EXCESS BELLY FAT AND STRESS

     Have a big belly and can't figure out why?  Besides bad eating habits and lack of exercise, your body may be responding to stress.  Stress may be caused internally by physical issues such as infections and inflammation or externally by everything from relationship issues to financial problems to dealing with a challenging commute.  Chronic stress can cause your adrenal gland to release the hormone cortisol.  Cortisol, in turn, can reduce the production of testosterone and estrogen.

      If you have high cortisol levels,  you may not only have excess belly fat but also be struggling with low libido, insomnia, a weakened immune system and high blood pressure.  Low cortisol levels caused by worn-out adrenal glands no longer producing enough cortisol can cause chronic fatigue and general apathy.  Effective stress management is necessary to overall hormonal balance to protect you from these problems.

    Using a variety of stress management techniques can help you deal with those health issues caused by high or low cortisol levels.  Getting enough sleep is critical.  Check past posts on this blog for articles on dealing with insomnia.  Find time for yourself to do something you enjoy - spending time on a pleasant activity is a great way to relieve stress

 .  Exercise is a wonderful way to relieve stress.  Think about when you were a kid, if you liked to run and play, get out and take a walk, or ride a bike or fly a kite.  If you liked to swim go to the Y or Rec Center, or take a class, a Pilates class or a dance class.  Moving can release endorphins to help you deal with stress.  

    Deep breathing is another great way to fight stress.  Breathe in for a count of four, hold for a count of six and exhale to a count of six.  Whenever you feel stressed, begin this process until you feel yourself begin to relax. 

    Hypnotherapy can be a valuable tool to relieve stress.  Some hypnotherapists including myself, encourage clients to record their hypnosis session on their cell phone so they can use it later for relaxation.  Obviously, a recording is never used while driving or operating machinery, but can be a great tool for relaxation at home lying on your bed or sofa.  

   If you are seeing signs of cortisol imbalance causing problems such as excess belly fat, try some of these stress-relievers, see a hypnotherapist and BE WELL.

CAFFEINE AND PANIC ATTACKS

      If you are one of the 90% of Americans adults who drink caffeinated coffee, tea or soda, be aware you are consuming a potent drug.  According to Wilkie A. Wilson, Jr. PhD, a neuropharmacologist and research professor of prevention science at the Social Science Research Institute at Duke University, caffeine is in so many beverages and foods, it is likely you may be consuming more than you realize.  Even some over-the-counter-medications may contain caffeine.  For example, the pain medication, Excedrin, has 65 mg of caffeine per table. The FDA recommends no more than 400 mg of caffeine per day.  Since one cup of coffee can have as much as 200 - 300 mg of caffeine per day, it's easy to see how we can go beyond that recommendation.

     Some consumption of caffeine can actually have positive health effects. Studies have shown positive results such as headache relief, fewer gallstones, less Parkinson's disease and less cognitive decline in those consuming caffeine products.  Unfortunately, there are also negative effects in caffeine use including, high blood pressure, incontinence, sleep problems and impaired glucose regulation.

     If you are suffering from stress or panic attacks, be aware caffeine increases the hormone, adrenaline, which is already higher during times of stress.  And Dr. Wilson has noted that large amounts of caffeine, defined as about three cups of coffee, can actually trigger a panic attack.

     Hypnosis can be a valuable tool in cutting back or eliminating caffeine in your diet. Use hypnosis, feel better and BE WELL. 

    

STRESS AND COPD

     Chronic stress can make any health condition worse. But it can be a particular challenge for people suffering from COPD. Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) which includes emphysema and chronic bronchitis can cause wheezing, shortness of breath and  chronic phlegmy cough.  The illness itself can be stressful and worsen the condition.

     A review article in the journal HEART LUNG reported that chronic stress can lead to feelings of isolation and depression among those suffering from COPD.  In addition, the problem with difficulty breathing caused by emphysema and chronic bronchitis can trigger panic.  The panic, in turn, causes a flood of cortisol and adrenaline in the body.  Over time, these hormones can weaken the immune system and may cause weight gain which can cause more damage to the lungs.

    If you suffer from COPD or some other chronic illness, ask your medical doctor for advice on dealing with the stress in your life.  Don't be surprised, if you are told to include aerobic exercise in your day which can improve breathing ability and ease stress and anxiety.  Having a supportive family and network of friends will help deal with stress.  Your doctor may also recommend a nutritionist to plan meals which include antioxidants and vitamins in fruits and vegetables to ease inflammation.

    Hypnotherapy is a valuable tool to deal with stress. A session focusing on calmness, peace and relaxation can be of great value to be less stressed and breathe easier.  Prolonged stress can make any health condition worse. Hypnotherapy can give you a great chance to BE WELL. 

STRESS CAN MAKE YOU FAT

     If you have noticed that you tend to gain weight when you are really stressed out, you're not imagining the correlation. Andrew L. Rubman, ND, and contributing medical editor to DAILY HEALTH NEWS, confirms what you have suspected.  So why does stress make you fat?

    Rubman identifies the culprit as the hormone, cortisol.  When we are stressed, our bodies go into the fight-or-flight syndrome, which is the basis of how our bodies respond physiologically to stress.   The adrenal glands begin to produce the hormone in order to regulate the effects of insulin on blood sugar.  Add in poor dietary choices and ongoing stress can overload the body's system causing weight gain.

    The combination of high cortisol levels and dietary imbalances can be further aggravated by sleep problems and aging.  Chronically, waking up regularly in the middle of night to worry about finances, family or work problems can be an indicator that stress may affect your weight.  Dr. Rubman notes, "This may be your adrenal gland saying, "wake up", there is something wrong with your insulin-cortisol-blood sugar levels.  

    Dr. Rubman suggests a number of ways of managing blood sugar levels.  If you have symptoms of low blood sugar (hypoglycemia) which may include:  anxiety, trembling, heart palpitations, or headaches  or high blood sugar (hyperglycemia) including fatigue, blurred vision, thirst or frequent urination, see your medical doctor for blood and urine tests. Under a physician's supervision, you may be prescribed medications or supplements including chromium, a fiber supplement such as glucomannan and high potency B vitamin 

    If you are concerned about gaining weight or preventing issues such as diabetes and heart disease, it is important to deal with the stresses in your life.  Develop tools to deal with the stresses in your life.  Nurture yourself by allowing your body to relax by mindful breathing or meditation.  Exercise is a wonderful way to deal with stress.  Hypnosis can be a powerful tool to deal with stress, motivate you to improve eating habits and exercise regularly.  Make those changes, deal with the stress, lose the weight and BE WELL>

HYPNOSIS FOR BEREAVEMENT

    If you have recently lost someone you love, you are at increased risk for heart damage.  Thomas Buckley, PhD, and senior lecturer at the University of Sydney Nursing School, in Australia, has reported on a 2010 study on bereavement.  The researchers tracked the heart health of 78 adults who within the previous two months had lost a child or spouse.  This was compared to the heart health of adults who had not been recently bereaved.   They found that during the six-month period after the loss, the bereaved had nearly twice as many rapid-heartbeat episodes as those who had not had such a loss, increasing the heart attack risk.

     The researchers theorized that bereavement and mourning is a highly stressful time for sufferers and that the stress may damage the heart.  It is believed the changes usually settle down after six months.

    So what can you do if you have suffered a recent loss?  Buckley suggests that those who are recently bereaved have a physical which includes a heart checkup within the first month after the loss.  In addition, working with a therapist or hypnotherapist to deal with the loss and to build stress coping skills can be of great value.  Even in times of loss, hypnosis can help you to BE WELL.

STRESS MANAGEMENT AND DIABETES

    Stress management is important for everyone but can become critical if you have diabetes.   When a person is stressed, the body releases the "fight or flight" hormone cortisol.  This is particularly significant for diabetics because cortisol also increases blood glucose to produce a quick surge in adrenalin.  Cortisol can be released in an emergency situation or in the chronic stress people often feel in their daily life.  Diabetes can become more difficult to control with chronic stress.

    So what can you do to manage your stress?  At least a few times a day, do something you find relaxing - read a chapter, work on a craft or hobby, call a friend.  Get up and move.  Simply taking a walk can help calm you and relieve stress.  Practice yoga or learn to meditate.  Get away from stresses by getting outside for a few minutes.  Remember, hypnotherapy can be a great way to relieve stress.  If you have diabetes or are concerned about the stress has on your body, begin to manage your stress and BE WELL.

TECHNIQUES FOR MINDFULNESS

    Dealing with stress and learning to relax are two reasons I often see clients in my hypnotherapy practice.  From daily life stresses like work issues and family relationships to dealing with major traumas like sexual assault, car wrecks and returning from war,  people need tools to manage the stresses they are experiencing in their lives.

     Amishi Jha, PhD, an associate professor of psychology at the University of Pennsylvania, who studies stress-fighting techniques to help military personnel has said that "The mind needs support - we call it 'mental armor" - just as much as the body does" She notes that "Research shows it's possible to cushion yourself against stress and the tactics we're using with soldiers also apply to real folks and more common types of anxiety."  

    Stress is dangerous.  Stress over time causes anxiety and persistent anxiety can actually kill neurons in the brain dealing with decision-making and memory.  This destruction is so damaging it is even visible on brain scans.

     Among the coping techniques new PTSD science is teaching is how to deal with stress.  The researchers at the University of Pennsylvania are using the practice of mindfulness meditation with military personnel to help stress resilience.  Results have shown that Marines were more alert, exhibited better memory and less reactive to stressors after just eight weeks of meditation training.

    If you have tried meditation before and found you could not do it or felt too busy to meditate, here is a simple technique the Marines use even in a war zone.  Sit upright while focusing on your breathing.  Then begin to pay to attention to a physical sensation such as the feel of your chest moving or air in your nostrils.  When your mind wanders, just note the disruption and then return your attention to the physical sensation.  Some people meditate for half an hour or more each day, others find that it is easier to simply meditate for five to ten minutes at a time for a number of times a day.

    Hypnotherapy is another great tool to deal with stress and help you relax.  A qualified hypnotherapist can help you learn techniques for mindfulness so you can BE WELL.

TOOLS TO OVERCOME ANXIETY

    Almost everyone will occasionally experience anxiety.  Dealing with a difficult person, speaking in front of a group or even making a challenging phone call can be the kind of situations that may make us have a moment of anxiety.  But one in ten adults overage 60 suffers with the worry, obsessive thoughts, fear and perhaps the nameless dread of anxiety that has become chronic.

   If you are suffering from anxiety,  seeing your physician is the first step to overcoming this challenge.  Most doctors will prescribe medication which many patients will find very helpful.  But I often see clients who feel that the medicines are not the answer for them.  Some feel the medications are just not working while others are fearful of side effects or dependency.  

    If you suffer from anxiety and do not wish to take medications, what else can you do?  If you would like to tame anxiety without drugs, there are other tools to overcome anxiety and help prevent future occurrences.  Making healthy diet and lifestyle changes can strengthen your body and conquer anxiety.

    What you consume in eat and drink has a tremendous effect on how your body reacts to the stresses in your life.  Eating to tame anxiety includes eating complex carbohydrates while avoiding simple carbohydrates. Complex carbohydrates include brightly colored vegetables and fruits.  A good goal is at least two servings with each meal.  The protective phytonutrients in these foods help prevent the destructiveness of high stress hormones . Avoid simple carbs like white bread, crackers, white potatoes and white pasta elevate blood sugars.  They causes a quick uplift where you feel better before crashing into even greater anxiety. Be sure to get 60 g to 70 g of protein daily.  Proteins are important in moving the amino acid tryptophan to the brain.  This increases the calming neurotramsmitter, serotonin. Protein foods include, beef, chicken and fish,  Nonanimal proteins include soy, beans, seeds and nuts.  Don't forget alcohol is a concentrated sugar so limiting alcoholic drinks is recommended to overcome anxiety. And avoid caffeine which elevates the stress hormone norepinephrine.  Limit or at least avoid caffeinated drinks such as coffee, tea and caffeinated soft-drinks.

    Many experts in the field of anxiety believe that certain vitamins, minerals  and other supplements will help control chronic anxiety. I highly recommend that you consult your medical doctor before beginning a supplement regimen especially if you are taking any prescription medications.  Among the vitamins recommended by experts are the B-complex which include folic acid, B-6 and B-12, Vitamin D and Omega-3 fatty acids available in a fish oil supplement.  Minerals such as calcium and magnesium can help as a mild muscle relaxant.  Herbal supplements are also recommended including Saint-John's wort, Passionflower and L-theanine.  Before you use these be sure and discuss dosages with your doctor.

     Exercise can be a great way to deal with anxiety.  Get up and move.  If you are anxious about being outside, climb the stairs inside your home.  If you haven't been exercising at all, start slowly - walk outside to the mailbox or down to the corner.  Challenge yourself to do a little more each day until you are moving regularly for about half an hour.

     Learning breathing techniques can be a great way to deal with the stresses that can foster anxiety.  If you have ever watched a baby asleep on its back, its little belly will go up and down.  We're born knowing how to breathe.  As we age, we get more uptight and tend to inhale much more shallowly.  To release the tension which can cause anxiety, put your hands on your belly, breathe down through your lungs and into your abdominal cavity. You should be holding air  so your tummy will go out rather than such in.  I suggest you breathe in to a count of four.  Hold your breath for two counts and exhale for seven counts.  Do this for about a minute at least three times a day.  Some people do it as often as every 90 minutes to two hours.  By doing this, you are training your body to release stress and tension automatically.

    Hypnotherapy is an excellent tool for relieving anxiety.  It will help you relax.  I always suggest to my clients that they may want to record the session on their smart phone for a time when they would like that level of relaxation again.  In addition, hypnotherapy can be a great way to motivate yourself to eat better, avoid caffeine or alcohol, and exercise more.  Hope you can use these tips to overcome anxiety and BE WELL.

STRESS, DEPRESSION AND STROKE RISK

    When I ask my clients, on a scale of one to ten where there daily stress level is, the numbers I hear more than any others are seven and eight.  Sometimes an acute event such as a family hospitalization or a wedding has run the numbers up.  But often the number reflects the chronic stress of a busy and demanding work and family life.  This chronic stress in turn can lead to depression and health risks including stroke.

     In the United States, the Number 3 cause of death is stroke and is a leading cause of disability.  Speech problems, paralysis and weakness in the limbs are all complications that can be experienced by those who have suffered a stroke.  Researchers studied 1200 people.  Six hundred of these people had recently had a stroke while the other 600 had not.  The study reported that people who had experienced stress for a year or more were at 3.5 times greater risk for ischemic stroke .  Nearly 800,000 Americans suffer a stroke each year.  About 87% of those have an ischemic stroke where a clot blocks blood flow to the brain.  The other 13% have a hemorrhagic stroke where a blood vessel ruptures in the brain.

       Physicians and researchers believe chronic stress raises stroke risk by triggering the secretion of cortisol.  This hormone can increase inflammation, raise blood pressure,  and destabilize blood sugar. All of these can elevate stroke risk.  If you feel like you are dealing with unrelieved stress or depression or are having symptoms like changes in sleep habits or weight, it's time to see your physician.

     You doctor my prescribe an antidepressant and may also recommend cognitive behavioral therapy.  Changes in life style such as a healthful diet, regular and sufficient sleep and regular exercise will help deal with both stress and depression.  If you need motivation to make those life style changes, see a hypnotherapist to get motivated and BE WELL>

   

Hypnotherapy for Cell-phone Addiction

    Look around you when you are sitting at a traffic light, walking down the street or sitting in a restaurant  It is likely you will see almost as many cell-phones in use as you do people.  A recent study found that one in every three teen-agers and almost one in every five baby boomers checks his or her cell phone at least once every fifteen minutes.

    Larry Rosen, PhD and past chair of psychology at California State University, Dominguez Hills, has written a book on this problem called iDISORDER: UNDERSTANDING OUR OBSESSION WITH TECHNOLOGY AND OVERCOMING ITS HOLD ON US.  He identifies this obsession as being a compulsion rather than an addiction.  The difference is in why the user feels the need to check the phone so often.  Addicts are triggered physiologically because the behavior releases the pleasure chemical, dopamine, into the brain.  Compulsive use is triggered because the use relieves anxiety.  The cell-phone users become anxious that they might be missing something like breaking news or someone trying to reach them or using the phone reassures them they haven't lost the phone.

    The compulsion to constantly check the phone can cause serious problems both personally and professionally. People who are around cell-phone compulsives can feel diminished.  A person who is constantly looking at his phone is sending the message that the person he is with is not as important. This harm relationships and it can harm job performance.  A person who keeps her phone on her bedside table may not rest as well if she is constantly checking for incoming messages.

    Get a feel for how often you are checking your phone.  Then begin to stretch out the time between checks.  If you were checking every fifteen minutes, push the time to twenty,  Put the phone completely away while driving or with other people.  Place the ringer on silent or turn the phone upside down so you can't see messages coming in.  If you feel that cell-phone compulsion has become a problem in your life, hypnotherapy can be a valuable tool to find new ways to relieve anxiety, control phone use and BE WELL.

WOMEN'S JOB STRESS AND HEART DISEASE

     Michelle Albert, MD associate professor of medicine at Harvard Medical School in Boston, reported on a study linking work stress and cardiovascular health.  The research was done on 22,000 women whose average age was 57.  The findings of the study indicated that women with the most high-stress jobs were 38% more at risk to suffer heart-related events such as stroke or death than women with less stressful jobs.  The high stress jobs included those with extremely high demands and those with little opportunity to use creativity or make decisions.  In addition to greater risk for strokes, women were also at 70% greater risk for heart attacks.

    If you or a woman you know are working in high-stress conditions, it is time to take preventative action.  See your doctor to be aware of your blood pressure and heart condition. Your doctor may prescribe medication if anything is out of the ordinary.  You should also begin effective coping strategies for the stress.  

    Sometimes you can make actual job changes occur and sometimes that is not possible.  If your employer is unwilling or unable to help you reduce the demands or give you more opportunity to be creative or make decisions, you may decide your health is more important than the job and begin to search for other career opportunities.  

     Coping strategies you could add into your life include:  adding relaxation and enjoyment to your non-working hours.  That could be anything from spending more time with friends, to taking a bubble bath to adding a creative project into your leisure time.  Deep breathing is a great way to relax.  Listening to relaxation CDs or some beautiful music may help as well.  Exercise is a wonderful way to relieve stress.  Think about when you were a kid.  If you liked to run and play, get outside and take a walk or ride a bicycle.  If you liked to swim, go to the Y or a Rec Center.  If you liked team sports, join an adult group your own age.  Or take a class - an exercise class, a yoga class, a dance class.  Get up and move and release the endorphins to help you deal with the stresses in your life.

    Hypnotherapy can be a great way to deal with stress.  I always suggest people record their sessions, so they can listen to them again and relax any time they want.  Reduce job stress and the risk of heart disease by using hypnosis and BE WELL. 

 

NEW YEAR - ACHIEVING NEW GOALS

      Happy New Year everyone.  The best thing about a new year is it provides us a way of looking forward.  The past year is now behind us and it's time to dream about what you would like to achieve in 2014.  Have you been hoping to lose some weight, quit smoking, get moving, or deal with the myriad stresses in your life?  Take a few minutes to dream about how you would like this year to end - perhaps you see yourself as healthier, more active, calmer.  Now get specific - what would have to happen for you to reach your goal?  For example, you might say to be healthier you would need to lose thirty pounds.  Or you might say to be more active you could go to a gym. Or to be healthier you would stop smoking cigarettes.  Once you have a clear long-term goal, work out a plan for how you will reach it through attainable short-term goals.  Short-term goals for losing weight might include healthy and conscious eating and regular exercise.  Work the short-term goals and the long-term goals can be attained.  Hypnotherapy is a great tool for motivation in working those goals.  Now is the time to dream to have a really great 2014.

INSOMNIA AND HEART DISEASE RISK

    A 2011 study at Norwegian University of Science and Technology, indicates still another reason to find ways to deal with insomnia.  The study, published online in CIRCULATION, was led by public health researcher and internist Lars Erik Laugsand, MD, lead author of the study conducted at the university in Trondheim.  The study found that there is a 45% higher risk for heart disease for people who have trouble falling asleep most nights than those who don't have trouble falling asleep.  The study of 52,610 people also showed a 30% higher risk for developing heart disease in those who have trouble staying asleep.

   The study concluded that the reason for the increased risk of heart disease in those with insomnia may be associated with increase stress hormones, inflammation and blood pressure issues.  Each of these can increase the risk for heart disease.  Check out some of my earlier blogs about insomnia, its symptoms and causes and how you can help to relieve the symptoms.  Do not give up - remember hypnotherapy can be another tool in dealing with insomnia and protecting yourself from the risk of heart disease. 

REDUCE STRESS AND GET RID OF BODY FAT

     In 2011, J. Daubenmier, et al., researchers at the University of California, San Francisco, presented a study in the JOURNAL OF OBESITY.  It was called "Mindfulness Intervention for Stress Eating to Reduce Cortisol and Abdominal Fat Among Overweight and Obese Women: An Exploratory Randomized Controlled Study." In the study, one group of  chronically stressed and overweight or obese women were taught how to reduce stress and the technique of mindful eating where they focused on the sensations of eating such recognizing fullness. The control group did not learn those techniques.  The study found that the more healthful eating women with the greatest reduction in stress lost the most deep belly fat.

     Learning stress reduction and mindful eating techniques helps reduce the stress hormone cortisol and thus aids in losing belly fat.  Hypnotherapy can be used to assist in learning these techniques and reinforcing them in hypnosis.  Reduce stress, eat mindfully and Be Well!

HYPNOTHERAPY FOR MOTIVATION

     Many of my clients are surprised to learn that hypnotherapy can be a great tool for issues besides quitting smoking, losing weight and reducing stress.  I recently received a thank-you note from a client who had come to me feeling depressed and unmotivated after she lost her job when the executive she worked for left the company.  She just wanted to get on with her life.  This is the note I received, "Hi, Dr. Johnson    You are amazing!  when my phone rang during my session yesterday, it was from a company asking me if I was interested in interviewing for an Executive Assistant position next week:)  when I got home, I started cooking up a storm - pasta with meat sauce and spice cake with frosting.  This morning I got up at 6:15 and went for a two mile walk with my husband then I went to the office and packed my office and my executive's office.  I feel good today.  THANK YOU SO MUCH!!!!"

     Congratulations to her and all the people who have used hypnotherapy to improve their lives.  Personal issues such as motivation, anxiety and depression can also be addressed with hypnosis.  

HYPNOTHERAPY WORKS!

    I love to get calls where clients tell me about their experiences after using hypnotherapy to help correct a problem or challenge in their lives.  This morning I had a call from a former client.  When she first came to see me, she was very anxious.  She had been in an accident while showing a horse.  A champion rider before the accident, she was fearful and having a real problem doing something she had enjoyed for years.  We did one session of hypnotherapy.  Her call this morning was one of joy and victory as she reported the horse show over the past weekend was a great experience.  She concluded it was "the most wonderful experience, I'd had in a long time."  Hypnotherapy can be a great tool to meet the challenges in your life as well.

SHORTEN YOUR LIFE SPAN WITH TOO MUCH TV

     Are you hoping to have a lengthened life span because you don't smoke and are not obese?  Before you pat yourself on the back, know there is another habit that can shorten your life span.  In 2011, Lennert Veerman, MD, a senior research fellow at The University of Queensland, in Brisbane, Australia, reported on a study of 11,000 adults ages 25 and older which compared lifestyle and health data.  The study found that for every hour of sedentary TV-watching per day, on average life expectancy was reduced by 22 minutes.  Which means that a six-hour daily TV habit after the age of 25 could be expected to reduce life expectancy by nearly five years. In other words, the cardiovascular risk for too much TV watching is as dangerous as smoking and obesity.

    It's time to cut back on television watching and begin to add in more healthy activities like spending time with your family and friends, exercising and meditating.  If you need help in making those changes, hypnotherapy can be a great tool to motivate you.  Get up.  Move.  Be Well.

BOOST YOUR MOOD

    Been feeling down or anxious?  If you want to reduce anxiety and improve mood, walking at a moderate pace or practicing yoga are often suggested.  A 2011 study of 34 adults who practiced yoga or walked was reported by Chris Streeter, MD, associate professor of psychiatry and neurology at Boston University School of Medicine.  The study found that those who practiced yoga reported significantly greater mood improvement and anxiety reduction than the walking group.  In addition to the study participants reports, brain scans were done of the participants which showed that the yoga group had higher levels of the brain chemical gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA) which produces calming effects.

   If you want to add yoga or walking to your daily life to boost your mood, but are having trouble getting started, hypnotherapy can be an excellent tool for motivation.  Get moving.  Feel great.  Be well.

EARLY MENOPAUSE INCREASES THE RISK OF HEART DISEASE

      If you or someone you know has gone through early menopause which is defined as going through menopause starting at age 29 or younger, then be aware there is greater risk for heart disease. This is caused by the drop in heart-protecting estrogen after menopause. 

     Because I went through menopause after surgery at the age of 29, I am quite interested in new research just published in MENOPAUSE.  The researchers reported that in an eight-year study, women who enter menopause early are twice as likely to suffer from a stroke or heart disease.

    There are a number of things someone going through early menopause can do to lower their risk of cardio-vascular disease.  I always encourage my clients to take care of themselves.  This is particularly true for women who experienced early menopause.  A major goal should be to reduce stress.  It's time to nurture yourself by doing relaxing things, socializing with friends and enjoying creative activities and hobbies.  Establishing certain disciplines like deep breathing, meditation, tai chi or yoga can be valuable ways to deal with stress.  Working with a clinical hypnotherapist to deal with the stresses in your life can be very useful.

   Eating healthy foods including noninflammatory foods such as fresh vegetables and fruits and healthy protein such as fish, minimizing the intake of inflammatory simple sugars found in candy, pasta, white bread and pastries, and taking daily supplements including a multivitamin, CoQ10 (60 mg to 100 mg), magnesium (400 mg to 800 mg), fish oil at your doctor's recommendation and vitamin C (1000 mg) are great ways to lower the risk for heart disease. And exercise is particularly important to protect yourself.  Shoot for at least 200 minutes of exercise per week.  Exercise should be done regularly such as taking a half hour walk every day. 

     If you are a woman who experienced early menopause, it's time to take care of yourself by managing stress, eating well and using supplements and exercising regularly.  If you need help to get motivated to "take care of yourself", a clinical hypnotherapist can help you to do those things and lower your risk of heart disease.

STRESS MANAGEMENT FOR BRUXISM AND TMD

     Ten million Americans suffer from the painful condition known as temporomandibular disorders (TMD).  These disorders affect the facial muscles and or the jaw joint and can cause pain and other symptoms in the ears, neck face and head.  Among common symptoms of TMD are: a clicking or popping sound in the jaw, aching facial pain or face fatigue, headaches and ear pain and stuffiness.  In fact, many people are surprised to learn that people with TMD do not always suffer jaw pain.  Instead misalignments of the jaw and bite can produce painful inflammation causing all the earlier mentioned issues.  Cases of TMD are usually diagnosed by a dentist who may do disk manipulation to temporarily eliminate the pain or make a bite plate appliance to help with tooth grinding.  About five per cent of sufferers may need surgery to get relief.

     So what causes TMD?  Even slight misalignments of the jaw can cause aching pain because of the constant movement of the jaw as we speak, chew and relax and tighten facial muscles.  Another common cause of TMD is bruxism.  This is when people grind their teeth while sleeping. Some people get only occasional pain from bruxism while others are chronic teeth-grinders which can cause long-term damage to teeth and gums.

    So what can be done to deal with these painful side-effects of bruxism?  Of course, you should work with your dentist who can evaluate your bite and the height and tooth positions and make whatever adjustments are needed to relieve discomfort.  This may include grinding down a tooth or adding height with a crown. Your dentist may do disk manipulation or custom-make you a bite plate appliance.

    In addition, you can relieve bruxism by finding ways to manage the stress that exacerbates teeth grinding. Relaxation tips such as massage therapy, biofeedback and hypnotherapy can be helpful.  Hypnosis can be a valuable tool to provide relaxation and relieve the chronic stress.  Manage your stress, relieve bruxism, BE WELL.