About suehellman

Reinventing myself as an educator one learning opportunity at a time ....

Twitter Tidbits: (1) brain injury (2) immunity & brain evolution

Health care: (2) Integrative Medicine

Integrative and functional medicine rationally combines western and non-western modes of healing into a proactive approach that offers the best preventive strategies to maintain good health. Dr. Andrew Well describes integrative medicine as a movement which

“restores the focus of medicine on health and healing and away disease and symptom management.

In Vancouver, BC, Connect Health’s Centre for Integrative Medicine offers a ‘new vision for health care’. Their mission is to provide effective whole person care by combining the best of conventional medicine and complementary approaches as well as to evolve the health care system by becoming leaders in clinical care, education, community outreach and research in the field of integrative medicine.

The philosophy of integrative health care practitioners (as represented by this statement from the Connect Health website) is that:

  • the whole person should be treated, including mind, body, and spirit.
  • the patient is the expert in their own healing journey.
  • the appropriate use of conventional and complementary methods enhances the body’s innate capacity to heal.
  • healing is always possible even if there is no cure.

I’ll give the last words in this piece to the real Patch Adams who uses the term ‘complementary medicine’. You may find what he says controversial, but it’s hard to disagree with his notion that “you want to do as many areas of wellness as you possibly can all the time.”


Other references and organizations:

Conference update — We’re so excited!!!

banner from vert brochure

The 4th Brain Development and Learning (BDL) Conference is only a little over 6 months away. It runs from  July 24-28 at the Westin Bayshore Hotel in the beautiful city of Vancouver, BC, Canada. For more information about making reservations at the Westin Bayshore Hotel for the conference, click here. If you register before Feb. 15, you’ll receive the early bird discount and save enough for some great sightseeing and dining out when you get here!!

Below you’ll find a sample of ONE popular conference theme and subtopics together with some wonderful speakers who’ll be presenting on that theme. [Note: this is just ONE. You’ll find the others — both themes and speakers — in the conference brochure.]

  • Mind-Body Interrelations & Holistic Approaches to Health and Healing: that for good health, school success, and personal development it is critical to address ALL the aspects of a person — social, cultural, spiritual, cognitive, physical, and emotional.
  • Childhood Trauma: understanding its deep and diverse effects but especially how we can help children recover, prosper, and shine
  •  Maternal Depression: effects of a mother’s depression on her child and what to do about it
  •  Neuroplasticity: the brain is plastic; it changes throughout life based on what you do and experience
  • Epigenetics: most of your genes are turned off; experience affects ‘gene expression,’ that is, it affects which genes get turned on and when

Some of the Amazing Speakers who have agreed to speak at BDL 2013 on one or more of the above topics include:

Health care closely aligned with the spirit of our conference: (1) Holistic Nursing

Image source: BDL2013 website

Image source: BDL2013 website

Holistic nursing is a specialty practice that draws on nursing knowledge, theories, expertise and intuition to guide nurses in becoming therapeutic partners with people in their care. The holistic nurse is an instrument of healing and a facilitator in the healing process. Holistic nurses honor each individual’s subjective experience about health, health beliefs, and values. They are dedicated to healing the whole person.

From American Holistic Nurses’ Association website:

What is a Holistic Nurse?

A holistic nurse is a legally licensed nurse who takes a holistic (mind-body-spirit-emotion) approach to the practice of traditional nursing. Holistic nursing is based on a body of knowledge, evidence-based research, sophisticated skill sets, defined standards of practice, and a philosophy of living and being that is grounded in caring, relationship, and interconnectedness.

Image is linked to their website

Image is linked to their website

CHNA envisions Holistic Nursing as a recognized nursing specialty with the Canadian Nurses Association. …

Ultimately, our intention is to ensure and continue to achieve a philosophy of … nursing including the following three characteristics: self-care, humanizing health care, and promoting wellness’ (Dobbie, 2007).

Information about the Specialization Program (Levels I and II), the format of study, evaluation, and admission requirements can be found on their website.

page break

Of personal interest to me is that these nurses specialize in therapeutic and healing touch which I experienced when I was diagnosed and treated for breast cancer over 12 years ago. I was worried that I might be mentally resistant to the chemo, and that my body, in following my mind, might also at some level create barriers to the flow of the chemical soup. Having settled on chemo as my treatment of choice, I wanted to do everything I could to ensure it did its awful worst for the cancer cells and its best for me.

I knew that the counsellors at the Vancouver Cancer Centre were trained in healing touch so I arranged to have a session just before each chemo hook-up. Their treatments were tremendously calming and helped me become more fully open to the orange poison trickling into my circulatory system. Whether there have been longterm benefits, I have no idea. But at the time, instead of having to wait in the lounge with all the other cancer patients and their worried families, I was treated to a soothing session in a quiet space and was ushered from there directly to the ‘pump’ room — all anxiety dispelled & all attitudinal, emotional,  and cellular channels wide open.

Thank you, Canadian Neuro Nurses!

Canadian Association of Neuroscience Nurses

Image linked to website home page

Wow!! Today the Canadian Association for Neuroscience Nurses has featured our upcoming BDL2013 conference on their website!!!

Mission Statement

The Canadian Association of Neuroscience Nurses (C.A.N.N.) sets standards of practice and promotes continuing professional education and research. Members collaborate with individuals, families, interdisciplinary teams and communities to prevent illness and to improve health outcomes for people with, or at risk for, neurological disorders.

Énoncé de mission

L’Association canadienne des infirmiers et infirmières en sciences neurologiques (ACIISN) établit les standards de pratique de la profession et fait la promotion de l’éducation permanente et de la recherche. Les membres collaborent avec les individus, les familles, les équipes multidisciplinaires et la communauté en général dans le but de prévenir les maladies neurologiques et d’améliorer la santé des gens qui en sont atteints ou qui sont à risque d’en souffrir.

What a fabulous endorsement!! Thank you so much!!

Introducing: John Cacioppo

[This post is the first in a series that will introduce you to some of the speakers who will be giving presentations at the Brain Development and Learning Conference. Early bird registration closes Feb. 15. Use the drop down menu beneath the Conference tab to go directly to the website or click the next links to view the brochure or download a registration form.]

John Cacioppo’s topic: Neuroscience behind thriving socially

Blurb from BDL2013 conference website

Blurb from BDL2013 conference website

“Loneliness isn’t at all what people thought it was, and it’s a lot more important than people thought it was.”

This is the way John Cacioppo, “a pioneer in the new science of loneliness,'” sums up his team’s findings about the impact of loneliness on everything from people’s state of mind to their life span. Interestingly, it’s not the actual number of social contacts that determines whether an individual will suffer from adverse affects, but whether or not one feels lonely.

 “Some people are socially isolated and they’re not lonely; … [whereas], some people are lonely even if they have a lot of social contacts.”

Loneliness seems to compound itself by negatively affecting the way people judge others and by making social interaction feel less pleasurable. As a person’s social network becomes weaker, so may his/her appetite for food, exercise, and life in general. Cacioppo has found that loneliness has an impact on both brain and body by:

  • contributing to increased stress, promoting inflammation,
  • making one more susceptible to viruses,
  • keeping the body in a constant state of ‘threat alert’, and
  • reducing sleep and relaxation

There are observable and measurable neuro-chemical and structural changes which make the brains of socially isolated people different. Unfortunately, support offered by caring friends doesn’t have much impact on a lonely person’s sense of isolation, especially if he/she is feeling watched over. However, interventions that foster a shift in the individual’s perceptions of social situations can have lasting positive affects.

“As for preventing loneliness, Cacioppo says it helps to know where your own thermostat is set and strive to stay in your comfort zone. … The degree of social connection that can improve our health and our happiness … is both as simple and as difficult as being open and available to others.”


Source article: Psychologist John Cacioppo explains why loneliness is bad for your health  from Institute for Genomics and Systems Biology News and Events (Feb. 2011) found at http://goo.gl/9B6Fn

Other links:

Patchwork brain

signaling (animated) med from devocgneuro1

This is one of my favourite visual metaphors for brain function. It may take a few moments for the animation to become apparent. If it stops working, refresh the page or use the link below to Genista’s original & scroll down to the smaller version on his Flickr page. ENJOY!
  • Image source (CC BY-SA 20.0): signaling (animated)  in Flickr Creative Commons – Attribution by Kai Schreiber (aka Genista), Apr. 2009,  at genista/343298796.


Links to important conference information (pdf files):

To save any of these files to your computer, go to your FILE Menu.
Select PRINT >> PDF >> Save as PDF




Sticky header revised

BDL2013 Ad1


Links to important conference information (pdf files):

To save any of these files to your computer, go to your FILE Menu.
Select PRINT >> PDF >> Save as PDF


[Image adapted from original in Flickr Creative Commons-Attribution (CC BY-SA 2.0)
  • “Volunteer Duty” Psychology Testing  by Tim Sheerman-Chase (Oct. 2012) at tim_uk/8135755109]

Twitter Tidbits