A List of Common sense Practices For Self Care

This is not rocket science, but many forget….so I put these in a list as a reminder to keep life in balance,and stress in check


1. Regular,vigorous,aerobic exercise( adjusted to individual health and general physical condition)

2.proper nutrition

3.develop healthy sleep patterns

4.keep caffeine to a reasonable level,so as to avoid disruption to sleep patterns

5.engage in a spiritual practice at least once per week ( and avoid work activity entirely for at least one day per week)

6.take frequent times for renewal ( long weekends and/or vacations for much needed personal renewal )

7.erect barriers between themselves and work …A single example is a change of clothing when getting home from work ( ” I am now out

of work mode”)

8. Ensure that your life includes both recreation and relaxation

9.Do something that you may not be good at. ( eg  soccer,a musical instrument,a garden,reading mystery books,mediocre

carpentry, coaching a softball team …..etc )

10. Engage in a regular practice of a systemic mindfullness activity ( eg systemic relaxation,MBSR, meditation, yoga, reiki etc )

11. Exposure to the natural world ( sand,ocean,sun,lakes,forests)

12.Engage in good humor ( seek out and share)

13. Work to develop and maintain supportive relationships ( at home,socially,and at work)

14. BALANCE work and Non Work Activities

There are many many more ideas…..Share yours in a Blog Reply


Have a Happy Easter





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A Short List of Resources For Those Filled With Stress and Feelings of Burnout

These resources are in no paticular order. Some will apply to individuals who are simply burned out form work.

For others it may be trauma from life, work,relationships,life experiences, or in The Service of Others …….

I recommend all these resources …..  You can find them all by using The Google search engine.

1. The Hormone Cure : Reclaim Balance,Sleep,Sex Drive,and Vitality Naturally

With The Gottfried Protocol

by Sara Gottfreid

2. Post Traumatic Stress Disorder ( PTSD )

by Susan Pease Banitt

3.   The Comfort Garden : Tales From The Trauma Unit

 by Laurie Barkin

4. Not Burning Out in The Srvice of Others

 by Seane Corn ( Vinyasa Flow Yoga Teacher and Spiritual Activist)


These are a great Starting Place for Self Healing ……..





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More Humour … Truth Can Be Stranger Than Fiction

It was as yet a cold ,snowy,Feb. day…the 14th to be exact. It was Valentine’s day.

I was working at the office, and a panic stricken voice rang out …call

911 , someone is in the snowbank, and has stopped breathing. I went outside to the parking lot

and there was one of my female patients, 82 yrs old , in full cardiac arrest. I started CPR

and brought ocygen and other resuscitation drugs to the scene . Shortly , fire, police,and ambulance

arrived. All efforts were made to start her heart. So often, these efforts are unsuccessful. On this

occasion, because it happened in the adjacent parking lot, with fire and ambulance just moments

away ( only blocks away) …my patient opened her eyes and awaoke…with no memory of the events !!!

She sat up and I asked her how she was….She said she was fine, an asked who all these people were around her.

There were four young firefighters, two EMT’s and two police officers and of course I was there.

I asked her if she knew what day it was….Se said...” Doctor, its Valentine’s Day !”

I couldn’t resist ……   I commented …..” Dear, There are easier ways to get a date on Valentine’s Day ….. !!! “

My patient survived…….We laugh about the incident to this day …….

drV ( with permission )

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When The Mind Lies … The Body Tells The Truth…Care For The Caregiver

I had the opportunity to attend a seminar last night… “Careing for the caregiver”

Most physicians have experienced everything that the speaker was sharing. He was clearly an expert.

His prescriptions for change were clearly unconventional…More about that later as time is short.

Medical training is a very stressful activity. There is a great deal of stress. There is a great deal of fear. There is a great deal

of suppression and dissociation of emotions. It is fair to say that there is extreme stimulation of the over-production of

cortisol and adrenaline. Normally the cycles of the brain and body involve the hypothalamic-pituitary -end organ axis. Acute stress

damages the normal functioning of the cycles.Chronic stress makes that worse.

Medical training is akin to acute stress…sometimes at an almost psychologically traumatizing level.Medical practise represents

a chronic ongoing stress. Some of the worst effects of this will be seen in our emergency department physicians,and high pressure surgical

specialty areas ( trauma surgeon,vascular and cardiac surgery)

Currently,studies show that over 60 % of medical professionals are burned out,and in Western Society,we live in a system that has escalating stress,and demands.

The system is clearly at a breaking point. Many caregivers of various stripes ( nursing,medical,psychologists,administration,educators,paramedic..etc etc)

Many caregivers suffer from a disconnect between the normal feeling,emotion based system of the higher cortical brain; and have become functioning

daily from the limbic and biologically older midbrain. These are patterns that are common in those we say are suffering from  PTSD ( post traumatic stress

disorder)  The question on my mind is…what can be done to Not Burn Out in The Service of Others.


Caregivers Need a psychological Trauma Toolkit and ” Psychological First Aid”


1.Circular breathing/Abdominal Breathing

2.Progressive Relaxation

3.Body Scan( in your mind)



So…More about this all in a future blog

Remember that Caregivers are Spiritual Creatures too  (  The path….Stabilize;then Shift the internal

narrative: a faith-based spiritual practise daily and  reconection to self, relationships,and a healthy life philosophy


More  to come





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CT Scans Radiation Exposure and Future Cancer Risk

I attribute this post to Dr Gifford-Jones ( a well-known medical writer, who dedicated his life to

simplifying many medical matters for the public, in a simple and insightful way ) ….

Find him online at       http://docgiff.com/

I found this particular post timely in a world addicted to tests to ( improve) health

                                    What People Don’t Know About CT Scans

   CT scans can be life-saving when diagnosing cancer, internal bleeding, blood clots, broken bones and other problems. But what many people don’t realize is the greater the number of CT scans, the greater the risk of developing cancer. A report from the University of California estimates that CT scans will be the cause 14,500 cases of cancer in the future.

   To find out how much people know about CT scans, researchers interviewed 235 patients who were scheduled for a non-emergency CT scan. It’s shocking that one-third did not understand that their body was being exposed to  radiation. Those that were aware grossly underestimated the exposure. Researchers then asked what the patients were thinking about before the procedure was done. The majority replied they were more concerned about getting their parking tickets validated than possible radiation effects, This was not a very encouraging survey.

   The brutal fact is that a single CT scan exposes patients to the same amount of radiation as 500 X-rays of the lungs, 1,000 more than dental X-rays or bone mineral tests. So always ask your doctor if the CT scan is needed and if so, could an MRI or ultrasound which does not subject patients to radiation, provide the same result. It’s also wise to keep a record of your own radiation history.

   Remember that CT scans are the biggest source of radiation of all imaging technologies.  And every year about 10 percent of  North Americans are scanned!


I think that Dr. Gifford-Jones has a very strong argument here ….

Now I feel that we are in an era of electronic medical records …..BUT  who does keep track of an individual’s TOTAL LIFE TIME RADIATION DOSE.

Welll…simple….  NO ONE DOES !!!  ….  To me ,even in the age of electronic medical records, much of the information about you is only available to

the doctor having access ,because he is in the circle of care ….  but, as yet…much is not immediately available to the ER Department or the evening

Medical clinic you may attend from time to time … I believe we should all have a MEDICAL SMART CARD which records all your medical visits,tests,X-rays,pharmaceuticals

and the information can be shared with any medical provider who needs the information to guide your care. The efficiency in information availability is well worth the costs



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The Brain , The Soul , and Thoughts on Beeing on Neural Autopilot

I was reading today,as is so often the case, and came across an article about  the speed that our world

requires us to think and process information….and the result. When we get up in the morning ( if we

had the luxury of a peaceful night’s rest) our neural system  springs into action…planning our day …We shower, and

think about the day’s schedule, and brush out teeth,shave,and tidy our hair while our brain is reviewing the

human interactions planned . WE email,tweet,and Facebook over dinner,and have text message conversations,

while our loved ones, and friends sit across from us. I am never ceased to be amazed at our collective human behaviour….

We sit in a room or around a table with friends,and family …and we are texting each other. We actually are often texting

several people at once, and we end up paying attention to nothing. So many  ideas and activities are occurring at the

same time , that we end up missing the essence of all of them !!!

In essence, we practise mindlessness rather than mindfulness..We operate on autopilot and miss most of the beauty of

what is available all around us, every day. The result is a world filled with anxiety,depression,panic disorder,striving for

no good reason,high levels of chronic pain,high blood pressure ,leading to vascular events such as heart attack and stroke.

Our world has an epidemic of fibromyalgia, addiction to drug/alcohol use,sexual addiction, shopping addiction…the list goes on.

As it turns out, none of the behaviours humans commonly use to call their minds,or nerves, or numb their feelings provide relief.

Predictably, for a period of time, we try to seek stronger and more ” effective” remedies …The pharmaceutical Industry

has mastered developing products and marketing them to an over stimulated society on overdrive.

So…what to do?

The key is simple…The implementation is meeting high levels of resistance. The key is to slow down and focus on the present.

This is called mindfulness.  A famous physician, John Kabat-Zinn coined the term mindfulness Based Stress Reduction


The essence of this involves stress-reducing techniques drawn from Buddhist meditation.The concept is to pay attention in a particular way.

Simply you purposely engage your mind and attention to what is happening moment to moment,without drifting into thoughts that

about past concerns,future worries,or judgements of any kind.

The payoff ???? It’s actually quite impressive.A recent study by the American Heart Association has shown the technique to reduce

anxiety,stress,chronic pain,depression,high blood pressure,high cholesterol,and reduce heart attack /stroke rates. In the Educational System,

( for children and adolescents) mindfulness can bolster memory,attention,and concentration ( A powerful tool given the epidemic of ADHD in our

schools today ) Aggressive children could better develop self-control and reduce the emotional intensity of situations.

Imagine how that could be useful in a country like the United States, where powerful emotion is sometimes  manifest on the business end

of an automatic assault weapon with a large ammunition clip. The results of NOT doing something for our

overstimulated society on autopilot have been painfully obvious and the subject of much material on the nightly news

Henry David Thoreau once said that ” If you want to be happy then,BE”

The benefits are many and the techniques are simple. More on all of this in a future posting. For now, I have to get back to my

meditation time, and then back to my wine……..  Remember ……we are all spirits having a physical human experience ….We need to feed the

spirit in order for the human experience to be more soulful .


Until later



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e(electronic)-Health Innovation …A marriage of The iPhone and The Body

I read alot …  I learn alot…I am fascinated with human ingenuity. Here are some examples of some new and

ingenious human ideas.In Toronto,The Universty Health Netwok has many e-Innovation Projects( eg Apps on Smart phones)

I will share a few of my favourites. One app monitors the weather and can alert an asthmatic to adjust their

medication.Another can monitor blood pressure and alert you when it is out of range,or you miss a reading.

The Hospital for Sick Children can Install an APP to prompt a teenage type 1 diabetic to check their blood

sugar and reward them with an iTunes Gift Card !

Woman’s College Hospital ( Division of Breast Reconstruction ) can arrange an APP that will allow a photo

of a post op surgical wound to be sent to their surgeon, so healing can be monitored without a visit to the surgeon.

MIT has created an iPhone attachment that measures the pulse using the iPhone Camera

They also have a special attachment that can conduct an eye exam to assess for refractile error and hence

create a prescription for glasses.( Just think of the application potential for a third world nation )

The FDA in the US are soon to approve a portable ultrasound device to plug into a Smart Phone.

My favourite is from a tech company called AliveCor     http://www.alivecor.com/    It has created a credit card sized sensor

that fits over the back of an iPhone….It turns the iPhone into a portable EKG capable of monitoring the electrical impulses

from the heart. ( available to date only to Health Care Professionals)  Imagine accurate diagnosis of a heart attack at 37000 feet on a

modern Jetliner.

A Harvard MD  Peter Diaandis  has a world wide competition on, to create a devise that could diagnose 15 common medical conditions

with a  modern” Tricorder Type Device” ( remember Star Treck …”Mr Spock” and “Bones”….ahead of their time …Gee…we alreadt have the “communicator”)

Another favorite is an app that takes a picture of a mole and has a dermatologist review that…with accuracy of 98 %…better than a 6 month wait to

see them in their office)

How will all this be regulated ???  Health Canada has the resonsibility of regulating devices sold in Canada ( what if they are Free,

or available as “software” in the “cloud” hosted outside of Canada.)

Eventually there will have to be oversight, in order to differentiate between apps that are legitimate and have a useful,and safe role,

which is reproducible and verifiable. Clearly the goal would be to avoid an app that would delay timely diagnosis and hence cause harm.

Perhaps a future technology could “weed out” those who are the “worried well” and do not need to see their  doctor ….and save the system

for the sickest patients .  Imagine the savings and the efficiency that could ensue …Just Imagine  …..


Your collective thoughts are always very welcome





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I saw The Article in Macleans Magazine…Health Outcome By Postal Code

I have to give credit to my son-in -law David. He shared the recentMacLean’s Magazine

with me..It had a couple of articles on health care and health outcomes…..I wanted to comment

on both but I thought I would share information about the health effects of disparities of income,

education,housing,and employment.

Some sad but true findings

Comparing the most deprived to the least deprived here are some of the findings

The chances of dying prematurely

1.  11 % lower if you have a medical doctor

2.  20 % lower if self rated health is excellent or very good.

3. 20 % higher if recent hospitalization ( all causes)

4.  71 % higher if recently in emergency department ( all causes)

5. 86 % higher premature mortality (dying before age 75 )

6 .  102 % higher Obesity

7.  139%  higher Infant Mortality

8. 205 % higher  Live Births to Teenage Mothers

9. 242% higher  Hospitalization Due To Intentional Self Harm

10. 341% higher  Visit To Emergency Department due to Mental Health Crisis


So…Based on your Postal Code ….your long term health outcomes can be predicted…….

One finding and conclusion of the study…….Fully 75 percent of factors influencing

health rest OUTSIDE the health care system.

I am a family physician….This is NOT a surprise. It reflects every day life in my office

What could make a difference in this state of affairs…….I have a few simple suggestions…….

1. Bring back the spiritual in our school system

2.Bring back the love in our families

3.Bring back the small town value of “it takes a community to raise a child”

4.Teach ” emotional intelligence “ at a young age

5. Understand that 90 % of emotional development of children occurs by age seven…..

Parents……Spend more time playing with,and reading to your young children .

6. Live ” mindfully and be aware moment by moment”

7. Experience evrything to the full as it happens…And then let go !

8. Start an epidemic of smiling !!!!

9 . Exercise

10. Meditate and breathe


Until tomorrow ….






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The Power of Intent and Creation

I was 12 years old …. I went to geography class .The assignment was to write a project about world weather patterns. I

listened to the assignment, I studied,I wrote. All reports were graded. My geography teacher wrote at the top of my assignment ….

You would make a great doctor. I hope you consider medicine as a career. Time passed, and my studies continued.  Friends,sports,

summer jobs, academics…but ? medicine. No one in my family had anything to do with a medical career . No one had been to a formal university.

I was small town,blue collar kid. One cold day,while delivering the globe and mail  ( I had a paper route to fund my flying lessons ) …  When I was cold

and needing a rest from lugging heavy papers to early morning customers, I would sit in the   stairwell of the warm apartment buildings and read. I read about

Dr Christian Barnard doing early stage heart transplants. I heard about the early days of research connecting smoking and lung cancer and heart disease .

I was hooked. I would be a doctor for my life work. I loved science,physics,math,and biology.I loved English class. I did time in Engineering School before

my time in medical school. I had the POWER of INTENT. There was no other way to get through Medical School. I had no mentor,no one who had gone before.

I had only my thought that I would get through medical school. In engineering school….everything made sense. Physics,maths, science…Now those things made

sense. First year medical school was a jumble of  memorization, anatomy,histology,biochemistry ….I was not at all accostomed to memory work…..It was hard work:

It was like learning a new language. Nothing made sense. Pathology,pharmacology,histology …It was a jumble of names,words,drugs, diseases….Will I ever get it ???

Now I look back …. Everything makes sense,now . Physics and the study of the atom, and electrical fields and magnetic fields…now has led to  MRI technology.

Biology and biochemistry has led to understanding the Human Genome. Stem cell research has led to saving “cord blood samples at birth” in the event of a future

blood or bone marrow disorder. MRI’s can virtually see you think. They measure energy created by measuring energy in pulsating magnetic

fields. Every cell is effectively a magnet. Every cell emits energy. The energy can be measured. That makes the MRI work. Now, computers measure MRI detected energy,and create a picture.

Functional MRI’s can measure changing energy in differing mental states. Frontal lobe and amygdyla energy changes, based on on our mood and energy states.

It can be measured. The energy we can measure from our brain function cannot be seen. It cannot be felt. It is, however , very REAL.   Some of us are more aware of the

energy emitted by others and sensitive to it. How is it that we hear stories about Twins that connect at a distance .( One may know immediately when the other is hurt or dies) .,,Thought and energy. We

live in an era of knowledge of DNA ( biology) ,quantum physics ( space travel,and knowledge of the universe) , and neuroscience ( the workings of the billions of cells  that make up our brain )

I know that all of this is CONNECTED .  But here is the collision of all three .  And here in lies the merging of disciplines . Somehow the process of THINKING, and IMAGINING and

REQUESTING creates a force of INTENT that  turns into CREATION

                                                  That is the Process.  1. Imagine it 2. Feel it 3.Receive it

But be  careful. It works both ways. It can be a force of beauty and abundant intent.  It can be a force of  destructive intent by default.

Think of this….You can’t see gravity, but it is operating at all times whether you think about it or not. The law of intent works similarly.

It is working ceaselessly whether you are aware of it or acknowledge it.  So … why is it that extremely happy people who are positive and upbeat, and

creatively planning their future in the space of their mind seem to live more full and abundant and healthful lives.  By the same token, I have seen so many examples of the

law of intention working against some one…. I had one patient for whom every thing was a ” pain in the ass” ( she died of rectal cancer.)  I” don’t have a leg to stand on”

( the patient was diabetic and ended up having an amputation later in life).  That experience left me with a” broken heart ”  led to heart diease and bypass surgery in another.

” I am really pissed off ” ( bladder and kidney cancer) in yet another.


Be careful how you think …The thoughts turn into real experiences that you often contribute to ,  and often unconsciously !!

Again, I hasten to add, that there are many factors that flow into the creation of illness and the experience of healing. Our state of mind is just one(but an important one)

If we learn how to use this knowledge positively it will be entirely to your benfit and it will benefit the experiences in your life .




That is the power and Intent of Creation





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The Secret …We Have all Read IT ( byRhonda Byrne) …Does It Work ….SHARE Your Experiences

Most of us have read the book The Secret by Rhonda Byrne..to quote….


”  The Law of Attraction Grants our Every Command”

“The Creative Process helps you create what you want to manifest in three simple steps: ask,believe,and receive.”

ASKING the Universe for what you want is your opportunity to get clear about what you want.As you get

clear about what you want.As you get clear in your mind,you have asked.

BELIEVING involves acting,speaking,and thinking as though you have already received what you’ve asked for.When you emit the frequency of having received it,the law of attraction moves people,events,and circumstances for you to receive.

RECEIVING involves feeling the way you feel once your desire has manifested.Feeling good now puts you on the frequency of what you want.


MY QUESTION TODAY …… share a circumstance,event,or situation where you Asked,Believed,and Received something ( big or small ) and we can see what people have experienced personally.

      I will share some of my experiences on my next posting.






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