Wellness, Stress and the American Health Care System

A number of years ago, changes in my life style led to a transition from working as an RN in Emergency Departments to a private practice in hypnotherapy. I had no idea the impact this would have on my life and the potential it holds for transforming the health care system as we know it, in addition to individual lives.

As I began treating patients for the usual fears, phobias, unwelcome habits and to prepare them for surgery something else was happening. They would call back saying that in addition to managing the primary issue, other changes were happening as well. For instance, one man said the psoriasis he had for 20 years was gone.  Another woman who was scheduled for surgery on her knees got better. One woman began to sleep through the night for the first time in her life. One man whose broken arm had not healed for 9 months returned to his doctor to find it had suddenly healed.

Reviewing literature and anecdotal reports, I’ve come to the conclusion that stress is the underlying issue in the vast majority, perhaps as much as 90%, of health issues.   In the mid 1950’s Hans Selye encouraged doctors to “treat the whole person, not the organism causing illness” and yet that suggestion has not yet been adequately integrated into our systems. 

In the February 27, 2008 issue of JAMA, Thomas R. Frieden, MD, MPH writes

“If reforming US health care results only in expanded access to care, costs will increase faster but with limited health benefits. If only cost controls are instituted, even more individuals will be denied access to care. Health care must be restructured to make maximizing health the organizing principle. To do this, 3 synergistic changes are needed:

(1) payment that offers substantial rewards for disease prevention and effective management of chronic disease;
(2) an information system oriented toward prevention; and
(3) changes in care management and practice workflows.”

Let’s consider how managing stress could impact the current crisis in health care funding.

Janet Kiecolt Glaser, University of Ohio Medical School did a study measuring the rate of healing of a small, intentional wound (size of an eraser on a pencil). The wound took nine days longer to heal on the group experiencing stress versus the control.   Think of the implications of this on diabetics and wound healing. Would you be stressed if you were diabetic with a foot ulcer? How about patients undergoing surgery who are “scared to death”? Reading about the history of hypnosis and surgery, it is said that back in the early 1800’s surgery was done without anesthesia. When hypnosis as anesthesia was introduced, the mortality rate decreased from 40% to 5%.

Blue Shield of California gave a group of 941 women undergoing surgery a guided imagery (hypnotherapy) CD which cost them $17.95 each. This reduced the per patient cost by $2,000 on average.

Similar studies and results abound. This is such a simple, powerful, affordable intervention. Why is it not commonly done?

How about reducing stress among asthmatics, IBS patients, cancer patients, couples seeking fertility treatments, people with dental phobias? Insomnia. Think about the implications of sleep deprivation which can be caused by stress.  The applications are endless. Studies support these applications and others.

Hypnosis was approved by the AMA in 1958 – 50 years ago. Since then the trend has favored pharmaceuticals. In my opinion, it’s time to revisit that. Hypnotherapy is evidence based, effective, affordable and without adverse side effects. It manages underlying stress that impacts our physical and mental health, our ability to heal and ultimately our quality of life.

Health Care Success – How to Avoid Hospital Acquired Infections

The Health Care Encounter

“Don’t touch me!” That’s probably what George should have said to his doctor but he didn’t. Most patients don’t. I was in George’s room to assist with the completion of a health care power of attorney document. George was in isolation due to an infection. Anyone could tell he was in isolation as a result of the “big” sign outside of his room that alerted all those who entered of the proper precautions. The precautions included putting on a hospital gown and wearing protective gloves.

The gloves and hospital gown that I had on did not interfere with my conversation with George. What stopped us was George’s physician who came into the room to join the conversation without his gloves or gown. George’s doctor preceded to touch everything including the patient, bedrail and my nerve!

Yes, I understand that physicians can be very busy. The problem is that bacteria and germs do not care who they attach themselves to. My thought immediately turned to “who” was the unsuspecting patient he would see next?

Health Care Consumers at Risk

“Gowning and gloving” as they call it in the hospital is time consuming but essential to stop the spread of infection. Health care acquired infections kill as many as 90,000 people annually in the United States, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Another 1.9 million people nationwide who develop such infections endure longer stays in the hospital. Approximately 5 to 10 percent of all hospital patients develop infections.

More Americans die each year from hospital acquired infections than from auto accidents and homicides combined. Even though the problem is well documented, the risks of getting a hospital infection have steadily increased.

The good news is that health care facilities can reduce infection rates significantly by proper implementation of infection control practices, especially hand washing. Unfortunately, many hospitals have not done so. According to the National Quality Forum, most studies report hand washing compliance rates that are generally less than 50 percent.

Safety Strategies

With these frightening statistics in mind, here are several action steps that an empowered health care consumer can do to decrease the likelihood of a hospital acquired infection.

o Use anti-bacterial wipes to clean the telephone, TV remote and bedrails. Studies show that many patients’ rooms are contaminated with MRSA (methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus) and VRE (Vancomycin-resistant Enterococci).
o Request that all hospital staff wash their hands or use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer before touching you.
o Wash your hands frequently.
o Be sure that all intravenous tubes and catheters are inserted under sterile conditions.
o Choose a surgeon with a low infection rate.
o Ask your doctor if you need to take an antibiotic prior to surgery.

The Committee to Reduce Infection Deaths http://www.hospitalinfection.org offers a comprehensive guide to reduce your risk of acquiring a hospital infection. Arm yourself with as much information as possible. Remember, prevention works, and don’t be afraid to say, “don’t touch me!”

A Guide to Skin Care For Men

Male skin care seems like a foreign subject to a majority of y-chromosome carriers. In the past, it was even more foreign. However, the skin care industry is enjoying a surge in the men’s products market because more men are starting to pay attention to their skin. Despite the dissimilarities between male and female skins, the actual products are similar to those targeting women.

Healthy skin is clean skin no matter your gender. Male skin care begins with cleansers; preferably water soluble. It takes away skin toxins and unclogs pores. Most male skin is naturally oily so cleansers are an important component to any male skin treatment system. Ideally, it should be done twice daily, but once a day is also okay. Plain soap is not encouraged for facial cleansing.

Man skin care means shaving is imperative. Shaving products and aftershave are some of the most prominent pieces in man skin care systems. It’s important to make good choices when buying shaving equipment. Before you complete a transaction, find out your skin type because every person’s oiliness varies. Any aftershave made with alcohol should be shunned. Quality razors are essential; swivel-head razors are recommended because they have been proven to decrease nicks. Also, before you lather up, be sure you know what you’re doing. Don’t hurt your skin; treat it right with soft, gentle strokes of your razor because the objective is to eliminate hair, not skin.

Since a man’s skin is usually tougher and oilier, men have bigger pores and highly lively sebaceous glands. With regular shaving comes the problem of dehydrated skin. That’s why moisturizers are also an essential component to a male systems. You should always slather on moisturize subsequent to the shaving process. You can save time by buying a shaving foam (or gel) with moisturizer already in it. When applying moisturizer, pat it lightly around the facial area and then massage it into the face with upward rubs.

Sun screen is also important in man skin care because even though a man’s skin is thicker, it doesn’t mean it isn’t prone to skin cancer following overexposure to ultra violet rays. Again, some sun screens have moisturizers built in.

One good route to take in men’s skin care is the all-natural road. You can purchase male skin products with natural ingredients such as aloe vera and coconut. There are also antiseptic oils naturally extracted from Nature’s fruits such as lavender and tea tree.

Men’s skin health isn’t as complex as men assume it to be. You men just need to allot a bit of time on daily basis so that your healthy man skin glows presently and in the future.

What Is Holistic Chiropractic Health Care?

You may have heard about holistic health care but wondered exactly what that term means. How does it differ from traditional Western medicine? What all does holistic care entail and is it right for you and your family? There are many myths and misconceptions which abound about holistic care and knowing the facts can help you make an informed decision about the health and well-being of your family. Here are the basics to get you started with holistic health care.

An Ancient Form of Medicine

Holistic care has a very long history. Traditional Chinese and Ayruvedic Medicine are just two examples of ancient health care systems which use a holistic approach. In these medical practices the person is treated as a whole in mind, body, and spirit. It is believed that balance between these components is what provides natural well-being and good health. When the body is in balance its natural healing power is released and you can fight off disease and your natural immune systems runs as it should.

Use of healing herbs, tonics, nutrition, and other practices such as massage and acupuncture all aim at restoring and maintaining the body’s natural balance. In Chinese and Ayruvedic Medicine this balance is achieved by aligning the body’s natural energy centers (Chakras) and the natural flow of your body’s energy (Chi) is optimized. This promotes natural healing and well-being. These philosophies have been handed down and practiced for many thousands of years in the Far East and India.

Today’s Holistic Approach to Health Care

In the West more and more people are looking for an alternative to traditional Western medicine. The use of drugs to treat symptoms is falling out of favor and people are looking for ways to restore and maintain good health and well-being without the use of prescriptions drugs. Chiropractic care is one such alternative health care philosophy which has been used for many years by people from all walks of life. Chiropractic care takes a holistic approach to health care by returning balance to your body through manipulations, massage, physical therapy, and nutritional counseling. Other methods may include guided meditation, homeopathic medicine, and Electra Dermal Screening.

Chiropractic Care

Chiropractic care focuses on restoring the body’s natural balance. Spinal manipulations to relieve spinal stress are used to free up the body’s natural healing power. Massage therapy is often used to relieve pain and stress in sore muscles, relieve migraines, and treat neck, spine, and lower back pain. Your chiropractor will treat you as a whole and may counsel you on nutrition and emotional health. Instead of focusing on the symptoms, your chiropractor will try to help pinpoint the underlying cause of many common conditions.

Chiropractic care is effective for people of all ages from newborns to adults. Pediatric chiropractic care may help in the development of your child, and it may help avoid common childhood ailments such as colds, fever, and in some cases may help in the reduction of asthma symptoms. While chiropractic care should not take the place of traditional medicine in the treatment of such conditions as high blood pressure or diabetes, it can be an effective compliment to traditional medical treatment for almost all diseases and conditions.

A chiropractor does not prescribe medication, but they can help you make better lifestyle choices such as maintaining a balanced diet, smoking cessation, and increasing your physical activities. With regular manipulations and chiropractic care you can have a better quality of life, and restore and maintain balance in your mind, body, and spirit.

Golden Retriever Health Care

To enjoy your Golden Retriever for many years, it is important that you should be aware of Golden Retriever Health problems. Not only that, you should always be proactive when it comes to the health of your dog. Proper diet, exercise and regular visits to the vet will keep major health problems away. Consider these simple tips to guide you in caring for this pet dog breed:

Veterinarian Care
Find a good veterinarian whom you can trust to take good care of your dog and is able to give you practical and helpful medical advices when it comes to a Golden’s health concerns. A friendly veterinarian will make your dog feel secure every time he goes in for his regular checkups. A visit to your friendly veterinarian must be at least once a year.

Proper Grooming
Proper grooming is also part of a good health care. Regular grooming will not only make you dog attractive but promotes healthy skin and coat. A regular bath and brushing of his coat should be an enjoyable experience for your dog. Proper grooming should not be taken for granted. In fact, this should be a regular activity for you and your dog to share. Not only will it keep your dog healthy, it will strengthen your relationship and connection.

Right Diet
A right diet is also a vital role in maintaining a good Retriever health care. Choose the highest quality commercial dog food to ensure that you give your dog optimum healthy good. Always check the nutritional information on the label. You may also opt for carefully chosen human food. Seek your veterinarian’s advice for the right food you can give and what food to avoid. Along with a nutritious food, give plenty of water to your Golden Retriever. The lack of it will cause dehydration and other complications.

Vaccination is important for a good immune system of your pet Retriever in order to fight off common canine illnesses. Your veterinarian will tell you what vaccinations your dog will need.

Your Golden Retriever health care is not only for medical concerns but should also include emotional health care. Your dog is not just a creature that gives you fun and pleasure. He should be treated as part of the family. Giving him all the love, care and attention will enable you to enjoy his love and affection for many years to come.