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American Academy Of Pediatrics Refuses To Back Vaccine Claims With Science

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Please visit The World Mercury Project, they were kind enough to send this article over to us for re-publishing purposes.

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When asked whether it could provide studies to support specific claims it made about vaccine safety, the American Academy of Pediatrics ultimately declined.

On January 10, 2017, the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) issued a press release to express its opposition to a federal commission that has been proposed by the Trump administration to examine vaccine safety and efficacy. The AAP argues that since we already know that vaccines are safe and effective, therefore there is no need for further examination into their safety and efficacy.

This argument, however, begs the question — it presumes in the premise the proposition to be proven (the petitio principii fallacy). And the press release itself illustrates why, apart from the question of whether there should be a federal commission, critical examination of public vaccine policy is very much warranted.

In its press release, among other things, the AAP stated that:

  • Vaccines prevent cancer.
  • Claims that vaccines are linked to autism “have been disproven by a robust body of medical literature”.
  • Claims that vaccines “are unsafe when administered according to the [CDC’s] recommended schedule” have likewise “been disproven by a robust body of medical literature”.

According to the AAP, its own claims are backed by solid science. Yet when asked whether it could provide citations from the medical literature to support its claims, the AAP first failed to do so, then essentially offered a “No comment” when pressed for a comment about its failure to do so.

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With respect to the claim that vaccines prevent some forms of cancer, the AAP was asked:

  • Can you please direct me to any studies in the peer-reviewed medical literature showing any vaccine prevents cancer?

With respect to the other two, the AAP was asked the following questions:

  • Can you please direct me to the studies you are referring to in this body of literature that took into account the possibility of a genetically susceptible subpopulation?
  • Can you please point me to the studies in this body of literature that have compared health outcomes, including but not limited to developmental regression (i.e., autism), for children who’ve receive the CDC’s full schedule of vaccinations with children who’ve remained completely unvaccinated?

An initial email to the AAP containing these questions went unanswered.

The email was followed up with a phone call. Lisa Black, the AAP’s Media Relations Manager, assured that she would get back with answers to the questions. In a subsequent email, Ms. Black replied, “Please see information that AAP has posted for parents on this page”, which was followed by a link to a list of studies on the website HealthyChildren.org.

However, none of the listed studies on that page supports the AAP’s claim that “vaccines prevent … forms of cancer”.

None apparently considered the possibility of a susceptible subpopulation with a genetic susceptibility to adverse reactions to vaccines.

And none compared health outcomes of fully vaccinated children with completely unvaccinated children.

The list provided does contain numerous studies finding no association between vaccines and autism, but even the listed safety review by the Institute of Medicine (IOM) doesn’t go so far as to say that the hypothesis has been “disproven”.

On the contrary, the IOM acknowledges that it is biologically plausible that vaccines might cause autism in a genetically susceptible subpopulation, but characterizes this hypothesis is still “speculative” and “unsubstantiated”.

That is a world apart from saying it has been “disproven”.

One would think that the IOM’s conclusion, if its inquiry was a scientific one, would be that since this is such an important question and this specific hypothesis is plausible and not well studied, therefore there should be further study into this question of whether vaccines could trigger autism at least in some children with a genetic predisposition to vaccine injury.

But rather than calling for more research into this area, the IOM actually advocated that no further studies to test this hypothesis be done. Its stated reason for this was partly medical, but at least equally political — and certainly favorable to the profits of the pharmaceutical industry. The IOM’s reason was:

Using an unsubstantiated hypothesis to question the safety of vaccination and the ethical behavior of those governmental agencies and scientists who advocate for vaccination could lead to widespread rejection of vaccines and inevitable increases in incidences of serious infectious diseases like measles, whooping cough, and Hib bacterial meningitis.

In other words, since studying this hypothesis further would undermine public vaccine policy with its one-size-fits-all approach to disease prevention, therefore no further research to test the biologically plausible hypothesis should be done.

The AAP was sent a follow up email noting that none of the studies listed appeared to support the claims it made in the press release. The AAP was welcomed to correct the record, but did not dispute the observation that none of the studies listed showed that vaccines can prevent cancer, considered genetic susceptibility to vaccine injury, or compared health outcomes for vaccinated and unvaccinated children.

The additional follow up questions were also asked:

  • If the AAP cannot produce one or more studies that considered the possibility of a genetically susceptible subpopulation, how can it claim that any association between vaccines and autism has been “disproven”?
  • If the AAP cannot produce one or more studies that compared health outcomes between children vaccinated according to the CDC’s schedule and children who remained unvaccinated, how can it claim that any association between vaccines and autism has been “disproven”?

The AAP did not reply via email to the follow up questions.

In a second phone call requesting the AAP to produce such studies to support its claims, Ms. Black replied that she had provided everything the AAP was going to provide.

When confronted with the observation that none of the studies provided supported the AAP’s claim that vaccines can prevent cancer, she repeated that the AAP was not going to provide any additional information.

When asked whether the authors of the press release, AAP President Fernando Stein and Executive Vice President Karen Remley, would like to comment, Ms. Black abruptly ended the phone call by saying she was going to hang up and then doing so.

Questions Unanswered

The questions seem pertinent, particularly given the fact that the government has acknowledged that vaccines can cause brain damage resulting in developmental regression.

In 2008, then director of the CDC Julie Gerberding offered the following carefully worded acknowledgment:

Now, we all know that vaccines can occasionally cause fevers in kids. So if a child was immunized, got a fever, had other complications from the vaccines. And if you’re predisposed with a mitochondrial disorder, it can certainly set off some damage. Some of the symptoms can be symptoms that have characteristics of autism.

The context in which she was speaking was with respect to Hannah Poling, a child with a mitochondrial disorder who developed autism after receiving numerous vaccines on the same day and whose family was awarded compensation under the National Vaccine Injury Compensation Program (VICP).

The VICP was established in the mid-1980s under a law that granted broad legal immunity to vaccine manufacturers. The government’s reason for doing so was that vaccine injury lawsuits were threatening to undermine public policy by putting vaccine manufacturers out of business.

The Supreme Court has upheld that legal immunity on the grounds that certain adverse reactions are “unavoidable” and “design defects” are “not a basis for liability.”

Around the same time as Gerberding’s admission, a former director of the National Institutes of Health, the late Bernadine Healy, criticized the refrain that any link between vaccines and autism has been debunked. She pointed out the kinds of studies that would be necessary in order to confidently draw that conclusion hadn’t yet been done.

Specifically, she noted the lack of studies taking into consideration a genetically susceptible subpopulation.

Ms. Healy also slammed the IOM for advocating that no further research be done and noted that as a potential cause of autism, “vaccines carry a ring of both historical and biological plausibility”.

Similarly, in contrast to the AAP’s claim that any association between vaccines and autism has been “disproven”, one of the CDC’s lead researchers on that very question, CDC Director of Immunization Safety Dr. Frank DeStefano, admitted in an interview in 2014 that “it’s a possibility” that vaccines could trigger autism in genetically susceptible individuals.

“It’s hard to predict who those children might be”, DeStefano observed, and trying to determine what underling conditions put children at risk of vaccine injury is “very difficult to do”.

Acknowledging the lack of studies in this area, he added that, “if we ever get to that point, then that kind of research might be fruitful.”

The AAP’s list of studies includes one or more for which DeStefano was an author.

The CDC also admits the need for further study in this area. Its website at the time of this writing acknowledges that “More research is needed to determine if there are rare cases where underlying mitochondrial disorders are triggered by anything related to vaccines.”

So how can the AAP claim that any association between vaccines and autism has been “disproven” when the studies that would be necessary to invalidate the hypothesis haven’t been done?

No comment.

That’s the AAP’s answer to the question, anyway.

The AAP’s attitude should perhaps come as no surprise, given its close relationship with the vaccine industry.

As CBS News reported in 2008, “The vaccine industry gives millions to the Academy of Pediatrics for conferences, grants, medical education classes and even helped build their headquarters.”

A Discussion to Be Had

The AAP argues in its press release against the formation of a federal commission, but its argument would apply to any public debate about the safety and efficacy of vaccines. By the AAP’s logic, like the IOM’s, also unnecessary are any discussion about it in the media and any further scientific inquiry.

But as Daniel Sarewitz observes, “as science approaches the cutting edge, it tends to raise as many questions as it resolves, so there is always room for debate about what the science is actually saying.”

Parents dubbed “anti-science” by the media are naturally curious why that label doesn’t seem to apply to those calling for no further inquiry into pertinent questions.

Parents aren’t just asking legitimate questions about vaccines. They’re doing what most doctors haven’t and spending a lot of time researching vaccines themselves. And they’re not just going to “anti-vaccine” websites to research it. They’re organizing, sharing information, and digging into the medical literature for themselves.

Parents can see the fundamental contradiction between public health officials and the media constantly insisting that vaccines are harmless even while the government grants legal immunity to the vaccine manufacturers on the grounds that vaccines are unavoidably unsafe and while the government manages a Vaccine Injury Compensation Program in order to shift the costs for damages and keep the vaccine manufacturers profitable — all to maintain public policy.

Parents understand how government and industry funding influences the direction and findings of scientific research, and how the medical establishment that has given us soaring costs and a population in which nearly 40 percent are chronically ill will tend to justify itself despite its abysmal performance and a long history of being wrong time and again, from tobacco science (older generations may remember how the industry used to get product endorsements from doctors) to the USDA recommended high-carb diet (which has contributed to the obesity epidemic and is more about satisfying food industry lobbyists than providing science-based advise) to the role of cholesterol in heart disease (scientific research no longer supports the hypothesis that dietary cholesterol contributes to blood cholesterol and heart disease risk).

Parents are aware of how government agencies like the FDA and the CDC serve the financial interests of the pharmaceutical industry. They see the corruption and the “revolving door” of Washington, such as how Julie Gerberding left her government job pushing vaccines as head of CDC to become president of the vaccine division for the pharmaceutical giant Merck.

They see how the AAP, too, has an incestuous relationship with “Big Pharma”. They understand how willful ignorance goes beyond the individual operating within the system and becomes institutionalized. And they watch as an organization that influences how their child’s pediatrician practices medicine accepts money from an industry they feel the AAP ought to be protecting them from.

They can witness how the AAP makes statements it claims are solidly backed by science, but which it is unwilling or unable to provide any studies to support. They understand that the truly “anti-science” position is the one that says no further scientific inquiry into an admittedly biologically plausible hypothesis is necessary.

Parents know there are many studies that have found no association between vaccines and autism. They don’t need the AAP to point this out to them. But they wonder why the AAP ignores all the studies that do support the hypothesis.

They wonder how the AAP can claim that the vaccine-autism hypothesis has been “disproven” when the most any of the studies it cites have concluded is that those particular studies, with their own particular focus, designed around their own particular assumptions, using a particular methodology, did not find an association between vaccines and autism.

And parents are asking questions like: What was the actual purpose of the study? What were the underlying assumptions made by the authors? What vaccines were being studied, and what outcomes? Who were the study groups? What were the criteria for their selection? What was the study’s methodology? What are its strengths and weaknesses? Do the conclusions drawn follow from the actual findings? How conclusive is it? What does the study actually prove, if anything?

Parents can see for themselves the huge disparity between what they are told science has to say about vaccines  — by public health officials, the medical establishment, and the mainstream media — and what science actually has to say about it.

The parents who are choosing not to vaccinate their children aren’t doing so because they are uneducated or unintelligent. On the contrary, studies show that they tend to be wealthier and more highly educated than the general population.

They aren’t choosing not to vaccinate because they are ignorant of the science. They are choosing not to vaccinate because they are digging into the medical literature (which can be searched via PubMed.gov) and awakening to the deceit they see coming out of the government and the mainstream media.

They see how mainstream journalists, rather than seriously investigating what the science actually says, rely on statements from agencies like the CDC and industry-funded organizations like the AAP to “inform” the public about the subject.

They see how the establishment is seeking to stifle debate not by respectfully addressing their legitimate questions, but by bullying them into silence and conformity, and they understand how such a phenomenon can arise because institutions with a life of their own feel threatened by the truth and act to preserve the status quo.

The AAP and other actors interested in preserving the public vaccine policy so far seem to have assumed that they can end the discussion by declaring authoritatively that there is no need for further discussion.

But if they ever hope to truly end the discussion, they are going to have to start taking parents’ concerns seriously and answering their legitimate questions with more than disingenuous public relations talking points that might as well have been written by the vaccine industry.

Original article was reprinted with permission in its entirety. Jeremy R. Hammond is an award-winning independent journalist, author, publisher and editor of Foreign Policy Journal, and father. Subscribe to stay updated with his work on vaccines and get his free report “5 Horrifying Facts about the FDA Vaccine Approval Process.”

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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.

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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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