Choices: Creating meaningful days

When you woke up this morning, how did you feel? Were you looking forward to the day anticipating with joy what would occur or were you dreading the day as if once again you had to step on the treadmill of life?

how do you feel

Whenever I ask this question of college students in their junior or senior year at an urban university about 20% will answer that they are looking forward to the day. The majority answer, “Well not really”, or even “Oh shit, another day”. For many students the burden of living- working 40 hours a week to pay for rent and tuition, worrying about financial debt, and the challenge of commuting, and finding time to do the homework—feels and is overwhelming.

Asking this question about the quality—not quantity—of life is not just a question for students–it  is applicable for all of us. The more one chooses to do actively what gives fulfillment and meaning, the higher the quality of life (I do not mean eating more chocolate).

In a remarkable study by Dr. Jennifer Temel and her many colleagues, patients with metastatic non-small-cell lung cancer were given the option of early palliative care versus standard aggressive end-of-life treatment. The patients who were assigned to the early palliative care group had significantly better quality of life, fewer depressive symptoms and lived on the average three months longer than the group who received standard treatment.

Even at the end of life there may be choices. Choosing quality of life and doing what gives meaning may nurture a peaceful transition in death. This process of choice has been tenderly described in the recent New York Times essay, The best possible day. Take a moment and read this article by clicking on the link. http://www.nytimes.com/2014/10/05/opinion/sunday/the-best-possible-day.html?smid=fb-share&_r=0

Then ask yourself each day, “Am I looking forward to my day and my activities?” If the answer tends to be “No,” begin to explore new options. Ask yourself, “What would I like to do and look forward to?” First begin to dream about possible options and then begin to plan how to implement your dreams so that you are on the path to where you want to be.

It is a challenging process; however, each of us can do something that will give meaning and joy to our lives. For suggestions, see the outstanding book by Dr. Lawrence LeShan, Cancer as a Turning Point, or explore the practices in our book by Drs. Robert Gorter and Erik Peper, Fighting Cancer- A Non-Toxic Approach to Treatment.

Reference:

Temel, J. S., Greer, J. A., Muzikansky, A., Gallagher, E. R., Admane, S., Jackson, V. A., … & Lynch, T. J. (2010). Early palliative care for patients with metastatic non–small-cell lung cancer. New England Journal of Medicine, 363(8), 733-742.

 

 

 


What to eat? Low fat foods, high fat foods…..?

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Meat for sale (tongue and liver) at a traditional market (photo by Erik Peper).

Should I eat vegetables or meats? Should it be steaks or organ meats such as liver, heart, sweet breads? What foods contributes most to heart disease or cancer? Should I change my diet or take medications to lower my cholesterol?

Despite the many years of research the data is not clear. Many  public health dietary guidelines and recommendations were based upon flawed research, researchers’ bias and promoted by agribusiness. Starting in the 1950s there has been a significant change in the dietary habits from eating animal fats to plant based oils and fats. It is so much cheaper to produce plant based polyunsaturated salad or cooking oils (e.g. Wesson and Mazola) and hydrogenated hardened oils  (e.g. margarine and Crisco) than animal fats (e.g., butter, beef tallow, and lard).   Despite the many claims that lowering animal fat intake would reduce heart disease and possibly cancer, the claims are not supported by research data. It is true that consuming liquid plant based oils lowers the cholesterol, but with the possible exception of olive oil, polyunsaturated oils are associated with an increased cancer and death rates in large population studies (Multiple Risk Factor Intervention Trial Research Group,1982; Shaten, 1997).

slider1-2We assume that lowering cholesterol is healthy; however, it is usually a surrogate marker representing a hypothesized improvement in health. A short term apparent reduction in cholesterol levels or other illness markers may mask the long term harm. Only long term outcome studies which measure the total death rate– not just from one disease being studied but from all causes of death–provides the objective results. When looking at the results over a longer time period, there appears to be no correlation between fat intake and heart disease. In fact lowering fat intake seems to be associated with poorer long term health as described in the outstanding book, The Big Fat SurpriseWhy Butter, Meat & Cheese Belong in a Healthy Diet, by the science writer, Nina Teichol. Her superb investigative reporting describes in detail the flawed and biased research that underpinned the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) and the American Heart Association (AHA) recommendations to reduce animal fats and use more plant based oils.

 

What should I eat now?

Diet recommendations used to be simple: Reduce animal fat intake and eat more plants. Now, there are no simple recommendations because they may depend upon your genetics (e.g., digestion of milk depends whether you are lactose tolerant or intolerant), your epigenetics (e.g., maternal malnutrition during your embryological development is a major risk for developing heart disease in later life), your physical and social activities (e.g., exercise reduces the risk for many diseases), and environment. The recent popularity of the hunter and gatherer diet, often known as the paleo diet, is challenging–it may depends on your ancestors. What hunter and gatherers ate depended upon geography and availability of food sources. The Inuit’s diet in the Arctic consisted of 90% meat/fish diet while the !Kung Bushman’ diet from the Kalahari desert in Africa consisted of less than a 15% meat/fish diet as shown in Figure 1.

paleo-diet-half-baked_3

 

Figure 1. The food content of hunter gatherers varied highly depending on geography. From:  Jabr, F. (2013). How to Really Eat Like a Hunter-Gatherer: Why the Paleo Diet Is Half-Baked. Scientific American, June 3.

Use common sense to make food choices.

  1. Eat only those foods which in the course of evolution have been identified as foods. This means eating a variety of plants based foods (fruits, tubers, leaves, stems, nuts, etc.) and more organ meats. Ask yourself what foods did your forefathers/mothers ate that supported survival and reproductive success. Carnivores usually ate the internal organs first and often would leave the muscles for scavengers.
  2. Eat like your great, great grandparents. They were not yet brainwashed by the profit incentives of agribusiness and pharmaceutical industry. For more information, read the outstanding books by Michael Pollan, The Omnivore’s Dilemma: A Natural History of Four Meals and In Defense of Food: An Eater’s Manifesto.
  3. If possible eat only organically grown/raised foods. Non organic foods usually contain low levels of pesticides, insecticides, antibiotics and hormones which increases the risk of cancer (Reuben, 2010). They may also also contain fewer nutrients such as essential minerals, vitamins, and antioxidants (Barański et al, 2014). The beneficial effects of organic foods have been challenging to demonstrate because it may take many years to show a difference.  Preliminary data strongly suggests that organic foods as compared to non organic foods increases longevity, improves fertility and enhances survival during starvation (Chhabra, Kolli, & Bauer, 2013).  For more information, see my blog, Live longer, enhance fertility and increase stress resistance: Eat Organic foods.
  4. Adapt the precautionary principle and assume that any new and artificially produced additives or chemically processed foods–most of the foods in boxes and cans in the central section of the supermarket–contain novel materials which have not been part of our historical dietary experience. These foods may be harmful over the long term and our bodies not yet know how to appropriately digest such foods such as trans fats (Kummerow, 2009).
  5. Be doubtful of dietary recommendations especially if you know of counter examples and exceptions. For example, the low fat diet recommendations could not explain the French or Swiss paradox (high butter and cheese intake and low heart disease rates). If examples exist, the popular dogma is incomplete or possibly wrong. Be skeptical about any health food claims. Ask who has funded the research, who decides whether a food can have a label that states “it is heart health” and can prevent a disease, and who would benefit if more of this food is sold.

My final comments on nutrition (source unknown).

  • The Japanese eat very little fat and suffer fewer heart attacks than us.
  • The Mexicans eat a lot of fat and suffer fewer heart attacks than us.
  • The French eat lots of butter and drink alcohol and suffer fewer heart attacks than us.
  • The Chinese drink very little red wine and suffer fewer heart attacks than us.
  • The Italians drink a lot of red wine and suffer fewer heart attacks than us.
  • The Germans drink a lot of beer and eat lots of sausages and fats and suffer fewer heart attacks than us.

Conclusion

Eat and drink what you like especially if you enjoy it with company…speaking English is apparently what kills you!

References:

Barański, M., Srednicka-Tober, D., Volakakis, N., Seal, C., Sanderson, R., Stewart, G. B., … & Leifert, C. (2014). Higher antioxidant and lower cadmium concentrations and lower incidence of pesticide residues in organically grown crops: a systematic literature review and meta-analyses. The British journal of nutrition, 1-18.  http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/24968103
Chhabra R, Kolli S, Bauer JH (2013) Organically Grown Food Provides Health Benefits to Drosophila melanogaster. PLoS ONE 8(1): e52988. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0052988  http://www.plosone.org/article/info:doi%2F10.1371%2Fjournal.pone.0052988

Jabr, F. (2013). How to Really Eat Like a Hunter-Gatherer: Why the Paleo Diet Is Half-Baked. Scientific American, June 3.http://www.scientificamerican.com/article/why-paleo-diet-half-baked-how-hunter-gatherer-really-eat/

Kummerow, F. A. (2009). The negative effects of hydrogenated trans fats and what to do about them. Atherosclerosis, 205(2), 458-465.http://www.atherosclerosis-journal.com/article/S0021-9150%2809%2900208-1/abstract

Multiple Risk Factor Intervention Trial Research Group. (1982). Multiple risk factor intervention trial. JAMA: The Journal of the American Medical Association, 248(12), 1465-1477. http://jama.jamanetwork.com/article.aspx?articleid=377969

Pollan, M. (2006). The Omnivore’s Dilemma: A Natural History of Four Meals. New York: Penguin Press. ISBN: 1594200823

Pollan, M. (2009). In Defense of Food: An Eater’s Manifesto. New York: Penguin Press. ISBN: 978-0143114963

Reuben, S. H. (2010). Reducing environmental cancer risk: what we can do now. DIANE Publishing. http://deainfo.nci.nih.gov/advisory/pcp/annualReports/pcp08-09rpt/PCP_Report_08-09_508.pdf

Shaten, B. J., Kuller, L. H., Kjelsberg, M. O., Stamler, J., Ockene, J. K., Cutler, J. A., & Cohen, J. D. (1997). Lung cancer mortality after 16 years in MRFIT participants in intervention and usual-care groups. Annals of epidemiology, 7(2), 125-136. http://www.annalsofepidemiology.org/article/S1047-2797%2896%2900123-8/abstract

Teicholz, N. (2014). The big fat surprise-Why butter, meat & cheese belong in a healthy diet. New York: Simon & Schuster. ISBM 978-1-4516-2442-7  http://www.thebigfatsurprise.com/

 


Surviving end-stage liver cancer with the Gorter treatment: A patient’s perspective

Willem Kloosterboer describes his successful recovery of end-stage liver cancer with the Gorter protocol.  The concepts and treatment protocol of this non-invasive treatment with hyperthermia and dendritic cell vaccination is described our book Fighting Cancer: A non-toxic approach to treatment. The short documentary is in Dutch with English subtitles.

Surviving end state cancer

Video link for this video:  https://vimeo.com/63555498

Additional documentaries from cancer patients sharing their experience as they experienced total remission. All these patients were in the final & last stages of their disease and are now  have lived for years and years cancer free. These patients are followed up every two years.

One of the remarkable documentary is of a boat tour  through the Amsterdam canals with about 50 Dutch patients. These are all people who had stage four terminal cancer are interviewed while on the boat. It is heart warming to hear them say:  “8 years ago I was told to have 2 to 3 months maximum to live and now I am cancer free since years and never thought I could make a boat trip like this at that time”  To see the videos click on the following link:

https://vimeo.com/channels/mcctestimonials/page:1


Energy Gain Wisdom: Strategies for Maximizing Support and Emotional Wellbeing for Caregivers & Patients

Are you exhausted and not sure there is anything you can do to change it? Learn strategies to mobilize your self-healing potential as you cope with cancer. Regardless of the severity of disease, learn skills to increase energy.

Watch the following  presentation by  Dianne Shumay, PhD, Associate Director, UCSF Psycho-Oncology,  and Erik Peper, PhD, Professor Holistic Health, SFSU. This invited lecture was presented January 19, 2014 at the NorCal CarciNET/UCSF 2014 Patient Conference, hosted by: NorCal CarciNET Community & UCSF Helen Diller Family Comprehensive Cancer Center, at the Krutch Theater (Clark-Kerr) on the UC Berkeley Campus.


Cancer: A modern scourge or the cost of being a multi-cell organism?

Although I knew intellectually that cancer was not a new disease since it had been described in early medical texts, I always thought that it was more a scourge of recent times.  The tweets, the news reports, the innumerable stories of new cancer treatments promoted on the web, the ongoing recommendations for specific foods, vitamin supplements, and lifestyle recommendations to prevent cancer, and the heart wrenching stories of celebrities telling their personal cancer saga, all suggested that cancer rates are increasing and definitely a modern disease.

It is difficult to make sense out of this maelstrom of pessimistic and optimist news about the war on cancer.   Yet, if one can take a broader perspective, cancer is not the number one killer–that honor belongs to heart disease. And, although breast cancer is terrifying, many more women die of heart disease than breast cancer (Jemal, et al, 2008).

Most likely, cancer has been with us since we evolved from a single cell—it may express the fundamental life force of a cell when it becomes threatened or is no longer subservient and supportive for the maintenance of its community of cells.  It is humbling to realize that cancer transcends our human history. It has even  been found in dinosaur bones. If it was in the bones, then other cancers probably also occurred in the dinosaur’s soft tissue.   It is equally humbling to recognize that although environmental and dietary factors can affect carcinogenesis, in most cases the data is much less clear. So often one study finds a beneficial effect and then a few years later another study reports the opposite finding.  Yes, some behaviors are generally harmful-smoking increases the risk of lung cancer significantly although most smokers do not die of lung cancer. And, most likely the major significant factor in the recent decrease in breast cancer death rate is that women are smoking less and stopped using hormone replacement therapy.

One thing is clear, cancer is part of our human biology and it has occurred since multi-cellular organisms (e.g., morula) evolved to deal with cellular stress (Boaz, 2002). To grasp the biological complexity, the confusion that exists and appreciate how to perceive different perspectives, I strong recommend reading the remarkable book, The Cancer Chronicles: Unlocking Medicine’s Deepest Mystery, by the award winning science writer George Johnson. (Johnson, 2013).

Cancer  a modern scourge or the cost of being a multi-cell organism

References:

Boaz, N.T. (2002). Evolving Health: The origins of illness and how the modern world is making us sick. New York: John Wiley & Sons.

Jemal, A., Siegel, R., Ward, E., Hao, Y., Xu, J., Murray, T. and Thun, M. J. (2008), Cancer Statistics, 2008. CA: A Cancer Journal for Clinicians, 58: 71–96. doi: 10.3322/CA.2007.0010 http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.3322/CA.2007.0010/full

Johnson, G. (2013). The Cancer Chronicles: Unlocking Medicine’s Deepest Mystery. New York: Alfred A. Knopf.  http://talaya.net/chronicles/


Keep mobile phones, tablets or laptops away from your body: Wireless devices may cause harm

Did you ever notice the heat of your mobile phone against your ear?

Did you ever feel the warmth of the laptop against your stomach and thighs?

While recording muscle tension, we sometimes observe a signal that is NOT the actual muscle contracting.  It is an electrical signal that is recorded with sensors at the location of the body but not produced by the muscles.  In some cases, this artifact is caused by the client’s mobile phone or other wireless device being activated even though the ringer function was set to off.  Below is an example of an artifact signal that can be hundreds of times larger than the biological muscle (electromyography) or brainwave (electroencephalography) signal as shown in Figure 1.

Slide11

Figure 1. Surface electromyography recording showing the effect of cell phone located 1 cm (0.4 inches) away from the electrodes (from: Lin, I.M. & Peper, E.,2009).

The artifact was caused by the microwaves radiating from the cell phone antenna as it communicated to the  by cell phone tower. As long as the cell phone and the wireless devices are being used for talking, texting, streaming data, or audio and visual media, they are communicating with the tower.  Most cell phones, as long as they can receive calls, also connect every 900 milliseconds to the tower to report its location. To prevent artifacts in electromyographic and electroencephalographic recording, request clients to turn off their mobile phone or switch it to airplane mode.

When we initially observed this artifact produced by the mobile phone antenna signal, we wondered if this could be a health risk.  I was further persuaded after reading epidemiologist, Devra Davis, Ph.D superb book, Disconnect- The Truth about cell phone radiation, What the industry is doing to hide it, and How to protect your family. For more information see her website Environmental Health Trust (http://ehtrust.org/).

Although being exposed by microwave radiation at 1 watt of power output while talking is not the same as being blasted for two minutes by 1000 watts necessary to bring a cup  of water to boil in a microwave, most of us experience ongoing exposure for many minutes per day.  We are now connected 24/7- anywhere we go-from coffee shop to the bedroom. We tend to keep cell phones and other wireless devices on our person. Men often stash it in their pant pockets and woman sometimes in their bra.  Yes, you can even buy a bra with a built in cell phone pocket.

We use smartphones and tablets as a communication device for texting, talking, updating our social networks, searching the web, and as an alarm clock next to our head while sleeping (we do not want to disturb our roommate or partner).  Smart phones and tablets have become omnipresent in our world. They are used in classes, while waiting for appointments (the stack of dated magazines have become irrelevant), and are the last thing we check before going to sleep. Soon these devices will be so small that they will be inserted in our ear, under our skin, or embedded in our glasses — truly connected at all times.

In our 2012 survey, university students used mobile phones and tablets/i-Pads for at least 118 minutes a day, of which 40 minutes occurred just before going to sleep. This meant that they spent 19.7 days a year texting/talking on their smartphones (Waderick et al, 2013) as shown in figure 2.    Fig 2

Figure 2. Minutes of smart phone and tablet  used by students and the percentage of disturbed sleep and hours of sleep (from: Waderich, K., Peper, E., Harvey, R., & Sutter, S., 2013).

In less than 20 years, we can no longer imagine a life without these wireless devices and go into a panic when they are missing. We have accepted the new technology and assumed that it is safe.  Yet, could this be similar to the early cigarette debates in the tobacco industry?  Most of the published studies claimed that cigarettes did not harm people and had nothing to do with cancer. We now know better.  One cigarette probably does no harm; however, smoking many cigarettes over numerous years does cause harm.

When radar was initially developed in World War II, some sailors on ships in the North Atlantic Ocean warmed themselves by momentarily standing in front of the radar beam. While they did get warmer, they also became sterile for a period of time since heating the testicles with radar reduced sperm production. Could a similar effect occur by the heat and microwaves emitted from a laptop, tablet, or cell phone against the abdomen or lap?

Research findings over the last twenty years have often been ambiguous, although indicating that there is a risk (Davis, 2010). It is unlikely that the telecommunication industry will support research into possible dangers since it would put them at financial risk. Instead, the telecommunication industry lobbies to oppose laws that would require right to know labeling of cell phones with disclosure of possible risks or antenna output power.  A more neutral perspective is reported by the International Agency for Research into Cancer (IARC), which is part of the World Health Organization World Health Organization (WHO). As of 2011, the WHO has classified mobile phones (and any wireless device that uses microwaves to communicate) as a group2b risk, which means that they are “possibly carcinogenic to humans” and there is “limited evidence” that something causes cancer in people, and even the evidence from animal studies is “less than sufficient”.

Research studies report that adults who have used mobile phones intensively for at least ten years experience an increase in brain cancer (glioma and acoustic neuroma), salivary gland cancer, and even rare eye cancers on the side of the head where the cell phone was predominantly held (Davis, 2010).  Some men diagnosed with testicular cancer had the cancer occur in the testicle that was closest to the pant pocket where they stashed their cell phone (Davis, 2013).

More recently, some women who have habitually stashed their cell phone in their bra have been diagnosed with a rare breast cancer located beneath the area of the breast where they stored their cell phone.  Watch the heart breaking TV interview with Tiffany. She was 21 years old when she developed breast cancer which was located right beneath the breast were she had kept her cell phone against her bare skin for the last 6 years.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1FA4Mhc30Ug

While these rare cases could have occurred by chance, they could also be an early indicator of risk. Most research studies were based upon older adults who have tended to use their mobile phone much less than most young people today. The average age a person acquires a mobile phone is ten years old. Now infants and toddlers are entertained by smartphones and tablets–the new technological babysitter.  The possible risk may be much greater for a young people since their bodies and brains are still growing rapidly.  I wonder if the antenna radiation may be one of the many initiators or promoters of later onset cancers. And, most cancer take twenty or more years to develop.

Instead of waiting for twenty or thirty years to find out definitively whether the antenna radiation is, or is not, harmful, adapt the precautionary principle and reduce your and your children’s exposure. The simplest strategy is to keep the devices away from your body.  The further it is away the device is from the body the less power of the antenna signal reaches you as shown in figure 3.

Slide17 Figure 3. Decrease in amplitude of microwave emission as recorded from the skin as a function of distance (from: Lin, I.M. & Peper, E., 2009).

Why take the risk! Act now and reduce the exposure to the antenna radiation by implementing the following suggestions:

  • Keep your phone, tablet or laptop in your purse, backpack or attaché case. Do not keep it on or close to your body.
  • Use the speaker phone or plug in earphones with microphone while talking.  Do not hold it against the side of your head, close to your breast or on your lap.
  • Text while the phone is on a book or on a table away from your body.
  • Put the tablet and laptop on a table and away from the genitals.
  • Be old fashioned and use a cable to connect to your home router instead of relying on the WiFi connection.
  • Keep your calls short and enjoy the people in person.
  • Support legislation to label wireless devices with a legible statement of possible risk and the specific absorption rate (SAR) value. Generally, higher the SAR value, the higher the exposure to antenna radiation.
  • Support the work by the Environmental Health Trust.

For more background, read epidemiologist Devra Davis’ book, DisconnectThe truth about cell phone radiation, What the industry is doing to hide it, and How to protect your family.

*I thank James Johnston, PhD., for his constructive feedback.

References:

Davis, D. (2010).  Disconnect-The Truth about cell phone radiation, What the industry is doing to hide it, and how to protect your family..  New York: Plume.

Davis, D. (2013). Health Risks of Cell Phones & WiFi Devices.  Presentation at the Holistic Health Learning Center, San Francisco State University, April 17, 2013.

Lin, I.M. & Peper, E. (2009). Keep the cell phone away from your body to prevent electromagnetic interference artifacts and cancer. Biofeedback, 37(3), 114-116.

Waderich, K., Peper, E., Harvey, R., & Sara Sutter. (2013). The psychophysiology of contemporary information technologies-Tablets and smart phones can be a pain in the neck. Presented at the 44st Annual Meeting of the Association for Applied Psychophysiology and Biofeedback. Portland, OR.


Improve recovery from diseases. Youtube interviews of Erik Peper, PhD by Larry Berkelhammer, PhD

The psychophysiology of health and recovery from cancer and other medical conditions

Discussion about remarkable recoveries from life-threatening diseases following a visit to a shaman, medicine man, faith healer, voodoo master, or other indigenous healer. Also discussed is the importance of deep trust in the doctor, healer, healthcare team, the treatment, and in the ability of the immune system to improve their health.

Shifts in consciousness improve recovery rates for cancer and other diseases

This discussion explored shifts in consciousness that are associated with improved recovery rates for cancer and other diseases. Patients with a sense of control and who are empowered tend to heal faster. Acceptance for our present circumstances, when combined with hope for the future, and a belief in possibilities contribute to speedier recoveries. An optimistic view of the future and of health have physiological correlates that are associated with healing.


Change Illness Beliefs with Words, Biofeedback, and Somatic Feedback*

I never felt that thinking about my work affected my body. I was totally surprised to see my body’s reaction on the computer screen. I now realized how I contributed to my illness and could see other ways to  change and improve my health. The feedback made the invisible visible, the undocumented documented.

Use of words, biofeedback and somatic feedback to transform illness beliefs. Many clients are unaware how much their thoughts and emotions affect their physiology. The numbers and graphs on the computer screen show how the body is responding. Seeing the changes in the physiological recording and the  immediate feedback signals are usually accepted by the client as evidence, whereas the verbal comments made by a therapist might be denied as the therapist’s subjective opinion. The feedback is experienced as objective data—numbers and graphs ‘‘do not lie’’—which represents truth to the client. Clients seek biofeedback therapy because they believe the cause of illness is in their body, and then the biofeedback may demonstrate that emotions and cognitions influence their somatic illness patterns. This process has been labeled by Ian Wickramasekera (2003) as a ‘‘Trojan Horse’’ approach. Biofeedback and somatic feedback exercises provide effective tools for changing illness attributions and awaken the client to the impact of thoughts and emotions on physiology. Whether the feedback comes from a biofeedback device that records the covert physiological signal or is subjectively experienced through a somatic exercise, the self-experience is a powerful trigger for an ‘‘aha’’ experience—a realization that mind, body, and emotions are not separate (Wilson, Peper, & Gibney, 2004). Clinically, this approach can be used to facilitate changing illness beliefs and to motivate clients to begin changing their cognitive, emotional, and behavioral patterns. Clients begin to realize that they can be active participants in the healing process and that in many cases it is their mind-body life patterns that contribute to illness or health. For more information, case example and detailed description of a somatic feedback practice, download a pre-publication of our  article,  The Power of Words, Biofeedback, and Somatic Feedback to Impact Illness Beliefs.

*Adapted from: Peper, E., Shumay, D.M., & Moss, D. (2012). Change Illness Beliefs with Biofeedback and Somatic Feedback. Biofeedback. 40(4), 154–159.


Increase energy gains; decrease energy drains*

Are you full of pep and energy, ready to do more? Or do you feel drained and exhausted? After giving at the office, is there nothing left to give at home? Do you feel as if you are on a treadmill that will never stop, that more things feel draining than energizing?

Feeling chronically drained is often a precursor for illness and may contribute to errors; conversely, feeling energized enhances productivity and creativity and encourages health. An important aspect of staying healthy is that one’s daily activities are filled more with activities that contribute to our energy than with tasks and activities that drain our energy.  Energy is the subjective sense of feeling alive and vibrant.  An energy gain is an activity, task, or thought that makes you feel better and slightly more alive—those things we want to or choose to do. An energy drain is the opposite feeling—less alive and almost depressed—those things we have to or must do; often something that we do not want to do.   Energy drains can be doing the dishes and feeling resentful that your partner or children are not doing them, or anticipating seeing a person whom you do not really want to see. An energy gain can be meeting a friend and talking or going for a walk in the woods, or finishing a work project.  Energy drains and gains are always unique to the individual; namely, what is a drain for one can be a gain for another.  The challenge is to identify your energy drains and gains and then explore strategies to decrease the drains and increase the gains. Use the following five step process to increase your energy:

  1. Monitor your energy drains and energy gains. Keep a log of events, activities, thoughts, or emotions that increase or decrease energy at home and at work.
  2. Identify common themes associated with energy drains and energy gains.
  3. Describe in behavioral detail how you will increase your energy gain and decrease the energy drains.
  4. Record your experiences on  a daily log.
  5. After a week assess the impact of your practices.

1. Use the following chart to monitor your energy drains and gains at home and at work by using the following chart.

Energy Gains (Sources)

Energy Drains

2. Identify one energy gain that you will increase and one energy drain that you will decrease this week

Energy Gain (Source)

Energy Drain

3. Describe in detail how you will increase an energy gain and decrease an energy drain. Be so specific that it appears real and you can picture how, where, when, with whom, and under which situations you are performing it.  Be sure to anticipate obstacles that may interfere with your plan and develop ways to overcome these obstacles.

Write out your detailed behavioral description for increasing an energy gain:

Write out your detailed behavioral description for decreasing an energy drain:

4. Record your experience on a  daily log. By recording your experiences you can assess the efficacy of your changes.

  • Day 1
  • Day 2
  • Day 3
  • Day 4
  • Day 5
  • Day 6
  • Day 7

5. After a week, review your daily log and ask yourself some of the following questions:

  • What benefits occurred by increasing energy gains?
  • What factors impeded increasing energy gains?
  • What benefits occurred by decreasing energy drains?
  • What factors impeded decreasing energy drains and how did you cope with that?
  • What strategies did you use to remind yourself to decrease the energy drains and increase the energy gains?
  • If you could have done the practice again, how would you have done it differently?

*Adapted from: Gorter, R. & Peper, E. (2011). Fighting Cancer-A Nontoxic Approach to Treatment.  Berkeley: North Atlantic Books, 107-200.


Can multivitamins prevent cancer?

A multivitamin a day keeps the doctor away to prevent nutritional deficiency and indirectly reduce cancer risks.  Although most previous research studies have not demonstrated whether vitamin supplements are useful in the prevention or the treatment of cancer, the recently published randomized control trial of 14,641 male physicians in the Journal of the American Medical Association demonstrated that a multivitamin a day significantly reduced the incidence of cancer.  The participants started taking the vitamin or placebo at about age 50 and continued for eleven years. This study, Multivitamins in the Prevention of Cancer in Men- The Physicians’ Health Study II Randomized Controlled Trial, is different from most previous studies. It is one of the first randomized controlled trial in which the participants did not know whether they took a multivitamin or placebo daily.  Even though the effect is small, the study finds that taking a multivitamin daily reduces cancer risk.

To promote health, take a multivitamin a day; however, the benefits gained by taking a multivitamin imply that:

  1. We are affluently malnutritioned as our daily western industrialized processed diet is deficient in nutrients that support our immune system and health.  It would be better to eat an organic food diet with lots of vegetables and fruits. Even The President’s Cancer Panel Report, Reducing Environmental Cancer Risk: What We Can Do Now,  published by the National Cancer Institute, National Institutes of Health, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, recommends to consume to the “extent possible, food grown without pesticides or chemical fertilizers.” Eating an organic hunter and gatherer diet would include many other essential vitamins and minerals –some which we do not yet know—that  are not included in a single multivitamin.
  2. Start eating a healthy diet from birth since it  will have more  impact to prevent cancer than adding a multivitamin a day at age 50. Most epidemiological studies have shown that a predominantly vegetable and fruit diet is associated with lower cancer rates.
  3. Implement a health promoting life style to support the immune system. Begin now by practicing stress management, incorporating exercise,  performing self-healing strategies, and eating organic vegetable, fruits (no processed foods). For more suggestions see our book, Fighting Cancer-A Nontoxic Approach to Treatment.