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Fluorine-Based Toxins Accumulate In The Body & Cause Multiple Health Problems

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When you bake muffins in a non-stick tin, do you think about how the non-stick coating is going to affect your health? There has been enough publicity around damaged Teflon that some reading this will likely think about the harm that can come from chipped non-stick coating. After all, who wants to eat that stuff? But I still doubt that most people think about the health consequences of the vapors that are being emitted from the heated non-stick pan or the chemicals that are being leached into their muffins while they bake them.

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Do you think about the vapors coming up from carpet-covered in-floor heating? Do you think about the health consequences of the particularly slippery dental floss that has become so popular? Do you think about how non-clump kitty litter may affect the health of your children? Do you think about how water-repellant packaging chemicals seep into the food they cover?

Most people don’t think about those things. Consumer products with non-stick coatings are such a pervasive part of life that they’re rarely thought about at all. Most people assume that those products are safe and that the Environmental Protection Agency (E.P.A.) and other regulatory agencies wouldn’t let people use them if they were dangerous.

Unfortunately, there is increasing evidence that the chemicals used to make non-stick consumer products, chemicals such as perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA, a.k.a. C8), are toxic and that they’re related (causally, but that’s difficult to prove) to many diseases. Even more worrisome is the fact that organofluorine compounds like PFOA bioaccumulate — meaning that they are not excreted from the body. Rather, they accumulate in the body with each exposure, and the risk of suffering from ill-health because of them increases as the toxic load on the body increases. Additionally, man-made organofluorine compounds accumulate in the environment and the food-chain. Creatures who are high on the food chain, like humans, get exposed to these chemical compounds that have concentrated our food. We’re also affected by them when they’re in the water that we drink and the air that we breathe.

Whether you think about it or not, you have PFOA and other organofluorine compounds in your blood. Since they started being produced in the 1950s, PFOAs and other organofluorine compounds, have become so pervasive that every person, and every living creature tested, has organofluorines in his or her body (1).

PFOAs, and other organoflurine compounds, are toxic to living creatures. In animal studies, PFOAs have “been found to cause liver toxicity, disruption of lipid metabolism and the immune and endocrine systems, adverse neurobehavioral effects, neonatal toxicity and death, and tumors in multiple organ systems” (2), as well as “cancerous testicular, pancreatic and liver tumors” (3). In humans, elevated levels of PFOAs in the blood have been linked to “testicular cancer, liver cancer, thyroid disease, ulcerative colitis, high cholesterol and pregnancy-induced hypertension” (3), as well as seizures, kidney failure, miscarriage and birth defects (4). DNA damage has been linked to organofluorine compounds (3). The toxicity of organofluorine compounds is widely spread across many organ systems, and the diseases that are related to them are multi-symptom, chronic diseases.

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In addition to being found in thousands of household products like carpeting, non-stick pans, waterproof clothes, dental floss, kitty litter and cosmetics (4), organofluorine compounds are also found in “aerosol propellants, surfactants, refrigerants, plastics, anesthetics, pesticides, plant growth regulators, medicines, adhesives, fire retardants, and even blood substitutes” (5). These products are used daily by millions of people, most of whom aren’t aware that they’re exposing themselves to toxins.

Organofluorine compounds are particularly dangerous because they essentially never biodegrade, and accumulate in the bodies of living beings while moving through the food-chain (6). Organofluorines have been “detected everywhere—produce and beef in American grocery stores, polar bears in the Arctic, children in the remote Faeroe Islands. One analysis of blood banks from around the world showed that nearly all of the blood contained C8. The lone exception was a set of archived samples that had been collected from Korean War veterans before 1952.” (4).

Organofluorine accumulation is getting worse every day, and with each generation. Organofluorine compounds have been found in umbilical cord blood (3) and breast milk, and children throughout the world are exposed to these toxic chemical compounds every day of their lives. As more and more organofluorines accumulate in each person, the toxic burden will get worse, and health consequences will become increasingly dire.

Unfortunately, “there are no reported studies of successful interventions to remove PFCs from the human body. Exposure to these commonly used non-stick and stain-resistant compounds is widespread, but excretion from the body is impaired as a result of the chemical nature of some of these agents and their propensity to be re-absorbed in the kidney and the enterohepatic [liver] circulation” (6).

With the progressive accumulation of organofluorine compounds, and as human health outcomes worsen as a result, there will undoubtedly be angry people who want to hold those responsible accountable for the creation of toxic organofluorines. As is often the case, the responsible parties are greedy corporations and failing regulatory agencies.

Corporate and Regulatory Culprits

Chemical giants DuPont and 3M are the primary producers of organofluorines that are used in household products. In their production of these goods, they have made billions in profit, while making people (and animals and plants) sick. For years DuPont covered up evidence of the toxic nature of PFOAs/C8, and rather than ceasing to use toxic organofluorine compounds when the toxicity of PFOA/C8 became clear, they switched from C8 to other organofluorine compounds which are no better for human or environmental health, but are not as well studied as C8 (4).

The regulatory agencies that are supposed to monitor the safety of chemicals in our environment, including the E.P.A., have failed to regulate organofluorine compounds in any meaningful way. “Under the 1976 Toxic Sub­stances Control Act, the E.P.A. can test chemicals only when it has been provided evidence of harm. This arrangement, which largely allows chemical companies to regulate themselves, is the reason that the E.P.A. has restricted only five chemicals, out of tens of thousands on the market, in the last 40 years” (3). Organofluorine compounds are not restricted by the E.P.A., and industrial giants/polluters like DuPont and 3M produce thousands of tons of them each year.

Details about the malfeasance of DuPont, the role of 3M, and the unwillingness and inability of the E.P.A. to protect people from the toxic, harmful effects of PFOA/C8 can be found in the brilliant exposés, “The Lawyer Who Became DuPont’s Worst Nightmare” written by Nathaniel Rich and published in The New York Times Magazine on January 6, 2016, and “Welcome to Beautiful Parkersburg, West Virginia: Home to one of the most brazen, deadly corporate gambits in U.S. history” written by Mariah Blaze and published in The Huffington Post.

Also exemplifying the problem of industry-controlled regulation of organofluorine compounds is the following from the article “Human detoxification of perfluorinated compounds”:

While there is increasing evidence suggesting health sequelae associated with PFC bioaccumulation, there are some authors and publications that have minimized concern about the accrual of these chemical agents. It is imperative to recognize that much of the research related to potentially toxic compounds, including PFCs, is undertaken or funded by the specific companies, industry-supported organizations and affiliated scientists involved with the production of the chemicals being studied. Furthermore, some toxicology journals routinely use reviewers from chemical companies to scrutinize and review manuscript submissions about the compounds their company manufactures. (6)

As long as science and journalism are corrupted by money, and regulatory agencies and politicians are controlled by corporations, citizens of the world have little protection against the toxic chemicals that can accumulate in our bodies and poison us.

Pharmaceuticals

Another source of toxic organofluorine compounds is fluorinated pharmaceuticals. Approximately 20% of the prescription drugs on the market are fluorinated (7), including fluoroquinolone antibiotics (Cipro/ciprofloxacin, Levaquin/levofloxacin, Avelox/moxifloxacin, Floxin/ofloxacin), statins (Lipitor, Crestor and others), antimalarial drugs (Lariam/mefloquine), antidepressants (SSRIs including Prozac/fluoxetine), anesthesias, and chemotherapy drugs. Depending on how the drugs are formulated, and what position fluorine is attached to carbon, they can form poisonous metabolites (8, 9)  that may be responsible for the severe side-effects associated with many of the fluorinated drugs, and they may be contributing to the multi-symptom diseases of modernity. (Many of the drugs listed have been shown to damage mitochondria (10, 11), and damaged mitochondria lead to a cycle of oxidative stress and further damage to mitochondria (12). Fluorine metabolites, such as fluoroacetate, have also been shown to damage mitochondria and increase oxidative stress (13). Many multi-symptom, chronic diseases are linked to both mitochondrial damage and oxidative stress.)

Pesticides

In an article published in 1997 (the use of fluorine-containing pesticides has escalated since), it is noted that, “Over the past 15 years, the number of fluorine-containing agricultural chemicals has grown from 4% to approximately 9% of all agrochemicals and has increased in number faster than non-fluorinated agrochemicals. These compounds are primarily used as herbicides (48%), insecticides (23%), and fungicides (18%)” (5). Exposure to these fluorinated pesticides is hazardous to the health of both agricultural workers and consumers (14).

What Can be Done?

In May, 2015, more than 200 scientists signed The Madrid Statement, “which expresses concern about the production of all fluorochemicals, or PFASs, including those that have replaced PFOA” (3). In the Statement, they suggested that the following action take place:

Scientists:

  • Assemble, in collaboration with industry and governments, a global inventory of all PFASs in use or in the environment, including precursors and degradation products, and their functionality, properties, and toxicology.
  • Develop analytical methods for the identification and quantification of additional families of PFASs, including fluorinated alternatives.
  • Continue monitoring for legacy PFASs in different matrices and for environmental reservoirs of PFASs.
  • Continue investigating the mechanisms of toxicity and exposure (e.g., sources, fate, transport, and bioaccumulation of PFASs), and improve methods for testing the safety of alternatives.
  • Bring research results to the attention of policymakers, industry, the media, and the public.

Governments:

  • Enact legislation to require only essential uses of PFASs, and enforce labeling to indicate uses.
  • Require manufacturers of PFASs to conduct more extensive toxicological testing, make chemical structures public, provide validated analytical methods for detection of PFASs, and assume extended producer responsibility and implement safe disposal of products and stockpiles containing PFASs.
  • Work with industry to develop public registries of products containing PFASs.
  • Make public annual statistical data on production, imports, and exports of PFASs.
  • Whenever possible, avoid products containing, or manufactured using, PFASs in government procurement.
  • In collaboration with industry, ensure that an infrastructure is in place to safely transport, dispose of, and destroy PFASs and PFAS-containing products, and enforce these measures.

Chemical manufacturers:

  • Make data on PFASs publicly available, including chemical structures, properties, and toxicology.
  • Provide scientists with standard samples of PFASs, including precursors and degradation products, to enable environmental monitoring of PFASs.
  • Work with scientists and governments to develop safe disposal methods for PFASs.
  • Provide the supply chain with documentation on PFAS content and safe disposal guidelines.
  • Develop nonfluorinated alternatives that are neither persistent nor toxic.

Product manufacturers:

  • Stop using PFASs where they are not essential or when safer alternatives exist.
  • Develop inexpensive and sensitive PFAS quantification methods for compliance testing.
  • Label products containing PFASs, including chemical identity and safe disposal guidelines.
  • Invest in the development and use of nonfluorinated alternatives.

Purchasing organizations, retailers, and individual consumers:

  • Whenever possible, avoid products containing, or manufactured using, PFASs. These include many products that are stain-resistant, waterproof, or nonstick.
  • Question the use of such fluorinated “performance” chemicals added to consumer products.

Indeed, all of those recommendations need to be put into action. Given the accumulation of organofluorine compounds in our bodies and environment, the time for putting these recommendations into action is now–before it’s too late.

Sources:

  1. Environmental Science & Technology, “Production of Perfluorinated Carboxylic Acids (PFCAs) from the Biotransformation of Polyfluoroalkyl Phosphate Surfactants (PAPS):  Exploring Routes of Human Contamination
  2. Environmental Health Perspectives, “The Madrid Statement on Poly- and Perfluoroalkyl Substances (PFASs)
  3. The New York Times Magazine, “The Lawyer Who Became DuPont’s Worst Nightmare
  4. The Huffington Post, “Welcome to Beautiful Parkersburg, West Virginia: Home to one of the most brazen, deadly corporate gambits in U.S. history
  5. Environmental Science & Technology, “Fluorinated Organics in the Biosphere
  6. Public Health, “Human detoxification of perfluorinated compounds
  7. Biomolecular Research & Therapeutics, “Fluorine is Flourishing in Pharmaceuticals
  8. Verdel, B.M., “Mechanism-based drug exposure classification in pharmacoepidemiological studies” Thesis Utrecht University – with ref. – with summary in Dutch, ISBN 978-90-393-5377-6 © 2010 Bertha Maria Verde
  9. British Journal of Cancer, “The anti-cancer drug 5-fluorouracil is metabolized by the isolated perfused rat liver and in rats into highly toxic fluoroacetate.
  10. Molecular Nutrition and Food Research, “Medication-induced mitochondrial damage and disease
  11. Science Translational Medicine, “Bactericidal Antibiotics Induce Mitochondrial Dysfunction and Oxidative Damage in Mammalian Cells
  12. Rejuvination Research, “Reactive oxygen species production in the mitochondrial matrix: implications for the mechanism of mitochondrial mutation accumulation.
  13. Biochemical Pharmacology, “Differential toxicity of fluoroacetate to heart, kidney and brain mitochondria of the living rat
  14. http://fluoridealert.org/researchers/pesticide/

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Awareness

If Your DNA Information Is Being Sold, Shouldn’t You Make The Profit?

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In Brief

  • The Facts:

    Companies like 23andMe, Ancestry.com and others are collecting your DNA data and can sell the data to third party companies. Timicoin is a blockchain based ecosystem that allows you to monetize your health data.

  • Reflect On:

    Shouldn't you have the option to sell your own data? Is your DNA data safe with some of these companies? The blockchain is helping to create further security and consumer-based monetization of personal data.

Amidst the rise in popularity of companies who take samples of our DNA in order to provide us with information about our ancestry and health risks, there are growing concerns that are not immediately apparent to the average consumer. While most are just happy to be getting exotic information about where they came from and what they should be watching out for health-wise, all for little more than a few hundred dollars, not many consumers are seeing this as a threat to their privacy, and more specifically, as a threat to their control over the most essential information about their unique personal identity–their DNA sequences.

“The key thing about your genetic data … it is uniquely yours. It identifies you, so if you are going to entrust it to a company, you should try to understand what the consequences are,” said Jennifer King, director of consumer privacy at Stanford Law School’s Center for Internet and Society, whose research on the issue and interviews with individuals shows a lack of consumer knowledge.

Company Disclaimers

Of course, companies who deal in such services will do all they can to convince consumers that their data is safe and secure. But as this CNBC article notes,

Companies in this space, including 23andMeVeritas Genetics and Ancestry, have a good reason to protect your DNA — their business future depends on maintaining the trust of consumers. But there are thorny issues related to genetic privacy that still today don’t have easy answers or iron-clad legislative protections. And regulators aren’t convinced they are doing right by consumers. A recent Fast Company report indicates that 23andMe and Ancestry are being investigated by the Federal Trade Commission over their policies for handling personal info and genetic data and how they share that info with third parties.

All of these companies say they have clear policies that they will not share your DNA with any third-party unless you explicitly consent to it:

23andMe provides consumers the choice of opting into research conducted on behalf of academic, nonprofit and industry organizations. They also offer an option to consent separately to specific disease studies in which their DNA is used in conjunction with for-profit drug companies, such as the Parkinson’s disease research conducted with Genentech and the lupus and IBD research conducted with Pfizer.

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Abuse Of Private Data

Hearing about research conducted on behalf of ‘academic, nonprofit and industry organizations’ reminds me of the article I wrote on Cambridge Analytica’s fraudulent effort to characterize themselves as an academic organization while mining people’s private Facebook information to target them with ads for the 2016 U. S. Presidential Election. Facebook knowingly sold the information to Cambridge Analytica demonstrating that, when it comes to big companies and corporations, the only thing we know for sure is that money and profit will eventually trump respect for the privacy of people’s information.

If there is money to be made by selling our personal information, corporations will do whatever they can to skirt around privacy agreements. They may even flat-out change their policy and inform us in a pages-long letter that they know no one reads and will simply click the ‘accept’ button. In the current environment, it is wise to be extremely cautious when deciding to consent to having one company share our information, especially our genetic information, with third parties.

Think about it. As technology evolves, surely there will be ways our DNA codes could be used in the future that we would not agree with. But once we have given our consent to the use of this most private information, we can no longer guarantee what happens with it. Wouldn’t it be great if WE had control over our genetic information, encrypted and only accessible by us, to use and share in a manner of OUR choosing?

If we so choose, we may even be able to profit from it. Did you know that health information is a commodity that is already collected and sold via third-party companies? Selling health data around the world is already a multi-billion dollar industry, much like how your data collected from Facebook is. But how do we get back control of our DNA information, which could be our most valuable resource about who we are?

Think outside the box. Think blockchain. Think Timicoin.

Timicoin

Timicoin is a platform bringing together a crypto token and the blockchain and is pioneering the tokenization of health information, including your DNA sequencing and other genetic information, through a decentralized blockchain ecosystem. They promise to allow users to monetize their own data, have access to their health information whenever they need it and verify that it is accurate.

The Timicoin platform is built on their own custom blockchain and it’s already fully functioning. This means that in a short time, you will be able to begin using Timicoin’s blockchain to monetize your health data. For more information, please refer to this earlier CE article. You can also read Timicoin’s White Paper here.

Shift In Business Paradigm

Analysts believe that Healthcare information on the blockchain will grow aggressively in the coming years given the global need for ease of sharing healthcare information. Secure storage of our DNA information is only one part of Timicoin’s larger endeavor to make your healthcare information available globally and instantaneously as needed, but only with your personal consent.

It represents a new business paradigm, whereby information is centralized in terms of permitted access but decentralized in terms of who has the power over the information. No longer will masses of valuable personal information be owned and controlled by large corporations, but rather will be owned and controlled by each individual, not only giving the individual the ability to monetize their personal information themselves, but also securing the validity of that information through personal verification and safeguarding against fraud. Supporting blockchain technologies is supporting individual empowerment in our society, a move that undoubtedly scares the power structure at top levels of our current corporatocracy.

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Awareness

The Damaging Effects Of 5G Wireless On Your Health

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Wireless radiation is a huge health problem that continues to be ignored and another opportunity for us to gaze into the past of similar occurrences and learn from our mistakes. Take tobacco for example, at one time in history you were considered a fool and ‘crazy’ for speaking up against the big tobacco companies and letting people know that cigarettes compromise our health. Today, science has spoken, and it has spoken for a long time, despite what the corporations put out into the public and the “science” they used to approve these things in the first place.

There doesn’t seem to be much more of a difference between communication companies that sell and manufacture wireless products and services, which, according to hundreds of scientists and countless amounts of publications, are urging authorities to pay closer attention to what wireless radiation is doing to human health.

This is one of the multiple examples where corporate control rules and dictates government policy, policies that favour big corporations at the behest of planet Earth and the rest of the human population. But it’s more so apparent in North America.

European Restrictions

In Europe, multiple countries have restrictions on WiFi and have pointed out some disturbing things. France passed a law in 2015 banning WiFi from all nursery schools, the law states that WiFi must be turned off in all elementary schools when it’s not in use. W wired connection if possible, is preferred. Advertisements directing cell phone use towards young children are banned.

An example from Namibia states quite clearly that current so-called “safety” standards don’t protect citizens from long-term health effects, and that the guidelines governing their use do not guarantee adequate protection against the effects of long-term exposure.

Other countries include Belgium, Spain, Israel, Australia, Italy, Switzerland, Germany, Austria, India, Finland, Cyprus and more.

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Why are they saying no to WiFi? See for yourself:

You can access hundreds of these scientific papers and read more here, just click on the science section and under each heading, there are links directly to the research. If you click on the drop-down tab, a list of scientific references as documentation appears. 


Related CE Article with more information:

Why Multiple Countries Have Banned Wifi & Cell Phones Around Schools, Young Children & Fetuses


Yes, we are making progress, and awareness is being created and steps are being taken, but the corporate take over of North America and almost the entire planet is simply brushing our health under the table, because, unfortunately, they have the power to do so.

At the same time, we are the ones using this technology. It’s becoming so useful, and so easy to just rely on the corporation like we do with everything else. How ironic is it that we raise money and advocate for cancer, yet support the very things that are contributing to it, on grande scales?

Millions of children and adults in schools around the world spend significant amounts of time around wireless devices and Wi-Fi. Many schools are introducing Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) policies and installing industrial wireless routers for tablets. However, wireless devices expose students and staff to microwave radiation that can impede learning and overall health. Studies have shown that microwave radiation can damage reproductive systems, impact the immune system, alter brain functioning, and may increase cancer risk. Tablets have up to 5 antennae that are constantly emitting short intense bursts of radiation even when not connected to the Internet. Wireless devices in classrooms thus result in multiple sources of wireless radiation exposure. – Environmental Health Trust

The 5G Health Concerns

So, what about 5G? Science already indicates that the current wireless technologies of 2G, 3G and 4G – in use today with our cell phones, computers, and wearable tech. – creates radio frequency exposure which poses a serious health risk to humans, animals and the environment. 5G is the term used to describe the next-generation of mobile networks beyond the 4G LTE mobile networks used today. 5G is intended to be the technology that allows the “Internet of Things” (IOT) to exist and connects all internet connected devices together.

Scientists have been studying the health effects of 5G and wireless radiation and are deeply concerned with their findings and are calling for a stop to the rollout of 5G,  as well as a halt to the proposed increase in radio frequency radiation exposure to the public.

Thanks to all of the efforts by various researchers, scientists and more, the world is waking up to this information and it’s actually starting to become talked about within the mainstream. It always seems like such a long process from the point where something is known, to actually mass consensus and action steps being created.

A CBS news report recently emphasized:

The wireless industry is in a race to roll out 5G service. The network is supposed to be up to 100 times faster than current data speeds, but it requires cellphone tower equipment to be closer to users than before. Wireless companies in the U.S. say they’ll have to install about 300,000 new antennas – roughly equal to the total number of cell towers built over the past three decades. That’s causing outrage and alarm in some neighbourhoods, as antennas go up around homes.

5G requires the installation of new equipment across the U.S. Every wireless company is working to build its own 5G network. This is worse than cell phone use, and yet, according to government health authorities, “a limited number of studies have shown some evidence of statistical association of cell phone use and brain tumour risks… but most studies have found no association.”

Waiting for high levels of scientific and clinical proof before taking action to prevent well-known risks can lead to very high health and economic costs, as was the case with asbestos, leaded petrol and tobacco.
Dr. Martin Blank, Ph.D., from the Department of Physiology and Cellular Biophysics at Columbia University, has joined a group of scientists from around the world who are making an international appeal to the United Nations regarding the dangers associated with the use of electromagnetic emitting devices like cell phones and Wi-Fi. He and hundreds of other scientists around the world are currently petitioning the UN, and have been for quite some time, regarding the dangers associated with these devices.

“Putting it bluntly they are damaging the living cells in our bodies and killing many of us prematurely” (source)

Melissa Arnoldi, who leads AT&T’s efforts, said “if it’s not already in your neighbourhood, it’s coming.” This is quite concerning, she told CBS news that “5G uses high-frequency waves that support faster speeds but don’t travel as far as current wireless frequencies. So instead of relying on large cellphone towers spread far apart, they need “small cell” sites that are much closer together.”

Sometimes I wonder, how is this even allowed to happen? Who are the people which control what type of information with regards to our health gets emphasized, and what doesn’t?

This new 5G equipment is currently being installed in a neighbourhood near you.

I’ll leave you with this TED talk by a Silicon-valley engineer turned technology health advocate, Jeromy Johnson.


Related CE Article:

FCC Intimidates Press & Evades Questioning About Wireless & Cancer at 5G Rollout 


 Solutions Exist

You can use a wired connection, which is very fast and in most cases faster than a wireless connection. Minimize your cell phone use, and perhaps look into some devices that may be used to block the biological effects this stuff is, does, and can have on us.

FactSheets:What Parents Need to Know About Wireless Radiation,

American Academy of Pediatrics Recommendation Protect The Ones You Love Card  English,Spanish

BabySafe Project: “Reduce Your Wireless Exposure”English BrochureSpanish Brochure

New Jersey Education Association Minimize health risks from electronic devices”Article,PDF of Recommendations

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Your life path number can tell you A LOT about you.

With the ancient science of Numerology you can find out accurate and revealing information just from your name and birth date.

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Awareness

This Super Simple Breathing Technique Can Help Alleviate Anxiety & Depression

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In Brief

  • The Facts:

    Small study finds breathing technique can help treat major depressive disorder and anxiety.

  • Reflect On:

    The answers to our challenges are much simpler than we thought, we have everything we need inside of us. Great alternative to prescription anti-depressant medication, or other substances.

The breath is one of the most underrated and under-utilized methods of healing. Breathing comes naturally to us, we do it without thinking, which is why it is not something we generally think of as a way to connect deeply with ourselves, calm our anxieties or even reach higher levels of consciousness. Something as simple as breathing can help those who suffer from severe mental conditions and those who have survived global disasters.

There are many forms of breathwork, there is the well-known Holotropic Breathing, made popular by the Iceman himself, Wim Hof. There is another technique known as transformational breathwork and the featured practice of breathing that will be featured in this article, resonant breathing or Coherent Breathing, which is a trademarked term.

This specific style of breathwork came from years of studying the ancient breathing practices of indigenous people all over the world including those from African, Hawaiian, and Native American traditions.

Assistant clinical professor of psychiatry at New York Medical College, Patricia Gerbarg, studies the technique with her husband, Richard Brown, associate professor of clinical psychiatry at Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons. “We wanted to identify a short program that could be given quickly to people, that they would have immediate relief within five or ten minutes, and that over time would produce long-term changes,” Gerbarg told Vice.

The Study

A study published in the Journal of Alternative and Complementary medicine in 2017 led by researchers from Boston University asked 30 people with major depression to practice the breathing technique regularly as well as Iyengar yoga. After 3 months, results from a standard depression inventory test showed how the depressive symptoms had significantly declined.

Even though the study size was very small, it is comforting to know that something as simple as breath alone could help to alleviate symptoms of severe depression. No pills needed. This technique is especially powerful because it can be practiced anytime, anywhere. The process involved taking regular breaths in and out of the nose, at a pace of 5 breaths per minute, each breath in and out taking around 6 seconds. When starting out, it is recommended that this be practiced with the eyes closed, but once you get it under control you can easily do it with your eyes open, meaning while you’re driving, while in a meeting, anytime during the day that you may find yourself feeling anxious, stressed or down. Gerbarg says, “It’s totally private. Nobody knows you’re doing it.”

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The breath should be calm and gentle because the goal is to balance the sympathetic — fight or flight with the parasympathetic — rest and digest areas of the nervous system. Interestingly, when the couple first began looking into the power of the breath, the first thought was that this must send extra oxygen to the brain that we may have otherwise been lacking. However, they knew that there must be more to this to explain the profound effects they had been seeing in those who practiced the breathing technique. Not to mention, some types of breathwork actually decreases the amount of oxygen going to the brain.

Why Does This Work?

Gerbarg and Brown believe that the reason this technique works is thanks to the vagal nerves, those connecting the brain to the body and what tell the organs when to beat, digest, breathe and all other functions, have been found in recent years to send even more messages in the opposite direction from the body to the brain. “These ascending messages strongly influence stress response, emotion and neurohormonal regulatory networks,” stated in a book written by the couple, Yoga Therapy: Theory and Practice.

According to Gerbarg, “Respiration is the only autonomic function we can voluntarily control,” it’s easy to see how changing the breathing pattern can shift the messages received by the brain.

The calm and even breaths send messages of safety, according to Gerbarg, this can reduce anxious or depressive thoughts and makes way for more loving and connected emotions to be felt. Adverse reactions are generally rare, but those with asthma or other breathing conditions should only try this practice under the guidance of a trained professional.

We really do have everything we need inside of us. Our human bodies are magnificent, and if something as simple as breathing can help alleviate symptoms of depression, then we should certainly be studying this more. If you are skeptical about this information and feel it’s too good to be true, give it a shot next time you find yourself feeling down or anxious and see if it helps!

Much Love

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