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January 12, 2007
Gaining Release: Healing Hands and Labyrinths

December 8, 2006
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Rx for Heart Health

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Posted: August 18, 2006

Spiritual Caregiving

Life's Amusing Tidbits to Make You Feel Better

(Editor’s Note: Here’s a summertime break from all of the challenges and toil of caregiving. We hope you’ll enjoy this potpourri of news briefs from the pages of Spirituality & Health magazine.)


Don't Like Anesthesia? Add Music to Your Operation

Whether you're a fan of early Beatles or Mozart, listening to music can lessen your need for sedatives during an operation, suggests a new study published in the medical journal Anesthesia & Analgesia.

Thirty-six patients at Yale-New Haven Hospital in Connecticut and 54 at the American University of Beirut Medical Center in Lebanon undergoing procedures using anesthesia were randomly assigned to wear headphones and hear music they liked or white noise, or to wear no headphones and be exposed to operating room noise.

OR noise can be jarring— up to 80 decibels of sound. LOUD! Researchers found playing music reduced the need for sedatives during surgery, but white noise, which blocked out OR sounds, did not.

The study suggests that culture plays a role also: the Lebanese patients used less of the sedating drug than the American patients, regardless of whether they heard music, white noise, or operating room sounds.

-- By Sheldon Lewis


Grandpa Donated His Body

My grandpa is 83. I'm sorry -- 83 years, 5 months (he's back to counting in halves). That is four years past the life expectancy of American males. I know so because he tells me every time I visit.

For Grandpa, death isn't a concern; it's a lifestyle. He schedules his week around dates with Dr. Mioto, whose BMW he has personally financed. It starts every morning at six, when Grandpa hits the obituaries.

"See there," he points, "80 years old, heart failure. Right on schedule."

To stay out of the paper, my grandpa takes pills. By the truckload. He totes them around in an alabaster box and swigs 'em before every meal, sometimes during grace. One pill helps his blood pressure but causes trembling; another stops the trembling but causes cramping. When I once asked whether my grandpa wanted the blue pill or the red pill, my grandpa took both.

"Got to keep the old body ticking," he winked.

And that's the point: my grandpa has turned himself in. He has given his body to science instead of owning his part in the miracle. He's got pills to make his hair grow and heart beat and lungs breathe — stuff that has been happening without his help for 83 and a half years! My fear is that the old tiger is going to die of medication overdose.

I've tried to pull my grandpa from his bender, but he can't hear me. He's beaten the odds by four years and owes it all to his alabaster box. And so long as we pill-popping junkies keep thinking that way, our gods will keep driving BMWs.

-- By Jason Love


The Greening of Therapy

What do we do when the stresses of life become too much? We go for a walk, sit in the garden, or escape to the sea. In August 2005, the British news publication the Independent reported a trend -- a green approach to therapy that recognizes our innate craving for nature.

Ecopsychology is putting the earth back in mental healing practices. "The primary idea is that one's relationship with nature is as important as one's relationship with other humans," says Linda Buzzell-Saltzman, M.A., M.F.T., founder of the International Association for Ecotherapy (IAE). Buzzell-Saltzman has been a psychotherapist in private practice for more than 25 years, but the healing aspects of practicing green therapy were something that she had to experience herself.

"It was not until I became a serious gardener that I was able to make the connection between mental health and the ground (literally) of our being," she admits. "As I worked with the earth, the earth began to 'work' me."

Ecopsychologists apply therapeutic tools ranging from wilderness therapy to horticultural or animal therapy to natural lifestyle counseling. The International Community for Ecopsychology provides a free international directory of practitioners. For more information see and

-- By Monika Rice

This article originally appeared in Spirituality & Health magazine, For subscriptions call 1-800-876-8202 or see Editor Stephen Kiesling and his staff contribute weekly columns, features and articles published every Friday as "Spiritual Caregiving" at Contact staff directly via email at

© 2006 Pederson Publishing, Inc. All Rights Reserved.
Commercial use, redistribution or other forms of reuse of this information is strictly prohibited without the prior written permission of Pederson Publishing.

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