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Benefits of Meditation and Mindfulness

April 24, 2015 | Cathy | Comments (2) Facebook Twitter More...

Horizon with stones

Creative Commons Deed CCO

Mindfulness has been the 'flavour of the month' for health books recently. I think of mindfulness as focusing on the present and being in the moment and a technique to deal with stress and anxiety in our busy lives. And indeed, many recent titles on mindfulness are about mindfulness-based stress reduction (MBSR).  

Because stress is a contributing factor to various diseases, meditation and mindfulness may have health benefits beyond lowering stress. For example, meditation together with light treatment has been shown to be more effective than light treatment alone for psoriasis. MBSR techniques also had positive short-term and long-term effects in terms of pain and overall well-being, for patients with fibromyalgia.  

Recent research has shown the intriguing results of meditation reducing the rate of brain aging as well as affecting the length of telomeres of breast cancer survivors. Telomeres protect chromosomes from damage; longer telomeres are believed to protect against disease.

However, meditation doesn't help with all conditions. For example, one recent study showed that meditation alone did not lower blood pressure and another study found no evidence of meditation helping with weight loss. But even without these benefits, meditation can help you manage your stress, reduce negative emotions and improve your emotional well-being.

For more about the health benefits of meditation:

The healing power of meditation You are not your pain (book)
eBook   
audiobook (CD)
eAudiobook
The mindful way workbook
The blissful brain: neuroscience and proof of the power of meditation The meditation doctor: a practical approach to healing common ailments through meditation Clinical handbook of mindfulness

Could you use an extra set of eyes?

April 17, 2015 | marietta forster-haberer | Comments (0) Facebook Twitter More...

Be My Eyes
Now you can...there is an app for that! Check out this free app "Be My Eyes", developed by Hans Jorgen Wiberg in Copenhagen, Denmark. Wiberg, who has Usher Syndrome, an inherited condition that causes progressive vision loss, came up with the idea for an app after he saw many blind people using FaceTime to get help from family and friends. Broadening the scope from a few available helpers to a network of eyes worldwide, he got together with software developers and voila, the 'Be My Eyes' app was born.

In a nutshell, the Be My Eyes app connects blind people with sighted volunteer helpers from around the world via live video chat. The app is available for free from the App Store. But here is the catch, at this stage it's only available for iPhone, iPad and iPod Touch. But don't despair, the developers are working on an Android version. To voice your interest in the Android version, go to their site to register.

While the app was developed for blind people, there is no reason why other people with diminishing vision could not use it. I am thinking particularly of the aging boomers. Could this be the way of reducing medication errors in the home?  If you can think of other innovative uses for this app, send it along in your comments.

For other helpful vision loss tools contact your local CNIB office. To locate an office near you, check out their website or call their helpline at 1-800-563-2642.

For further suggestions, check out the library's collection on Self-help devices for the visually impaired.

   Assistive technology for students who are blind or visually impaired - a guide to assessment  Keep It Simple - A Guide to Assistive Technologies   Assistive technologies in the library

Why sitting is hazardous to your health...

April 9, 2015 | marietta forster-haberer | Comments (0) Facebook Twitter More...

Rethinking sittingSitting is a favourite pastime in North America. We sit in our cars, sit at our desks, lounge around in endless meetings and when we get home, guess what? We plunk down in front of the tele or computer.

According to a survey "Americans are sitting an average of 13 hours a day and sleeping an average of 8 hours resulting in a sedentary lifestyle of around 21 hours a day." Does that sound like you? Be honest, I won't tell! Whether you admit it or not, most of us spend way too much time in the sitting position.

So what's wrong with sitting? I could quote umpteen articles that show that sitting is hazardous to our health but as they say, a picture is worth a thousand words so I will let this graphic from the Washington Post do the 'talking'. For full explanation of the hazards, check out the original source.

   The-Health-Hazards-of-Sitting
So what can you do about the hazards of sitting? The exercises illustrated above help to counteract a sedentary lifestyle. But to really tackle the problem, you need to reduce the time you spend sitting around. There are many creative ways to cut out sitting....walk/bike, roller blade to work or at least part of the way; use an exercise ball or treadmill desk instead of an office chair; walk during meetings rather than sit in stuffy boardrooms; and go for a walk after dinner instead of sitting in front of the television. Borrow a pedometer from us to keep track! These measures go a long way to combat the hazards of sitting.

For more information, check out the featured books below. Or perhaps you would like to acquire a more ergonomically designed chair?  Even better, explore mindful uses for the much maligned chair...

   Get up!  why your chair is killing you and what you can do about it   Sitting kills, moving heals how everyday movement will prevent pain, illness, and early death -- and exercise alone won't   How to sit

   Fifty chairs that changed the world  A taxonomy of office chairs - the evolution of the office chair, demonstrated through a catalogue of seminal models and an illustrated taxonomy of their components    Chairs  Chair

    Quiet sitting - the Daoist approach for a healthy mind and body    Chair yoga - seated exercises for health and wellbeing    Seated tai chi and qigong - guided therapeutic exercises to manage stress and balance mind, body and spirit  

     Yoga for meditators - poses to support your sitting practice     Sitting still like a frog - mindfulness exercises for kids (and their parents)    Shi er duan jin - 12-routine sitting exercises

If you're happy and you know it...

March 19, 2015 | marietta forster-haberer | Comments (2) Facebook Twitter More...

International Day of Happiness

"This year will mark the third observance of the International Day of Happiness, which recognizes the relevance of happiness and well-being as universal goals and aspirations in people’s lives and the importance of their recognition in public policy objectives." To celebrate this year's Day of Happiness, the UN launched a social media campaign with the aim to create the world's happiest playlist... 

If you're happy and you know it

While I am not sure that my song...“If you’re happy and you know!” will make the playlist, I can attest that singing it to my little granddaughter while rocking her on my knees definitely made us both very happy! 

For more ideas on the 'Contagion' of happiness check out one of these titles from the Toronto Public Library and don't forget to add your happy song to hashtag #HappySoundsLike.

 Happy is the new healthy - 31 ways to relax, let go, and enjoy life NOW!   Happiness is a state of mind  Find happiness now - 50 shortcuts for bringing more love, balance, and joy into your life   Four Meditations on Happiness

  Uncovering happiness - overcoming depression with mindfulness and self-compassion  The intelligent optimist's guide to life - how to find health and success in a world that's a better place than you think  Questions for the Dalai Lama - answers on love, success, happiness & the meaning of life  The secrets of happiness - how to love life, laugh more, and live longer

  The mindful way through stress - the proven 8-week path to health, happiness, and well-being   The practice - a daily guide for living present, managing stress, and being happy  The happy life checklist - 654 simple ways to find your bliss  Life by the cup - ingredients for a purpose-filled life of bottomless happiness and limitless succes









 

Paraskavedekatriaphobia and other things we fear...

March 13, 2015 | marietta forster-haberer | Comments (0) Facebook Twitter More...

 

Phobias - stories of your deepest fearsIf you are spooked by Friday the 13th, you are not alone. Also known by the unpronounceable name of Paraskavedekatriaphobia, it is not a legit phobia, at least not according to the DSM, the bible of mental disorders. That's the good news.

The bad news is that there are numerous phobias with less eccentric labels that cause a lot of anguish and suffering for many people. To explore more about these legit phobias, check out some of the titles highlighted below. 

But if after all you are attached to Paraskavedekatriaphobia, keep practicing the pronunciation. According to 'experts' at the MedicineNet, "when you learn to pronounce it, you're cured!"

 

  Overcome phobias and panic attacks    Scared stiff everything you need to know about 50 famous phobias   Face your fears - a proven plan to beat anxiety, panic, phobias, and obsessions

   
   Anxiety and phobias  Phobic and anxiety disorders in children and adolescents  Freeing your child from anxiety - practical strategies to overcome fears, worries, and phobias and be prepared for for life--from toddlers to teens


                                




 

 

Endometriosis Awareness Week

March 8, 2015 | Claudia | Comments (0) Facebook Twitter More...

Coinciding with International Women's Day is Endometriosis Awareness Week, an annual campaign which takes place during the first week in March. #EndometriosisAwareness is the Twitter handle for the yellow ribbon campaign bringing awareness to this affliction.

Women suffering from this affliction suffer heavy menstrual cycles often accompanied by extreme pain. National Institute of Child Health and Human Development reports endometriosis affects some 176 million women worldwide -- including award-winning author Hilary Mantel, who has spoken about how her endometriosis had been misdiagnosed, and instead she was treated for psychosis. Also, a long list of celebrities, including Marilyn Monroe and Queen Victoria have or been known to have endometriosis.

Hysterectomy, the removal of a woman's ovaries, is one treatment for endometriosis; however, some medical sources say hysterectomy may be over-utilized as a treatment for conditions that affect a women's fertility. A Toronto Star article, from 2014, notes that more than 40,000 hysterectomies were performed in 2012 to 2013.

The Mayo Clinic's micro-website on endometriosis offers reliable information on this affliction.

 

 Featured below is a short list of titles from the library about this condition...

Women's herbs women's health by Christopher Hobbs    Dr. Susan Lark's heavy menstrual flow & anemia self help book by Susan Lark   The endometriosis natural treatment program by Valarie Ann Worwood  

Living well with endometriosis by Kerry-Ann Morris   Endometriosis by Mala Arora    The UnHysterectomy by Holly Bridges

...while current news and academic journal articles can be accessed through the library's Health Databases.

 

GULP: exploring the mysteries of the alimentary tract

February 17, 2015 | marietta forster-haberer | Comments (0) Facebook Twitter More...

Gulp - adventures on the alimentary canal

Mary Roach, dubbed by the Washington Post as "America's funniest science writer" has done it again. In her latest book, 'Gulp: adventures on the alimentary canal, she takes the reader on a mysterious adventure exploring all the nooks and crannies of the alimentary tract... all 30 feet of it. Starting with the nose (sniff, sniff) to, yes you guessed it, the 'ick factor' including the 'perfumed' part on the way. So much for a spoiler alert!

And if you enjoy this book, you may want to check out the many other hilarious titles by Mary Roach - Toronto Public Library has many copies in various formats including e-books.

If humour isn't your thing and you would rather read something more serious on the digestive system, here are further suggestions. 

 

          Get to know your gut - everything you wanted to know about burping, bloating, candida, constipation, food allergies, farting, and poo but were afraid to ask  No guts, no glory - gut solution, the core of your total wellness  The inside tract - your good gut guide to great digestive health  

          A woman's guide to a healthy stomach - taking control of your digestive health    Digestive wellness - strengthen the immune system and prevent disease through healthy digestion   Digestive intelligence - a holistic view of your second brain

          Digestive wellness   Gut solutions - [natural solutions to your digestive problems]   The complete idiot's guide to digestive health



  

 

 

African Healing Traditions...

February 11, 2015 | marietta forster-haberer | Comments (0) Facebook Twitter More...

As I was reading up on Black History Month, I came across some highly interesting books on African Healing Traditions. To my dismay, I realized that I did not know anything about this subject - so by highlighting these books here, it is my hope that others may have their 'aha moment' too. Titles in the library range from the official African Herbal Pharmacopoeia to stories of African Tree Remedies and Rituals. 

    African American folk healing    African herbal pharmacopoeia     African American slave medicine - herbal and non-herbal treatments.

    Healing traditions - African medicine, cultural exchange, and competition in South Africa, 1820-1948      A healing grove - African tree remedies and rituals for the body and spirit    Black issues in the therapeutic process

     
For information on general health issues specific to Canadians of Black Heritage, see my earlier blog.

Check out also the multitude of programs at TPL celebrating Black History Month or pick a book from the recommended reading list.

 

 

 

 

Baby knows best...

January 29, 2015 | marietta forster-haberer | Comments (0) Facebook Twitter More...

Now that I am a grandma and get to enjoy child rearing at 'arm's length', that is, getting all the cuddles without the midnight feedings, I have come across many wonderful ideas that would have made life so much more fun when my little ones were babies. Okay Doctor Spock where were you when I needed you? 

Baby-led weaning the essential guide to introducing solid foods and helping your baby to grow up a happy and confident eaterOne of those wonderful ideas is 'baby-led weaning'. Baby-led what, you may ask? I know, I know, it sounded strange to me too but it makes so much sense when you consider it and chances are my daughter would not have turned out to be such a picky eater. Anyway, in a nutshell, baby-led weaning is 'letting children feed themselves from the very start of weaning.' By the way, weaning in this context does not mean the end of breastfeeding but rather the beginning of eating solids. Solids that you and I eat, not that mushy stuff that we pureed and spoon fed our little ones. According to experts, "you just hand them the food in a suitably-sized piece and if they like it they eat it and if they don’t they won’t." This lets babies experience the texture of food and let them develop their taste buds. In other words, you allow babies to have fun with food... quite a change from the customary admonition 'Don't play with your food'! And in case you worry that your baby doesn't get enough nutrition, keep in mind that you still provide all the essentials in breast milk. Once your baby is eating well, he or she will let you know in not uncertain terms that the weaning aka breastfeeding is complete. Just one more thing, make sure you are eating a balanced diet so that you and your baby are well nourished. In case you need a refresher on healthy eating for babies and the whole family, check out these books from the Toronto Public Library's collection.

     Feed yourself, feed your family - good nutrition and healthy cooking for new moms and growing families  Eating in color - delicious, healthy recipes for you and your family  Fearless feeding - how to raise healthy eaters from high chair to high school
     Get your family eating right! - a 30-day plan for teaching your kids healthy eating habits for life  The picky eating solution - work with your child's unique eating type to beat mealtime struggles forever  It's not about the broccoli - three habits to teach your kids for a lifetime of healthy eating



You may also want to check out the Baby-Lead Weaning Cookbook for more ideas.

 

Is there a common link between Cancer, Diabetes, Alzheimer's?

September 19, 2014 | marietta forster-haberer | Comments (0) Facebook Twitter More...


Morwenna Given, Medical Herbalist
To find out, please join us for a free health talk given by Morwenna Given, practising Medical Herbalist.  Ms. Given will talk about the basic and common molecular beginnings of Cancer, Diabetes and Alzheimer's Disease and discuss how the pathologies of each disease is interlinked.

The talk will take place on Wednesday, September 24, 2014 from 6:30 to 8:00 pm in the Beeton Auditorium at the Toronto Reference Library.

Bring your questions! The talk is free and All are welcome. 

For more general information about the prevention of Cancer, Diabetes and Alzheimer's Disease check out one of these books from our collection.

 

  L'alimentation anti-âge - bien manger pour bien vivre longtemps  Eating well, living well - an everyday guide for optimum health  The Alzheimer's prevention program - keep your brain healthy for the rest of your life

   Say no to cancer - the drug-free guide to preventing and helping fight cancer      Eat well age better - how to use diet and supplements to guard the lifelong health of your eyes, your heart, your brain, and your bones    Nutrition in the prevention and treatment of disease.





 

Toronto Public Library helps find reliable, understandable health information for you and your family.