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Dr. Robert Gatis Naturopath

The company Mind & Body Miracles is the brainchild of Dr. Robert L. Gatis, B.Sc., N.D., MCHt., FAARFM, Doctor of Naturopathic Medicine,  Certified Master Hypnotherapist (Biomedical)and Fellow in Anti-Aging, Regenerative and Functional Medicine.  Throughout his career, Dr. Gatis has come to the realization that the impact of the Mind on the Body is most often forgotten or ignored by medical professionals when, in fact, the Mind has a tremendous impact on the evolution of the disease process – and the person’s ability to heal.

 

Our mission is to provide reputable services, products and health information – focusing on the interaction of Mind and Body – to enable you, the consumer, to make appropriate decisions about your health goals and the means to achieve them.  Enjoy our site and Enjoy good health!

Nicotine Addiction Fact or Fiction Part Three

Smokers are in an addiction class all by themselves.  If you have read the previous two blogs you now know that smokers, in general, are dopamine deficient and are “psychologically” addicted to the “feeling good” effects of the dopamine release stimulated by nicotine.  You are also aware that will power has very little to do with the ability to stop smoking – because addictions tend to be regulated by the Subconscious Mind and the Right Brain.  The Subconscious Mind (which is like the hard drive on your computer) and the Right Brain set up set up the automatic and associative responses in the body.  In the case of a smoker, he or she has physical associations, like associating drinking alcohol and smoking, or taking a break and smoking, in addition to the addictive compulsions.  On top of this, the smoker over time also develops a subconscious belief or program that “smoking is the ONLY way that I can feel good”.  Everyone is entitled to feel good – including smokers, of course – but the smoker’s mind is playing a trick.  If smoking is the only way that I can feel good, all other ways that could provoke the feeling good response become secondary.

For a smoker to quit smoking permanently, the individual must become a non-smoker (no

addiction) and an ex-smoker (no habitual associations).  In order to do this, the Subconscious Mind must be involved – since it creates these associations in the first place.  Will power for the chronic smoker, in my opinion, is useful but has very little to do with quitting in the long term.  The easiest way to access this part of the mind is to use the natural mind state called hypnosis.  It is a state that we use daily, but no one teaches you how to use it to our advantage.

Most smokers need subconscious help to quit permanently – since they have often tried to quit multiple times and failed.  Reprogramming must occur around self-esteem, creating health and motivation.  If someone has a faulty program, it must be identified and updated, or deleted and replaced in the Subconscious Mind- and this is especially true with smokers.  Everything that they believe smoking “gives” them is a lie.  Smoking has never given them anything that the non-smoker doesn’t already have.  If you have the conscious desire to give up the psychological addiction to smoking, or you know someone you care about who smokes, please consider the program that I have created called “Stop Killing Yourself:  21 Days to Your Last Cigarette”. It uses self-hypnosis to access the Subconscious Mind and establish new healthier programming.  It is time for smokers to reclaim their health.  It has recently come to my attention that many medical doctors are refusing to take on a new patients who smoke.  Is this because medical doctors consider patients who smoke to be on borrowed time?  Your body is a miracle.  Give it a fighting chance. Take the steps to quit smoking now.

Until next time…

Dr. Gatis

Nicotine Addiction Fact or Fiction Part 2

In the first installment of “Nicotine Addiction – Fact or Fiction”,  I mentioned the following information about smokers which I believe are backed up by research in the area:  1)  Smokers are psychologically-addicted to the effects of nicotine rather than physically-addicted to nicotine – due to the effect on the neurotransmitter dopamine (the “feeling good” neurotransmitter);  2)  most chronic tobacco users who have trouble quitting are deficient in dopamine and were probably dopamine-deficient before they started smoking, and 3)  attempting to quit smoking soley by reducing the amount of nicotine over time – without taking other measures to increase dopamine levels – is almost impossible as a dopamine-deficient smoker will experience withdrawal symptoms in proportion to the lack of dopamine e.g., anxiety, irritability, depression.  We have all heard the expression “an apple a day keeps the doctor away”.  When it comes to dopamine, however, the consumption of beets has been shown to raise increase the production of serotonin and dopamine.  Perhaps a beet-a-day would keep the psychiatrist away – and help smokers to quit.

There is another side to the smokers dilemma.  All smokers associate cigarettes with Quitting smoking - male hand crushing cigaretteother activities like eating, drinking coffee or alcohol, driving and so on.  These are habitual associations.  As a Bio-medical hypnotherapist as well as an ND, I am aware that the subconscious mind has everything to do with creating and maintaining addictions and these habitual associations.  The Subconscious Mind is very strong.  In fact, the Subconscious Mind via its Right Brain Hemisphere connections runs all the “automatic” actions in the body below your conscious control. In other words, actions that you don’t have to think about that happen automatically.  The problem with the right brain is that it is based on emotions, not logic. The right brain and subconscious mind are like the hard drive on your computer.  It has all your beliefs about yourself and life, as well as the associations between thought forms and actions, but these beliefs and associations are not often logical and get acted upon anyway.

In the case of a chronic smoker, the primary associative belief is often “smoking is the ONLY way that I can feel good”.  If this associative belief remains active, unchallenged and unchanged, the right brain/subconscious mind has no choice but to continue the internal drive to smoke.  This is why the natural mind-state we call “hypnosis” can be beneficial – because it allows access to the subconscious mind and can eliminate these unwanted associations and beliefs.  I will have more to say about this in the final installment.

Until next time….be miraculous!

Dr. Gatis

Nicotine Addiction: Fact or Fiction?

This week is National Stop Smoking Week.   I have worked with many smokers and have some views on smoking that may be useful for those of you who currently smoke and would like to quit.  To this end, I will blog several times this week in order to give you information that you will find useful.

Addiction is defined by compulsive drug-seeking and abuse, even in the face of Healthy lung shape world design logo concept idea with love heart shape symbolic sign of women human hands on blur green natural clean air greenery background: Element of this image furnished by NASAnegative health consequences.  Smokers would definitely fall under this category – but what are they actually addicted to, and how are they addicted?  Smoking addiction is in a class by itself, in my opinion.  Smokers assume that they use tobacco products on a regular basis because they are addicted to nicotine.  The truth, however, is that they are not physically addicted to the effects of nicotine. They are addicted to the psychological effects of nicotine.  I first became aware of this fact when a woman who routinely smoked at least 2 packs a day got pregnant.  She immediately stopped smoking for the entire pregnancy with no cravings and no side-effects from stopping.  How is this possible?  If she had been addicted to heroin instead, it would have been virtually impossible without severe physical withdrawal symptoms.

Research indicates that nicotine acts on the brain’s reward pathways – and those involving the neurotransmitter dopamine.  Nicotine increases dopamine in the “reward” circuits.  All the effects that smokers attribute to nicotine are actually the result of dopamine stimulation in the brain.  Nicotine is rapidly distributed to the brain with peak levels occurring within 10 seconds of inhalation.

Nicotine is also rapidly eliminated from the body, so the nicotine-stimulating effect on dopamine is short.  In order to maintain the drug’s effects, the smoker has to take another nicotine “hit”.

The problem with smokers is that they are usually dopamine deficient to begin with – and nicotine makes them feel “good”. The unfortunate thing about most current treatments for nicotine addiction is that they concentrate on the supposed physical Cigarette stub with smokeeffects of nicotine withdrawal.  Take the patch, for example.  The patch is designed to give decreasing nicotine doses over time assuming that this will allow a smoker to “wean off” nicotine.  The problem with this approach is that it doesn’t give the smoker more dopamine I.e., it doesn’t address the dopamine deficiency.  A chronic smoker will actually experience symptoms relating to “not enough” dopamine  (irritability, craving, depression, anxiety, cognitive and attention deficits, sleep disturbances) rather than nicotine “withdrawal” symptoms. In order to quit smoking, the dopamine deficiency must be addressed.  If we can get the smoker’s brain to make more dopamine or find another way to stimulate dopamine release, then

Stopping smoking can become relatively easy – and I have never met a smoker who really didn’t want to quit.

Until the next installment…

Dr. Gatis

Pesticides Are Linked to Lower Sperm Counts

Arzt untersucht Tomaten mit Stethoskop auf Gefahr fr GesundheitA recent study by Jorge Chavarro, an assistant professor at the Harvard School of Public Health, published in Human Reproduction, found that men eating fruits and vegetables high in pesticide residues had lower sperm counts and more oddly-shaped sperm than those who had lower levels of dietary pesticide exposure.  Researchers classified the produce as high or low-to-moderate levels of pesticides.  The men who ate the high-pesticide fruits and vegetables had a 49% lower total sperm count and a 32% reduction in normally-shaped sperm as compare to the men eating the least amount of high-pesticide produce.

One study isn’t definitive proof of pesticide effects on sperm – but for those men demonstrating low sperm counts, it should be concerning.  It isn’t good enough to just eat 5 to 9 fruits and vegetables per day.  We all need to find ways to thoroughly wash the pesticides off the food we eat and/or eat organically, if possible.

Here are the fruits and vegetables that were tested ranked from highest level to lowest level of pesticide contamination:

  • Green, yellow and red peppers;
  • Spinach;
  • Strawberries;
  • Celery;
  • Blueberries;
  • Potatoes;
  • Peaches and plums;
  • Apples and pears;
  • Winter squash;
  • Kale, mustard greens and swiss chard;
  • Grapes and raisins

Until next time…

Dr. Gatis

Feeling “Beat”?  Eat Beets!

Beet root has an unusually high level of nitrates – which has been shown to boost both blood flow and stamina.  A research team from Queen Mary’s University in London (2010) and at the Baker IDI Heart & Diabetes Institute in Melbourne Australia (2012) both found that a glass of beet juice lowered blood pressure “significantly” for several hours.

Sport scientists at the University of Exeter in the UK found that two 2.5 oz shots of beet

Fresh beet on wooden background

juice taken two-and-a-half hours before exercising decreased the body’s oxygen consumption by as much as 3 %, thereby increasing the athlete’s stamina.

Wake Forest Translations Science Center in North Carolina found that consuming beet juice improved blood flow to the brain – and the frontal lobe in particular.  Since this is the region of the brain most affected in dementia patients, the consuming beets for their nitrate content and concomitant increase in brain blood flow may be of benefit.

In summary, if you are in need of a boost in energy, either physically or mentally, add beets to your smoothies in the morning!

Until next time…

Dr. Gatis

Use It Or Lose It

No.  I am not talking about sex (although this may be true).  Brain cells need stimulation in order to “stay sharp”.  Regular brain exercise is as necessary as regular general bodily exercise.  Research from Rush Alzheimer’s Disease Center, published in the Journal of the American Medical Association looked at 800 older Americans over 4.5 years.  The individuals who challenged their brains several times per week had a 33% lower risk of Alzheimer’s than people who participated in brain-stimulating activities just several times a month.  Although I didn’t see bingo on the list, other activities included reading, doing puzzles, playing cards, doing crosswords and visiting museums.  Use them (brain cells) or lose them – does apply here.

Until next time…

Dr. Gatis

Does Eating Fish Reduce Cancer Risk?

Most of us are aware by now of the cardiovascular benefits of having fish in the diet.  Eating omega-3-rich fish, like salmon, reduces blood pressure and fat accumulation in the arteries.  The recommendation from Heart associations is to consume at least two portions of oily fish per week.  Is there anything else that is healthy about eating fish?  Apparently there is.

Saint Luke’s Mid America Heart Institute in Kansas City conducted a review in 2014 of

red fish isolated on white background

Italian studies that strongly suggests that eating oily fish twice-per-week can also help to prevent the development of cancers of the breast, colon, intestine and esophagus.  The authors also emphasized the importance of how you prepare the fish for eating.  The low risk of developing the afore-mentioned cancers was only apparent when prepared using olive oil and wasn’t fried or preserved with salt.

This makes you wonder, of course, whether there were other factors involved besides the omega 3 in the fish itself creating the lower cancer risk.  This being said, the benefits of consuming fish are undeniable on the heart and circulation, and lowering the risk of cancer would certainly be a welcome perk.

Until next time…

Dr. Gatis

Marriage Does Have Its Advantages

Marriage can be a tax break – and most of us have made a joke about marriage “breaking” us.  Research shows, however, that healthy, unmarried people who rated their health as “excellent” were, on average, 75 percent more likely to die during the 20 year period studied than married people.  The benefits declined, however, as people’s health or marriage declined.  Unmarried people in “fair” health were only 40 percent more likely to Dollarphotoclub_70805976die than married people.

The American Psychological Association found that couples who later divorced had 34 percent higher levels of norepinephrine in their blood.  Norepinephrine is a stress hormone – and the implication is, of course, that being married is less stressful, or not being married is more stressful.  Professor Janet Kiecolt-Glaser, from the Institute for Behavioral Medicine Research at Ohio State University states that “marital quality is a good predictor of subsequent health” and how personal relationships, especially marriage, can translate into positive health outcomes.  When a new Star Trek movie comes out, Mr. Spock will have to change his greeting to ….”Get married, live long and prosper”!

Until next time…

Dr. Gatis

Is Your Glass Half-Empty or Half-Full?

Does a positive outlook improve your health?  How you perceive your life does matter to your body.  A University of Wisconsin study found that of 30,000 individuals with perceived high stress had a 43 percent increased risk of an early demise – but only if they viewed their stress as negative.

Dr. Jeremy Jamieson, assistant professor of psychology at the University of Rochester,

glass of water with inscription half full, half empty

New York, divided subjects into two groups.  One group was instructed to “reinterpret bodily signals as beneficial” while the other group was not given this information.  Group One, the group prepped beforehand with the instruction, performed better and had less social anxiety.  According to Dr. Jamieson, rethinking how we perceive stress dramatically alters how effectively we cope with “stressful situations and major life transitions”.  Positive thinking skills means that you are better able to handle the everyday stresses of life in a more constructive way.

What are the physical benefits of a positive outlook on life?  Experts at the Mayo Clinic have found that the benefits of maintaining this “life-positive” view translates into lower rates of depression, greater resistance to the common cold and a reduced risk of death from heart disease.

Until next time…

Dr. Gatis

Diagnosing Parkinson’s With The Voice

When doctors ask you to say “ahhhh”, it is usually to look at the condition of your throat. Doctor examining throat Dr. Max Little, Chairman of the Parkinson’s Voice Initiative, has developed Speech Recognition software which compares a patient’s voice to a database of vocal recordings of Parkinson’s patients and those who do not have the disease.  Early testing of the technology have demonstrated it to be 99% accurate, and the project is currently amassing 10,000 further recordings to further assess the software’s ability to detect Parkinson’s.  Apparently, those individuals with Parkinson’s show specific vocal patterns e.g., tremors.

Parkinson’s is the second most common neurodegenerative disease behind Alzheimer’s disease and affects one million people in the USA.  There is no lab test specific for the disease.   Parkinson’s has the best outcomes when identified early – as the disease has no cure – but the progression of the disease can be slowed by pharmaceutical therapy. The diagnosis, up until now, has relied on clinical assessments of stress, muscle reflexes, gait, brain scans and so on.  The use of this voice recognition technology is showing great promise.  Calling your doctor may soon take on a whole new meaning.

Until next time…

Dr. Gatis

The Key to Health Is in the Mind

Psychoneuroimmunology is the study of the relationship between the mind or psyche, the nervous system and the immune system.  Another way to state this is the relationship between stress the immune system and our health.   When we are “stressed” the body produces “stress-induced” chemicals like cortisol and epinephrine – which are part of our survival mechanism and absolutely necessary.  These chemicals rise in the blood in order to protect us from immediate harm.  The problem arises when these chemicals are chronically elevated due to ongoing stress triggers i.e., modern life.

How can we turn down this stress response, you say?  By increasing its opposite, the

Business People Yoga Relaxation Wellbeing Concept

relaxation response.  It is no mistake that women, in particular, are flocking to the yoga studio.  A review of the literature studying the benefits of yoga found that, compared to no exercise, yoga was linked to a lower rate of obesity, reduced high blood pressure and even tended to reduce high cholesterol.  The Cochrane Collaboration found that yoga can reduce diastolic blood pressure and triglycerides in the blood and increase the HDL (good) cholesterol.

Another easy way to induce the relaxation response is to practice “deep breathing” techniques – which have long been part of meditation.  The researchers at Harvard Medical School found that practicing deep breathing 20 minutes a day for eight weeks increased the expression of genes involved in energy release and increased the protein NF-B – which is part of the body’s response to inflammation, stress and trauma.  The end result is that deep breathing helps to reduce the symptoms of anxiety, lowers heart rate and blood pressure, and improves oxygenation of tissues.

The practice of meditation continues to attract the attention of scientists for its potential stress-relieving effects on the mind and body.  Thailand researchers studied the effects of transcendental meditation (which creates a state of profound relaxation while remaining awake).  Over the course of 18 weeks, study participants felt less anxiety, felt better in social situations at work as well as with their private relationships with family and friends.

Break your stress pattern and take the time to breathe deeply and “smell the roses” – preferably daily.

Take the time to still your mind and body.  Your health depends on it.

Until next time….

Dr. Gatis

Walking Is Better For Your Heart Than Running

Good news for all sedentary middle-aged people!  A recent study from the Mayo Medical School in Minnesota analyzed the effect of a three month interval-walking program on peak aerobic capacity (the amount of oxygen consumed per unit of work).  Compared to the non-training group, the training group – over three months – increased their peak aerobic capacity by an average of 28 percent.  The regimen involved five or more sets of three-minute, low-intensity walking alternated with three minutes of high-intensity walking cobblestone street walkfor an average of four days per week.

Running can also be good for you, but, as the scientists at the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory in California found out, although running reduced the risk of heart disease by 4.5 percent in individuals between 18 and 80 over a six-year period, walking reduced the risk of heart disease by 9.8 percent (almost double).  So it is safe to say that you “should walk, not run, when you cross the street”.  A walking interval-training program is apparently the way to go…so get going!

Until next time…

Dr. Gatis

Why Should You Work Out In The Morning?

Testosterone burns fat, builds muscle and increases sex drive in men and women.  Testosterone, like most steroid hormones, has a daily rhythm – highest in the morning and decreasing over the day.  It has been suggested that our ability to perform follows the same trend i.e., testosterone levels can predict our physical performance over the day.  A team at Swansea University, lead by Professor Kilduff,  evaluated the effect of training in the morning on testosterone response throughout the day.

Using testosterone levels derived from saliva sampling, 18 semi-professional rugby Morning  exercise and black clockplayers were divided into three groups:  the control or resting group; the sprint group (5 x 40 meters) and weight-training (bench press and squat) group.  A follow-up saliva sample was taken before the players completed a performance test (back squat and bench press, 40m sprint and jump test).

The results showed the circadian decline in testosterone levels was negated by morning training.  In other words, working out (especially with weight training) in the morning  keeps the testosterone levels from dropping during the day and increases performance in power sports at least six hours after the initial workout.

If you recall in a previous blogs (2 and 3), I mentioned the reasons why maintaining testosterone levels is extremely important for men and women.  Here is a short list:  Increases bone density, decreases cholesterol, helps to prevent Alzheimer’s disease and dementia, prevents and treats depression, protects against cardiovascular disease, hypertension, excess body fat and arthritis, enhances memory and cognition, and protects against Diabetes, Insulin Resistance and Metabolic Syndrome.   Perhaps changing how and when we exercise may reduce our tendency to certain health conditions by maintaining optimal steroid hormone levels.

Until next time……

Dr. Gatis

Jealousy Can Increase Your Risk of Alzheimer’s

Negative emotions can and do have an effect on our physiology.  The Chinese have known for centuries  that anger can affect the liver, grief can affect the lungs, the kidneys can be affected by fear and so on.  Now mainstream medical science has confirming data – at least when it comes to emotions like jealousy, fear and anger.  Having jealous or insecure thoughts has weird effects on the brain – in particular, the amygdala – the part of the brain that is involved in our perception of fear, anger and disgust.  The amygdala releases the hormones adrenaline and noradrenaline as part of your stress response.  The stress response is useful and necessary when it is short-lived but chronic stress andHuman Emotion the long-term release of these hormones affects the immune system and the cardiovascular system in deleterious ways.

Having chronic or obsessive thoughts of your partner being unfaithful or with another lover, or competition (real or imagined) with another in the workplace, for example, activates the amygdala and the release of stress hormones that can raise blood pressure – and blood pressure spikes when under stress have been linked to some forms of dementia.  A study out of Kyoto University in Japan, of 800 women over 38 years-of-age who felt most stressed or anxious, were at increased risk of Alzheimer’s and long-term distress.  The bottom line is that if you are feeling “out or your mind” with jealousy or insecurity, the result,  on a physical level, may just be literally “losing your mind”. Could it be that a high self-esteem and self-concept can protect us in some way from these mind-related diseases? Food for thought.

Until next time,

Dr. Gatis