Technohealth reminder

Digital devices connect us to each other, provide information from the outside world, allow us to work anywhere as long as there is Wi-Fi, and foster a 24/7 live style. It is almost impossible to remember driving without a smartphone that guides us to where we are going, or using it to find a restaurant or a  place to stay. Being captured by the screen and the useful information, we may not be aware of the possible deleterious effects. Depending how the devices are used, they may contribute to disturbed sleep, increased attention deficit disorder in children, increased pedestrian death rates when the person is captured by the screen and not attending to the environment surrounding them, and increased cancer risks through antenna radiation. Some of the dangers have been integrated in a new poster, Mobile Phones: Ringing up the Danger, reprinted below from the website,

At the bottom of this poster are my suggestions to optimize technohealth while working with digital devices.


Poster reprinted with permission from:

Suggestions to improve technohealth

Reverse and interrupt Stress Immobilization Syndrome

  • Interrupt your computer work every few minutes to wiggle and move
  • Breathe diaphragmatically
  • Get up and do large movements (stretch or walk) for a few minutes.
  • Take a short walk or do other movements instead of snacking when feeling tense or tired.
  • Smile and realize that work stress it is not worth dying over
  • Install a computer reminder program to signal you to take a short stress break such as StressBreak™.
  • Eat lunch away from your computer workstation.
  • Stand or walk during meetings or when talking on the phone.
  • Turn off LED, TV or computer screens an hour before bedtime to promote restful sleep.

Reduce the possible harm from digital device’s antenna radiation

  • 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 or tablet is on a book or on a table away from your body.



Simple Ways to Manage Stress- An experiential lecture for people impacted by the March 11, 2011 Great East Japan Earthquake

Stress can be reduced by simple pragmatic exercises. This 99 minute participatory lecture was presented in Sendei, Japan, on July 20, 2013 to people who were impacted by the 2011 Tohoku earthquake and tsunami disaster.* The lecture includes practices that demonstrate 1) how thoughts, emotions and images affect the body, 2) how simple movements can reduce muscle tension, 3) how breathing can be used to reduce stress, 4) how changing posture can change access to positive or negative memories, 5) how acceptance is the beginning step for healing. This approach based upon a holistic evolutionary perspective of stress and health can be used to reduce symptoms caused or increased by stress such as neck, shoulder and back tension, digestive problems, worrying and insomnia. The video lecture is sequentially translated from English to Japanese.  Click on the link to watch the video lecture.


*The program was organized by Toshihiko Sato, Ph.D., Dept. Health and Social Services, Faculty of Medical Sciences and Welfare Tohoku Bunka Gakuen University, Sendai.

Improve rest and healing when hospitalized*

Imagine being in a strange hospital room with nothing to evoke calmness and peace – just a TV going and showing horrors of the world.  Staff coming in and out who often interrupt a person’s little sleep, blinking cardiac monitor lights, florescent lighting, beeping monitor noise, muffled groans of the other patient.  So hard to rest and sleep and to feel safe.  Sleep, please come and take me away from this horror – it’s now two in the morning, the terrors begin to crawl through me, sleep is withdrawing and I am facing my demons of thoughts and worries.

Instead of helping me with my natural progression of sleep, I am offered a sleeping pill to numb me out and disappear. Don’t they know that regularly taking of sleeping medication has been found to increase mortality risk by 25% and if used sporadically, by 10% to 15%? Being able to sleep promotes healing and sleep more likely occurs when patients feel calm and safe.  When sick and in pain, we often are terrified and want to be nurtured; we tend to regress and become more baby like – desiring our loved one(s) holding us and telling us all will be well.  A fearful child wants to be surrounded by loving, calm, supportive parent(s) as do most adults.  This helps us to let go and know in a non-verbal way that we are now safe and can safely rest.

Benefits of feeling safe have been found to be numerous.  For example, when a loving partner holds the patient’s hand, he/she experiences significantly less pain and a slowing of the heart rate.

Yet the patient placed in an unfamiliar room with clanking noise, flashing lights, fluorescent light  and with another patient who makes unfamiliar noise adds to fearfulness and unrest.  No wonder when elderly patients go to the hospital they often become confused and anxious and can experience major cognitive loss.  Terror and fear of the new and unfamiliar can lead to cognitive disturbances and when combined with anesthesia may cause significant cognitive decline,

It can be so simple to promote a healing environment that will improve patient recovery and significantly reduce medical cost as studies have found.  Patients who had gall bladder surgery and their room had a window with a view of trees compared to patients with a view of a brick wall had less pain medication and were discharged a day earlier. 

To promote healing in a hospital, we need to  honor ones natural evolutionary origins and reduce factors that evoke fear and at the same time  increase factors that promote healing and safety.  The following suggestions show an increase in long-term health benefits for the patient.

  1. Have the room in absolute darkness and no noise to support sleep and no interruptions for medical tests unless absolutely necessary.  Findings suggest improved sleep and positive changes in patient outcomes
  2. Have medical staff use red lights as the only light at night when working with patients as florescent lights with its blue spectrum blocks melatonin production and interrupts sleep.
  3. Arrange a bed next to the patient for a loving person to be able to caringly attend to the person in their hour of need.   Just being present, holding a patient’s hand, reassuring,  or giving a foot massage before going to sleep is often more effective than giving sleeping medication.
  4. Prescribe hand holding and being with a patient without time pressures as a billable procedure as done for routine prescribed treatments such as medications, epidural, or  intravenous solutions.
  5. Support nurses to be able to take the time to be with the patien, Make it a valued, legitimate nursing intervention.
  6. Offer a room with a view.

*I thank Dr. Betsy Stetson for her helpful suggestions and feedback