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........taking health and wellness to a whole new level
July 2007 - Vol 4, Issue 7
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Welcome to our monthly e-newsletter! We hope that you will find this and future issues helpful and relevant. We are very interested hearing from you. Please let us know about topics you would like to see covered in the future. In our last newsletter we explored the potential health benefits of essential fatty acids. In this issue we will look at possible health benefits of yoga. Look for food safety tips in our August e-newsletter.

Don't forget to check out our recipe of the month. This month our recipe is super-easy and requires no cooking.

Portland Health and Wellness is anything but your typical medical clinic. We offer health-based cooking classes, a drop-in weight control group for men and women, and group psychotherapy for individuals with eating disorders or food and body image issues. We continue to offer exceptional individual healthcare services, workshops and classes on various health topics, and our year-long comprehensive weight reduction program. Victoria Mosse, MA, ATC, CNT, offers pilates at ph&w; on Monday evenings and Wednesday mornings. Heather Rice offers small yoga classes, including yoga for larger bodies.

We are proud to be the 2007 sponsor of the Ecotrust Portland Farmers Market. As a medical clinic focusing on health and the prevention of disease, we are deeply committed to the health benefits of fresh, local produce. The Portland Farmers Market is a great way to get great-tasting food and support local farmers.

Our clinical team is committed to providing cutting-edge healthcare services. Donald Altman, MA, in addition to being a counselor, is a former Buddhist monk and award-winning writer. He offers '12 Weeks to Mindful Eating', a program he created to help individuals develop a healthier relationship with food, as well as workshops on stress management and mindfulness. Donald also offers individual counseling at ph&w.; Juleeanna Andreoni, MS, RD , is a clinical nutritionist with a broad range of experience. She is certified in adult, adolescent, and childhood weight management. Juleeanna has appeared on AM Northwest. Christine Howard, PsyD continues to provide individual psychotherapy and is now offering group psychotherapy for individuals with bulimia or binge eating disorder. Marcela Vinocur, MD serves as the director of PH&W;'s unique weight reduction program and maintains a psychopharmacology practice.

  • July 11........12 Weeks to Mindful Eating
  • July 28........Yoga for Beginners workshop
  • Sept 15.......One Pot Cooking: a class for college-bound students
  • tba..............Cooking for Diabetes Made Easy
  • tba..............Intro to Mindful Eating
  • tba..............Mindful Eating and Yoga
  • tba..............Cooking 101: a class for men who hate to cook
  • tba..............Cooking 101: a class for women who hate to cook

  • Ongoing groups include a weekly drop-in weight loss group on Thursdays from 4:30 to 5:30 pm (led by Juleeanna Andreoni, MS, RD / cost:$15 per session) and weekly group psychotherapy for individuals with binge eating disorder or bulimia on Tuesdays from 4 to 5:30pm (led by Christine Howard, PsyD / cost: $45 per session). We are now offering a variety of yoga classes, with an emphasis on beginner yoga. Please call us for additional information.

    For up-to-date information about our upcoming workshops and classes, please check our website or give us a call. Registration and payment in advance are required for all ph&w; events and space is limited to 12 (cooking classes are limited to 6). We strongly encourage early registration.

    If you've been curious about yoga but afraid you might not be able to twist your body like a pretzel, then this article is for you. We've all seen those photos of super-flexible people who are able to touch their toes with their nose. But the reality is that you neither need to be athletic nor thin nor flexible to benefit from this ancient tradition. So what is all the fuss about yoga?

    Well, yoga is more than just a workout. Yoga, which means "union" in Sanskrit, seeks to unite the body and mind. While its origins can be traced back about 5000 years to India, yoga did not gain popularity in the US until the 1960s when there was a surge of interest in Eastern philosophy. The original intent of yoga was to lead one to a spiritual experience and profound understanding or insight into the nature of existence. In America, however, yoga is primarily viewed as a physical exercise regimen, rather than as a form of religion, spirituality or healthcare.

    Although there are many approaches, fundamental to yoga is the cultivation of balance thru strength, flexibility, awareness and relaxation. The goals of yoga are health and harmony; it is relaxing, invigorating, and satisfying all at the same time. And it is rapidly gaining popularity in the U.S.. The most commonly practiced branch of yoga in America is Hatha yoga.

    If you search Medline (a search engine for biomedical research) for articles on yoga and health, you will be surprised at the vast array of conditions studied that may benefit from the practice of yoga. For example, Hatha yoga has been studied in conditions ranging from asthma to diabetes to menopause and multiple sclerosis. While the jury is not completely in on all of the potential health benefits, there is enough research to suggest that yoga does indeed have a place, along with other healthy lifestyle choices, in the prevention and treatment of certain chronic diseases.

    Yoga has been reported to result in improvements in mood comparable to aerobic exercise. In a small study conducted at UCLA, mildly depressed volunteers that practiced Iyengar yoga (a type of Hatha yoga) twice a week, 1 hour at a time, for 5 weeks experienced significant improvement in depressive symptoms and anxiety compared to a similar group that did not practice yoga. Other studies have found similar improvements in mood and perceived levels of distress.

    The practice of Hatha yoga may have a beneficial effect on conditions like hypertension and dyslipidemia. If you are at risk of diabetes or heart disease, yoga may play a role in reducing risk factors such as elevated triglycerides, fasting blood glucose, and cholesterol. In India, yoga has been used to prevent and treat diabetes. Research suggests that the practice of yoga and dietary changes can result in improvement in insulin sensitivity, an increase in the number of insulin receptors, an increase in lean body mass and a decrease in body fat percentage.

    Barry Oken MD and colleagues from the Department of Neurology and Behavioral Neuroscience at OHSU published a study on the effects of yoga on cognition and quality of life in healthy seniors. After 6 months, no differences were found between the group that practiced yoga, the group that took a walking exercise class, or the control group in terms of attention and alertness. What they did find, however, is that the seniors in the yoga group showed significant improvement in quality of life as well as physical measures compared to the exercise and wait- list control groups. The yoga group experienced a greater sense of well-being, greater energy and less fatigue than the other groups.

    There is solid research supporting the role of yoga in weight management. A large study found that adults who practiced yoga for 4 or more years were less likely to gain weight over a 10 year period of time than their peers who did not practice yoga. Interestingly, what this study found was that overweight adults who practiced yoga were less likely to gain weight than "normal" weight adults.

    Yoga may be beneficial for a number of conditions including irritable bowel syndrome, chronic fatigue, chronic back pain, menopause and osteoarthritis of the knee. As an example, post-menopausal women who experience hot flushes and practice yoga have reported a 30% reduction in the number of hot flushes per week. These results were reported after just 8 weeks of yoga. Even more impressive are the effects of yoga on mild chronic low back pain: participants in the yoga group reported significant reductions in pain intensity, disability and the use of pain medication.

    The role of yoga in asthma is not completely clear. In a small study, a group of college students with asthma who practiced yoga reported a significant degree of relaxation, positive attitude, and better yoga exercise tolerance. This group tended to use their inhalers less. Another study, however, found no significant improvement in pulmonary function tests between yoga and control groups.

    In rare cases, there have been some adverse effects associated with yoga such as spontaneous pneumothorax and occlusion of neck arteries. These complications are extremely rare and unlikely to occur with the careful and judicious practice of yoga. Nonetheless, if you have been sedentary, are pregnant, or suffer from serious medical problems you should consult with your doctor before starting a yoga practice.

    In sum, the regular practice of yoga seems to offer clear benefits in terms of stress reduction, reduced anxiety, and improvement in mood, flexibility, and quality of life. It may play a role in reducing your risk of heart disease and diabetes. Yoga seems to be beneficial in other chronic conditions such as mild low back pain, osteoarthritis, and chronic fatigue. The regular practice of yoga can significantly reduce your chance of gaining weight in the future, especially if you are already overweight. There is quite a lot of research being done regarding the use of yoga for a variety of medical conditions, so stay tuned for new findings in the years to come.
    zesty watermelon

    This is a great way to serve watermelon, whether you are going to a picnic or having a summer dinner party in your backyard.

    1 watermelon and 3 to 4 limes.

    SLICE watermelon into wedges or chunks. SPRINKLE with fresh lime juice. SERVE at room temperature or cold, depending on your preference.

    copyright 2007 portland health and wellness

    We are very interested in your comments and suggestions. Please let us know if you have a topic you would like to see covered in future newsletters. We look forward to hearing from you.


    the staff of
    Portland Health and Wellness

    phone: 503.236.4506