Monthly Archives: February 2017

Why Use Socratic Seminars in Your Health Education Class?

What is a Socratic seminar? A Socratic seminar is a formal discussion based on a topic where the leader asks open-ended questions. Throughout the Socratic seminar students will listen closely to the comments of others, think critically, and articulate their own thoughts and their responses to the thoughts of their peers. Students will learn to work cooperatively and ask questions intelligently and civilly. The Socratic seminar allows students to apply practical methods of a topic being discussed and enables the students to view certain points from several different perspectives. Throughout the discussion the teacher should minimally intervene, and when doing so it should be to lead the students to a specific topic or ask an additional open-ended question about a topic already being discussed. Giving the students the freedom to participate in a Socratic discussion will increase student involvement and student learning.

A Socratic discussion can be utilized in any subject including history, language arts, sociology, etc. but I would like to discuss the use of a Socratic discussion in a health education class. Incorporating a Socratic seminar in your health education class will be prevalent in most topics such as living a healthy life, building good character, physical activity, nutrition and health, managing stress, emotional problems, relationships, obesity, drug use, environmental health etc. this is because these topics are very relevant to your students everyday life. You can lead your students into a discussion with these topics with a current event article, after a discussion lecture, after watching a you tube clip, and relating it to something that may be going on or happening in your school. In addition these are all topics that I’m sure your students have interest in, hear about, and participate in on an everyday basis. With a proper questioning technique by the leader (teacher) you will be able to generate a very scholarly discussion among your students, you may be surprised how passionate some of your students are about specific topics.

The key to getting your students to participate and really get involved is to ask the right questions that will generate discussion. Once you are on a specific topic in class begin a Socratic seminar by asking a question on that topic, once a few students have responded start asking questions such as what do you mean by that? How does this relate? Could you give me an example? Could you explain further, what is he/she assuming? Why do you think that right? What lead you to that believe? What’s an alternative? Are you implying this? Etc. Again you may be shocked how some students may passionately agree with some of their peers responses and comments, or disagree and begin to debate which may be a good learning experience for the students because they will begin to view the topic/discussion from multiple perspectives which may enhance the learning experience.

The purpose of a Socratic seminar is to get your students engaged in a higher level of thinking to promote learning. Incorporating Socratic seminars into your class will lead your students in discussion, debate, critical thinking, acquiring greater interests, and the ability to apply practical methods. “He who learns but does not think is lost” Confucius (551-479 BCE).

How to Speed Healing After Surgery or Accident

If you have recently had or are about to have surgery or if you have been injured in an accident you can improve your chances of a quicker recovery. Although surgery is sometimes necessary to help improve your health, or save your life, recovering from it can be very stressful on many levels. There are always factors to consider. Be certain to communicate with your medical team. Ask your doctor if there are any restrictions regarding movement, diet, climate, medications, requirements for at home medical assistance, or complementary therapies. They can help you lay out a recovery plan or wellness program. Beyond the typical recovery routine that may include medications, physical therapy, or visits with a counselor or nurse, your body will need to get all of the supportive nutrients that are required for complete and speedy recovery. The following list will give you some idea of all that can be added to your health recovery regime—with the approval of your physician.

1. Rest and immobilization as required by your doctor.Be sure that your room has adequate fresh air as ionization helps recovery time; having an oxygen rich environment and sunshine are important – again unless restricted by your medical team.

2. Bathing or showering as allowed – at least warm sponge baths to remove toxins being eliminated by your skin.

3. Fill the room with fresh flowers and plants to uplift your mood.

4. Watch TV programs and movies that make you feel good – and if you are allowed to laugh definitely watch movies that keep you laughing and giggling often. Improving your mood is definitely important to healing. In fact, there are now hospital humor programs where personnel are trained to help make you laugh. Laughter is very healing!

5. Allow only those visitors with a positive mental outlook; people that make you feel happy when you see them.

6. Keep your bowels moving. Some medications have side effects that include sluggish bowel movements or constipation. Drink purified water at room temperature unless you are really warm and cool water feels better to you. However, digestion is always best without too hot or too cold water in the digestive tract. Stay away from coffee because caffeine may be dehydrating. Consider the proper diet to help yourself heal well

7. Your diet (again check with your personal physician to be certain these suggestions are appropriate for you) should be filled with foods that are nutrient rich. And every bite and everything you drink should be as valuable as possible. That means that you should eat foods that are whole, grown without herbicides, pesticides, unchanged by man. Avoid processed foods and drinks. Get close to nature. Sometimes baby foods are required if you cannot swallow easily or have compromised digestion or loss of appetite. If not, just follow some of the suggestions below:

Clear broths either chicken, beef or veal are good for healing. Soups that start with a clear brother and contain fresh vegetables as well are important. When you are ill or injured your body will not readily produce the enzymes it needs to complete digestion. We will talk about digestion enzymes a little later.

Having sufficient protein is critical to healing. As protein is assimilated it is broken down into amino acids, often called the building blocks. So, if you are unable to eat foods such as fish, chicken, turkey, veal, portk, eggs, cheese, tofu, beans, nuts and seeds, you may need to purchase protein powders and mix them with soy milk, almond milk, regular milk, or just room temp water. Ionized whey powders are probably the easiest to assimilate in small quantities, but again chew the shake (I know that sounds weird) because it would be similar to eating a steak without chewing it–very concentrated and not easily absorbed even in powdered form if you are ill. Sip on the shakes that you drink–some people enjoy adding fruit like berries or bananas.

Eat more fruits and vegetables for starters. Avoid sugars, too much salt. Avoid snacks and lifeless foods that rob your body of energy. Avoid sodas, alcohol, white flour breads, cereals, pancakes and pastas. Avoid candy and cakes unless just occasional.

Buy organically grown and made foods if possible. Instead of drinking fruit juices eat the whole food. However, if you can get organically grown fruits and vegetables you can make delicious juices (save the pulp for soup) by combining dark green veggies with carrots and beets and pear juice or pineapple or cherry or apple to make it more palatable. Fruits and vegetables are loaded with life supporting nutrients such as antioxidants, vitamins and minerals. If you have a juicer that’s terrific, if you don’t you can just use a food processor or a blender to pulverize pulp and some seeds. Be sure that you chew the juice, do not just swallow it. Your digestive system will work best if you don’t just swallow foods even when “juiced.” Chew to begin the signal to the brain that you will need enzymes for complete digestion.

Beets and beet tops, dandelion greens, parsley, argula, mustard greens, carrots and tops, and fresh lemon juice are wonderful to support liver function. Supporting your liver is extremely important as it will help you to purify your blood. The liver will help to remove toxic residue from anaesthesia and other medications. It helps to flush away waste products of all kinds so it is very important to give the liver all that needs to do its job well.

8. Vitamins/Minerals/other nutrients: Giving your body a multi-vitamin/mineral formula is integral to healing. Concentrate as well on anti-oxidants such as Vitamins A,C,E, + Zinc. Add to that a formula that includes other protective elements such as grapeseed extract, green tea (not if you have high blood pressure because it is stimulating) berries,…many anti-oxidants available today in combination formulas. A separate bone building formula that includes, Vitamin D, Calcium, Magnesium, Potassium, Boron, is important. (ask the doctor again because certain medications may be conflicting here) important to rebuilding bone.

9. Exercise and rehabilitation routinely help to strengthen muscle, ligaments, tendons and bones. Circulation is integral to wellness. Do what you are allowed to do. Check into “rubber stretch bands” to help initiate mobility if allowed –really good and gentle on joints for starters. Rebounders are also good for circulation as you become more mobile. These are mini trampolines and you can gently bounce while watching TV or listening to music–very enjoyable experience and good for you. Let your physical therapist, nurse or aid instruct you here.

10. Homeopathic remedies can also be beneficial to stimulate your body’s immune system and healing response time. Please seek the advice of an MD who practices homeopathic medicine. Go to www.vithoulkas.com to find highly trained classical homeopaths in your area.

11. Stress relief measures such as Yoga, Bio-Feedback, Meditation: Learning how to quiet and clear the mind of stressful thoughts, worries, and fears can add much to your healing program. When your body stops getting disturbing signals from your brain it can more readily attend to physical healing. Do whatever seems to soothe you most. If allowed soaking in a warm tub might help reduce aching muscles and calm the nerves. Aromatherapy is also good for soothing your senses. Try lavender under your pillow, or vanilla candles to bring tranquility. Music is also wonderful for the nervous system. Choose calming classical music, new age flutes and bells, easy listening tunes to help stay relaxed.

12. Massage therapy and acupuncture or acupressure can complement your healing program. Bringing greater circulation to an injured or ill body can speed healing. Ask your physician if this is allowed. Sometimes having circulation cuffs on your legs are recommended by doctors after surgery or injury. This might be a good way to speed healing with limited exertion.

13. Digestive Enzymes help you assimilate and absorb nutrients that are important to healing. A product such as AbsorbAid that has been clinically tested and scientifically proven to increase the absorption of vital nutrients by up to 71% can really help speed recovery time. AbsorbAid is a 100% plant based enzyme formula that works well for most all individuals–if you can eat fruits and vegetables you can take AbsorbAid Platinum. It is so safe the original AbsorbAid has been used in feeding tubes in nursing home trials with excellent results at increasing protein utilization. Amino acids are the building blocks so adding AbsorbAid digestive enzymes can really be beneficial.

14. Visualization: Visualize yourself totally well, doing whatever it is that you most enjoy in your mind first —I used to tell my patients to See, Feel and make it Real! The joy you get from imagining yourself completely well and up doing what you most enjoy can uplift your spirits and speed healing. Guided imagery tapes are readily available today.

15. Prayer and Faith: have a profound effect on healing for many people. When you believe that you will be well it can elevate your body’s responses. There are many documented cases of people healing when they are certain they will! So prepare yourself for recovery and get excited about it!

Wishing you a speedy recovery!

Stress – How Perceived Stress Vs Actual Stress Affects Your Health

Stress affects your health in a variety of ways, all negative. Without going into all the biochemical specifics, suffice it to say stress, perceived or actual, floods your body with powerful stress-related chemicals that would be very useful if you were literally fighting or running for your life, and are very health-destructive otherwise.

Effects Of Stress On The Body

  • Stress cause blood platelets to stick together, which raises blood pressure.
  • Stress causes your body to burn essential nutrients at a rapid rate, which can lead to nutrient deficiency leading to poor organ and gland function.
  • Stress interrupts digestion, which means food goes partially undigested and you get only a fraction of the nutrients from the food you would get otherwise.
  • Stress floods your system with homocystine and cortisol, which are linked to high blood pressure, heart disease and a tendency to gain weight.

Types Of Stress: Actual And Perceived

Actual stress, which is largely unavoidable, includes environmental stress such as air, water and noise pollution, and other environmental factors including extreme temperature, dangerous weather and so on.

Actual stress, which is fully avoidable, includes things like smoking, excessive drinking, a junk-food, fast-food, high-sugar, nutritionally deficient diet, lack of sleep, pushing yourself physically beyond your limits, and doing anything that obviously works against your health and well being.

Sources of psychological stress, most of which is avoidable or certainly capable of being modified, may include things like relationship issues with a spouse, child or anyone;  job-related issues; financial issues; self-esteem issues; goal and achievement related issues, personal integrity issues and so on.

When something happens that directly, physically impacts you, it is an ACTUAL stress.  Drinking polluted water, dropping a hammer on your foot, eating a bag of cookies and washing it down with a quart of sweet tea; these are sources of actual, real stress.

Perceived stress is not actual, perceived stress has to do with the story you tell yourself about what something means.  If your spouse runs late without calling, and you get all upset because you decide that means he or she is having an affair, then you upset yourself abut something that may or may not ever happen, and being upset about the thing you IMAGINE produces the SAME negative cascade of powerful stress-chemicals that flood your system as if an actual physical stress had occurred. 

Perceived Stress May Be More Health-Destructive Than Actual Stress

If you think about something that has not happened, and your thoughts upset you, the stress response to those imagined events is a REAL STRESSOR that affects your health.  This is how someone can use their mind to destroy their health, and while the stress is imagined, the damage is real.

A study published in The Journal of Psychosomatic Medicine reports that perceived stress is more destructive to your immune system response than actual stress.

Using blood samples taken over a 16-month period from study participants who had been vaccinated against meningitis C, researchers determined that people with high levels of PERCEIVED STRESS consistently measured fewer protective antibodies than all other groups.

Participants were divided into 3 groups;

1) Group one had Low ACTUAL Stress with no stress conditions beyond the ordinary. 2) Group two had High ACTUAL Stress with unusually high stressful circumstances. 3) Group three had High PERCEIVED Stress.  Most participants in group three had low to normal stress levels, however, they perceived their lives as being highly stressful.

The group with high-perceived stress frequently had very low actual stress.

The group with HIGH PERCEIVED STRESS tested 80% fewer protective antibodies in their blood than either of the other two groups.

Discussion: The message here is clear; there is a DIRECT and MEASURABLE connection between your immune system strength and the way your react to the world around you.

The most notable thing about this study is the clear distinction made between ACTUAL STRESS and PERCEIVED STRESS.

Several of the study participants experienced the loss of a parent during the 16-month study period.  By any standard, the death of a loved one is a highly stressful event, yet even those in this highest stress group had perfectly normal levels of protective antibodies.

Twenty seven percent of the participants reported high levels of perceived stress during the study and, to a person, this 27% had up to 80% fewer antibodies, even though in most cases, their ACTUAL stress was far less than other participants.

The message is clear.  If you think you are stressed you get the negative health consequences whether or not the stress is real.

How does perceived stress weaken your immune system?

When you feel stressed your brain produces a cascade of powerful bio-chemicals called neurotransmitters.  There are many different kinds of neurotransmitters, but the long and short of it is that stress related neurotransmitters can be HIGHLY DESTRUCTIVE to your health.

Constantly feeling stressed means you are constantly flooding your body with powerful chemicals that weaken your immune system and leave you more vulnerable to illness and disease.

Practical Application: The practical application of this information is obvious.  Take control of your emotions and never let little things, (or big things), get you down.

Stressful situations occur, but ACTUAL STRESS, stress that you recognize, deal with and move on, will not harm your health.

Monitor your feelings and emotions.  If something is bothering you, DEAL WITH IT.   Your health is too important to let things bother you for very long, and besides that, (to quote my dad), what difference will it make in a hundred years?  And to quote my wife, what difference will it make in an hour?

Remember this . . .

Stress-related bio-chemicals damage your health and those chemicals are made IN DIRECT RESPONSE TO YOUR PERCEPTIONS, not in response to the actual situation, and that means, simply controlling your response to things may go a long way to helping protect and preserve your health.

Remember, excellent health is a choice you can make, and you make that choice every day with your diet, nutrition and lifestyle decisions.  So learn everything you can… and choose wisely.

Erectile Dysfunction – Libido Spiced Up With Antioxidants

Although there are several causes of erectile dysfunction this condition is commonly associated with chronic diseases such as metabolic syndrome, diabetes, heart disease and others. Free radical damage and oxidative stress are pathological processes that underlie most chronic degenerative diseases. They are also largely responsible for the erectile dysfunction associated with these conditions.

Initiating and sustaining an erection depends on a number of physiological process; the most important of these being an adequate blood flow to the corpus cavernosum (the principal erectile tissue in the penis). This in turn depends on normal functioning blood vessels that supply blood to the penis and its erectile tissue.

An erection cannot be achieved without the action of nitric oxide on the blood vessels of the penis and its spongy corpus cavernosum. The erectile process is initiated by the nervous system – either through a spinal reflex (when there is direct stimulus to the penis) or by way of nerve signals from the brain. The relevant nerves, when stimulated via either pathway, release nitric oxide from their nerve endings in the penis.

However, the maintenance of an erection depends on the nitric oxide that is release from the endothelial lining of the penile blood vessels. If the blood vessels malfunction as a result of disease processes such as heart disease and diabetes the individual concerned will not be able to achieve or sustain an erection.

Endothelial function is curtailed when free radical damage and oxidative stress occurs – as it always does in these conditions.

Recent studies have found that antioxidants can reverse endothelial malfunction thereby improving blood flow to the penis. They do this by neutralizing the free radicals responsible for oxidative stress and endothelial damage in the relevant blood vessels.

Researchers have shown that antioxidant supplements can improve erectile function by 35% in the presence of poor endothelial function due to diabetes or metabolic syndrome. Sildenefil improves erectile function by 45% in these conditions while a combination of antioxidants and sildenefil acts synergistically to enhance penile blood supply by 50%.

As antioxidants are crucial in the prevention and treatment of heart disease, metabolic syndrome and diabetes, it is not surprising that they help associated conditions such as erectile dysfunction as well.

The evidence is clear that antioxidants play a vital role in the treatment of erectile dysfunction. When it comes to naturally occurring foods in the diet spices have the highest antioxidant activity of all food groups including fruit and vegetables (American Journal of Clinical Nutrition July 2006 and US Department of Agriculture 2007).

It goes without saying that if you add more spices to your diet not only will you improve your general health but you will spice up your sex life too!