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Newsletter v5n6

Newsletter v5n6
Back Issues

"Doctors are the same as lawyers; the only difference is that lawyers merely rob you, whereas doctors rob you and kill you too." (Anton Chekhov, who was himself a practicing physician)

The DOCTOR YOURSELF NEWSLETTER (Vol. 5, No. 6 for March 5, 2005) "Free of charge, free of advertising, and free of the A.M.A."

Written and copyright 2005 by Andrew W. Saul of , which welcomes over 1.5 million visitors annually. Commercial use of the website or the contents of this Newsletter is strictly prohibited.

I AM STARING INTO MY FISH TANK. I've had these same tropical fish for years and years. I regularly give them vitamin C, pouring grams of it straight into the water. As the crystals drift down, before they can dissolve, the fish rush over and eat them whole.

Now that's what I call a megadose.

Yet none of my fish appear to have diabetes, allergies, eczema, kidney stones, cardiovascular disease, cancer, hangnails, or any of a multitude of media-fanned scare-diseases falsely attributed to ascorbate. (

How about that.

As my aquarium is on the same wall as the TV, the fish cannot watch the news. And if the subject is vitamins, they aren't missing much.

TV? Why not just turn the darn thing off? I submit that you can learn more about health from watching your animals than you will from watching your television.

On Saturday mornings especially, my mother shooed us away from the Idiot Box and made us kids go outside and play.

"But Mom!" we pleaded. "There's no one out to play with."

She said, "If you get out there, they'll see you, and then they will come out, too."

That sometimes actually worked. Example is a powerful thing.

So take your vitamins, darn it, and let other people know that you do, and why you do.

DOCTOR YOURSELF READER SPEAKS OUT AGAINST VITAMIN BASHING To the Rochester, NY Democrat and Chronicle newspaper:

"About the Vitamin E attack in today's paper: What you have to do is look at the sources; Johns Hopkins leads the "study," Annals of Internal Medicine and Mayo Clinic joyfully concur. These institutions are all interested in spreading the medical viewpoint, which prefers drugs and knives to natural cures. They tout the Standard American Diet (SAD). The reason they tout that diet is little money can be made from vitamins. Lots of money can be made from drugs and knives. What would the medical industry do if everybody lived as I do, and finally said to my doctor:

""What's the point of me coming for appointments with you when you can never find anything wrong? Let's stop wasting our time!"

"He agreed, so I just call him for things like injuries.

"Recently I received a glamorous booklet about health from the Mayo Clinic, suggesting that I pay to learn about the latest medical discoveries. I wrote back that for my first 60 years I had followed the medical route, having allergies, colds, sometimes the flu, joint replacements, etc. thinking that was what life was like. Then I started following a friend who's a naturopathic educator. Soon I noticed I no longer had my allergies or flu or even sniffles. I have no ailments, no prescriptions, and am actively pursuing my art, with commissions and profits, though I am now 89.

"I told all this to the Mayo doctor. He never replied.

"It's all about money, I guess! My friend publishes a book that is sold in bookstores. He also has a free program on the web, with wonderfully interesting stories.

"Just trace these attacks on vitamins to their source, for the answer!

"Yours truly, "Nancy Watson Dean"

(My always-astute readers have already deduced that it is my privilege to be the friend Mrs. Dean speaks of, and she is kindly referring the Doctor Yourself book ( and website. Thank you, Nancy. You've had a great first 89 years!)


"GERSON LITE" FOR MIGRAINES K.L. writes: "I have been increasingly bothered by migraine headaches that pain relieving medicines did not even relieve, let alone stop. I decided to try something else: lots of water, and no salt. I've become a real label-reader lately, because so many foods contain salt, and so much of it. The payoff is, I have not had a migraine in months."

Saying "No" to salt and "Yes" to liquid has the stamp of Max Gerson, M.D., firmly upon it. Not everyone knows that the Gerson Therapy was originally a migraine therapy. It is a virtually no-salt diet. Plus, a dozen glasses of juice per day certainly provides hydration. The fact that the Gerson therapy works so well against many serious diseases including cancer, and not merely headaches, says a lot about the real value of healing the whole body nutritionally, not pharmacologically. You followed what I might term a "Gerson Lite" approach, and I'm very happy to learn of your success.

(For more on the Gerson Therapy, please do a search for "Gerson" at )

DIABETES B.V. writes: "This letter is to thank you for the information in your website and Doctor Yourself book, which have been invaluable in alleviating my diabetes. Last January, I still had to inject 12-14-12-20 units of insulin. By using the Budwig diet ( with 8 grammes vitamin C, 2000 IU vitamin E, B-complex eight (yes eight) times daily, and 600mg alpha lipoic acid a day (plus lots of exercise), I managed to be on zero units of insulin by September 15, nine months later.

"My brother is a different chapter: he has to lose 70 kgs, and is less strict in the routine, but I think eventually he'll manage. For some people, everything should be included in one pill, even the exercise!"

Thank you for your report. One of the first nutrition zingers I ever heard was Dr. Carlton Fredericks' comment to the effect that diabetics could be weaned off of insulin with extremely high doses of B-complex vitamins. I am a conservative person and I have my sincere doubts if a Type I diabetic could ever be free of the need to take insulin. On the other hand, I have personally seen diabetics require significantly less insulin when they take a 50 mg balanced B-complex tablet every two hours, as you have. The potential benefits are so great that I think diabetics should demand a suitably cautious therapeutic trial of megavitamin therapy, with insulin dosage adjustment made and closely supervised by their physician.

More on diabetes at

WHAT REALLY CAUSES ALZHEIMER'S DISEASE, AND HOW TO AVOID IT Harold D. Foster, Ph.D. Department of Geography, University of Victoria, British Columbia.

There is a global "pandemic" of sporadic Alzheimer's disease, with some 4.5 million victims in the United States alone. By 2050, this figure is expected to have risen to 14 million. The associated suffering and financial and social loss is unnecessary. Alzheimer's disease is caused by aluminum, especially in its monomeric form. Monomeric aluminum is chemically the simplest species of aluminum, passes the blood-brain barrier most easily, and seems to be by far the most toxic type of aluminum.

Alzheimer's is particularly common in those carrying the APO E4 allele(s), a type of variant gene. These people are more susceptible to this toxic metal because they are less capable than the rest of the population of removing the beta-amyloid and tau proteins that aluminum encourages to develop in the brain. As a result, these proteins accumulate, forming the neuritic plaques and neurofibrillary tangles that are characteristic of Alzheimer's disease.

This process occurs most often in populations living in regions that promote the deposition of these dangerous proteins. Such "harmful" environments are those in which drinking water is acidic, high in monomeric aluminum, and lacking magnesium, calcium and silicic acid. (Silicic acid protects against aluminum. It occurs at high levels naturally in some water supplies.) A few of the references identifying such regions are listed at the end of this summary (1-6). Under these circumstances, aluminum enters the brain and impairs numerous enzymes, including choline acetyltransferase, calcium/calmodulin kinase II, alkaline phospatase and phospholipase A2. Such enzyme disruptions interfere with numerous biochemical systems and eventually cause the abnormal brain pathology seen in Alzheimer's disease.

The best way to reduce the risk of developing Alzheimer's disease is to avoid aluminum, especially its monomeric form in drinking water. In addition, the average British and North American diet is known to contain less than half the calcium and magnesium required to avoid deficiency illnesses. This can be corrected by adding foods, such as salmon, sardines, broccoli and bok choy, which are high in calcium and pumpkin seeds, almonds, whole grain brown rice, which have elevated magnesium, to your diet. Experimental trials, conducted in Russia, have also shown that the ascorbates (vitamin C) of calcium and magnesium and of other minerals, taken regularly, can reverse the early stages of memory loss in the elderly.

References 1. Flaten,TP (1990). Geographical association between aluminum in drinking water and death rates with dementia (including Alzheimer's disease),Parkinson's disease and amyotrophic lateral sclerosis,in Norway. Environmental Geochemistry and Health,12 (1 and 2),152-167. 2. Gauthier,E.,Fortier,I.,Courchesne, F. et al. (2000) Aluminum forms in drinking water and risk of Alzheimer's disease. Environmental Research, 84(3), 234-246. 3. Jacqmin-Gadda,H.,Commenges,D.,Letenneur,L et al. (1996) Silica and aluminum in drinking water and cognitive impairment in the elderly. Epidemiology. 7(3), 281-285. 4. Birchall,JD,Exley,C.,Chappell,JS et al. (1989).Acute toxicity of aluminum to fish eliminated in silicon-rich acid waters. Nature,338,146-148. 5. Jacqmin,H, Commenges,D.,Letenneur,L et al. (1994) Components of drinking water and risk of cognitive impairment in the elderly. American Journal of Epidemiology, 139 (1),48-57. 6. Kihira,T,Yoshida,S,Yase,Y et al.(2002) Chronic low-Ca/Mg high Al diet induces neuronal loss.Neuropathology,22 (3),171-179.

(Editor's note: Professor Harold Foster's new book, "What Really Causes Alzheimer's disease," is available free of charge at . At this website, you can also download his previous book, "What Really Causes AIDS" for free as well. Dr. Foster is Associate Editor of the Journal of Orthomolecular Medicine. We will be featuring an interview with him in an upcoming Doctor Yourself Newsletter.)

More on ALZHEIMER'S Disease:

PREVENTING PREVENTION by Josef "Sepp" Hasslberger Rome, Italy

Germany has long been one of the most restrictive countries on vitamin and mineral products, perhaps because of the relative strength of its pharmaceutical industry, which sees a threat to profits on pharmaceutical drugs as more and more people seem to turn away from drugs and try the "natural option". . . Germany is also hosting and chairing the once-a-year meeting of a Committee on Nutrition and Foods for Special Dietary Uses (CCNFSDU) of the international Codex Alimentarius. The committee recently finalized a Codex Guideline for Vitamin and Mineral Supplements, which states that "upper safe levels" are to be set for vitamin supplements. . . Once used in Europe, Germany and the European Union will lobby for these same principles to be applied internationally, by making them part of the Codex procedure for setting "upper safe levels."

The coming rules will hit what is arguably the safest product category in existence by a wide margin - natural health products. Supplements and herbal products are safer than normal, everyday foods and infinitely safer than pharmaceutical medicines. Medicines are often found to be highly toxic despite bearing the authorities' seal of approval. Modern medicine and specifically adverse drug reactions have been identified as a major cause of death in the Western world.

The German administrative position has long been that of allowing a maximum of 3 times the RDA amount in the formulation of supplements of water soluble vitamins and correspondingly less (1 x RDA level) for vitamins with a narrower safety margin and for minerals. Any supplements with nutrients in higher dosage have been kept off the market as "illegal medicines" by a refusal to grant marketing authorization. Where such authorization was not sought, products were forced off the market.

A sampling of proposed limits shows 15 milligrams for vitamin E, 4 milligrams for vitamin B1, little more than 5 milligrams for vitamin B 6 and a whooping 225 milligrams for vitamin C!

You will search in vain for any logic in such an approach to supplementation other than perhaps to prevent prevention. There is no winner, except the pharmaceutical business with disease.

(Excerpted from the article "Food Supplements: German Risk Institute Takes Dim View," the complete text of which is posted at man_risk_institute_takes_dim_view.htm)

(Editor's note: I most definitely recommend Sepp's excellent free and non- commercial email newsletter. You can sign up for it at his Health Supreme website, via the above link.

Also, be sure to look at:

SUPPLEMENT BAN IN UK tive_is_good_for_consumers_british_mp.htm




"Dear Editor, "I would like to know why the Daily Mail, a paper that prints a 'GOOD HEALTH' section has not drawn the public's attention to the fact that on the 3rd July 2003 the UK Standing Committee on Health voted to introduce the EU Food Supplements Directive into law. This law means that hundreds of highly beneficial nutrients will be lost to the British consumer.

"In an extraordinary act of contempt for Parliamentary democracy and for the wishes of the 20 million British consumers who take some form of supplement or use natural medicine, Mr. Blair at the 11th hour switched members of this select committee so that he could stuff it full of his yes- men, thus giving him the vote he wanted so that Britain could 'harmonise' with the EU.

"I am rather surprised that you have not alerted your readers to the above. Many do not know what is happening and I feel you have a moral duty to inform them. I await your comments. This is a very important and serious issue -- one of people's health and the issue will not go away.

"Yours sincerely, "Marlene Houghton"

[Ms. Houghton then wrote again (I just love that!) saying:]

"Dear Editor, "The UK Public Health Minister, Melanie Johnson, stated openly that she is against 'an alcohol ad ban' even though alcohol is related to binge- drinking, anti-social behaviour, a massive increase in alcohol-related diseases, and domestic violence. Apparently she believes that 'individual choice is important.' However, regarding the vitamin supplements issue, it was this Minister who voted against consumer-choice on the matter of health supplements. She does not believe in them. However, millions of the general public do, including natural health professionals who advise on their use. Ms. Johnson does not extend this same freedom regarding 'individual choice' to the vitamin takers that she magnanimously bestows to alcohol abusers.

"So, welcome to New Labour's health policies -- if you want to drink yourself into a stupor, you are exercising your individual choice. If you want to take supplements, with a proven safety record over decades, and under stringent food laws in the U.K. to keep yourself well, you may soon have your health ruined if access to them is restricted after August 2005.

"Yours faithfully, "Marlene Houghton"


"Dear Mrs. Houghton

"Thank you for your letter.

"I am afraid I don't see it as the Daily Mail's job to advance the cause of any particular lobby group, however well-intentioned, including your own. We have printed stories about this issue and will continue to so do when we consider them newsworthy.

"Yours sincerely "Alistair Sinclair, Deputy Editor"

READER IN THE NEWS Another Doctor Yourself Newsletter reader decided that writing to the papers wasn't enough. He squeaked so loudly that a Minnesota newspaper did a feature story on him, complete with photo.

VITAMINS OR DRUGS? HEALTHY DEBATE Abridged from the article by Tim Krohn, Mankato Free Press Staff Writer (Jan 9, 2005)

Rich Putman's blood boils when he reads or hears news reports about studies showing possible dangers from using vitamins or supplements. The most recent: a report that high daily doses of vitamin E may cause a higher risk of death.

"There are 106,000 people a year who die from prescription drugs. Then maybe a dozen people have a bad experience with vitamin E and that's jumped on?"

There may be some dispute about the 106,000 number, but deaths from drugs improperly prescribed or used are considerable. (There are an estimated 100,000 deaths just among hospitalized people each year because of medical errors, including misuse of drugs and other mistakes, according to Aetna.) The FDA says Vioxx, the pain medication recently pulled off the market, is believed to have led to some 27,000 heart attacks and cardiac deaths in the past four years.

The 64-year-old Putman, a retired Mankato business owner, has spent three decades on a crusade for good health through personal responsibility and natural means rather than turning to prescription drugs. A recent study shows he may be losing the battle. Forty percent of all Americans are on prescription drugs - with many using three or more - and the rate continues to climb.

"With prescription drugs," Putman said, "It's not a question of if there will be side effects, it's just what kind and how serious they are."

Dr. Eric Storvick, who practices internal medicine at the Mankato Clinic, agrees drugs can cause problems, but he says their benefits are far greater. . .

"We shouldn't take prescription drugs we don't need, and the same for vitamins," Storvick said. "Just because it's natural doesn't mean it's safe."

(T)here remains a wide chasm between some who see modern medicine as a threat to health and those who view many vitamins and supplements as ineffective or even dangerous products pushed for profit.

"There's a bunch of things a person can do to be healthier. Watch the foods you eat. The white, refined flours, sugars, and (white) rice are terrible. That has all the nutritional and vitamin contents taken out," Putman said. "Drugs primarily address symptoms and not the causes of problems. If your body is up to snuff, it can fend off most illnesses," Putman said. "Obviously genetics can enter into it, but even then you can help yourself even if you are genetically predisposed to some problems."

Dr. Storvick said medicine is often the only realistic choice, and one that saves lives. "Seventy-five percent of my visits may be a results of poor lifestyle choices. What am I going to do if you have high blood pressure from not eating well and you're in your 60s? Maybe you'll start eating better, but it's not so likely. What am I going to do but give you medications to reduce stroke and heart attacks?"

Rich Putman said in his teens and twenties he got the flu every few years. "Now, I haven't had the flu in about three decades. I credit it to my change in lifestyle." (He does not get flu shots.)

Putman, who has spent three decades doing personal research on vitamins and natural health, said it can be hard to know where to turn.

"It's a tough question. A person can go on the Internet and there are some sites I think are good," Putman said. (One he recommends:

He's no longer a fan of one of the widely circulated magazines: Prevention.

"They were good. They never would take drug company ads, but now they are. I think it's warped their editorial integrity."

Dr. Storvick recommends against taking high doses of any vitamins unless prescribed by a doctor, and he says people should be cautious of where they get their information.

"I'd be wary of getting advice from Web sites or groups that have a vested interest in selling vitamins or supplements."

For full text of the article:

To subscribe to the Mankato, Minnesota Free Press :

COMMENTS BY ABRAM HOFFER, M.D., Ph.D.: "In this article, the doctor makes a number of assertions that are ridiculous and only the general ignorance of the public allows him to get away with it. He says, for example, that not enough is known about vitamins and then adds no one should take them in large doses without a doctor's prescription. Where is the logic in that? Doctors know less than their patients about vitamins. To ask people to only follow their doctor's advice is like asking them to strictly avoid vitamin supplements all the time. The real danger is that many patients do not know that doctors know nothing about vitamins."

(Thanks to Doctor Yourself Newsletter reader Rich Putman for speaking out in the media. His website is http://www.alternative-health- I enjoy his sense of humor, towards the bottom of this particular page:

FIGHTING BACK AT PSYCHIATRY's ATTACK ON MEGAVITAMIN THERAPY The Abram Hoffer - Humphry Osmond "Reply to the APA" has long been hard to find; you surely can't get a copy from the American Psychiatry Association!

However: the full text is now available and free online at

SHOW ME THE RECIPE! I am what my Dad termed a "by-guess-or-by-golly" cook. He was, too. My Mom was . . . well, as far as cooking was concerned, she wasn't. I mean, gray Jell-O? (The sordid tale is told at

Now here's a way you can help Newsletter readers eat better, simply and with variety. (Most important, help me! I can always use some new recipes.)

Recipe submissions should follow these guidelines:

1) Vegetarian. (Dairy and egg OK if you wish)

2) Very, very simple. How about no more than 6 ingredients? (All right, water and salt don't count.)

3) English (not metric) measurements, please. Yes, I was a science teacher. A milliliter is not a bug; a kilogram is not a death threat by Western Union. Let's face it: Americans are only metric-minded when it comes to soda bottles.

Please send in your natural, healthy, tasty favorites to me at

TOOTHPASTE LABEL REVS UP SOME ANXIETY by Susan Ager, Detroit Free Press, Jan 13, 2005 (Reprinted in full with kind permission of the author)

I don't know why, or why I hadn't before, but the other day I read the back of my wrinkly tube of toothpaste. As if I don't already suffer enough anxiety, I found these words: "Do not swallow." Nearby was a warning to keep the tube away from children under 6. It got worse: "If more than used for brushing is accidentally swallowed, get medical help or contact a Poison Control Center right away."

Words like "poison" and "do not swallow" do not belong on the label of anything you put in your mouth even once a day. But there they were, on my Arm & Hammer, on a tube of Colgate in my travel case, on my husband's "natural" Tom's of Maine. When I visited my local drugstore, I found similar words, including the P word, on every brand I checked.

What the . . . ?

One friend guessed too much toothpaste might "plug you up like concrete," so that evening before bed I squeezed a tablespoon onto my finger and ate it. Its powerful minty taste made me gag, but it didn't kill me overnight or slow any of my natural functions.

I considered eating a spoonful every day for a month, just to see. Instead I called the 800 number on the tube, where I learned the warning, required by the FDA, had to do with just one toothpaste ingredient: fluoride.

So what's the problem?

"It's not meant to be ingested," Tonya in Arm & Hammer customer service told me. "It's just supposed to be put on the teeth to help with strengthening."

So what happens if you ingest too much?

"I honestly don't know," she said, "but I've heard some people say they squeeze the toothpaste straight from the tube into their mouths as they leave the house, and that's not the purpose of the product."

Prowling the Internet, I found alarming claims about fluoride: that it's up there with arsenic and lead in toxicity, that half a tube of toothpaste can kill a child, that it's linked to attention deficit disorder, to Alzheimer's disease, to bone cancer and arthritis. I learned that Grand Rapids in 1950 was the first city in America to fluoridate its water, and that now about two-thirds of Americans drink fluoridated water.

Only 2 percent of Europeans do, because scientists there consider the chemical too dangerous to spread around.

I spoke with Christopher Bryson, an award-winning investigative journalist who a year ago published "The Fluoride Deception" (to read a review, scroll down the page at He told me optimal fluoridation levels of 1 part per million scare him, since research has found dramatic toxic effects in animals consuming 5 parts per million.

He uses a fluoride filter on his home tap in New York City. As for fluoridated toothpaste, he said, "I think about what my 2-year-old son is looking to do, so I don't keep the stuff in my house."

It's a lot to swallow.

At Poison Control's national number (800-222-1222) I found Susan Smolinske, a pharmacist at Children's Hospital of Michigan. She said a 22- pound child would have to eat an ounce of fluoridated toothpaste to get an upset stomach. She vaguely remembers one case of a seizure in a child who ate too much, but said acute fluoride poisoning from toothpaste isn't as troubling as chronic exposure.

You should worry, she said, "if you have a child who every day eats a couple teaspoons." That can cause severe bone and other problems.

Then she told me, "If you drink fluoridated water, you don't even need toothpaste. It's more important to brush your teeth than to brush them with toothpaste."

I never knew that. I'm happy I now do, and I'm glad I read my tube, which is now in the trash.

(Susan Ager's column appears three times a week in the Detroit Free Press (, on Tuesday, Thursday and Sunday. Her contact email is

DENTISTS' PAY TOPS DOCTORS Even with fewer cavities to fill, dentists' earnings are skyrocketing

(Excerpts from the article by Mark Maremont, in The Wall Street Journal , Jan 11, 2005)

"Once the poor relations in the medical field, dentists in the past few years have started making more money than many types of physicians, including internal-medicine doctors, pediatricians, psychiatrists, and those in family practice, according to survey data from the American Dental Association and American Medical Association.

"On average, general dentists in 2000, the most recent year for which comparative data are available, earned $166,460 - compared with $164,100 for general internal-medicine doctors, $145,700 for psychiatrists, $144,700 for family-practice physicians, and $137,800 for pediatricians. . . From 1988 to 2000, dentists' incomes more than doubled, while the average physician's income grew 42 percent.

"(M)ost private dental insurance is still paid on a fee-for-service basis. Many optional procedures aren't covered by insurance, leaving dentists free to charge whatever the market will bear. About 44 percent of all dental care is paid by patients out of their own pockets, according to federal statistics for 2002, compared with just 10 percent for all physician and clinical costs.

"'Today, you can create a smile' from materials that people 'can't tell are not real teeth,' says Joe Barton, a Jacksonville, Fla., dentist who specializes in cosmetic procedures. He says he typically charges from $12,000 to $14,000 to put veneers on 10 front teeth, requiring about 3 1/2 hours of his time."

(For submitting letters to the editor for publication in the Wall Street Journal:

COMMENT by the New York State Coalition Opposed to Fluoridation: "Most of us realize the problem facing America's poorer populations is not lack of fluoride; but lack of (affordable) dental care. Fluoridation gives dentistry and legislators the illusion they are tackling the oral health crises, when we know they aren't. Dentists have hardly put themselves out of business by encouraging fluoridation."


Fluoride NewsTracker Blog

Fluoride Action Network

SMOKE RISING IN THE MOVIES by Stanton A. Glantz, PhD Professor of Medicine, University of California, San Francisco

Despite Big Tobacco's 1989 "voluntary" ban on tobacco product placements and pay-offs in movies, Hollywood is still a powerful channel for promoting the lethal addiction that kills 5 million people worldwide each year - smokers and non-smokers alike. That's more than homicide, suicide, illegal drugs and AIDS combined.

And, while smoking in the movies doesn't sell tickets, it does sell cigarettes. Smoking in the movies is responsible for 52% of teens who start smoking, a more powerful effect than cigarette advertising. Thanks to smoking in the movies, 1070 kids start smoking every day -- and 340 of them will die early as a result. The only winner? Big Tobacco.

There are two possibilities:

* People in Hollywood are still getting paid to continue to promote tobacco, in which case they're corrupt.

* People are doing it for free, in which case they're stupid.

It's time for all of us who buy the tickets and rent videos and DVDs to demand that Hollywood stop doing Big Tobacco's dirty work. The tobacco industry is incredibly powerful. But the truth is even more powerful. Get the facts. Learn who's responsible for the problem. Then take action! and )

GROW YOUR OWN HEALTH FOOD For what may be the world's best free article archive on organic gardening and ecological farming, go to

UNSTRESS YOUR LIFE by John Mosher, PhD Professor Emeritus, State University of New York

(Editor's note: In the grand tradition of the old "Republic" Saturday- afternoon movie serials, the Doctor Yourself Newsletter is happy to announce that Dr. Mosher has consented to let the Doctor Yourself Newsletter publish his new book, Unstress Your Life, in serial form. Here is the opening installment.)

START NOW Before you read any further let's start a simple stress-reducing procedure. Notice how you are breathing. If your chest is moving up and down with each breath, then bring your breathing down to the lower abdomen, that is, the diaphragm area. Close your eyes for a moment and concentrate on diaphragmatic breathing. Your lower abdomen should be noticeably rising and falling instead of your upper chest. Sit quietly with eyes closed and breathe from the diaphragm for a short time, say 30 seconds. Then open your eyes and continue reading.

The first few chapters of Unstress Your Life are focused mostly on techniques, procedures and information for commencing a holistic approach to stress reduction. The techniques, if followed diligently, will help you be a more relaxed, calm, peaceful and therefore, less stressed you. The chapters to follow are motivational as well as informational, and also entertaining. The stories relate experiences which may help to encourage and inform you about ways of seeing, ways of seeing that promote a happier, calmer and more peaceful you. By cultivating positive, happy states of mind as well as developing a life style that is healthy for the body and the mind there is more enjoyment and less stress in ones life.

Now, stop a moment, close your eyes and breathe as before at the diaphragm level. At the same time grasp your left thumb with your right hand. Lay your left thumb in the palm of your right hand and close the right hand. Keep this position for about one minute while breathing normally at the diaphragm level with eyes closed. At the end of the minute you may open your eyes and continue reading.

It is a simple truth that if you keep doing what you are doing you'll keep getting what you got. The French monk and scientist Teilhard de Chardin is said to have made the comment:

"Change your self and you change the world."

With this quotation in mind you are empowered to change your world! If you are feeling unhappy, rushed, stressed and just plain not enjoying life, then whatever you are doing is not working for you. That means a change is needed. Therein lays a stumbling block. Generally speaking, people do not like change. People feel comfortable with the old habits even though the old habits do not serve them well. People want to be happy, healthy and feel relaxed and loved. However, people often lack the knowledge and tenacity to develop a way of doing, thinking and living that fosters these life-supporting situations.

The suggestions in this book to change your world are simple. But simple does not necessarily mean easy. Change is brought about by at first consciously choosing to practice and develop life-enhancing changes which differ from your present behavior patterns.

Now close your eyes again, continue breathing from the lower abdomen in the same way as described before. However, this time grasp the right thumb with the left hand. Do this for about one minute and then continue reading.

The good news is, as you practice the step-by-step procedures outlined in this book, you are already taking a new direction. You are actively changing from what is not working for you to that which will support your well being. You might wish to consider this book as a basic owner's guide and operating manual for the human mind and body. We need instructions about how to live without destroying either mind or body.

Now that you have reached this point and have practiced very briefly a simple relaxing technique, how do you feel? I've heard some people say, "It made me tired." I found out that what they meant was that they were feeling relaxed. They were so unaccustomed to how it felt to be relaxed that they equated the feeling with tiredness. If you did feel "tired," or relaxed, after doing the simple techniques of being mindful of your breath and holding first one thumb then the other, you are already experiencing the effects of a simple stress reduction technique. More instructions to follow next time!

(Counselor and professor of biology John I. Mosher, PhD, is the author of several articles at the website: How to Communicate Better: Improve Your Relationships with Others: Life's Journey and How to Travel It: Book Review of The Power of Now, by Eckhart Tolle: Your Personal Development:

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AN IMPORTANT NOTE: This newsletter is not in any way offered as prescription, diagnosis nor treatment for any disease, illness, infirmity or physical condition. Any form of self-treatment or alternative health program necessarily must involve an individual's acceptance of some risk, and no one should assume otherwise. Persons needing medical care should obtain it from a physician. Consult your doctor before making any health decision.

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