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Humor Therapy Helps Cancer Patients

Humor Therapy Helps Cancer Patients

The Montefiore Einstein Cancer Center at Montefiore Hospital hosted a hilarity session for the cancer patients, some even with advanced stages of the illness. Fox News published an article in November of 2008, revealing the results of humor on the cancer patients.

This was the hospital’s monthly “Strength Through Laughter” therapy. This is only one of several types of laughter or humor therapies being offered by medical facilities around the country for patient diagnosed with cancer or other chronic diseases. These programs all feature joke sessions, funny movies and even clown appearances. They are still waiting on a verdict on whether laughter plays a roll in healing, according to the American Cancer Society and other medical experts, but they say it does reduce stress and promotes relaxation by lowering the patients’ blood pressure, improving breathing and increasing muscle function.

About two dozen patients at the hospital even arrived in costume to “spook cancer” one day before Halloween. A breast cancer patient now in remission reported that the session makes her feel better. Incidentally, she came disguised as a security officer and said she felt healthy when she laughed. A warmth was generated among the group by the laughs that was palpable, particularly when this same lady changed into an angel costume and went around offering a red rose and a hug or kiss to each of the other participants. This woman truly is an angel!

The senior oncology social worker and facilitator, Gloria Nelson, started the session five years previous to help cancer patients focus on living, instead of dying. She also reported on their amazing strength even though it’s a constant challenge of the fear of it coming back, and how to go on living knowing you have cancer. Each time they laughed, it was like kicking cancer right out the door, while taking control themselves.

Norman Cousins, editor of the Saturday review wrote in his book “Anatomy of an illness”, claiming that a combination of laughter and vitamins cured him of a potentially fatal illness. He made a discovery that 10 minutes of genuine belly laughter had an anesthetic effect. Some people are so overwhelmed with their diagnosis that they are unable to participate in laughter and other complementary therapies, even though they can help to relieve the anxiety brought on by the disease.

Some patients practice laughter sounds like “he-he, ha-ha and ho-ho”, and greet each other in this regard in lieu of jokes, and engage in games until laughter overtakes them.

A big challenge of being diagnosed with cancer is preserving your dignity. Especially when told to don a gown where the back half is missing and everyone’s examining you and asking about bodily functions.

The Rx Laughter’s participation in two of the large medical studies discovered that patients who watched funny videos during certain painful procedures were more relaxed and tolerated the pain longer. Cancer patients also had less pain and slept better after such entertainment. Any comic entertainment can get us through very stressful times and save us the cost of psychotherapy that many people cannot afford. Maybe we all need to use this humor activity to lessen the stress in our own everyday lives.
–Dr Fredda Branyon<

Clary Safe Oil

It may be pricey, but the benefits of clary sage oil are priceless! This sage is of a perennial herb that grows from May to September and is a close relative of the common garden sage. If converts into an essential oil that provides outstanding benefits for your eyes, nervous system, digestion and kidneys. It’s worth the extra dollars due to the many positive health effects it provides.

The name comes from the Latin word “clarus” which means, “clear.” During the Middle Ages clary sage oil was referred to as “clear eyes.” It has often been used to help with the improvement of vision and to address related conditions, such as tired or strained eyes. It has powerful sedative properties that can enhance the intoxicating and narcotic effects of alcohol and drugs.

There are many uses for clary sage oil such as it is added to soaps, detergents, creams, lotions and perfumes. You may be surprised to learn that it is the main component of Eau de Cologne, which is a simple perfume originated in Cologne, Germany. It can also calm the nervous system, especially during times of stress, depression and insomnia. You might also try clary sage oil for its anxiety-fighting effects.

Other known functions of clary sage oil are:

  • Aphrodisiac
  • Painkiller
  • Antiseptic
  • Blood pressure regulator
  • Hair treatment
  • Skin health promoter
  • Ingredient in herbal products
  • Ingredient in liqueur and food products

Due to its ester, it can help relax muscular spasms and pains that might arise from stress and nervous tension. The oil from the plant may also provide:Help treating symptoms of chronic fatigue syndrome

  • Helps to relax the bronchial tubes of asthma sufferers
  • Works to support healthy digestion
  • Reduces your risk of inflammation and certain types of dermatitis
  • Assists in regulating blood pressure
  • Helps treat respiratory ailments like colds, bronchitis and sore throat
  • Helps address acne and oily skin
  • Improves memory and helps stimulate mental activity

You can use the clary sage oil topically and inhaled. You may also ingest it as the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) classifies it as generally safe for human consumption (GRAS), and approves it as an additive for foods. Specific ways to enjoy clary sage oil benefits are to sooth eye problems, relieve anxiety and emotional tension by inhaling, use as a massage oil and rub on painful areas, adding a few drops to your bath water for pain and stress, and apply topically as a moisturizer on your skin.

Apply a small drop on your skin to observe any adverse reactions for 24 hours. Control your use of large quantities as they can cause headaches and drowsiness. Never, ever use the oil directly on your eyes and avoid ingesting or applying undiluted oils on your skin without supervision of a qualified aromatherapist.

Dr Fredda Branyon

Smoking Damages Body Parts

Smoking Damages Body Parts

Smoking Damages Body PartsMost people think that smoking only hurts the lungs but that’s not all of the story. Did you know there are specifically nine different body parts that you can damage by smoking?

Let’s take a look at what you might be facing by continuing to smoke:

  • Joints. Do you have pain and inflammation in your joints? If you are a smoker, you are more likely to get rheumatoid arthritis (RA). The medications for RA do not work as well on people who smoke, even though the scientists are not sure why.

  • Skin. Your skin’s natural aging process speeds up with smoking. At age 40, your skin can look like it belongs on a nonsmoking 70-year-old. The damage you incur cannot be reversed and you can also be subjected to many skin diseases, including skin cancer and worse.

  • Eyes. You are twice as likely to get macular degeneration when you light up. That disease destroys the central vision used for reading, writing and seeing other people’s faces.

  • Sex Organs. This can be a biggie for some men. That smoke you light up could be more likely to cause you to suffer from erectile dysfunction. That guy is also more likely to get testicular cancer and women to get cervical cancer.

  • Gums. Those tender, bleeding gums, chewing and bad breath can all be attributed to getting that smoke. The gum disease is a leading cause of tooth loss so the more you smoke, the greater your risk.

  • Brain. Smoking will cause you to be more likely to have a stroke three times greater than the non-smoking person. This is a blood clot in the brain and can lead to facial paralysis, blurred vision, trouble walking and even death. Smoking can also increase high blood pressure, which can lead to a cerebral aneurysm.

  • Digestive System. Some of the illnesses related to your digestion that can be affected are peptic ulcers, Crohn’s disease, colon polyps, pancreatitis and cancer of the pancreas. You are more likely to get these if you smoke, and 35% more likely to get type 2 diabetes, that affects your liver and pancreas.

  • Lung. Believe it or not, 90% of the time this cancer is linked to smoking. More than 150,000 deaths in the US in 2015 have been attributed to smoking. This is a major cause of COPD (chronic obstructive pulmonary disease) that damages the tiny air sacs in the lungs.

  • Heart. A very major cause of heart disease is that awful smoking, and is the leading cause of death in the U.S. Smoking hardens and narrows your arteries and causes your blood to thicken and clot.

You may not be taking these warnings or issues seriously, but if you have ever been around someone with COPD, you will remember their struggle for breath the rest of your life. Now is the time to give up that puffing on a cigarette and choose life over some of these drastic illnesses or possible death! Wake up now and take action. Life can be hard enough without fighting these terrible diseases.

 – Dr Fredda Branyon

Girl and Her Dog

Understanding Your Dog

Girl and Her Dog“If you want the best seat in the house, you’ll have to move the dog.”

Boy, when I brought Lucy dog home, it wasn’t exactly the cuddles and kisses I  thought it would be. When you bring home a new puppy and start with that gigantic task of house training, you still have to deal with those chewed up shoes, clothes, fingers, and last but not least, those toes. Manners are things that little furball hasn’t learned.  Moving to a new home can stress him out and might make that pup fearful and anxious.  Developing a bond with good communication is crucial between you and your pet.  Your pet will be extremely perceptive to your visual and verbal cues.  So, reciprocate and take an interest in his.

There are many, many tips for translating your dog’s language and might be very helpful to learn, according to Dr. Nicholas Dodman, director of the Animal Behavior Clinic at the Tufts University Cummings School of Veterinary Medicine.

If he moves away when you pet his head it could be a sign of dominance.  They prefer petting on their chin, front of chest or side of the face.  Moving in circles before going to sleep makes a cozy nest.  Barking at someone he knows well is showing his power over that person.  When puppies are happy and content, they grunt.  If they whine, they are feeling cold, hungry or lonely.  Cover him with a warm blanket, feed him or give him attention regularly. (Worse than an infant, isn’t it?)

Your dog yawns when he’s tired but also when feeling stressed.  After giving a command and he is blinking, he just might be trying to decide whether or not to follow your orders.  Licking his lips is a nervous or anxiety sign and also a sign of submission.  Now if that little tongue licks you, he wants some positive attention from you, but in some cases it might be used as a sign of dominance.  Puppies might show a sign of dominance by trying to sit on the couch even after being told not to.  But then again, he may just like that soft cushion rather than a hard floor. When he paws the ground after eliminating, he is marking his territory by leaving a visual sign and scent.

The bigger one is, why does he eat that poop?  It is known as coprophagia and is common in puppies that might have witnessed their mother eating their feces in order to keep their living quarters clean.  In older dogs it may indicate a medical or behavioral problem like stress. Rolling in stinky stuff allows him to advertise where he’s been.  When he eats grass it is used as a purgative, and then again, just because he wants to.  He will usually sniff around before urinating in search of other scents.  A dog’s behind generates pheromones to show his identity, so they sniff each other.  If he pants he is regulating his body temperature or feeling anxious. He’s playful and happy when he puts his head and paws close to the ground and his behind in the air.  He loves sticking his head out the window just because it’s fun.  A sign of dominance is when he barks at another dog with his head held high.  If his ears are pressed to his head, it’s a sign of fear or submission.

If he’s excited he wags his tail fast and slower when he’s interested, but not raring to go.  A sign of submission, uncertainty, anxiety or fear is when he puts his tail between his legs.  Holding the tail straight up is a sign of interest.  When chewing those shoes or socks, he will just think it’s a game when you chase him to get them away.  When your dog is in the fight-or-flight state, it causes muscles to contract and that raises the hairs on his back.

So learn some of these simple little signs that your dog is trying to tell you and make life easier for all of you.  Good luck. A new puppy is a chore but well worth the love you will get in return.

-Dr Fredda Branyon