What Doctors Don't Tell You 2019-05-26T21:14:20+01:00 Meditate yourself healthy 2008-10-07T12:33:00+01:00 2008-10-07T12:33:00+01:00 In today's fast-paced society, more and more people are turning to meditation to help deal with the stresses and strains of everyday life. But meditation is more than just a way to switch off and relax. As the latest research shows, this age-old technique is in fact a powerful tool that's proving to be beneficial for an array of health conditions - from insomnia and anxiety to cancer and heart disease.

Although there are individual differences among meditation techniques, they all share some core features. The following is a simple basic technique.

  • Sit in a comfortable position either crosslegged on the floor or in a chair. Be sure to sit up tall, keeping the spine straight, the shoulders relaxed and the chest open.
  • Rest the hands on the knees with the palms facing up. Lightly touch the index finger to the thumb. Relax the face, jaw and belly. Let the tip of the tongue rest on the roof of the mouth just behind the front teeth. Allow the eyes to lightly close.
  • Breathe slowly, smoothly and deeply in and out through the nose. Let the inhaled breath start in the belly and rise gently up into the chest. As the breath slows and deepens, let go of any thoughts or distractions, and allow the mind to focus on the breath. Feel the breath as it moves in and out of the body - through the nose, throat, windpipe and lungs. Feel the body as it rises and falls with each breath.
  • Keep your awareness and attention focused on the body and breath. If external thoughts intrude, let them gently pass by, and return the focus back to the body and breath.
  • Practise this for 10-20 minutes.
  • To end, gently let the eyes blink open, and inhale, bringing the palms together in front of the chest, then exhale and gently bow. Take a moment or two before resuming your usual activities.

Meditation is the subject of the Mind Health report in the November issue of 'What Doctors Don't Tell You'. It will be with subscribers on Saturday November 1st. If you would like to subscribe,please click here.

How clean is your electricity? 2008-08-12T13:20:00+01:00 2008-08-12T13:20:00+01:00 Basically, dirty electricity is a power quality problem generated primarily by modern electrical appliances and lighting systems.

Sources of dirty electricity include:

  • Computers
  • Variable-speed motors
  • Television sets
  • Entertainment units
  • Energy-efficient lighting
  • Energy-efficient appliances
  • Dimmer switches
  • Power tools
  • Arcing on power lines
  • Mobile-phone antennas
  • Broadcast antennas.

Until recently, dirty electricity was thought to be a problem only for the utility companies, but it is now emerging as a serious public-health issue - possibly responsible for a host of common illnesses including asthma, diabetes, depression and cancer.

There are a few websites providing useful information on dirty electricity (; , but a full report on the phenomenon - what it is, who's affected and what we can do about it - can be found in the September issue of What Doctors Don't Tell You. It will be with subscribers on Saturday, August 30th. If you would like to subscribe, please click here.

Fit body, fit brain 2008-07-28T15:48:00+01:00 2008-07-28T15:48:00+01:00 Researchers from the Netherlands studied data from nearly 700 adults aged 55 and older and found that those who improved their cardiorespiratory fitness through aerobic exercise also boosted their brain power (Cochrane Database Syst Rev, 2008; 2: CD005381).

Aerobic exercise involves continuous, rhythmic activity that strengthens the heart and lungs and improves oxygen consumption by the body. The participants in this study exercised aerobically between two and seven days a week for several weeks, and underwent fitness and cognitive function tests.

Compared to non-exercisers and those following a yoga- or strength-based programme, or any other intervention, the aerobic exercisers saw significant improvements in motor function, cognitive processing speed, memory, and auditory and visual attention.

The findings are good news for older adults, suggesting that aerobic exercise might be an important way to protect against dementia and other forms of cognitive decline. But it turns out that other age groups can benefit, too - particularly school-age children.

In fact, studies show that children might derive benefits in school performance from increased participation in aerobic activity.

So if, like me, number puzzles aren't your thing, get up and get moving to give your brain the workout it needs.

More research on the effects of exercise on the brain can be found in the August issue of 'What Doctors Don't Tell You'. It will be with subscribers on Saturday, July 26. If you would like to subscribe, please click here.