From the Seattle PI, a wonderful roundup of natural remedies for eczema:
A recent double-blind study showed that virgin coconut oil helped decrease inflammation and itching while protecting the skin’s barrier function in patients with eczema. In addition, coconut oil reduced bacterial colonization of the skin common in eczema, which can help prevent infections of eczema lesions.
Patients with eczema are thought to have a defect in essential fatty acid metabolism. Increasing consumption of omega-3 fatty acids such as cold water fish or fish oil can help decrease inflammation of the skin. Another type of essential fatty acid known as gamma linoleic acid, which is an omega-6 fatty acid found in evening primrose oil and borage oil, also has been shown in some studies to be helpful in the treatment of eczema.
Essential fatty acids
Some studies have shown that probiotics can be helpful, especially in children with eczema.
Chamomile has a long historical use for skin ailments. One study showed that topical chamomile cream was as effective as a type of low-dose steroid cream for eczema. It can also be taken internally as a tea.
Mind-body approaches such as biofeedback, hypnotherapy, relaxation techniques and meditation are effective tools for managing stress and can be a part of a treatment plan for eczema.
Thanks to an article in the Press of Atlanta City, I learned that even the most prominent facilities that help people recover from drug addiction have been including biofeedback in their programs. This comes as no surprise!
From the article:
Scientists define addiction as a chronic illness characterized by relapses during recovery, such as diabetes or hypertension. As with those health conditions, managing addiction requires a sustained lifestyle change, and most rehab centers — regardless of cost and amenities, and some of these are quite deluxe and expensive — aim to bring about that change through counseling, education and community service.
Because addicts share key things in common, they need care, understanding and hope as they work toward recovery — whether it's in a fancy facility or a simple one.
Betty Ford Center, on 20 acres in the desert east of Los Angeles, offers acupuncture and biofeedback as part of their recovery program. Residential patients share double rooms with views of the local mountains, enjoying meals shaped by the staff dietitian and personalized exercise plans designed by the onsite fitness trainer.
It is our hope at Somatic Vision that more substance-abuse programs will incorporate biofeedback, since we have seen first-hand how effective it is at teaching people to:
- - Find healthier ways to cope with ongoing stress from any source
- - Change ingrained habits for better wellbeing
- - Use the mind to control the body
- - Insert conscious self-management into the tumult of life
By Yuval OdedThis walkthrough shows a clinician how to demonstrate the effect of mental stress on the body in real-time using Alive Clinical Version biofeedback graphing. We can tell clients what we know, but showing them is much more powerful and motivating.
- From the baseline level we let the SCL line stabilize, preferably letting it get a downward trend as in the example shown below example.
After going down from 2.71 microsiemens to 2.16 microsiemens, this is the perfect point at which to evoke an anticipation reaction. At timeline 1 min. 50 sec., the client was told “I will now ask you a difficult math question.”
Notice the sharp rise in the SCL line climbing to 3.50 microsiemens.
The client did not move or say anything (since the proposed question was not yet asked), so it is clear that the rise in arousal level stems from the psychological impact of anticipation.
- By pressing the Hide button we can show the client only the SCL line. After the first anticipation trigger, she is asked to rest.
Videos are a great way to better understand how biofeedback works to help people learn to control their stress levels. Over at YouTube Somatic Vision founder and engineer Ryan Deluz has posted the first of a series of videos he is making that will help people understand the purpose and experience of the Alive comprehensive training environment. Check it out, and if you find it interesting and useful, make sure to click the subscribe button above the video to the series so you don't miss upcoming videos in the series.
Integrating mindfulness with biofeedback — A new way to enhance results in individual therapy — IntroductionSubmitted by sv.adm on Fri, 08/06/2010 - 16:38
By Yuval Oded, inspired by Zindel Segal
As mindfulness and other Eastern spiritual practices are introduced into psychotherapy, both therapists and clients seek for ways to deepen the practice. In the next few weeks I will describe how I integrate Alive biofeedback with mindfulness practices.
“Mindfulness” refers to keeping one’s consciousness alive to the present reality. John Kabat-Zinn, one of pioneers in integrating mindfulness into therapy, says, “when we use the term mindfulness we refer to ‘an openhearted, moment to moment, nonjudgmental awareness’.”
In therapy we often aim at helping our clients to promote acceptance of internal experience. In a wide range of clinical problems, what is common is the avoidance or over-attention to internal experiences such as thoughts, images, emotions and sensations. For example, many clients are not aware of the moment-to-moment fluctuations in mood they are experiencing. A patient may describe his panic attack as lasting 4 days while scientific findings show that the human body is not capable of sustaining such high levels of arousal for long. Anxiety sensitivity, or fear of fear, often causes this sustained attention to anxiety-related symptoms.more »
Canadian researchers believe teenage anxiety can lead to physical and mental health issues.
Researchers from the Université de Montréal, Sainte-Justine University Hospital Center and McGill University found that insecure adolescents experience more intense pain in the form of frequent headaches, abdominal pain and joint pain.
Moreover, these teens were more likely to be depressed than peers with secure attachments.
Comments from Dr. John Grohol over at Psych Central:
We often try and highlight the connections between one’s mental health and their physical health complaints, to demonstrate that the two are inseparable. Yet another study has been published to show how our insecurity can even impact something as physical as the feeling of pain.
Anyone attending the International Peak Performance Symposium on November 16th in Milan? If so, drop us a note about anything that was particularly interesting to you. The conference will focus on modern approaches of neurofeedback and biofeedback with leading international experts in the field — we wish we were able to attend to exchange ideas!
Meet the Rationalizer, an emotion-sensing system targeted at stress-prone home investors who trade heavily online. Developed as a concept by Philips Electronics, It acts as an 'emotion mirror' in which the intensity of the user’s feelings is reflected.
Research shows that home investors do not act purely rationally: their behavior is influenced by emotions, most notably fear and greed, which can compromise their ability to take an objective, factual stance. This insight led to the Rationalizer concept in which online traders are alerted when it may be wise to take a time-out, wind down and re-consider their actions.
It's generating a lot of commentary (some which pokes fun!) at places like Engadget and while its market seems almost impossibly narrow, I have no doubt the Rationalizer might be a good idea for helping people keep their cool under stress while they worry though the consequences of each fast-moving trade. The real-time skin-sweat measurement the Rationalizer takes is one of the measurement inputs used by Somatic Vision in its products, and this particular measurement reflects the stimulation vs. relaxation biological range. You can watch some videos of the Rationalizer at Engadget.
According to Dr. Joshua Wootton, a psychologist at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center (a Harvard teaching hospital), a 22-year-old psychology student named Jennifer tried a variety of medications and trigger-point nerve block injections to treat the migraines she had suffered since she was 10, though none of these approaches really worked. Then she found out about biofeedback and meditation.
Read her inspiring story, in which she finds biofeedback training and meditation "completely zap the pain."
Wootten explains his process of using biofeedback to treat migraine pain:
“People can actually see on a computer screen what is happening in real time,” he says. “By increasing their awareness of how their bodies respond, patients can more easily devise strategies for improved response. For headache pain, we focus on musculoskeletal tension and autonomic nervous system dysfunction. Patients can see that by just being in pain they are raising their adrenaline levels and putting further strain on the system, exacerbating their pain and making it less treatable. I teach them an easy form [of relaxation] and ask them to practice it twice a day for 15 minutes each time.”more »
According to a story in the Washington Post, video games are being proven to offer significant mental health benefits.
After being contacted by a customer who found the popular game "Bejeweled helped her better manage her depression, the makers of Bejeweled hired some researchers to study the possible mental health benefits of the game. The findings show why video games are gaining credibility as a medical intervention for those suffering from stress, depression, and anxiety:
Some games seem to activate the parasympathetic nervous system, which can reduce the heightened tension that's a natural response to stress.
The researcher hypothesized that one reason for the apparent mental health benefits of video games is that many people in Western countries find it impossible to switch off; they're always alert and stressed out. When those Type A people try to relax, they get bored because they've come to require a certain level of stressful arousal.
Playing certain video games offers just enough mental challenge to keep such people occupied while putting them into a state of relative mindlessness. That state appears to have salutary effects on stress and other mental problems.
The story also shines a light on the power of biofeedback in gaming, the core concept behind all Somatic Vision games:more »
We got a call from the school principal: Our son is doing better! I'm sure that Dual Drive has had something to do with it. I love watching him calm down and breathe.