you might feel hearing your ve-yearold child say to you, I dont like you anymore! as opposed to hearing those same words from your fty-year-old friend. The emotional effect can be vastly different because of how the words are ltered through your emotional body, through your expectations, past associations and life experiences. Words, however, hold a great deal of power especially when we speak them. Although our
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intention may be sincere, our words can be misconstrued and cause harm to another if they are not carefully selected and appropriate to each situation. Of equal or even greater importance is the reality that the vibration we feel as we say specic words affects not only those who hear our words but our own physical bodies as well. Because our bodies have a high water content, they act as resonant sound chambers. Sound travels up to ve times faster through water than through air. Hence, our words and intentions can have ve times the impact and intensity on our own physical bodies than they do on the bodies of those who hear our words. When we yell in anger or speak lovingly, our organs are being bathed in entirely different frequencies. The effects, obviously, to our state of mind and health are entirely different as well. We can be empowered beyond measure as we learn to work with our emotions instead of resisting them, stufng them or being ruled by them. The simple, yet profound sound techniques we have shared can help you achieve effective communication and emotional mastery. Using sound as you foster conscious communication is a win-win situation for all. Our vibration is our gift to the world. When we truly connect with those around us, we can ultimately reach those levels of unity that the great sages and teachers have spoken about through the ages. And so, we leave you with an afrmation: I am responsible for my energetic presence. And with a question: What vibrational gifts are you giving yourself and those around you today?
Alexander and Angela co-own P .U.R.E. Wellness Center in Kernersville, NC, where they each have private healing practices offering Sound Healing, Energy Healing Therapies, Intuitive Bodywork, Communication and Self Discovery Consulting and more. They offer workshops, classes and intuitive sound and movement performances at their center and abroad. Their unique healing/teaching style encompasses indigenous, shamanic practices, emotional release addressing family lineage and scientically proven technology. Alexander writes and produces a wide variety of healing music CDs, personalized audio CDs, and custom sound and light therapy products. Alexander and Angela also offer a variety of classes available on DVD, such as the Transformation Series and the 7 DVD set Sensory Journey through the Chakras. You can contact them at www.ALEXANDERandANGELA.com, by phone at 336.986.0172, or by email at alexander@alexanderandangela.com.
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Qigong Meridian Therapy


by Andrea Bejarano

ith all the breakthroughs in energetic medicine, Qigong Meridian Therapy (QMT) is in the spotlight. QMT is based on centuries-old traditional Chinese medicine (TCM) and uses special hand techniques to transfer, move and unblock the energy in your meridians, the energy channels that run throughout your body. In TCM, qi (pronounced chee) is considered to be the life force that courses through the body helping it to perform its functions, enabling internal organs to do
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their work, and allowing blood and body uids to circulate. When you are properly balanced energetically, qi enables you to think, feel and move easily and without discomfort. However, the ow of qi through the meridians can become blocked or unbalanced, which can cause health problems. Causes of qi blockage or imbalance include excessive stress, injury, exposure to germs, or extreme changes in weather or environment, among many other inuences. TCM operates on the premise that when the blockage or imbalance is corrected, full health will return.
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My Journey to QMT
After a divorce, my physical body went through some unpredicted changes and transformations that were quite uncomfortable, not the least of which was the sudden appearance of a rainbow of food allergies. Because my innate nature is generally to be healthy and balanced, I was eager to nd out what was wrong with me. A path of questioning and research, a deep internal cleansing, followed. I was led down a few deadend streets by Western medical doctors before I found myself drawn to explore traditional Chinese medicine. I found a doctor of TCM through several books he had written, and since he lived near me in New York, I made an appointment for acupuncture. It turned out that our energies did not mesh, so I did not see him again; however, there are no mistakes in life, and while in his waiting room, I met Dr. Ted Kaptchuck, the author of the well-known book The Web that Has No Weaver. I read that book and it changed my life. I continued reading books about TCM and Taoism. After researching and reading, I decided I needed to seriously renovate my lifemy career, diet, exercise habits, social circle and even how some environments might be physically or energetically toxic to me. Eventually I met Master Lu, a martial arts and qigong master. Nan Lu, OMD, is a classically and academically trained doctor of traditional Chinese medicine in private practice in New York City. A Taoist qigong master and internationally recognized Taiji champion, Dr Lu is also an author and educator and the creator of numerous Taoist-based healing programs. He founded the Traditional Chinese Medicine World Foundation in 1995 and continues to serve as its director. He explained to me that the body is like a mirror or a stage, and that our soul, our consciousness, uses our body to send a message, but we keep deleting it. An analogy he used was to a car: the car is okay, its the driver that is usually the problem. He asked me if I was ready to change, and I said yes. So began a profound healing journey that led to a deep study of qigong. I took weekly classes with Master Lu, who became my Sifu, a Chinese term for master and father. (One doesnt automatically become a student of
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a Master. It requires a formal commitment from the student to the Master for a Master to become that students Sifu.) I also underwent a course of acupuncture treatments to regain my internal qi and balance. After studying with Master Lu for some time, he invited our class to a weekend retreat. Upon my arrival, I found his advanced students giving fteen-minute QMT sessions on the front porch of the registration building, and I had one. I experienced such an amazing energy shift that I knew I had to learn this therapy. I simply knew intuitively that it was for me. I studied for ve more years, building and emptying myself and my energies. Then I learned about a medical course that was to be held in conjunction with Hubei College in which Chinese professors would teach medical knowledge and Mater Lu would teach the energy aspects. It was a rigorous program. Students were not allowed to miss a single class and tardiness was not tolerated. I decided to join it, and thereafter every Saturday and Sunday, from morning until night, I attended the program, learning Qigong Meridian Therapy. I was not sure what I had gotten into, as in our rst class we were told to hand sew a muslin bag, about 15 inches by 4 inches, and ll it with dried beans. We had to carry that bag everywhere we went. If Mater Lu caught anyone without their bag of beans, that student was dismissed from the program. I can report that by the end of that three-year program those beans were reduced to powder! And if they werent, then you were not allowed to take the medical or diagnosis exams that were necessary for graduation. After I graduated in 1997, Master Lu put me in charge of his Wuming Qigong Friday class and invited me to bring my massage table to his ofce to perform QMT with his acupuncture clients. Two years later, with his blessing, I opened my own health centre in Greenwich Village, New York, called One Source...One Light.

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Using QMT
Qigong Meridian Therapy uses special hand techniques to help unblock the energy in the meridians. It is a gentle practice that can appear to be effortless in comparison to other meridian therapies, such as acupressure, reexology and a press-and-release technique called Tui-Na. Despite appearances, QMT usually produces tremendous benet to those who adopt this practice as a part of a regular healthcare strategy. However, QMT is much more than a technique. It is a set up between the client, the practitioner, the practitioners Sifu and the lineage of the Sifus own Masters. In a typical session, a client comes to my ofce for the rst treatment only after we have rst had a telephone chat or a brief meeting to discuss the technique, the clients needs and expectations, and the like. QMT respects the environment as having its own qi, so I have paid special attention to creating a peaceful, even sacred healing environment. My ofce is lled with Chinese furniture and crystals; candles provide lighting, and music softly plays in the background. A typical QMT session usually lasts about an hour, with an additional fteen-minute preparation period for settling in and relaxing before the actual session. To begin the session, my clientfor this example, lets say its a womanremoves her shoes and sits fully dressed in a chair I use for the presession relaxation period. I ask that clients wear lightweight clothing for their comfort, so I can better sense their energy and so they can feel my hand as it moves during the session. I approach her from the right. I always approach women from the right and men from the left side. Women are more yin, and by approaching on the right side of their body, which is more yang, I create a better energy dynamic for healing. Vice versa for a man. I begin by gently rubbing her back in a circular motion with my open hand. I can feel her melt into a relaxed state. If she had been especially tense, I might also lead her through a short visualization meditation to enhance relaxation. Once she is relaxed, I begin to use the special hand
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techniques on her upper back and neck, along the six meridians in her arms and ngers, over her face and along the sides of her head. The gates in my hands are open and she will be aware of the qi owing through them to her. To close this part of the session, I rest one of my hands over her heart and the other on her back behind her heart and ask her to further let go. This is when most clients feel an enormous energy shift. After a few minutes of transition, I give her a glass of water to drink before she climbs on my treatment table, positioned face down, for the full QMT session. I begin the full session by scanning her body with my hands, barely touching her physical body from head to toes. I take note of whether her heels are aligned or not. As I start to work on her body, I will use a sequence of precise movements that must be followed exactly. I have come to believe that these hand movements are an access code that connects to my heart, opening it wide and connecting me to my client and her energy. I start the hand movement sequence on her back, touching, rolling, pinching, and gently rubbing before I proceed down her body to her legs and feet. The intensity of my hand pressure varies depending on the client. As I proceed, a clients kidneys always grab my attention because in New York City, where I practice, just about everyone needs to balance and build their kidney qi. (Maybe thats why we New Yorkers instinctively wear black clothingthe colour black supports the kidneys!) Then I move up her spine to the back of her head, ears, sides her head and crown. With qi, the universal energy, pouring through my hands, my clients hips and legs automatically align and her heels even out in length. After nine sweeping strokes of different intensities from head to feet, I ask my client to roll over onto her back. Many clients, at this point, ask for a tissue to wipe the tears that they released as they touched in with their emotions. I often open up the clients sinuses by putting pressure on the acupuncture points stomach 3 and urinary bladder 2. The session continues with my moving my hands over her chest, ribs, hips, legs and feet before I move back up to her heart area.
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Huge benecial changes can happen instantaneously within a meridian and its associated organ when proper points along the channel are stimulated, not unlike what can happen during acupuncture. As already stated, traditional Chinese medicine purports that any blockage along a meridian will cause a disruption of energy ow, which in turn can lead to chronic organ dysfunction and eventual deterioration. In TCM, loss of health is seen as progressing through three stages. First there is an energy blockage, then an organ dysfunction, and then the manifestation of pain in the physical body. Addressing the energy blockage can halt the progression of this sequence, as the healthy ow of qi within each meridian maintains the overall health of the system. Of course, the progression is not only physical, as stagnant, weak or blocked qi can also cause emotional dysfunction. However, no matter what the stage of progression or the manifestation of the symptoms of loss of health, QMT can help correct the qi ow and the benets will be seen system-wide. Common indicators of the return to health include reduced recovery time, improved energy and vitality, and enhanced sleep patterns. The practitioners own state of mind, heart and body are central to QMT. Practitioners should foster their own robust energy system, open heart and empathy, and clear and calm mind. The practitioner must have renovated themselves so that through their years of emptying the Universal energy can easily ow through their hands. To quote Master Lu, If you remain at the level of words, you stay in the mind; if you move into the senses, you come to know the body; if you fall into your heart you arrive at the gateway to Tao for the deepest experience of all that is and all that is unseen. The Chinese character for Tao means the Way or the Path. Qigong Meridian Therapy is truly thata path, not just a therapeutic practice. It is intimately aligned with the Tao, which is Nature, or the way of Nature. To follow the Tao is to ow with that force, in terms of attuning ourselves with both the Universal and the external natural world around us, and followingor, being true toour own inner nature. And thats good for both the practitioner and the patient!
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Andrea Bejarano is a NES therapist and professional Qigong Meridian Therapist. She has studied internal martial arts since 1991 and has been certied jointly by the American Taoist Healing Center, Inc. and Hubei College of Traditional Chinese Medicine in Hubei, China. She has studied Wuming Qigong, Chi lel Qigong, the Yi Jin Jing Tai Chi forms, and Swords. She is the founder and director of One Source...One Light, a healing centre on Manhattans Upper West Side that is designed for the awakening, transformation and healing for the community. You can contact Andrea through her website, www.onesourceonelight.com, or call 212-712-7985 for an appointment.

Patients Speak Up
This is a truly life changing experiencea gentle, profound, permanent one! My cholesterol, blood sugar level, blood pressure, and weight decreased so signicantly that I was able to stop all medications. Checked every three months, my blood work continues to be well in the normal ranges for all of the above. I eliminated 25 pounds of body weight by simply doing ten basic moves daily that Andrea taught me in her Dragons Way class. As if by magic my mind got out of the way and allowed my spirit to direct my diet. My taste buds actually directed me away from as well as toward the nutrition that is ideal for me. Its a phenomenon which needs to be experienced. But, the most exciting part is that I feel and look decades younger. I am 61 going on 40, sometimes 25! Edward L. I experienced a difcult childhood and navigated a long battle with depression, fraught with much suffering and anxiety. Ive been on a path to nd happiness for many years now and I nally feel that I am making progress in my work with Qigong Meridian Therapy. Through this energy healing, I feel more open, centered and grounded. For the rst time, I am more energized and I feel enthusiastic and hopeful about the future, which I used to approach with dread and fear. I am participating more fully in my life and making healthier choices from a place of wisdom, strength and consciousness. Vicky

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Click here to nd out more or to register: www.ibih.com

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Issue 16 March/April 2012

Science in the News

Two Advances in Multiple Sclerosis Research


RNA Virus Implicated in MS
A study published in the journal Neurology, as reported in New Scientist (Vol 213/No 2846), reveals that an RNA virusthe Epstein-Barr virus (EBV)has been linked to the inammation of nerve tissues in the brains of people with multiple sclerosis. Most people with MS have this virus in their system, and for people who dont have MS but have this virus in their system there is a correlated increased risk of developing MS. Now, researchers have found evidence (in post-mortem studies of the brains of people with MS) of damage to areas of the brain that is strongly correlated to the presence of EBV. The chain of events seems to be that the EBV virus releases tiny RNA molecules into areas of the brain, activating the immune system and stimulating an inammatory response that in turn causes damage to nerve cells. This damage then results in the symptoms of MS. Study leader Ute-Christiane Meier, of Queen Mary University of London, says, If we can pinpoint EBV as a trigger, its possible that we could potentially prevent the condition [MS] by treating the virus.

Treating MS with Young Cells


A study in mice has revealed a new way to treat the damage caused by multiple sclerosis. In MS, nerve cells lose their myelin sheath, and this process can be treated at least partially by injecting stem cells specically to generate new myelin sheathing, but this process diminishes as the person and the stem cells age. Julia Ruckh and her colleagues at the University of Cambridge, England, have proposed a way around this age-related decline. As reported in New Scientist (Vol 213/No 2847) the team linked the bloodstreams of young mice to old mice with myelin damage. Exposure to youthful blood reactivated stem cells in the old mice, boosting myelin generation. It appears that macrophages, a type of white blood cell, clustered around the site of myelin damage in the older mice, destroying pathogens and debris, including destroyed myelin. This debris stops the myelin regeneration process, so nding a way to remove it is a major advance. Another MS researcher in England, Dr. Neil Scolding, says of the teams work, reactivating ageing stem cells may be a more realistic approach for treating MS than transplanting stem cells from a donor.

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In the world of conventional medical research, the debate continues to rage about the morality of using animals as test subjects. Mice are the test animals of choice in many disciplines, yet there is less call for their liberation from testing than for rabbits or chimps, who provoke more positive emotions in humans and are, sometimes incorrectly, judged to have more cognition and feelings than mice. Even less emotionally attractive than mice are rats, another rodent class that nds itself serving as test subject. But all of those assumptions may now change. Researchers have shown that rats feel empathy. The U.S. National Institutes of Health, in their online News in Health (January 2012) post, reports that in an experiment by NIH-funded researchers at the University of Chicago, rats displayed empathy by freeing other restrained rats even when their attention was tempted away by their favourite treat, chocolate chips. The study protocol featured two rats in a cage, one of which was allowed to roam freely while the other one was restrained in a clear tube closed off with a door that could be opened only from the outside. As a control, in some tests the tube was empty or contained a toy rat. In most cases, the free-roaming rat ignored the tube when it contained a toy or was empty, but learned how to nudge open the door when there was a live rat trapped there. And when they were tempted by a
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Researchers concluded that rats show empathy, and that empathy seems to be biologically determined, that is, wired into the brain. In the words of Dr. Peggy Mason, one of the researchers, in addition to being surprised at how often one rat set the other free, the study said to us that essentially helping their cagemate is on a par with chocolate. He could hog the chocolate stash if he wanted to, and he does not. We were shocked.

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Science in the News

Rats Helping Rats

second tube containing the tasty chocolate chips, they opened the doors for both tubes, setting free the other rat and getting their treats, too. In many cases they even shared the chocolate with the freed rat.

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Eat Lunch and Boost Your Willpower


Roy Baumeisters article in New Scientist (Vol 213/No 2849) presents fascinating new research on willpowerwhy you sometimes have loads of it and why other times it seems in short supply. The answer may be tied to whether or not you have just eaten. It appears, from recent studies, that the strength of our willpowerto resist the urge for that cupcake and stay on your diet, to actually carry out your New Years resolution, to keep your thoughts to yourself when your boss is within shouting distanceis tied to glucose levels in our bodies. Glucose is the chemical that fuels so much of our physiology. We get most of our glucose through our diet. So the irony is that if you are dieting and you nd your willpower for resisting sweets lagging, the answer could be in eating! Of course, you could as easily choose a salad as a sugary snack. Still, several studies have shown that it takes energy to use willpower, and as we use up energy our willpower diminishes. Baumeister uses the analogy of a muscle, as you continue to use it over a period of time, it tires. And according to estimates by some researchers, we spend on average about three to four hours a day exerting our willpower to resist temptations or desires. Interestingly, as we use energy to exert willpower, we also have less energy for other tasks and as a result our performance may lag. Studies show that when people, in a lab setting, have been asked to resist eating chocolate chip cookies that are alluringly displayed in a dish on a nearby table and then asked to perform tasks, some entirely unrelated to exerting willpower, such as a memory task or a sorting task, they perform less

well on the task if they have actually resisted the cookie temptation than if they have indulged. It took energy to exert self-control, and thus there was less energy to be used in performing the task. Researchers found that when they asked people to perform a series of tasks that needed selfcontrol, giving them a high glucose foodsuch a lemonade made with real sugar, not with a diet sweetner, which has no glucoseand waiting for fteen minutes for the glucose to make it to the bloodstream, the research subjects performed better in the later tasks. Willpower isnt only about resisting temptation or exerting self-control, however. It is also a subtle factor in decision-making and choicemaking, and the implication is that, in a kind of reverse feedback loop, using energy and exerting willpower to make a lot of decisions and choices throughout out the day impairs self-control. This may be why we seem to have less willpower at the end of the workday than at the beginning which may help at least partially explain the ease with which we can happily eat a healthy breakfast but the difculty we have resisting dessert at dinnertime. Interestingly, understanding that willpower takes energyand the role of glucose in having the energy to maintain self-control and exert willpowercould have profound effects in the most unexpected ways, especially in decisionmaking. In one study, judges were observed in order to detect any pattern to their granting parole or not to those eligible for it. One of the factors is granting parole is that judges take a risk doing so. If the convict is freed on parole and then commits another crime, judges reputations suffer. So there is an element of willpowerin the form of the willingness for risk-takingin the decision-making process. The ndings were intriguing: The researchers found judges often granted parole in the early morning, but as the day wore on and they made more decisions, they were less willing to take a chance and sent most people back to prison. After a snack, or after lunch, the likelihood of parole went up. In other words, food seems to restock the willpower depleted by making many choices, leaving the
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Science in the News


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judge more willing to take a riskier step and grant parole to the next applicant. This research perhaps can be used to our advantage. If you have made a resolution to get more exercise, you will probably succeed better by working out early in the day, when you have a lot of energy for exerting your willpower, than after work, when you dont. If you need selfcontrol late in the day, however, at least make sure you are eating regularly throughout the day to keep your glucose level up. If you have a lot of decisions to make, you can help yourself stay sharp by ensuring you stay well nourished. If you commonly reach for a diet soft drink to take with you to a business meeting, better to choose a non-diet one, which has sugar in it, or better yet choose juice, to boost your energy for decision-making. If you want to nudge a decision in your favour, make sure the decision-maker has eaten. Maybe the correlation between sharper decision-making and the willpower to take risks is the underlying reason for the ubiquitous power lunch. Feeding your clients may be more effective than smoozing them into seeing things your way. Then again, if you want your client willpower weak, make your pitch before they have eaten.

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Mindfulness and Health


An interview with Dr. Susan Bauer-Wu, PhD, RN By Joan Parisi Wilcox

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D
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r. Susan Bauer-Wu, PhD, RN, FAAN, is recognized for her work in mindfulness and integrative oncology. She is a clinician, researcher, educator and meditation practitioner whose work focuses on stress resiliency and the use of mindfulness and compassion meditation practices in the context of cancer and other serious illness, for both patients and caregivers. She is currently an Associate Professor of Nursing and Distinguished Cancer Scholar at Emory University in Atlanta, Georgia, and previously was an Instructor of Medicine at Harvard Medical School and nursing research director at DanaFarber Cancer Institute in Boston.

You have researched the mind-body connection in health with NIH grants. What kinds of research have you conducted and what are some of your most signicant ndings?
SB-W: I recently completed one multi-site clinical trial that evaluated the effects of mindfulness training in cancer patients hospitalized for bone marrow/stem cell transplant. We found that engaging in the mindfulness practices more often was associated with less distress and depressed mood over time. Im also currently leading a large grant and team effort in studying stress in family caregivers who have loved ones with a serious chronic illness, specically dementia or heart failure. That research is still underway and we do not have ndings to report at this time.

Introduce us to your work with meditation and mindfulness in terms of health. What got you started exploring these practices in relation to healing and well-being?
SB-W: Much of my work has been related to mindfulness practices to help people facing serious illness. I had been an oncology and palliative care nurse for several years when I began my doctoral studies (focusing on mindbody science called psychoneuroimmunology), which was also the time when I began my personal meditation practice. My own experiences in learning meditation were transformative and the seeds were then planted for me to bring the practices to others who were facing health challenges. My rst faculty position (upon completing a post-doctoral fellowship in psychooncology) was at the University of Massachusetts Medical School in Worcester, MA, which is the home for the Center for Mindfulness in Medicine, Health Care, and Society. At that point, fourteen years ago, I was able to meld the different aspects of my professional and personal life: clinician-healer, mind-body researcher, meditation practitioner, and mindfulness teacher.

What have you found are the benets of meditation in terms of health and wellness, as opposed to other kinds of relaxation techniques? And is there a particular type of meditation that is more effective?
SB-W: I cannot say that any form of meditation is more effective than another. Research in contemplative science is essentially in its infancy and it seems there is emerging data on the benets of different kinds of meditation practices. I am most familiar with research on mindfulness meditation, like Vipassana, and mindfulness-based interventions. These practices are not necessarily relaxation techniques per se. Sure the scientic evidence has shown how mindfulness meditation lessens stress reactivity in the body and as such may make us feel more relaxed. However, this approach is more about gaining insight and wisdom about ourselves and our relationship to our world and circumstances. The foundation of mindfulness practice is to intentionally bring awareness to presentmoment experience with a spirit of openness and curiosity, noticing without judging. These practices foster tuning in to and befriending the body and noticing (and not resisting or pushing away) thoughts and feelings. Over time there is a gradual shifting from doing (on autopilot) and
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quickly reacting to experiencing with all of the senses and thoughtfully responding to whatever is occurring. Mindfulness meditation strengthens the brain circuitry so we can better pay attention to and recognize how our thoughts play a major role in contributing to our suffering.

You have found that expressive writingsay, writing in a journalis benecial to patients facing chronic or life-threatening illness. What is expressive writing, how it is therapeutic, and how does it benet people experiencing loss of health?
SB-W: Expressive writing is a particular writing method that was rst developed and studied by Dr. James Pennebaker, a psychologist. There have been many studies documenting the benets of this approach for people with different health conditions, although some studies have had mixed ndings, including some of my own work with breast cancer patients. Expressive writing is a process whereby you write about your deepest thoughts and feelings in a way that is unscripted. You just let the words ow without concern for spelling, grammar, penmanship, or coming up with the right words. It can be very cathartic to release hidden burdens. Writing is considered to help us make meaning and better resolve difcult issues. In these ways, expressive writing can potentially be a stress reliever leading to changes in the body and associated health benets.

make-up all impact how the body functions and our overall health. Saying that state of mind affects state of health is a correct statement, but it is denitely not the whole picture. The caution in conventional medicine, with which I agree, is that people will think that their state of mind or thoughts caused their disease. There is absolutely no evidence of such a cause-and-effect relationship. Also, its important to recognize that you cant force yourself to have positive thoughts. Its normal to have a range of thoughts and emotionspleasant, unpleasant and neutral. Sure, surrounding yourself with kind and caring people and affectionate pets and sensing beauty in nature will have favourable effects on how you feel. These kinds of positive experiences will foster you to naturally feel better and inuence the lens through which you see the world; its not forced, but rather it effortlessly emerges.

Generally, how important are state of mind, emotions, beliefs, stories to our state of health? And if you think they are important, why is conventional medicine in general so slow to catch on this aspect of health?
SB-W: Without a doubt the brain is in close and constant communication with the rest of the body, and thoughts and emotions have measurable effects on a number of bodily functions and indeed affect health. However, its critical to recognize that the body is complex and there are countless other factors that also impact the state of our health. For example, what we eat and drink, how much we exercise, the quality of the air we breathe, and our genetic
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Dr Lewis Mehl-Madrona, whom I interviewed for Quantum Health magazine, is a specialist in narrative medicine. He saysand I am oversimplifyingthat there is always a story associated with getting ill, but that there has to be a different story to get well. His general point is that moving from sickness to health is a transformative process that goes well beyond the body. What is your view on the transformative process in health?
SB-W: The words health and healing come from the same roots as the word whole. To me, the transformative process that takes place leads one to feel wholemind, spirit and body regardless of physical limitations or if a disease cannot be cured in biomedical terms. It is always possible to heal and to feel whole, even in the last hours of life. Again, this is a gradual process and cannot be forced, much like a skin wound has to heal from the deeper levels of tissue, layer by layer.

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Where is your research is headed next? And how can our readers best follow your work?
SB-W: My research will continue to have a strong component of mindfulness and compassion practices to foster stress resiliency, health and well-being. In addition to working with people who have life-limiting illnesses and their loved ones, my work is increasingly with professional caregivers, those in the helping elds, particularly health care professionals who are increasingly challenged by the broken health care system with which they work. If the professionals are feeling fragmented and are not their best selves, how can they help those they serve to have optimal health and to live fully?
You can follow my research and scholarship through academic search engines, like PubMed or Google Scholar, or my faculty website at Emory University School of Nursing. And you can follow my work in the community through my personal website, http://www.thrivingtoday.com.

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Issue 16 March/April 2012

Your Herbal Medicine Chest


By Joan Parisi Wilcox

n this season of u and colds, its important to keep your immune system strong and to take preventative measures against possible illness. One way to do so is to educate yourself about natural antibiotics and antivirals. Of course, they can be effective against more than u and coldsmany of them are effective against everything from athletes foot to acne to wound healing. Most of us know about echinacea, tea tree oil, garlic, cinnamon, clove, turmeric and other popular herbs and botanicals for treating infections and boosting immunity to ght off bacteria and viruses. However, if you are stocking an herbal medicine chest, the eight botanicals briey covered in this article should be high on your list of considerations of natural antibiotics, antivirals and antifungals. This overview is by no means comprehensive. If you want to know more, consult with a naturopathic physician or qualied herbalist near you. Also, remember that because herbs can have powerful medicinal effects, you should check with your primary healthcare professional to make sure you are using them correctly and in the right quantity. This is especially important if you are taking prescription medications or regularly using other botanicals. This article is for educational purposes only and is not meant to advocate the use of these herbs or to substitute for qualied medical care.

may have in your pantry, and it packs a more powerful antibacterial punch. To disinfect a small wound or cut, generously coat the cut and then cover it with a sterile gauze pad, reapplying the honey and changing the gauze covering two or three times a day.

Goldenseal/Grape Seed/Olive Leaf


Got a sore throat? Consider gargling with goldenseal. The taste may not be pleasant, but the effects can be signicant. Goldenseal and other herbs such as Oregon grape seed extract, grapefruit seed extract and olive leaf extract are natural antibacterials. They contain berberine, which prevents bacteria from adhering to tissue and cell walls. Goldenseal especially targets the throat, and Oregon grape seed extract is said to be good for intestinal and urinary tract infections. Olive leaf extract seems to particularly target respiratory ailments.

Manuka Honey
Honey is a natural antibacterial that is useful for disinfecting cuts, scraps and small wounds. Manuka honey is stronger than the honey you
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Most of these herbs have been the subject of research and their effects are wide-ranging, so its worth educating yourself about them to discover the other conditions they are may be helpful with. However, be aware that there is some research that indicates it is difcult to get enough of these herbs to affected areas when taken as capsules by mouth since berberine isnt absorbed well through the stomach.

Andropraphis
This herb from Sri Lanka and India has been used for thousands of years as an antibiotic, antiviral and anti-inammatory. Andropraphis contains agents that prevent bacteria from colonizing, so they have less of a chance to grab hold in tissue and multiply. For upper respiratory infections and sinus infections, making a tea may be the most effective way to take it, but its taste is unpleasant, so a more agreeable way to use it is in capsule form.

honeysuckle is the oldest known herb used as a medicinal. It has multiple effectsantimicrobial, antifungal and antiviral. In fact, in traditional Chinese medicine, this herb is considered by many to be one of the best for releasing toxins from the body. Each part of the plant has different effects. For example, the ower buds and nectar are used to make remedies for colds and asthma and to treat diarrhoea. The stems are used in remedies for fevers and arthritis. And because of its antibacterial properties, honeysuckle is often used in products made for treating the skin.

Ligustrum
This herb when used as a tonic is said to be a general immune booster and particularly good for the liver. Claims for its benets range from helping relieve menopausal symptoms to reducing vertigo or helping improve eyesight in those with macular degeneration. However, the science and evidence for its benet vary for each ailment, so its worth educating yourself before using this herb. And, although it is thought to be quite safe, check with your healthcare provider before using it because there are some contraindications.

Buchu (Agathosma Betulina)


This South African plant has antibacterial properties that appear to be particularly useful for urinary tract infections and bladder ailments. Because of its anti-inammatory properties, it has also been commonly used to help with conditions such as gout and enlarged prostate.

Honeysuckle
To increase general immunity, consider honeysuckle, which has been used for thousands of years as a powerful infection ghter and immune booster. In fact, some claim that
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