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!
Research has shown that physical activity can prevent and even reverse many aspects of the decline we experience with age. The old adage that you must “use it or lose it” is being validated in many scientific studies as a basic dictum of biology. Exercise and physical activity are good for just about everyone, including older adults. No matter your health and physical abilities, you can gain a lot by staying active. In fact, studies show that “taking it easy” is risky. Often, inactivity is more to blame than age when older people lose the ability to do things on their own. Lack of physical activity also can lead to more visits to the doctor, more hospitalizations, and more use of medicines for a variety of illnesses.
It is estimated that fully one-half of the aging-related decline in functional ability in older adults is related to a phenomenon known as sarcopenia. Derived from the Greek root words sarx (flesh) and penia (loss), sarcopenia is defined as a decline in muscle mass, strength, and function. It is often associated with older adults, but some forms of sarcopenia can also affect middle-aged people. Sarcopenia has been connected to weakness; fatigue; lower energy levels; and difficulty standing, walking, and climbing stairs. Sarcopenia is more likely to occur in people with chronic diseases and may contribute to a risk of falls, fractures, other serious injuries, and premature mortality. Poor nutrition and lack of exercise can increase the odds of developing sarcopenia. If you or a family member is feeling general weakness, talk with a doctor. It could be related to sarcopenia or another medical condition. To reverse this age-related loss of muscle mass and function four types of physical activity are highly recommended for all of us and especially as we get older. Most people tend to focus on one type of exercise or activity and think they’re doing enough. Research has shown that it’s important to get all four types of exercise: endurance, strength, balance, and flexibility. Each one has different benefits. Doing one kind also can improve your ability to do the others, and variety helps reduce boredom and risk of injury. No matter your age, you can find activities that meet your fitness level and needs!
Balance, Falls, and Tai Chi: What You Need To Know
What is tai chi?
Tai chi is a practice that involves a series of slow gentle movements and physical postures, a meditative state of mind, and controlled breathing. Tai chi originated as an ancient martial art in China. Over the years, it has become more focused on health promotion and rehabilitation.
Does tai chi help prevent falls?
Tai chi may be beneficial in improving balance and preventing falls in older adults and people with Parkinson’s disease. It is unknown whether tai chi can help reduce falls in people who have had a stroke or people with osteoarthritis or heart failure.
A 2019 review looked at different types of exercise for preventing falls in community-dwelling older people. The duration and frequency of tai chi sessions varied among the studies. Compared to control interventions that were not thought to reduce falls, there was low-certainty evidence that tai chi may reduce the rate of falls by 19 percent (based on 7 studies with 2,655 participants) and high-certainty evidence that tai chi may reduce the number of people who experience falls by 20 percent (based on 8 studies with 2,677 participants). Other forms of exercise were also helpful. The authors found high-certainty evidence that balance and functional exercises—exercises that are similar to everyday actions like rising from a chair, stepping up, or rotating while standing—could reduce the rate of falls by 24 percent (based on 39 studies with 7,920 participants) and lower the number of people experiencing one or more falls by 13 percent (based on 37 studies with 8,288 participants).
Sherrington C, Fairhall NJ, Wallbank GK, et al. Exercise for preventing falls in older people living in the community. Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews. 2019;1(1):CD012424. Accessed at cochranelibrary.com on January 20, 2022.
Read more about Endurance exercises, strength training, flexibility exercises, and what they can do for you(more…)
Mindfulness training may improve immune function in lonely older adults, according to a new study from the University of Pittsburgh and Carnegie Mellon University. The study, which was funded by the National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health, was published in the journal Brain, Behavior, and Immunity.
Loneliness is a significant problem among older adults and a powerful psychosocial stressor that elevates the risks to health and for premature death in this population. As one effect, loneliness can speed up the decline in immune system functioning that happens as people age. This latest research suggests that mindfulness interventions can increase immune function in older adults with chronic loneliness, a potent stressor.
Meditation has a history that goes back thousands of years, and many meditative techniques began in Eastern traditions like formal meditation as well as active meditations in motion like tai chi and yoga. Some types of meditation involve keeping the mental focus on a particular sensation or a repeated word or phrase. Others include the practice of mindfulness, which involves keeping attention or awareness of the present moment and the activity at hand without making judgments.
Here are 8 things to know about what the science says about meditation and mindfulness for health:
- Mindfulness-based practices may be helpful for anxiety and depression. They are better than no treatment at all, and they may work as well as established evidence-based therapies such as cognitive behavioral therapy.
- Studies that looked at the effects of meditation or mindfulness on pain have had mixed results. The evidence for a beneficial effect on chronic pain is better than the evidence for an effect on acute pain.
- Mindfulness meditation practices may reduce insomnia and improve sleep quality. Their effects are comparable to those of cognitive behavioral therapy or exercise.
- Meditation and mindfulness may reduce symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). In one study in veterans, meditation was as helpful as prolonged exposure therapy, a widely accepted treatment for PTSD.
- Mindfulness-based practices may help people recover from substance use disorders. These practices have been used to help people increase their awareness of the thoughts and feelings that trigger cravings and learn ways to reduce their automatic reactions to cravings.
- Mindfulness-based approaches may improve mental health in people with cancer. Most of the people studied have been women with breast cancer; effects might be different in other groups of people.
- Studies have suggested possible benefits of meditation and mindfulness programs for losing weight and managing eating behaviors. Programs that combine formal meditation and mindfulness practices with informal mindfulness exercises seem especially promising.
- Meditation and mindfulness practices are usually considered to have few risks, but some people do have negative experiences with these practices. In an analysis of studies on more than 6,000 people, about 8 percent of participants reported negative effects—most commonly, anxiety or depression—which is similar to the percentage reported for psychological therapies.
Read more about the latest research on mindfulness meditation and immune function in older adults(more…)
Relaxation techniques are practices to help bring about the body’s “relaxation response,” which is characterized by slower breathing, lower blood pressure, and a reduced heart rate. The relaxation response is the opposite of the stress response.
Benefits of the relaxation response
With all the stress we face in the modern world, deliberately setting aside a little time each day to unplug from the computer and phone, to set aside the troubles of the day (politics especially), and just simply relax and enjoy life is a crucial skill and has many benefits. Some of the benefits include:
- Relaxation techniques can lower blood pressure
- Relaxation techniques can relieve pain from arthritis
- Relaxation techniques can relieve low back pain
- Relaxation techniques can relieve pain
The oldest medical book in the world is the Huang Di Nei Jing or Yellow Emperors Classic on Internal Medicine. Its basic tenants are that human beings are a product of nature and not separate from nature and that changes in the environment and a failure to adapt to those changes can cause detrimental changes in human health. Fluctuating temperatures and other changes, such as more severe weather events and rising sea levels, may affect people’s environments in ways that, in turn, harm their health and well-being. At the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences (NIEHS), researchers seek to better understand how climate change-related environmental factors may affect people’s health. NIEHS has funded grants exploring the health effects of climate change for more than a decade. NIEHS is also leading a new Climate Change and Health Initiative to coordinate solutions-focused research throughout the National Institutes of Health (NIH) with an aim to reduce health consequences associated with evolving climate conditions and extreme weather events.
How Does Climate Change Affect Human Health?
While climate change is a global process, its impacts may affect communities in different and unequal ways. Some of these effects are relatively direct, as when heat waves or hurricanes cause injury and illness, and even death. Some effects of climate change are less direct and involve shifts in our environment that, in turn, can affect human health. For example, changes in temperatures and rainfall can affect the lifecycles of insects that transmit Lyme disease and West Nile virus, leading to new or varied outbreaks. Rising sea levels can worsen the flooding from hurricanes in coastal areas, leading to more people being exposed to contaminated water, pollutants, and hazardous wastes. Climate fluctuations often occur with other health stressors, such as poverty, social disadvantage, and impaired language ability, to increase vulnerability. Under-resourced and marginalized populations are most at risk.(more…)
As we all marvel at the brand new photographs by the James Webb telescope it is overwhelming to realize that we are also a product of the awesome beauty of nature. We are indeed stardust, as the elements being created by those distant galaxies are the same elements that evolve into the elements that create a life here on earth. Modern scientists and ancient Taoist philosophers both conclude that we and the natural world we live in are one and cannot be separated. We are not separate from nature, we are one with nature even though we have spent a good deal of our history conquering nature and indeed defiling it with our waste. “Science merely bears witness to the wisdom of the Tao” Professor Wen-Shan Huang a well-known sociologist, anthropologist, editor, and author and my original tai chi teacher.” The Dao, or the Way, is the approach in accord with the flow of Nature. The basic idea of the Taoists is to enable people to realize that, since human life is really only a small part of a larger process of nature, the human life which makes sense are those which are in harmony with nature” Zhong Daosong, Taoist master at Baiyun Temple.
Modern scientists today are rediscovering the role that “natures therapy” has in human health. This month’s grand rounds at the Harvard Medical School’s Osher Center for Integrative Medicine were entitled ‘Nature Nurtures: Exploring the Health and Healing Benefits of Being Connected to Mother Earth.’ This special edition was presented by Dr. David Victorson, from Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine and served to launch our new Integrative Medicine and Planetary Health program line.
This presentation will provide an overview of some of the known health benefits of spending time in green and blue spaces, including a review of research best practices and recommendations for future inquiry. Links will be made between individual health outcomes and the health of our planet. Finally, data will be presented on psychosocial and biological outcomes from a nature-based program with young adults affected by cancer and their caregivers.