Barefoot Doctor's Journal

Take control of your health with this guide to natural health and healing. Get expert advice to help you alleviate pain and live healthy naturally. Access to tools, information and opportunities.

Take control of your health

For 5000 years Traditional Chinese Medicine has help people to relieve pain and achieve a healthy longevity naturally.

A comprehensive guide to natural health and healing, the Barefoot Doctor’s Journal seeks to empower it's readers to take control of their own health, find their own inspiration, help create healthier communities and share the adventure with whoever is interested. Internationally recognized experts in the fields of healthy aging and Traditional Chinese Medicine, the Living Younger Longer Institute has helped hundreds of people each year to live healthy naturally.

News You Can Use!

Providing members with the latest scientific research on the ancient healing secrets of Traditional Chinese Medicine. Get information, access to tools, and enjoyable opportunities for a lifetime of active adventure!

March 21, 2022
Joe Brady

Exercise may reverse cognitive decline

From NIH Research Matters

Exercise and physical activity are important as you age. They help keep your body and brain healthy. Staying active can help you remain independent by preventing loss of physical mobility. It may also slow age-related cognitive decline.

Researchers don’t know how exercise might slow age-related cognitive decline. A better understanding of this process could point toward ways to help those who have difficulty exercising due to fragility or health conditions.

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In animals, exercise has been shown to reverse age-related decline in a brain area called the hippocampus. This region is important for learning, memory, and other cognitive functions. To determine what may underlie these potential rejuvenating effects of exercise on the brain, a research team led by Dr. Saul A. Villeda at the University of California, San Francisco compared proteins that circulate in the blood of mice who get a lot of physical activity with those in sedentary mice. The work was funded by NIH’s National Institute on Aging (NIA). Results were published on June 10, 2020 in Science.

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March 14, 2022
Joe Brady

Returning to physical activity after covid-19

The health benefits of being physically active, from cardiovascular, pulmonary, digestive to mental health issues like depression and anxiety, are well established. Indeed in recent research, it has been demonstrated that physical activity improves the health and functioning of every cell in your body. Meanwhile not being active is a major risk factor for non-communicable disease worldwide, alongside others such as cigarette smoking or obesity. There is evidence that the covid-19 pandemic has made matters much worse. Physical activity levels have declined much further since the start of the pandemic. As we hopefully put the worst of the pandemic behind us people need to take up physical activity, with the associated lifelong positive health impacts. Even in those recovering from an illness from covid-19 returning to previous levels of physical activity or hopefully improving on previous levels is crucial to regaining strength and some semblance of normal healthy activity. People may feel unsure of how and when to return to physical activity after covid-19, and whether it is safe. Some may have tried to get back to a normal level of exercise and found they were unable to do so, scientist is finding that returning to active vigorous life after covid requires you to begin at whatever you are able to comfortably accomplish and slowly build back up to pre-covid conditioning levels.

Read more for specific exercise recommendations after covid and news from the CDC about the lack of physical activity being a major risk factor for severe illness from covid.

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March 6, 2022
Joe Brady

Evidence-based Medicine and Acupuncture

Acupuncture has been practiced in China and other Asian countries for thousands of years. Modern scientists have made great strides in studying its effects on a wide variety of health problems, yet many individuals and even doctors are unaware of the wealth of research available about its effectiveness. Evidence-based medicine (EBM) is the conscientious, explicit, judicious, and reasonable use of modern, best evidence in making decisions about the care of individual patients using the best available research information. Most physicians would agree with this approach to medicine, yet medical professionals, are, above all people, and as people, we all have our biases. Many physicians hesitate to prescribe acupuncture because they believe that there is not enough scientifically-based evidence as to its safety and efficacy. This attitude ignores the over 10,000 random control trials that have been conducted on acupuncture since 1975. To be fair most practicing physicians cannot be expected to read the thousands of medical research studies published each year. Review studies however synthesize the results of many studies together and give the practicing physician an overview of the current research on a particular topic. A recent systematic review of 2471 reviews analyzed the results of a great many observational studies and random controlled trials. The review found acupuncture to be effective for the treatment of chronic pain and significant differences between true and sham acupuncture indicate that acupuncture is more than just a placebo and is a reasonable referral option for patients with chronic pain. With moderate to good levels of evidence on its effects on over 70 different disorders.

Read more about the evidence base from the National Institutes of Health behind the modern application of acupuncture in medicine.

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February 23, 2022
Joe Brady

Mind and Body Practices for Fibromyalgia

What the Science Says

Fibromyalgia is a common disorder that involves widespread pain, tenderness, fatigue, and other symptoms. It’s not a form of arthritis, but like arthritis, it can interfere with a person’s ability to perform everyday activities. An estimated 5 million American adults have fibromyalgia. Between 80 and 90 percent of people with fibromyalgia are women, but men and children can also have this condition.

In addition to pain and fatigue, people with fibromyalgia may have other symptoms, such as cognitive and memory problems, sleep disturbances, morning stiffness, headaches, painful menstrual periods, numbness or tingling of the extremities, restless legs syndrome, temperature sensitivity, and sensitivity to loud noises or bright lights.

The exact cause of fibromyalgia is unclear, but it may be related to injury, emotional distress, or viruses that change the way the brain perceives pain. There’s no diagnostic test for fibromyalgia, so health care providers diagnose it by examining the patient, evaluating symptoms, and ruling out other conditions.

Exercise in general and tai chi, in particular, are excellent treatments for fibromyalgia

Research has repeatedly shown that regular exercise is one of the most effective treatments for fibromyalgia. People with fibromyalgia who have too much pain or fatigue to do vigorous exercise should begin with tai chi or walking or other gentle exercise and build their endurance and intensity slowly.

Recent systematic reviews and randomized clinical trials provide encouraging evidence that practices such as tai chi, acupuncture, mindfulness, and biofeedback may help relieve some fibromyalgia symptoms. There is insufficient evidence that any natural products can relieve fibromyalgia pain, with the possible exception of vitamin D supplementation, which may reduce pain in people with fibromyalgia who have vitamin D deficiencies. For more on the actual research and references to the scientific literature read on.

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February 15, 2022
Joe Brady

Integrative Medicine Approaches and Depression

COVID-19 has tripled the rate of depression in US adults in all demographic groups—especially in those with financial worries—and the rise is much higher than after previous major traumatic events, according to a study published in JAMA Network Open. Many people with depression turn to a complementary health approach in addition to or in place of conventional treatment. Research suggests that some approaches can be helpful in reducing depression symptoms in patients with mild to moderate levels of depression. For other approaches, benefits are uncertain or there are safety concerns. In severe cases of depression, complementary approaches can help reduce the need for medications, thus reducing the risk of side effects.

Here are 5 things you should know about complementary health approaches for depression:

  1. Depression can be a serious illness. Don’t use a complementary health approach to replace conventional care or to postpone seeing a health care provider about symptoms of depression. 
  2. Some evidence suggests acupuncture may modestly reduce depression symptoms.
  3. Music therapy may provide short-term benefits for people with depression. 
  4. Studies in adults, adolescents, and children have suggested that yoga may be helpful in reducing depressive symptoms.
  5. Exercise in general and Tai Chi, in particular, have been shown to have a moderate to large effect upon depression symptoms
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