Monday, March 31, 2008

COPD~Emphysema Big Belly = Brain Fog

This is of particular interest to many of us who live with COPD/Emphysema. We find ourselves getting that "bowling ball" belly or suddenly looking pregnant and we have no idea why. So it is important to get to the source of the "why" and act on it. I do notice "brain fog" on many days which scares the lilly out of me! Please read and take heed.

Big Bellies Fuel Brain Fog

Excess abdominal fat in middle age linked to increased risk of dementia later in life
by Craig Weatherby

Caution … gaining an extra inch (or foot) around your belly may end up costing you more than a new set of clothes.

A study by scientists at the Kaiser Permanente Division of Research shows that people in their 40s with larger stomachs – so-called “central obesity” – have a higher risk of developing dementia.

Evidence from prior studies indicates that being obesity or overweight raises the risk of all forms of dementia, including Alzheimer's disease (AD), and that being obesity or overweight promotes the degenerations in brain function associated with dementia.

Studies have also shown that having a large abdomen in midlife increases the risk of diabetes, stroke, and heart disease.

However, being underweight in late life is also associated with dementia, so by the time you reach your late sixties it may be a bad idea to lose lots of weight in an attempt to forestall mental fog.

The results of many studies show that excess belly fat is a bigger risk factor for cardiovascular disease and diabetes than being obese. But until now, no researchers had investigated whether the same pattern holds true for risk of dementia.

The results of the new Kaiser Permanente study support the notion that the degenerative changes underlying dementia begin decades earlier.

As lead author Rachel Whitmer, Ph.D. wrote in an evidence review published last year, “There is a need to take a ‘life course approach’ and to consider the role of risk factors prior to the onset of old age.” (Whitmer RA, April 2007)

Dr. Whitmer made these key observations (KP 2008):

“Capturing abdominal obesity in midlife may be a much better indicator of … dementia risk. Measuring abdomen size in older age people may not be as good an indicator because as people age they tend to naturally lose muscle and bone mass and gain belly size.”

“Autopsies have shown that changes in the brain associated with Alzheimer’s disease may start in young to middle adulthood, and another study showed that high abdominal fat in elderly adults was tied to greater brain atrophy. These findings imply that the dangerous effects of abdominal obesity on the brain may start long before the signs of dementia appear.”

What the study showed

Dr. Whitmer’s Kaiser Permanente team analyzed the medical records of 6,583 people in Northern California who had had their "abdominal density" measured between 1964 and 1973, when they were 40 to 45 years old (Whitmer RA et al. 2008).

The Kaiser Permanente team then looked for diagnoses of dementia in the subjects’ medical records an average of 36 years later (from January 1, 1994, to June 16, 2006).

As it turned out, some 16 percent of the participants were diagnosed with dementia years after their belly fat was measured.

The people who had a large belly and were overweight were 2.3 times (230 percent) more likely to develop dementia than people with a normal weight and belly size.

People who had a large belly and were obese were 3.6 times (360 percent) more likely to develop dementia than those of normal weight and belly size.

Those who were overweight or obese but did not have a large abdomen were still at increased risk, but they were only 80 percent more likely to have developed dementia.

Having a big belly raised the risk of dementia regardless of whether the participants were of normal weight, overweight, or obese, and regardless of existing health conditions, including diabetes, stroke and cardiovascular disease.

(The people more likely to have abdominal obesity included non-whites, smokers, people with high blood pressure, high cholesterol or diabetes, and those with less than a high school level of education.)

As the authors wrote, “Fifty percent of adults have central obesity; therefore, mechanisms linking central obesity to dementia need to be unveiled.”

As with all such studies, it is possible that the statistical association between big bellies and dementia stems from a complex set of health-related behaviors that raise the risk of dementia and abdominal obesity simultaneously.

But that seems unlikely, given the known connections between abdominal obesity and cardiovascular disease and the connections between cardiovascular disease and dementia.

Sunday, March 30, 2008


Prevent respiratory infections
Any respiratory infection — even the common cold — can cause an acute exacerbation of COPD, so it is to your advantage to do whatever you can to avoid catching what's going around. Washing your hands frequently with soap and water can reduce your risk. Alcohol-based instant hand sanitizers can also help. As much as possible, stay several feet away from people who have colds or other respiratory infections that can be spread by sneezing or coughing.
In addition to having an annual flu shot and an immunization against pneumonia every five years (see "Immunizations"), you may also benefit from antiviral medications for preventing and treating influenza, such as zanamivir (Relenza), amantadine (Symmetrel), and rimantadine (Flumadine). These drugs are not substitutes for a flu shot, but they can offer added prevention. If you get the flu, they can help reduce the severity and duration of your illness.

Exercise regularly
If you are attending a pulmonary rehab program, you will also need to exercise at home on the days you don't attend sessions. It's especially important to find an exercise that you enjoy well enough to do almost every day. Aerobic exercises, which increase the heart rate and breathing rate, are most beneficial. If you don't like the treadmill, try tai chi, yoga, swimming, or walking around your neighborhood with a friend. Aim for at least 20 minutes a day on most days. Even if you aren't in a pulmonary rehabilitation program, regular exercise helps maintain strength in your arms and legs and prevent you from becoming easily tired during physical activities.

Do breathing exercises
Another lesson from pulmonary rehabilitation that can easily become a part of your daily routine is pursed-lip breathing. This technique is valuable for helping you improve your breathing before and during physical activities. Before you start moving, inhale through your nose so deeply that your abdomen expands. Then, as you begin to move, exhale through your mouth with your lips pursed to slow down the airflow. Your exhalation should last twice as long as your inhalation. You will feel pressure in your windpipe and chest as you slowly breathe out. When you finish exhaling, rest for a moment, then inhale and start the process again.
Breathing exercises can help keep you from feeling out of breath while going up and down stairs, walking in the mall, or otherwise exerting yourself. Use breathing exercises to pace yourself through physical activities. When climbing stairs, for example, you might inhale, then climb three steps as you exhale, rest, then inhale, climb three more steps as you exhale, and so on until you have reached the top of the stairs.

Eat and drink regularly
Small meals are easier to digest and use less energy than large meals. If you have been avoiding eating because it makes you tired or out of breath, try having smaller, more frequent meals throughout the day instead of three large meals. In addition, drink plenty of water or other noncaffeinated, nonalcoholic beverages. This can help relieve congestion by thinning mucus, enabling you to cough it up more easily. There's no magic number of glasses you should drink daily; simply get into the habit of drinking regularly throughout the day.

Avoid lung irritants
An important way to control your symptoms and prevent acute exacerbations is to keep your airways from becoming irritated. Many things can irritate the airways, especially exhaust fumes from your stove, smoke from your fireplace, dry air, and molds and mildew from water damage in your home. If you have allergies, try to avoid exposure to whatever causes them — pollen, pet dander, house dust, mold, and so on.

Here are some specific tips for avoiding irritants:
Use a humidifier when the air is very dry. Moisture in the air can reduce irritation by keeping your airways moist. A humidifier is especially helpful during the winter, when the air in your home may be dry. Change the water and clean the filter of your humidifier regularly to prevent buildup of mold and bacteria.

Ventilate your home. Good ventilation can reduce the amount of irritating dust and cooking exhaust in the air. Use an exhaust fan vented outdoors when cooking. Avoid using a fireplace or wood stove; wood smoke is a lung irritant. Unless you are allergic to pollen and other outdoor allergens, keep windows open when the weather is warm enough. Fresh air not only helps ventilate your home but can also raise the humidity level. Although it would seem that air purifiers may help, there is no clear evidence that they are beneficial for people with COPD.

Have furnaces and chimneys inspected. Making sure that furnaces are operating normally can reduce the amount of smoke and fumes they emit. Having chimneys cleaned can ensure that they vent smoke and exhaust effectively.
Avoid aerosol products. Just about any aerosol (other than medicine or oxygen therapy) can irritate your airways. That includes hairspray, perfume, deodorant, paint sprayers, and insecticides. Instead of aerosol products, use gel or liquid preparations; for deodorants, use roll-on or stick forms.

A patient's experience: Pulmonary rehabilitation
After smoking for 35 years, Kurt reached a point when his concern for his health outweighed his craving for a cigarette. So he quit cold turkey, with the support of his wife and children. A decade later, his doctor diagnosed emphysema and asthma. "I used to be able to handle heavy loads with no trouble, but then I found myself huffing and puffing," recalls Kurt, 67, whose job in computer training sometimes required that he carry heavy computers. "I also started getting tired and out of breath on my endurance walks."
For several years, Kurt was able to control his symptoms with bronchodilators, but then the symptoms got worse. "If I climbed stairs while carrying a briefcase, I became exhausted," he says. His doctor recommended pulmonary rehabilitation.

He went to an outpatient rehab center for 12 weeks, starting out twice a week and then going once a week. Under the guidance of a physical therapist, he exercised on a treadmill. The therapist recommended that he use a portable oxygen canister while exercising to help reduce his shortness of breath.

The therapist also taught him breathing retraining, techniques to make it easier to breathe even without oxygen therapy. First, she showed him diaphragmatic breathing, a technique for inhaling deeply and exhaling slowly to prevent running out of breath during activities. Then she taught him to pace his breathing so that he inhaled deeply before doing something physical, then exhaled slowly during the activity. She also told him that he could improve his breathing even more by improving his posture — relaxing his shoulders instead of hunching them as was his habit. "It all worked," he says.

Kurt credits pulmonary rehabilitation with restoring his vitality and vastly improving his well-being. "When I started rehab, I was able to walk for only 20 minutes on a treadmill. Then I worked up to 40 minutes," he says. Not only that, but his lung capacity improved by 22% by the end of his rehab and another 1% six months later, as he continued to exercise on a treadmill at home.

A year later, Kurt works part time, although he has someone else do the heavy lifting. "You can't reverse emphysema," he says, "but you can stabilize it."

Tuesday, March 25, 2008


The New Mind-set. A new attitude

(NaturalNews) Inflammation is a double-edged sword. While it is very critical for the healing of wounds, it is also a bodily response that can become too much of a good thing. Any infection, injury or toxicity problem inflicted on our bodies is handled by the inflammatory response that occurs automatically. Unfortunately, if certain substances in our bodies become unbalanced, the inflammation switch can come "on" at the wrong time or forget to go "off" when no longer needed.When inflammation occurs, it can be seen externally as a rash or swelling. A more dangerous kind is that which occurs internally. If it goes on too long it can cause damage to any organ or organ system. People with auto-immune and chronic inflammatory diseases are very familiar with the problems inflammation can cause.

Diseases in which inflammation plays a role are heart disease, stroke, Alzheimer’s, cancers, arthritis, gingivitis and other “itis” disorders. On the positive side, since the growth in such diseases can be correlated with and related to our increased diets of fast, convenient foods, it is possible to end the inflammation process with a change in diet. Not only do we need to eliminate saturated and trans-fats, refined sugars, starches, commercial meats and artificial sweeteners, but we can reverse problems of chronic inflammatory diseases by choosing certain foods and herbs available at the grocery store. It is being shown time and again that the common therapy for inflammation – pharmaceuticals - has been a miserable and costly failure. Rather than submit your body to the side effects of such drugs, please consider the much healthier alternatives discussed below.

Dietary polyphenols, found in many edible plants, are being found to have anti-inflammatory properties. Studies on animals in the lab have demonstrated such properties, and studies done on different human populations have shown that those who consume polyphenol-rich foods have lower incidences of inflammatory disease. Fruits rich in this phytochemical include blackberries, blueberries, strawberries, raspberries, sour cherries, pomegranates and cranberries. If you drink these in juices, make sure to read the label and avoid any with sugar added.

Another group of dietary nutrients receiving much publicity today are the omega fatty acids. Don’t be confused by the wording here. Omega-3 fatty acids are anti-inflammatory, while omega-6 acids can actually help cause inflammation. That is why we need to balance the use of omega-6’s with omega-3’s. If your diet has been predominantly rich in the omega-6 oils, you will have to do more than achieve a balance by increasing omega-3’s and drastically reducing the omega-6’s.

Quercetin is a flavonoid, and a very powerful one. It is found in red grapes, red and yellow onions, garlic, broccoli and apples.Anti-oxidant properties in some foods also help fight inflammation by protecting the body from free radicals. Vitamin C-rich foods fall into this category, including carrots, orange winter squash, bell peppers and tomatoes.To reduce swelling and inflammation quickly, eat half of a fresh pineapple or papaya daily. Pineapple contains the enzyme bromelain and papaya contains papain. Pain and swelling should go down in two to six days.Eating at least five servings of such fresh fruits and vegetables daily is a minimum. If inflammation is a problem, it is recommended to increase the intake of this food group. In fact, some natural health experts advise a diet that is 75% raw foods.The flavorings and herbs used in cooking your lean meats and fish are very important as well in fighting inflammation. Turmeric, and its yellowing substance curcumin, are most commonly found in Indian foods like curry and in mustards. The author makes capsules of grocery store-bought turmeric, which has helped with arthritis symptoms. At least one naturopath has stated it works much like anti-inflammatory pharmaceuticals, without the side effects. Ginger is another flavoring that has many healthful properties, one of which is an anti-inflammatory. Garlic has been the object of much research and has been shown to inhibit the growth of 23 organisms, including bacteria, mold and yeast. It is also very helpful as an anti-inflammatory.Remember, while adding spices like turmeric, it is just as important to decrease, if not eliminate,flavorings such as salt, sugar and artificial sweeteners. Also avoid colas, white flour products and junk foods.Just one precaution: Herbs and spices should be used with medical supervision if one is also taking medications because their medicinal properties can interfere with the drugs. When it comes to soy and soy products, the advice and research findings are contradictory. More research is needed on these foods.

In conclusion, if you want to reduce inflammation, eat healthier. Replace your processed foods with meals like cold water fish, chicken, salads, and steamed vegetables. Avoid deep-fried foods and hydrogenated oils. Bake or stir-fry instead of frying. Use olive oil, an omega-9 fatty acid, instead of corn and related oils.

Remember to always check with your pharmacist and/or physician prior to adding or eliminating anything to your medical regime.

Saturday, March 22, 2008

COPD Walking

So many COPD'ers know that walking is a life saver for many of us. Exercise is so vital to our well being and quality of life. So, too, is getting rid of baggage, stress ~ letting go of anger and those negative emotions that can truly and adversely effect our health and hasten progression of the COPD. In that spirit, I offer the following that is so very helpful for us while we are on our walking paths. Plus, Spring is here and a lot of us will emerge from the coziness of our homes and spring out into the reawakening of our sweet mother earth. Enjoy the magic walking. ;)


Walk Your Blues Away

Adapted from Walking Your Blues Away, by Thom Hartmann (Inner Traditions, 2006).

Could it really be this simple? Yes! This easiest of self-help techniques has gained widespread recognition: you really can solve problems, heal trauma and transform stress by walking. Here are the five easy steps for walking your blues away.

There are five steps to correctly performing a Walking Your Blues Away session. They are:

1. Define the issue. Before going for your walk, consider the issues that are still hanging around in your life that you feel are unresolved. This could range from past traumas, hurts, angers, or embarrassments to relationship issues with people you no longer have access to (including people who have died). There is no specific right or wrong issue to work with. If you can think of it, visualize it, and get a feeling from it, then you can walk and work with it.

2. Bring up the story. Story in this context refers to such thought patterns as “She was cruel towards me” and “He had no right to hurt me like that” and “Why did she have to die?” There is always an internal story, with you and the object of the story at the center, and it’s important to pull that story out so you can say and hear it explicitly. How would you describe the story to yourself, in your most private and safe space, if you had to boil it down to a few words or a sentence or two? Notice the strength of the emotional charge associated with this event. Using a scale of 0 (truly don’t care) to 100 (the most intense you have ever felt), come up with a number to rank the emotional charge connected with this event.

3. Walk with the issue. Pick a route that is at least a mile long, and ideally two miles. (Luna Note: Walk what you can handle. You know your body!) The key is not to find a distraction-free walking area--that’s pretty much impossible. Rather, the key is to continue to remind yourself to hold your picture and/or feeling in front of you while walking. When you find your attention wandering, just bring it back to the issue. Relax into it. To motivate yourself, think of the positive resolution that you’re trying to achieve. There is no failure. There is only feedback. Learn from the feedback and continue on.

4. Notice how the issue changes. As the emotional value or the emotion attached to a picture/memory changes, the sub modalities will change. When people walk with an unpleasant memory, it’s not uncommon for them to say they see it beginning to disintegrate or get dimmer or lose its color or move farther away or even behind them. Once the change has happened, people notice that the emotion they feel about the picture is now different. It’s still possible to remember the event, but the feeling about the event has changed. Often the story of “I was hurt and it still hurts,” for example, changes to something like “I learned a good lesson from that, even if it was unpleasant.” Present-tense pain becomes past-tense experience. Let the process proceed until you notice a perceptible shift in feeling. Then ask yourself, “What’s my story about this memory now?” If the process is complete, you’ll discover that the story you’re telling yourself will be considerably healthier, more resilient, and more useful than the previous story.

5. Anchor the memory. When the picture is well formed and you notice that your self-told story about the event has changed, anchor this new reality by reviewing it carefully--observe the way the picture has changed, listen to yourself repeat the new internal story, and notice the feelings associated with the new state. Notice all the ways it’s changed. Think of other ways it may now be useful to you, even helpful. As you’re walking back to your starting point, think about how you’d describe it if you were to choose to tell somebody else about it. When you get home, consider writing something about your new experience, your new vision, your new story. If you don’t want to write it down, just sit in a quiet and safe place and speak it out loud in private to yourself. These steps help anchor the new state, fixing it in its new place in your mind and heart, so it will be available to you as a resource--rather than a problem--in the future.

Sweetest blessings,
Luna (Kasey)

Friday, March 21, 2008


Hair Drying can be almost impossible for COPD'ers and, on some days, it IS impossible. Here is a helpful hint and it's not expensive either. While I'm at it, I'm adding some more help hints for us, too.

Hair Drying/Styling

Purchase a tabletop stand for your hair dryer. Sit in a chair and allow the hair dryer to blow your hair dry. This will also free one of your hands to make styling your hair easier.

Adjustable Hair Dryer StandAdjustable height hair dryer stand saves time styling and drying hair, leaves both hands free for combing, applying products, curling and more by supporting hair dryer in flexible gooseneck stand with Velcro strap.These can be found at Target.

When donning pantyhose or girdles, try applying powder to your legs and thighs beforehand. This will absorb any moisture and allow the pantyhose or girdle to slide on easier.

Utility Cart
These are wonderful. Even my 02 delivery guy uses the one I have. It makes it so much easier for me. UPS and FedEx drop packages directly into my cart, too. So helpful. I just roll it from the garage into the house and unload the groceries, mail packages, whatever happens to be in there for me. Invest in a utility cart for your home. A cart can help you with many chores and the moving of objects from room to room. Use it for serving meals, carrying laundry, bringing in groceries, etc. (My FIL made mine from an old roll away stereo cabinet he had squirrelled away in his garage so it has a deep basin in it for the 02 deliveries and such. I love it.) I have 2 large dogs and I order their food each 2 weeks. The delivery comes via UPS or Fed Ex and is really heavy. One bag of the dry food is 35#, then there are the 4 cases of cans with 24 to a case. That's a lot of weight. UPS & Fed Ex put it in the cart and I can roll it around. Plus the cart is hip high on me so the deep bending is eliminated. It's all a team effort around here.

If you have difficulty grasping your toothbrush, try slipping a spongy curler or a piece of pipe insulation over the handle. If you do not have either of those, you can also wrap a clean washcloth around the handle and secure with rubber bands.

Humidity in shower
Turn on bathroom exhaust fans during showering. Exhaust fans should vent to the outside of your home. If you do not have an exhaust fan in your bathroom, have one installed where they can capture the most moisture. If possible, buy an exhaust fan that has its own timer switch so it can keep removing moisture after you have turned out the light.

I hope these help you as much as they help me....well I dont wear a girdle. LOL But the powder helps with slacks and shoes, too.


Look out! It's about to blow!
She looks like I feel!

This COPD'er (myself) is growing a pot belly. A hard pot belly. (Well, it's not quite as bad as the one above but I'm on the way if I don't nip it now!) I've moaned and groaned at my doc and blamed it on prednisone. I've seen lots of my pals over at EFFORTS write in about the same issue, too. Then, I got Mike's newsletter and found this information enlightening and something I will discuss with my MD next week when I see him. This newletter also "promotes" Mike's fat loss and fitness programs which I personally have not tried and, therefore, cannot endorse or condemn them. I've included the links, though, so you can visit his site and decide for yourself. However, please enjoy the infomation on fat that he provides. Abdominal fat is just such a danger to us. I hope this helps.
Luna (Kasey)
Did you know that the vast majority of people in this day and age have excess abdominal fat? The first thing that most people think of is that their extra abdominal fat is simply ugly, is covering up their abs from being visible, and makes them self conscious about showing off their body.
However, what most people don't realize is that excess abdominal fat in particular, is not only ugly, but is also a dangerous risk factor to your health. Scientific research has clearly determined that although it is unhealthy in general to have excess body fat throughout your body, it is also particularly dangerous to have excess abdominal fat.There are two types of fat that you have in your abdominal area. The first type that covers up your abs from being visible is called subcutaneous fat and lies directly beneath the skin and on top of the abdominal muscles.The second type of fat that you have in your abdominal area is called visceral fat, and that lies deeper in the abdomen beneath your muscle and surrounding your organs. Visceral fat also plays a role in giving certain men that "beer belly" appearance where their abdomen protrudes excessively but at the same time, also feels sort of hard if you push on it.

Both subcutaneous fat and visceral fat in the abdominal area are serious health risk factors, but science has shown that having excessive visceral fat is even more dangerous than subcutaneous fat. Both of them greatly increase your risk of developing heart disease, diabetes, high blood pressure, stroke, sleep apnea, various forms of cancer, and other degenerative diseases.

Part of the reason visceral fat is particularly dangerous is that it apparently releases more inflammatory molecules into your body on a consistent basis.

If you care about the quality of your life and your loved ones, reducing your abdominal fat should be one of your TOP priorities! There's just no way around it. Besides, a side effect of finally getting rid of all of that excessive ugly abdominal fat is that your stomach will flatten out, and if you lose enough stomach fat, you will be able to visibly see those sexy six pack abs that everyone wants.

So what gets rid of extra abdominal fat? The first thing you must understand is that there is absolutely NO quick fix solution. There are no pills or supplements of any sort that will help you lose your abdominal fat faster. Also, none of the gimmicky ab rockers, rollers, or ab belts will help get rid of abdominal fat either. You can't spot reduce your stomach fat by using any of these worthless contraptions. It simply doesn't work that way.

The only solution to consistently lose your abdominal fat and keep it off for good is to combine a sound strategic nutritious diet full of unprocessed natural foods with a properly designed exercise program that stimulates the necessary hormonal and metabolic response within your body. Both your food intake as well as your training program are important if you are to get this right. I've actually even seen a particular study that divided thousands of participants into a diet-only group and an exercise/diet group. While both groups in this study made good progress, the diet-only group lost significantly LESS abdominal fat than the diet & exercise combined group. Now the important thing to realize is that just any old exercise program will not necessarily do the trick. The majority of people that attempt getting into a good exercise routine are NOT working out effectively enough to really stimulate the loss of stubborn abdominal fat. I see this everyday at the gym.

Most people will do your typical boring cardio routines, throw in a little outdated body-part style weight training, and pump away with some crunches and side bends, and think that they are doing something useful for reducing their abdominal fat. Then they become frustrated after weeks or months of no results and wonder where they went wrong.

Well, the good news is that I've spent over a decade researching this topic, analyzing the science, and applying it "in the trenches" with myself as well as thousands of my clients from all over the world to see what works to really stimulate abdominal fat loss. The entire solution... all of the nutritional strategies, as well and training sequences, exercise combinations, and more have all been compiled in my Truth About Six Pack Abs Program. Keep in mind that the point of this whole program is NOT abdominal exercises (that is only a very small portion of it). The main point of this program is showing you the absolute most effective strategies for losing your stubborn abdominal fat, so you can get rid of that dangerous health risk, as well as get a flatter more defined midsection. If you follow the guidelines, you WILL lose your belly fat that has been plaguing you for years. This is not guesswork... it is a proven system that works time and time again for all of my clients on every corner of the globe that actually apply the information I teach. If you apply it, the results will come. It's really that simple. The only reason most people fail in their fitness goals is that they have good intentions at first to adopt a new lifestyle, yet after a few weeks or months, they abandon their good intentions and slip right back into their old bad habits that gave them the excess body fat in the first place. I want to help you succeed in finally getting rid of that extra abdominal fat that is not only UGLY, but also DANGEROUS.

A lot of people have emailed me with questions about whether they need any special equipment, if they're too old or too young for this program, etc. I've made a page that should answer all of your questions...

Also, I think you'll want to see some of the reader reviews from people that are using the system and getting killer results...

Don't waste another day allowing that nasty abdominal fat to kill your confidence as well as contribute to your risk for MAJOR diseases. Get the solution to rid yourself for life of this problem at...
Train hard, eat right, and enjoy life!

Mike Geary
Certified Nutrition Specialist
Certified Personal Trainer
Founder - &

PS - please feel free to forward this email on to any friends, family, or colleagues that you think would enjoy today's topic. Other recommended resources:

Thursday, March 20, 2008

Dancing with COPD ~ Get Going!

As we COPDer's know, we either "use it or lose it." Exercise is so very vital to improve our quality of life. Before the diagnosis of COPD, I went dancing all the time. My friend, Alden, and I. We danced all over the city and then some.

It kept me thin, happy, and strengthened my lungs.

So I had to ask myself why did I stop dancing? As with most other things, I had to make a few adjustments to dancing but, hey, it is GREAT exercise and a wonderful antidepressant. This is why I share the following article that arrived in one of my newsletters today.

All I want to do is, All I want to do is dance, dance, dance.

I just finished dancing. I put on music I love, and I danced on my elliptical trainer and danced in the living room. I feel SO SO SO much better!

I am not an “exerciser.” I really don’t enjoy a gym or weights or anything that smacks of “I should do this because it would be gooooooooooood for me.” My activities need to have some passion to them. That is what gets my blood flowing and my mood soaring.

But I’ll let you in on a secret… as soon as I haven’t been rejoicing in movement for awhile, it gets harder and harder and harder to get moving! Is it the same for you?
I’ve had the thought that I want to be more active—to stretch, dance, and move—at least two dozen times in the past week, and I have not acted on it until this morning. What’s UP with that?

Each time I’d have the positive thought, the thought of what I desire (health, vitality, flexibility), it would be followed by The Indictment: YOU ARE GUILTY of NOT FOLLOWING THROUGH yesterday, or the day before, and _____, ____, __________, and _________. (Fill in your own reasons).
It’s interesting how it’s so easy to move from the positive, action-oriented vision of what we desire to what we do NOT desire. And with that shift from what we want to what we do NOT want, have you noticed that there is a corresponding, instantaneous shift in emotions??? We go from a flash of inspiration to dark depression.

This… is a CLUE. Our emotions are guiding us in where to direct our attention. So this morning, what I did was get up early, meditate, read a spiritually inspiring book, and then stayed focused on my positive vision of my health and my body—my personal internal image of Thriving Rick. And each time a thought that was not a match for my vision came in, before, during, and after the dancing, I just noticed it, noticed the shift to a negative energy, and brought my thoughts back into focus on my positive desire.

Did I have to use
EFT and tap? Yes, once.

“Even though I have not cared for myself, nor moved the way that is healthy for me over the past few weeks, I deeply and completely forgive myself and I choose to move forward towards my positive vision."

I encourage you to dance. Fast, slow, even in your imagination if you are not able to move physically. When I was recovering from my back surgery years ago, I remember listening to music where I could feel myself moving freely, gracefully… soaring with the eagles. I wasn’t literally moving. In fact, I was moaning every time I tried to roll over in bed! Yet, my time in bed was eased by those imaginings, and I have ended up far more flexible and mobile than I was ever before.

So dance in your heart, dance in your mind, dance in your whole body! Dance in joy and gratitude for this wonderful life and the chance to dream.

Tuesday, March 18, 2008


The Feng Shui of Abundance
Feed the Birds, feed the Earth

In the roots of Feng Shui, there is a teaching: "if you want abundance feed the Earth, feed the birds."

Birds are a symbol of wealth, strong chi, harmony and joy. They only come where there is food, life. where there is enough to share.

Outside my late winter window the turkeys parade. The males are territorial, trying to impress a mate. The jays, cardinals, crows, squirrels and snowbirds feast on the grains by the rock. Near a statue of St Francis and by a carved mantra of compassion, they all mingle with little fear.

The sky signals spring yet in many places the Earth is gripped by winter, water and wind. The currents stir calling for awakening and movement. The Chi moves as the suns changing electromagnetic currents pass over the Earth.

Spring relates to the Direction of the East, new beginnings, new life. Sunrise, rebirth. As we approach spring, we must encounter the birth canal, shed what is old.

To the two leggeds, four leggeds and winged ones it is signal to prepare to move forward. The hummingbirds start their startling navigation from South America to their North American nesting grounds. Around the world, the herds and flocks feel the changes and prepare to move, coming together in massive numbers. As spring approaches, we prepare to step out, move forward.

Is there space for the winds of change to blow gently? Look at your homes, your communities? Are there areas of stagnation that need to be moved?

Have you nurtured your environment, fed the Earth, fed the birds? Have you given back as much as you have taken? We are part of the cycle of life and if we want our prosperity nurtured, we must feed and honor what sustains us.

We have learned that a disturbance in the honey bee population can affect our entire food supply. In Norway, a doomsday seed bank has been set up in the permafrost. In Feng Shui, we want to repel “Sha” or evil influences. So we replace them with good aspects. If we give out kindness, most likely, we will live in a kinder environment. It is no secret that Bill Gates and Warren Buffet expressed enormous joy at the gift of being able to give away vast fortunes to help heal the world. Ask them what true wealth is.

They know what they had to give. As we turn towards the East, we find in ourselves that which is new. In truth we all have riches to share to bring in positive, abundant chi, sometimes though very small acts.

Can we take our small corners of the world and make them refuges for life?

As we come to the equinoxes we come to a place of possible balance. Change brings the opportunity of the new.

It is the time to apply our values. To plant them in our homes and our communities. Is your home a place that feeds the Earth, feeds the birds? Look around you, see if you are nurturing the environment. Are you adding toxins to the waters or air?

If you live in a city, what is your community doing to reduce pollution, add green spaces and renewal resources? What are other ways we can bring nurturing? Can you help with your time, your voice, your resources? If yes, that will come back to you a thousand fold.

With each step, you become your own feng shui master, by noticing what needs to be moved to allow the wind and water to flow and nourish all.

Betsy Stang
Healing by design Feng Shui

Monday, March 17, 2008

COPD and Zen

As those of us with COPD know all too well, a lot of anxiety and panic accompanies the dreadful COPD monster. This will help with controlling these issues. This is reprinted with permission of Prevention Magazine. Be sure to check with your medical professional before incorporating any changes into your regimen.


Fresh twists on tried-and-true de-stressors can take you to a new level of calm

Want to find the ultimate in peace and happiness? The key is to make sure you haven't fallen into a relaxation rut. If your usual stress buster isn't soothing your anxiety like it used to, you need to try something new to boost peace of mind. We found five cool variations on popular pastimes that can settle your nerves in record time.

If you wind down with a bath...Try a natural hot springMove over, Mr. Bubble. It's worth going the extra tension-taming mile to plunge into a natural spring. "Soaking in hot springs lowers levels of the stress hormone cortisol, which reduces inflammation and built-up strain in your ligaments and joints," says Pamela Peeke, MD, MPH, an assistant professor of medicine at the University of Maryland School of Medicine.
Some top spots include Dunton Hot Springs in Colorado ($75 for the day, including lunch), the Hot Springs Resort & Spa in North Carolina (from $12), and Ojo Caliente Mineral Springs in New Mexico (from $16). For more ideas, visit, which has a substantial database of hot springs, including secluded ones that require a hike through the woods.

If you empty your mind with meditation...Try qigongShake up your seated practice with qigong (pronounced chee-gong, which means "energy work"), an active Chinese meditation routine that mixes and matches hundreds of fluid, graceful dancelike exercises. By focusing on these repetitive movements and your breathing, your mind pushes aside intrusive thoughts and elicits the body's relaxation response: Your heart rate slows down and blood pressure, adrenaline, and cortisol levels drop.
Classes are often held at YMCAs, gyms, and community or wellness centers and cost around $10 to $20 per session. To find a local instructor, go to the National Qigong Association's Web site,

If you walk off a bad day...Try a labyrinth strollThese mazelike paths, which date back thousands of years, have grown in popularity, thanks in part to promising research documenting meditation's effects on blood pressure, cortisol levels, and other markers of stress reduction, according to M. Kay Sandor, PhD, an associate professor of nursing at the University of Texas Medical Branch at Galveston. Labyrinths can be inlaid on church floors, marked by stones in a garden, mowed into grassy fields, or painted on the ground in public parks. Walkers follow a single circuitous route free of wrong turns or dead ends toward the center. Most courses take about 20 minutes to complete, but Sandor suggests that you go at your own pace. When you reach the center, take as much time as you'd like for reflection--then retrace your steps back out.

Finding a labyrinth is relatively easy: More than 1,000 hospitals, spas, schools, churches, and wellness centers in the United States have installed labyrinths on-site. (You can also search to find one near you.)

Sunday, March 16, 2008

COPD~Chronic Illness Weaves Some Common Threads

I found the following excerpt by Dr. Amatuzio to be very helpful and insightful and hope that you, too, will glean the comfort, hope, strength and ideas.

It's been said that a lifetime can be compared to a tapestry, each experience weaving in a new thread. Perhaps, in time, grief strengthens and hones us. Much like a resilient hidden thread, it adds strength and fullness to our lives. If we didn't love, we wouldn't grieve.

I carry these messages with me and try to apply them to my life. I have slowly come to recognize a few common threads. Even so, I am keenly aware that the tapestry, like each person's life, is in the hands of its weaver.

A death or the discovery of a serious illness jars us out of our daily routines. We stop all that we are doing. Other than death and illness, there are few things in life that temporarily relieve us of obligations. Grief seems to have that effect; it stops us and, at times, numbs us. But when sorrow has exhausted us and tears have emptied us, stillness overtakes us. When the mind becomes quiet, the heart can feel. Maybe then our loved ones dance into our awareness and our dreams and delight us. Their presence comforts and fills us with reassurances of their love. Such experiences change lives and heal hearts. Maybe stillness is one of the threads that connect us.


A death or serious illness (such as COPD) reminds us that all beginnings have an ending, that each interaction with one another could be our last. This reminder has a way of cutting through the nonessential stuff of life. It may change what we say or what we do. Maybe, like the young woman whose husband was killed in a construction accident, we will remember to kiss our loved ones goodbye. Each moment becomes a gift, and time becomes sacred. This remembering may cause us to treat one another more honestly, gently, and deliberately. It seems there is nothing that love cannot heal, and in the presence of love, there is life, always and forever. Love seems to be the thread that connects all of what is seen with our eyes and felt in our hearts. Ultimately, it must be what connects us with eternity.


The experiences I have recorded here fill me with a sense of hope. Perhaps when we stop dismissing our awareness of a presence or a synchronicity, we begin to glimpse something more. Many times, as I have begun a postmortem examination, I have observed how quickly the body disintegrates after death. I marvel at the strength of the life force that sustained it. I marvel at the life force, God, and feel as though there is so much more to know.

Occasionally I catch a glimpse of what heals — the awareness of our loved ones in the whisper of the wind or in the soft beauty of a star-gleaming night, or gently dancing into our dreams as we sleep. Why does awareness of these connections heal? Perhaps because we must stop to absorb them and be still to observe them. Then we can remember that we are not alone, that we are dearly loved, and that all is well.

I am filled with heartfelt appreciation for those who, in the midst of their grief, have spoken of their treasured experiences. I feel honored to share their stories with others. Many times I have wondered if I could move past grief as well as those who I've cared for have done. When something happens to you personally, it hurts deeply. Part of your life is changed forever.

by Janis Amatuzio, M.D. Reprinted with permission of the publisher, New World Library.

Thursday, March 13, 2008

The Silver Linings of COPD and Other Chronic Conditions

Though illness can be scary and unpleasant, there are spiritual gifts to be found in it.

Most people think of illness as inconvenient at best, tragic at worst.

We focus on what we are not doing: our normal daily routines, work, outings with friends, being physically active, time with family. Yes, illness is a time-out from our normal lives of health and activity, but it needn't be time 'lost.'

Illness can be a fertile time if you can focus your attention away from what you do not have, and focus on what it offers in abundance. Even if your illness is one from which you may not recover, making it a spiritual practice will imbue your journey with rich rewards. Follows are two ways to help turn physical infirmity into a sacred time of life.

Slow Down ~
"Healing happens in the slow lane," hospital chaplains tell patients. Think of life like film, 24 individual images moving rapidly in sequence to create the illusion of action. When illness makes you slow down, you have a rare opportunity to view each individual moment of your life on its own, and see how you unconsciously string moments together to create patterns of behavior. This new view gives you the chance to reorder moments into new and healthier patterns of behavior.For instance, when I was bedridden for 3 months last year with pneumonia, I realized how I had grown used to being able to rush to rescue someone with a problem. I spent my precious energy on others and thus depleted myself, contributing to my illness. Weak from illness, I couldn't rush to anyone's aid and had to rescue myself. It felt healthy and I've since made it my practice to give others a chance to resolve their own issues, and fix my own first.

Have A Beginner's Mind ~

"Part of my journey with cancer is giving myself opportunities to be a learner again," says musician Eileen Hadidian. "One of the most powerful ways to experience playing and teaching music without striving towards perfection is to become a beginner again on a new instrument. I let go of abstract expectations of having to achieve a goal by a certain time, and remember why I am taking lessons: for the joy of it."

For Eileen, her journey through cancer has taught her to let go of her attachment to product and outcome - the opposite of what she normally does as a professional musician. Now, she is experiencing the pleasure of music for her own healing.

By: Toni Weingarten


Luna's Note: What a marvelous way to think of it. Now my body is effected by the COPD so I must learn to play my new instrument ~ my changed body ~ I am a beginner with a new instrument. Wonder what surprises await in the learning of it?! Let me get about the business of getting acquainted with my new instrument and ascertain what it is capable of.

Blessings to all,


Monday, March 10, 2008

Riding Out The Illness in the Sea of Faith

A serious illness tests our faith. Even when doctors tell us eventually we'll recover, illness can seem to drag on interminably and we sink into despair; our current reality of pain, immobility, and weakness blot out our memory of health.
Have faith that you will get well, especially if your doctors tell you so. Practice having faith that "the land of wellness" exists. Believe in your own recovery.
During my pneumonia, I came to imagine myself on a shipwrecked raft at sea. While I couldn't see land (health) I knew that it was out there and believed that I would someday wash up on its shore. As I slowly recovered, I had glimpses of it in the distance and my spirits rose; in my mind I rode the crest of wave towards this far shore. Then my strength waned and I imagined myself in the trough between two big waves, and I could only see water all around me. I kept faith that the waves carried me towards health, even if I couldn't see it.
I held fast to my faith, as I would to a raft at sea, until I did indeed eventually wash ashore, stand up on shaky legs and slowly walk back to my life. Hold tight to your faith.

Saturday, March 8, 2008

The Disconnect Can Harm Us

For many of us, the path to truly knowing about and understanding our bodies can be a difficult one.
Yes, we inhabit our physical shells, this "temple of our soul". Yet how much about the workings of our body do we truly understand?

This is not a trivial question, either. I believe that many of the most common, most expensive, and most debilitating health and medical conditions prevalent in our society today are caused in large part by this disconnect between what the body actually needs to thrive, versus how we treat it. It's more than just a simple lifestyle issue, too. Yes, the sedentary, stressful lifestyle that so many people lead is not healthy. But this is a symptom of the larger disconnect we may feel. For those of us with any type of chronic health condition - be it high blood pressure, diabetes, chronic fatigue, asthma, or being overweight or obese - this disconnect can seem huge. I know when my asthma was at its worst, I began to see my body as the "enemy." Why was it whacking out on me, why was it letting me down? And I've battled my weight a couple different times in my life. After awhile, I begin to tune out many of my body's signals because it seemed like an alien to me. Plus, so often, these signals seemed to herald bad news. You can probably relate.

Of course, this is the exact opposite of what we should be doing if you suffer from a chronic health condition. Ironically, the most direct way to get back in touch with our bodies - and our psyches and spirit, for that matter - is through breathing. I say ironic because breathing is the most vital process going on in our bodies. Just a few minutes of not breathing means the heart and brain shut down. Yet most people take breathing for granted. And that's one reason why I place such an emphasis on breathing and energy exercises in my approach to health and fitness. Simply doing a series of exercises like in the Secret Power of Dynamic Energy Exercise Course, Volume II - on a regular basis can make a huge difference in your energy levels...and increase your sensitivity to your own energy, as well as that of the other people around you. So, my challenge to you is this: take this "weak spot" in your body - your breathing, the area you tend to take for granted - and begin to use this as the foundation for getting back in touch with yourself. It doesn't require anything elaborate. Simply taking the time once or twice a day to sit quietly and focus on your breathing is an excellent start. For example, sit and breathe as gently, fully and slowly as you can first thing in the morning. This will tell you quite a bit about how you are feeling, your energy levels, and your mental outlook. Later, take a few moments before you go get your lunch to sit and breathe deeply. As you breathe, ask your body what it feels like eating. Does it want the Big Mac and fries you were about to go get. (Sitting in your car at the drive through, of course. No need to walk into the restaurant if you don't have to.) Or, now that you have taken a minute to calm yourself and relax, does a fresh salad with some chicken or steak feel more like what you need right now. Those are two everyday examples of how you can take a moment and use your breathing to help you tune in to your body. A better connection to yourself - on all levels, not just physical, although physical is a great place to start - helps you access the internal wisdom you already possess. You Can Do It!

Taken from Karen Van Ness Newsletter.