The term comes from a recent CNN piece on women and health.
Here are some statistics:
80 million Americans suffer from some form of insomnia or sleeplessness.
60% of American women suffer from some form of sleeplessness, which would suggest this first 80 million figure might be a bit low.
The CNN contributors seemed to suggest that many women use sleeping aids of some kind. Using these aids for the long term may cause dependency and ultimately cause unwanted problems.
What causes insomnia?
In a word, stress. Our reticular activitating system (RAS) in the brain can get overstimulated due to continuously high demand periods and ongoing emergencies. Like a switch that gets stuck in the ‘on’ position, this continuously high demand flight or flight part of our brain continues to be stimulated 24/7, making if difficult to transition to a restful, recuperative sleep which helps repair the stress and strain of the day.
Sleeping pills and the like may work for a while, but typically their effect is lessened over time, not to mention other side effects they may introduce. As a bonus, this ongoing overstimulation of our nervous system may lead to or encourage the creation of long-term inflammatory processes which may hasten the aging process. Take a look at my blogs on my Geriatric classes and Anti Aging suggestions for more input on this.
CranioSacral Therapy (CST) creates balance in our autonomic nervous system, bringing more balance and synergy between our sympathetic (more active) nervous system and parasympathetic nervous system. A regular addition and application of CranioSacral Therapy can help retrain and ‘reset’ our reticular activitating system and turn off the stress switch which interferes with the normal sleep cycle, and lessen our dependence on sleeping pills and other artificial aids.
Hence, a Sleeping Pill Exit Strategy.
There are certainly a number of ways to look at the aging process, and after teaching a number of my new Geriatrics classes I wanted to pass along some thoughts about ‘how to stay young.’
To put a positive spin on things, there have been a number of resources I’ve come across over time that contribute to a ‘reversal of the aging process’ that I want to share. Please feel to use these for your own growth, development, and education:
1. CranioSacral Therapy
We all encounter the bumps and bruises of life as time goes on. CranioSacral Therapy is a good way to reduce old stresses and strains in the body and gain ground against the aging process. See the BodyEnergy website for more information.
2. 3-Day Mini Intensive Program
As part of the comment above, Body Energy’s 3 day ‘mini intensive program is a great way to get from 2-6 hours of intensive therapy to dissolve old and significant traumas to the body. These intensives have become part of my ‘anti aging secret’ as we go through our 50’s, 60’s, and beyond. See the BodyEnergy site for information on our 3 day mini intensive program.
3. CranioSacral Therapy and Geriatrics
Designed to teach some simple techniques for the caring of our parents and friends, this 2-day course is a great way to give back to those who have given so much to us. See the BodyEnergy site for more information on this class.
4. Transcendental Meditation Program
Studies have shown that long-term practitioners of Transcendental Meditation have a biological age which is 20 years younger than their chronological age. In fact, it is the Transcendental Meditation movement which coined the term ‘reversal of the aging process.’ Transcendental Meditation addresses stress, insomnia, high blood pressure, and a variety of the dysfunctions of the aging process. Besides CranioSacral Therapy, Transcendental Meditation is the best healing modality I have come across in my life. Email TMinfo@TMChicago.org for more information.
6. Maharishi Ayurveda
This ancient science provides an excellent way to release deep toxins that may have accumulated in the body. Along with our 3-day mini intensive program, I recommend the Ayurvedic Panchakarma program to optimize health and reverse the effects of the aging process. For more information visit the Raj website.
Supplements are highly recommended by Dr. Upledger for a variety of disease processes and the prevention of dementia and Alzheimer’s. These supplements would include antioxidants such as CoQ10 and resveratrol, alpha-lipoic acid, and Vitamin C & E.
8. Nutritional Components
One of the factors we have identified in our Geriatric class is the influence of long-term inflammatory processes in the body in regard to the symptoms of Dementia and Alzheimer’s. As the saying goes, you are what you eat. Two great resources to look at:
Leo Galland MD, (comments on anti inflammatory foods) – www.bottomlinesecrets.com
Weston A Price, a pioneer in healthy nutrition – www.westonaprice.org
More resources and information will follow in the next blog post.
It was a dark and stormy night. It is indeed a dark and stormy night for millions of our aging population.
On this dark and stormy night we see the villain enter stage right. The villain in this play is Alzheimer’s and Dementia. Our elderly are being relentlessly attacked and invaded by this insipid villain. The elderly are losing their keys, losing their independence, losing the names and faces of the ones they love and eventually losing their precious lives. The final act of their lives is ending poorly with no sunset, only blankness, darkness, and death. This is a tragedy to rival that of Shakespeare.
Studies have shown that in Alzheimer’s and Dementia patients, inflammation in the brain may play a major part in supporting the villain. The stage director is frantic, adjusting here and moving there but alas there is no cure to rid us of the villain.
Many of us have “flown by the seat of our pants” in regards to health and eating habits much of our lives. We could eat and drink what and how much we wanted as often as we wanted. If anyone dared to tell us in our 20’s that “Hey it might not be a good idea to eat all that sugar, caffeine and animal fats”, we would have scoffed and taken the next bite. “Don’t trust anyone over 30”, right?! Well, news flash, you may very well be over 30 now and things they are a-changing. Anyone who is past a certain age can attest to that. Poor choices and habits lead to inflammation, obesity, heart problems and for some Alzheimer’s and Dementia.
Enter the hero/heroine from stage left in the form of Cranial Sacral Therapy (CST). CST is a gentle hands-on therapy that is done with the individual fully clothed in either a seated or laying position. CST works with the cerebral spinal fluid, CSF, that bathes the brain, spinal cord within the vertebral column and the cranial nerves that innervate the whole body. Hands-on CST also works with the fascia system that encompasses the body, each organ and muscle. Imagine each organ and muscle with a nice smooth cashmere sweater around it and all the sweaters are connected. Imagine if the fascia (sweater) around the right shoulder is abnormally tightened due to repetitive use, injury or trauma, the tightness will radiate and affect the rest of the body. Or if two sweaters get stuck together and not move freely, the rest of the body will be affected. CST works to loosen the fascia thus increasing the circulation of healing lymph and blood; bringing the body closer to homeostasis. Homeostasis is the state of balance in the body when all parts are functioning optimally or close to optimally. Some say homeostasis is like an engine “firing on all eight”.
We must change some of our habits. We must change how we treat our bodies and just as importantly we must change the way we treat our aging population, those in elderhood. We gently care for, feed and protect those in childhood. Adulthood is about independence and personal choices. And while each of us will strive to carry the adulthood ways deep into elderhood, not everyone is successful. We as a society must support and guide those who are struggling in elderhood. Cranial sacral therapy is one such support. The gentle, caring and focused touch of CST can bring to the third act of your life or a loved ones life peace, wellness and balance.
The government, medical community and the nursing industry also need to change. Aging is not an illness, it doesn’t need a pill and yet our elderly are the most over-medicated group in the Nation if not the world. Cranial sacral therapy offers a holistic adjunct to the aging process. As the stage director of your life or the life of a loved one, consider adding CST to the stage and watch miracles happen.
Many thanks to Ms Laura Attaway for her contribution…
This 3 part blog on the Larry King CNN Special on Alzheimer’s points out some key elements on risk factors, the pathology of the disease process, and suggestions for prevention and treatment. I will counterpoint key elements of the special with comments on how our research with CranioSacral Therapy complements and enhances these views.
From the Larry King special on Alzheimer’s:
“If this is not dealt with, this will cripple the healthcare system.” President Reagan’s Alzheimer’s doctor.
“By the time you’re 85, it’s a coin toss as to whether or not you will have it.” Ron Reagan
“They look like your parent but they become your child.” Maria Shriver
“For caregivers, make sure they don’t do it alone.” Laura Bush
It is estimated that caregivers (estimated to be 15 million people) spend an average of 202 billion hours annually supporting their loved one.
The following is from a compilation of sources relating to risk and environmental factors that seem to contribute to Alzheimer’s and Dementia. Larry King mentioned some of these, but some have also been added:
Environmental and Risk factors:
1. Women have double the risk of being affected with Alzheimer’s in later life than men.
2. Dietary factors are high-calorie/high-fat diets, excessive amounts of dietary iron and copper, and low intake of folic acids/folates and antioxidative nutrients such as Vitamins C & E.
3. Low demands on intellectual function, which seem to correlate with increased occurrences of Alzheimer’s.
4. Sedentary Lifestyle. Mental and physical exercise seems to help.
5. History of head trauma.
6. Increased oxidative stress that heightens oxidative damage in the brain tissue
To compliment the above view, from a craniosacral perspective, we have two additional components to add to this list of risk factors:
A. Decreased flow of Cerebral Spinal Fluid (CSF) in an aging population.
B. Increased incidence of inflammatory response in aging humans.
Let’s look at both of these in turn.
Decreased flow of Cerebral Spinal Fluid in Aging Population: A number of years ago, Dr. Upldeger (the founder of CranioSacral Therapy) commented that the “turnover” of CSF in middle age adults (the definition of which keeps changing) may be half that of normal healthy younger adults. Our additional research has shown that in elders with Dementia and Alzheimer’s, the flow of CSF is again half as much. To put numbers to this, normal CSF flow is 800ml a day, which may decrease to 400ml daily, and in Dementia and Alzheimer’s, down to 200ml a day.
Why is this important? CSF has a “washing” action, which removes heavy metals across the blood brain barrier. The less flow there is the more opportunity there is for the brain to “clog up” with plaques, tangles, and other factors typical of the memory loss and eventual overall decline found in Alzheimer’s patients.
Increased incidence of inflammatory response in aging humans: Simply put, as we age many people accumulate “pockets of inflammation” in the body that are a result of disease processes such as Arthritis, Osteoporosis, Diabetes, Cardiovascular disease and the like. In some cases, that ongoing inflammation “overflows” across the blood brain barrier and begins to compromise the brain tissue. In many of the patients in our research project, we found prior disease states to be a part of their history.