Do Yoga, Be Happy

(Brought to you by Dr. Deborah Simmons)
We have been teaching a lot lately about the Six Dimensions of Holistic Treatment for Depression (Relational, Biological, Energetic, Physical, Cognitive, and Spiritual).  I thought you might be interested in this article from the January/February 2011 issue of AARP:  The Magazine, entitled “Do Yoga, Be Happy”.    Dr. Chris Streeter’s conclusion?  Yoga has an effect on brain chemistry similar to that of antidepressants.  It beats walking, too.

As a mood booster, yoga beats walking
By Holly St. Lifer

Feeling blue?  Try a downward-facing-dog pose.  A new study from Boston University School of Medicine found that yoga boosted mood more effectively than walking.  Doing an hour of yoga three times a week for 12 weeks increased GABA levels by 13 percent, as measured in the study’s healthy participants right after a session.  GABA, a neurotransmitter in the brain, is lower in people who are depressed; levels rise with the use of meds.  The walkers showed no significant increase in GABA levels.  “This is the first study to find a behavioral intervention—yoga, in this case—that has an effect on brain chemistry similar to that of antidepressants,” says study author Chris Streeter, MD.  


Lose the Weight, Lose the Cigarettes

Give Up Smoking Without Gaining Weight (by Emily Listfield)

According to the American Cancer Society, half of all Americas who smoke will die of tobacco-related causes such as lung cancer or emphysema.  For some smokers, however, there's another, more immediate fear.  Nicotine suppresses the appetite and helps boost the metabolism, so many smokers worry they'll gain weight if they quit.  "People feel caught between a rock and a hard place," says Dr. Bonnie Spring of the Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine.  "They care about both their appearance and their health."Fortunately, they don't have to choose one or the other.  In fact, controlling your weight may actually help you drop your nicotine habit.  A recent Northwestern study showed that women who joined a weight-loss support were not only less likely to gain weight; they were also up to 29% more successful in quitting smoking.

Dr. Spring hopes her study will change the standard advice:  "Until now, more doctors have warned against trying to control two behaviors at once.  Our results show that trying to manage weight gain does not undermine smoking cessation but rather enhances it." 


Donor Egg Children--To Tell or Not to Tell

Authored by Dr. Deborah Simmons

I have been meeting with many intended parents lately who seek to use in-vitro fertilization (IVF) with anonymous donor eggs.  Donor eggs "reset" fertility treatment, offering new hope of successful pregnancy, after often years of procedures without pregnancy.  While my clients are comfortable with the idea of third party reproduction, they often worry about how to tell the child or children about having been born from  donor eggs.  From the adoption world, we have learned that telling the child's adoption story early allows the child to incorporate the information in a natural, developmental way.  The same applies to a child born from donor eggs.   With young children, parents often use gardening metaphors (e.g., "A kind young woman offered her seeds to help our family's garden grow.  You are the beautiful flower who grew!)  There is no right or wrong  way to tell the story.  Parents need only to trust themselves and their child(ren) in an atmosphere of love.  Here is a video of a young woman born from donor eggs talking about her experience.