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Holistic News

Protecting Holistic Remedies - BHRT
March 2, 2006

A recent petition by Wyeth is causing quite a stir in the holistic industry, with good reason. 

Wyeth's goal is to restrict the manufacturing of BHRT at compounding pharmacy's.  Their recently filed Citizen’s Petition tells the FDA to impose restrictions on the compounding and dispensing of bio-identical hormone replacement therapy (BHRT).  This could have dramatic effects, not only on BHRT, but also, in the future, on the availability of compounded products at any compounding pharmacy.

For more on the petition itself, click here to view the petition  http://www.fda.gov/ohrms/dockets/dockets/05p0411/05p-0411-cp00001-01-vol1.pdf.

To file a comment directly to the FDA - click here http://www.accessdata.fda.gov/scripts/oc/dockets/comments/commentsmain.cfm?EC_DOCUMENT_ID=794&SUBTYP;=NEXT&CID;=&AGENCY;=FDA

For information on what you can do, see the following link which will take you to the website for The International Academy of Compounding Pharmacists...  http://www.iacprx.org/site/PageServer?pagename=Action_Alert

Also, check out the following link with Women's International for more information and resources at ... http://www.womensinternational.com/bhrt.html

Spread the word!

Related link: http://www.theempowermentcentre.com
Taking the Journey for Ourselves
February 19, 2006

Being on a spiritual and/or empowerment path means that we practice being present for our lives, our emotions, each other and the struggles that occur throughout our lives that lead us to new awarenesses and places within. Sometimes that practice means taking a breath at the grocery store to realize the man in front of you who dropped his keys and is now taking an extra several minutes finding his wallet is not intentionally making you late for your meeting, and sometimes it means taking a longer, deeper look within.

One practice that I like to do is to reflect on the aspects of my life that are causing struggle, and those that bring me happiness and peace as a reminder of what my mind does to me ;) and what I truly value.

To practice: Take a few moments and a pen and paper and sit with the following.

Begin by sitting quietly for a few moments and putting forth an intention of release and renewal. Breathe into your heart and your entire being and ask those who love you to give you alone time.

Now write the following at the top of a blank page. "My main causes of concern right now are:" and stop there for a moment. (The first time you do this exercise you may want to begin with "My main 3 causes of concern right now are" in order to familiarize yourself both with the exercise and with the amount of time it may take you.) Sit with yourself and allow each one to come up on it's own and list them, leaving space in between for the solutions but not thinking of solutions yet. Thinking only of the language that will explain the concern and writing that down - getting it out of you and onto the paper.

When you have written everything, close your eyes and see the rest of the tensions that you may have been holding about these concerns flowing from you into the paper. Then sit with yourself without these concerns and feel the lightness within you.

From this light space, look at the first one on the list, and sit with it until you decide on the right actions to take to take care of it. It might be that you decide no action other than to let it be is what you need to do. When you have finished the first one, write down your decisions and then come back to the space of lightness for a moment, breathing into it to expand the light throughout you. When you are ready, take the next one and continue this way with your list.

When you complete your list, come back to the light space and begin to bring into this space all of the things you enjoy in your life and are grateful for. Allowing your heart to expand and delight in each new item, being, thought. For example, you might really enjoy your morning expresso, bring that in. You might enjoy hugging your daughter or taking that morning drive to the park on Saturdays. You might get joy out of your dog running to meet you at your front door or the feeling of opening that occurs when your read a book that changes you in some way. Take the time to spend with what you enjoy. Remember that you don't need to share this with others, this is about you so no need for any judgment here. For instance, if you really enjoy chocolate, release the urge to judge in any way the sugar or calorie content and just enjoy the reality that it has been present in your life and offered enjoyment. This practice is about allowing yourself to enjoy your life, rather than trying to create a life based on what you think is acceptable. See how it feels to simply enjoy it.

When you complete this, take the time to write a bit on what you enjoy and maybe even some goals of enjoyment for the week ahead.

I hope you *enjoy* this exercise and that it assist you in making your life what you truly desire.

In light,


Related link: http://www.theempowermentcentre.com
On Healing Digestion
February 19, 2006

Over the years I have seen poor digestion cause anger, fatigue, malnourishment, stress, anxiety, and more. One of the key components of enhancing our digestion is to allow our amazing bodies to digest our food as easily as possible. I'm going to offer four ways you can increase your power of digestion.

1) Don't drink anything with or close to meals.

That means water as well as soda (which really slows down or halts digestive juices both through carbonation and through the sugar/additives/caffeine). If you choose you can drink water up to 10 minutes prior to a meal but no liquids within 2-3 hours after a meal. (Exact digestive times differ based on what you are eating, how you are food combining, and the amount of food you take in.)

Why does this matter? There are three main reasons. First, because there is an enzymatic process to breaking down foods and liquids can dilute the process, causing the food not to break down properly and causing gastrointestinal distress(have you ever felt uncomfortably bloated after a meal where you drank a lot?). Second, because when we drink as we eat, we have a tendency not to chew food thoroughly, which causes digestion problems as well. Third, when you drink a lot with a meal, it may cause you, due to the digestive challenges, not to be able to truly feel when you are full. I've seen individuals who, simply by not drinking with meals, have learned how much food is enough for their bodies and have found it easier to listen to that internal knowing. Try this step and see how it affects your eating and digestion.

2) Don't talk about anything stressful during or around a meal.

I am consistently amazed with the amount of anger and stress expressed at dinner tables - and honestly in relationships in general. I have traveled quite a bit and it seems that many people connect on what went wrong with their day instead of the blessings that occurred. Perhaps this is due to how our media expresses news as being only negative for the most part, however, you have the power to change how you talk, especially during meals.

When you sit down to the table with others, ask that everyone either eat in silence or only discuss good things that either happened or that they are wanting to happen/ making happen in their lives. You may even want to put a jar on the table that each time someone says something that isn't positive, they have to put a nickle in the jar and find a creative way to reward positive thinking (for example, who ever comes up with the most positive thinking that month gets to purchase something yummy for a future family meal with the money).

If you are eating alone, make it an enjoyable experience for yourself as well. Turn off the tv, light a candle, make food that you enjoy, and think on beautiful things as you eat. Sometimes I think on how many people came together to create the meal that I am eating. I am pretty much a vegan and eat a lot of veggies so I enjoy thinking of those who picked the vegetables, those who sprouted the seeds, those who packaged everything in a way that kept it fresh.

I think you will be amazed at how much both your digestion and your overall energy will change when you have a positive-centered meal experience!

3) Get Closer to Your Food

So what do I mean by this? I mean two things. First, buy locally grown produce (hopefully organic). It just makes sense that something grown closer to home will be easier to digest. It lives and breathes in the same environment that you live and breathe in and it goes through the same seasons as you do. Second, get to know the food that you like, that your body likes, and how to make it most appetizing for you. This may sound simple but I want you to think for a moment about the food you ate today so far. First of all, did you enjoy the food? Was it presented in a way that was most pleasing for you (versus eating out of a container at the fridge - I've done it too, I'm speaking from personal experience)? Also, did you eat it in the form that you like the most and do you know what other forms are available. For example, I have never really liked corn. I always ate it growing up but I always felt like it was cooked too much and had a bit of a hard time digesting it. Yet, I'd never seen someone eat it any other way so I just took it out of my diet as an adult.

Then one day I was at a raw food retreat and they served us raw corn. I looked at it debating on whether to try it and I did and WOW! I loved it AND I digested it perfectly fine. I was amazed. So THIS could be corn! Now, if someone asks if I like corn, I say yes but it has to be raw. They usually kind of look at me funny to see if I'm kidding, even more so after I explain that I can't digest 'cooked corn'. I just smile as I'm sure there are things they eat that would be new for me too.;)

Anyway, back to the meaning here. Try this, one meal per week purchase all of the foods you would make a meal with. Lay them out and don't start until you really take a look at what you are using. This isn't about judging anything. It's about really seeing your food and knowing more intimately what you are putting in your body. Then try something new with it. If you are cooking beans, try them less cooked and cut them a different way. If you are cooking meat or dairy, make sure you cook it thoroughly, and you could try a different variation on doing a rub instead of a sauce or something else. Then take each dish individually. Eat the beans alone and when you are finished try the next dish. See what they each taste like on their own and enjoy them. At the end of the meal, you may just have a new appreciation for new ways that you enjoy foods AND your digestion will have enjoyed taking in one food at a time in a slower, more deliberate fashion.

and lastly ... 4) Chew your food thoroughly to aid your digestion.

Related link: http://www.theempowermentcentre.com
Overcoming Depression on the Internet
August 15, 2005

Overcoming Depression on the Internet (ODIN) (2): A Randomized Trial of a Self-Help Depression Skills Program With Reminders

Greg Clarke, PhD; Donna Eubanks; Ed Reid; Chris Kelleher; Elizabeth O'Connor, PhD; Lynn L DeBar, PhD; Frances Lynch, PhD; Sonia Nunley; Christina Gullion, PhD

Kaiser Permanente Center for Health Research, Portland, OR, USA

Corresponding Author:
Greg Clarke, PhD
Kaiser Permanente Center for Health Research
3800 N. Interstate Ave
Portland, OR 97227-1098
Phone: +1 503 335 6673
Fax: +1 503 335 6311
Email: greg.clarke [at] kpchr.org


Background: Guided self-help programs for depression (with associated therapist contact) have been successfully delivered over the Internet. However, previous trials of pure self-help Internet programs for depression (without therapist contact), including an earlier trial conducted by us, have failed to yield positive results. We hypothesized that methods to increase participant usage of the intervention, such as postcard or telephone reminders, might result in significant effects on depression.
Objectives: This paper presents a second randomized trial of a pure self-help Internet site, ODIN (Overcoming Depression on the InterNet), for adults with self-reported depression. We hypothesized that frequently reminded participants receiving the Internet program would report greater reduction in depression symptoms and greater improvements in mental and physical health functioning than a comparison group with usual treatment and no access to ODIN.
Methods: This was a three-arm randomized control trial with a usual treatment control group and two ODIN intervention groups receiving reminders through postcards or brief telephone calls. The setting was a nonprofit health maintenance organization (HMO). We mailed recruitment brochures by US post to two groups: adults (n = 6030) who received depression medication or psychotherapy in the previous 30 days, and an age- and gender-matched group of adults (n = 6021) who did not receive such services. At enrollment and at 5-, 10- and 16-weeks follow-up, participants were reminded by email (and telephone, if nonresponsive) to complete online versions of the Center for Epidemiological Studies Depression Scale (CES-D) and the Short Form 12 (SF-12). We also recorded participant HMO health care services utilization in the 12 months following study enrollment.
Results: Out of a recruitment pool of 12051 approached subjects, 255 persons accessed the Internet enrollment site, completed the online consent form, and were randomized to one of the three groups: (1) treatment as usual control group without access to the ODIN website (n = 100), (2) ODIN program group with postcard reminders (n = 75), and (3) ODIN program group with telephone reminders (n = 80). Across all groups, follow-up completion rates were 64% (n = 164) at 5 weeks, 68% (n = 173) at 10 weeks, and 66% (n = 169) at 16 weeks. In an intention-to-treat analysis, intervention participants reported greater reductions in depression compared to the control group (P = .03; effect size = 0.277 standard deviation units). A more pronounced effect was detected among participants who were more severely depressed at baseline (P = .02; effect size = 0.537 standard deviation units). By the end of the study, 20% more intervention participants moved from the disordered to normal range on the CES-D. We found no difference between the two intervention groups with different reminders in outcomes measures or in frequency of log-ons. We also found no significant intervention effects on the SF-12 or health care services.
Conclusions: In contrast to our earlier trial, in which participants were not reminded to use ODIN, in this trial we found a positive effect of the ODIN intervention compared to the control group. Future studies should address limitations of this trial, including relatively low enrollment and follow-up completion rates, and a restricted number of outcome measures. However, the low incremental costs of delivering this Internet program makes it feasible to offer this type of program to large populations with widespread Internet access.

(J Med Internet Res 2005;7(2):e16)


Internet; depression; cognitive therapy; self-help; randomized trial


Several Internet interventions have emerged in recent years to treat mental and behavioral health problems. These interventions provide some of the basic skills training traditionally offered in face-to-face psychotherapies, particularly cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT). This recent trend extends the tradition of bibliotherapy with books, videos [1–3], and computer programs [4]. Mental health Internet interventions have targeted panic disorder [5,6], distress associated with tinnitus [7], and depression [8,9]. Nearly all of these “guided self-help” interventions [10] incorporate the Internet skills training with simultaneous professional staff counseling typically delivered by telephone or email.

Our Internet program, ODIN (Overcoming Depression on the InterNet) [11], shares a CBT approach with these other interventions. However, it is “pure self-help” [10] because it relies solely on skills training delivered by the Internet and eschews the therapist-delivered mental health counseling typical of the other programs. Both guided and pure self-help approaches merit consideration, but the much lower cost of the latter is a significant advantage.

Several of these interventions have been evaluated in randomized trials, with generally positive results on depression symptomatology for guided self-help programs [5,7,8]. However, initial trials of pure self-help Internet programs failed to impact depression symptoms [9], including our first investigation of the ODIN program [11]. In this earlier study, we randomized 299 adults with highly elevated depression symptoms to either access to the ODIN site, or no access. Participants in both conditions were free to receive treatment as usual (TAU) health care services, including depression medication and psychotherapy. This TAU control condition, consisting principally of antidepressant medication, distinguishes our research from that of most other trials of Internet mental health interventions, which have employed a waitlist control condition. Subjects reported depression symptoms at enrollment and at 4-, 8-, 16-, and 32-weeks follow-up. However, in that trial we found that participants in the intervention group used the ODIN Internet site very infrequently after their initial enrollment session, which may have contributed to the overall negative effects. We concluded that future studies should focus on increasing participant use of the Internet site.

This paper presents the second trial of our pure self-help ODIN program. This time, we added telephone and postcard reminders to the intervention group aimed at increasing participant use of ODIN, and we compared the intervention against a “no access” TAU control condition. We had no hypotheses regarding different website usage attributable to postcard or telephone reminders. However, the latter method required so much more staff time that we wanted to test whether brief telephone contact increased website usage beyond the less expensive postcard reminder. We hypothesized that persons randomized to the ODIN group would report greater reductions in depression symptoms and greater improvements in mental and physical health functioning. We also report general medical and mental health care service utilization data of participants in the 12 months following randomization.


Subjects and Recruitment

We conducted the study in the Kaiser Permanente Northwest HMO, which has about 440000 members in northwest Oregon and southwest Washington. Our research center is located within the HMO and is scientifically autonomous. The Human Subjects Committee for the HMO approved study procedures.

We employed the HMO's electronic medical record to identify two recruitment groups in 2000: a “depressed” group of adults (n = 6030), who received depression medication or psychotherapy in the previous 30 days and had a chart diagnosis of depression; and a “nondepressed” group of adults (n = 6021), who did not receive such services and did not have an HMO diagnosis of depression but who was age and gender matched to the first group. We included the latter group to determine whether persons with previously undetected cases of depression might enroll in the study.

We mailed all potential participants a study recruitment brochure in a plain envelope. The brochure explained the study and provided the Internet address. It was up to the initiative of invited individuals to visit the study Internet site.

After receiving the study recruitment brochure, participants entered confirmed HMO membership numbers at the study home page and proceeded to the online consent form and baseline assessment battery. Subsequently, participants were automatically randomized by the website (using random sequence software) to one of the three groups. Participants in the TAU control group were denied access to the ODIN intervention. Instead, they were linked to an HMO health information website which provided information about depression but no interactive skills training. Participants in the remaining two intervention groups were given immediate access to the ODIN intervention and received either US mail postcards or brief (< 5 minutes) telephone reminders from non-clinician study staff at 2, 8, and 13 weeks after enrollment. The telephone reminder calls were scripted to convey information identical to that included on the postcard reminders. Staff first identified themselves and the study, then reminded participants of the ODIN website address and gave instructions for looking up forgotten passwords. They read a brief description of a feature of the website designed to entice the participant to make a return visit and then concluded the call. The reminder staff had no mental health background, and they were prohibited from engaging in any therapy-like activity. Staff were capable of, and limited to, answering questions only about basic website troubleshooting (eg, difficulty logging on or accessing questionnaires). Figure 1 provides a summary of the study process.

Participants in all conditions were free to obtain any traditional mental or physical health care services and access any Internet health resources. Participants were not blind to their study condition.

Study flowchart