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Two New Bills Quietly Slipping Through Congress That Will Give Big Pharma Unlimited Power & Zero Accountability

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If you’re hurt by a pharmaceutical, you can sue the company that made the drug, and be compensated for your losses, right? Most people assume that is the way the justice system works, but the reality is that it’s difficult, and in many cases impossible, for victims of pharmaceutical companies (and other big corporations/industries) to gain compensation or justice.

There are many aspects of the current U.S. legal system that make getting compensation and justice for injuries caused by pharmaceutical drugs difficult, and there are two bills that are currently going through the U.S. House of Representatives (H.R. 985, the 2017 Fairness in Class Action Litigation Act and H.R. 1215, the Protecting Access to Care Act of 2017) that will make justice for victims of pharmaceuticals nearly impossible.

They Can Hurt You as Long as You Were Warned

Currently, people who are hurt by pharmaceuticals are in a legal catch-22 because victims of pharmaceuticals can’t sue drug companies for hurting them, they can only sue for failure to warn. So, if a pharmaceutical drug gives you cancer, you can’t sue the company that made the drug for the fact that it gave you cancer, you can only sue them for failing to warn you IF the warning label doesn’t contain information about the drug causing cancer. If the warning label says that the drug can cause cancer, you can’t sue, because “you were warned.” Even if you were never given the drug warning label, you “were warned” as far as the justice system is concerned — because the learned intermediary doctrine states that pharmaceutical manufacturers aren’t obligated to inform you, the consumer/patient/victim, they’re only obligated to inform the doctor, the “learned intermediary,” about the potential harm that the drug can cause.

If a pharmaceutical drug causes your cancer, but that isn’t noted on the pharmaceutical warning label, you’re not much better off, because proving that a pharmaceutical caused your cancer is near-impossible for a regular person. The only situation in which a person can sue a pharmaceutical drug company for the harm done by their products is when a drug warning label changes. If a pharmaceutical drug warning label changes, there is enough evidence that the drug did the harm, but people who took the drug prior to the warning label change weren’t properly warned, so there is a short window of opportunity for victims to sue and gain recourse/justice for the harm done to them. The inherently dangerous nature of pharmaceutical drugs, the warning labels that accompany them, and the way our justice system is structured, make it so that the vast majority of those who suffer harm from pharmaceutical drugs are unable to sue the maker of the drug(s) that hurt them.

Victims of Generic Pharmaceuticals Can’t Sue

On top of that, victims of generic pharmaceuticals are completely unable to sue the manufacturer of the pharmaceutical drug that hurt them. This is an absurd situation that is an extreme miscarriage of justice. You can read more about the inability of victims to sue makers of generic pharmaceuticals in the New York Times article “In 5-4 Ruling, Justices Say Generic Makers Are Not Liable for Design of Drugs” and the posts on HormonesMatter.com, “SCOTUS Decision on Medication Safety: No Product Liability” and “Hurt by a Generic Drug? Victims have no Recourse unless the FDA Changes Rules.” Basically, if you are hurt by a generic drug, you have no recourse because cannot sue a generic drug manufacturer. The FDA has the power to change this situation, but they have failed to do so over the 3+ years that they have been deliberating how they might address it.

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A poignant example of how this horrible rule can keep people from gaining justice is the tragic death of Chris Dannelly. Chris Dannelly was killed by generic Levaquin — levofloxacin — and neither his widow nor his children can sue the maker of the generic levofloxacin that killed him. Here is a newscast about Chris Dannelly’s death from levofloxacin:

Justice for the Rich

Justice is supposed to be blind, but your chances of getting compensated for your losses are significantly higher if you are wealthy. It is difficult to get a lawyer to take your medical harm case if the damages that you may be compensated for are less than a million dollars. According to the ProPublica article “Patient Harm: When An Attorney Won’t Take Your Case”:

But lawyers may have to invest $50,000 or more to pursue a case, and they usually only get paid if they win or settle. The payout is determined largely by economic damages – lost earnings, medical bills and future costs caused by the injury.  Those who don’t earn big paychecks – including children, the elderly and stay-at-home-moms – are the least likely to find an attorney, studies show.

If you can’t show that you suffered from millions of dollars in lost wages, and other damages, lawyers won’t take your case because it doesn’t make economic sense for them to do so. And, if you can’t find a lawyer to take your case, you cannot get justice.

In order to increase the potential payout of a lawsuit, to make it worth the upfront investment of a lawyers’ time, money, and effort, plaintiffs are lumped together in class-action lawsuits. Class-action lawsuits aren’t ideal, but they’re the only form of justice that most victims of pharmaceutical companies have, and, frankly, they’re better than nothing. Class-action lawsuits are often the only way that victims of pharmaceutical drugs can gain justice, and class-action lawsuits are currently under attack by the U.S. Congress.

H.R. 985 – Making Justice Even More Difficult for Victims

H.R. 985, the 2017 Fairness in Class Action Litigation Act, aims to put more obstacles in the way of plaintiffs/victims who seek justice. This justice-reform bill is a gift to the pharmaceutical industry, and other big corporations that hurt citizens (like big banks, big agriculture, big chemical, big oil etc.) from Congress men and women who receive millions of dollars in donations from those industries.

One of the most potentially damaging aspects of H.R. 985 is a provision that states that each plaintiff in a class-action lawsuit must “affirmatively demonstrate” that they “suffered the same type and scope of injury as the named class representative.” This means that all plaintiffs in a class-action lawsuit must have exactly the same injury. This provision will keep a large number of pharmaceutical class-action lawsuits from moving forward, and will rob the people who could otherwise be involved in a class-action lawsuit of justice.

Here is an example of how this provision in H.R. 985 could hurt people: The warning labels for fluoroquinolone antibiotics, including Cipro, Levaquin, and Avelox, have recently been updated to note that permanent peripheral neuropathy is a potential effect of those drugs. This opened the door to lawsuits, and many law firms are taking cases for those suffering from peripheral neuropathy caused by fluoroquinolones. Peripheral neuropathy is a broad diagnosis though, and it presents in many different ways. Some people with peripheral neuropathy may have pain that is debilitating, while others may have twitching muscles, others may experience numbness, others may have reduced balance or coordination, and others may have autonomic nervous system dysfunction that causes loss of digestive motility. H.R. 985 could make it so that those plaintiffs cannot join together in a class-action lawsuit because their symptoms present differently, and, as noted above, without the possibility of a class-action lawsuit, there is no possibility for justice for many victims of pharmaceutical industry crimes.

In “House Judiciary Committee Passes H.R. 985: Fairness in Class Action Litigation” the following example is given to illustrate how this provision could hurt those trying to sue a bank: “So if your bank steals a $5 overdraft fee, and $10 from your neighbor, a class action could be dismissed because your injuries were different. Even if you file a lawsuit and get your $5 back, your friend would not.

This provision of H.B. 985 would keep cases like that of the people of Hinkley, California versus Pacific Gas & Electric (PG&E), that was featured in the movie Erin Brockovich, from moving forward. The people of Hinkley “suffered cancers, mis carriages and digestive and skin disorders as a result of the company (PG&E) dumping contaminated waste into ponds that seeped into the town’s drinking water.” If they weren’t allowed to join together in a class-action lawsuit because they didn’t have the “same type and scope of injury as the named class representative,” they wouldn’t be able to gain justice.

When people are exposed to endocrine disrupting chemicals (whether those be industrial pollutants, pharmaceuticals, pesticides, herbicides, etc.), the health maladies that result vary from person to person. Some people may suffer from infertility, while others get cancer, and others develop an autoimmune disease. (For more information about the health effects of endocrine disrupting chemicals, read Our Stolen Future: Are We Threatening Our Fertility, Intelligence, and Survival?–A Scientific Detective Story  by Theo Colborn, Dianne Dumanoski, and John Peterson Myers.) The people in the industries producing endocrine-disrupting pollutants know this, and they lobby accordingly — hence this provision in H.B. 985.

If H.B. 985 passes into law with the provision that all plaintiffs must “affirmatively demonstrate” that they “suffered the same type and scope of injury as the named class representative,” bulldog lawyers hired by big pharma, big ag, big chemical, big oil, and other profit-at-all-cost motivated corporations, will tear apart all attempts of plaintiffs/citizens/victims to join together to fight for justice.

Plaintiff Lawyers Won’t Take Cases if They Can’t Get Paid

Another way that H.B. 985 will keep victims of corporate crimes from gaining justice is by limiting the amount of money attorneys can receive as compensation for representing class-action plaintiffs. This will interfere with the attorney/client contract and it will disincentivize attorneys from taking cases of those who have been victimized by big corporations.

In “Fairness in Class Action Litigation Act of 2017: The Corporate Sweetheart Deal,” it is noted that:

Under this bill it is doubtful you would be able to find a lawyer to represent you unless you could afford to pay them hourly. Lawyers know that people who have been badly hurt often cannot afford to pay hefty hourly legal bills. Thus, lawyers often enter into a contingency contract with clients. The lawyer promises to work hard on the client’s behalf, and if the lawyer wins the case, the client pays them a portion of what was collected. This bill makes it nearly impossible for lawyers to make that agreement with their clients. This is a move by the federal government to directly interfere with and restrict negotiated contracts.

Victims of corporate crimes typically don’t have the money to pay attorneys upfront. The victim/plaintiff attorneys are paid out of the final settlement or award. If the amount that attorneys could possibly recoup is limited by Congress, this provides a serious disincentive for attorneys to take cases and to invest the time/money/effort into pursuing justice for victims.

H.R. 1215 Hurts Victims of Big Pharma

Another horrible bill that is going through the U.S. Congress is HR 1215 “Protecting Access to Care Act of 2017.” H.R. 1215 eliminates the rights of people harmed by medical professionals. It rigs the system, making it nearly impossible for injured victims to pursue lawsuits by imposing harsh time limits on lawsuits, denying the right to a trial by jury, limiting certain damages to $250,000 (even in states where such limits are unconstitutional), and protecting those who prescribe dangerous drugs and who hurt people with dangerous medical devices.

Corrupt Politicians Represent Big Business

H.R. 985 and H.R. 1215 are gifts to big corporations — big pharma, big ag, big chemical, big oil, and big banks — that prevent citizens who have been hurt by these corporations from gaining justice. The man who introduced H.R. 985, and who is ushering H.R. 1215 through the House Judiciary Committee, is Bob Goodlatte, a Republican from Virginia. During his time in Congress, Representative Goodlatte has received more that $2.1 million from agribusiness, almost $1.5 million from the finance, insurance, and real estate sector, more than $670,000 from the health sector (which includes pharmaceutical companies), and $1.3 million from miscellaneous business interests. Those industries have invested a lot of money in Goodlatte, and that investment is now paying off as he is now the chair of the House of Representatives Judiciary Committee, and has introduced a bill that will drastically limit the liability of large corporations. These corporations will be able to steal from and poison the American people, without consequence, if H.R. 985 and H.R. 1215 pass into law as they currently stand.

The Myth of the Frivolous Lawsuit

People like Representative Goodlatte claim that congressionally mandated judicial reform is necessary because there are too many frivolous lawsuits. This is a myth that has been repeated so many times that many, maybe even most, people think that it’s true. Of course, there are cases where an unscrupulous attorney or greedy plaintiff succeeds in getting a large payoff, but that situation is unusual, and it is far more common for legitimately injured people to be unable to gain justice (for the reasons described above) than it is for a frivolous lawsuit to move forward and win in court.

This skit from Adam Ruins Everything, though it is meant to be humorous, excellently explains how the myth of the frivolous lawsuit was started, perpetrated, and promoted by large corporations:

The case described in the video, that of Liebeck vs. McDonald’s, wasn’t frivolous, and neither are most lawsuits that individual citizens bring against large corporations.

Whenever someone tries to justify taking away your rights to a fair trial and your opportunities for recourse against a corporation that hurt you by claiming that “frivolous lawsuits” should be limited, be suspicious, question thoroughly, and understand that those people are trying to take away your rights to hold corporations that hurt people responsible for their crimes. When you hear the term “justice reform,” know that it is code for “politicians trying to take away your right to sue and chance of getting justice if a big corporation hurts you.” Fight not only for justice, but also for an honest and righteous conversation about the issues. The truth is that it is exceedingly difficult for legitimate victims to get justice and/or compensation for their losses. The truth is that the rights of citizens are being eroded and the rights of corporations are being elevated.

Welcome to the Corporatocracy

Through “judicial reform” bills like H.R. 985 and H.R. 1215, the  U.S. Congress is working with big corporations of all sorts to rob citizens of their ability to gain justice. These “Representatives” are not representatives of the people, they are representatives of the corporations that hurt the people. These corporations are, after all, who pay the politicians.

Though corporate interests are quickly supplanting individual rights, there are still some checks and balances left in the system. Democratically elected officials still can be held accountable by the people who elected them. I encourage everyone who wants to be able to hold corporate criminals responsible for hurting and murdering people to email, call, tweet, or otherwise reach out to every member of the U.S. House Judiciary Committee, and tell them to oppose both H.R. 985 and H.R. 1215. The coroporatocracy has the upper-hand right now, but maybe democracy isn’t entirely dead. Please take a few moments to reach out to the U.S. House Judiciary Committee – thank you.

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

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