Welcome back to Active Life Health Clinic's February newsletter.
hard to escape the fact that we are consumers who consume a lot.
In our quest for comfort, convenience, and pleasure, we buy
goods, use them, and then toss them. Even things that could
and should last for years don't seem to last long. I
purchased a $350 printer and when it broke after only about 15 months
of use (the manufacturer's warrantee was of course for 12 months), I
was told by the store that I had purchased it from that I couldn't
expect things to last forever! We are encouraged to buy new
electronics (cell phones, MP3 players, etc.--the coolest and
trendiest), buy one-time use kitchen counter wipes (when a washable
washcloth would work just as well), spray everything with scented
chemicals (ourselves with colognes and perfumes, our houses with Lysol
and Febreeze--do we really smell that bad?), and buy the biggest
vehicles and houses that we can afford.
lots of talk about global warming, we are seeing a resurgence of
attention on environmental matters. "An Inconvenient Truth",
the Live Earth concerts, and David Suzuki commercials about changing to
compact florescent bulbs and using less power have once again made us
look at how we are destroying our planet and think about what we can do
to change that.
is my summary of Dr. David Suzuki's talk at the Body Heals conference.
If you ever get a chance to see him speak, it's a fun,
entertaining, informative, inspiring, and certainly worthwhile thing to
Also, have you seen the movie Sicko? Or perhaps you are a Harry Potter fan?
Dr. David Suzuki
Speaks. We are air. We are water. We are earth. We are fire.
His descriptions do not fall far from my TCM understanding of
our relation to our environment.
||Michael Moore's movie "Sicko". What I thought. What did you think?
||Harry Potter may be getting migraines?
Helping you help yourself!
To work in partnership with you to bring you to your optimal health.
Ongoing health, not just temporary relief.
This is active health.
Dr. David Suzuki Speaks: A Summary of his Body Heals Conference Discussion
We are air. We are water. We are earth.
We are fire. Perhaps this sounds like the chorus to a 1960s
love fest hippie song, but this was actually the scientifically-based
truth delivered by Dr. David Suzuki. In our modern world,
where safe from the wind, rain, snow, sleet, hail, and other elements,
and using some basic machinery, we can heat (heater), cool (air
conditioner), moisten (humidifier), or dry (dehumidifier) our homes, it
may seem that we can ignore our connection to nature. That
separation is a complete delusion.
We are air. Did you know that your lungs are the largest organ
in your body? If all the alveoli--the small air sacs in your
lungs where oxygen and carbon dioxide is exchanged--were spread out,
they would cover a surface area of more than 100 square yards, about
the size of a tennis court. We can hold a lot of
air. Now think about our environment. Most of our
atmosphere only extends vertically by about 16 km? If
Earth were the size of a basketball, our atmosphere would measure the
equivalent of a sheet of Saran wrap around that ball.
That's not a lot of air to share for the more than 6.6 billion people
that we have on Earth! And share, we do. Argon is
an element that makes up close to 1% of the air that we breathe in and
breathe out. It takes you only about 1 year for 1 molecule of
argon to leave your body, travel around the world and be inhaled by you
once again! (Want to read how you might be breathing in the same
molecules of argon as Ghandi, as the first child born, as anyone you
have ever heard of? Click here)
So, the air that you breathe is the air that your neighbour breathes,
is the air that your friend, your enemy, your family, that stranger,
everyone breathes. Why would we want to pollute
that which is so essential to our living? We ARE air.
(For air purifiers, click here).
We are water.
You've likely heard it before--you are made up of 60-70% water; the
Earth is about 75% water. That explains pretty well why the
rule of thumb is that we can only survive without water for about 3-4
days. You may think that the water that you drink, bathe in,
or swim in is water from near where you live, but you are wrong in that
assumption. Consider this, water cartwheels around the world.
Remember back to those basic science classes where you learned that
water cycles in various forms in what is known as the hydrologic
cycle. Water vapour in our atmosphere condenses into clouds;
water precipitates from the clouds to come down to land in the form of
rain, snow, sleet, or hail; rainwater infiltrates the ground and
becomes groundwater; plants and other forms of vegetation take up the
water and excrete it again as water vapour in a process called
transpiration; some of the water runs down through rivers and lakes to
reach the oceans; and finally water is sent back into the atmosphere
when sunlight causes the water to evaporate. Need a picture
cue? Click here.
So, the water that you use may actually be from the other side of the
world. Why would we want to pollute that which makes up the
majority of our bodies and without which we cannot survive?
We ARE water.
We are earth.
We live off of the food provided to us by the land. By the
time you are 65 years of age, you will have eaten 70,000 meals, or
about 50 tons of food. Yet, every year the average Canadian dumps about 383 kg of solid waste.
That's about the weight of an entire kindergarten class! Want
to see how one couple succeeded in being garbage free for 31
consecutive days? Click here.
Native cultures around the world recognize that the earth provides,
that we come from the earth, and that when we die we become the
earth. Why would we want to pollute the very thing that
houses us and feed us? We ARE earth.
We are fire. Without the sun, life on Earth would not exist. We would not exist. Our
bodies use the energy provided by the sun in the processes of
digestion, respiration, elimination, detoxification, and so on. We are created by fires from the sun. We ARE fire.
We cannot afford to continue on this path of environmental
that we have chosen. We must not wait for the politicians to
fix things with policy. You can support those changes, but
you must also recognize the impact that each and every one of us has on
the world we live in and make some changes yourself. I was
inspired by Dr. Suzuki’s talk and have renewed my vigilance
to live my life consciously as an educated consumer who does take time
to do my recycling, eat local and organic produce as much as possible,
drive a gas-friendly car and take alternate modes of travel when I can,
eat non-meat meals a few times a week, buy second hand goods instead of
new when appropriate and possible, bring reusable bags to the
grocery store, and generally try to minimize my footprint on
earth. For more ideas and to take the Nature Challenge, click
As soon as I saw that Michael Moore was going to be doing a movie on
the medical industry, I knew that I'd want to see it. I had
expected it to be controversial as he had apparently hidden one of the
copies of the film in Canada, in case the US shut him down. In that
respect I was not disappointed. Type Sicko into any websearch and
you'll find a huge array of supporters and detractors.
We may not have a perfect medical
system, but we truly are luckier in many respects than our neighbours
to the south. Without giving away too much of the movie, imagine
that you had to choose between having your ring finger or your middle
finger reattached after a table saw accident because you can only
afford to pick one.
Moore tends to glamourize the
Canadian system, but he does remind us to be thankful of the things
that we do have as we continue to work to improve it.
Harry Potter Gets Migraines?
Probable migraines is the diagnosis given to Harry Potter by Fred
Sheftell, MD and his colleagues in the New England Center for
Headache. The centre is using the popularity of the Harry Potter
movies and books to bring greater awareness to migraines and headaches.
Read more about this on WebMD.
Do you get migraines or headaches? Do you know that acupuncture and Chinese herbs can help you? In a 6 month study of 160 women with migraines,
weekly sessions of acupuncture over 2 months followed by monthly
sessions for 4 months was found to be superior to the drug flunazarine
in effectiveness and tolerability.
Another study of 401 patients
with chronic headaches treated with weekly acupuncture sessions over 3
months were followed for 1 year. They were found to have fewer
headaches, take fewer medications, seek help less often from their GPs,
and take fewer sick days when compared to patients given usual care.
I was tired of getting nearly daily headaches, so I did something about
it--acupuncture, herbs, and changes in my diet. Now I rarely get
a headache, so I knew this would be true even without reading those