Imagine shining a flashlight at a wall in a dark, empty room.
If you walk toward the wall, the light will contract. The closer you get to the wall, the smaller and more concentrated the beam of light becomes. By the time the flashlight is an inch from the wall, you’ll see a tight, bright circle of light surrounded by shadow and darkness.
Your attention is a lot like the beam of that flashlight. You can focus it closely and intensely on something, or you can relax it — allowing it to grow soft and diffuse.
A lot of research…
Your body reacts to stress in a number of well-mapped ways. Heart rate and blood pressure speed up, muscles tense, digestion slows, and breathing becomes clipped and rapid.
All of this happens because your brain has registered the presence of some sort of threat. Whether physical or psychological, this threat triggers a trickle (or a gush) of adrenaline, noradrenaline, and other stress-related hormones. These chemical messengers shift the activity of your nervous and immune systems in ways that are meant to help you either flee from danger or weather some kind of ordeal or confrontation.
No one is really prepared to spend two hours in a high-pressure oxygen tube as though you’re about to be punted into space through an air-lock. But given recent news stories claiming hyperbaric oxygen therapy can make you younger, cure inflammatory conditions, and even treat neurological disorders, a lot of people are still willing to try. I decided to see what the treatment was all about — and I learned that it isn’t for the faint of heart.
The term hyperbaric just means high pressure. Therapy involves allowing a patient to breathe 100% oxygen inside a pressurized tube to increase…
When I was in my mid-twenties, I developed back problems. They’d started in my early teens, but after years of managing with yoga (and massage when I could afford it), I found that regular strategies for keeping the pain at bay were suddenly ineffective.
These days, I am in pain all the time — from where my skull cradles my spine all the way down to my heels. I usually can’t move my head much to the right. …
As parents consider the risks and benefits of the Covid-19 vaccines for their kids, they may have heard about a heart inflammation condition called myocarditis or pericarditis occurring after some people get the Pfizer or Moderna vaccine. Here’s what you need to know.
This is the third in a four-part series on preventing depression, a serious and growing mental disorder that can strike at any age and, if untreated, persist and worsen.
Antidepressant drugs can be an effective treatment for many people diagnosed with depression, particularly in the most severe cases. But these medications, which can have troubling side effects, are far from the only option, and for many people they simply don’t work. …
Death is not a thing, but things: a process of emotions, states of being, suddenly shifting relationships, the buzz of needful activity, an empty chair, a dialed number that doesn’t connect. In the clutches of grief, death may seem like a single event, the running down of a curtain beyond which none of us can see — but it is also a path, a journey, a process.
Knowing this more deeply can help us to grieve.
Imagine yourself, if you will, in the midst of the exquisite diet chaos of the 90s. Pick your fighter. Diet juggernaut Robert Atkins (who first introduced his eponymous low-carb diet in the 70s) released “The New Diet Revolution” in 1992, vying for hearts and stomachs against the perfect nothingness of the new fat-free Snackwell cookie. 1994 saw the publication of low-fat lobbyist Dean Ornish’s punchy “Eat More, Weigh Less,” putting a slick gloss on magical thinking. Barry Sears fired out his pro-protein “Enter The Zone: A Dietary Road Map” the following year. …
June is PTSD awareness month. Thanks to the arduous work of researchers, advocates, survivors, and psychological and medical professionals over the years, the acronym for posttraumatic stress disorder is now common parlance.
The effects of PTSD are also more widely known:
I’m an emergency room doctor in New York City, and I haven’t seen a Covid-19 patient in weeks. It feels great having my old job back.
In March 2020, Covid flooded our ERs. At first, it was just a dribble — one or two Covid patients per day. But within a week, the virus had taken over every body in every bed. Every shift in the emergency room brought an endless stream of patients, one after another, all struggling to breathe and in desperate need of oxygen.
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