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This site is an archive of our Well Written Blog posts until April 2020. For the most up-to-date content visit NWIJournal.com.

The opinions and thoughts expressed here those of the authors and do not necessarily correlate with those of the National Wellness Institute. Read more.

 

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Prescription, Physical Activity: One Way to Save Billions in Health Costs

Posted By NWI, Monday, March 2, 2015
Updated: Wednesday, February 18, 2015

(February is National Athletic Training month! Visit the National Athletic Training Association at www.nata.org for more information.)

What if instead of getting a prescription for a medicine, we got a prescription for a pair of tennis shoes…or better yet, a walk? Larry Cohen, a 2012 National Wellness Conference Keynote, and founder of The Prevention Institute, spoke about exactly that idea.

A new study (February 2015) was released from the University of Waterloo in Ontario with additional data to support that idea.

The study looked at family health teams in Ontario, Canada. Family health teams are a group of salaried physicians and health-care practitioners who work together as a team to serve patients. Doctors, dieticians, social workers, health promoters, etc. are able to draw on the knowledge of colleagues from different disciplines under this format. Practitioners can share information and refer patients to a range of specialists who are familiar with their medical history.

Many of these teams offer physical activity services such as walking programs, classes or counseling to encourage exercise among patients. The Waterloo researchers found that if these types of services and access were standardized nationally, the $6.8-billion cost savings associated with a sedentary lifestyle could be greatly reduced.

According to one researcher on the study, "Physical activity services are certainly part of the broader health promotion picture, but they are unique in their cost-effectiveness and ability to improve health and well-being for all patients, not just those with a chronic condition."

 

What does this research mean for average citizen, Canadian or not? More and more people and scientific studies have made the concrete link between overall wellness (that includes the physical dimension) and overall health. To live well, it is not enough to visit the doctor once a year and get prescriptions filled. Individuals must make pro-active, health choices each day to live to their fullest potential. From a simple walk to an unprocessed whole foods meal, we must write ourselves a prescription for wellness daily.

Moore, C. et al. Physical activity as medicine among family health teams: an environmental scan of physical activity services in an interdisciplinary primary care setting. Applied Physiology, Nutrition, and Metabolism, 2015; 1 DOI: 10.1139/apnm-2014-0387

 

Tags:  March 2015  Physical 

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Inspiration: It is All About Vision!

Posted By NWI, Monday, March 2, 2015
Updated: Wednesday, February 18, 2015

February is Save Your Vision Month, sponsored by the American Optometric Association at www.aoa.org and Workplace Eye Health and Safety Month, sponsored by Prevent Blindness America at www.preventblindness.org. The following are some quotes to celebrate our physical and mental abilities to “see.”

 Never lose an opportunity of seeing anything beautiful, for beauty is God's handwriting.     -Ralph Waldo Emerson

 Vision is the art of seeing what is invisible to others.     -Jonathan Swift

 Certainly, travel is more than the seeing of sights; it is a change that goes on, deep and permanent, in the ideas of living.     -Mary Ritter Beard

 Empathy is about standing in someone else's shoes, feeling with his or her heart, seeing with his or her eyes. Not only is empathy hard to outsource and automate, but it makes the world a better place.    -Daniel H. Pink

 Not everyone has been a bully or the victim of bullies, but everyone has seen bullying, and seeing it, has responded to it by joining in or objecting, by laughing or keeping silent, by feeling disgusted or feeling interested.     -Octavia E. Butler

 Learning lessons is a little like reaching maturity. You're not suddenly more happy, wealthy, or powerful, but you understand the world around you better, and you're at peace with yourself. Learning life's lessons is not about making your life perfect, but about seeing life as it was meant to be.    -Elisabeth Kubler-Ross

 Things that I grew up with stay with me. You start a certain way, and then you spend your whole life trying to find a certain simplicity that you had. It's less about staying in childhood than keeping a certain spirit of seeing things in a different way.    -Tim Burton

 Part of being a man is learning to take responsibility for your successes and for your failures. You can't go blaming others or being jealous. Seeing somebody else's success as your failure is a cancerous way to live.    -Kevin Bacon

 Worship is a way of seeing the world in the light of God.    -Abraham Joshua Heschel

Tags:  Emotional  Inspiration  Intellectual  March 2015  Social  Vision 

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Significant Link Between Cannabis Use and Onset of Mania Symptoms

Posted By NWI, Monday, March 2, 2015
Updated: Wednesday, February 18, 2015

As certain U.S. states move to legalize marijuana, Colorado leading the charge, many wonder about the safety of smoking the plant. After all, advertisers told us for years that smoking tobacco was safe and even promoted it as a weight-loss tool.

Luckily researchers are continuing to do what they do best: question our assumptions and shed light on what is true vs. what is not true.

In this case, researchers from the University of Warwick Medical School, have found evidence to suggest a significant relationship between cannabis use and the onset and increase of mania symptoms. Mania symptoms are associated with bipolar disorders and can include feelings of persistent elation, increased energy, hyperactivity, a reduced need for sleep, anger, aggression, delusions, and hallucinations.

 

The paper, published in the Journal of Affective Disorders (February 2015), was a review of scientific literature examining the effect of cannabis use. The paper strove to answer two questions: 1) Does cannabis use lead to increased occurrence of mania symptoms or manic episodes in individuals with pre-existing bipolar disorder?, and 2) does cannabis use increase the risk of onset of mania symptoms in those without pre-existing bipolar disorder?

 

In both cases the answer was not only “yes,” but a significant link between use and mania became evident. According to the authors, cannabis use significantly worsened mania symptoms in people who had previously been diagnosed with bipolar disorder. More research is needed, suggested the authors, to consider specific pathways from cannabis use to mania and how these may be effected by genetic vulnerability and environmental risk factors.

 

"Cannabis is the most prevalent drug used by the under-18s and during this critical period of development services should be especially aware of and responsive to the problems that cannabis use can cause for adolescent populations,” warned the authors.

Gibbs, M. et al. Cannabis use and mania symptoms: A systematic review and meta-analysis. Journal of Affective Disorders, 2015; 171: 39 DOI:10.1016/j.jad.2014.09.016

Tags:  Cannabis  Emotional  Mania  March 2015  Mental Health  Physical  Smoking 

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NIH’s Guidelines on Complementary and Integrative Approaches for Quitting Smoking

Posted By NWI, Monday, March 2, 2015
Updated: Wednesday, February 18, 2015

The National Institutes of Health’s (NIH) Center for Complementary and Integrative Health has several guidelines and recommendations for individuals who would like to try alternative smoking cessation techniques. Because March is host to Kick Butts Day (March 18) sponsored by the Campaign for Tobacco–Free Kids (www.kickbuttsday.org), NIH guidelines were well timed!

According to NIH (https://nccih.nih.gov/health/tips/smoking), conventional quit-smoking treatments such as counseling and medication, can double or triple the chances that a smoker will kick the habit successfully.

 

But NIH also took the time to address some of the less conventional, complimentary health, approaches to quitting.

  • There is evidence to suggest that mind-body practices can aide individuals who are trying to quit smoking. Examples of these practices include meditation-based therapies, yoga, and guided relaxation to reduce the urge to smoke.
  • Acupuncture and hypnosis, according to NIH, are supported by little evidence of benefit.
  • There is no current evidence that dietary supplements or a certain supplement are effective.
  • Mind-body practices are generally considered safe when performed by healthy people, but individuals should always consult a doctor or complimentary heath practitioner before starting any regimen.
  • Dietary supplements, although labeled “natural,” are not always safe. Some supplements can interact negatively with other medications.
  • For more quitting resources visit www.smokefree.gov

Tags:  Alternative Medicine  Emotional  March 2015  Physical  Smoking  Spiritual 

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Mindfulness: The Next “Big Thing” for a Restful Sleep

Posted By NWI, Monday, March 2, 2015
Updated: Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Published last month (February 2015) in the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA), a new study shows mindfulness meditation practices have a significant ability to aide sleep.

Mindfulness, according to Jon Kabat-Zinn, a famous teacher of mindfulness meditation and the founder of the Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction program at the University of Massachusetts Medical Center, defines mindfulness as “paying attention in a particular way; On purpose, in the present moment, and nonjudgmentally.” In the case of sleep, an individual might work on being aware of all of the sensations in their body as they are lying in bed. They might consciously work to notice their breathing, the rise and fall of their chest, the feeling of the skin against the bedding, muscles relaxing and so forth. As their mind begins to wander, the practice of mindfulness is to bring the mind back to all of the immediate feelings associated with resting and being present in the restful moment.

According to this most recent study, mindfulness practice helped older adults who had moderate sleep difficulties. According to the study’s authors, sleep disturbances are a medical and public health concern with 50 percent of individuals 55 years and older experiencing some sort of sleep problem. These disturbances are tied to fatigue, disturbed mood, depression, and a decreased quality of life.

The study compared individuals who practiced mindfulness with a group that practiced sleep hygiene techniques (going to bed at a set time, avoiding stimulants after a certain hour, using the bed only for sleep and not watching T.V., etc). The mindfulness group showed greater improvement compared to those in the sleep hygiene group. In addition, the mindfulness group showed less of the associated symptoms of insomnia, depression, and fatigue symptoms.

 For more resources on mindfulness visit https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xoLQ3qkh0w0

For more information on sleep Awareness visit: National Sleep Foundation, www.sleepfoundation.org.

 Black, D.S. Mindfulness meditation appears to help improve sleep quality. Retrieved February 16 from http://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2015-02/tjnj-mma021215.php

Tags:  Emotional  March 2015  Mindfulness  Physical  Sleep  Spiritual 

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