Friday, May 28, 2010

'Green' exercise quickly 'boosts mental health'

This is a reprint from BBC News. The original may be found at

Of course this makes a lot of sense! Getting outside into fresh air and sunshine (without the sunscreen, if you please!) is wonderfully uplifiting mentally, not to mention all the great things it does for you physically.

Mentally, the quiet alone reduces stress and worry reducing levels of stress hormones, and the sounds of the birds and animals is enjoyful which raises levels of good hormones. Just breathing fresh air is uplifting! Water sounds are always soothing - they often take us back to that primal water sound we were so comforted by in the womb. 

Physically, natural Vitamin D from sunshine supports many health functions in the body, and fresh air can do worlds of good in making sure your body is properly oxygenated.

Can you imagine just how great it would be to meditate or do qigong (Chinese moving yoga) in a beautiful, restful outdoor setting?! It sure would do a lot more than "boost mental health"!

Enjoy the article!


Just five minutes of exercise in a "green space" such as a park can boost mental health, researchers claim.

There is growing evidence that combining activities such as walking or cycling with nature boosts well-being.

In the latest analysis, UK researchers looked at evidence from 1,250 people in 10 studies and found fast improvements in mood and self-esteem.

The study in the Environmental Science and Technology journal suggested the strongest impact was on young people.

The research looked at many different outdoor activities including walking, gardening, cycling, fishing, boating, horse-riding and farming in locations such as a park, garden or nature trail.

The biggest effect was seen within just five minutes.

With longer periods of time exercising in a green environment, the positive effects were clearly apparent but were of a smaller magnitude, the study found.

Looking at men and women of different ages, the researchers found the health changes - physical and mental - were particularly strong in the young and the mentally-ill.

Green and blue

A bigger effect was seen with exercise in an area that also contained water - such as a lake or river.

Study leader Jules Pretty, a researcher at the University of Essex, said those who were generally inactive, or stressed, or with mental illness would probably benefit the most from "green exercise".

"Employers, for example, could encourage staff in stressful workplaces to take a short walk at lunchtime in the nearest park to improve mental health."

He also said exercise programmes outdoors could benefit youth offenders.
"A challenge for policy makers is that policy recommendations on physical activity are easily stated but rarely adopted widely."

Paul Farmer, chief executive of mental health charity Mind, said the research is yet further evidence that even a short period of green exercise can provide a low cost and drug-free therapy to help improve mental wellbeing.

"It's important that people experiencing depression can be given the option of a range of treatments, and we would like to see all doctors considering exercise as a treatment where appropriate."

Mind runs a grant scheme for local environmental projects to help people with mental illness get involved in outdoor activities.

Thursday, April 08, 2010

Relaxation Response Helps Cure and Prevent Genetic Stress-Related Illness

Below are two research reports showing that the invocation of the Relaxation Response can not only prevent illness, but reverse it as well.

Recent information states that 80% of all chronic illness is brought on by stress. It also has been shown that genetic-related illnesses are very frequently stress-related. When you have an "at risk" genetic marker, it does not mean that you will manifest that disease. That gene has to "express" first, it has to kick into the "on" position before the disease appears. Chronic stress is frequently the finger that presses the "on" button that causes chronic disease to manifest.

How to avoid chronic illness: No stress, no finger hitting the "on" button, no disease. Get it?

Your genes do NOT control you. You - and your lifestyle as it relates to stress - control which genes express and which ones do not. By reducing stress or by practicing meditation techniques like the Relaxation Response, you make the choice for wellness.

Enjoy the research reports below!

The therapeutic use of the relaxation response in stress-related diseases.

Med Sci Monit. 2003 Feb;9(2):RA23-34.

The Mind/Body Medical Institute, Department of Medicine, Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, Harvard Medical School, Boston, MA, USA.
The objective of this work was to investigate a possible (therapeutic) connection between the relaxation response (RR) and stress-related diseases. Further, common underlying molecular mechanisms and autoregulatory pathways were examined.

For the question of (patho)physiology and significance of RR techniques in the treatment of stress-related diseases, we analyzed peer-reviewed references only. The RR has been shown to be an appropriate and relevant therapeutic tool to counteract several stress-related disease processes and certain health-restrictions, particularly in certain immunological, cardiovascular, and neurodegenerative diseases/mental disorders.

Further, common underlying molecular mechanisms may exist that represent a connection between the stress response, pathophysiological findings in stress-related diseases, and physiological changes/autoregulatory pathways described in the RR. Here, constitutive or low-output nitric oxide (NO) production may be involved in a protective or ameliorating context, whereas inducible, high-output NO release may facilitate detrimental disease processes.

In mild or early disease states, a high degree of biological and physiological flexibility may still be possible (dynamic balance). Here, the therapeutic use of RR techniques may be considered particularly relevant, and the observable (beneficial) effects may be exerted via activation of constitutive NO pathways. RR techniques, regularly part of professional stress management or mind/body medical settings, represent an important tool to be added to therapeutic strategies dealing with stress-related diseases. Moreover, as part of 'healthy' life-style modifications, they may serve primary (or secondary) prevention. Further studies are necessary to elucidate the complex physiology underlying the RR and its impact upon stress-related disease states.

Genomic counter-stress changes induced by the relaxation response.

PLoS One. 2008 Jul 2;3(7):e2576.

Benson-Henry Institute for Mind Body Medicine at Massachusetts General Hospital, Chestnut Hill, Massachusetts, United States of America.
Comment in:
BACKGROUND: Mind-body practices that elicit the relaxation response (RR) have been used worldwide for millennia to prevent and treat disease. The RR is characterized by decreased oxygen consumption, increased exhaled nitric oxide, and reduced psychological distress. It is believed to be the counterpart of the stress response that exhibits a distinct pattern of physiology and transcriptional profile. We hypothesized that RR elicitation results in characteristic gene expression changes that can be used to measure physiological responses elicited by the RR in an unbiased fashion.

METHODS/PRINCIPAL FINDINGS: We assessed whole blood transcriptional profiles in 19 healthy, long-term practitioners of daily RR practice (group M), 19 healthy controls (group N(1)), and 20 N(1) individuals who completed 8 weeks of RR training (group N(2)). 2209 genes were differentially expressed in group M relative to group N(1) (p<0.05) and 1561 genes in group N(2) compared to group N(1) (p<0.05). Importantly, 433 (p<10(-10)) of 2209 and 1561 differentially expressed genes were shared among long-term (M) and short-term practitioners (N(2)). Gene ontology and gene set enrichment analyses revealed significant alterations in cellular metabolism, oxidative phosphorylation, generation of reactive oxygen species and response to oxidative stress in long-term and short-term practitioners of daily RR practice that may counteract cellular damage related to chronic psychological stress. A significant number of genes and pathways were confirmed in an independent validation set containing 5 N(1) controls, 5 N(2) short-term and 6 M long-term practitioners. 

CONCLUSIONS/SIGNIFICANCE: This study provides the first compelling evidence that the RR elicits specific gene expression changes in short-term and long-term practitioners. Our results suggest consistent and constitutive changes in gene expression resulting from RR may relate to long term physiological effects. Our study may stimulate new investigations into applying transcriptional profiling for accurately measuring RR and stress related responses in multiple disease settings.

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Statin Crazy: Don't Be Duped by Their Newest "Benefit"

It is known, though not well known, that one of the reasons your liver makes and sends additional cholesterol to accumulate in your arteries is because there is potential arterial damage afoot. Cholesterol acts like a bandage on an area of arterial inflammation. Removing cholesterol without addressing the cause of inflammation is like removing the bandage from an open wound leaving it vulnerable. (By the way, typically, you ingest 20% or less of your cholesterol from food. If your cholesterol is high, one of the reasons could be because your liver is working to protect your arteries. Statin drugs subvert the normal, natural function of your liver as it works to protect your arteries.)

Here, briefly, is how statin drugs work. The following paragraph was taken from an interview posted at the Mayo Clinic website: with Mayo Clinic cardiologist Gerald Gau, M.D.

"Dr. Gau: Statins work directly in the liver. There is a system in our liver that produces cholesterol. Cholesterol is necessary in our body, and the statin mechanism, it creates bile — it's one of the mechanisms of bile creation — and bile is necessary in our digestion and absorption. So the liver makes cholesterol to make this happen. It can also remove cholesterol from the blood for this purpose. Statins work by attacking in the liver the enzyme system that produces the cholesterol in the liver. And that forces the liver cells to pull it from the blood and thereby lowers your cholesterol. And so our cholesterol comes down because we stop the production in the liver."

I ask you, Is this what God and Nature intended? Sure isn't holistic, and sure hasn't addressed the reason for the high cholesterol in the first place, and sure has not admitted that high cholesterol really is not a marker for heart disease anyway (see information from the Framingham Study ), and that the side-effects of the drugs can be worse than having high cholesterol.

There is an enormous mound of misinformation on the high-cholesterol vs statin-drug topic, and I hope that the article below will help clear up some of those points. Enjoy!


Statin Crazy: Don't Be Duped by Their Newest "Benefit"

Reprinted from Bottom Line Secrets newsletter of March 26, 2010

By Mark A. Stengler, NMD
La Jolla Whole Health Clinic

Statins have gotten a lot of press. Researchers made headlines when they found that rosuvastatin (Crestor), a cholesterol-lowering drug, reduced the risk for heart attack and stroke in people who had normal cholesterol and high levels of C-reactive protein (CRP), a sign of inflammation. The recent JUPITER trial (which stands for Justification for the Use of Statins in Primary Prevention: An Intervention Trial Evaluating Rosuvastatin) was lauded as a breakthrough. The findings were found to be so positive that the trial was cut short -- to allow even the placebo group to receive the purported cardiovascular benefits of the drug. We are accustomed to thinking about statins in terms of lowering cholesterol, but this study caused some cardiologists to think statins -- already a best-selling class of drugs -- should be prescribed even more widely.

Ready to get a prescription? Hold on. In my opinion, the researchers duped other doctors and their patients. In terms of statistics, Crestor did reduce the risk for a heart attack or stroke by half, but in terms of real-world risk, only one person out of 120 actually would benefit from the drug as the trial indicated. Worse, 25% more patients taking Crestor developed type 2 diabetes compared with the placebo group, a fact that was not widely reported.

If there is anything useful resulting from this study, it is that mainstream medicine recognized the importance of CRP and the role of inflammation in heart disease. This is a topic that holistic physicians have been talking about for years. I wrote about inflammation and heart disease in the very first issue of Bottom Line Natural Healing back in 2005.

Statins may reduce symptoms of heart disease by lowering cholesterol and inflammation, but they do not address the source of the inflammation, as natural therapies do. Although statins have a place in the conventional treatment of patients, including those with a history of heart attack or very high CRP levels, they are expensive -- costing hundreds of dollars a year -- and can cause serious side effects, such as muscle pain and damage, fatigue, liver and kidney damage, diabetes and memory impairment. They may even increase cancer risk.

Important: Most of us can lower CRP levels naturally by losing weight if we need to and by exercising if we don’t already do so. But perhaps the most powerful factor influencing inflammation is what we eat. We also can supplement with specific nutrients to further reduce inflammation.

The Inflammation Connection

About 10 years ago, Harvard University physicians demonstrated that chronic low-grade inflammation throughout the body could damage blood vessels and was a better indicator of risk for cardiovascular disease than cholesterol. The researchers developed a laboratory test for CRP to measure low-grade inflammation in the body. An elevated CRP level doesn’t just affect the heart. It hurts the whole body. Several years ago, a health author whom I know and respect, Jack Challem, wrote The Inflammation Syndrome. He described how "every disease, every ache and every pain... revolves around inflammation... " and how many inflammatory diseases are related to one another. For example, having periodontal disease (which inflames the gums) or rheumatoid arthritis or psoriasis increases heart disease risk. Similarly, being overweight or having type 2 diabetes increases CRP levels and heart disease risk.

Diet Comes first

To reduce inflammation, it’s best to start with what you eat. Your body makes both inflammation-promoting and inflammation-fighting substances called eicosanoids, compounds derived mostly from the fats you eat. Consuming a lot of sweets and unhealthful oils, such as corn, safflower and soybean oils, and trans fats found in partially hydrogenated vegetable oils ramps up the body’s inflammatory eicosanoids. In other words, junk food increases inflammation.

However, if you consume fish (the best choices are cold-water types, including salmon, trout and sardines), free-range meats and health-promoting cooking oils (such as extra-virgin olive oil, macadamia nut oil and avocado oil), you can increase your body’s production of anti-inflammatory eicosanoids. Eating a lot of vegetables, such as romaine lettuce, broccoli and cauliflower, and fruits, such as blueberries, raspberries and kiwifruit, also helps maintain normal CRP levels. These foods are high in fiber and rich in antioxidants, nutrients that neutralize harmful molecules called free radicals.

Make sure that the vast majority of foods you eat are fresh -- not out of a box, can or jar. You’ll be avoiding packaged foods, most of which have been adulterated with added sugars, salt, refined carbohydrates and unhealthful fats.

Supplements THAT HELP

For many people, healthful eating habits are not enough to lower CRP levels. Some of my patients have greater needs for specific anti-inflammatory nutrients.

First step: Insist that your doctor measure your CRP level annually. Ask for the high-sensitivity CRP (hsCRP) test, the newest form of the test. It’s a simple blood test and relatively inexpensive (about $25 to $50). Some insurers will cover the test.

Multivitamin. Several studies have found that taking a multivitamin can lead to impressive reductions in CRP. One study conducted at the Cooper Institute in Dallas showed that a daily multivitamin lowered CRP by 14% after six months.

Many individual vitamins, including vitamins C and E, have been shown to reduce CRP. Niacin (a form of vitamin B-3) also lowers CRP.

Important: While many individual vitamins are beneficial, I recommend a multivitamin because it contains numerous vitamins that can reduce inflammation.

Omega-3 fish oils. The omega-3s form the biochemical basis of some of the body’s anti-inflammatory eicosanoids. They benefit cardiovascular health in a number of ways, including mildly thinning the blood, slowing the heart rate, lowering levels of triglycerides and improving blood vessel flexibility. Look for fish oil that contains both eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA).

One good choice: Krill oil, a type of fish oil made from shrimplike crustaceans. Krill oil contains the antioxidant astaxanthin, which also is good for the heart.

Gamma-linolenic acid (GLA). This essential fatty acid in plant oil is the principal anti-inflammatory compound in the omega-6 family of fats. It works by shifting a major part of the omega-6 biochemistry from inflammatory to anti-inflammatory activity. In the process, it increases production of anti-inflammatory eicosanoids. GLA and fish oils are synergistic -- they work better together than either on its own.

Curcumin. This extract of the spice turmeric, common in South Asian cuisines, blocks inflammation. More than 2,000 studies have documented the benefits of curcumin for such inflammatory diseases as rheumatoid arthritis and psoriasis. It also may prevent cardiac hypertrophy, a type of enlarged heart. Given the anti-inflammatory nature of curcumin, research is likely to uncover more heart-healthy benefits.

Pycnogenol. This proprietary ingredient, extracted from the bark of French maritime pine trees, has powerful anti-inflammatory effects. It has been shown to improve circulation, to work as a mild blood thinner and to reduce the need for angiotensin-converting enzyme (ACE) inhibitor drugs that are used to treat high blood pressure and congestive heart failure.

Vitamin D. Half of Americans are deficient in vitamin D. A recent study in Archives of Internal Medicine found that men with low vitamin D levels were two and one-half times more likely to die during the next eight years than those with the highest levels.

Red yeast rice extract. This is one of my favorite supplements because it can lower levels of CRP and LDL (bad) cholesterol. It is sold at most health-food stores and contains trace levels of a naturally occurring statin compound. In these small quantities -- a fraction of what’s in drugs -- statins are safe. Studies have found that red yeast rice extract can lower CRP levels by up to 50%. Statins (perhaps even natural ones, such as red yeast rice extract) are known to deplete coenzyme Q10, an antioxidant necessary for heart health. If you take red yeast rice extract, supplement daily with 100 mg of coenzyme Q10.

About the author:Mark A. Stengler, NMD, a naturopathic medical doctor and leading authority on the practice of alternative and integrated medicine. He is editor of Bottom Line’s Natural Healing newsletter, author of The Natural Physician’s Healing Therapies (Bottom Line Books), director of the La Jolla Whole Health Clinic in La Jolla, California, and adjunct clinical professor at the National College of Natural Medicine in Portland, Oregon. To learn more about his work, visit and

Tuesday, March 09, 2010

Type D Personality and How To Overcome theHealth Risks of Chronic Anxiety, Negativity, and Stress with Affirmations, Meditation, and Qigong

Are You a Type D Personality?

The article below is reprinted from Bottom Line's Daily Health News email newsletter of  March 9, 2010

What I love best about it is that it advocates the use of Meditation and Qigong (related to both tai-chi and yoga) to regain health and wellness. Affirmations would also work well in this situation, especially if you have a recording on iPod or CD that you listen to at night while asleep. These are very powerful techniques time-tested and study-proven to facilitate self-healing.

Are You a Type D Personality?

You’re probably aware of whether you tend toward a type A or type B personality, since those labels are part of our lexicon. What you may not know, however, is that there is a third type -- type D -- and it’s not a great category to find yourself in. The D stands for distress, and a growing body of research links this personality type with a variety of health risks and even early death -- so it may be especially important for these inhibited and gloomy folks to do everything they can to lighten up.

Remember Eeyore -- the sad, self-conscious donkey character in Winnie-the-Pooh? To my mind, he is a perfect illustration of the type D personality. He always expected the worst and therefore, that’s what he usually got. Traits associated with this personality type include social inhibition, a negative self-image, depressed mood, hostility, tension, chronic anger and a tendency to overreact to stressful events.

Type D & Death Risk

It’s already known that having this type D personality elevates risk for people who have had heart attacks, cardiac bypass surgery and/or stent implants. In new research from the University of Tilburg in the Netherlands, scientists set out to determine the impact of these characteristics on people with a common condition called peripheral artery disease (PAD), a circulatory problem in which narrowed arteries reduce blood flow to the limbs. People who have PAD have four to five times greater risk for heart attack and stroke.

Researchers asked 184 patients (average age 65) diagnosed with PAD to fill out a 14-item personality questionnaire to assess character traits, such as negativity and social inhibition. They rated statements such as "I would rather keep people at a distance" and "I often find myself worrying about something" as false or true on a scale of zero to four. During the next four years, 16 patients (9%) died -- six of cardiovascular disease, seven of cancer and one each from emphysema, pneumonia and acute pancreatitis. After factoring in other variables such as age, gender, diabetes and kidney disease, investigators learned that those with type D personalities were more than three times as likely to have died as those who were Type A or B.

How Distress Raises Risk

There are numerous pathways linking this particular personality type with poor health outcomes, I learned from study coauthor Johan Denollet, PhD, a professor of medical psychology at Tilburg University. Some are physical, other behavioral. For instance, Type D individuals tend to...

•    Experience chronic anxiety and negativity. Living in such a state has a variety of physical effects on your body, none beneficial. Chronic stress drives up levels of inflammatory proteins called cytokines, which leads to increased oxidative stress and contributes to disease. The adrenal glands respond to stress by pumping out cortisol, the hormone that helps us meet perceived threats. Having high and prolonged levels of cortisol in the bloodstream causes serious problems, including blood sugar imbalances, reduced immunity, slower wound healing and increased abdominal fat.

•    Have poor health habits. Research has shown that people with type D personalities often neglect their health by eating improperly, not having medical checkups and being sedentary.

•    Are unlikely to be proactive in seeking medical care. Perhaps because they are unable to express their emotions and are tense, insecure and uncomfortable in social situations, type D individuals are often slow to seek the medical help they need. In one study, type D patients with chronic heart failure experienced more cardiac symptoms and worried more about them than other people but, paradoxically, were less likely to discuss them with health-care professionals. Other research demonstrates that heart failure patients with "inadequate consultation behavior" face a six-fold increased risk for impaired health.

What Can Help

Generally speaking, you can’t change your personality -- but if you recognize these traits in yourself or a loved one, there are plenty of things you can do to address the issues and minimize the impact on your health. For example, Dr. Denollet notes that type D personalities are more likely to experience anxiety and depression -- and points out that these can be managed to a significant degree with counseling and/or medication. Other strategies include...

•    Adopting healthier lifestyle behaviors, such as better diet and regular exercise.

•    Participating in programs or counseling to conquer addictions, such as smoking or alcohol abuse, or to improve social skills and learn to relax.

•    Using techniques such as guided imagery, breathing exercises, meditation, tai chi and yoga to help manage stress and mood and learn to control anger and hostility.

While you can’t change who you are, if you have a type D personality, you can take these concrete steps to make yourself healthier and, I’ll bet, happier.


Johan Denollet, PhD, professor of medical psychology, Tilburg University, Tilburg, The Netherlands.

* * * End Quote * * *

If you would like help applying Affirmations, Meditation, or Qigong (Chi Kung) practice to this debilitating health issue, contact me at

Sunday, March 07, 2010

Mammogram Blackmail: HRT meds held hostage

This is not a joke, and is certainly not to be taken lightly by anyone, patient or physician.

Here is the story, and I have to say I honestly would not have believed myself it if I had not heard it first-person from the woman who was the blackmail victim!

Last week in Bend, Oregon my friend went to her doctor to pick up her bio-identical Hormone Replacement Therapy prescription. The woman behind the desk at the physician's office waved the prescription in the air in front of my friend's face and told my friend that she would get the prescription as soon as she had a mammogram!

Now, as far as I know, there is no medical reason to have a mammogram when picking up a prescription for bio-identical hormone replacement therapy. There is nothing in a mammogram that measures blood levels of hormones, and my friend is not at risk for breast cancer, so withholding medications was unjustified to say the least, and possibly criminal.

My friend went and had the painful, unnecessary, and cancer-causing* mammogram, and did finally receive her medications. She is not happy about this, and I certainly don't blame her a bit.

Ladies, if you are ever in a similar situation, I suggest the following monologue to your (ahem) health care practitioner: "Thank you for your suggestion. I will have my attorney contact you regarding the withholding of my prescribed medications. I will also inform the AMA regarding your choice to withhold my medications. I will also inform you as to where to send my medical records for I will never again step foot into this office. Have a nice day."

Then, WALK OUT AND DON'T LOOK BACK! If your health-care provider is going to blackmail you into unnecessary and expensive and lethal tests, that is one person you do not need in your life.

If you live in Bend, Oregon and you have likewise been blackmailed, I urge you to report it, and change health-care providers immediately. I very sincerely hope that the woman who withheld the prescription from my friend is soundly reprimanded.

* Here is a link to an article on the cancer risks associated with mammograms. Please feel free to have a glass of wine while reading it.

Tuesday, March 02, 2010

Genetic Disease Isn't Caused By Defective Genes

This information is – finally! – seeping into our knowledge base and into our consciousness. More and more, it's being proven that your mind and emotions are in control of your physical wellness. Rather than genetic dysfunction, disease is really an indication of imbalance in your mind-body-spirit.

The article below is reprinted from, but there is also an excellent report written in 2008 by Dr Roger Jahnke, founder and director of the Institute of Integral Qigong and Tai Chi, demonstrating how the practice of qigong can control the genetic expression of disease. To read that report in Adobe Acrobat format, follow this link: Researching the Benefits of Mind-Body Practice by Investigating Genetic Expression

Here is Dr Mercola's article on this emerging understanding of the role of the mind-body consciousness and connection in determining how we manifest disease.

Radical New Understanding of Genetic Disease

Posted by: Dr. Mercola March 02 2010

The theory of the genetic origin of diseases is one of the most firmly upheld doctrines of today's medicine.

Medical science claims that cancer is brought on by "mistakes in DNA replication," causing cells to gradually change from normal to "abnormal" and eventually to "malignant" cells.

Studies in the science of Epigenetics show that genes are by no means 'set in stone' but that they can alter themselves in response to a person's environment.
In short, the DNA and thus the biology of an organism are constantly adjusting themselves to signals from outside the cells, including energetic information arising from thoughts and beliefs.

Diseases such as cancer are not caused by defective genes, as claimed by mainstream geneticists, but rather by non-genetic factors that alter the expression of genes without changing the DNA sequence.

Your brain controls all processes in your body. By comparing brain CT scans with medical records and personal histories, it becomes evident that emotional trauma or "conflict shock" leaves a visible mark in precisely the same area of the brain that controls the disease process.

In fact, diseases are not senseless "disorders" but in reality meaningful biological processes trying to save an organism rather than to destroy it. Your whole organism is engaged in facilitating a conflict resolution. The conflict-related organ responds with functional changes to assist the individual on the physical level during the unexpected distress.

A positive attitude, letting go of anger, feelings of trust and forgiveness can significantly reduce the intensity and duration of a conflict and therefore the "disease"-symptoms.

German New Medicine shifts or rather elevates "prevention" and "healing" to a level where the biology of human beings can be understood as intimately connected with spirituality and a chance for spiritual growth.

An understanding of GNM and the Five Biological Laws has in itself a healing effect as it liberates your mind from fear and inspires trust in the creative wisdom of Mother Nature.


Learning GNM 2009

Dr. Mercola's Comments:

If you have not yet heard of epigenetics, I’d like to introduce you to it right now. Epigenetics is probably the most important biological discovery since DNA -- and it is turning the biological sciences upside down.

Where it was once taught (and still largely believed in many conventional medical circles) that you are a victim to your genes, helpless to the whims of the genetic roadmap you received from your parents, it’s now known that your genes in no way are the final arbiter of your health.

It is important to realize that you are in control of your genes … and are changing them often -- daily and perhaps even hourly -- based on the foods you eat, the air you breathe, and the thoughts you think. It’s your environment and lifestyle that dictates your tendency to express disease.

The problem is, once you understand that –your health is not dictated by your genes and that they don’t control themselves but are controlled by environmental influences that tell them to be expressed or not expressed -- it just blows everything out of the water.

It’s now known that your habits are more important than your genes! But please realize that, depending on your choices, the changes you influence can be good or bad. It works both ways.

Your Mind is at the Helm

Epigenetics literally means "above the genes." And what is above the genes?

Your mind!

Bruce Lipton’s “New Biology” is another school of scientific thought that adds to this “new” way of thinking about disease.

In his book, The Biology of Belief, Dr. Lipton explains the foundation of epigenetics, and how the true secret to life does not lie within your DNA, but rather within the mechanisms of the cell membrane. In this way -- which is contrary to conventional medical science -- it is actually the cell’s membrane -- operating in response to environmental signals picked up by the membrane’s receptors -- that control the “reading” of the genes inside.

The Biology of Belief

What does this mean?

Again, it means that you are not controlled by your genetic makeup. Instead, your genetic readout (which genes are turned “on” and which are turned “off”) is primarily determined by your thoughts, attitudes, and perceptions!

German New Medicine

Another eipgentic model is German New Medicine (GNM), which operates under the premise that every disease, including cancer, originates from an unexpected shock experience.

This experience does not necessarily have to appear traumatic to others, however; it’s simply shocking and unexpected to you. Someone else may not react or deal with it the same way when put in a similar situation.

According to GNM, the resolution phase -- the healing phase -- is as long as the trauma phase, which is why you are recommended to always deal with your emotional trauma as swiftly as possible. The faster you resolve your trauma, mentally and emotionally, the faster your body can proceed through the healing phase.

Now, why is this important?

You want your healing phase to be as short as possible, because GNM also claims that all “diseases” are in fact your body going through the resolution phase, meaning what appears to be a disease is in fact your body healing itself.

Serious trouble can arise if your trauma phase was quite extended, as your body will need the equal amount of time to heal – which will appear as a “disease” -- as it took for the initial damage to take place.

Why do Diseases Run in Families?

If you are not a slave to your inherited genes, then why is it that diseases often run in families? The answer to this appears to be hiding in plain sight.

As German New Medicine explains:

“Since families share the same cultural and social conditioning, the same indoctrinations, the same beliefs, and so forth, they often experience the same type of conflicts, causing the same "diseases."”

Dr. Hamer uses the example of Lou Gehrig's (ALS) and Huntington Disease (HD) as "genetic disorders" that are passed on through generations. GNM continues:

“According to Dr. Hamer's discoveries, the biological conflict linked to the muscles is "not being able to escape," "feeling tied down," or "feeling stuck," resulting in muscle paralysis during the conflict-active phase.

A daughter or son of a parent with such a muscle "disorder" is naturally much more susceptible to experience a "stuck"-conflict. We must also keep in mind that any biological conflict shock can be experienced with or for another person, particularly when the distress concerns a close loved one.”

But the distinction here is that diseases may run in families due to similar emotional experiences … but they need not. As GNM states:

“Even if members of a family or generations of families experience the same type of conflicts, the conflict shock itself is still a highly personal event which in that instant involves solely the brain, or rather the brain-relay, of the person suffering the conflict at that particular time.

This is why diseases cannot be passed on to future generations nor can they be genetically inherited from a family member or ancestor, either genetically or "epigenetically."”

You are Now Free to Go on With Your Life

The major problem with believing the myth that your genes control your life is that you become a victim of your heredity. Since you can’t change your genes, it essentially means that your life is predetermined, and therefore you have very little control over your health.

The new science reveals that your perceptions control your biology, and this places you in the role of Master, because if you can change your perceptions, you can shape and direct your own genetic readout.

It places YOU in the power position, for better or worse.

So if you have been living in fear of an inherited disease, this “new” research sets you free.

But, these ideas are not really new.

Bruce Lipton, much like Dr. Hamer, has been at it for more than 20 years. The only “new” aspect here is the fact that they are finally able to provide overwhelming, and in many cases indisputable scientific proof of HOW it actually works -- even down to the cellular level.

As it turns out, this is not a popular truth.

People are not embracing these facts with open arms, jumping for joy at being told, “You are completely in charge of your health!” For most, it’s a frightening proposition, despite its promise of ultimate freedom.

But please realize that this is not only an abstract realm … you can use this information in practical ways.

How to Heal Your Emotional Traumas

If your thoughts and emotions play such a significant role in modifying your biology and your health (and I believe they do), then treating your emotions becomes an essential part of optimal health.

Terms like “energy medicine” and “energy psychology” are terms that have sprung up in response to these shifts in perception of reality, and I’ve long been an advocate of energy psychology tools to address underlying emotional traumas that can trigger disease, or keep you locked in a disease pattern.

Meridian tapping technique (MTT) and emotional freedom technique (EFT), for example, which work on several levels of your collective mind-body-spirit simultaneously, can help you get a better handle on your emotions and buried pain, including the stress from unexpected tragedies.

Optimal health might really hinge on dealing with, and resolving your emotional traumas as quickly as possible; not letting old emotional wounds linger and fester.

So if you have old or new emotional wounds that you have not yet dealt with, please take the time to give MTT/EFT a try.

And in the meantime, as you make a conscious effort to eat healthy and exercise each day, make an effort to control your thoughts and beliefs, as well. Keep your thoughts positive and your feelings will follow suit … likely to great benefit within your body.

Monday, March 01, 2010

Creative Health Tip March 1 2010 Choose your reaction

Today's tip is about making choices.

Whatever is going on around you or in your life, Choose to find the good in it.

A lot of times, bad things happen to good people, and people often feel that you are at the mercy of the circumstances.

You may not be able to change the circumstances themselves, but you have absolute power over how you react.

If you react well, consider it as a learning experience, consider it as a way to gain knowledge, consider it as a way to take your power back, and not let all of these outside things just wash over you and cause you to tumble and fall and break. You will go a long way to creating excellent health for yourself.

If things happen and you let them make you crazy and stressed out, you are going to create illness for yourself. All that stress is just not going to sit well in your physical body, and eventually it will come to roost somewhere. You don't want that.

So, take back your power, make your choices good, and make the good choice to find the good thing in everything. There is always something good, even if it's just a learning experience or a way to help someone else out of a problem. If you can help someone else, you will often feel good about your own problems, and also find ways to help solve them, too.

Have a great week!


P. S. Therapeutic Tea Time is still free! If you would like to get together on the phone, online, or in person to chat about your health challenges and holistic alternatives, let's set a time to get together! Write to me at to make an appointment.

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Monday, February 22, 2010

Creative Health Tip February 22 2010 Intuition

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So much is written about intuitive healing these days; you can buy dozens of books telling you how good and effective it is, and visit intuitive healers who will tell you what you need to do to be healthy. What I find humorous (and somewhat sad) about all this is that you are told you must consult someone else's intuition when it is your own you should be cultivating and listening to!

The following is a true and somewhat scary story, but it illustrates the importance of listening to your intuition for your good health and wellbeing. This incident occurred about a year ago to the friend of my friend.

My friend's friend – I'll call her Mary – experienced the accumulation of fluid in her body. She had what was thought to be a seizure and was taken to the hospital where the doctor wanted to perform a CAT scan. At first, Mary refused to recline on the bed of the machine. She had very strong feelings that if she did, she would die. She told the doctor this, and argued with him for almost an hour before he finally convinced her that she was in the hospital, she would be safe. Against her intuition, Mary reclined on the bed of the machine and immediately died. Luckily, the doctor was able to revive her, and she is presently recovering from her illness.

Your experiences with intuition may not be as dramatic as Mary's but they are every bit as important if you are to live in harmony which cultivates happiness which creates health in the physical world.

Knowledge of yourself is not something you must be taught, it is something you can sense. Mary didn't study medical books to learn that she would be in danger if she reclined on the bed of the CAT scan machine. Her intuition told her, and it was right on; she knew her life would be jeopardized if she reclined on the bed, but she was talked out of listening to that intuitive inner voice and almost paid a dire consequence.

The more you learn, academically speaking, the more you become separate from inner knowledge. In fact, you are often taught that intuition is false and unreliable, a teaching to which I think Mary in the hospital would most vehemently disagree! Your most important lessons come from observing nature, both inner and outer, and living in harmony with yourself and all that surrounds you.

When calm and connected, your mind works for the health of your body, not to mention seeking harmony with your surroundings, through the process of intuition, knowledge of nature and natural process without instruction.

Your emotions manifest in the physical world, and for good or ill, your ongoing emotional state will eventually be reflected in your physical body. In order to be physically healthy, you must first cultivate mental and spiritual calmness and harmony and one way to do that is to listen to your intuition. It will always steer you down the path that leads to health and wellness.

Monday, February 15, 2010

Creative Health Tip February 15 2010 Affirmations

Today's Creative Health Tip is about Affirmations

An affirmation is a positive statement that you repeat when you want to create a certain thing or a certain condition in you life. If your life has been chaotic lately you might say an affirmation like "I live in perfect balance and harmony."

I've discovered that people either love or hate affirmations depending on how well the method has worked for them. If you repeat "I live in perfect balance and harmony" fifty times a day, and your life has changed for the better, you no doubt will be enthusiastic about the technique. If you still feel trapped in the depths of chaos, you probably aren't going to be a real fan of affirmations.

I have discovered that there is a key to the use of affirmations that you must have before they will work for you: Belief. You must believe that the statement made in your affirmation is attainable.

The repetition process of using an affirmation is supposed to help change your belief. For example, if all your romantic relationships have ended badly and you feel unlovable, repeating "I am lovable and attract only the right people into relationships" is supposed to change your belief from unlovable to lovable.

It isn't always that easy, though. We all have beliefs about ourselves that may be hidden. Rooting out these conflicting beliefs is a process that may need to be done before affirmations, as the practice stands now, will work for you.

However, the method can be tweaked in such a way that it may work for you even if you have a hidden belief that conflicts with your statement. I learned this from Tiffanie, a young woman whom I consider to be a spiritual daughter of mine.

Instead of finding or creating an affirmation statement that says "I can . . . :" or "I Have . . ." or "I (followed by the verb of your choice)," change it around so that it starts with a positive feeling for the thing or condition you want to create.

Say, "I am grateful and thankful now that I . . ." and then add your affirmative statement. For example, for changing the way you feel about yourself and your relationships, you would say "I am grateful and thankful now that I am lovable and attract only the right people into relationships."

The reason this works is this: if you are feeling negative about yourself and believe that your relationships always end badly, when you say your simple affirmation of "I am lovable and attract only the right people into relationships," your core belief (that you are not lovable, which came from the feelings generated by your previous experiences of relationships ending badly) is going to respond with a sarcastic, "yeah, right."

It's all about feelings; and feelings create beliefs! At some time in your life, you have felt thankful and grateful for something, and you know how good that feels. Instead of repeating that simple affirmation of "I am lovable. . .," put your energy into recreating and re-experiencing feeling grateful and thankful, and aim those feelings at the change you invite into your life, "I am grateful and thankful now that I am lovable. . ." the good feelings will override the negative belief and replace it with a positive one, and manifest the condition you are trying to create with your affirmation!

Have a great week!

Monday, February 08, 2010

Creative Health Tip February 8 2010 Breathing to enhance your mood

Today's tip comes under the heading of incredibly powerful but almost too simple to be true practices. Did you know you could change your mood by changing your breathing?

No doubt you already know that you tend to breathe shallowly when you are stressed, and that deep breathing will help you feel less stressed, more energized and relaxed both physically and mentally.

Here is a quick and easy way to help transform your mood from depressed, fearful or angry to happy and grateful.

The right hemisphere of the brain shows the most activity when you are feeling anger, fear, or depression. When you are feeling happiness and appreciation, this most often appears as left hemisphere brain activity.

Breathing through one nostril activates the opposite side of the brain: breathing through the left nostril activates the right hemisphere of the brain, and breathing through the right nostril activates the left hemisphere.

The next time you are feeling negative emotions like anger, fear, or resentment, and you want to improve your mood to one of happiness, and gratitude (which, of course, will improve your health!), close off your left nostril and inhale through only the right nostril to activate the left brain hemisphere associated with those positive emotions. By activating the left side of the brain, you activate positive emotions and feelings, too! You may enhance the practice by imagining that you are inhaling joy, appreciation, or love with each breath you take in.

You may exhale either through your nose or your mouth, but be careful to inhale only thorough the right nostril for eight to ten breaths. I suggest that you not imagine you are exhaling the anger or depression you are transforming because that will only bring your attention back to it. Don't even think of what you are trying to transform or release, just pay attention to the joy and love you are bringing in.

After eight to ten breaths through the right nostril, release the closed nostril and take a couple balancing breaths, inhaling through both nostrils and exhaling through the mouth.

Consider one cycle of this practice to be eight to ten right-nostril breaths followed by two or three balancing breaths. It may take a few cycles to change your mood, but if you stay with it for at least five minutes, I guarantee you will see improvement, and you'll certainly feel better for it!

Monday, February 01, 2010

Creative Health Tip February 1 2010 Listen to your body

I have a question for you today. Are you running on autopilot or are you paying attention?

The reason I ask is because very frequently, because we all live busy lives, we don't pay attention to what we're doing for ourselves.

We're busy doing our jobs, or we're busy taking care of our family, and we just let ourselves disappear in the shuffle. That, however, is when illness creeps in.

So, you need to pay attention to yourself. Here's a great way to do that:

When you go to bed at night, or at some time during the day if you have twenty minutes that you can sit and put your feet up and relax, I want you to check in with your body. Listen to your body!

Start at your feet, or start at your head, and go right up the whole body, check in, feel how you're feet are feeling, feel how your ankles are feeling, feel how your calves and shins are feeling, check in with your knees and see how they're doing.

"Hey, knees, how's it going? You feeling OK today?"

When you find a spot that is not feeling OK, it's achy, it's tense, it hurts, it's in pain, here's the trick: Give it love.

Do you remember when you were a little kid, or when you had little children, and somebody got hurt, they got a "boo-boo" and they went to mommy, and mommy kissed it and made it all better? The reason it got all better is because mommy gave it love.

You can to that for yourself! If you feel a tension, a pain, and ache, or anything, just stop and give it love. I will bet you that if you do this every day for the next three weeks, you will notice a huge difference (improvement!) in how you're feeling.

Saturday, January 30, 2010

Avoid genetically-modified foods with these NON-GMO Shopping Guides

These printable guides, compiled by the Center For Food Safety, help you avoid foods made with genetically-modified organisms (GMOs).

To learn more about the risks associated with GMOs, visit the Center For Food Safety website at

The guides are organized by food group, and list the brands of foods stated by the processor to be free of genetically-modified ingredients as well as the brands that may contain GMOs. I printed my guide and keep it in the car so it's handy when I go shopping. Of course, I buy organic as much as possible, but the guides are very handy when organic products are not available.

This booklet is small print, eight pages

This booklet is large print, sixteen pages

Monday, January 25, 2010

Creative Health Tip January 25 2010 Beliefs and Creative Power

I have a couple of quotes today to share about your power to create your health.

First is Napoleon Hill from the book Think and Grow Rich. He said, "Whatever the mind can conceive and believe it can achieve."

How many of you believe that statement as you apply it to cars, homes, jobs, or relationships? I imagine most of you do.

How many of you believe that statement as you apply it to your physical body, to your health and wellbeing? Not as many, I'll bet.

You have been indoctrinated to believe that your mind has no power over your body. Now, I know the word "indoctrinated" carries a negative connotation, but all it means is: "to instruct in a doctrine, principle, ideology, etc., esp. to imbue with a specific partisan or biased belief or point of view." ( Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2010.)

You have been taught from infancy that your body operates on its own power and own agenda, and you don't really have a lot to say about it. That is a pretty biased belief, and nothing could be further from the truth.

It has been proven that your thoughts and emotions can control which of your genes is turned on and off, thereby controlling the expression of any at-risk genetic tendencies like heart disease, osteoporosis, and cancer. Basically, this means that if you are at risk for any disease that is linked to genetic traits or "runs in families," you can control whether that disease manifests or not.

For more information, see my post "You Control Your Genes, Your Genes Don't Control You"

We hear about medical miracles every day: how a woman with mortally traumatic injuries recovers to walk and talk again after being told she might not survive her injuries; how cancer spontaneously goes into remission after a person has an experience that changes his or her whole outlook on life. There are even stories of children who have lost a limb and that limb has begun to grow back until they hear their parents being told, "Your child isn't re-growing a limb, that's not possible, they can't do that!" Not knowing any better, the child accepts that doctrine as the truth, and the belief is set.

That brings us to the second quote in today's Creative Health Tip that tells you that your only limitation to healing is your beliefs.

This quote is from the Daily Quote emailed from the Abraham-Hicks Publications. You may subscribe to the Daily Quote on this webpage:

The Daily Quote for January 24, 2010 reads:

Someone asked us recently, "Is there any limitation to the body's ability to heal?" And we said, "None other than the belief that you hold." And he said, "Then why aren't people growing new limbs?" And we said, "Because no one believes that they can."
--- Abraham

Excerpted from the workshop in San Rafael, CA on Saturday, February 27th, 1999 #329

Our Love,
Jerry and Esther

©1997-2009 Abraham-Hicks Publications.

Science is discovering this very thing. We know that you can lose 75% of your liver and it will grow back. It once was believed that if you lost a portion of your brain, you were out of luck. We now know that brain cells grow back. A doctor in India discovered that heart cells grow back, too. (See link to article below.)

There is an article on the CBS News website (see link below) that in part says, "Dr. Atala, one of the pioneers of regeneration, believes every type of tissue already has cells ready to regenerate if only researchers can prod them into action. Sometimes that prodding can look like science fiction.

"Emerging from an everyday ink jet printer is the heart of a mouse. Mouse heart cells go into the ink cartridge and are then sprayed down in a heart shaped pattern layer by layer.

"Dr. Atala believes it's a matter of time before someone grows a human heart.

""The cells have all the genetic information necessary to make new tissue," Atala explained. "That's what they are programmed to do. So your heart cells are programmed to make more heart tissue, your bladder cells are programmed to make more bladder cells.""

In my opinion, what the doctors and scientists have not yet figured out is that you don't need technology nor any sort of intervention to prod your cells to regenerate. The Abraham-Hicks quote has told you how to do it: all you need is the belief that you can!

Heart Cells Grow Back:

Medicine's Cutting Edge: Re-Growing Organs

Monday, January 18, 2010

Creative Health Tip January 18 2010

Today's tip is something we can learn from our nomadic cousins around the world: don't carry around a lot of baggage.

In spite of their seemingly (to us) harsh lives filled with change and instability, nomadic peoples are some of the healthiest people on the planet.

There are many reasons for that, but I believe there is one especially important reason: they carry only what they need and don't tote around a lot of baggage.

By baggage, I mean two things; "stuff," as in physical things, and "stuff" as in emotional things. Carrying around a lot of physical items is a great metaphor for toting around a lot of emotional baggage too, and both types of baggage can wear you down to the point you will manifest illness.

In the mind-body creation process, you know that the relationship between your thoughts and emotions will eventually manifest in your body. Harmonious thoughts and emotions create a healthy body. Emotional baggage is the inner conflict between the thoughts and emotions which manifests as illness.

Sometimes it's relatively easily to identify the conflict by examining the nature of your illness. Sometimes it's not so easy, and I can help you through the processes that are available to unearth the conflict. Once you identify the source of the conflict, you can begin the release and healing process, and create the wellness you desire and deserve!

Monday, January 11, 2010

Creative Health Tip January 11 2010 How Eight Pieces Brocade builds bone density

I say this without any hint of sarcasm, honest, but I really love it when science catches up with three-thousand year old Chinese medicine. That can be a great motivator to people who want to try a holistic health modality but aren't sure if it works.

I have here a pamphlet sent out as an invitation to subscribe to "Prevention," a magazine dedicated to health and wellness.

One of the articles is titled "The 60-Second Bone Builder." The article does not mention Chinese medicine, but the advice given in how to build bone density is the very essence of one of the movement positions in Eight Pieces of Brocade Qigong, a practice proven to increase bone density!

The article Says, "…..high impact exercises put strain on your bones, stimulating new bone growth." A little further down it says, "You need to subject your bones to more impact than what they're used to," agrees an MD at Stanford University. So if you're inactive, start walking. And if you're already walking, add a simple 60-second jog."

The reason for jogging is that bones, because they are so dense, need the additional impact as resistance. Just as you build muscles with resistance training by lifting weights, you build bone density with resistance of high-impact exercises.

In the Eight Pieces of Brocade Qigong, there is a position that includes exactly this type of high-impact training. (See the end of the article for results of a study of qigong on bone density.)

The practice is this: Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart, letting your arms hang loosely and naturally at your sides. Rise up on your toes for a count of three and then drop so that your heels hit the ground with a thud. Do this for one minute. When done, stand still and breathe deeply for about a minute.

There you have it: a high-impact, bone-building practice that is so simple you can do it any time and any where.

Tuesday, January 05, 2010

Squeaky Clean and More Likely to Get Breast Cancer?

The following article is from Bottom Line's Daily Health News newsletter of January 5, 2010. Here's where to subscribe:

This is a topic I've covered before, the need to be vigilant and monitor the ingredients in the products we use in order to protect ourselves from disease due to exposure to too many toxic chemicals. Here are two of my previous articles on this topic:

Hormone Experts Worried About Plastics, Chemicals.

Health Hazards of Housework and Chemical Cleaners; this article also includes a list of non-toxic substitutes for cleaning your home.

Many of the things we consider "household necessities" like glass and oven cleaners, floor cleaners, scented soaps and shampoos and hair conditioners, have been around for such a short period of time that our generational exposure to them has been too small to study the long-term, long-range effects. Now, we are learning that "better living through chemistry" is not better at all, and in fact may be extremely harmful, even deadly in the long run. At the end of this article, I hope you will click through to my article on Health Hazards of Housework and Chemical Cleaners. I will repeat the link at the end.

I myself have given up using most common household chemicals because they cause me to have breathing problems; for example, when using glass cleaner, it feels as though my throat closes up and I am suffocating. I also purchase unscented personal-care products, and search out products that are as organic and natural as possible, including the packaging. (It continues to bemuse me that organic food is sold in plastic bags. . . you go to all the trouble to buy organic, and it's contaminated by the packaging!)

Here's today's reprinted article:

Squeaky Clean and. . . More Likely to Get Breast Cancer?

Are you using personal-care and household products that are linked to breast cancer? While cancer experts estimate that 5% to 10% of breast cancers are hereditary (associated with the BRCA1 and BRCA2 genes), the majority of women who get breast cancer have no family history and no known risk factors for the disease. In an effort to explain the breast cancer epidemic, health experts are looking for clues in the environment... and in the bathrooms, kitchens and pantries of our own homes.

According to medical sociologist Sabrina McCormick, PhD, American Association for the Advancement of Science Fellow in the National Center for Environmental Assessment at the Environmental Protection Agency and author of No Family History: The Environmental Links to Breast Cancer, dangerous chemicals found in many of the everyday products we use -- cosmetics, lotions, shampoos, household cleaning products and food packaging -- may be associated with as many as 90% of breast cancer cases.

Scientific Evidence

Dr. McCormick’s theory is based on the association between two parallel trends in the same time frame -- the rise of breast cancer over the past 60 years (from a lifetime risk of one in 22 women in 1940 to one in eight women in 2008) and the mass production and widespread usage of toxic chemicals that occurred during that period. "As more people have been exposed to carcinogenic chemicals, and as they accumulate in their bodies over time, studies show that several different kinds of cancers have emerged -- in particular breast cancer," she said. Throughout her book, Dr. McCormick cites studies that support the link between toxic chemicals and breast cancer -- for example, there is evidence of increased breast cancer risk in the vicinity of polluting facilities. In fact, regional breast cancer rates are highest in the Northeast, which also has the longest history of industrial development and toxic exposure.

Is Estrogen the Culprit?

How do exposures to toxic chemicals raise one’s risk for breast cancer? Estrogen seems to be the common denominator, according to Dr. McCormick, who explained that the more estrogen a woman is exposed to over her lifetime, the higher her risk for breast cancer and other reproductive cancers (such as ovarian and uterine cancer). The "estrogen disruptor hypothesis," which purports that xenoestrogens, chemicals that mimic or disrupt estrogen (found in an abundance of modern-day products), can cause breast cancer is widely accepted in the scientific community. The fact that several of the known risk factors for breast cancer (early onset of menstruation, late menopause, and excess weight) are themselves related to estrogen lends credence to the hypothesis. A number of animal studies provide further support by demonstrating that xenoestrogens cause mammary tissues to grow and also can disrupt sexual and neurological development. In addition to xenoestrogens, other chemicals known or suspected to be carcinogens are found in a variety of everyday products and also could raise one’s risk for breast cancer and other cancers.

What Not To Use...

A wide range of personal-care products, household-cleaning products and food packaging contain chemicals that may cause breast cancer or cancer in general. These have been classified by the Breast Cancer Fund, an environmental health advocacy group, as Animal Mammary Gland Carcinogen (AMGC), Human Carcinogenic Risk Classification (HCRC), known Endocrine Disruptor (ED) and other categories described below. To access the Breast Cancer Fund charts by category, go to Following is a list of some of the more worrisome substances ...

Cosmetics and Personal-Care Products

• Parabens, which are chemical preservatives used in cosmetics, deodorants, lotions, ointments and shampoos, are known endocrine disruptors, said Dr. McCormick. While the European Union regulates the use of many parabens in their products, the US does not. (ED)
• Dibutyl phthalate (DBP), which among other purposes is used to make plastics softer, is an ingredient in children’s teething toys, nail polish, perfumes, moisturizers and cleaning solvents. (ED)
• Ethelyne Oxide, a compound that adds fragrance to shampoos. (AMGC, HCRC)
• Dioxane, a compound found in shampoos, body washes and sudsing products. (AMGC, HCRC)
• Petrolatum (PAH), which is what petroleum jelly is made of... also used in lipsticks, lotions and oils. (AMGC, HCRC, ED)
• Formaldehyde, benzene and toluene, all found in nail polish and nail polish removers.
• Urethane, found in hair-care products, such as mousses, gels and sprays, and in sunscreens, mascara and foundation. (AMGC, HCRC)
Making matters worse, notes Dr. McCormick, many cosmetics also contain ingredients that act as skin penetrators, which makes it even more likely that these dangerous substances will be absorbed into the skin. Also, beware of products marketed as "youth enhancers" that contain estradiol, estrone or estriol... all forms of estrogen that can be absorbed into the skin that should be used only with medical oversight.
For an up-to-date listing of dangerous cosmetics and personal-care products, visit the Environmental Working Group’s online cosmetic safety database (

Household Products

• Polyvinyl chloride (PVC), a plastic that leaches phthalates, found in cling wraps, plastic bottles, detergents, window cleaner bottles and vinyl shower curtains. Many houses also contain pipes made of PVC, which is a Carcinogen By-product of Manufacturing (CBM) and Hormone Disruptor (HD).
• Diethylene Glycol Monoethyl Ether, found in floor finish, tile and grout cleaner, and microwave oven cleaners. This substance affects the central nervous system and is a reproductive toxin.
• Nonylphenol Ethoxylate, found in cleaners, degreasers, foaming cleaners, air fresheners, spot and stain treatments and metal polish. (ED)
• Nitrilotriacetic Acid, found in carpet-care products, is classified as a Reasonably Anticipated Carcinogen (RAC).
• Tetrachloroethylene, found in spray polish and laundry spot removers.

Food Packaging

Many food packages and containers are made with compounds that have been linked to breast cancer, most especially when the package is heated...
• Bisphenol A, used in the linings of cans and water bottles. (ED)
• Polystyrene, found in Styrofoam food containers, disposable containers, egg cartons and plastic cutlery. (CBM)
• Polycarbonate, found in plastic water bottles and metal food can liners. (ED)

Consumer Tips

While it may be impossible to avoid all of the products that contain known or suspected breast carcinogens, Dr. McCormick suggests that whenever possible we should use simple, natural personal-care products and buy organic food products to minimize exposure to pesticides and chemicals. She advises using nontoxic cleaning and household products whenever possible, and notes that any household cleaners should be used only in well-ventilated areas. Other precautions include installing a water filter to rid water of contaminants... and avoiding packaging that uses plastics and plastic derivatives.


Sabrina McCormick, PhD, author of No Family History: The Environmental Links to Breast Cancer (Rowman & Littlefield) is a Fellow at the American Association for the Advancement of Science in the National Center for Environmental Assessment at the Environmental Protection Agency and is an assistant research faculty at the School of Public Health, George Washington University. She was previously a Robert Wood Johnson Health & Society Scholar at the University of Pennsylvania.

If that all makes you think twice about your exposure to chemicals, read this and consider using the non-toxic substitutes listed at the end of the article.

Health Hazards of Housework and Chemical Cleaners; this article also includes a list of non-toxic substitutes for cleaning your home.