Issue #38, November 2012
In This Issue:
Feeding Your Brain – Mapping the Route to Healing – Essential Oils & Healthy Gums
JoAnne’s Motivational Minute
Feeding Your Brain
By JoAnne Boettcher-Verigin
You know the holiday season is here when the line at the post office starts getting longer. And slower. It’s enough to make anyone a little less than cheerful, I guess, especially as our schedules get tighter and our to-do lists, longer as we prepare for our annual celebrations.
Yet when I was there the other day and the clerk asked how I was doing, even I was surprised by my answer: “Super good and getting better!” Everybody got a smile on their face – including me, suddenly feeling a lot perkier and positive!
Our self-talk is important! Most of us wouldn’t think of going a day without feeding our bodies with nourishing food. Why in the world would we not take time to feed our minds with nourishing thoughts?
I like to take some time each morning to read a bit of inspiration or motivation – like the “Ziglarisms” (sayings by motivational speaker and author Zig Ziglar) I’d been re-reading the day I went to the post office, which had obviously fueled my reply to the clerk.
I don’t always remember to do this, though – especially during hectic, stressful times like the end of year. Didn’t I just finish putting away Christmas decorations a few weeks ago? And now it’s time to put them up again? Already?! Through the whirlwind of it all, I often hear my mom’s voice in my own: “We need to get organized!”
Of course, this whole year has been eventful, busy and challenging. Continuing wars. The sluggish economy and persistent unemployment (or underemployment) for all too many. Superstorms reminding us who’s boss. (Hint: It’s not us.) A long, brutal election in which partisan dogma too often divided families and friends.
During such times, nourishing the mind is even more important. It gives us strength, perspective and drive to keep on doing what needs to get done, from everyday tasks and obligations to preparing for the holidays.
We all have certain things that can help us get into a positive state of mind – the Bible or other sacred texts, affirmations, special music… Why not take some time each morning to indulge in what lifts you up, gets you jazzed, empowers you?
My wish for you is a wonderful holiday season and positive excitement as you go forward into a brand new year!
Surely happiness is reflective, like the light of heaven; and every countenance, bright with smiles,
and glowing with innocent enjoyment, is a mirror transmitting to others
the rays of a supreme and ever-shining benevolence.
– Washington Irving
Dr. Verigin’s Comment
The Route to Healing: A Primer, Part 1
By Gary M. Verigin, DDS, CTN
Imagine an eternal metronome clicking left, clicking right, clicking left…one click per second. By the end of a year, it would have clicked over 31 million times. It would take over 30 years before it even began to approach one billion clicks. And for a trillion clicks?
More than 31,546 YEARS.
A click for each cell in your body would take three MILLION years – one click for each of the roughly 100 trillion human cells in your body, each with a structure suited to its particular function. (And with each click, about 7 million of those cells would die and be replaced.)
Now multiply those 100 trillion cells by 10. That’s how many non-human, microbial cells you also carry within, as estimated by the Human Microbiome Project. You contain than 500 strains of friendly organisms alone!
It makes you wonder: Could the human genome and gene expression have evolved from the microbial genome? Might we actually be microbial beings manifested in human form?
It certainly gives you a new respect for the fragile, symbiotic relationships among cells!
But those relationships can be disturbed by things like poor diet, drugs and electromagnetic (EMF) and chemical pollution. If ignored, it results in a cascade of dysfunction that we ultimately experience as illness. At the root are epigenetic changes – changes in gene expression that can carry across generations.
Turning People into Patients
Genetics don’t dictate your fate so much as predispose you. They’re like a loaded gun: harmless until triggered. Just having an “Alzheimer’s gene” doesn’t mean you’re fated to get the disease. You may never even develop symptoms – unless something triggers the gene.
Whatever that something is, its effect depends on one thing: a disordered biological terrain.
Among other things, the terrain is the sounding board for all the toxins we encounter daily. According to the USA Today report of an Environmental Health Perspectives study, “the typical pregnant woman has dozens of potentially toxic or even cancer-causing chemicals in her body — including ingredients found in flame retardants and rocket fuel.”
These chemicals include certain pesticides, flame retardants, PFCs used in non-stick cookware, phthalates (in many fragrances and plastics), pollution from car exhaust, perchlorate (in rocket fuel) and PCBs, toxic industrial chemicals banned in 1979 that persist in the environment.
Many of these chemicals pass through the placenta and can concentrate in the fetus, says lead author Tracey Woodruff, director of the University of California-San Francisco Program on Reproductive Health and Environment.
Other researchers have discovered some of these chemicals in babies’ umbilical cords, Woodruff says.
The physical, mental, emotional and spiritual symptoms produced by environmental influences reflect our greater defense system’s ability – or inability – to neutralize the toxic cocktail. Since the goal is to sustain our natural state of health, those actions are called auto-regulating processes. They occur in what Pischinger first called the ground system and we know as the extracellular matrix (ECM) or terrain.
The symptom clusters called diseases are actually signs of the body defending against the intoxication. Its key components include the
- Cellular respiration and antioxidant system
- Mucosal surfaces
- Hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal axis
- Immune system (thymus) and lymphoid tissues
- Autonomic neural reflexes
and, of course, the connective tissue, or mesenchyme, that makes up the ECM.
Modern chronic illness is multifactorial, which is one reason why establishment medicine seldom treats it effectively. The conventional approach is linear: one symptom, one cause. But the human body is complex and dynamic: a system of systems connected and unified by the terrain.
When someone is suffering from a variety of strange and seemingly unrelated symptoms, physicians often tell them there’s no particular cause: It’s all in their head or just something they must live with – an illness to be “managed” for the rest of their life.
Consistently, the media regales us with “news” of brand new diseases needing brand new drugs – or brand old drugs for new conditions. Symptoms and risks are treated as illnesses themselves. Patients with certain biomarkers get labeled as “previvors”: healthy people who might get sick but, the medical orthodoxy promises, will survive thanks to modern medicine (the same medicine that’s been documented to kill nearly 800,000 Americans a year).
Made fearful of disease and their own bodies’ physical processes, many people do exactly as the ads instruct: ask their doctor if the latest wonder drug is for them.
Quantum Medicine & a Sea of Vibrating Energy
I find it fascinating how the establishment never questions how two people labeled with the same disease become ill from very different causes.
As we’ve noted before, the history of modern science falls into two distinct eras: before and after Einstein. Before, Newtonian thought ruled. Named after the work of Sir Isaac Newton, this kind of thinking is rational, linear, law-driven and materialistic. (“Materialism” is the belief that only matter exists and everything that happens results from interactions of matter.)
It’s also the foundation of modern Western medicine, which views the body as a kind of biological computer made up of structural or specialized tissues, organs, enzymes, amino acids and membrane receptors all controlled by the central and peripheral nervous systems.
Thus, conventional dentists see surgical treatment as their main intervention. If a cavity forms, you clean out the decay and restore the tooth. If the pulp dies, you do a root canal or remove the tooth. It’s Newtonian medicine: remove the “diseased” component or destroy abnormally functioning cells or tissues. Whatever you do, don’t help the individual heal him or herself.
When Einstein came along in the early 20th century, his experiments in high energy particle physics changed our understanding of the universe. Unfortunately, they had less effect on many people’s understanding of the human body.
One of Einstein’s great insights was that matter and energy are really two forms of the same thing. Matter can be turned into energy and, on the particle level, energy can be turned into matter. This one-and-the-same thing is the universal substance of which we are all composed: a sea of vibrating energy.
Rather than seeing ourselves as biological computers, it makes more sense to know ourselves as dynamic energy systems vibrating at specific frequencies that can be affected by positive or negative energy. We’re also affected by our nutritional intake, living environment, emotions and spiritual beliefs.
All together, these influence our physical and cellular systems of growth and physical expression.
We cannot attempt to cure one part of the body without
treating the others. We cannot attempt to cure the body
if we forget the Soul. – Plato
Mapping the Route to Healing
A good concept for grasping this paradigm is Gestalt – a concept I was first introduced to as a junior at the University of California. A German word meaning “form” or “shape,” Gestalt expresses a concept of wholeness. Just as the whole is greater than the sum of its parts, a human being is more than just a collection of cells.
So when a new patient comes in seeking help, our first step is to find the unity in their dental and medical story. That story – a unique, personal history – gives us a road map for healing. But a road map can only show you where you are and where you want to go. It can’t tell you how to get there. Rather, you consult the map to plan your route.
Many come to our office with a veritable Pandora’s box of stifling symptoms and a litany of confusing diagnoses. They’ve consulted dozens of doctors, dentists and others who have told them dozens of conflicting stories about their illness and how to treat it. Why so many? Each has looked at parts without noticing how they fit together.
So we start by finding how they fit. Only then can we plan the route.
Understanding the unifying paradigm will help you travel that route – like the ruby slippers helped Dorothy on her way to Oz and then back home. She did the walking, but the power of the shoes sure helped.
We can smile, breathe, walk, and eat our meals in a way that allows us to be in touch with the abundance
of happiness that is available. We are very good at preparing to live, but not very good
at living. We know how to sacrifice ten years for a diploma and we are willing to work very hard
to get a job, a car, a house, and so on. But we have difficulty remembering
that we are alive in the present moment, the only moment there is for us to be alive.
– Thich Nhat Hanh
From Our Blog:
There’s a new, small study out suggesting that “essential oil mouth rinse” may not improve your periodontal health all that much if you’re already pretty diligent with your hygiene.
So are essential oils just a kind of gimmick?
It depends on what kind of oils you’re talking about.
The study, published in the International Journal of Dental Hygiene, looked at just one product: Listerine CoolMint, which contains thymol (derrived from thyme), eucalyptol (eucalyptus), methyl salicylate (derrived from a variety of plants) and menthol (mint). While the last two are soothing, only the first two have antimicrobial qualities – especially the thymol (eucalyptol depends on the particular species it’s derrived from). Yet perio health depends on managing microbial balance in the mouth, so its not really so surprising that this particular blend of oils would have limited effect.
Other oils, however, have proven effective in keeping the “bad bugs” in check.
For instance, clove oil has long been used as a dental remedy, but others, such as cinnamon oil, appear to be even better. A study published late last year in Acta BioMedica found it “more effective than clove oil exhibiting broad spectrum of antibacterial activity inhibiting all the ten test bacterial species involved in dental caries.”
This was supported by a study published about a month later in the Journal of Contemporary Dental Practice. This time, researchers evaluated 9 different oils and found 5 of them effective against S. mutans, one of the key players in oral disease. While wintergreen, lime, spearmint and peppermint showed no antibacterial activity, cinnamon, lemongrass, cedarwood, clove and eucalyptus did. Cinnamon was most powerful, followed by lemongrass and cedarwood. The authors concluded that
the use of these essential oils against S. mutans can be a viable alternative to other antibacterial agents as these are an effective module used in the control of both bacteria and yeasts responsible for oral infections.
It’s the kind of essential oil that matters.
The most courageous act is still to think for yourself. Aloud. – Coco Chanel
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Image credits, via Flickr
- Feed Your Brain: Cauldron Graphix
- Happy Holidays: zizzybaloobah
- Metronome: Mrs Logic
- Map: Inky Bob