Sleep. We all know we need it, but with our 24-hour lifestyles, many people view sleep as a waste of time that could be better spent doing just about anything else.
Problem is, when you skimp on sleep you’re not only making yourself tired and compromising your ability to fight off everyday ills, you’re also speeding the aging process, driving weight gain and increasing your risk for diabetes, obesity and cardiovascular problems.
After 25 years practicing pediatrics, and caring for thousands of children, I’ve noticed some patterns that offer me a deeper vision of health. I’d like to share some of those invaluable lessons with parents.
Winter air is dry air. Humidifiers put moisture back into the air, which can create a lot of benefits for you and your family.
A 2013 study, for example, showed that increasing humidity levels to 43 percent or above significantly reduced the ability of airborne viruses to cause flu infections. In fact, in a low humidity environment, 70-77 percent of viruses could transmit the disease through coughs, but when humidity was increased to 43 percent or more, that number dropped to only 14 percent.
Whether we are conscious of it or not, sound surrounds us virtually every moment of the day. There are good sounds – ones that soothe, calm, heal, energize or simply make us smile – and those which have the opposite effect, stressing both body and mind – think sirens, jackhammers, lawnmowers and so on. With its power to create both positive and negative responses throughout the body, it’s important to be conscious of the types of sound we’re exposing ourselves to every day.
As athletes who train for races, competitions, or daily/weekly goals we must remember that our tissues are in a constant state of healing. Our muscles tear then repair which increases the body’s state of inflammation or swelling. Since intense workouts create inflammation, it’s important to decrease the amount of stress on our bodies by choosing the right foods. Basically, we want to heal as efficiently as possible to keep our body running smoothly, and the foods we choose make a big difference.
I am honored to interview Dr Larry Dossey about his new book, ONE MIND, How Our Individual Mind is Part of a Greater Consciousness and Why it Matters.
Larry is is one of the fathers of the holistic medicine movement and a mentor of mine.
I recently gave a TEDx talk here in New York, on Breaking the Shackles of Apartheid in Medicine, where I describe my journey as a medical doctor, from the “bush” in South Africa to the streets of New York.
When I was growing up in India, spices were not just a part of every meal, they were the main medicines my family used for everyday healing. My mother cooked with brilliant yellow turmeric powder daily, but she’d also sprinkle it on a cut when I hurt myself. Or put it on my forehead when I had a fever. If I was nauseated, my mother gave me ginger to make me feel better. If I couldn’t sleep, she gave me coriander in warm milk. On sweltering summer days, she made our family a refreshing drink out of kokum, an Indian spice that would cool us off as instantly as if we were all standing under a waterfall. It seemed like almost every spice in our giant spice cabinet was a food and a medicine.
Here are my favorite books on health, wellness and mindfulness from 2013.
Dr L : You’ve become quite the advocate for mind-body medicine. Was there a major turning point that left you questioning the conventional approach to medicine?
When I was working with sick patients from the inner city of Chicago, it made sense that they weren’t healthy. They ate poorly, smoked, drank, and never exercised. But then I took a job at an integrative medicine practice in posh Marin County, where my patients religiously followed organic, vegan diets, worked out with personal trainers, got 8 hours of sleep every night, took their vitamins, and spent a fortune on the best health care money can buy – and they were still sick. It got me wondering, what if there’s more to health than what they taught me in medical school?