Mindfulness Meditation and Inflammation

From sciencealert.com |  By Fiona MacDonald

Excerpt:
 "Mindfulness meditation has been linked to a whole lot of health benefits over the years, from altering cancer survivors' cells to improving heart health. And while it sounds pretty new-age, research has shown that meditation really can change the shape, volume, and connectivity of our brains. But until now, no one's known how those brain changes can impact our overall health.

Now new research could help explain that link between mind and body, with a study showing that stressed-out adults who practiced mindfulness meditation not only had their brain connectivity altered, they also had reduced levels of a key inflammation biomarker, known as Interleukin-6, four months later. That's important because, in high doses, Interleukin-6 has been linked to inflammation-related diseases such as cancer, Alzheimer's, and autoimmune conditions."

For the complete article, click here.


Foundation Training: Laying the Groundwork for Health & Wellness

If you suffer from chronic back pain or want a way to boost your energy while minimizing your vulnerability to pain and illness, consider Foundation Training. It’s beginning to make a lot of noise in fitness and wellness circles. Here’s why: Our lives today come hand in hand with much hunching, slouching and sitting, an unhealthy mix of poor posture and inactivity that can add up to painful, life-limiting joint compression. Often, we don’t even realize we are putting ourselves at such a physical disadvantage or how it is impacting our mental health as well. Foundation Training is the effective antidote.

Foundation Training is a simple sequence of movements and breathing techniques designed to reverse the effects of joint compression. It can even minimize, if not eliminate, chronic pain from past injuries or illness.

According to FoundationTraining.com, “Through a series of postures, poses and movements, Foundation Training activates your posterior muscle chain, anchors the hips, decompresses the spine, and teaches you to take the burden of supporting the body out of your joints and put it where it belongs: in your muscles.” This workout relieves chronic pain by strengthening the muscles in our bodies that hold us upright every day, in other words, our foundation.

"Foundation Training enables one to reach, achieve and experience incredible health and wellness."

For more information, including where to find Foundation Training instruction, click here.

 


Matt Lampson

Kicking Cancer to the Curb.
Persistent. Positive. Living with passion and perspective.

Matt Lampson had it all. Then he didn't. Then he did. At 18 years old, the Ohio native had just graduated from high school and was headed to a Division 1 soccer program as a goalkeeper, a dream come true. That's when he as diagnosed with Stage IVB Hodgkin’s Lymphoma. "Instead of fighting for playing time as a freshman at Northern Illinois University, Lampson remained in Ohio and fought to survive," as his bio states on the Lampstrong Foundation website. (Lampson launched the foundation to help people fighting cancer.)

The cancer had spread to his pancreas, lungs and bone marrow. He had cancerous lymph nodes throughout his body.

Excerpt: "After months of harsh BEACOPP chemotherapy treatments (one round lasts three weeks--he had six) that caused him to lose his hair and put on 80 pounds, Lampson was declared cancer-free on September 24, 2007. The life-or-death experience had a profound impact on his worldview.

"Applying the same determination that was vital to his cancer fight, Lampson worked his way back into playing shape and transferred to Ohio State University, where he quickly became one of the top goalkeepers in the Big Ten. He was named co-Freshman of the Year in 2009 and was a first-team All-Big Ten selection in 2010. In December 2011, Lampson signed a professional contract.

"...Knowing that life is about more than just soccer, Lampson is determined to use his journey to make an impact off the field as well. He frequently visits young cancer patients in the hospital because he has known the experience of being the patient in the bed, not the special guest sitting next to it. He remembers what those visits meant to him while he was sick, saying, 'They provided a hope, a happiness, and a way to escape the mostly daunting tasks that I was forced to endure in order to save my own life during treatment.'

"...Lampson is determined to give all that he has to give, and he hopes that he can inspire others to make a difference with the second lease on life that they’ve earned.

“'I have been extraordinarily passionate to show what current and former cancer patients can accomplish as long as they take that same drive and desire shown in the fight for their life, and implement it in their everyday lives.'

"To Lampson, cancer wasn’t just something he overcame. It was something that helped him become the person and the player he is today. 'It’s not like ‘Oh, well I went through cancer so I can do anything.’ It was a legitimate personality switch.' said Lampson, 'To the point of deciding  I’m not gonna let anyone prevent me from doing what I want to do and prevent me from achieving the things that I want to achieve. I knew that nobody that I’ll be playing against will have gone through what I went through. So these people don’t realize how badly I want it, that’s just the kind of mindset I had following treatment and it’s carried me through.'”

For more on Matt Lampson, click on the links below.


Surf's Up

From Live Happy Media | By Megan Michelson

Excerpt: Looking to reclaim your energy, your strength, your confidence, your life? Consider tapping into what surfers have long known: Surfing makes you happier. Ocean therapy researcher Carly Rogers says, "Surfing provides a positive, natural environment; a chance to build self-confidence and a catalyst for change."

No wonder it is becoming a go to for treating PTSD and other mental illnesses. There are many benefits for cancer survivors as well.

Diagnosed with Stage 2 Hodgkins Lymphoma in 2010, Britte Roossien quickly became an echo of the vibrant  young wife and mother she had been. Even after she beat a second bout of cancer, she couldn't find the bridge back to her life, until she discovered surfing through the Mission-supported First Descents Adventure Retreats. "I (learned) that I wasn't going to break, that I was much stronger than I ever realized," said Britte. “Surfing taught me that cancer was just a small part of my history. ...I finally felt separate from cancer.”

"The ocean can have its way with you; it has no empathy. But even when you're out there struggling and the ocean is giving you a beating, it's still rewarding, still cleansing," said surf instructor Rover "Farmdog" Farmer who worked with First Descents participants.

Five months after her surfing experience, Britte ran her first marathon.

Read more here.

For additional information, click here. 


Paula Recommends ...Pan Roasted Tomato & Chickpea Salad

This savory and slightly sweet salad fits the bill. The peppery arugula and fresh basil served with warm citrus dressing and pan roasted tomatoes provide a hint of summer and plenty of comfort, along with protein, vitamin C, lycopene, fiber and potassium. - Paula Meyer, Mission Training Center Nutritionist 

Ingredients
1 pint cherry tomatoes, halved
3 Tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
2 cloves garlic, minced
1⁄4 cup orange juice
1 Tablespoon red wine vinegar
1⁄2 teaspoon Kosher salt
Freshly ground black pepper
6 cups baby arugula
2 cups basil leaves
One 15 oz can no salt added chickpeas, drained

Directions
1. In a large non-stick pan, sauté the tomatoes, cut side down, in 1 Tablespoon of the oil until well browned, 3 to 5 minutes. Remove from the pan and reserve.

2. Add the remaining oil and sauté the garlic for 30 seconds. Stir in the orange juice and simmer to reduce by half, about 2 minutes. Remove from the heat and stir in the vinegar, salt and plenty of black pepper.

3. Toss the arugula and basil leaves with the dressing and top with the tomatoes and chickpeas.

Note: Makes 4 (2 cup) servings

Nutritional info: Per serving: 230 calories, 12g total fat (1.5g saturated fat), 25g carbohydrate, 7g protein, 5g dietary fiber, 270 mg sodium.


Paula Recommends ...Celery, Sunchoke, Green Apple Salad with Walnuts & Mustard Vinaigrette

Crispy and refreshing, this delicious salad is loaded with complex tastes and flavors that will delight your family or guests. The ingredients will hold up well if made ahead and dressed just before serving. - Paula Meyer, Mission Training Center Nutritionist 

Ingredients
1⁄2 cup walnuts, roughly chopped
4 large celery stalks, peeled and thinly sliced, and 1⁄4 cup leaves chopped
1 head fennel, trimmed and thinly sliced lengthwise, fronds reserved
1 large sunchoke (5 oz) peeled and thinly sliced (1 cup)
1 large Granny Smith apple, peeled, cored and thinly
sliced
3 tablespoons plus 1 teaspoon freshly squeezed lemon juice
2 tablespoons plus 1 teaspoon Dijon style mustard
1 garlic clove, grated through a fine grater or minced
2 tablespoons honey
kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

Directions
1. Toast walnuts in a skillet over medium heat until fragrant, 3 to 4 minutes. (Be careful not to burn.)
2. Place sliced celery, fennel, sunchoke and apple in a bowl of cold water. Stir in 1 tablespoon lemon juice and refrigerate.
3. In a small bowl, combine remaining lemon juice, mustard, garlic, honey and salt. Whisk in oil and season with pepper.
4. Drain chilled celery, fennel and sunchokes and dry in a salad spinner or blot with a paper towel.
5. Combine celery, fennel, sunchoke, celery leaves, walnuts and apples.
6. Toss with dressing before serving.
7. Garnish with fennel fronds.

Nutrition information: Serves 6. Per serving: 170 calories, 15g total fat (1.8 g saturated fat) 8g carbohydrate, 2g protein, 2.5g dietary fiber.


Kickboxing Your Way to Health & Fitness

Looking to improve your balance, power, agility and flexibility, all while increasing your fitness? Consider kickboxing.

It may sound intimidating at first but it is accessible to people at every level – from beginner to expert. Best, it offers health benefits to all, no matter how experienced or inexperienced you may be.

Kickboxing focuses on power over strength. As reported by ​Time​ in “How Kickboxing Can Change Your Body and Your Life,” power is more about force and speed and not as much about how much weight someone can lift. With its short intensive periods of activity, it burns more than eight calories a minute. It also improves coordination, even in extreme cases. Among people with multiple sclerosis, for example, kickboxing strengthens neuromuscular control which helps with balance, mobility and dual-tasking activities.

It is an incredible workout. It also helps people who do it avoid injuries caused by the dynamic motion required in sports such as pickup basketball or skiing. For more information on kickboxing, click here.

 


Scott Doescher

Mastering Survivorship.
Swimmer, Competitor, CPA, Dad

Three months after returning to the pool and just four months into surviving prostate cancer, the then 47-year-old Scott Doescher took it to a whole new level ...or rather back to a level familiar to him decades earlier: He returned to competitive swimming, landing a spot at the national level masters swim championship.

In an article by Victoria Freile that ran in the Democrat & Chronicle, Doescher said that lifting weights and tackling cardio on an elliptical machine helped his body bounce back after surgery so he decided to return to the pool as part of his recovery efforts.

For the complete article and more on Scott Doescher, click here.


In the Swim

From WebMD.com | By Kara Mayer Robinson

Excerpt: "If you are looking for a great aerobic and total body-strengthening workout, then look no further. Swimming can provide all that and more.

"Also, if you don't love working up a sweat but do love the benefits of a cardio workout, swimming may be your ideal match. The water keeps you cool, even as your heart gets a great workout.  You'll probably be able to keep yourself going for a longer time than if you were running. That's because it's fun and gentle on your joints and muscles. The water can also feel relaxing.

"Note: If you have been a couch potato, or you have heart disease or other medical problems, check with your doctor first to see what kind of swimming program is right for you."

For the complete article including more on the areas swimming targets and additional benefits, click here.