Anita Kemp Ph.D. Blog

Ideas for a healthy body, mind and spirit.

The Placebo Impact

There is so much information on the positive benefits of placebos. Here is some more. When Diazepam for anxiety is given without the patient knowing that he/she received it, there is no impact at all. This indicates that most if not all of the impact of drugs like Valium and Ativan is due to the placebo effect. This is good news. It means that we ourselves create the change in our bodies and receive relaxation from the belief that this should be happening. This indicates that relaxation training can be as successful as drugs.

Even more good news! For chronic pain, a study found that an intravenous injection of a saline solution and telling the patient that they are receiving a painkiller is as potent as 6-8 mg of morphine and this hold true for other pain killers as well. So what is causing the pain relief? Our own brain/body. This has also been studied with brain imaging and finding impact on the brain from expectation alone.

Check out this new book by Jo Marchant CURE: A JOURNEY INTO THE SCIENCE OF MIND OVER BODY.

March 28, 2016 Posted by | Emotional Well Being | Leave a comment

Gut Microbes and Your Moods

Absolutely read David Perlmutter’s new book BRAIN MAKER. He is a neurologist who has worked with and studied various mental health conditions such as ADHD, Autism, Depression and Dementia from the point of view of healthy diet and keeping the microbes in the body happy. There is fascinating information here that can benefit everyone. The gut bacteria are involved in producing 80-90% of your serotonin and have their own immune system which is 70-80% of your total immune system. If you need more incentive to read this book – certain gut bacteria are related to weight loss and others to weight gain. After you find out about the critical importance of the microbiome, he offers help on how to maintain healthy bacteria. Some of this you certainly already know – like yogurt- and other ideas may be new to you – like foods rich in prebiotics. Happy reading and happy health.

October 19, 2015 Posted by | Emotional Well Being | | Leave a comment

Mindfulness Benefits

Research continues to find benefits for mindfulness based meditation and these can not be ignored. Mindfulness is associated with positive emotion, improved resilience to stress, increased immune functioning, improved cognitive performance and overall reduction in anxiety, depression and improved longevity. How can you ignore the benefits? The amount of time required for benefit seems minimal compared to the amount of time we might spend texting/e-mailing or watching television/movies. Positive results are found for even 20 minutes a day for 10 weeks with improvement being maintained after this for months. Take a look at material available from Jon Kabat-Zinn who has one version of mindfulness called Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction and look into the research of Richard Davidson Ph.D. Invest in your health and it is fun as well.

February 4, 2015 Posted by | Emotional Well Being | , , | Leave a comment

Getting A Calm Brain

Gayatri Devi MD, a neurologist and clinical associate professor at NYU School of Medicine, has outlined the process of calming the mind from the neurological point of view. Her book A CALM BRAIN: UNLOCKING YOUR NATURAL RELAXATION SYSTEM is a good read. If you have wondered why it is so hard to de-stress, she explains it in terms of our heritage and the importance of fight or flight mechanisms in survival. There is an important nerve, the Vagus nerve, that plays a critical role. It channels information from the gut area to the brain and can tell the brain to relax. Once you understand the physiology, you can put into place effective strategies for your stress management. Diaphragm breathing, for example, activates the Vagus Nerve and begins the calming process. Techniques to calm are simple but powerful. Trying to calm through the thought process is much less effective and this book tells you why. Give yourself the gift of this book in this stressful time.

November 5, 2012 Posted by | Emotional Well Being | | Leave a comment

We are meant to be happy!

The article title is a statement from George Pratt and Peter Lambrou’s new book Code to Joy: the Four-Step Solution to Unlocking Your Natural State of Happiness. These are two California psychologists who have been applying acupressure techniques to emotional health for many years. In this book, they have digested it down to an easy formula that is very self-help. But don’t be fooled by its simplicity. This is powerful. They do cite some research on energy psychology (acupressure) for the more sceptical. The Code to Joy has 4 steps: identifying your self-limiting beliefs, rebalancing your energy system, releasing negative beliefs and installing new empowering beliefs and then anchoring them in for permanence. Take a look at a new trend in psychology that is based on the Chinese traditional Medicine System.

August 19, 2012 Posted by | Depression, Emotional Well Being | Leave a comment

Brain Changing

Yes, there is much information out there about the ability of the brain to change dramatically. We are very flexible and always developing in new ways. Check out the wonderful summary of some of the research in Norman Doidge’s book THE BRAIN THAT CHANGES ITSELF. You will be amazed. But that’s not all. Genes also get turned on and off depending upon our thoughts and actions. Surprise! Herbert Benson, the father of the Relaxation Response, found that just 8 weeks of relaxation training changes the genes. Some genes are turned on and others turned off. The ones that are turned on create faster cell regeneration and more destruction of free radicals – good things for our health. Inflammation genes are turned down. The mind can affect gene expression. Check out Dawson Church’s book, THE GENIE IN YOUR GENES, for review of some of this type of research. Then make a decision to take time in your life for relaxation training or meditation. The benefits are great!

May 23, 2011 Posted by | Emotional Well Being | 1 Comment

Mindfullness-Based Stress Reduction

MBSR is a program started by Jon Kabat-Zinn at the University of Massachusetts Medical Center. It is simple and involves mindfulness meditation, body scan and yoga.  It has been demonstrated to improve immune functioning, speed up healing, improve mood and reduce suffering from chronic pain. The later seems to happen by helping someone distinguish between the senory experience of pain from the cognitive processes related to the experience. Staying with just the primary experience eases pain. This approach has a sound scientific basis and is easy to learn. There are CDs available. Just Google on Jon Kabat-Zinn Ph.D. Check it out for better emotional and physical health.

September 11, 2010 Posted by | Emotional Well Being | Leave a comment

Antidepressants and Women

Like so many other medications, the studies have focused on men and not women. The same is true for antidepressants. Studies did not like to use women because the hormonal cycles affect moods and would be difficult to control. Studies are showing that the SSRI antidepressants work best in the presence of estrogen. Women will do better on these medications than men BUT not after menopause. Postmenopausal women will do better on a ntoher kind of antidepressant – ones that target norepinephrine and dopamine. I have seen quite a few women in my practice who are puzzled that their Prozac stopped working after years of being successful. Well, this may be the reason. Check out the article on this in Scientific American Mind May/June 2010.  There will be more to come on antidepressants and the placebo effect.

May 24, 2010 Posted by | Depression, Emotional Well Being | Leave a comment