Ayurveda: Sattva and Mental Ama

The secret of sattvic people is that they have naturally healthy desires. Unhealthy desires can arise in anyone because of mental ama. You will remember that “mental ama” is the term used for impurities, or negative tendencies in the mind. Sattva is the force of purity that combats them. The Ayurvedic sages say that mental ama is produced by:

-Negative emotions-anger, fear, self-criticism, greed, resentment

-Psychological stress-family problems, tensions at work, loss of money or job, divorce, death in the family

-Lethargy, mental inertia

-Unwholesome surroundings

-Contact with other people’s negativity

-Violent, crude or shocking books or other forms of entertainment

The debate over whether it is morally right to show violence on television misses the essential point, according to Ayurveda. The issue is one of health. The sight of violence gets translated into unhealthy chemicals in the body, leading to the buildup of ama in our thoughts as well as in our cells. Everyone has a right to expose himself to any kind of influence he wants, but the physician’s role is to warn against those influences that damage our well-being. Avoiding mental ama is therefore considered a preventive measure against the imbalances that lead ultimately to disease.

-Depak Chopra, M.D. Perfect Health

November, 15 2010

Pilates Metro

I got the chance to give two more massages today at Pilates Metro. The sessions were great, and the studio is, too. It’s always nice to walk in there, feel the positive energy of the place, and see the talented and committed instructors working with their students. Allison and Fozzie run a tight ship, and they’ve created the ideal mix of a professional environment with a friendly neighborhood feel. Just saying.

November, 5 2010

Quote of the day:

“Problems cannot be solved at the same level of consciousness that created them.”

-A. Einstein

Image: th.physik.uni-frankfurt.de

October, 24 2010

A Good Massage Brings Biological Changes, Too – The New York Times

Regimens: Massage Benefits Are More Than Skin Deep



Published: September 20, 2010


Does a good massage do more than just relax your muscles? To find out, researchers at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles recruited 53 healthy adults and randomly assigned 29 of them to a 45-minute session of deep-tissue Swedish massage and the other 24 to a session of light massage.

All of the subjects were fitted with intravenous catheters so blood samples could be taken immediately before the massage and up to an hour afterward.

To their surprise, the researchers, sponsored by the National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine, a division of the National Institutes of Health, found that a single session of massage caused biological changes.

Volunteers who received Swedish massage experienced significant decreases in levels of the stress hormone cortisol in blood and saliva, and in arginine vasopressin, a hormone that can lead to increases in cortisol. They also had increases in the number of lymphocytes, white blood cells that are part of the immune system.

Volunteers who had the light massage experienced greater increases in oxytocin, a hormone associated with contentment, than the Swedish massage group, and bigger decreases in adrenal corticotropin hormone, which stimulates the adrenal glands to release cortisol.

The study was published online in The Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine.

The lead author, Dr. Mark Hyman Rapaport, chairman of psychiatry and behavioral neurosciences at Cedars-Sinai, said the findings were “very, very intriguing and very, very exciting — and I’m a skeptic.”


October, 5 2010

Single Payer Universal Health Care!



“Single payer is a publicly financed health insurance system that provides full coverage, for all, for less.”

True Health Care Reform*

California OneCareShould we continue the fight for Single Payer health care?

Many have asked: “Since President Obama signed the bill for health insurance reform, is it still necessary to pursue single payer health care in California?”

The answer is a resounding, “Yes!”

Why? Because Single Payer (California OneCare) is the inevitable solution to the health care crisis!

While passage of federal health insurance reform was a monumental political achievement, the political fight was brutal, protracted and, in the end, worth the effort.  It’s a first step that provides key benefits to millions. Yet, much more must be accomplished with considerable effort.

We believe that simply “tinkering” with the federal law will not work.  Rather, we believe enacting single payer legislation in California as soon as possible is essential to achieving true health care reform in the nation.

Here’s why we must pass single-payer Senate Bill 810:

  1. We need Universal Care NOW. After full implementation of the federal health insurance reform, there will still be over 20,000,000 people uninsured in the U.S. Likely, nearly 3,000,000 Californians will remain uninsured.
  2. We need Comprehensive Care NOW. After full implementation, we will still have nearly 18,000 deaths annually in the U.S. because men, women and children remain uninsured.
  3. We Need Competitive Drug Pricing NOW. Drug companies are still completely free to charge whatever they want, and market however they want. The federal law prohibits negotiating with drug companies for lower prices for 12 years.
  4.  Seniors Need Competitive Drug Pricing NOW. The payment gap (for those who know the jargon, the “Doughnut Hole”) in Medicare Part D prescription drug coverage will be gradually filled in, but not completely until 2020.
  5. We Need Full Care, For ALL, NOW. The law provides no concrete definition of a standard benefits package that must be offered by private insurance companies. Although, in 2014, millions of Americans will be mandated to purchase private insurance policies, the benefits are “to be determined.”
  6. We Need To Stop Insurance Company Lobbying Power, NOW. Because of the new federal “mandate,” the private insurance companies will be provided over 30,000,000 new customers, partially subsidized by the government, which will increase the profits and economic and political power of the insurance industry.
  7. We Can Cut Health Care Costs, NOW. There are no adequate healthcare cost controls in the federal law.
  8. We Can Have Affordable Health Care, NOW. Instead, insurance companies will be allowed to charge three times more for coverage based on age.
  9. We Want Choice of Doctor, NOW. For most, in the federal law, there is no choice of doctor. You get the doctors from the stable provided by your insurance corporation, or you pay extra to go outside the network.
  10. We Can Make California Number One Again. There are many other reasons to enact Senate Bill 810 based on inadequacies in the federal law.  But the primary reason to pass California OneCare is that it will save everyone money, everyone is fully covered and everyone will have their choice of doctor. And, most importantly, it is the only moral and just health policy that has been proven in country after country. The U.S. stands alone by having a profit driven health insurance system.  We can change this first in California. With your help, we will win.

California OneCare. Full Care, For All, For Less.


September, 26 2010

Quote of the day:

I realize now that my job is as a facilitator to the patient’s own healing process. This realization is a long way from my beginnings in medicine when I thought I could “cure” people. I ‘cured” all kinds of heart attacks, strokes, and acute injuries. I really thought it was me who was doing it. I felt guilty; a failure, when one of my patients didn’t get well.

Today I know that I was immature and on an “ego trip” during those early days. Today I know that the patient does the healing and that I am privileged to witness and perhaps participate in his or her healing process. Today I know that I am the student and the patient is my teacher.

John Upledger,  D.O., O.M.M., Your Inner Physician and You

Image: Upledger


September, 13 2010