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How air pollution alters brain development: the role of neuroinflammation

Posted on January 26, 2020 at 12:55 AM Comments comments (0)

The present review synthesizes lines of emerging evidence showing how several samples of children populations living in large cities around the world suffer to some degree neural, behavioral and cognitive changes associated with air pollution exposure. The breakdown of natural barriers warding against the entry of toxic particles, including the nasal, gut and lung epithelial barriers, as well as widespread breakdown of the blood-brain barrier facilitatethe passage of airborne pollutants into the body of young urban residents. Extensive neuroinflammation contributes to cell loss within the central nervous system, and likely is a crucial mechanism by which cognitive deficits may arise. Although subtle, neurocognitive effects of air pollution are substantial, apparent across all populations, and potentially clinically relevant as early evidence of evolving neurodegenerative changes. The diffuse nature of the neuroinflammation risk suggests an integrated neuroscientific approach incorporating current clinical, cognitive, neurophysiological, radiological and epidemiologic research. Neuropediatric air pollution research requires extensive multidisciplinary collaborations to accomplish the goal of protecting exposed children through multidimensional interventions having both broad impact and reach. While intervening by improving environmental quality at a global scale is imperative, we also need to devise efficient strategies on how the neurocognitive effects on local pediatric populations should be monitored.


Keywords: Air pollution, Child brain development, Children's health, Early prevention and intervention, Neurodegeneration, Neuroinflammation, Public health


Clean air is critical for children′s health and well-being. Megacities around the world exceed the standards for air pollutants and many samples from children populations are showing an array of adverse short and long-term health outcomes, which include some of the most detrimental effects on brain development [1-3]. However, for the most part, current research and policy efforts link air pollution to respiratory and cardiovascular disease [4], and the effects on children’s central nervous system (CNS) are still not broadly recognized. As a result, wide reaching public health initiatives targeting pediatric populations are still considered premature or unwarranted. One of the goals of this review is to show that contrary to a hesitant approach, there is enough evidence supporting the perspective that air pollution brain effects on children should be one of the main public health targets linked with policies that are in the purview of the broader issue of global climate change.


In this paper, we briefly review current air pollutant standards, followed by experimental, clinical, epidemiologic and pathology studies associating air pollution exposures with children′s brain effects. This overview puts forward common denominators for the biological pathways linking air pollution to negative effects on the developing brain (Fig. 1). Then, we turn to outstanding challenges facing the development of dynamic and reciprocal intervention strategies aimed at children exposed to high levels of air pollution. Such challenges include the issues of how to establish links with the current mainstream concepts of cognition and neurodevelopment with the systemic biological and anatomical effects of air pollution, as well as the issues surrounding the formulation of strategies to study seemingly clinically healthy children exposed to air pollutants. Our goal is to provide sufficient evidence to justify the proposal of structured intervention strategies.....

Smog in our brains: Researchers are identifying startling connections between air pollution and decreased cognition and well-being.

Posted on January 26, 2020 at 12:50 AM Comments comments (0)


That yellow haze of smog hovering over the skyline isn't just a stain on the view. It may also leave a mark on your mind.


Researchers have known since the 1970s that high levels of air pollution can harm both cardiovascular and respiratory health, increasing the risk of early death from heart and lung diseases. The effect of air pollution on cognition and mental well-being, however, has been less well understood. Now, evidence is mounting that dirty air is bad for your brain as well.


Over the past decade, researchers have found that high levels of air pollution may damage children's cognitive abilities, increase adults' risk of cognitive decline and possibly even contribute to depression.


"This should be taken seriously," says Paul Mohai, PhD, a professor in the University of Michigan's School of Natural Resources and the Environment who has studied the link between air pollution and academic performance in children. "I don't think the issue has gotten the visibility it deserves."


Cognitive connections

Most research on air pollution has focused on a type of pollutant known as fine particulate matter. These tiny particles — 1/30th the width of a human hair — are spewed by power plants, factories, cars and trucks. Due to its known cardiovascular effects, particulate matter is one of six principal pollutants for which the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has established air quality standards.


It now seems likely that the harmful effects of particulate matter go beyond vascular damage. Jennifer Weuve, MPH, ScD, an assistant professor of internal medicine at Rush Medical College, found that older women who had been exposed to high levels of the pollutant experienced greater cognitive decline compared with other women their age (Archives of Internal Medicine, 2012). Weuve's team gathered data from the Nurses' Health Study Cognitive Cohort, a population that included more than 19,000 women across the United States, age 70 to 81. Using the women's address history, Weuve and her colleagues estimated their exposure to particulate matter over the previous seven to 14 years. The researchers found that long-term exposure to high levels of the pollution significantly worsened the women's cognitive decline, as measured by tests of cognitive skill.


Weuve and her colleagues investigated exposure to both fine particulate matter (the smallest particles, less than 2.5 micrometers in diameter) and coarse particulate matter (larger particles ranging from 2.5 to 10 micrometers in size).


"The conventional wisdom is that coarse particles aren't as important as fine particles" when it comes to human health, Weuve says. Previous studies in animals and human cadavers had shown that the smaller particles can more easily penetrate the body's defenses. "They can cross from the lung to the blood and, in some cases, travel up the axon of the olfactory nerve into the brain," she says. But Weuve's study held a surprise. She found that exposure to both fine and coarse particulate was associated with cognitive decline.


Weuve's results square with those of a similar study by Melinda Power, a doctoral candidate in epidemiology and environmental health at the Harvard School of Public Health. Power and her colleagues studied the link between black carbon — a type of particulate matter associated with diesel exhaust, a source of fine particles — and cognition in 680 older men in Boston (Environmental Health Perspectives, 2011). "Black carbon is essentially soot," Power says.


Power's team used black carbon exposure as a proxy for measuring overall traffic-related pollution. They estimated each man's black carbon exposure by cross-referencing their addresses with an established model that provides daily estimates of black carbon concentrations throughout the Boston area. Much like Weuve's results in older women, Power and colleagues found that men exposed to high levels of black carbon had reduced cognitive performance, equivalent to aging by about two years, as compared with men who'd had less black carbon exposure.


But while black carbon is a convenient marker of air pollution, it's too soon to say that it's what's causing the cognitive changes, Power says. "The problem is there are a lot of other things associated with traffic — noise, gases — so we can't say from this study that it's the particulate part of the air pollution that matters."


Still, the cumulative results of these studies suggest that air pollution deserves closer scrutiny as a risk factor for cognitive impairment and perhaps dementia.


"Many dementias are often preceded by a long period of cognitive decline. But we don't know very much about how to prevent or delay dementia," Weuve says. If it turns out that air pollution does contribute to cognitive decline and the onset of dementia, the finding could offer a tantalizing new way to think about preventing disease. "Air pollution is something that we can intervene on as a society at large, through technology, regulation and policy," she says.


Young minds

Research is also finding air-pollution-related harms to children's cognition. Shakira Franco Suglia, ScD, an assistant professor at Boston University's School of Public Health, and colleagues followed more than 200 Boston children from birth to an average age of 10. They found that kids exposed to greater levels of black carbon scored worse on tests of memory and verbal and nonverbal IQ (American Journal of Epidemiology, 2008).


More recently, Frederica Perera, DrPH, at the Columbia University Mailman School of Public Health, and colleagues followed children in New York City from before birth to age 6 or 7. They discovered that children who had been exposed to higher levels of urban air pollutants known as polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons while in utero were more likely to experience attention problems and symptoms of anxiety and depression (Environmental Health Perspectives, 2012). These widespread chemicals are a byproduct of burning fossil fuels.


Meanwhile Mohai, at the University of Michigan, found that Michigan public schools located in areas with the highest industrial pollution levels had the lowest attendance rates and the greatest percentage of students who failed to meet state testing standards, even after controlling for socioeconomic differences and other confounding factors (Health Affairs, 2011). What's worse, the researchers analyzed the distribution of the state's public schools and found that nearly two-thirds were located in the more-polluted areas of their districts. Only about half of states have environmental quality policies for schools, Mohai says, "and those that do may not go far enough. More attention needs to be given to this issue."


Although Michigan and Massachusetts may experience areas of poor air quality, their pollution problems pale in comparison to those of Mexico City, for example. In a series of studies, Lilian Calderón-Garcidueñas, MD, PhD, a neuropathologist at the University of Montana and the National Institute of Pediatrics in Mexico City, has investigated the neurological effects of the city's infamous smog.


In early investigations, Calderón-Garcidueñas dissected the brains of dogs that had been exposed to air pollution of Mexico City and compared them with the brains of dogs from a less-polluted city. She found the Mexico City dogs' brains showed increased inflammation and pathology including amyloid plaques and neurofibrillary tangles, clumps of proteins that serve as a primary marker for Alzheimer's disease in humans (Toxicologic Pathology, 2003).


In follow-up research, Calderón-Garcidueñas turned her attention to Mexico's children. In one study, she examined 55 kids from Mexico City and 18 from the less-polluted city of Polotitlán. Magnetic resonance imagining scans revealed that the children exposed to urban pollution were significantly more likely to have brain inflammation and damaged tissue in the prefrontal cortex. Neuroinflammation, Calderón-Garcidueñas explains, disrupts the blood-brain barrier and is a key factor in many central nervous system disorders, including Alzheimer's disease and Parkinson's disease. Perhaps more troubling, though, the differences between the two groups of children weren't just anatomical. Compared with kids from cleaner Polotitlán, the Mexico City children scored lower on tests of memory, cognition and intelligence (Brain and Cognition, 2008).


Brain changes

It's becoming clearer that air pollution affects the brain, but plenty of questions remain. Randy Nelson, PhD, a professor of neuroscience at the Ohio State University, is using mouse studies to find some answers. With his doctoral student Laura Fonken and colleagues, he exposed mice to high levels of fine particulate air pollution five times a week, eight hours a day, to mimic the exposure a human commuter might receive if he or she lived in the suburbs and worked in a smoggy city (Molecular Psychiatry, 2011). After 10 months, they found that the mice that had been exposed to polluted air took longer to learn a maze task and made more mistakes than mice that had not breathed in the pollution.


Nelson also found that the pollutant-exposed mice showed signs of the rodent equivalent of depression. Mice said to express depressive-like symptoms give up swimming more quickly in a forced swim test and stop sipping sugar water that they normally find attractive. Both behaviors can be reversed with antidepressants. Nelson found that mice exposed to the polluted air scored higher on tests of depressive-like responses.


To find out more about the underlying cause of those behavioral changes, Nelson compared the brains of mice that had been exposed to dirty air with brains of mice that hadn't. He found a number of striking differences. For starters, mice exposed to particulate matter had increased levels of cytokines in the brain. (Cytokines are cell-signaling molecules that regulate the body's inflammatory response.) That wasn't entirely surprising, since previous studies investigating the cardiovascular effects of air pollution on mice had found widespread bodily inflammation in mice exposed to the pollution.


More surprisingly, Nelson also discovered physical changes to the nerve cells in the mouse hippocampus, a region known to play a role in spatial memory. Exposed mice had fewer spines on the tips of the neurons in this brain region. "Those [spines] form the connections to other cells," Nelson says. "So you have less dendritic complexity, and that's usually correlated with a poorer memory."


The changes are alarming and surprising, he says. "I never thought we'd actually see changes in brain structure.

Spiritual Recovery: It's true: The sound of nature helps us relax. - Bright Star Apothecary Harm Reduction Initiative Research

Posted on January 26, 2020 at 12:40 AM Comments comments (0)

Researchers at Brighton and Sussex Medical School (BSMS) found that playing 'natural sounds' affected the bodily systems that control the flight-or-fright and rest-digest autonomic nervous systems, with associated effects in the resting activity of the brain. While naturalistic sounds and 'green' environments have frequently been linked with promoting relaxation and wellbeing, until now there has been no scientific consensus as to how these effects come about. The study has been published in Scientific Reports.


The lead author, Dr Cassandra Gould van Praag said, "We are all familiar with the feeling of relaxation and 'switching-off' which comes from a walk in the countryside, and now we have evidence from the brain and the body which helps us understand this effect. This has been an exciting collaboration between artists and scientists, and it has produced results which may have a real-world impact, particularly for people who are experiencing high levels of stress."


In collaboration with audio visual artist Mark Ware, the team at BSMS conducted an experiment where participants listened to sounds recorded from natural and artificial environments, while their brain activity was measured in an MRI scanner, and their autonomic nervous system activity was monitored via minute changes in heart rate. The team found that activity in the default mode network of the brain (a collection of areas which are active when we are resting) was different depending on the sounds playing in the background:


When listening to natural sounds, the brain connectivity reflected an outward-directed focus of attention; when listening to artificial sounds, the brain connectivity reflected an inward-directed focus of attention, similar to states observed in anxiety, post-traumatic stress disorder and depression. There was also an increase in rest-digest nervous system activity (associated with relaxation of the body) when listening to natural compared with artificial sounds, and better performance in an external attentional monitoring task.


Interestingly, the amount of change in nervous system activity was dependant on the participants' baseline state: Individuals who showed evidence of the greatest stress before starting the experiment showed the greatest bodily relaxation when listening to natural sounds, while those who were already relaxed in the brain scanner environment showed a slight increase in stress when listening to natural compared with artificial sounds.


The study of environmental exposure effects is of growing interest in physical and mental health settings, and greatly influences issues of public health and town planning. This research is first to present an integrated behavioural, physiological and brain exploration of this topic.

Spiritual Recovery: The Magic of Pranic Healing. - Bright Star Apothecary Harm Reduction Initiative Research

Posted on January 26, 2020 at 12:30 AM Comments comments (0)


Vagabond Temple

chakras,energy, growth, healing, prana, self-development, spirituality | Healing, Life

What is energy healing?

Imagine if you understood the subtle laws of the universe and the subtle laws of energy – the subtle laws of life itself. Many great minds and souls have searched for these mysterious laws in their quest for the truth about who we really are, what we are truly made of and our place in the universe. Pranic Healing is a system of energy healing that enables us to understand and tap into these laws, and into the very fabric of our existence – Universal Life Force Energy. It is an internationally renowned, non-religious, touch-free, drug-free healing therapy developed by Grand Master Choa Kok Sui in 1987, after over twenty years of research. More than just a form of therapy, Pranic Healing is a practice of wholesome living using the knowledge of subtle energies. Through training in Pranic Healing, you will learn how humans can harness these energies for healing, manifestation and spiritual growth.

Pranic Healing is often called the “Science of Healing” as it uses validated and tested methods and protocols to ensure a rapid and safe recovery. Many people from all walks of lives have experienced and benefited from Pranic Healing worldwide, with testimonials proving its effectiveness in dealing with a wide range of ailments. Several hospitals – including California Neurosurgery Hospital and Apollo Hospitals all over India – use Pranic Healing to complement their medical services.


How does it work?

Our beings are not just our physical bodies. There is an energy field around every one of us that keep us healthy and alive, in the same way that a cellphone is dependent on its battery for life.


When this luminous energy field is contaminated and damaged, it causes sickness and pain. Anything that disturbs us – from bad weather and improper hygiene to stress, fear and frustrations – affects the energy field, making it dimmer, imbalanced and dirty. In the long run, this contamination manifests as discomfort, physical and psychological problems.


To remain healthy and happy, we need to take good care of our energetic body and its energy centers, commonly known as the chakras. That’s where energy healing comes in.


Pranic Healing provides thorough explanations of the aura, chakras and their functions, in addition to techniques for cleansing, energizing and rebalancing them in order to improve physical and psychological conditions. Using Prana to balance, harmonize and transform the body’s energy improves health by accelerating the rate of self-healing in the physical human body.


The Prana or Life Force used to balance the bodily functions has many different names in different traditions and culture. In Chinese it is called Chi, in Japanese Ki. In Pneuma and in Polynesian, it is called Mana.

What are the benefits of practicing Pranic Healing?

Clarity of mind, clear and speedy decision making

Better memory and concentration

Improved efficiency and productivity at work

Harmonious relationships with family and colleagues

Inner peace, happiness and tolerance

Improved IQ, EQ and SQ

Improved self-esteem

More energy and stamina and a strong immune system

An overall sense of well-being and improved health

Spiritual Recovery: Marco's Pranic Sonic Chillout Sessions. - Bright Star Apothecary Harm Reduction Initiative

Posted on January 26, 2020 at 12:20 AM Comments comments (0)


Marco's Pranic Sonic Chillout Sessions

Yoga Meditation Combo 

Natural Pranic Energy augmented with Genuine Therapeutic Musical Instruments!

Calming, Grounding, Stabilizing, Loving

Also, checkout Music Video Therapy with DJ Marco Andre

Sonic Yogi: Can frequencies heal? - Bright Star Apothecary Harm Reduction Initiative Research

Posted on January 26, 2020 at 12:15 AM Comments comments (0)

In my view, there are two ways to approach, or interpret, the term "sound healing”. In a broad sense “healing” might refer to any therapy that can help one to feel whole and complete again. When one is stressed the mind and body can feel fractured. Sounds and frequencies can be a great help in returning to a state of relaxation and wholeness.

432hz is the pitch of A in a tuning that is also called Pythagorean Tuning. In music there is generally a standard pitch that musicians tune to. This allows musicians to always know what tuning to take, so that they can play in tune to each other. The standard tuning today is generally at 440hz or 440 cycles per second. 440hz is the note of A.


432 is the note of A (just like 440hz), but is 8hz lower that the standard that we are used to hearing. While this is a very close and may be hardly noticeable, some interesting numerical patterns begin to emerge at this tuning. First in the tuning of 432 many of the various notes are numerically even. Meaning they don’t contain decimals. So, the A 432 tuning is generally referred to as being more harmonic. There is a lot debate about 432 being more harmonic or having a different effect on the listener than 440, but this is still interesting to note.


When I play guitar I generally tune in 432, and I also play Native American flutes tuned in 432. I also like experiment with other tunings and frequencies to see what might resonate with me.


Healing Frequencies and Pythagoras:

So, back to 432 and Pythagorean tuning. Pythagoras, more widely known as the father of geometry could also be credited as pioneer in music as well. Pythagoras was the first to discover that changing the length of a vibrating string also altered its pitch, and that various ratios of those string lengths created harmonic, relationships. For example, Pythagoras noticed that when a string was halved it produced a tone an octave higher than the original length. So the different string lengths or ratios give us the intervals in music that we are used to hearing everyday. We attribute this discovery to Pythagoras.


Pythagoras also believed that sounds could heal. Pythagoras taught students about divine harmony, and the harmony of the planets. Pythagoras believed that sounds and certain intervals could heal the soul, and that music could purify the mind. Pythagoras life and discoveries are fascinating and I will explore more in another post.


About the frequencies listed:

The chart above is a frequency chart of in Pythagorean Tuning. A healing frequencies list of Pythagorean tuning. The grid is created starting at 1 and creating a row across in 3’s and a column created vertically by doubling by 2’s. The grid that is formed that contains the frequencies of various pitches C G D A etc. This cycle of notes is know as the circle of fifths. In this grid, 432 is the pitch for A that naturally emerges. A is commonly used as a reference pitch for tuning. This “A” note is what the term 432 tuning refers to, as you can see in the frequency chart above.


In the A column of this grid there are also other interesting numbers that emerge. Like the number 108 which occurs frequently in yogic practice. You’ve probably heard of the practice of completing 108 Sun salutations. 108 is also the number of Mala beads on a meditation necklace. The wrist bands usually have 27 beads, which is also another octave of A, and I believe that the rosary has 54 beads. It is also interesting that every octave of A in the 432 tuning adds up to equal 9.


In fact, every number on this grid is a factor of 9!


In this same grid there other numbers emerge like 144 which appears in many sacred texts (that is a D note), and also 186644 which is very close to the speed of light. That is an F# note..


There are also some interesting videos on youtube, which I will create links to. As a small disclaimer, I will say that don’t necessarily agree with all of the content of these, but they are great for spurring thought and further research into some of these connections.

Check out these toxic employees and understand simple ways to remove these troublemakers.

Posted on January 25, 2020 at 2:35 PM Comments comments (0)

8 Types of Toxic Employees Behaviors That Are Destructive To Any Companies (And How To Deal With Them)

Toxic employees suck all the productive juices out of any organization. They turn out to be an expensive investment. They contribute nothing to the growth of the business. Also, they demotivate and infuriate all the team members. They are not traced easily in the beginning. They show their true colors after spending some time with the company.


How to deal with these troublemakers? Is there any way to keep a check on these potential threats? Yes, there are some powerful ways to remove the poisonous elements in your workplace. Here are 8 behaviours of toxic employees.


1. They believe in a One Man Show

Toxic employees are on first sight really hardworking employees who devote a lot of time for the company’s growth. You must be thinking: It’s great to have such an employee. A big NO. These type of employees becomes arrogant in their approach. They don’t believe in group work.They roam around with an ‘I-Know-Everything’ attitude and disturb the flow of the workplace.


They constantly demotivate co-workers by teaching them the right way to do things. They are always found interfering in other’s work by looking the project with their vision only. They don’t care about other’s efforts.



How to tackle these Interfering Employees? Give them a paid break. Due to excessive work, their mind needs some rest. If you can’t afford a break, introduce some stress-busting measures in your office. Start giving more incentives to team effort.


2. They are creative monsters

They are the masters in finding ways to avoid work. Instead of finding new solutions for the company’s growth, they are busy in finding creative solutions for their ‘avoidance rate’ growth. These type of employees assign themselves in multiple teams.


Then, they start avoiding work by giving lame excuses: I am unable to tackle the workload; there is so much stress in helping all the other team members. But, their contribution is negligible. When the salary review comes, they are always seen standing ahead to highlight all their fake achievements.


The best way to tackle these employees is to give them an individual job. Give them deadlines for job completion. Highlight their solo efforts and award them for their dedicated output. This simple approach will make them feel special. Who doesn’t want to feel special?



Are You Reaching Your Full Potential?

3. They are ‘big time’ procrastinators

They believe in the ‘I-will-do-it-tomorrow’ approach. Do you know the worst part? Tomorrow never comes. Most of the time, they are seen doing all the stretching exercises in their chair and wasting time with a yawning job. They spread dullness in the group and decrease the productivity of the whole group. They don’t pay any attention to deadlines. They are on the top ten list of absentees. They don’t care what managers or other team members thinks about them.


How to tackle these lazy creatures? Surprise them by unscheduled visits and reviews. Give them some authoritative work. When they are held accountable for a particular task, they will take things seriously.


4. They make a trap by creating an emotional scene

Beware of employees who try to make you an emotional fool. They mix their marital, financial and health life with their corporate life. They make innocent faces to take out work from other employees. They are experts in creating a ‘self-pity’ zone. They are always hungry for free attention. People look at them with a sad look. They love to be patted consolingly on their shoulder.


In order to stay away from their deceptive looks, don’t connect family matters with official matters. Your employees get the salary for their work only. There is no harm in giving leave to the genuine employees. But, keep a watch on these drama kings (or queen)



5. They are always busy with negative gossiping

These type of employees create mistrust between co-workers and the management team. They love to start rumors about the company and spread nonsense stories about co-worker’s personal lives. Despite getting the perfect work environment, they always waste time in filling the workplace with their negative vibes. They usually start their conversion in this way: ‘Do you know about that thing’. They bring down the productivity level of the whole team.


Talk to these employees individually. Don’t blast their emails with this type of cold message: ‘Don’t involve yourself in negative office gossips’. Meet them and ask the reason behind their negative attitude. Develop the habit of positive gossips. Share positive stories of employees who come up with innovative ideas. Spread the news of your productive employees. .....

Air pollution is a suspected developmental neurotoxicant

Posted on January 25, 2020 at 2:25 PM Comments comments (0)

Association between Traffic-Related Air Pollution in Schools and Cognitive Development in Primary School Children: A Prospective Cohort Study.

The Evidence Is Strong: Air Pollution Seems to Cause Dementia

Posted on January 25, 2020 at 2:20 PM Comments comments (0)

Air pollution is much worse for health than people had thought, increasing the risk of Alzheimer's significantly. Meanwhile, air quality is getting worse. .....

Exposure to air pollution increases violent crime rates

Posted on January 25, 2020 at 1:05 PM Comments comments (0)

Breathing dirty air can make you sick. But according to new research, it can also make you more aggressive. That's the conclusion from a set of studies recently authored by Colorado State University researchers. The team found strong links between short-term exposure to air pollution and aggressive behavior, in the form of aggravated assaults and other violent crimes across the continental United States.

Spiritual Recovery: Psycho-Acoustic Medicine: Science Behind Sound Healing For Serotonin, Neurotransmitters & Health. - Bright Star Apothecary Harm Reduction Initiative Research

Posted on January 25, 2020 at 10:30 AM Comments comments (0)


Mental illness has reached an all time high in the world, and yet the modern day medicines to relieve symptoms have gained controversy. This is, in part, why people have dug up the past to better understand alternative ways of healing.



Sound, for instance, has been a tool for promoting the physical and emotional health of the body for as long as history can account for, deeply rooted in ancient cultures and civilizations. The ancient Egyptians used vowel sound chants in healing because they believed vowels were sacred. Tibetan monks take advantage of singing bowls, which they believe to be “a symbol of the unknowable” whose “vibrations have been described as the sound of the universe manifesting.”


“Our various states of consciousness are directly connected to the ever-changing electron, chemical, and architectural environment of the brain. Daily habits of behavior and thought processes have the ability to alter the architecture of brain structure and connectivity, as well as, the neurochemical and electrical neural oscillations of your mind.”


Psychoacoustics is the scientific study of the perception of sound, and it has fueled researchers paths to better understand how it can be used as medicine. For instance, in 1973, Dr. Gerald Oster, a medical doctor and biophysicist, proved, in his research paper, “Auditory Beats in the Brain,” how sound affects the how the brain absorbs new information, controls mood, sleep patterns, healing responses, and more, and how quickly. Thus, specific frequencies of sound and music can be used to generate neurotransmitters such as serotonin.


The effect of low-frequency sound stimulation on patients with fibromyalgia: A clinical study. - Bright Star Apothecary Harm Reduction Initiative Research

Posted on January 25, 2020 at 10:20 AM Comments comments (0)

Treatments involved 23 min of LFSS at 40 Hz, delivered using transducers in a supine position. Measures (repeated before and after treatment) included the Fibromyalgia Impact Questionnaire, Jenkins Sleep Scale, Pain Disability Index, sitting and standing without pain (in minutes), cervical muscle range of motion and muscle tone. Mean percentages were calculated on end of treatment self-reports of improvement on pain, mood, insomnia and activities of daily living.



Significant improvements were observed with median scores: Fibromyalgia Impact Questionnaire, 81% (P<0.0001); Jenkins Sleep Scale, 90% (P<0.0001); and Pain Disability Index, 49.1% (P<0.0001). Medication dose was reduced in 73.68% of patients and completely discontinued in 26.32%. Time sitting and standing without pain increased significantly (P<0.0001). Cervical muscle range of motion increased from 25% to 75% (P=0.001), while muscle tone changed from hypertonic to normal (P=0.0002).



In the present study, the LFSS treatment showed no adverse effects and patients receiving the LFSS treatment showed statistically and clinically relevant improvement. Further phase 2 and 3 trials are warranted.


Keywords: 40 Hz, Fibromyalgia, Low frequency, Music medicine, Neural circuit dysrhythmia, Rhythmic sensory stimulation.......

Spiritual Recovery: The Healing Power of Sound as Meditation. Research suggests sound is a powerful tool to reduce pain, anxiety, and more. - Bright Star Apothecary Harm Reduction Initiative Research

Posted on January 25, 2020 at 10:15 AM Comments comments (0)

Sound has an ancient kinship with meditation and healing. Sound healing has ancient roots in cultures all over the world, including Australian aboriginal tribes who used the didgeridoo as a sound healing instrument for over 40,000 years to ancient such as Tibetan or Himalayan singing bowl spiritual ceremonies. Sound meditation is a form of focused awareness type of meditation. One kind that has become more popular is called “sound baths,” which uses Tibetan singing bowls, quartz bowls, and bells to guide the listener. These practices highlight themes of how the experience of sound manifests not only through hearing but through tactile physical vibrations and frequencies.


Science is still catching up to understanding how sound heals, but the current research is promising. A review of 400 published scientific articles on music as medicine found strong evidence that music has mental and physical health benefits in improving mood and reducing stress. In fact, rhythm in particular (over melody) can provide physical pain relief.



One study published in the Journal of Evidence-Based Integrative Medicine found that an hourlong sound meditation helped people reduce tension, anger, fatigue, anxiety, and depression while increasing a sense of spiritual well-being. The sound meditation used a range of Tibetan singing bowls, crystal singing bowls, gongs, Ting-shas (tiny cymbals), dorges (bells), didgeridoos, and other small bells. The main instrument used was the singing bowls for 95% of the session. People who had never done sound meditation experienced significantly less tension and anxiety afterward, as well as those who had done it before.


There are many different theories that attempt to explain why sound experiences can be linked with deep relaxation and physical pain relief.


One theory is that sound works through the vibrational tactile effects on the whole body. Sound could stimulate touch fibers that affect pain perception. One study of people with fibromyalgia found that ten treatments (twice per week for five weeks) of low-frequency sound stimulation improved sleep and decreased pain, allowing nearly three-fourths of participants to reduce pain medication.


Sound-based vibration treatment has been shown to help people with pain from arthritis, menstrual pain, postoperative pain, knee replacement pain. Sound-based treatment has even been found to improve mobility, reduce muscle pain and stiffness, increase blood circulation, and lower blood pressure.

Spiritual Recovery: Metaphysical Medicine: Pranic Sonic Healing, The Unstruck Sound. - Bright Star Apothecary Harm Reduction Initiative

Posted on January 25, 2020 at 9:20 AM Comments comments (0)

The fourth chakra, called anahata, is located at the heart. “Anahata” means unstruck sound.


4th Chakra’s Natural Element: Air


Anahata is associated with air. If you’ve worked with the other chakras, you can integrate all of the elements to support this work. The first chakra is earth, steady and grounded; the second chakra, water, brings a fertile creativity; the third chakra is the “fire in the belly” required to transform that grounded creativity into positive action. And now you have air dispersing and integrating spiritual understanding of love, compassion, and connection to everything you encounter. Air, like love, is within and all around.






The fourth chakra, called anahata, is located at the heart. “Anahata” means unstruck sound.


4th Chakra’s Natural Element: Air


Anahata is associated with air. If you’ve worked with the other chakras, you can integrate all of the elements to support this work. The first chakra is earth, steady and grounded; the second chakra, water, brings a fertile creativity; the third chakra is the “fire in the belly” required to transform that grounded creativity into positive action. And now you have air dispersing and integrating spiritual understanding of love, compassion, and connection to everything you encounter. Air, like love, is within and all around.




Life Motif of the Heart Chakra


The anahata chakra is associated with unconditional love, compassion, and joy. It is the source of deep and profound truths that cannot be expressed in words. Anahata is a bridge between the lower and upper chakras integrating the manifest with the spiritual.




Physical Signs of Blocked Anahata Energy


The heart chakra directly affects the heart, lungs, chest, arms, and hands. When misaligned, poor circulation, high or low blood pressure, and other heart and lung conditions can result.




Mental Signs of Blocked Anahata Energy


Mentally, an imbalanced heart chakra can result in problematic issues, such as co-dependence, manipulative behaviors, feeling of unworthiness, and an inability to trust yourself or others. -

Spiritual Recovery: Why sounds of nature might be the best source of meditation. - Bright Star Apothecary Harm Reduction Initiative Research

Posted on January 25, 2020 at 9:15 AM Comments comments (0)

Studies have linked nature experiences with not just a general sense of well-being, but measurable decreases in mental distress, improved cognitive function, and higher levels of creativity, as well as improved sleep and reduced stress.

Spiritual Recovery: A Review of the Benefits of Nature Experiences: More Than Meets the Eye. - Bright Star Apothecary Harm Reduction Initiative Research

Posted on January 25, 2020 at 9:10 AM Comments comments (0)

Evidence that experiences of nature can benefit people has accumulated rapidly. Yet perhaps because of the domination of the visual sense in humans, most research has focused on the visual aspects of nature experiences. However, humans are multisensory, and it seems likely that many benefits are delivered through the non-visual senses and these are potentially avenues through which a physiological mechanism could occur. Here we review the evidence around these lesser studied sensory pathways—through sound, smell, taste, touch, and three non-sensory pathways. Natural sounds and smells underpin experiences of nature for many people, and this may well be rooted in evolutionary psychology. Tactile experiences of nature, particularly beyond animal petting, are understudied yet potentially fundamentally important. Tastes of nature, through growing and consuming natural foods, have been linked with a range of health and well-being benefits. Beyond the five senses, evidence is emerging for other non-visual pathways for nature experiences to be effective. These include ingestion or inhalation of phytoncides, negative air ions and microbes. We conclude that (i) these non-visual avenues are potentially important for delivering benefits from nature experiences; (ii) the evidence base is relatively weak and often based on correlational studies; and (iii) deeper exploration of these sensory and non-sensory avenues is needed.


Keywords: sensory, nature benefits, nature experience, wellbeing, nature therapy

1. Introduction

Experiences of nature provide people with multiple benefits to health and well-being, yet the mechanisms by which these benefits are delivered are not well understood [1,2]. Interest in nature as a therapeutic resource has ancient foundations. Hippocrates extolled the necessity of “airs, waters, and places”, for physical and mental well-being [3], and ancient Roman texts suggest that there are health benefits to countryside and greenspaces [4]. Gardens were prescribed for monasteries in the 1200’s “not only for food, but also for recreation in the open air to aid the recovery of the sick and to preserve health and improve those fatigued by their spiritual studies,” according to the Franciscan Minister General, Bonaventura, in 1260 [5]. In 1839, the Annual Report of the British Registrar General opined that, “a park in (the) East End would diminish annual deaths by thousands and add several years to the lives of the entire population” [4]. Overexposure to manmade environments was believed to cause “excessive nervous tension, over-anxiety, hasteful disposition, impatience and irritability” [6]. An early American illness known as neurasthenia with symptoms of depression, anxiety, insomnia, and migraines, was often cured with nature therapy, known as the “west cure”, where men (including prominent figures such as poet Walt Whitman, painter Thomas Eakins, novelist Own Wister, and US President Theodore Roosevelt) were sent west to ranches to work roping horses on the range [7]. The cure they suggested was simple: experiences of pleasant rural scenery. This idea has spawned an enormous volume of research on the visual appeal and restorative potential of natural landscapes [8,9,10]. However, emphasis is repeatedly placed on experiences of pleasant rural scenery. Perhaps as a result of vision being the dominant human sense, research has focused heavily on the visual benefits of nature experiences potentially at the expense of understanding the non-visual senses, and other pathways such as airborne volatile chemicals and the ingestion of microbiota. Emerging evidence is pointing to the existence of a broad range of sensory and non-sensory pathways for the benefits of nature experiences. Yet the research base isolating sensory experiences of nature beyond vision is sparse. In this paper, we review the state of this evidence so far, and identify some important gaps in our understanding of how nature experiences benefit human health and well-being.


The multi-sensory aspect of nature experiences is crucial because monotony of stimulation can be a source of stress [11] and multimodal sensory input itself can drive positive mental states such as tranquility [12]. Indeed, it has been shown that stimulating multiple senses at the same time may possibly lead to additive beneficial effects of nature experiences [13]. For example, one study found that while a virtual nature environment was able to reduce stress in participants, these participants also felt negatively towards the virtual environment, and expressed a sense of missing the full sensory experience of real nature [14]. This example highlights the possible shortcomings of assuming visual delivery is the dominant pathway through which nature benefits are delivered.


In this paper, we review the ways in which we experience nature through each of our senses and through several non-sensory pathways. Most of the literature we review focuses on the passive reception of benefits, but it should be recognized that there may be benefits derived from a more active engagement with the environment. More specifically, there may be a difference between passive sensation, and the next step after it of processing to perception.

Preliminary evidence: the stress-reducing effect of listening to water sounds depends on somatic complaints. - Bright Star Apothecary Harm Reduction Initiative Research / Music & Video Therapy with Marco / Underground Intelligence Media

Posted on January 25, 2020 at 9:05 AM Comments comments (0)

The stress-reducing effect of listening to water sounds appears to depend on the occurrence of somatic complaints. This effect was not found in the music or silence condition. Individuals with somatic complaints may benefit from other, potentially more powerful forms of stress-reducing interventions, that is, combinations of visual and auditory stimuli.

Spiritual Recovery: How Music Can Relieve Stress and Boost Immunity. - Bright Star Apothecary Harm Reduction Initiative Research / Underground Intelligence Media

Posted on January 25, 2020 at 9:00 AM Comments comments (0)

Music Therapy

Scientists have discovered that if you listen to only 50 minutes of “uplifting” dance music, your antibody levels will increase significantly. They also found that stress hormones that can weaken the immune system decrease after being exposed to music.

Volunteers that played a percussion instrument accompanying music, also increased their level of immunity.


Researchers at Sussex University and the Max Planck Institute (Leipzig, Germany), claim that their research demonstrates how music can be used to help patients recover more quickly while they are still in hospital.


In other separate and unpublished studies, it was found that while a patient is under anesthesia during surgery, the music had an important impact and lowered stress hormones. According to Dr. Ronny Enk, an expert from the Max Planck Institute, the leader of the study, “the pleasurable state which music induces to us can lead to changes in the body in terms of reducing stress and enhancing immunity.“


“Concerning reducing stress, it seems that different types of music have different effects.” Researchers tested 300 people whom they asked to listen to 50 minutes of happy dance music and to music of other genres . It was found that levels of stress hormones decreased significantly in those who listened to happy music, than in those in the control group. Also in those of the first group, the levels of antibody immunoglobulin A, the first line of defense of the immune system, have significantly increased.


It looks like happy dance music has an important role in improving immunity, while relaxing music helps reducing stress. Another important thing to keep in mind is the listener’s taste in music. Music preferred by the patient appears to have a greater impact on his health.


Although music therapy is used often to promote mental and emotional health, it seems to be quite effective to improve the quality of life of those experiencing physical health problems.


It was noted that music therapy can be successfully used in patients suffering from the following conditions:


• Alzheimer’s disease


• Parkinson’s disease


• autism


• attention deficit disorder


• insomnia


• phobias


• depression


But perhaps the most enjoyable music is the one we found in nature. Singing birds, voice of the wind, the murmur of the river… Music of the nature is what heals and inspires us.